The local search business in India, by all means is still ‘lopsided with only few players able to make a mark, and monetize their service. Here is a roundup of what local search business players are upto.
Justdial – The site has moved to Alexa Rank 60(India) mostly owing to aggressive television advertising. The company is creating a lot of awareness amongst small business users about their services on web and voice. Not much is happening in terms of new strategies or features.
Asklaila– Asklaila by all means must be considered the leader in this segment. Given that it covers only 12 cities and already enjoys an Alexa rank of 200(India) should sound the alert bells for Justdial. They have started monetizing through lead generation in some categories and cities. The company has done well in tying up with portals like Reuters, MSN and ACK. Asklaila’s success on web lies mostly in its SEO efforts.
Yahoo Local- Currently covering 7 cities. They changed their interface claiming to use some vibrant colors and highlighting major categories but personally speaking the site looks sick and doesn’t entail any user engagement.
Metromela- Currently covering 11 cities. The interface is really well executed. The company also publishes a monthly magazine and is concentrating on discount coupon distribution. They have a permanent user reward program to get user reviews on local businesses which is really doing well.
Burrp!- Got acquired by Infomedia18 and CNBC is taking care of their promotion on TV, though not very aggressively. The site is now being offered at in.com’s my city section. The company is doing everything from publishing magazine to offering deals and coupons. They are probably not worried about any cash (web18 is launching it’s own local search portal, using Burrp).
Onyomo– One thing that sets Onyomo apart from the crowd is that this is the only non VC funded company covered here. The company has being doing some small promo campaigns once in a while but not very aggressively. They had launched an app on FaceBook which again isn’t doing well. In terms of technology and execution the company isn’t poor at all but when it comes to marketing they take back seat probably because of being low on cash. They have completed 4 year of existence and still managing to stay alive is really appreciable. The site’s movie search is undoubtedly the best amongst all players. The company is currently involved in developing a new product targeting international audience (can’t talk much about it now) so the local search has been side lined for the time being.
I am not covering Google, Guruji and Sulekha as their local search strategies are integrated within their overall offerings.
What’s your opinion on the local search market? Who are the winners in this space? How much of your local business search needs happens via web (as compared to phone?)
Disclaimer: I have been closely associated with Onyomo for the past 2 years.
Recent updates in local search market:
- Sequoia Capital Invests $8.2mn in JustDial
- Burrp Launches Small Business Service – Receive Business Page Statistics, Activity..and more
- askLaila introduces Chat bots for IM clients – Yahoo Messenger and GTalk
- Sulekha revamps it’s yellow page service– partners with Hungryzone, Burrp, Travelguru
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He writes at The Inspire Blog]