"We want to create a detail page for every business in America." That's how Amazon's Barnaby Dorfman, who led development for A9's yellow pages, describes the retailer's experiments in local search -- efforts that hold great promise for local businesses eager to market themselves online.

A9's yellow pages effort is multifaceted. It includes business data from Acxiom, click-to-call support from eStara, and a unique "Block View" visual feature. The latter was created through the deployment of a small fleet of GPS- and camera-equipped Amazon trucks, which obtained storefront images the e-commerce giant later attached to business detail pages.

A9's services are currently offered free to consumers and small businesses. However, the engine displays Google AdWords listings both on search results and its company detail pages. Dorfman said direct ad sales may even be in the cards. For now, it's all about building value that may eventually be worth charging for.

ClickZ caught up with Dorfman at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York last week.

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