"The services' national focus enables them to have an easier time of populating their ad inventory, using Pizza Hut and other national companies. Pierz notes that 1(800)San Diego has the best quality service in many regards, and attracts 650,000 users a month. But it has had trouble selling enough ads in the 16 communities it serves to break even.
Going forward, The Pierz Group suggests that the Free DA providers must focus on local sales channels if their ads are to be relevant to users, and if the services are ultimately to succeed."
Local is 'Critical' for Free DA(Directory Assistance)
I believe this is the issue for a number advertising services that have a great opportunity to provide value to the Local Merchants, if they don't develop an effective channel to 1, 2, 5M merchants they will be missing a big opportunity. We remain convinced that this channel has to be a new channel and will not be the yellow pages sales force. Check out the results Jingle is seeing in the space.
On another note, I spent some time with Auren Hoffman who is on our advisory board as he was at Spoke. He is always good for a few insights and a fun guy to spend time with. I think he really understand some of our novel approaches to bringing 1, 2 or 5M local merchants online so they can better capture the opportunity to leverage the Local internet for advertising. As we discussed the different ideas on how to help merchants better express themselves, I became more convinced that providing merchants even easier opportunities to share their views was important to the company.
Auren also had an opportunity to update me on Rapleaf. I think Auren is taking on an important enemy with Rapleaf, the evil minority who use the anonymity of the web to create havoc. His very simple reputation system will help things like Craigslist go even further by helping people have more comfort about the person they are dealing with. It is still early and there are lots of challenges but Auren is tackling an important problem with passion which is the most important step in building a great company, in my humble opinion