Getit Yellow PagesDelhi based classifieds business GETIT Infoservices has received Rs. 20 Crores (around $4 million) from Helion Ventures. Getit produces yellow pages (Getit Yellow Pages) and directories (Bizlist), and has also expanded its operations to include Voice (24 hour teleservice at 4444-4444), a website, WAP site and SMS service (5676722). I quite liked their search offering, which allows users to refine their search results using categories. The Map feature, powered by MapMyIndia is grossly inaccurate…Connought Place in Chennai:

Connought Place In Chennai? 

The company, which was started in 1986, claims to have over 5 million businesses listed, 20 million users and over 75,000 advertisements . Their telephone directories and Yellow Pages are distributed in over 35 cities, and they publish over 3.5 million directory copies. Rahul Chandra, Director at Helion Advisors, has joined the companys board. [via release]

Update: According to Mint, the company had spent Rs. 10-15 crores on the search engine in 2007, and had revenues of around Rs. 70 crores, almost all of which (95%) was from print. Back in 2002, the company was reported to have revenues of Rs. 60 crores…not much growth for them, despite the boom of 2005-2008.

The Key To The Classifieds Space

Original, credible and fresh content is what differentiates one classifieds listing provider in this space from the other. There are few with original directories, and many websites which license and aggregate this content from the directory services. For example, Guruji’s local search aggregates classifieds from Infomedia.

These are essentially lead generation businesses, wherein customers pay according to clicks. In this context, I wonder if Getit also competes with the likes of IndiaMart, which raised a significant amount of investment from Intel Capital recently. Indiamart, though, operates in the B2B space, while Getit has both B2B and B2C segments.

Will Lead Generation Businesses Really Flourish In A Downturn?

With a downturn upon us, I wonder if such lead generation based businesses will actually benefit, or decline. The pitch that lead generation businesses make is that the pay for performance business grows in such an The customers they target are esssentially small businesses which don’t have many spaces to advertise in, and their advertisements are essentially lead based. So there are two conflicting developments – the propensity to advertise among the existing lead generation businesses will decline. Also, businesses that weren’t using lead generation earlier will switch to that model. Which do you think will prevail?

Why Invest In Getit?

It’s only worth investing in Getit if they have original business listings and directory information, and plans for expanding their base. We wouldn’t be surprised if a large chunk of this investment is actually used for marketing and promotion of the service – they may have the content, but they’ll have to differentiate themselves in a space which is fairly crowded:

JustDial, which also has services on web, mobile, SMS and most importantly – voice. 

— Infomedia18: has a tie-up with Alibaba, and a classifieds business with yellow pages and websites. But usage and traction? 

— INMC or Call Ezee, which Yahoo picked up 30% stake in. The company has a call center operation, and will probably provide information to Yahoo Local.

— Google: has launched Google Local, with information from multiple sources, as well as local business listings of their own. The service can be integrated with Google Maps, particularly on the Mobile. Google has also set up Call center operations have also been set up.

— Four Interactive, which owns the classifieds brand AskLaila. The company has, so far, raised $12 million: they raised $10 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, SVB India Capital Partners and Matrix Partners India in the second round, and $2 million from Matrix Partners in the first.