In keeping on a path towards broader ad and content distribution, IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Citysearch has partnered with Marchex to branch out its business listings and reviews to Marchex’s 150,000 geo-centric sites. Citysearch content like user and editorial reviews, videos, and promotions will augment Marchex sites, while Citysearch stands to gain by increasing ad inventory and driving click-through from users seeking local and vertical information.
Earlier this month Citysearch sealed a deal with AOL with potential to expand Citysearch inventory for premium business listings across local AOL properties. A similar content and ad distribution alignment was formed with Local.com in December of last year.
Citysearch ads and content will be fed into Marchex sites such as BostonVeterinarian.com, DenverAutoRepair.com, and Zip code-based domains like 10013.com starting in the next couple months. Marchex signed a similar agreement with Idearc in January, putting Superpages.com advertiser listings on Marchex sites, which include business listings, reviews, and Yahoo text ads. People seeking local and vertical-specific information often land on Marchex sites via search engines and direct navigation.
“Our strategy is to have a select group of partners who will bring to our advertisers qualified eyeballs,” said Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti. The arrangement with Marchex is a way for Citysearch to reach a “hyper local” audience for its advertisers, and make Marchex destinations, “more content rich,” he added.
Part of the firm’s promise to partners is the ability to monetize their content. Key to that, said Herratti, is Citysearch’s multi-tiered sales force, which features both metro and local field and inside sales reps, along with its self-serve ad tools.
“For us to deliver monetization, we have to support that promise with a strategy of building our merchant base,” said Herratti.
Citysearch opened a sales office in Atlanta about a year ago, with the intention of building up its inside sales team to 180 people by last spring. Herratti would not state the current number of salespeople in the Atlanta office.
“This is an area where we want to grow,” said Herratti, in reference to boosting the company’s ability to satisfy publisher monetization needs through its sales force. “We go to our partners and we say to them, ‘Trust us. We’ve been in this business awhile. It’s a tough business… Let us do the dirty work for you so to speak.’ ”
Peter Christothoulou, Marchex’s chief strategy officer, affirmed that Citysearch’s sales team is part of the appeal for the local publisher. “It’s important… that the people we partner with are the ones who have scale at the local level,” he said. “It’s not just about relevant content; it’s also about having the right advertisements.”
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