Peter Kafka

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Small Business Web Ad Dollars: Still Way Too Small

cash registerHey, Google! And Yahoo, and Yelp, and Twitter and Facebook and every other Web company that says it wants to sell ads to mom-and-pop shops: Try harder.

So says Boston Consulting Group, out with a new report that shows only 3 percent of small-business ad dollars going online.

The numbers come from a survey conducted last fall of 550 small companies, and shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to anyone who has watched the Web guys try to break into the market for many, many years.

With the notable exception of Groupon and other daily deal companies, most of the Internet guys like to advertise their advertising on the Internet. And their platonic ideal for a transaction is the self-serve model, where humans never have to talk to each other. Meanwhile, lots of traditional business still gets done in analog form, via phone calls and feet on the street.

When small businesses do spend their money, Google still gets the most, says BCG, which ranks the popularity of other outlets this way: “Other search engines, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo! Local, YP.com (formerly yellowpages.com), Twitter, LinkedIn, and Superpages.com.”

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Artens)


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik