Australian directory business Sensis has announced a joint venture agreement with Norwegian search technology company Fast Search & Transfer and Scandinavian media firm Schibsted to market Internet search and advertising capabilities throughout Europe.
Sensis used Fast’s search technology on its Australian search site sensis.com.au, which had over 1 million unique users in September (considering Australia only has a population of 20.5 million, this number is not bad at all). The joint venture will aim to sell its capabilities to directories and media company who want to create a search engine of their own which contains both proprietary local content and relevant web results. Sensis and Schibsted themselves are the joint venture’s first customers, with others in the pipeline. However, since the big boys of search, especially Google and Yahoo!, are also heavily investing in local search, the joint venture will most likely face stiff competition.
The new joint venture aims to employ 50 staff members by the end of the year, even though Sensis has announced that it will lay off up to 250 staff in Australia as part of a strategic realignment. The joint venture’s headquarters will be located in London.