Google continues to go where the money is as it buys up travel content publisher, Frommer's. Now the search giant can push more ads in the lucrative local service marketplace.
Frommer's, a name well-known and beloved by
consumers for its travel guides to destinations around the world, is being
acquired by Google as the search giant continues to seek richer troves of
content that can help it increase online local search ad revenue.
The deal means that Google
will get the Frommer's name and all of its travel assets from publisher
John Wiley & Sons as the publisher continues to shed some of its consumer
print and digital products, according to an Aug. 13 announcement from
The move will add another big name to Google's brand stable. Last September,
purchased Zagat, another well-known company that aggregates reviews on
restaurants, nightspots, hotels and other attractions from more than 350,000
surveyors around the world.
"The Frommer's team and
the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat
team," a Google spokesperson said in a prepared statement. "We can't
wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every
relevant place in the world."
A price tag and terms of the deal are not being released, according
to both companies.
The move is a sensible one for Google, especially after the Zagat
purchase, according to Karsten Weide, a new media analyst with IDC.
"It underscores their commitment to build out both travel and
local service, which is really what these two acquisitions are about,"
said Weide. "Our IDC estimates show that about half of all online
advertising spending is in local markets. There's a lot of money to be
That's why Google is attacking the market with more content
firepower from respected sources, such as Frommer's and Zagat, he said.
"Right now, the money is being made primarily by the Yellow Pages and
other local advertising plays. If you want to make more money in the local
search segment, you need more local content. It attracts local users, and local
users attract local advertising."
The Frommer's purchase could help do just that as lucrative ads can
be placed where pages call up local searches for travel and dining
destinations, said Weide.
With the purchase of Frommer's, Google will keep it under its own
brand name for now, but will eventually move to bring that powerful name
together with Zagat in a coordinated effort to bolster online search revenue.
The September 2011 acquisition of Zagat was a
success story for Google after several other well-publicized purchases failed
big time. Google unsuccessfully sought to buy local review powerhouse Yelp in
2009 and group coupon provider Groupon in 2010. After those deals died, Google
went on to relaunch its local search product as Google Places, significantly
improving the service with its own recommendation engine and reviews.
Those efforts, though, had nowhere near the local review database of Zagat,
which offers its famous 30-point scale for restaurants and other establishments
in more than 100 cities. Consumers critique everything, from the lighting,
ambience and service to, naturally, the food presentation and taste.
The acquisitions continue a strong trend at Google, which made several other
commerce-related purchases in 2011, including local deals provider Dealmap,
loyalty card provider PunchD and digital coupon provider Zave Networks.
wants to carve a big piece of, if not own, the local search and commerce
markets, where Groupon and Yelp lurk.