Tag Archives: Citysearch

Groupon, Live Nation Team up for ‘The Live Email’

Groupon has moved closer to CEO Andrew Mason’s vision of being a “city guide” via “GrouponLive,” a new events source featuring various Live Nation events. “The Live email”, featuring last minute discounts, is being sent out to Ticketmaster’s regular opt-in list. It is also available to users who go to the site. Live Nation says GrouponLive will be a “local resource for Live Nation events, ranging from concerts, sports, theater, arts and other live events.”

Synergies between city guides and events companies have been tried before. Citysearch and TicketMaster had been tied together several years ago under IAC, which had merged the two companies. TicketMaster sought to send event-goers to nearby restaurants, bars, etc.

The new Groupon Live partnership could generate more traffic, building a better advertising base – Ticketmaster’s own email already sells advertising. It could also take advantage of Groupon’s transactional capabilities, moving Groupon more squarely against social event transactions companies such as Eventbrite.

Looking further out, it could also move Groupon into more of an events-listing direction, competing against companies such as Eventful, Zvents and others. For now, however, it only promises to showcase Live Nation events.

‘Deals by Citysearch’ Launches

Citysearch is getting into the deals space, offering a mix of curated daily deals, coupons and other offers from providers such as Groupon, The Deal Map, Restaurant.com as well as from its own base of thousands of advertisers. CityGrid advertisers may also participate.

The service, similar to The Deal Map and 8Coupons, is mobile-oriented. It is launching with iPhone and Android versions. It will also be available on the Web, leveraging Citysearch’s 15 million monthly unique visitors.

“Deals by Citysearch” de-emphasizes the Citysearch brand, which is in small type. The idea is to avoid confusion with the core brand and its city guide and review offerings, says JP Bedoya, Senior Director, Product, Citysearch. He notes that the service has been in development for several months,and is built on top of the CityGrid API, which is soon receiving a major upgrade.

Users can personalize the menu for up to 15 favorite categories, and also set deals by proximity. Deals can be printed from the Web site, shown to merchants on phones, or printed out from iPhones using AirPrint – something that Bedoya says is much improved in its upcoming release.

Deals and offers from other providers are initially emphasized, with Citysearch receiving a piece of a piece of any action. But Bedoya anticipates that Citysearch will do very well when it begins to add offers to its ad offerings. Home grown advertisers can simply add the deals and offers to other advertising that they typically buy from the company on a flat fee, cost per click basis. “We are making it very simple, “ says Bedoya. He emphasizes that the company is putting deal quality above immediate revenue concerns.

CItysearch’s JP Bedoya is being featured on the SuperForum on Deals and Offers at ILM East, which takes place in Boston March 21-23.

IAC’s ‘Citysearch LLC’ now ‘CityGrid Media’

IAC’s Citysearch will keep its www.citysearch.com website 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, InsiderPages, UrbanSpoon and the company’s investments in MerchantCircle and Orange Soda.

The name change reflects the company’s switch in focus from its individual websites to an online media company; as well as the company’s core focus on building CityGrid, a network for selling local advertisers around Citysearch content. In May, more than 50 percent of the company’s revenue was 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 140M + unique users across more than 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 than 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. InsiderPages 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 20-25 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 websites,” he says. “We are moving as fast as we can.”

InsiderPages Launches Doctor Finder

If you do a search on a doctor, you may come up with five or six spammy, ad-supported links. But now InsiderPages, a property of IAC’s Citysearch, has launched DoctorFinder, a new service that hopes to simplify the complex task of finding good medical recommendations. Revenue-wise, the service is hoping to get the high CPMs associated with medical search, which can be in “double digits” for general practitioners and as high as $80 to $100 for specialists such as Chiropractors.

The new focus on medical follows similar efforts by Angie’s List, which launched medical provider ratings last year for its paid members.

General Manager Eric Peacock tells us that most review sites have focused on restaurant reviews and beauty salons “but it is hard to pick a doctor. We’ve been coming up short.” He says that the joke at his company is that “most people spend more time picking out a flatscreen TV than picking a doctor.”

Medical information is especially well suited for InsiderPages user demographics, which lean towards “middle aged mothers who may be looking for a pediatrician that takes Blue Cross and is located two miles from their house,” says Peacock.

Insider’s efforts will collect three pieces of information: types of insurance accepted, practitioner credentials, and patient reviews. The reviews are based on a 10 question survey that asks key questions such as “does the doctor spend appropriate time with you? Does he listen to your questions?”

Peacock notes that Angie’s List also has a survey, but it is “really, really long,” he says. Angie’s List also is more of a metropolitan area provider, while InsiderPages is more urban, he adds.

The Insider surveys are being conducted in partnership with HealthGrades, which already has a 1.2 million review database, and information on 800,000 U.S. doctors. Peacock notes that HealthGrades is not directly competitive with InsiderPages because its primary business is providing data to hospitals and other medical businesses.

