October 28, 2008

Soft Housing Market to Drive Nearly 50% Increase in Web Site Adoption By Home and Trade Service SMBs Over Next Two Years, According to The Kelsey Group

PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- According to The Kelsey Group's Local Commerce Monitor study, Web site adoption by small and medium-sized businesses has grown from 54 percent in February 2007 to 61 percent in August 2008. However, home and trade service SMBs, which include categories such as painters, plumbers and carpet cleaners, lag in their adoption of an online presence: Only 33 percent have a Web site.

The housing bubble that preceded the current down market caused a slowdown in new media adoption by home and trade service SMBs, according to Kelsey Group analysts. As the market continues to slow and projects become scarcer, the firm expects Web site adoption by home and trade service SMBs to grow from the current 33 percent to 60 percent by 2010.

"Home and trade service SMBs will look to peer businesses for options when considering how to generate leads," explained Matt Booth, senior vice president and program director, Interactive Local Media, The Kelsey Group. "Web sites will be viewed as a cost-effective alternative; a channel that didn't make sense in a booming market will fast become a necessity."

Home and trade service businesses are heavily seasonal in nature with much of the work coming in the summer months. The Kelsey Group expects home and trade service screening sites like Angie's List and ServiceMagic and content sites like DIY Network to see increasing engagement, with consumers spending more time on these sites and viewing more content.

"Consumers today just don't hire service companies without doing at least a little bit of online research," said Angie Hicks, founder and chief marketing officer, Angie's List. "Service companies that aren't online are missing out on customers who are actively looking for the right company to give their hard-earned dollars. I don't know how any company can afford not to have a Web site - it's an essential part of their marketing tool kit."

The growing importance of the online channel for home and trade service SMBs will be the subject of an upcoming session of The Kelsey Group's "Interactive Local Media 2008" conference, which takes place Nov. 19-21, 2008, in Santa Clara, California. This session will feature a discussion with Hicks and Rodney Rice, cochairman and cofounder, ServiceMagic.

"We've entered a new era in terms of home improvement demand," said Rice. "For the first time in more than 10 years, the real estate, construction and home improvement industries are in decline. We are going to see SMBs accelerate their adoption of pay-for-performance marketing out of necessity - and survival."

About ILM:08

ILM:08 is The Kelsey Group's annual conference devoted to digital media with a local focus. This event provides a 360-degree view of the local marketplace, covering a range of important topics, including local search, Internet Yellow Pages, vertical directories, Internet video, online classifieds, social media and mobile search. Conference sponsors include Acxiom, Adfare, AgendiZe, Apptus, Call Genie, DMC, eStara, Imagine Local, infoUSA, Intelligenx, Jivox, Local Matters, Local.com, Localeze, Marchex, MatchCraft, MDS, MediaTraks, StudioNow, Superpages.com, Telmetrics, Topix and WebsPlanet. Association partners include Association of Directory Marketing (ADM), Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), International Classified Media Association (ICMA) and Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Media sponsors for ILM:08 are ReelSEO.com and TVover.net. For more information about ILM:08, visit http://www.kelseygroup.com/ILM2008.

About BIA Advisory Services, LLC

BIA Advisory Services, LLC, a subsidiary of BIA Financial Network, provides research, data, analysis, and financial and strategic consulting to media, telecommunications, technology, directory publishing, and local search companies. BIA Advisory Services includes: The Kelsey Group, experts in traditional and online local media and advertising; BIA Research, providers of competitive and comparative market information and analysis through data services, specialized reporting, engineering studies and mapping; and, BIA Consulting, specialists in business intelligence and corporate growth strategy, and the nation's leading communications appraisal and valuation firm. Additional information is available at http://www.bia.com/.

About The Kelsey Group

The Kelsey Group, a division of BIA Advisory Services, LLC, is the leading provider of research, data and strategic analysis on directories, small-business advertising, online local media, vertical market advertising and mobile advertising. As the premier analyst firm covering the directory publishing community and the emerging local search marketplace, The Kelsey Group provides advisory services (The Kelsey Report(R), Interactive Local Media and Marketplaces), publishing (Global Yellow Pages(TM)), consulting (more than 400 individual assignments) and conferences (73 events). For more information about The Kelsey Group, visit http://www.kelseygroup.com/.

The Kelsey Group

CONTACT: Eileen Pacheco, +1-781-556-1026, [email protected]

Web Site: http://www.bia.com/http://www.kelseygroup.com/http://www.kelseygroup.com/ILM2008