Will the Real ’True Local’ Please Stand Up?

News Corp.’s True Local search engine has gone live in Australia. Its purpose is to compete with Sensis and it’s "powered" by News Corp.-owned newspapers. This is an interesting thing for U.S.-based newspapers to consider, but perhaps impossible for them to pull off as a collective (sort of a YellowPages.com approach).

I suspect we can expect a similar launch in the U.S. in the near term, given all Rupert Murdoch’s statements and his aggressive buying of online properties. The only problem is that there’s already an established True Local search engine: TrueLocal.com. So this launch reflects either arrogance or stupidity or some mysterious combination of the two.

Unless they intend to build a separate local search brand in the U.S., which is possible, they can’t think that they’re going to be able to use that brand (indeed, the URL is gone). TrueLocal.com has been operating as a commercial enterprise for well over a year and has plans to expand its geographic coverage.

While two brands or identical company names can exist in circumstances where they’re in different businesses, they cannot where there is a "substantial likelihood of consumer confusion." And unless I miss my guess, two local search engines with the name "True Local" would probably be confusing to the ordinary consumer.

So we’ve got a bit of a David vs. Goliath story here, unless, as I said, News Corp. creates a completely different local search brand in the U.S. Regardless, we can probably say with 100 percent certainty that News Corp./Fox will be getting into local search "stateside."

Yet another player to stir things up (and cover). "[:0]"

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