I had a quick call with CEO and Co-Founder of TrustedPlaces Sokratis Papafloratos about his role in the LocalPeople deal. TrustedPlaces is providing the business directory and self-service advertising capability to LocalPeople.
He told me the partnership was a significant milestone for the company and that it provided a big financial boost and new stability so that TrustedPlaces could focus more on product development and technology rather than ad sales.
The company had been trying to sell ads to local businesses without a formal sales force. It has been also relying on AdSense. By contrast the Daily Mail has a huge local sales force to sell ads to local businesses and can distribute those ads through its network of sites and now on LocalPeople. While Yell has had many challengers on the consumer side, the sales force behind LocalPeople may emerge as the first viable competitor on the ad sales side.
Papafloratos said that this partnership model would be one that TrustedPlaces would pursue with others potentially. However he also said that the TrustedPlaces site would continue to exist. He told me that Yelp, Qype and TrustedPlaces were engaged in a kind of three-way race in their category. Of course he cited Google, Yell and various newspaper publishers as also significant competitors in the broader local segment.