Citysearch Gets More Local & Mobile

Citysearch has received its first major update/facelift since it added video in May of 2007. The new beta site went live last night (was too tired to write about it then) and I’ve just played with it for about 15 minutes.

I did however have a chance to speak with Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti last week about the redesign and new features. There’s also a new mobile site (or an update) that’s launching in parallel, which makes it possible to write reviews on the go and will be optimized for different handsets and mobile platforms. The current mobile site is powered by Earthcomber and I’m not sure if that remains true “going forward.”

Here’s the current Citysearch site:

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Here’s the new beta site:

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It’s a better looking, less cluttered site — although there’s still a great deal of information there. A major change is that the content has been organized into neighborhoods (based on the Maponics neighborhood database). One can now see improved listings by neighborhood accordingly.

Another significant change is that users can sign in to Citysearch using the Facebook Connect system. That saves them from having to register at Citysearch but it also benefits Citysearch in the following ways:

  • Reviews and activity on Citysearch are displayed on Facebook to my network
  • My friends on Facebook who are also registered on Citysearch will show up in the “My” area of the site. Effectively this system (assuming crossover participation) allows me to “filter” reviews by my Facebook network on Citysearch
  • This potentially provides additional “distribution” for Citysearch merchants and Citysearch exposure to the Facebook user base

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The “write a review” process has been simplified as well:

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This is partly about mobile. More and more local “online” reviews are going to come from mobile devices. And the above form allows me to simply indicate a star rating if I like. I can also add a few comments; but it’s a streamlined process vs. what existed before.

Users can also rate and comment on reviews now. While that adds some clutter and complexity, it will also likely mean that legitimate reviews are boosted and fake, unreasonable or dubious reviews are demoted. It also gives owners and interested third parties the ability to discuss particular reviews.

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Another very interesting choice is the way Citysearch is seeking to present the “three voices” of the site (owners, editors and users). They’ve chosen a three column format that appears on the profile page of every business:

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This gives users helpful content and gives owners the ability to present their perspective on the first page, taking away the temptation to write fake or stealth reviews for their own shops/stores/restaurants/services.

Citysearch also offers a revamped video player and experience; and it has a more “social networky” feel in general:

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Overall these are very positive and potentially significant changes — including the new emphasis on mobile — for Citysearch, which remains the leader in the local A&E segment. However Yelp has been gaining over the past two years though, according to Compete, it hasn’t yet reached Citysearch traffic levels:

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8 Responses to “Citysearch Gets More Local & Mobile”

  1. Darrin Clement Says:

    Thanks for the mention Greg. We’re obviously very pleased to be helping Citysearch and providing the neighborhood boundaries. They are doing some very interesting things there for personalization as well as local. Darrin

  2. What Shows Up When No Reviews Are There? « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] businesses are relatively new features on Yelp. Kudzu allows businesses to recommend each other and Citysearch’s new redesign allows the business to offer a description of itself, which gets prominent placement beside user [...]

  3. Citysearch Coming Out of Beta « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Sterling The new, more localized, Facebook-friendly version of Citysearch is coming out of beta. I wrote previously about the changes and [...]

  4. MySpace + Citysearch = MySpace Local « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] By Greg Sterling Citysearch has shown new energy and creativity in the recent past, with its redesign, new verticals and integration of Facebook Connect, which makes the site more “social.” [...]

  5. Click2Connect Takes a Run at Friend Filtering « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] ways, among them GigPark, Goodrec and a number of others. And then there’s the integration of Facebook Connect into sites like Citysearch, which does something quite similar as well. So the idea of your friends reccomendations is not [...]

  6. Yelp vs. Citysearch: Who’s Winning? « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] w/Bing Maps). This has helped boost Yelp and user loyalty. By contrast, Citysearch’s site relaunch and Facebook Connect integration seems not to have done much to help the site (unless it would be [...]

  7. I Like AlikeList « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] sites (e.g., GoodRec) or as an app on Facebook or by incorporating Facebook Connect (e.g., Citysearch). But AlikeList does this in a more “organic” and elegant [...]

  8. Are Reviews Becoming a ‘Commodity’? « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] recommendations” scenario. Yelp too has moved toward connecting people on its site. And Citysearch integrated Facebook Connect some time ago, so that I could see who among my friends was on the [...]

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