Ron LaPierre CEO of CityGrid Media

ron LaPierreI’m not certain right now whether this is an interim or a “permanent” appointment. However I received word from IAC that Ron LaPierre is now the CEO of CityGrid Media, taking over from Jason Finger who “resigned” officially last week.

LaPierre served as the president of shopping engine PriceGrabber. He was also with Overture and the Walt Disney Company in the past. LaPierre has also been a long-time consultant working with clients such as Microsoft, Milo and Become.com. In his LinkedIn profile LaPierre emphasizes “senior level relationships in the media, entertainment and technology sectors — including top companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, eBay, AOL, Comcast, IAC, Disney, Sony, NBCUniversal, Paramount and Experian.”

Citysearch

My understanding is that IAC has been trying to sell Citysearch and CityGrid for a long time and has not found a buyer (based on whatever price was being sought). I also understand that a reorg is going to be announced that will separate what had been a cluster of IAC properties under CityGrid: Citysearch, InsiderPages and Urbanspoon.

Apparently the Urbanspoon property is the strongest of the three, though I’m not looking at any traffic data. That’s hearsay information.

The decline of Citysearch is an amazing story. As I said previously, Citysearch was once the equivalent of what Yelp is today: the main source of local business reviews online. It was aggressively challenged by Yelp and was never able to effectively respond.

The story is not unlike the Mapquest-Google Maps story. Mapquest was long neglected by AOL corporate, lost its position as the top mapping site and was never able to regain momentum against Google Maps. Mapquest execs may blame the ability of Google to show its own maps at the top of search results but corporate neglect has more to do with the venerable mapping site’s decline.

So too with Citysearch, which has seen its brand and traffic slowly and then more quickly erode over the past eight or nine years. In some ways CityGrid was a response to the decline of Citysearch. But, apparently, CityGrid was not able to fulfill promises to advertisers and suffered massive churn.

The number I heard was something approaching 20% per month — per month. Again that’s second-hand information but it’s pretty damning.

It’s really not clear what will happen now. The reorg is likely to take place and then perhaps a new, more aggressive effort to sell Citysearch and CityGrid. I suspect that’s why LaPierre has been hired.

But who might want to buy them? And how much are they currently worth?

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5 Responses to “Ron LaPierre CEO of CityGrid Media”

  1. Street Fight Daily: Hyperlocal Targeting Faces Scrutiny, New CEO at CityGrid | Street Fight says at

    [...] LaPierre CEO of CityGrid Media (Screenwerk) Greg Sterling: According to IAC, Ron LaPierre is now the CEO of CityGrid Media, taking over from [...]

  2. David Mihm says at

    Interested to hear the answers about how much they’re currently worth. As an SEO play they could be pretty valuable to another established brand (YP, Dex Media, etc) but most of those companies would not seem to have the cash to make this kind of purchase.

  3. Greg Sterling says at

    You’re right the YPs don’t have the cash to make acquisitions at that level (whatever it is). However they should be making smaller acquisitions that boost their tech or offer valuable new hires.

  4. pc says at

    Crazy.  They had the talent (at one point), but inclusion within IAC structure likely made certain strategic moves and investments difficult.  The folks at Urbanspoon are great – they should focus here and extend.

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    Yes . . . IAC corporate may have been a roadblock. Such was the case several years ago with Ask

  6. CityGrid Lays Off Most Of Staff, Vows To "Streamline" says at

    [...] company was unable to sell the property and Finger resigned or was ousted earlier this year. He was replaced by Ron LaPierre. LaPierre’s current status is [...]

  7. CityGrid Lays Off Most Of Staff, Vows To “Streamline” ,Vancouver Island, Canada says at

    [...] was incompetent to sell a skill and Finger resigned or was ousted progressing this year. He was replaced by Ron LaPierre. LaPierre’s stream standing is [...]

  8. North County Dog Training says at

    I was pushed to sign up with them and found it to be the worst business decision I have made. They supposedly drove loads of business to a page on their own site but not ONE of those went to MY site. They were supposed to refund 200.00 as agreed but didn’t, they also were supposed to cancel my subscription to them as asked over and over again but I finally had to cancel my bank card in order to stop them from continually debiting it. In my opinion, this company is morally and ethically bankrupt and I’m not surprised that they may be following suit financially. 

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