Miranda Miller of SearchEngineWatch dropped a bombshell today that Bruce Clay was rolling out a service to sell “Local Paid Inclusion” in Google, Yahoo & Bing local organic results to SMBs. From the site advertising the service:

“The way it works is simple: you create a legitimate places or local profile page, then you select up to 30 keywords for your location, then you pay, then you rank. Maybe it is not that simple, but almost.”

If this service is for real, it would be a pretty radical move, particularly for Google. And if it is for real, Bruce Clay, Inc. may soon be duking it out with Apple for the most valuable company crown.

UPDATE: After thinking about this for a few minutes I wonder if this is not just clever packaging on Bruce Clay’s part – basically a Google Places optimization service masquerading as “paid inclusion”?

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16 Response Comments

  • Stever  January 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    move along. nothing to see here.

    just repackaging and reselling existing products and the SE Watch story turned it into some big thing it’s not.

    • Andrew Shotland  January 31, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Some of the players involved – or rather not involved – have confirmed with me that this is in fact not happening. Of course it also could have been a premature announcement which then put the kabosh on the whole thing.

  • Tait  January 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I’m surprised Search Engine Watch even posted that garbage. It’s pretty unbelievable so they should’ve done their homework first.

  • MiriamEllis  January 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I predict that the Superbowl will seem dull after this day in Local. Andrew- your guess is a good one. I am really blown away by the copy that was quoted in the SEW story:

    “Local Paid Inclusion is a Google, Yahoo and Bing official service that is offered as an approved official contracted program in cooperation with those search engines.”

    Now, who writes something like that? I’m still not sure on what the real deal was with this.

  • Tom  February 1, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Bruce Clay took the site down.

    File this under “what was he thinking?”

  • Adam Kaufman  February 1, 2012 at 6:31 am

    This is the same type of business model that yext power listings claims to have Has anybody else heard that?

  • Jo Shaer  February 1, 2012 at 6:39 am

    All very fishy! But the day it becomes necessary to pay to rank in the organics is surely the day that any search engine will lose all credibility with its public?

  • Jim Rudnick  February 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

    would love to know the REAL take on this…and await it daily!

    IMHO tho – can’t be true…just can’t be!



  • Jim Rudnick  February 1, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Sorry…dang fingers…but the link to localpaidinclusion.com is DEAD too!


  • Gail Gardner  February 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for uncovering this and taking the time to document it for others to find.

    I know the reason why many bloggers choose not to date their posts; however, information about local SEO changes continually and it is really important that we know WHEN a post was published to know whether or not it is still relevant.

    When posts aren’t dated, researchers like me have to depend on the dates on comments to get any idea how old information is but you do not even have dates on your comments.

    The only way I know this is current information that I should link to and share across social networks is that Dave shared a link to his own post and IT has a date.

    Please consider putting dates on your posts. Thank you.

  • Andrew Shotland  February 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Point taken Gail. I screw around with a lot of variables on this site and sometimes forgot to unscrew them – like the date. Added back, but need to update my CSS.

  • Cheyne Tekel  February 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Isn’t this the same thing countless SEM companies provide (the list is endless)—Local Maps Optimization – No guarantees. if there was a such thing as paid inclusion (Yahoo & MSN did this in the 90’s), Google would be all over it for revenue (they are public companies!!) Remember Google Tags?

    I would like to see how much of google’s IP they put on their sales materials or website.. that, it’s clearly against their TOS. If this was possible, the publishers would be the first out of the gate to take advantage.

    Anyway…it’s a pretty clever marketing stunt..

  • Chris Reilly  February 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Looks like the folks at “bigger than galaxy-wide” listing service are behind this deal. Based on our experience and that of many others there is no surprise this was oversold. Local SEO Vaporware…