India’s Local Search Market in 2009 – Milestones/Failures & The Road Ahead

The local search market in India received a boost in 2007 with infusion of funds in companies like askLaila and ofcourse, entry of big players just reinforced the (possibility of) big money in the local search space.2009 in review

What really happened in 2009, is what I’d call reality check for the industry, players and ofcourse the investment that has gone in this industry.

2009 Highlights | Local Search Market

Burrp Acquisition by Infomedia

This was bound to happen – industry insiders were aware of the cozy relationship between the two companies. Infomedia18 not just acquired Burrp, but also acquired the brand name.

Burrp, post-acquisition has repositioned itself as a local search service and recently launched virtual tours for businesses, making it an attractive destination for premium businesses to invest their digital media spend.

Voice (Recognition) Anyone?

Google launched it’s voice recognition service earlier and needless to say, it is a failed initiative. askLaila, took a leaf out out of Google’s initiative and recently launched its voice service (human powered, i.e. call center) in order to kick-off the monetization (which will be accomplished via lead generation).

Voice recognition is still an unchartered territory and while local search players explored this space, nothing substantial has come out in 2009 (thanks to all the different accents that Indians have).

Funding/Investment/New Launches in Local Search Space

And now, the beast, i.e. relative traffic of local search players

”]Local Search Traffic in India [2009 Statistics]Justdial maintains it’s lead, and while asklaila is following (undoubtedly doing a lot better than yahoo and other services), the key for them is figuring out monetization part.

The Road Ahead

Unlike web business, local search is not an eye-ball business. Data matters, but monetizability of that data is key and that’s where you will see some action in the coming days.

Expect more funding in this space – more within the current players. And ofcourse, voice recognition needs to be cracked (startups?)

What’s your opinion on the local search space in India?

Note

Comscore data in India is good for relative ranking (they do not track cybercafe data)

– We haven’t covered Google, Guruji and Sulekha in this roundup, as their local search strategies are integrated within their overall offerings.

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