Canadian local business directory LocalHood.ca has announced a delay in its planned launch of its newest web presence platform for local business advertisers. The site has been preparing for an official soft launch which was earlier announced for April/30/2012. A directory spokesperson claims that the delay is due to a change of direction concerning its target market and a potential name change for the directory.
The directory will now target the inclusion of U.S. based local businesses and not just Canadian advertisers. According to LocalHood Marketing Manager Wilf Barnes; “our platform extends itself very well to pretty much any localized place of interest and we’ve had enough inquiries from U.S. based businesses to justify an expansion of our directory’s reach to include the United States.”
The inclusion of U.S. location parameters is a pretty simple add on for the directory because its cloud based software is completely scalable. In fact the directory’s platform could just as easily expand globally. Adding a database of American States and Cities is pretty straight forward but including U.S. based listings calls into question the branding strategy which was being built around the LocalHood.ca name.
The .ca extension is country specific and it represents Canada on the World Wide Web. “A .ca domain extension just won’t resonate with U.S. based web visitors who are looking for U.S. based location information” according to Barnes. Consequently the directory is anticipating a name change.
Localhood.ca is a privately held Canadian business and a trademark of the LocalHood name is being claimed by the directory’s ownership. But the same ownership does not have rights to the .com extension for LocalHood. That leaves room for confusion down the road concerning the use of the name LocalHood.
Barnes was confident that “we already own a .com domain name that we think is even better suited to what our core offer is than the LocalHood name”. The company is evaluating feedback from focus groups around the use of a few different name possibilities. If there is a name change, the company won’t launch unless it’s under a .com extension given its potential for global expansion.
The company has delayed its official launch until they settle on its name going forward. “The delay is really not a big deal” according to Barnes “because the site is live and performing very well for our current group of advertisers”. “Whether your business is in financial services, wellness and health care, construction or even something as specific as a family lawyer in Mississauga, your web presence is growing through our directory.”
The company’s marketing collateral will need to undergo a complete overhaul among other logistical factors related to a name change but according to Barnes “those are just details. Our focus right now is to be impatient for profit and patient for growth. We want a great foundation in place before we launch distribution” said Barnes. The new name possibilities were not revealed.