This morning Citysearch is unveiling a new local online ad program called “CityGrid Complete,” managed and fulfilled partly by OrangeSoda. The IAC-owned company has also invested in OrangeSoda as part of the new relationship.
I spoke last week with Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti who said that the company chose OrangeSoda because Citysearch believes it has the best SEO solution in the market. OrangeSoda has been offering SEO, paid-search and what it calls “loccal search maps optimization.” The latter is now the chief focus of “local SEO.”
According to the press release:
The first of its kind, CityGrid Complete is the only online advertising solution that gives local businesses the ability to reach millions of consumers monthly by building customizable content ads that are distributed across the web. In addition to content ads, CityGrid Complete includes SEO services designed to drive consumers from all the major search engines directly to their own websites. CityGrid Complete customers also receive access to an integrated web-based dashboard allowing advertisers to actively monitor and manage their campaigns, ensuring they receive the highest quality leads for their advertising budgets.
CityGrid Complete will source leads through Citysearch’s CityGrid network, which the company says has “500K paying advertisers, enhanced listings and content for 15M businesses, and reaches more than 140M unique users across 100 web and mobile sites.” OrangeSoda will be managing SEO and paid-search campaigns. CityGrid Complete is, as the name suggests, the most complete of the Citysearch ad programs. There will be less ambitious programs for those with smaller budgets.
Herratti was asserting to me that this new offering is the most effective and comprehensive for SMBs available online — a true “one-stop shop.” To the SMBs themselves Citysearch’s ad programs may not look very different than before, but the platform, sourcing and fulfillment on the back end is going to be quite different.
It appears that through CityGrid Citysearch has now built a way to deliver leads to its advertiser-customers that is substantially cheaper overall — without a corresponding loss in quality — than pure PPC reliance, which is the way most of these programs began. (ReachLocal and V-Enable also offer “local ad exchanges.”)
This is also great validation for OrangeSoda, which is always mentioned as the fourth local SEM firm: ReachLocal, WebVisible, Yodle . . . and OrangeSoda.
I’ve been writing quite a bit about the evolution of the ad products that are being offered to the local market and how they’re “diversifying” into SEO, data monitoring and reputation management. The new CityGrid Compete program is another general example of that phenomenon.
See this previous, related post about CityGrid.