Yikes . . . Jingle Networks just raised a $30 million round from Goldman Sachs & Co. and Hearst Corp. The company has now raised a total of at least $60 million. What this says is a variety of paradoxical things about the service and the “space”:
- The company has a high “burn rate”
- Monetization via advertising isn’t anywhere it needs to be yet
- The model of free DA or an emerging speech-enabled mobile local search has great potential
Here’s my write-up of an informal test comparing Jingle vs. Google’s (unconfirmed) new speech-enabled mobile search service.
Unless they radically improve (see Cinglular-Tellme), traditional 411 services will disappear over time (the question is how long: 3 years, 5 years or 10 years?). But what precisely will take their place is not yet clear. It could be a broader, ad-supported version of directory assistance (DA), like Jingle, or it could be an entirely different version of mobile-local search (wireless web, SMS, or some hybrid with a voice interface).
Here’s a longish piece I wrote earlier in the year for Search Engine Watch about DA and mobile local search.