Local ’07: Peter Horan, IAC

Peter Horan, IAC Media and Entertainment's new head from About.com and other companies, says he's a “guy who has to run Web sites for a living and sell stuff,” so he takes “a very pragmatic view. Visionaries and consultants aren't accountable for anything,” he says. “The litmus test for local is about being useful.”

For consumers, that means having a site that is “useful, interesting, actionable and accessible.” For merchants, that means having a site that is “easy, predictable, affordable and comfortable. We are in an age of intent-driven media,” says Horan. “Consumers are on a mission.”

Horan says he is especially focused on the economics of providing content. “A narrow subject that is utterly relevant to small audiences cannot be funded with 'editor-generated content' (a new term for me  I like it). Use blogs to get more specific.” He notes that About had 510 guides for that very purpose.

IAC recently purchased Insider Pages, which “is a viral business model married with a more traditional business model”  Citysearch. “City is more urban, more trendy,” says Horan. “Insider is a little more house and garden, more soccer mom. That's OK. People are shopping for authorities that sound and act like them. They want highly tailored communities. A flavor pill.”

Horan adds that IAC intends to be a player in local for a long time going forward. “We're going to continue to invest. We are going to keep working on building out really good products in the space. But they won't necessarily be thrown together. But all deals get in trouble when they are coming from the office of The Chairman (i.e., Barry Diller) rather than the consumer. The way to get synergies or get energy is on the platform. We have a good national ad team that will try to sell products down. We're at a size where we can have a large sales force.”

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