MySpace has partnered with Citysearch to launch MySpace Local, a small business directory that allows the social network’s community to review, rate and share content from local businesses nationwide.
Coors and Outback Steakhouse will serve as the initial brand sponsors for the launch, which was announced last week in a webcast by Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of MySpace, Jeff Berman, president of sales and marketing at MySpace, and Jay Herratti, CEO of Citysearch.
DeWolfe said the move is a natural evolution of MySpace’s global content strategy.
“This is a new way for small businesses to promote [themselves] and communicate with consumers through a social lens — meaning though friends and trusted recommenders,” he said. He compared the venture to MySpace Music, saying the focus is on “social discovery.”
The venture creates a tremendous advertising opportunity for small businesses looking to engage consumers while harnessing the power of social media, Berman said. Small businesses can add custom messages to their listing pages and also offer consumers coupons and other deals.
While the monetization strategy is evolving, he said, the Citysearch deal provides a new revenue stream for MySpace because many of the actions taken on the structured content, such as clicks on maps or menus, generate payments from local businesses to Citysearch that MySpace will share. It also will help grow and diversify advertisers currently using MyAds, MySpace’s self-service ad platform, Berman said.
“The data generated from MySpace Local will make hypertargeted ads more valuable, so it’s a win for both advertisers and consumers,” he said.
Currently, listing verticals include restaurants and nightlife. Other verticals, such as hotels, doctors and dry cleaners, will roll out in the coming months, said Berman, noting a mobile push also was on the way.
Users of MySpace Local can browse small business listing pages, which allow users to access photos, menus, videos, maps and hours of operation. They can then add those listings to their MySpace profiles and other areas across the Web.