IAC Citysearch: Can video ads make local search cool?

IAC Citysearch: Can video ads make local search cool?

Summary: Local old timer Citysearch announces a (much needed) facelift today, literally.Heralding the “next-generation” of Citysearch, the veteran IAC owned cityguide launched a bevy of trendy Web 2.

TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0

Local old timer Citysearch announces a (much needed) facelift today, literally.

Heralding the “next-generation” of Citysearch, the veteran IAC owned cityguide launched a bevy of trendy Web 2.0 social features and interactive services along with a new “cool” blue interface and rejuvenated tag line: “Live like an insider.”

How does Citysearch now enable living like an insider: 

Video on Citysearch: Video tours of local businesses
My Citysearch Summary: Personal recommendations for local businesses

Is the new Citysearch but a slick veneer over an aging yellow pages style directory body, or is Citysearch really reborn, a newly christened Web 2.0 social, local destination? 

Will Citysearch users notice a meaningful local difference? Will local advertisers step up to the Web 2.0 ad budget plate? 


Video, not surprisingly, is the trendy driver of the revamped Citysearch:

Video on Citysearch gives users the opportunity to experience the ambiance and meet the owners of businesses before visiting.

A great local experience is about providing consumers with the most relevant information. Whether they're searching for a restaurant, spa or boutique shop, Video on Citysearch, coupled with our trusted information, arms users with the ability to make more informed, confident decisions about where to spend their time and money, Scott Morrow, EVP, Product and Marketing, Citysearch. 

Citysearch is outsourcing development of the short local merchant videos to TurnHere, a start-up, Web-based small business video production venture.

Based in California, TurnHere relies on a global network of “more than 2,000 professional filmmakers to produce local merchant videos that tell authentic stories about local businesses and their owners.”

For a price that is a tiny fraction of the cost of a local television ad, TurnHere can shoot an engaging Internet-ready video that tells the story of your business and your most loyal customers.

Is the elusive local merchant advertiser ready himself, however, to turn to Web 2.0, supposedly “tiny fraction of the cost” of TV, or not? The Citysearch “enhanced by video” package will be an upsell and will require higher levels of advertiser time commitments as well. 

YouTube clip culture or not, the addition of video is not a turnkey, guaranteed winning local advertising formula. 

Despite the new cosmetics and functionality of Citysearch, the “old” brand still has not clearly defined its value-added differentiation. 

IAC Media and Advertising CEO Peter Horan and Citysearch President Jay Herratti in a Q & A with Forbes:

Question: You now have three brands in the local Web category. Why do you need them all?

HORAN: We acquired InsiderPages in March because, while we already had 600,000 reviews on Citysearch, we were able to double that, and now we have more than a million individual businesses listed. Citysearch is a misnomer because it's more an editorial content site than a search site. AskCity is more tailored as a search engine, while InsiderPages is user-generated reviews.

HERRATI: The reviews on Citysearch and InsiderPages are becoming integrated, on one hand, but we also want to keep them as a two separate experiences. InsiderPages is much more of a social network. We are not pushing users of either of those sites over to AskCity. The sites feel different to me; they are different tools. Consumers have different preferences, and we want them to learn and decide which flavors they like.

IAC has a lot of local consumer education in store.

ALSO: Watch out Google? Yellow Pages meets Del.icio.us in YellowBot and
HP to Google, Intuit: It's OUR small business cloud, too! and
IAC's Peter Horan: Front door content drives local strategy

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

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