Local.com (NASDAQ: LOCM) announced today the issuance of a patented technology for paid search results provided in response to a request for directory assistance. The company hopes to tap into mobile and voice application paid search market using a pay per referral model. Local.com says this complements its recently received location based search technology.
Details, and a bit of commentary, after the jump…
Directory assistance has grown into a business model unto itself. Business models, via business method patents, can be patented. Local.com has patented providing “enhanced directory assistance” via a mobile network, filing date back to July, 2002.
Of note, automated voice messaging systems are considered part of the technology. Microsoft’s TellMe and Google’s Goog-411 could be seen as targets of the press release as Local.com notes its interest in licensing the technology.
For the details, the one and only claim granted is:
1. A method of sharing directory listings via a wireless messaging system in a distributed environment using a computer network comprising:
(a) Maintaining a database including a plurality of directory listings, wherein each listing is associated with a referral phone number, at least one search term and a dynamic, controllable index;
(b) Receiving a directory assistance request in the form of a keyword from the customer;
(c) Identifying the directory listings having keyword terms generating a match with the request;
(d) Ordering the identified directory listings into a phone number result list in accordance with the values of some controllable index for the identified directory listings;
(e) Translating phone number result list into a format that is compatible with a wireless messaging standard;
(f) Transmitting the translated result list through a wireless messaging system back to the requesting customer’s wireless messaging device;
(g) Enabling the receiving message device to automatically callback the directory listing provider requesting a telephone referral;
(i) Receiving the message phone callback and authenticating the caller;
(j) Correlating the callback to a previous request and result set;
(k) Transferring the callback phone call to the corresponding telephone referral number;
(l) Initiating a business transaction to generate billing and revenue transactions for the paid referral.
Will directory assisted ad-sponsored search pay off the same way Google’s ad network has?