Infomedia18, the print and publishing subsidiary of TV18, has at long last launched its local search service at Askme.in, though it is still in beta.

The site claims it has 3 million businesses listed already under categories: textiles, financial services, health, chemicals, freight and transport, retail stores, telecom products and services, minerals, coaching institutes, electrical and electronic components, hardware goods, real estate, printing, advertising & public relations, household appliances, consultants, food and beverage etc.

Infomedia18 also has various publications such as Overdrive, Chip, T3 and Better Interiors. It suffered a net loss of Rs. 128.8 million in the December 2009 quarter and is raising Rs. 999 million.

Local Search, Click To Call, Nothing New


Askme.in currently covers 74 cities in India – Justdial does 240, Sulekha is at 50. It has an elementary search bar for users to zero in on what they are looking for, with “what” and “where”  options. However, before you start searching, remember to choose their city with the drop down tab next to the Infomedia Yellow pages logo, located above the search bar. Sulekha’s pop up right in the beginning to determine location of the user is a better approach as it is more visible to the user.

As we had noted earlier on MediaNama, Askme.in offers click to call facility within the results. It also allows you to send the result to your phone as an SMS, and a map for users to locate the service – both useful feature that Sulekha and Justdial already offer. So Askme.in has been a disappointment – it is no more than a colourful Yellow Pages with a few extra features. No incentives are offered, no local news or events displayed. It does not offer a voice based service like Justdial’s 69999999.

Biz Owners

Askme.in baits business owners by inviting them to claim their service as their own on the site through a free, 3 step registration process. Owners can upload photos or videos to the online listing.

Yellowpages

The site is being branded as an online local directory and businesses co-listed on Yellowpages.co.in are included in results. Askme.in is powered by Infomedia’s classifieds website YellowPages.co.in and Burrp.com, another Infomedia product that focuses on hotel reviews and food outlets. Burrp was acquired for Rs. 4.25 crore by the company in March 2009. If Askme.in is dependent on these two teams, one wonders if there was really a necessity of launching it in the first place – would it have made more sense to rebrand and re-design YellowPages.co.in instead?

Askme.in will need to come up with some drastically new element to compete with Justdial.com, Sulekha, AskLaila, Google, GETIT Yellow Pages, Yahoo funded Call Ezee, and several others in this space.

Related

Infomedia18 Loss At Rs 128.8M; To Raise Rs. 999.2M

Infomedia18s Local Search AskMe.in To Offer Click To Call

Sulekha Asks Users To Pay a Tip; IPO May Not Happen; Consolidation On The Cards