Ask Gets Local with AskCity

  |  December 4, 2006   |  Comments

A new local search Web application combines content from across IAC and beyond.

IAC/InterActiveCorp today took the wraps off its new local search product, AskCity, which heavily integrates content from other IAC properties as well as partner sites.

The service combines's local search and mapping features with business listings, events, and movie listings. It is accessible both on its own AskCity site, or as a toolbar on's home page.

"The main goal here is to drive frequency and usage of," Ryan Massie, director of product management at, told ClickZ. "We have a lot of unique and useful tools, and we expect that presenting them in this way will lead people to use the site more."

There are currently not any ads on the AskCity service, but the company will consider adding relevant ads in the future, he said. "We're being careful to focus on creating the best user experience, and to give users what they want. Our first concern is to give good results, which will get people to use the site more and keep coming back."

Depending on the type of search, content in AskCity search results could come from one of IAC's own sites, like CitySearch, Reserve America, ServiceMagic, Ticketmaster, TicketWeb or TripAdvisor. Or it could come from third-party sites like Eventsource, Fandango, MuseumTix, Opentable, or StepUp. Only about a fifth of links on AskCity go to other IAC-owned sites, Massie said. The outbound links are not part of any sponsorship packages, but are partnerships with third-party sites that IAC thinks its users would find valuable.

In some cases, users can click directly to the partner's site to complete a transaction, such as buying event tickets from IAC's Ticketmaster and TicketWeb; buying movie tickets from Fandango; reserving a table at Opentable; or setting an appointment with a contractor through IAC's ServiceMagic.

The initiative marks the biggest cross-company integration to date, a priority of IAC since it acquired last year. The company began by adding search boxes to all IAC properties, and then began planning tighter integration earlier this year. IAC's chairman and CEO Barry Diller said in August that IAC would spend the second half of 2006 focusing on increasing integration between and CitySearch, among other IAC properties. Diller spilled the beans about the service at a media conference last week.

“Thanks to our sister IAC companies, had unprecedented access to their proprietary, best-in-class vertical content,” said Jim Lanzone, CEO of “This allowed us to remix their ingredients using our own search recipe, creating a better end product for our users.”

None of the sites that feed into AskCity will be de-emphasized in any way, nor will CitySearch be phased out, according to Lanzone.

The AskCity interface is built in AJAX, similar to Google Maps and Yahoo's new home page. That technology allows Ask to display changes on the page without refreshing the whole page.

While other local search products focus on the maps, AskCity gives equal space to the search refinement options, search results, and the map.

"Currently available local products go too far in making the map the center of attention. The people we talked to don't want a map to dominate the page; they'd rather see the local listings first, then dig into the maps for more detail," Massie said.

Once users are ready to use the map, they'll find features to annotate, save and share it. Users can also "pin" results on the map, so they will remain on the map while the user continues searching for other locations, or builds an itinerary.

The company chose to name the service "AskCity" because it found that the "local" appellation favored by many local search services is misleading to consumers, who associate the term with local news, or local business listings, Massie said. "We wanted to be sure everyone knew it was much more than that," he said.

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!


Kevin Newcomb

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.



Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.




    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...