Local Matters at DEMO
The DEMO conference is happening in SoCal this week (not there, trying to get some writing done) and there are some interesting developments that concern local:
Local Matters announced its next-generation local search platform. I saw a very early version in January of this year and it was highly impressive. I'm waiting for the busy and elusive Perry Evans to update me. I just got the update: very nice interface and functionality. I'll write more later.
Jingle Networks launched "free 411." I'm writing more about this for the Local Media Journal. But basically this is free-to-consumer, ad-supported directory assistance combined with a PPCall ad model. No Web site, no landing page is required; it's purely phone based. The company is launching with an impressive list of advertisers, but when consumers call for non-advertisers, they'll hear a "switch pitch" offer for a competitor if that competitor is a Jingle Advertiser. The company has a very ingenious sales channel as well. There are of course challenges, which I'll discuss later.
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Is a clone of this Free411 coming soon from Skype?
Doesn't look to be an exact clone, but one never knows. Thanks for the heads up. Jingle Networks uses a great deal of automation to manage costs and so another provider could do something similar over a VoIP infrastructure with a similar PPCall ad model.
It's not exactly bait-and-switch, but the model does defy the way consumers typically use DA. And, to your implied point, consumers may find the service annoying (if they're getting a pitch for another business they didn't call for). However, the free411 element is pretty compelling.
Question is: can they raise awareness among consumers to the point that they get enough usage and what's their time horizon for doing so?
A. this "bait and switch" system seems contrary to the way indisviduals use 411 services
B. TellMe spent $100m on something similar and changed business models
"The company has a very ingenious sales channel as well."
Can someone clarify why their sales channel is so ingenious? What do they have that, say, 1-800-SAN-DIEGO does not have?