Canpages acquired competitor ZipLocal in June and just announced the acquisition of social directory GigPark as part of a more aggressive expansion into the broader North American market. I wrote about GigPark a couple of months after it launched last year:
GigPark is a Toronto-based startup that seeks to create a network of friends so you can tap their knowledge base about local-anything, but predominantly service providers . . . In the US there are dozens of competitors. In its home market, GigPark faces competition from ZipLocal, Torstar’s Toronto.com, iBegin and YellowPages.ca (not to mention the search engines) . . .
The problem right now is that there’s basically no there there, just an aggressive effort to get people to upload their contacts and to start posting about local businesses . . . If the site were widely adopted by my friends and their friends (or the parallel Facebook app) you’d have a potentially rich database of content. But the site hasn’t bought a commercial database (InfoUSA, Axciom, Localeze, iBegin Source) so that there’s at least some content to jump start that process. This is the chicken and egg problem taken to new levels.
According to an article appearing today in Canada.com:
Canpages, a private company based in Vancouver, plans to integrate the user recommendation functions from Gigpark.cominto Canpages.ca by the end of the year, creating Canada’s first hybrid local search-social networking site.
Not exactly. Google Maps features reviews (and the ability to write reviews) and Yelp.ca pretty much fits the description above.
The article also says Canpages’ revenues are north of $100 million (Canadian?) and the site is profitable. The terms of the GigPark deal weren’t disclosed. The deal makes sense because it makes Canpages social, while GigPark really had no future (or a very long term future provided funding could hold out).
Canpages is currently a yellow pages lookalike site and the GigPark acquisition signals a move away from that approach. The Canada.com article quotes CEO Olivier Vincent:
“I think [the brand] Yellow Pages is a liability more than anything else. It’s associated with a print experience,” Mr. Vincent said. “In the past year we’ve got 70% of the traffic they do. David is almost as big as Goliath.”
Goliath is of course YPG in this case.