MySpace and Citysearch today confirmed the launch of MySpace Local, a new local city guide using functionality and feeds from Citysearch, including its taxonomy of categorization, geography structure, search functionality and content. A beta version of the site launches this week, with a general U.S. launch next month. It will be available on the Web and on MySpace mobile products.
The two companies will share ad revenues, but Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti says this deal is more important than that. “We are going to live wherever consumers want to be,” he told us. “The strategy is to make Citysearch an open platform.”
Herratti notes with pride that MySpace Local was “created almost overnight. … It is a complete city guide that rivals Citysearch” in quality. But he insists that MySpace Local won’t be cannibalizing Citysearch’s audience.
There is no cannibalism “whatsoever,” says Herratti. “Users come to the sites with different mind-sets.” While Citysearch and Insider Pages claim 30 million unique visitors a month between them, and MySpace has “millions and millions of users,” Citysearch’s audience comes to the site with “specific local intent.” MySpace’s users, on the other hand, are more likely to use the site for discovery.
While MySpace is using many of Citysearch’s features, it won’t be relying on Citysearch’s reviews. MySpace has its own reviews and review functionality, says Herratti. But at some point, Citysearch might bring in those reviews with MySpace’s brand on them.
As for advertisers, Citysearch’s sales department is managing MySpace Local as a special program. “The offering is free [to businesses], but there will be two layers of premium services available,” notes Herratti.
“The first layer is an offering that will add special features on the page, and increase connections to consumers with merchant video” and other services. The second layer is to extend reach within and beyond MySpace. “We are giving merchants exposure across MySpace and across the Web,” he says.
For Citysearch, which recently announced its open platform program as part of its five-year “Citysearch 3G” initiative, the signing of MySpace is something of a coup. While Citysearch already works with Facebook Connect, where users can enhance their Citysearch experience among their Facebook friends, the MySpace deal goes further by bringing content directly onto MySpace for everyone to see and use.
For MySpace, the launch of MySpace Local may be seen as the third leg of an effort to reach out to local advertisers. In October, it launched MyAds, a self-serve SMB ad platform for SMBs, and it has also signed up to take part in Oodle‘s classified platform.
The companies are both based in Los Angeles and MySpace President of Sales and Advertising Jeff Berman and Herratti both keynoted at Kelsey’s Marketplaces 2009 conference two weeks ago.