Tag Archives: InsiderPages

CityGrid’s InsiderPages Refocuses on Health as a Vertical

Ratings and review sites for things like dining, nail salons and events (i.e. Yelp) are inevitably going to battle it out with Google. CityGrid Media’s Insider Pages wants to go in a different direction.

Since last year, the site has steered most of its energies into building up a health specialty, with deep ratings and reviews and other aggregated information. Along the way, it has learned that the value of health-related advertising (i.e. pharmaceuticals) grows astronomically as it gets more specialized and targeted. Now, the San Francisco-based site is prepared to launch up to 30 unique URLs for specialized health communities, starting in a few months.

GM Eric Peacock said it looked like a fairly dim future for review sites like his in 2009, as Google “got more and more aggressive in the local space.” Traffic was flat that year. But “we’ve been clawing back a generation of new content, more reviews” from InsiderPages, Citysearch and other sources; and a new focus on health and medical in general, he says. The emphasis on health is something that is also being pursued by Angie’s List, Avvo, and others.

Early last year, InsiderPages launched Doctor Finder as a partnership with HealthGrades.com, which provides detailed provider information. The result has been a growth in page views from 14 million last January to 18 million page views in December.

“We’ve scratched an itch with local search around health,” says Peacock. “It is information that is hard to find and not always available.” With virtually no marketing, Doctor Finder has especially engaged people, he says.

Instead of going to Google and leaving with a single phone number, Doctor Finder users study profiles and other information for anywhere from five to 10 doctors, averaging 12 pages per visit. “The potential is to get very, very targeted,” says Peacock. Top categories include pediatricians, OB/GYN, Family practice and dentists. Meanwhile, top specialty searches include allergists and cardiologists.

For InsiderPages, the next step is to “take this and go more vertical” by zeroing in on specific medical conditions and diseases. Members of these communities will all go through the classic stages of grief, shock and acceptance. But at the same time, they won’t just be getting a doctor; they’ll be assembling a whole team of providers to help them recover and cope. Eight-five percent of the information types will work with multiple diseases, says Peacock.

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.

MojoPages Lands $5 Million; Pushes Local Affiliation Strategy

MojoPages, a 12 person local search/directory player based in the San Diego beach town of Solana Beach , has landed $5 Million in Series A funding from Austin Ventures. Mojo has settled on $5 million as the amount it needs to get to breakeven on a cash flow basis, says CEO Jon Carder, who founded the company in 2007 after he got “ripped off” by some movers and wanted to build a local ratings and review site.

Carder notes that Austin Ventures was introduced to the company by longtime industry vets Jeff Stibel of Web.com and Dan Finnigan of Jobvite, who previously lead local efforts with Yahoo, Knight Ridder and Pacific Bell. Both had been Mojo angels. Altogether, Carder says that angels have put in about $1 million in the company, while he has put in about $500,000.

The company itself has been in the middle of transition. Shortly after launching, Carder says it began to move away from its initial focus on being a destination site. It had become quickly apparent that destination sites require lots of community interaction and there are already major entrenched players in the space, such as Yelp and Citysearch.

Today, the company includes a bevy of content sources, including reviews from CitySearch and Insider Pages. But it is primarily a traffic aggregator “generating tons of traffic,” says Carder. While community development efforts will continue to be supported, a small company has to focus on one thing or the other, he says. And fast, relevant and linked search wins out.

Part of the strategy going forward is to power local search for local media companies, basically charging a CPM rate of around $8. Already, the company has deals with a number of TV and radio outlets, including Salem Broadcasting, Tritan Digital, Belo Corp. and KSMB in San Diego. It also has advanced field trials with “the largest” newspaper, TV and radio players, says Carder. The signup efforts have been marked by aggressive sponsorship of San Diego-area industry events for newspapers, TV and radio stations, Yellow Pages and geo-domain sites.

