As Yahoo has turned Gemini into a more expansive search marketing platform, it has also expanded the ways the platform is being sold. The company is expanding and adding resellers to its Preferred Partner Program. Its latest partner is small business marketing platform ReachLocal.
Existing Preferred Partners include Marin, Acquisio and Kenshoo, among others.
For years, Google has operated an extensive reseller program for AdWords (called Preferred SMB Partners), which is intended to reach more deeply into the SMB market. The function of the Google program is to bring AdWords to SMBs that otherwise might not do self-service or would be likely to stumble or fail at campaign self-management.
Google has said that when many SMBs self-serve it sees higher churn than if partners or agencies manage those AdWords accounts on behalf of local business owners. Yahoo has been following Google’s lead in starting to build out a similar network of partners to sell and support Gemini for local businesses.
Yahoo’s search marketing inventory is separating from Bing, though it’s not entirely separate. Companies like ReachLocal will now be representing Gemini as mostly distinct inventory and traffic on the PC and mobile to thousands of small business customers.
ReachLocal indicated in an email interview that it isn’t yet selling native advertising on Yahoo as part of the arrangement but that it will be adding both PC and mobile traffic from Yahoo search to its existing paid-search advertising network.
While the small business market has long been an important and attractive (though challenging) target of major internet companies, competition has intensified, with companies like Google and Facebook seeking to be the go-to digital marketing platform for these businesses. Traditional media companies that used to serve these advertisers with their own products exclusively have effectively become agencies selling third-party traffic and inventory to SMBs.
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