Today Google announced that the company was suspending Local Listing Ads, for the time being:
“Starting today, we will no longer accept new sign-ups for Local Listing Ads in the Local Business Center, and in mid-December, existing Local Listing Ads will stop running. This limited free trial was one of many beta tests that we develop experimentally as part of our ongoing commitment to help businesses advertise online.
We’re currently using data and feedback from the trial period to make further improvements to our online marketing offerings for small businesses, and plan to release an enhanced version more widely in the near future. In the meantime, locally-minded businesses can simply and easily promote their products and services to their local markets by using existing features within our AdWords program, such as geographic targeting and location extensions.”
I spoke briefly to Google and they reiterated that this was to evaluate feedback and improve the product for release some time next year. The company also reiterated its commitment to the SMB/local advertising segment.
One interesting thing to speculate about is: what changes we might see when it relaunches and will there be promotion of this program in a more traditional form (e.g., advertising)?