IAC’s Citysearch will keep its www.citysearch.com Web site and brand, and IAC’s local units will still be managed by the Citysearch team, but the local organization has been renamed “CityGrid Media.” IAC’s local units include Citysearch, the CityGrid ad network, Insider Pages, Urbanspoon and the company’s investments in MerchantCircle and Orange Soda.
The name change reflects the company’s switch in focus from its individual Web sites to an online media company, as well as its core focus on building CityGrid, a network for selling local advertisers around Citysearch content. In May, more than 50 percent of the company’s revenues were coming from the network, which has basically been in development for three years, says CEO Jay Herratti.
CityGrid has deals in place with companies representing 700,000 local advertisers, including top IYPs such as Yellowpages.com, SuperPages.com and Dex. It also reaches more than 140 million unique users across over 150 Web and mobile partners including Bing.com, MapQuest and AOL. Herratti says the network is “very near” to announcing some major new partnerships. It has been a challenge getting some of the companies to think about integration with CityGrid because they are so focused on growth, but “win win” deals are being made.
More broadly, Herratti notes that the company sees new opportunities that are very different from what Citysearch was looking at when it was founded in 1995. “We are building something of real scale, something that will be really meaningful to our company for the next 15 years,” he says.
Herratti notes that the various sites in the unit are at different stages of development. Urbanspoon, for instance, is a “living heart” as it builds its restaurant services. Insider Pages has done very well positioning for moms and a more mature audience. Citysearch itself may not be a newcomer “but it is very resilient, and relevant, with 20 [million to] 25 million unique visitors a month.”
There is “new stuff” coming up as well, developed by former IAC exec Kara Nortman, who recently became the unit’s head of publishing. “There is lots of money behind it,” says Herratti. “We never thought we’d just be one, two, three Web sites,” he says. “We are moving as fast as we can.”