New Services Directory: GenieTown

I’m not posting much ’cause I’m buried in work and sick to boot. But I noticed on TechCrunch that a new “services directory” GenieTown had launched. This is a lead-gen site like ServiceMagic, Respond.com or the recently launched Matchpoint.

Genietown

I’ll make my “generic” statement again: If they have patient investors, can be self-supporting, get incredibly lucky or otherwise have a relatively long time horizon they could succeed. But otherwise this is DOA.

In most circumstances, the more crowded a market the more the incumbents/brands will win. There’s little here at first blush to differentiate it from scores of others doing versions of the same thing.

4 Responses to “New Services Directory: GenieTown”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Greg: I agree with you. Tapping the local market requires patience. Genie is trying to build a community and i think that’s a great idea… at the end of the day, the local businesses will win, but the consumers also benefit from it as well because they get better services.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Many other local sites have community too. Think Yelp. The challenge for SMBs is where to put their time and money. It’s very confusing and only getting more so with more sites that offer to do similar things.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Greg: Community is essential to building a great local web site so i think Genie may have something going for them. Yelp has done a great job in building a community, but they have weaknesses as well. The challenge is that VCs are looking for 5x to 10x return on their investments, and they’re not going to get that in a short time… so i think the Genie management team will feel the pressures overtime. SMBs now have more choices for Internet marketing, and choices are good, aren’t they?

    Greg, thanks for all of the insightful posts. 🙂

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    No dispute re the value or importance of community. But Genie is not the only one to do that. Yelp is not the perfect site; it’s just one example of a site with community. My point being that the community approach isn’t novel.

    Genie like others in the segment has the same “chicken and egg” problem: have to get the consumers before they get the advertisers. Except that one needs advertisers for revenue to keep the site afloat.

    My guess is that the people who gave the $2 million thought that they were funding something novel and not prepared for the long haul. Depending on what the burn rate here is, $2 million may last 12-18 mos. If they don’t have major traction in that time you’ll see an effort to sell.

    But it could take a site like this 7 years to really build critical mass and value, but that time horizon is typically too long for most investors.

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