Local content aggregator and affiliate network AreaGuides.net has been acquired by Denver-based Local Matters. This is the first consumer-facing property in the Local Matters portfolio, and CEO Perry Evans expects to substantially enhance the interface and user experience of the site over time.
Evans also sees AreaGuides as an alternative way to deliver high-quality traffic to Local Matters' directory publisher partners in lieu of SEM or SEO efforts. He described it to me as a way to capture local shopping behavior that exists outside the directory context and to expose that audience to directory content.
The site, though substantially under the radar for most people, has considerable traffic and offers quite a bit more than directory content. It will be interesting to see how the site grows and changes. Evans has lots of ideas on what the optimal local search user experience is, and this gives him a chance to showcase those ideas in an unmediated way.
Evans will be discussing that subject at ILM:05 on a panel called "Building the Ideal Local Destination." Also on that panel will be:
- Marc Canon — VP, Technology Strategy, AOL
- John DeVitis — Product Unit Manager, MSN Search
- Barnaby Dorfman — VP of A9
- Ryan Massie — Product Manager, Local Search, Ask.com
- Neg Norton — President, Yellow Pages Association
It should be interesting.