IAC's CityGrid Acquires Felix, Strengthens Performance Marketing Model

Jason-Finger-AThe InterActiveCorp operating unit CityGrid has acquired Felix, a pay-per-call company focused on performance marketing. The company will operate as an independent business within the CityGrid unit, which includes Citysearch, Insider Pages, Urbanspoon, and CityGrid Advertising Network.

The acquisition fits into CityGrid's focus to build customer acquisition tools for merchants, according to CityGrid CEO Jason Finger. It offers a series of closed-loop transaction services supporting local advertising services for small and medium-sized businesses, he said.

"Once we have more of a complementary offering for Felix, we'll look at other ways to integrate the business unit," Finger said. "Some of those might include payment processing, appointment setting, ordering and reservations. On the other end, there are merchant-focused tools, like accounting platforms, CRM, and inventory management."

A calling algorithm identifies specific keywords based on a taxonomy that allows merchants to pay for customers, not clicks or phone calls. Advertisers only pay for calls or leads that turn consumers into customers. The system classifies voice calls to merchants depending on the question, such as whether the consumer asks for directions or books a service.

Felix CEO and co-founder Brent Metz will remain with the new CityGrid business unit based in New York, along with approximately 85 employees. Metz will report to Finger.

Felix has provided distribution to its merchant customers on CityGrid’s local advertising network since 2009. Terms of the deal, which officially closed last week, were not disclosed.

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