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Nov 19, 2008

Local Advertising Networks

The New Citysearch Launches in Beta, Goes Hyper-Social With Facebook Connect

Citysearch is finally coming around to replacing its creaking site design with something a little more contemporary. Today, it is launching in a major rethink of its entire site in beta that drills deeper into neighborhoods, uses Facebook Connect as an optional identity system, and lets users vote reviews up and down. The beta will quickly become the default Citysearch experience. During a demo at IAC headquarters yesterday, Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti told me:

We’ve been working on it for 10 months and built everything from ground up. In Q1 we will be turning off every system that operates Citysearch today, and running everything in the new environment.

Citysearch’s engineers stripped out the decade-old proprietary code that runs Citysearch and replaced it with open-source code. By replacing what’s under the hood, they were freed up to make some major improvements that are immediately apparent. ...

And these types of ads would not be limited to its own site. Citysearch also operates an ad network for partner sites looking to bring more local content. Herrati explains:

Between a quarter and at third of revenues comes from the ad network. If you look at impressions and uniques, it crushes our network.

The ad network’s reach crushes it by ten to one. According to comScore, Citysearch brought in 14.6 million unique visitors in the U.S in October, compared to 143 million uniques across its ad network. (Yelp, by the way, did 6 million uniques). By doing abetter job mapping all of its data on local businesses, Citysearch should be able to boost the relevance of its search results and therefore how much it gets paid for them. Maybe Barry Diller should start breaking out results for Citysearch now that IAC is a smaller entity.

Citysearch Becomes More Social and Mobile

citysearch_logo_nov08.pngCitysearch, the popular local restaurant and shopping guide, announced a new beta version of its service tonight. The new version provides a better local search experience, with the ability to search specific neighborhoods instead of just metropolitan areas. Citysearch also announced a retooled mobile site, which lets users read and write reviews on their mobile devices, and gives them access to menus from participating restaurants. Citysearch has also implemented Facebook Connect, which allows users to log in to the site with their Facebook accounts, and the company plans to roll out OpenID support early next year.

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