Media

With ad network growing, Citysearch becomes CityGrid Media

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Citysearch, the subsidiary of Web giant IAC that runs the local directory website of the same name, just announced that it’s renaming itself CityGrid Media. Chief executive Jay Herratti said the change is the culmination of a company revamp that began when he took over three years ago.

Specifically, Herratti said Citysearch’s real opportunity is less as a standalone site and more as a supplier local content and advertising to other sites. So he has built a local ad network called CityGrid, and it officially launched in January. Then, sometime in the intervening months, CityGrid’s revenue overtook the Citysearch site’s. So renaming itself CityGrid Media is “basically putting our name where our money is,” Herratti said.

The new subsidiary will run three IAC-owned sites — Citysearch, Insider Pages, and Urbanspoon. Content from those sites is distributed to more than 150 Web and mobile publishing partners, including Bing, MapQuest, and AOL. Some of its partner sites are providing content too. And along with that content, CityGrid aggregates local advertising from more than 700,000 businesses.

Publishers are so satisfied with the program that not a single one has left, Herratti said, although Citysearch has “fired a couple,” for reasons like low traffic.

CityGrid plans to continue investing in other companies, as it recently did recently with online search advertising service OrangeSoda. And since IAC acquired Urbanspoon last year, I asked Herratti if he’s planning to do more buying. It’s a possibility, but CityGrid isn’t likely to acquire another a publisher, he said.

“Maybe I’ll buy individual publishers, but at the moment I’ve got three and I’m happy with them,” Herratti said. “I’m more interested in companies that will benefit the ecosystem of all my partners.”