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Local search site CitySquares growing fast

According to numbers released by Quantcast, CitySquares.com is the fastest-growing search site on the web. Of course, CitySquares.com is starting from a small base — it expanded in June from the Boston area to New York and all of New England — and that makes up the 1500% percent traffic jump. But there’s no denying the site has tremendous potential. (In fact, Clickz once said, “CitySquares may well be the future of local online advertising.”)

In its most basic form, CitySquares is a local search site and business directory. While city guide sites like CitySearch focus on restaurants and the like, CitySquares also lists plumbers, painters and nail salons — all with user reviews. The site’s advertising products are extensive: basic listings are free, and deluxe listings feature coupons, photo galleries and “enhanced search engine optimization” to move the listing up Google and Yahoo’s organic results. Businesses can set up their own email distribution lists via a relationship with Constant Contact. They can also buy advertorial video clips, powered by TurnHere. One-click-print coupons appear on the main city and neighborhood pages. And, of course, there are traditional display ads.

There’s something to be said about how CitySquares started: in a single neighborhood back in 2005. Now three years later, it’s expanded over New York and New England — rather slow, organic expansion given today’s internet speed. But that approach, which ensures neighborhoods are well-represented before expanding, appears to be a critical success factor.

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