Deals and new company sightings

Playing catch-up over the last week or so… will update this post a couple of times…

socalTECH is reporting that Experian has acquired for a very impressive $330MM + $50MM earn-out. LowerMyBills will be part of Experian Consumer Direct, which also includes MetaReward and Affiliate Fuel. It’ll be interesting to see how many more companies originally built through search arbitrage will strike it big; is the one that most folks see looking for an exit (IPO or otherwise).

Jeff Clavier calls’s numbers stunning, and he’s not talking about either the $12MM investment, or the projected $40-$60MM valuation. Rather, the off the chart usage metrics he compiled from a chat with TFB’s VP of Corp Dev.

Back on the pay-per-call scene, socalTECH is also reporting that newly formed Jambo (includes former NetZero co-founder Ronald Burr, former Callsource co-founder John Melideo, and former Overture CFO Todd Tapin) will be pursuing the already super-crowded intersection of Local Search and pay-per-call. Other former Overture folks (broadly) noodling around this market include Paul Ryan via PerformLocal, and Warren Kay at Jim Barnett, former AltaVista CEO (acquired by Overture) is also rumored to be building a new advertising play up in SF, though it’s not clear that it’s focused on Local/SMEs.

SiliconBeat announces the launch of GoogSpy, a site that allows you to research the terms [keywords] that your rivals are bidding on. It’s news because it’s Google I suppose, but EpicSky has been offering something similar (for Overture) for a couple of years now.

SiliconBeat also notes the launch of NiftyGuy, yet another local referral/search/directory site (egads). Sounding much like Craig Newmark, founder Dominic Ang is quoted as saying, “We really see this not so much as a business but as a community service. We’ll let the community take it where they want.”

In dueling reseller deals, Kelsey Group covers Google UK’s follow-up deal (the first being Yell) with Thomas Directories to resell Google ad solutions, vs., Yahoo Local’s (U.S.) signing of Dex Media for similar duty. Crack addiction is a terrible thing… now that major YP’s are hooked, it’s not clear they’ll ever be sober enough to see past the short term gains. Time will tell if this was a wise partnership strategy.

Turning from YPs to Newspapers, Kelsey’s Greg Sterling also notes the official launch of “hyper-local” player BackFence‘s rollout in its original seed markets. Lots of questions around this still, but if you’re into social media and/or citizen journalism, you’ll want to watch these guys closely.

That’s enough for now… and hopefully some of it is actually ‘news’ to you at this late date.

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