Is it my imagination or is there a massive local search land grab in action between companies like Idearch, Marchex, Dex and Local.com?
Idearc Media Corp (Verizon, Superpages.com) has made the latest move with the acquisition of the LocalSearch.com URL and the forging of a strategic investment in AmericanTowns.com (previous owner of LocalSearch.com), a national network of community-based websites where residents can find and share local content.
Under the terms of the URL acquisition, Idearc will receive ownership and all rights to the LocalSearch.com URL and domain name. Under the terms of the strategic investment, Idearc will receive an equity interest in AmericanTowns.com, including a seat on the AmericanTowns.com Board of Directors, and the companies will seek to share content, traffic and expertise. Chandler will represent Idearc on the AmericanTowns.com Board of Directors. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2007 for cash of $3.3 million plus deferred purchase consideration.
AmericanTowns.com will use proceeds from this transaction to continue growing its database, which is projected to feature over 10 million local events this year, to develop new tools for community groups, and to further open each “community web space” to local contributions of relevant links, blogs and other resources. At the same time, AmericanTowns.com will expand its hyper-local offering to more than 22,000 U.S. towns, giving each a “virtual town square” where town residents, community groups and others will be able to access and share information about their local communities. AmericanTowns.com will also fund some of these planned initiatives via proceeds from a private funding that closed in July 2007.