U S West Dex, the regional telephone company's Yellow Pages division, this week will announce a deal to become the first DoubleClick Local sales partner.
Under the agreement, U S West Dex's 1,000-person sales force will be the exclusive sales agent for DoubleClick Local ads in its 14-state region. DoubleClick Local was introduced last month; it allows local companies to advertise on national sites, but the ads are served only to visitors in a certain ZIP code or a predetermined category.
U S West Dex will begin selling the targeting program in September in Salt Lake City, followed by Phoenix and St. Paul, Minn. It will roll out to other cities early next year. Local advertising will be available in three-, six- or 12-month packages, and priced from $35 to $50 per thousand impressions.
Neither company would reveal the advertising revenue split, except to say both are being provided incentives to make this partnership work.
"We both firmly believe that local advertising is going to be strong on the Internet. It's still in the developing stages now, but it will become a significant factor long term," said Kevin O'Connor, CEO of DoubleClick.
Jim Nail, analyst with Forrester Research, said, DoubleClick is "going to go out and start staking a claim--just like they did with international... then they'll be there if and when it does develop."
Mr. Nail said DoubleClick Local might appeal to companies such as larger regional retail outlets, movie theaters, banks and car dealerships, but said it's probably premature for smaller advertisers to be interested yet.
Of the 1,800 advertisers DoubleClick now serves, Mr. O'Connor said about 250 are local.
Jim Smith, U S West Dex president-CEO, said his company has relationships with more than 500,000 advertisers. "We feel great about those relationships, but what we needed in this new medium is targeting for local advertisers on a national level," he said.
He says because the program is new, he doesn't know what the response will be from traditional Yellow Pages advertisers. But Mr. Smith said "local advertisers are smart about value, and we can deliver it through this agreement."
Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.