Efforts with the site should heat up further in September when a new version of the site is released. At that time, prior efforts at community, including large urban parties sponsored by advertisers, will be de-emphasized in favor of the new focus on search. They were fun, but barely break-even, say Carder.

Today’s MojoPages news has coincided with several recent announcements from Local.com, which is probably Mojo’s most direct competitor in vying for local search contracts via its white label division, formerly known as PremierGuide.com (Other competitors include Localeze and business directory products from Travidia and HarvestInfo. Several other companies have either folded up or been acquired).

Local.com recently signed two major Belo newspapers: The Dallas Morning News and The Riverside Press-Enterprise. It has also secured a window of $10 million in new credit, secured by assets, that could be used for acquisitions.

InsiderPages GM: ‘We’re Thriving As Part of Citysearch’

When InsiderPages was sold to IAC’s Citysearch, it seemed like it was probably a distress sale. Many of the Yellow Pages/ratings and review sites of 2004-2006 were falling apart at the same time.
Since then, however, InsiderPages appears to have thrived.

“We are profitable and growing every month,” says General Manager Eric Peacock. “I can’t tell you how many people assume that acquisition by big company means their death. But I’m saying this is the reason InsiderPages is flourishing.”

Basically, it is all about scale for InsiderPages. Citysearch handles all of InsiderPages’ sales, as well as many of its administrative roles – allowing InsiderPages to run mean and lean with ten people in Citysearch’s San Francisco office.One success metric for the site has been a big jump in its review count (i.e. Google gulch). It now has nearly one million reviews under its belt, or double the number it had before its acquisition. A major reason for its jump in reviews is a fundraiser scheme in which the site pays schools, bands and other community fixtures $1.50 for every new review posted, and 50 cents for other reviews.

The service also extends Citysearch’s reach with five or six million unique visitors a month – largely parents and home owners. While it does well in all the metro areas, like Citysearch, Peacock says that it also provides a somewhat unduplicated suburban audience as well.

Looking at the broader picture, InsiderPages has been a test case for the creation of the Citysearch Partner Network. Since then, Citysearch has reached outside IAC to form deals with larger sites, such as AOL and SuperPages. “What we found is we could amortize one sale, one product across both sites,” says Peacock.

While the positive signs abound, Peacock says there is plenty of room for progress. For instance, “there is not a ton of frequency.” Users often come in via SEO, and they aren’t coming back often enough.

MojoPages Claims Traction; Announces Deals with Key Players

Despite some traction by sites like Yelp – ok, specifically Yelp — the hybrid IYP/ratings-and-review segment remain something of a question mark in the industry. It remains to be seen whether such sites can attract a large number of frequent reviewers and users – and not just recent college grads and/or mother-aged women. It also remains to be seen whether they can cross the chasm out of restaurants and bars into the gold mine of services traditionally mined by Yellow Pages.

Besides Yelp, other sites abound, including Cox’s Kudzu, Boorah, Loladex and Citysearch’s InsiderPages. But it is hard to get a handle on how well they are doing. MojoPages, a newer Yelp-like site, reports it has been making progress.

A year out of the gate, the San Diego-based site claims a solid base of 500,000 user reviews and 100,000 local advertisers across the U.S., mostly on the backs of partners including SuperPages.com, Marchex, ServiceMagic and ServiceMaster. It also has coupon distribution with ValPak.

President Jon Carder, a 29 year old vertical search pro who previously sold a mortgage-oriented venture to IdeaLab, says the site has been seeing steady growth. He acknowledges the comparisons to Yelp and others, but says Mojo has been developing its own unique mix of features, including video reviews, email notification for reviewed businesses, and an “ask friends” feature. It also has set its algorithms to bring up more relevant results.

A search on MojoPages for Carpet Cleaners in Sen Diego will get you mostly relevant results, he says. If you do a search for carpet cleaners in San Diego on Yelp, he says, “six of the ten results aren’t even carpet cleaners.”