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GPS obsessed

31 March 2016

Citysearch fights Yelp with three-pronged strategy including Urbanspoon, MySpace Local

Business review website Yelp is poised to surpass Citysearch in unique visitors next month, according to the latest numbers from Compete .  It’s no surprise really.  Yelp has long been ahead of Citysearch in several key metrics, perhaps most importantly that of user engagement.

yelpcomcitysearchcom Citysearch fights Yelp with three pronged strategy including Urbanspoon, MySpace Local

ak citysearchyelp1 Citysearch fights Yelp with three pronged strategy including Urbanspoon, MySpace Local

In March of this year, the average Citysearch user stayed on the domain for little more than a minute, while the average Yelp user stayed for over four minutes.  Yelp also had more visits per person and average page views per visit.

But Citysearch is looking to turn an arguably old media property into something even hipper than Yelp itself.  Recently the IAC-owned property announced it was partnering with MySpace, another IAC-owned social network, to launch MySpace Local .  MySpace quietly launched Local to the public last week , pulling in Citysearch business listings and enabling MySpace users to write reviews of restaurants, businesses, and entertainment-oriented services.

And with the huge amount of traffic the MySpace domain gets, the reviews are already pouring in.  It undoubtedly helps that MySpace Local syndicates user activity back to MySpace activity streams, focusing on highlighting activity between friends.

So how does this help Citysearch?  In two ways.  First it connects an ancient web property to something newer, younger, and just plain cooler.  Second, MySpace and Citysearch have formed a revenue sharing agreement with MySpace Local.  MySpace allows businesses to advertise to local users with its self-service MyAds service, bringing in new revenues for both properties.  And as the user engagement has shown so far, MySpace Local will only improve as it opens to countries outside of the United States.

Citysearch isn’t stopping with MySpace however.  This morning, IAC announced it had acquired Urbanspoon , the popular GPS-enabled iPhone application that randomly picks a restaurant for you to eat at after you shake the phone.  The enormously popular application, one of the first to launch in Apple’s App Store and featured on an Apple TV commercial, was a website before the iPhone existed, but didn’t previously have the same success.  The Urbanspoon team will remain together and report to Citysearch chief executive Jay Herratti, bringing a more local flavor to Citysearch coverage in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.  It’ll also allow Urbanspoon to leverage Citysearch’s size and resources to expand its own business.

In my opinion these are both great partnerships for Citysearch.  Whether Yelp will bring in more traffic next month remains to be seen, but Citysearch is definitely doing what it needs to be in order to build a more profitable web and mobile property.  And in the end, that’s the bottom line.

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