Free business listings are available again on Citysearch. That’s just one of the announcements Citysearch is making tonight, but it’s the one that’s drawn the most discussion and interest among readers of this blog. (You may recall the blog posts this summer about the disappearance of the “Add A Business” page, and Citysearch’s promise to bring it back.)
How to Add a Business to Citysearch
The best way to start is to go to Citysearch and search for your business. If it’s not already in their database, you’ll get a “We found no results message” with a link to add your business. It looks like this:
That link points to this URL, the default page for adding a business to Citysearch: http://national.citysearch.com/profile/add_business. Note that if you’re in a larger city/metro than I am, your URL may be customized to your location, like this URL for Seattle businesses to add a listing: http://seattle.citysearch.com/profile/add_business.
The Add A Business page requires very basic business information and offers a fairly limited set of categories to choose from. You also have the option of rating or writing a review at the same time as you submit your business, but I don’t recommend reviewing yourself. (It looks spammy.)
Adding a basic listing to Citysearch is free.
How to Claim Your Citysearch Listing
If your business is already in Citysearch’s database, you can use the business profile page to claim the listing. Look for the “Own this Business?” link below your business information to get started on claiming your listing.
Claiming an existing listing on Citysearch is also free.
New: Twitter & Tweets on Citysearch Business Profile Pages
Also announced tonight is the addition of Twitter data and messages (”tweets”) to Citysearch business profile pages. Here’s what all is involved:
1.) Create Twitter accounts via Citysearch. When signing up for a business listing, or when claiming/editing an existing listing, businesses will be invited to create a Twitter account (or provide a Twitter username if they already have one). This is the first time any site has offered Twitter account creation without going through Twitter.com. Citysearch is using Twitter’s API for this, as well as these other features on business profile pages.
2.) Twitter data as core business information. Citysearch is making a push on the social side of local business search. Businesses that provide their Twitter or Facebook account information will see that data elevated with the core business data, like this:
During a call on Friday, Citysearch told me that they are moving in the direction of becoming a directory of businesses on Twitter and Facebook.
3.) Tweets as business reviews. The Twitter partnership also includes the inclusion of tweets about a business right on the business profile page, along with a tool to post to Twitter right from the business listing. It looks like this:
(see the Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar listing for a live look)
The obvious concern here is that not every tweet about a business is positive. And yes, if Twitter users are saying bad things about a business on Twitter, those may appear on the business listing page. Citysearch says tweets are a type of review, and just as reviews posted on the site may be negative, tweets might, too. However, in extreme cases where a Twitter user seems to be targeting a certain business, that business owner can use Twitter’s own “block” function to prevent the tweets from appearing on its business listing page.
Citysearch says the addition of other social media information to business profile pages, such as Facebook status updates, is “on our radar.” They’re also planning an “extensive FAQ” about Twitter’s integration into Citysearch, and plan to educate business owners about the bigger issue of social media and reputation management.
Your turn: What are your thoughts on the inclusion of Twitter and tweets on Citysearch business profile pages? What about the Add A Business feature coming back? Comments are open.
(more about Citysearch and Twitter on Techmeme)