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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.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 2 issues:

    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

  4. "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?

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