Canpages Makes Progress on Several Fronts

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The folks at Canpages have been very busy lately. In addition to producing competitive print and online directories throughout Canada (where they go head to head with the formidable Yellow Pages Group), the Canadian independent directory publisher operates Immersifind, an IYP/local search platform that is built off Canpages.ca, which in turn was based on the Yellow.ca site that Canpages acquired back in 2006.

Canpages is promoting Immersifind’s ability to get independent publishers up and running quickly on an advanced IYP platform that includes a sophisticated search tool,  Web 2.0 content features such as photos and online video, and communications features like text-messaging, e-mail forwarding and a Facebook widget that promote the sharing of search results.

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Rather quietly, Immersifind has amassed an impressive list of customers, largely in the U.S. independent space, where competition among IYP/local search platform providers can be fierce. Companies on Immersifind’s client roster include Ambassador Media Group, Direct West (Canada), Gold Directories, Home Pages, Phone Directories Corp. and Pinnacle Publishing, and most recently Infopaginas, a private-equity-backed start-up directory publisher in Puerto Rico. The company has extended its reach as far as Australia (Oz Pages) and is reportedly in talks with other publishers outside North America.

The Canpages online directory brand was recently named the fastest-growing Web property in Canada by comScore Media. the report noted that Canpages.ca grew from 142,000 visitors in December 2007 to 2.4 million in December 2008.

The company also generated a lot of media attention up in Canada last month when it introduced a street-view product in Vancouver. The product also generates some backlash from privacy advocates, and Canpages beefed up its privacy policy in response. Street view would appear to be a net plus for Canpages despite the privacy complaints, given the attention the product has generated. Plus, it helps build an image as being at the leading edge of local search technology in Canada. Canpages has also launched a voice-enabled iPhone application.

On the print directories front, Canpages is expanding via acquisition, with the recent purchase of five EZ Finder directories from Direct West, which is the incumbent publisher in the province of Saskatchewan.

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