Competitive is information provided by the key insurance companies may prove to be more competitive. Anthem, for instance, partners with Zagat for its online review database. Blue Cross, Aetna, Kaiser and Cygna also have major online efforts.

Citysearch iPad ‘Magazine’ Debuts Fling Away Coupons

Citysearch has debuted “cityseries,” a new digital “best of” magazine for the iPad that allows users in key cities to quickly find “best” bars, shopping, spas, breakfast and other top categories.

The attractive online magazine, which will be promoted on other iPad sites, relies on Citysearch’s editorial staff and combines reviews with business profile information. Initial monthly editions have been launched in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Washington D.C. and Seattle.

What’s especially unique is that Citysearch combs its coupons database and presents “popover” coupons that appear when the iPad is held horizontally, below the text. Users can either save the coupons to their photo albums or fling away the coupons with their fingers — iPad/iPhone/iTouch style — before continuing. Currently, there are five on a page. There are no additional charges to advertisers for inclusion.

It isn’t really clear what users will do if they save the coupons. Show it to the merchant? Confirm discounts via word of mouth? Email it to themselves and print it out? But they do represent a unique touch screen advertising option we hadn’t seen before.

Note: This post has been updated to reflect Citysearch’s fix of the coupons.

MerchantCircle Index: Mixed Awareness Levels for Local Players

MerchantCircle’s Merchant Index tracks merchant confidence in the economy (low). But it also yields some unexpected “real world” insight into merchant awareness and use of their local online marketing options.

The Index is based on 11,000+ email respondents , so there is likely to be an online bias in the results. Of its 1.1 million registered SMBs, MerchantCircle also has a strong base of rural and exurban members, but MerchantCircle officials don’t believe these businesses are disproportionally represented.

We’re most drawn to the low recognition accorded to many local mainstays that are “big deals” in our cyber capitals. The new LBS services, FourSquare and GoWalla, for instance, have recognition of just 7.5 percent and 5.7 percent each.

The principal city sites do better. Yelp has 39.4 percent while Citysearch has 66.5 percent. The disparity between them is not surprising given the latter’s longer track record and deeper national reach. Yelp’s awareness may be better pegged to its principal cities (i.e. San Francisco, where it is apparently the #1 resource).

The Index found that 26.1 percent of respondents are promoting on Citysearch, and 17.6 percent on Yelp. Google, Facebook and Twitter (among others) are used by more. Google is used by 59.5 percent; Facebook by 52.8 percent; and Twitter by 31.6 percent.

YouTube is a site that the respondents want to start using. 17.5 percent say they want to start using YouTube, while 14.2 percent say they want to start using Facebook.

MerchantCircle VP Darren Waddell is speaking on the New Directory Panel at Marketplaces 2010 in San Diego March 22-24 with Local Matters’ Mat Stover, SuperMedia’s Julie Miller and AT&Ti’s Greg Isaacs.

Citysearch Launches ‘CityGrid Complete’; Invests in Orange Soda

Citysearch announced today that it has shifted its ad model for small businesses, moving from the cost per click model that it pioneered several years ago to a new model that will drive consumers directly to their own websites. The new model provides advertisers with a complete range of SEO and marketing services across the CityGrid network of 100 Web and mobile partners.

The new services are being offered as “CityGrid Complete,” and will use Orange Soda as a partner. As part of the announcement, Citysearch also announced an investment in Orange Soda, which competes with the likes of ReachLocal, Yodle, WebVisible, Marchex and Matchcraft to resell search engine advertising and optimize content. Orange Soda currently works as a reseller for media companies such as Gannett and Freedom Interactive, and also works with franchise operations such as Remax and Jiffy Lube.

Citysearch EVP of Sales and Service Neil Salvage said the announcement is consistent with the enlargement of his own job description, which now includes product development on the merchant side. Salvage acknowledged that Citysearch has had a “not robust” search engine marketing platform, and has been searching for a better solution for 18 months.

“We talked with everybody,” Salvage said, and came to the conclusion that Orange Soda is a superior solution with a “robust back end oriented system.” Its SEO solutions “fit somewhere between ReachLocal and Yodle,” he added.

To Salvage, what’s really important about the announcement is that Citysearch is moving away on from Citysearch’s complex cost per click sales model and towards a fixed fee model that will boast a wide bundle of services. The move should allow Citysearch to increase its monthly yield from$600-$800 per advertiser to over $1,000, said Salvage. “That’s where we need to be.”

Cost per click over-emphasizes the reseller factor and has become “old school,” added Salvage. “It was built to go after Yellow Pages, but wasn’t really appropriate because the Citysearch product set did not really support that. It was an entertainment site. Now we want to focus our time and energy on platforms and the process,” he says. “We are focused on signing up more publishers, not on owning the (SMB) relationship. ”

Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti is a keynote speaker at Marketplaces 2010, which is taking place March 22-24 in San Diego.