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.
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
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
- Justdial:Sequoia – the $8.2mn Deal
- Helion Ventures Invests in Getit Yellow Pages
- Yahoo India acquired 30% stake in CallEzee
- Navteq Launches India Map
- OnYoMo launched oSutra
And now, the beast, i.e. relative traffic of local search players
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?
– 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.