I recently posited that as the engines move to be more profitable, they are becoming more like the yellow pages than a legitimate search vehicle.
Why would Google purchase a yellow page type business directory? There is big dollars in local search. According to a recent mediapost email:
The Yellow Pages are a $26 billion global industry. According to The Kelsey Group, 22 million small- and medium-sized businesses spend 46 percent of their advertising budgets on Yellow Pages marketing, and put only 3 percent into search engine keywords. In addition, only 30 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses have a Web site. ...Verizon SuperPages.com, which has been selling online directory listings since 1996, this year redesigned its Web site and business model to include pay-per-click listings.
Yellow Pages are Dead