Citysearch Debuts Clever Vertical Strategy

I spoke to Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti yesterday, now that the new and improved Citysearch has gone into general availability. We talked about many things, among them how much traffic — and reviews — are coming from mobile. He said that the reviews are surprisingly long and substantive as well. The verbatim quote is “I’m blown away with the number of reviews” coming from the mobile app.

He also spoke about how the site’s participation with Facebook Connect has been a boon to registration and exposure for Citysearch. Herratti told the NY Times:

In the four months the site has been testing Facebook Connect, 94 percent of reviewers have published their reviews to Facebook, where an average of 40 people see them and 70 percent click back to Citysearch. That has translated into new members: daily registrations on Citysearch have tripled.

In addition, we discussed the move from city-level to neighborhood level data and organization and its challenges. But most interesting to me is a new vertical strategy that Citysearch is rolling out (ad-free for the time being). Here are two of perhaps 12 or so templated vertical sites that are rolling out (imagine wine, spas, bars and so on):

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They’re curated/written by bloggers who are knowledgeable about the vertical. They offer a heavy helping of community as well:

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CTRs on links to local salons or restaurants on these sites go to Citysearch proper:

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The whimsical design of these sites is also fun. It’s a way to develop lots of verticals that ultimately drive traffic to Citysearch. It’s a strategy that directory publishers should look at closely in their efforts to develop cheaper sources of qualified traffic or newspapers in their effort to generate broader use cases for their sites.

3 Responses to “Citysearch Debuts Clever Vertical Strategy”

  1. Stever Says:

    Smart move on the part of Citysearch. These vertical sites should work great for them.

  2. Joe Mescher Says:

    Why I Never Used Citysearch:

    It was a ‘closed silo’ with a boring look that just didn’t inspire me to return.

    Why I Love the New Citysearch Verticals:

    Hyper-relevant, cool browsing experience, easily accessible on my iPhone, and the pictures capture my attention.

    Good stuff, thanks for the report Greg.

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

    […] 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.” Now it has […]

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