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Google Local Grows New Head

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Google snatched up a newspaper/online classifieds veteran right from the jaws of major newspaper companies to head up Google Local. Formerly of Classified Ventures’ Homescape.com, Sam Sebastian is described as a new avenue to print advertising for Google.

The news comes this way from a weblog post by Peter Krasilovsky of Krasilovsky Consulting.

Though many may be unfamiliar with Classified Ventures, or even real estate vertical Homescape.com, they most likely will have heard of sister sites like Apartments.com and Cars.com, as well as the six-member media partnership that owns Classified Ventures — Tribune, Knight Ridder, Gannett, McClatchy, Belo, and the Washington Post Co.

Classified Ventures runs the online real estate sections of over 125 newspapers. Sebastian has a long history in bridging the print/online gap for Homescape.com through his involvement in marketing the site and building online real estate sections newspaper advertisers.

Indeed, sister-site Apartments.com announced just last week the launch of a new print advertising campaign entitled “More Under One Roof” as part of a larger media convergence effort.

“Apartments.com and our newspaper affiliates maximize exposure of our listings to renters through print newspaper ads and online ad promotion,” said Michael Ricciardelli, Vice President of Marketing and Media Sales at Apartments.com. Ricciardelli also stated that the newspaper affiliates reached some 25 million households through Sunday circulation.

Krasilovsky theorizes that choosing Sebastian to head Google Local would be good for Google, but bad for Classified Ventures.

“Sebastian might build bridges to newspapers,” writes Krasilovsky. “But he also poses something of a threat, since he conceivably knows all the details of classified initiatives of all the Classified Ventures’ newspaper owners.”

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    Though many may be unfamiliar with Classified Ventures, or even real estate vertical Homescape.com, they most likely will have heard of sister sites like Apartments.com and Cars.com, as well as the six-member media partnership that owns Classified Ventures — Tribune, Knight Ridder, Gannett, McClatchy, Belo, and the Washington Post Co.