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U.S. Local Search Market Benefits Merchants

comScore Networks released the results of an analysis revealing the size and growth of the U.S. local search market. Local search is defined as searches conducted by consumers on the local or directory (Yellow Pages) sections of leading search sites, and other searches identified as having local intent.

According to the study, 63 percent of U.S. Internet users (or approximately 109 million people) performed a local search online in July, a 43 percent increase versus July of 2005. Google Sites (30 percent) and Yahoo! Sites (29 percent) garnered the largest share of local searches in July. Microsoft Sites captured 12 percent of local searches, followed by the Time Warner Network with 7 percent.

Based on a recent comScore Search Satisfaction study, 41 percent of those conducting a local search were searching for something in their home area, as opposed to searching for information on businesses in locales that they intended to visit.

Additionally, among those searching in their home area, 59 percent indicated they were searching for a restaurant or something entertainment-related, such as a theater, theme park or an attraction for sightseeing. Another 52 percent said they were searching specifically for a business phone number or address. Two out of five local searchers (41 percent) were looking for information on a local service in their home area, including car rental office, dry cleaner or lawyer.

The comScore study also found that performing a local search drives consumers to take action. During the second quarter of 2006, 47 percent of local searchers visited a local merchant as a result of their search behavior, while 41 percent made contact offline. More than one-third (37 percent) made contact online as a result of conducting a local area search.

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