Well the whole Pigeon update and long term plans for local monetisation is now coming out in the wash (see my last post on pigeon for details).
Dr Pete from Moz last night spied the below test for local ppc paid ads.
So as the image above shows it differs from historically common local packs that are un-monetised.
This pay to play development in the local map listing space makes sense for 3 key reasons:
1/ It falls in line with the monetisation of other Google products such as product listing ads AKA more recently as Shopping Ads.
2/ There is increasing shareholder pressure to increase SERP ad revenue and this development monetises an area thus far untouched by Google adwords.
3/ The recent Pigeon update (ohhhh the benefit of hindsight) helped create the landscape for such a development to work as it wiped several niches clean of local packs.
Whilst it’s just a super early beta test we might see The U S of A become pay to play in the maps arena before year end and then the UK would likely follow in 2015.