Infospace Gets Ready to Launch Mobile Search Client

The Seattle Times article: Cellphones emerge as local-search tool, reports on some new mobile search/local search client software that InfoSpace (there’s a company we haven’t blogged much about recently) and Action Engine will launch in October.

The new product require users to download client software onto their cell phones and then pay for access to the database How much InfoSpace will charge and which wireless carriers will offer access, is unknown.

InfoSpace hopes for a model in which merchants will pay when a user clicks on information about that merchant, said Joe Herzog, InfoSpace’s director of emerging products.

The article goes on to say:

Herzog said that InfoSpace will not support a model in which advertisers pay to be at the top of the list ? a common practice in PC searches ? because consumers would find that irritating, especially since such listings could clutter the mobile phone’s small screen.

Huh? I’m unaware of any major web engine where the advertiser can pay for placement at the top of the organic results. Perhaps the writer should have done a bit more research.

As many of you know I’m the mobile search guy around the SEW Blog and as soon as I can get my hands on the software I’ll give it a test and report back. I’m not saying it can’t be done but getting the typical cell phone user to first download and then pay for software to access local listings, etc. is going to be an uphill battle for InfoSpace especially when many other companies offer similar services for free via WAP and SMS. More in this news release.

Postscript: If you have a Treo SmartPhone and some models of phones from Kyocera and Samsung, I’ve found Rick Whitt’s Directory Assistant 3.2x client worthy of attention and use. Local listings from, maps from MapQuest, and more. Directory Assistant 3.2x is donationware.

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