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When it was launched in 2004, Gannett’s Planet Discover was a pioneer in local search and later, the development of local online marketplaces. But it has lately had a lower profile, dating to a temporary mid-2007 mandate to focus on Gannett newspaper and broadcast properties. That mandate ended in mid-2008, and the company has since been aggressively going after new accounts both inside and outside of Gannett.

Today, the company, which is headquartered in Cincinnati and also maintains an office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides directory, local search, events and marketplaces for nearly 100 Gannett properties. It also provides services for a wide range of non-Gannett properties. These include, most notably, CBS owned- and-operated stations, as well as McClatchy and Dow Jones community newspapers.

CEO David Lenzen tells us that the company’s directory product has especially evolved. In one installation, directory listings pull in content from CityGrid Media, such as ratings and reviews. The highly targeted content really helps “ramp up the sales effort” for Planet Discover’s partners, he says.

The modern directory actually has multiple facets to it, Lenzen notes. “We really don’t focus on it so much as an Internet Yellow Pages as an online local marketplace,” with coupons, etc. The way it has been configured it also works very well with various vertical skins. “We can easily create vertical marketplaces for a local market, including wedding, dining and specialty automotive, for example,” he adds.

The company is now leveraging its development expertise to create native mobile apps, such as a Local News reader for Apple’s iOS and Android. The news reader is based on content that has already been ingested into the company’s seven-year-old Search Publisher.

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