Citysearch debuts local content, ad network

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Citysearch has launched CityGrid, a content and advertising network for local markets. The platform aggregates advertisers from company partners, enhances their listings' by adding Citysearch content and distributes it through a pay-per-performance ad engine to partner Web sites.

Jay Herratti, CEO of Citysearch, said the company began developing CityGrid in 2008, when it had three publisher partners. The platform, launched last week, now has more than 100 partners, including Bing, MerchantCircle, Urbanspoon, AOL, MapQuest and Judy's Book, he said.

Publishers can integrate Citysearch content, including editorial and user reviews, social media content, merchant videos, photos and special promotions, offers and functionality into their own branded listings. These pages can be monetized through a revenue-sharing model with Citysearch and IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) partners.

Through its partners, Citysearch has 500,000 advertisers and listings for 15 million businesses. Herratti said he hopes to have 750,000 advertisers by the end of the year.

“We don't want Citysearch to be one business that lives in one place,” he said. “We want to take all of our content and push all the goodness out into the universe.”

Herratti explained that local markets are an important target for advertisers. “Local is in everyone's life; there's no advertiser segment that doesn't have the potential to reach local audiences,” he said.

Asked about the target audience, Herratti said that Citysearch's content reaches all demographics through its partner sites.

“You can be young, old, rich or poor, but at the end of the day, everyone's going to need a plumber at some point,” he said.

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