Social Media and Social Networking

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MySpace Rolls Out Local Business Directories

Posted by Vaibhav Kalamdani on April 1, 2009

myspace-citysearchFinding local business directories just got easier! Social network MySpace is localizing with small-business directories that features content generated by users. To get started, it has collaborated with Citysearch to introduce MySpace Local in private beta, which will provide several benefits to MySpace users based in the US.

The latest feature will allow users access social directories of small-sized businesses, write reviews, rate and share the content with others. MySpace is still working on the plan, and expects a national public beta launch in the following month. The social networking giant also plans to make the service available on mobile, increase the number of categories, and expand the service outside US.

Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace called the move as a “defining moment” in MySpace’s emergence as a social portal. He stated that the company is about the discovery of content and culture through the lens of your friends. MySpace Local is the representation of both an evolution in social discovery and a revolution of the company’s larger content strategy.

Stating it as the first-ever social directory for local businesses, DeWolfe believes that this will play a significant role in outlining MySpace’s global strategy. According to the company representatives, MySpace has the potential to beat similar-service-offering sites like Yelp, as it enjoys a vast user-base and engagement.

Jeff Berman, president of sales and marketing at MySpace said during the news conference that the best way to spread the word about goods is via conversation. According to him, word of mouth has forever been the most powerful form of marketing, and today, we are putting the 21st century version of social discovery in the hands of every local business.

Multiple Benefits:

MySpace’s decision to roll out local business directories would be useful not only for users, but also small businesses and advertisers.

Benefits to Small Businesses: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) would be able to reach over 70 million local MySpace users, most of whom can be their potential customers.

Benefits to Advertisers: According to Berman, large advertisers will benefit from ‘hyper-targeted ads’. Though MySpace is still working on monetization issues, he believes there are several ways available to monetize activity around some 20 million small businesses in US alone.

Benefits to Users: The feature will empower MySpace members to search by category, neighborhood, or cuisine type, and browse business related information such as videos, maps, photos, menus, hours of operation, reviews from friends, etc. Moreover, they will be allowed to add the business to their profile, bookmark the businesses and share the listings with others.

About the Partnership:

By partnering with Citysearch, MySpace Local will be able to access it’s database of major cities across US and provide listings on three categories immediately: restaurants, bars and nightlife. Finally, they could add more categories to the list ranging from various industries.

Jay Herratti, CEO at Citysearch views the partnership as a way to expand the company’s user base. Talking about the possibilities of MySpace Local cutting into Citysearch traffic, he said that he sees it as a completely new channel.

According to him, this social marketplace will transform the way small businesses locate for new customers using MySpace. Citysearch will assist these small businesses extend their reach further across the Web, and the partnership will represent a great marketing strategy for small enterprises.

As far as users’ reviews are concerned, they will show up on their ‘Friend’s Updates’, and those looking out for recommendations will be allowed to filter results to perform search.

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