As we enter the smartphone generation, directory listings may only be a starting point for consumer information needs. In terms of revenue opportunities, they may only be scratching the surface.
CallSpark, which calls itself the “call experience company,” seeks to take it up several notches via deep Web integration of directory listings, Web search, location information, user-generated content, and personal contact and search information found on user phones via directories and social nets.
Founded by several communication vets, including CEO Steve Larsen (one of the first Citysearch execs), CallSpark aims to improve on the directory model by applying new capabilities to call center integration. “Call center integration has been unchanged for 20 years,” notes Larsen. He notes that CallSpark is specifically focused on updating the experience to account for smartphone technology.
For instance, where current directories will take you to a simple 800 number, CallSpark will be able to provide interactive ordering screens that can download successive information for orders and process (i.e., pizza with anchovies and mushrooms and delivered during the game). The service can also provide brand-exclusive featured listings.
Larsen adds that the service has been designed from the ground up to provide partners with a mobile-centric experience that, conceptually, replaces Google’s “page rank” with “call rank.”
At the same time, it will provide an offensive front against any search engine cannibalism of directory revenues by providing customized, premium directory and commerce solutions for every user. He notes that potential partners for CallSpark can share in new ad dollars, and include existing directories, carriers, and interestingly, private directory providers such as LinkedIn and Facebook.