Citysearch, AOL team up for ad, content network

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IAC's Citysearch and AOL announced today that they had struck a deal to share Citysearch's local content and pay-per-performance ad network with AOL's network of sites.

“It's a win-win situation,” said Chris Spanos, director of search verticals at AOL. “We get to provide a better user experience and improve the monetization of those properties.”

Through this strategic partnership, Citysearch, an online local search and directory company, will provide editorial and user reviews, merchant videos, photos and offers to AOL for distribution across its properties, which include AOL CityGuide, AOL Local Search and MapQuest. Additional details about the agreement have not been released.

“Citysearch brings a lot of local advertisers to the table,” Spanos said. Although AOL has editorial and user reviews, it does not have a local sales force like Citysearch that is reaching out to local merchants, he said.

The benefits of the partnership were quite apparent, said Jay Herratti, CEO of Citysearch. AOL is a large network that attracts a lot of eyeballs, he said. “We get access to a fantastic audience.”

According to Citysearch, the company has 18 million local business listings and more than 1.5 million user reviews across the US.

“We recognize that the local online space is growing so rapidly,” Spanos said. “It's an exciting space to be in.” Spanos said that AOL is looking to leverage its local network through other partnerships. “We will look at all opportunities over the course of the year.”

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