Monday, January 14, 2008

A Better Mousetrap? Clikity Split

Today Jim Clouse, CEO of ClikitySplit took me through the new local search site that is sure to cause waves in the space.

The Tennessee based company launched only six days ago and is based on a visual mapping platform.

Currently populated with over 135,000 hotels, the search engine allows users to select criteria and have all listings appear on the map in the form of visual billboards. Green dots are collapsed free listings and the red dots are those listings that are actively advertising with rich content.

Jim is going full steam after the traditional search engines citing that the current algorithms throw a major wrench into the user experience and relevancy of their searches. The ClikitySplit model displays all options and lets the users decide what is relevant to them.

While there are a few technical bugs left to sort out (less than a week old), the interface is intuitive and quick considering the rich content it holds.

There are currently four advertising options for local advertisers. The differences are not in ranking or positioning but rather in the content they are able to communicate to users. Advertisers can choose from creating basic billboards containing “quick info” and “specials”, or move up two levels and go full torque with a premium listing that allows them to upload video and audio media to their billboards.

The system is self-procured but advertisers can get support if desired through an account management team.

Perhaps the most interesting piece from an advertiser perspective is the batch uploading tool. For centralized accounts, advertisers can upload an entire database to create hundreds of billboards and then customize them individually through an administrative back office that can be tweaked for permissions. This piece gives ClikitySplit a quick entrance to agencies handling larger national brands as well as centralized marketing directors of franchised operations.

The obvious hurdle to jump will be in capturing market share but Jim was bullish on this. He’s confident that ClikitySplit is the better mousetrap and users will eventually choose applications that work for them. This and a major media effort coming out over the next few months may start the ball rolling.

The platform is built for mobility and applications that work on phones and other devices are planned to launch as early as April.

The company is currently is discussions with potential mobility partners. It will be interesting to see if it gets snapped up with all the M&A’s currently going on.

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