Marketplaces 2010: Citysearch Goes Off the Grid

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Citsearch CEO Jay Herratti, speaking at BIA/Kelsey’s Marketplaces conference, debuted the company’s new thinking and approach to how best to address the local online market. Herratti explains, “It has been increasingly difficult to reach consumers and advertisers at scale. This is the toughest challenge because there is increased competition from a variety of local search players, vertical online sites and even mobile players.” Google’s seven pack has pushed organic results below the fold as Google is dominating the local traffic on the SERPs making it difficult for other players to compete effectively. The seven pack also now links to Google’s own profile pages, which are filled out by local business owners.

CityGrid is Citysearch’s answer to taking more control of the local online space for the benefit of its partners. Citysearch’s goal is to transition from a Web site to a local online media company with a content ad platform. CityGrid offers local businesses unprecedented reach across CityGrid’s network of 100-plus Web and mobile partners, complete with search engine optimization and marketing. CityGrid Complete was created through a strategic partnership and investment in OrangeSoda and other partnerships to create a comprehensive network of high-traffic sites. CityGrid aggregates uniform profile pages across its entire network. Citygrid’s standard profile page approach helps publishers know how to drive more content, which helps bring more organic traffic.

CityGrid Complete is the online advertising solution that gives local businesses the ability to reach millions of consumers monthly by building customizable content ads that are distributed across the Web. In addition to content ads, CityGrid Complete includes SEO services designed to drive consumers from all the major search engines directly to their own Web sites. CityGrid Complete customers also receive access to an integrated Web-based dashboard allowing advertisers to actively monitor and manage their campaigns, ensuring they receive the highest quality leads for their advertising budgets.

“Whether it’s driving new customers to our advertisers from major search sites or mobile applications, CityGrid Complete is about delivering local businesses the highest quality leads for the best value,” said Herratti, “giving advertisers and publishers access to a one-stop local advertising solution with SEO strategies and tactics that historically required a large dedicated team of experts.”

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Frank

    Our site has integrated with CityGrid to serve content. We love the content were able to provide with CityGrid. That said, the overall service does not seem very well managed. The developer forum hasn’t had a post in 4 weeks and the last post we made has been held in moderation for 3 weeks. I understand that it is still in Beta but so far I see a lot of potential but the execution seems a bit off for such a high visibility product.

  2. Dave Richards

    Is this a press release for iac? Come-on team Kelsey. At least ask some questions to force some real answers. Exactly how is citygrid delivering any better quality leads than other channels?

  3. Michael Taylor

    Dave thanks for your comment. We certainly are interested in how CityGrid will perform versus other lead channels, but it is still early days with not much traction or data yet in the marketplace. What we can say is that CityGrid is well positioned with the considerable resources IAC is investing, and in the quality of the network they have assembled thus far.

    What ad networks have tended to ignore in the past has been a focus on building deep vertical channels rather than simply agregating a wide swath of sites based on traffic. If CityGrid can build a network that has specific content channels such as real estate, services, entertainment, weddings, etc. then it would be successful in developing an effective lead generation product because it would have very focused traffic with a greater potential of delviering high quality leads rather than just page views. Whether CityGrid can pull this off with their new strategy is yet to be seen. We certainly will be keeping our eyes on the development of CityGrid and will blog about our findings.

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