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06|28|2007 01:32 am EDT

Marchex launches OpenList integration accross 100,000 domains

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Development, Editorial

Hats OffHats off to Marchex (MCHX), a company that has always innovated in our space, be it for example by amassing a huge collection of zip-code domains or now by integrating content across 100,000 different domains. While the zip-code domains did not start a new direct navigation trend (at least as far as I know), the content integration appears to have had a positive effect on repeat visitors for their domain names according to initial trials. Marchex even managed the full integration to be ready before the initially announced launch date of June 30th.

So how does the integration work? Marchex took their OpenList local reviews, expanded them beyond the initial dataset of hotels and restaurants, combined them with the data obtained from their Yellow Pages partnership, probably added some components from their purchase of AreaConnect.com and integrated them into their domain lander pages. So if you now visit for example one of their flagship domains, videocameras.com, you will see a list of local video and camera stores.

I think this content will work best with their local domains (such as their NewYorkDoctors.com). I am not entirely convinced that this type of content will work as well with product specific domains (like videocameras.com) and very generic domains (cuisine.com). On product specific domains, I would probably rather start out with product reviews (like the ones we are going to collect with SharedReviews) on the homepage and then feature the local store reviews (and reviews of online-stores) on sub-pages (i.e. “where to buy”).

Large scale development like this can be quite challenging and of course the results are going to vary on a per domain basis. It is especially difficult to take existing traffic into consideration when working on a project of this size. Another challenge and question is how the search engines will react – will they consider the content duplicate content, or will they pick up and display more of the pages in their search results in the future? Hopefully Marchex will be so kind again to share some results with the public.

For people that are looking to set up similar sites using local data, I would strongly suggest for them to also check iBegin Source an amazing new service that offers local business data and a geo-coding service at impressive prices.

The New York times technology blog also has some more details on the integration.

[via Press Release]

(disclaimer: I own a small amount of Marchex shares.)

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