City.com Goes Up Against Yelp

When Yelp launched I didn’t dismiss it but was skeptical of its chances in what I thought was then a relatively well-established market. Clearly that skepticism was wrong.

I say that because I also have a sense of skepticism about the chances of the new City.com that just launched last week. However I’m willing to acknowledge that I could be wrong.

City.com is a great URL and offers a generally nice/clean design but is undistinguished otherwise (in my quick tour of the site):

The site aims to be a consumer cityguide destination but also a “one-to-many” marketing resource for SMBs. According to the press release:

In addition to facilitating the creation of hyper-local content, City.com is developing practical direct marketing tools for local merchants . . . City.com is focused on becoming the preeminent relationship manager for local businesses who are seeking cost effective local marketing strategies.  The company has established syndication and content partnerships to enable businesses to better control their business profiles centrally at City.com, while having their invaluable listing data syndicated to over 100 local search providers including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and YellowPages.com.

One of the ways that Yelp established itself was through local SEO. That route is tougher today than it was in early 2006 when Yelp was first gaining momentum.

The CEO is seeking feedback and opinions about the site. What do you think of it now and how would you assess its chances in the market?

10 Responses to “City.com Goes Up Against Yelp”

  1. Mohammed Says:

    Good start to City.com – however I notice they are using Google Adsense to monetise their traffic. Surely naive in the current climate. The sooner City.com and other local search companies can take control of their revenue sources the better. Google is clear on where it is heading.

    • Chris Says:

      Mohammed, We are in the process of establishing relationships with other ad networks and other revenue streams. Adsense is simply a placeholder for now. Thanks for your suggestion!

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    City.com should be using CityGrid from competitor Citysearch as well.

  3. Ben Says:

    1) Not very clear how to add/optimize a listing.

    2) The algorithmic search is pretty terrible. A search for a few service based businesses (roofers, painters, plumbers) returned results in completely different categories.

    • Chris Says:

      Ben, Thank you for your feedback. We are actually in the process of creating a full business portal for business owners to add their information to the database as well as optimize and enhance their features. This feature should be ready to roll out in the next month or two. We have already gotten a ton of requests for addition to our database and we’re working very hard to get it rolling.

      As far as search is concerned can you please let me know what location you were searching in? I would love to see the results you are getting and how we can improve them.

      Keep in mind that we are in beta and improvements and additional features/tweaks will be coming very soon. We definitely appreciate your feedback.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks. As I said I haven’t had time to explore the site.

  5. Ed O'Keefe Says:

    They should monetize and productize their core asset, their site/url, based on facts. Their advertisers will want calls ……..quality calls. It would be very wise for them to do what many start-ups are doing with Telmetrics. Benchmark their call volume and call quality, by vertical and geo. How many calls per vertical, per geo? Which listing format has the highest click to call ratios? Are these quality calls (they could tell by call tracking lines and call recording) (with the listing owner’s permission of course). As a test, they would embed call tracking lines into their top 30 verticals, 10 listings deep in each, under 4 geos. This would give them a benchmark to measure against as their traffic and consumer experience evolve. Excited to see their progress.

  6. SearchCap: The Day In Search, April 20, 2010 Says:

    […] City.com Goes Up Against Yelp, Screenwerk […]

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