Geo domains: A Local Sleeping Giant?

Geo domains (e.g., Sanfrancisco.com, Newyork.com) have historically been mostly geospam sites that have hoped to catch usage because of their “intuitive URLs.” Last weekend in SF was the GeoDomain Expo, all about geodomains and what to do with them.

I had thought about attending but ultimately did not. However, Ahmed Farooq, a frequent commenter on this blog and someone who keeps asking me to write about local blog networks, posted his thoughts about the event.

Marchex is, among other things, a geodomainer that has taken its portfolio and turned it into something quite engaging vs. most of these geodomains that have a kind of “hollow” feeling, although there may be some exceptions. Yet there is considerable potential and lots of things that could be done to make these sites better and more consumer friendly/trustworthy. It’s not clear however whether there’s a will to do so among the operators.

Farooq does make a good point from a local advertising standpoint: “These CITY.com owners hold a lot of traffic. Local companies need to wake up to that.”

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3 Responses to “Geo domains: A Local Sleeping Giant?”

  1. Colin Carmichael Says:

    I was at the GeoDomain Expo in Chicago in ’06 and all I saw was potential. Malcolm at PremierGuide had just started to tap into the ‘local’ potential of the citydotcom crowd (http://local.sanfrancisco.com/, for example). I can only assume that will continue now that PG is ‘a Local.com company.’

  2. Sean Says:

    I think it’s a bit rich to call most GeoDomains geospam sites while simultaneously calling Marchex’s efforts “quite engaging.” SanFrancisco.com actually has content. Bayareahotels has a pleasing web 2.0 design, tons of google ads, and scraped hotel reviews. If you find that engaging I have a Bridge to sell you on the other side of the continent.

    And we’re not “hoping to catch usage.” We have significant usage already. NYC.com alone has close to 1 Million visitors a month and numerous testimonials from people who value both our content and our service. This is true of many GeoDomains.

    That said, I’ll be the first to grant that the industry needs to grow up, take in outside investment, and invest in creating local platforms that deliver more value to local citizens and businesses. As an industry we’ve definitely dined out for far too long on our “virgin brands”…All brands mean something. Typically this is intangible but powerful. Apple = sexy technology. Chevrolet = mom, apple pie and cars. What does a city.com mean? For most people it means that city on the internet. But more precisely it means the city online with none of the baggage or obligations of the old media companies. No one knows really what we will mean online but not having the legacy of old media obligations gives us tremendous flexibility to develop and implement new models. Hopefully we’ll see some of that soon.

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