AT&T’s YP.com has joined the CityGrid network. (There was already a traffic deal between Citysearch and YP.com.) The NY Times uses that announcement to discuss Citysearch and its CityGrid strategy. Here are some interesting bits from the piece:
- CityGrid now has 150 publisher sites: “Citysearch’s 18 million business listings and ads from 700,000 small businesses show up on 150 Web sites.”
- Citysearch traffic has been declining: “Over the last year, the number of people logging on to Citysearch each month has fallen 24 percent, to 21 million.”
- Citysearch has 200 ad sales people (Yelp is trying to grow to roughly 400 with its recent investment round.)
CityGrid was in development for some time — maybe years — and it’s a brilliant idea. However it was also something that the market was desperate for: a high-quality source of local traffic and monetization and alternative to Google (both “.com” and AdSense). Publishers, however, don’t have choose between CityGrid and AdSense; both can be used — as InsiderPages does.
Where.com and LocalAdXchange offer local ad networks/exchanges predominantly (though not exclusively) in mobile. ReachLocal also started a local ad exchange but I’ve heard nothing about it for many months. There are also other local-specific ad networks in mobile, such as Verve and LSN.
The yellow pages, because of their own inter-industry competition, missed the opportunity to come together and build this service themselves.
The key here is not the content or advertisers or the platform (though all are important) so much as it is the vision behind CityGrid and the willingness to “flip the model.”