Local Search Partnerships of the Day

Today saw a few notable partnership announcements in the local search space. More specifically in local online classifieds and in mobile local search.

Tellme Expands Mobile Voice Platform

Tellme announced this morning that it will expand its mobile voice platform to allow mobile search application developers to build products that integrate voice and visual search. Voice recognition technology developers TuVox and Viecore were also named as partners that will work on such applications.

This has the potential to bring together the ease of speaking, and of seeing results on a screen. One of the challenges in mobile search is designing compelling products, given hardware restrictions such as small keypads. So the ability to speak search queries or business lookups can be a way to sidestep this challenge and raise adoption levels.

Conversely, when results are returned, sometimes its easier to see them on a mobile screen than it is to hear them - particularly if the information can be saved on the device (rather than written down) and in turn used to dial a business or interact in other interesting ways such as getting directions or coupons.

Forty million people use Tellme every month, including its voice portal and free (downloadable) beta product Tellme by Mobile. These are based on the VoiceXML 2.0 protocol that makes internet data available on mobile devices via voice applications. New "multimodal" capabilities should expand the company's overall user base, by opening the door for new partnerships to be formed and functionality to be built.

This should be a step toward bringing the company's voice search capabilities together with other mobile applications, as the enigmatic mobile local search area continues to see experimentation with new and interesting ways to appeal to consumers and build ad models.

AdStar Partners with Edgeio

Fresh off its partnership with Nokia last week, AdStar has partnered with classifieds aggregator Edgeio.

Edgieo will use AdStar's software to offer print advertising upsells (on behalf of newspapers) to its new classifieds listings boards marketplace, a free listings source. Basically, this becomes a channel for for newspapers to upsell print ads to anyone going to Edgio to post free listings.

As many newspaper continue to look for ways to monetize online classifieds, creating free classifieds destinations with print upsell possibilities is one way to go about it. AdStar has created another creative way that positions itself as a value-added channel for its newspaper clients to reach a larger audience of classifieds sellers. This strengthens AdStar's value proposition and its profile as a distribution source for print, online and (as of last week) mobile ads.

For Edgeio, this is an added service it can use to attract additional traffic and listings, as content aggregation is a cornerstone of its business. It gets its content from a combination of listings that people publish directly to its site; and aggregated listings scraped (by permission) from bloggers, individuals and website developers that have listings on their own sites. It currently has about 100 million listings from 162 countries.

Financial terms weren't disclosed but the AdStar integration is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter. More from the press release.