Ask Jeeves Expands Local Search via Citysearch

To expand its local search options, Ask Jeeves has partnered with Citysearch for access to its local business listings.

To expand its local search options, Ask Jeeves Inc. on Tuesday partnered with Citysearch for access to its local business listings.

Ask Jeeves over the course of the next month plans to add Citysearch information to its search results, said Jim Lanzone, the companys senior vice president of search properties at Ask Jeeves. Along with listings, Ask Jeeves also will incorporate editorial and user reviews, ratings, and other information on businesses such as hours.

"What we found was that people really needed more context in the results to their local queries for a business or service," Lanzone said.

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The additional local data will be added into Ask Jeeves Smart Search results, the name for its intuitive results that appear atop links, as well as a new local search channel to be added to the search site, Lanzone said.

As part of the partnership, Emeryville, Calif.-based Ask Jeeves is licensing the structured local data from Citysearch in exchange for sharing revenue from search-based advertising, officials with the companies said.

Ask Jeeves move follows growing interest among the major Web search engines in local search and as traditional Yellow Pages providers adopt more keyword search-oriented approaches.

Yahoo Inc. this week opened a beta of a new Yahoo Local search engine, though company officials were not available to discuss details of it. Google Inc. in March launched a beta site called Google Local, for geographic-specific results.

Citysearch, an InterActiveCorp business based in Los Angeles, previously has licensed its local content to portals for locally targeted sites, but the Ask Jeeves deal is the first time that its data will be incorporated into algorithmic search results, Citysearch CEO Briggs Ferguson said. Ferguson said Citysearch is interested in expanding the search approach with other search engines.

"We have great depth of information around all these local businesses that allow users to make decisions," Ferguson said. "The content we have sort of naturally fits with the search product Ask Jeeves is developing for the local market."

Along with its local-content partnership, Ask Jeeves on Monday expanded its Smart Search features to provide maps and driving directions as well as city guides to about 4,000 cities, Lanzone said.

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