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.