CityGrid Lays Off Most Of Staff, Vows To “Streamline”

CityGridCityGrid is IAC’s main local property (along with HomeAdvisor, the former ServiceMagic). IAC says CityGrid has 1.5 million local advertisers (most through third-party partners), 15 million local business profiles and more than 350 Web and mobile publisher and ad network partners. The division also houses Urbanspoon, InsiderPages and pay-per-call platform Felix (acquired from Yext).

Today, the company announced that two-thirds of the headcount associated with CityGrid were laid off. Urbanspoon and Insiderpages were not part of the layoffs. The company offered the following statement, putting a positive spin on the radical surgery:

The layoffs will increase operating efficiency, reduce costs and have a meaningful impact on the company’s future profitability.  By streamlining operations, we expect to grow the CityGrid Network and increase returns for both publishers and advertisers.

The creation of CityGrid was a reaction to the decline of Citysearch as a local online destination in the face of intensifying competition from Yelp and Google. It was launched as an ad and local content network in 2010 by then CEO Jay Herratti.

Conceptually, the move was brilliant: provide content, local ads and traffic to third parties and publishers eager for quality alternatives to Google. However, execution has proven to be uneven.

Following Herratti, Seamless founder Jason Finger was brought in to run CityGrid. It appears that IAC had made the decision to sell CityGrid and Citysearch and charged Finger with that task. However, the company was unable to sell the property, and Finger resigned or was ousted earlier this year. He was replaced by Ron LaPierre. LaPierre’s current status is uncertain.

CityGrid employed a direct sales force. My guess is that will be a casualty of these layoffs. Advertiser churn had reportedly been very high in recent months.

To the extent that IAC retains CityGrid I suspect the company will try to retool as a local traffic provider and automated distributor of mostly third-party ads. I also suspect the efforts to sell the division will continue. A number of local media companies might be interested if the price were right.

Postscript: I was informed that pay-per-call division Felix has also been moved out from within CityGrid and was not impacted by these layoffs.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Internet Marketing Industry

Sponsored


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



Marketing Day:

Get the top marketing stories daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!