Drinks with Eurekster, Lunch with Jingle

Last Friday afternoon I met with social search pioneer Eurekster’s CEO Steven Marder. I also had a beer. We went “on the record” and “off the record” so many times that, together with the beer, I have no idea what I can and cannot write about. But I will do a longer post after I check back in with the company. Eurekster offers enterprise search with a behavioral twist and Swickis, which is a fascinating product with lots of organic traction in the market.

See NetNoir, Read/Write Web and TechCrunch (scroll, right column) for example implementations. Here are some more.

Yesterday I had lunch with Jingle Networks’ (1800 Free411) CEO George Garrick and SVP Lyn Chitow Oakes. They told me they’re now handling roughly 600,000 calls a day. In advance of their January introduction of category search, they also shared some interesting consumer data (apparently consumers don’t mind the “switch pitches”) and details of their now six different types of advertising.

I’ll do a longer post once I get their data.

When I was at The Kelsey Group I was told that “operated assisted yellow pages” don’t work and, by implication, neither would this. While Infreeda flamed out (because their costs were too high), Jingle has broken through. Jingle’s Garrick said that the reason operator assisted yellow pages never worked is the cost of fielding the calls was too high. Automation has brought costs down dramatically.

The entry of AT&T (1800 Yellow Pages) and Verizon into the “free DA” arena means that this model is here to stay. (Opus Research has an interesting advisory on the new AT&T 1800 yellow pages, available only to their clients unfortunately.) One of the things that it says is the following (from an email exchange between AT&T and Opus’ Dan Miller):

Miller: “Am I correct in assuming that the Yellow Pages sales force is responsible for selling advertising on the new service?”

AT&T statement: “No. We’ll be evaluating all processes involved with this offer during the initial trial period –including sales channels. Currently, this service is offered through AT&T Operator Services. Obviously, it certainly compliments our current offering of premier caller-paid directory assistance, print Yellow Pages, and YELLOWPAGES.COM.”

I would expect AT&T to leverage the yellow pages sales force regardless. If they didn’t it would be crazy.

Though unconfirmed by the company Google is also reportedly testing a free DA service also (1877 520 Find). The model for all these services is PPCall.

The greatest single challenge in the space is ad coverage, but Jingle’s Garrick told me that they’re selling through a range of channels including agencies, resellers and partners, a direct sales channel and, soon, the Internet.

DA isn’t sexy but “mobile local search” is. Given the crazy quilt of mobile devices out there, the generally poor user experience and the consumer objections to high data plan costs, free DA may be the everyperson’s mobile search for the foreseeable future.


3 Responses to “Drinks with Eurekster, Lunch with Jingle”

  1. John Kelsey Says:


    Assuming your reference is to the analysts at The Kelsey Group, this isn’t quite fair:
    “When I was at The Kelsey Group I was told that “operated assisted yellow pages” don’t work and, by implication, neither would this.”

    I have repeatedly said that in the United States, no one has YET developed a successful business model for OAYP that was profitable in Years three and four. In 1986, the Kelsey Group got its start studying the nearly 100 companies including giants (Donnelley, Sprint, Cox, Bell South) as well as the start ups who have failed since the first service was intoduced in 1981. Importantly, OAYP does work in some markets outside of the US where DA is poor and it is positioned as B to B.

    Because of our years of experiece, we would love to see Free DA (not the same as OAYP) work, and we are rooting for several companies in the US who have gotten their costs down through automation and the opportunities available through wireless. However, we are waiting for the company that proves they can make money in years 3 and 4.

  2. InFreeDa the Basis of 1800 Yellow Pages? « Screenwerk Says:

    […] I’ll have more to say about Jingle a little later. Here’s my most recent post on the company. […]

  3. marksap Says:

    My bet is that 1-800-Free411 (Jingle) is the only one that’s likely to attain real popular use and profitability each year. My instinctive reaction is that they’ve got the best name of all of them — natural, easy to remember, and to the point. Aside from naming, though, I’d go with them because I’ve tried a few and theirs is the best service, with a focus on short ads that are relevant to the product being searched.

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