Mon, 04/11/2011 – 03:51 byMarchex has acquired Jingle Networks, which operates the 800-Free-411 consumer service and a mobile ad network. The acquisition is valued at $62.5 million and is a mix of cash and stock. Jingle had previously raised roughly $70 million since it was founded in 2004 in multiple rounds from investors. The acquisition will boost the Marchex Call Advertising Network and (finally) provides Jingle with an exit. Jingle launched with terrific fanfare and seemed like a great option for mobile callers seeking to avoid growing 411 fees. However, the growth of smartphones has taken a toll (so to speak) on directory assistance call volumes and they continuing to erode albeit at a relatively stable pace. Compared to traditional carriers, Jingle had a more interesting and diversified model than traditional 411. (Google shuttered its Jingle competitor, 800-GOOG-411 last year.) The best of the free 411 services was Microsoft’s, Bing-411, which continues to operate. Marchex says that the addition of Jingle’s calls and mobile network to its own will deliver “annualized reach of more than 500 million phone calls across digital media.” The company says that Jingle’s revenues will be $26 million in 2011. Call-based advertising will now constitute “75% of [Marchex’s] revenues on an annualized basis by the end of 2011.” Marchex says that the overall market for calls is worth $179 billion annually and includes both online and offline media. These are ads “intended to generate calls.” The company also says that some of the campaigns on its call network generate 10X response and conversions from consumers vs. clicks.
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