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  3. SEO : Small Business Portals Heating Up Again : Small Business Portals Heating Up Again

Back when I was part of the founding editorial team at, now about seven years ago (yikes!), we had no less than about nine or ten competitor sites. All of them either changed or died (or were supported by a traditional publication like Inc). When AllBusiness rose like the phoenix last year from the ashes of its prior demise (after I left) it was virtually alone.

Tonight I was over on Andrew Goodman’s blog reading about launching, a new small business content site. One of the primary ambitions of all such sites is to aggregate large numbers of small businesses and create an efficient marketing channel for third-party advertisers. Earlier this week, I wrote about MyBizHomepage, which is not a content site but has similar marketing-channel ambitions.

The Internet is a very different place than when I was at AllBusiness. Now it’s “for real” for small businesses in a way that it never was in 1999. And there is a real opportunity now to provide content (and services) to SMEs, build an audience and create an “alternative” marketing channel for larger entities who want to reach them. That’s what Intuit is for Google.

The place I went after AllBusiness was ZDTV, which became TechTV. There I helped produce “Working the Web,” a show about SMEs and the Internet. Like AllBusiness that show was ahead of its time (so was TechTV — now reincarnated as DiggTV). But just like small business content sites, someone could build an online show/network or video library intended to educate and help small businesses as they try and navigate the brave new world of online marketing, as well as everything else they have to do. The ad dollars there are potentially much greater because of video and the TV analogy.

I haven’t yet seen that, but it will likely come.

Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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