Barry Diller, CEO, IAC/InterActiveCorp, is bullish on the local opportunity online; His enthusiasm is shared by many others, his competitors.
Diller is expected to announce next week a new, rebranded online destination designed to integrate and leverage existing IAC locally-oriented properties: Citysearch, Ticketmaster, Evite, Ask.com…The new initiative will be named AskCity and Diller calls it “our local service.”
Citysearch was represented this morning at the “Cityguides and Standalone Local Products” panel at the Kelsey Local Interactive Media conference in Philadelphia, along with competing properties vying for the ad spends of local merchants, online.
No further details were offered on the impending IAC local launch, but a glimpse into the go-to-local-market strategies was provided.
Tom Bates, GM, Kudzu.com
Billed as the “Easy way to find the best services,“ Kudzu.com is a newly formed venture owned and operated by Cox Search Inc., a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, a media company. Cox's other businesses include Cox Communications, Manheim, Cox AutoTrader, Valpak and newspapers, TV and radio companies. Launched last year in the Atlanta market, Kudzu.com is now expanding into Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix.
According to the company, “By visiting Kudzu.com, consumers find a comprehensive and easy-to-use directory of local businesses, providing services ranging from health care to legal, home repair to remodeling projects.” Since launch, Kudzu.com “reached out to every known service provider in Atlanta,” Bates said. Of the approximately 150,000 merchants, about 20,000 businesses built their own merchant profiles at Kudzu.com. Kudzu.com has also generated about 50,000 consumer reviews.
Once a local merchant populates a business profile at Kudzu.com, an up sell campaign is initiated.
Matt Crowley, SVP, Yellowpages.com
Yellowpages.com is a joint venture of AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Advertising and Publishing Corporation. The two JV partners acquired Yellowpages,com and relaunched the brand with a new, nationwide platform last year.
Called simply, “Online Yellow Pages Directory,“ Yellowpages.com claims it is “the fastest growing online Yellow Pages and search directory in the U.S.” According to the company, “Whether you're looking for a particular item, business, event, location or service, Yellowpages.com is your trusted online source for comprehensive national and local business information.”
A direct sales force of about 4000 field reps and service regional managers calls on local merchants throughout the country and national accounts, Cowley said.
The Yellowpages.com distribution network provides exposure to more than 90 million monthly consumer business searches. Yellowpages.com relies on a multi-faceted strategy to drive users to the property: Leveraging word of mouth through Yellow Pages “brand,” national advertising campaigns, online advertising and SEO.
Stuart Santos, VP National Media, Citysearch
Citysearch is an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp. The Citysearch tag line is “your guide to everything local.” According to the company, “Citysearch empowers users to make informed decisions about where to spend their time and money by delivering trusted content, including more than 500,000 editorial profiles and user reviews of local businesses.”
Citysearch is ramping up its sales efforts, Santos said. Citysearch reaches merchants through a variety of channels: online self-serve, telemarketing, direct sales…
The suite of products offered by Citysearch includes:
Business Profiles; Looks like a recommendation, works like an ad. With the look-and-feel of an editorial review, your profile describes what's unique about your business and provides important facts about your products and services.
Edge Ads; Listings that give you a leg up on your competition. Citysearch will run your listing above the profile pages of related businesses. Plus, when customers search for businesses like yours, we'll rotate your ad to the top of the results.
As Citysearch, Yellowpages.com and Kudzu.com are often pitching similar advertising products to the same local merchants, I asked about competitive differentiation strategies in the marketplace.
Santos suggested that future industry growth will be available for all players to partake in.
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