Founder and president George Ramos on how will this site be different from existing local search sites, how it was funded, and who he sees as potential partners…
Portada: How will Guías Local differ from existing local search companies?
Ramos: Currently there are no other bilingual Local search engines. There is a yellow page publisher, Seccion Amarilla, that targets Hispanic business however they are not a local search engine, just a yellow page company. Also I personally feel there is no comparison between these two web properties. It is like comparing an Atari to XBox 360. Guías Local is not only a better search it offers more Local cities and services to offer the consumer. More importantly, Guías Local will be a better and more affordable online property to advertise then its competitors. In this economy or in a Bull economy, I want to make sure everyone can afford to advertise on Guías Local.
Portada: When will the directory launch?
Ramos: In the next weeks we will set a definitive date which will be in Quarter One of 2009. At this time our Bilingual Local search engine is upon completion, we are now testing and placing our ad network. More importantly before we launch to the public, we are inviting the larger conglomerates and media to view the Guías Local search engine first.
Portada: Do you have any launch partners, major sponsors, etc?
Ramos: I personally made the decision in 2008 to avoid partners while creating and focusing on the architecture and coding of Guías Local. I believe launch partners and sponsors in the early stages can get in the way of creativity. Upon launch, new interested partners can have a better understanding of the Guías Local digital canvas.
Portada: A few differentiators to set Guías Local apart from any Local Engine:
A. Largest Bilingual Local search engine in the U.S. (goal is to be the largest in the World)
B. Over 175 major U.S. cities
C. Over 5.7 Million businesses
D. Video Business Listing
E. Primary language is Spanish
F. Secondary language is English
G. Ratings for all businesses in both Spanish and English
H. Next generation website and search technology
I. Generation Y market
J. Entertainment, News, Sports, Games, Ring Tones, Video, Reviews, Music and more are offered to each visitor
K. No competition in Hispanic local search arena
L. Univision, Telemundo, Terra, Batanga, Viacom, Cox, AOL Latino, City Search, Idearc, RH Donneley, Yellow Pages, FOX, Televisa – all do not have a Hispanic local search and could use a boost especially with the demand for Hispanic content.
Portada: Where did the funding come from to launch your service?
Ramos: I have been funding the project via boot strap personally. I did not want to wait for funding in early stages, especially in this economy. I feel quite confident once I launch and consumers experience Guías Local, funding will follow. I wanted to make an impact for Hispanics and I feel I confident I did a great job for all my Hispanic brothers and sisters.
Portada: Is there a general market search service to which it could be compared with?
Ramos: I created Guías Local to be different from all of the local searches on the market today. However a few examples of a general market search service would be Yahoo local, City Search, Local.com, AOL City Guide, and Local.com.
Portada: How much do you estimate the U.S Hispanic local search market to be worth?
Ramos: That is a great question. I would like to quote i Hispanics’ Nacho Hernandez from an article titled “Search Landscape: US Hispanics”: Issue July 10, 2006. In a speech he said “US Hispanic population growth; 44 million in 2004, 68 million was estimated in 2015.”
So lets take the number 68 million and use a modest number on what Hispanics spend online via computer, cell, gprs, online game consoles. So my answer would be –a U.S. Hispanic local search is a multi-billion dollar business.
Related Article: New Hispanic Local Search Player in Town YaSabe.com
As we grow and get funding, more cities will be developed, as well as increasing the audience we reach. Our target audience currently is Generation Y. At this time, no other local company except for Guías Local has taken the time to entertain this most important local market except for the social networks such as Facebook or Myspace. My hope is that the hundreds of millions who belong to Social networks, as they communicate about their life, will use our services to search for businesses and services. Since search is so vast, the Yellow Page companies can have the audience of an older, more mature audience who do not use the computer as often as Gen Y. I have personally witnessed when I throw out my garbage every morning, there are always Yellow Page books in the trash. It is a sign of the changing times from paper to digital.
On another note, Guías Local will compliment any large conglomerate, making it a property in demand. An example, a company such as Telemundo that offers news and entertainment content does not offer local search results to people searching via cellular phone or online. Guías Local, will assist all internet and mobile users in 2 languages, English and Spanish, to find a good place to eat, sleep, rest, book a hotel, etc. In regards to Local engines in the English language, there are too many and companies are getting lost in the mix. Consumers have had enough. Since I offer a bilingual Local search, I now have a great opportunity in uncharted waters.