Citysearch Targets Neighborhoods, Unveils New Mobile and Social Functions

The dry cleaner around the corner doesn’t need to target consumers in the next town over, and a newly-localized Citysearch could ensure that doesn’t happen. The city-based directories and reviews service is introducing a system allowing users to search down to the neighborhood level. Starting today, the site has also enabled connectivity with Facebook and unveiled enhanced mobile capabilities.

The end result, in theory, is a more relevant service that lets users interact with it elsewhere on the Web, and when they’re out and about. The relevance comes through the addition of thousands of geographic areas beyond the 140 metro areas it’s focused on till now. Today, users can drill down to 75,000 metro areas for business listings, reviews, and other content from users, editors, and merchants.

“What we hadn’t had before was the ability to focus on specific neighborhoods,” said Citysearch spokesperson Brandi Willard. “It’s not just a redesign,” she stressed. “We really worked on the backend systems.”

Though Citysearch isn’t offering any new ad products in conjunction with the hyper-localization, Willard expects local advertisers will benefit from a targeting standpoint. “It was more something we wanted to do from a consumer point of view,” she explained, adding, “I think it’s more targeted for the local merchants. Now you’re getting really pinpointed results.”

As opposed to developing new social tools for use on Citysearch only, the IAC/InterActiveCorp-owned company has brought Facebook to its site. Announced in July and implemented as of today, users can login to Citysearch with their Facebook accounts to find their friends while on Citysearch, as well as distribute their reviews of local businesses through their feeds on the social network.

“We’ll definitely tap into other open I.D. platforms in Q1 as well,” said Willard.

Citysearch has been focused on content distribution for awhile now. After signing distribution deals with AOL and Local.com., the firm partnered with Marchex in February in order to branch out its user and editorial reviews, videos, and promotions to Marchex’s 150,000 geo-centric sites.

The company has also launched a more robust mobile offering for use on multiple devices including the Blackberry and iPhone. Recognizing people often fail to review a local venue, service, or eatery once they get back home, the new service allows them to post reviews directly from their phones. According to Willard, the firm also has plans to enable video and photo uploads via mobile.

Citysearch also promises a better mobile browsing experience, putting the most sought-after businesses and reviews at the forefront. Mobile users can also send business listings and ratings to other mobile devices.

While the new offerings could make its site a more attractive place for local advertisers, Citysearch doesn’t necessarily have any specific plans to bolster its local sales force on a more targeted level. “We’re always looking to hire more local sales,” she said, “but we’re not specifically going down to a neighborhood level.”

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