CitySearch Latest to Offer Small Business E-Commerce

Ticketmaster Online – CitySearch (Nasdaq: TMCS) announced on Friday a new service called “CitySearch Commerce,” that enables small and medium-sized businesses to conduct electronic commerce. The new service augments CitySearch’s existing Web site development offerings for small businesses. Similar to services offered by Yahoo!Store and GeoCities, the new CitySearch service offers basic online selling features at a low development cost.

However, unlike its competitors, which enable online merchants to develop their own stores, this new service will require CitySearch to handle the site development. That, of course, causes an additional layer of cost to be passed on to merchants.

Typical Pricing

A CitySearch spokesperson indicates that a “typical catalog” would cost $400-$500 (US$) per month, while a “full-blown” e-commerce site would range from $600-$800 monthly. This price point places CitySearch at the high-end of similar offerings. Nonetheless, for merchants who are unwilling or unable to develop their own basic sites, this may represent a viable option.

According to the company, online merchants will be able to list products and services, take orders through their Web sites and securely process transactions. CitySearch will provide site development services and marketing consultation to help merchants develop their online sales efforts over time, thereby allowing merchants to “test the waters” before implementing a comprehensive e-commerce service.

CitySearch’s E-Commerce Strategy

The new service is part of CitySearch’s strategy to incorporate e-commerce capabilities into its local portal sites.

“CitySearch Commerce represents the next building block for long-term online marketing success. We now provide localized e-commerce that allows the thousands of CitySearch merchants and other businesses to market their goods and services on the Internet,” said Charles Conn, CEO of Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch.

CitySearch Commerce incorporates online store technology from INTERSHOP Communications, a leader in e-commerce mall development, which is ranked number one in Europe, and is rapidly gaining ground in the U.S.

Ticketmaster Tie-Ins

In addition to hosting online stores, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch has been developing its e-commerce strategy by adding online sales features to its local content. In February, the company announced that the Denver CitySearch local portal site would integrate information about events with the ability to purchase tickets to the events online.

“CitySearch has evolved to become more than just a source of information, with integrated transaction services such as Ticketmaster Online, person-to-person auctions via CityAuction, and merchandise available from First Auction,” said Charles Conn.

The Denver site’s renewed focus on e-commerce, if successful, is expected to be applied to other CitySearch local content sites.

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