I got a note the other day from my good friend Ben Saren about CitySquares expanding its tent pegs. From the press release: (you can download/read the full release here)
“CitySquares.com, the premiere hyper-local search site serving Boston and its metropolitan area, is expanding into all of New England and the greater New York City area. Beginning June 13, the number of local businesses featured on the CitySquares.com website will number over 1.5 million, a 2400% increase over its current offering.”
After reading the release, I shot Ben and email with a few more questions:
Q. Ben, why is CitySquares expanding?
A. Based on the successes we’re having in greater Boston, we feel that we’r accomplished the key objectives and goals we’re set for ourselves and now we’re ready to start applying those lessons to a broader geographic region. Furthermore, we’re heard calls for CitySquares from communities throughout New England, and because we’ll continue to focus our sales and marketing efforts within greater Boston, there is little reason not to expand into those communities.
Q. How will the website(s) be set up? Will folks will go to CitySquares.com and then select their city/state or will there be individual sites for each location?
A. That’s right. There will be a home page that will feature the states and regions, and you can drill down from there. But as it is today, you’ll still be able to find city/town/neighborhood home pages. We’re just adding other layers on top of this: states and their regions.
Q. For those not familiar with CitySquares, can you tell them how much is costs and what do they get with a business profile?
A. Our retail pricing for a Deluxe Business Profile is $1200/yr. However, each and every business in our market is listed for free, and that gives them a search engine optimized basic profile. For a fixed price they can upgrade to a Deluxe Profile which gets them lots more.
Then we have other products we can include in the profile like an online merchant video and Constant Contact newsletter services. Advertisers are then able to login and make changes to their profile, see traffic statistics and more. They also some pretty fantastic customer support, and access to other offline campaigns and products we provide.
Q. How does CitySquares fare against some of the other more established, nationally based hyperlocal sites?
A. I can’t name any nationally based or more well established hyperlocal sites. The only hyperlocal sites I know of are metro focused or regionally focused and they are not here in New England. Of the nationally established local search players and city guides, however, specifically those who are here in metro Boston, the only company we compete against for SMB advertisers is Citysearch, and frankly, their value proposition helps us with ours.
Q. Finally, where do you the future of hyperlocal going?
A. I can nott say. The concept ofhyperlocal is so nascent and it means different things to different people. To me, hyperlocal is simply about providing relevant content in a relevant local context, whether its news, events, citizen journalism, or local business data.
To me, hyperlocal is my neighborhood in Boston. To others, hyperlocal might be their county. Ultimately, however, I think hyperlocal will find its way to mobile. That said, I think that’s really the future of all things local/hyperlocal.
Thanks Ben, good luck with the expansion and let us know how it goes!