There are lots of optimistic reports about local online advertising, and plenty of opinion pieces about what will work (or should work, or ought to work) but I was taken with a new report from Marchex.
Rather than tackle new information, Marchex fills the need for a compilation of basic information in their primer on local advertising: Unlocking the Potential of the Local Internet.
The primer pulls together available data ("The combination of growing consumer usage and capital investment has led analysts to estimate that annual growth rates for local paid search over the next four years will be as high as 42.8% and 15% for the entire local Internet ad market"), defines the types of destinations available (search engines, IYP/directories, local guide, online newspaper, local niche sites), and examines some of the issues facing online advertising as a media category (overcoming fragmentation, evolving functionality, etc).
The report is a good read for local retailers/businesses that want a quick course on local search advertising. It's also a good read if you want a better picture of challenges facing the online media that compete in this space.
So if you've been dangling your feet in the waters of online advertising - but wishing you had a better overview - Marchex has heard your pain.