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The Australian is reporting that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is planning to challenge Sensis' growing position in Australian directories, classifieds and local search with its own "listings" product. The product will be powered by News Corp.'s latest asset, Australian Local Search, which is the same shop driving Yahoo!'s Australian local search efforts. You can read the full article here.

News Corp.'s challenge is interesting on many levels, including the fact that, unlike a search engine, News Corp. takes on Sensis from the position of also claiming original, rich local business information. According to the Australian article, the News Corp. site would bring with it listings from 100 community newspapers, as well as 700,000 listings acquired with ALS. And just as Sensis has a built-in promotional platform with its print directories, News Corp. does so with its community papers.

This developing competitive match-up speaks to one key question about the directories, classifieds and local search businesses, which is whether these entities will be distinguishable (online at least) within a few years' time. It appears we might see one of the earliest examples of competition among truly morphed directory/classified/search products in Australia.

The Kelsey ReportĀ® is currently developing an Advisory that examines the intersections between directories and classifieds, in particular online.

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