Top o’ the News

There’s much more that I’ve been wanting to write about over the past couple of days but been too busy or tired to get to. Here’s a roundup of some interesting or noteworthy developments this morning:

Local.com gets an $8 million cash infusion from Hearst. This is a strategic investment for Hearst and a very helpful one for Local.com, which has been very fast growing but otherwise struggling to differentiate itself from the crowd of local sites. Now that the company has more capital, let’s see what it does.

On a related note, TechCruch is reporting that InsiderPages has been acquired by “a public company.” That doesn’t really help to determine who it is. Last week I asked the question, “Who is buying InsiderPages?”

In newspaper news, the NY Times adds user-generated content (wedding videos: “how we met”), no doubt the first “category” of a strategy that will expand (cautiously) over time. The WashingtonPost is expanding its blog advertising network (infrastructure provided by Adify) — this is a potential model for other newspapers.

Voice services and automated directory assistance enabler TellMe announced a new “voice & visual interface” for mobile devices. I haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s along the lines of TellMe by Mobile.

Speaking of mobile, I was on a panel yesterday morning about mobile search and content at the BofA Technology Conference. The panel, which was packed into an incredibly dense 45 minutes, featured me M:Metrics, Twistage and Motricity. Here’s moderator Brian Pitz’s quick summary of major points:

Key discussion points included: (1) the growing importance of local mobile search; (2) the different stages of advancement in the US vs. International; (3) the likely major catalysts for Mobile Internet adoption; and (4) the On-deck vs. Off-deck issue (essentially about how much control carriers have over the subscriber relationship). The overall tone of the panel discussion was cautiously optimistic, although we note that there were diverging opinions on when the inflection point for the Mobile Internet would hit.

I had to leave the conference (for Yahoo! Searchlight) before hearing Google’s head of sales Tim Armstrong, who spoke in the afternoon. Here’s a PaidContent summary of Armstrong’s remarks (here’s an audio webcast).

MerchantCircle is written up by BusinessWeek, with some additional color from Peter Krasilovsky (90K registered businesses). That’s impressive and I think they’re doing some interesting things but the business model is still generally missing.


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