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IAC’s Citysearch Invests In Ad Marketer OrangeSoda; Expands Local Ad Net CityGrid

IAC-owned local guide network Citysearch is expanding its local listings ad service CityGrid through a partnership with search marketer OrangeSoda. Citysearch is also providing an investment in Utah-based OrangeSoda, the amount of which is undisclosed. The move is part of a more aggressive effort by Citysearch to attract more ad dollars from local businesses. While Citysearch has been around for 15 years and has often catered to local online advertisers across a dozen city-centric sites, many other outlets are similarly stepping up their outreach to small marketers too. With CityGrid, Citysearch isn’t trying to beat those other directory and local blog sites; it believes it can get those competitors to join them.

CityGrid opened up its system to outside publishers last month. In an interview with paidContent, Neil Salvage, Citysearch’s EVP of advertising, describes CityGrid as a local content ad net that is designed as a one-stop-shop for local ads. “Citysearch has 3 million reviews built up over a decade,” Salvage said. “What CityGrid does is touch all search engines, directories, multiple publishers, and social nets including Facebook and Twitter. We have 500,000 paying advertisers on this network. In terms of attracting publishers, we will pay publisher if they initiate an ad connection.”

In explaining how they chose to work with and invest in OrangeSoda, Salvage said that IAC (NSDQ: IACI) made the decision to find a company that can improve its search engine optimization efforts. “Pay-per-click is something that we’ve done very well with, but many local advertisers still don’t understand that process very well. OrangeSoda can help us hold the hands of some advertisers who need the extra guidance.”

OrangeSoda also has a white label reseller platform, which Citysearch also plans to make use of that tool to help it cover advertisers in areas where the IAC company’s sales force doesn’t reach. OrangeSoda has previously raised $7.5 million funding since opening its doors in 2006.