, a real estate search and information portal affiliated with HGTV, today announces the launch of a City Guides section with a range of city-focused multimedia information.

The city-focused, consumer-focused online "guides" contains articles, user reviews of local haunts and hangouts, demographic statistics, interactive maps that can display a range of local amenities, photos shared via the Flickr site, and videos produced by TurnHere, in addition to the option for a standard property search.

There are 21 city areas now featured in City Guides, with plans to bring the total to 50 by the end of March, said Rich Lacy, vice president and site director for

The City Guides represent "the very first stages of a larger project," said Lacy, and there is an eventual goal to provide content down to the neighborhood level in some select areas and to offer expanded information for about 28,000 city areas.

The residents of a given area are "ultimately the most respected source" of information, he said, and the goal is to provide detailed information from a local perspective — which would be of interest to prospective buyers pondering a move — rather than offering more shallow, touristy information.

The first group of city areas included at the City Guides section include: Aspen, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Sonoma, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

While some real estate sites provide Q&A sections that allow consumers and real estate professionals to interact, Lacy said that FrontDoor at this point is more focused on building up an inventory of consumer reviews.

"The main problem that we see out there with other services in the space — it’s a situation where you have a lot of ‘pros’ and not a lot of ‘Joes,’ " he said. "We’re trying to get a good balance."

As a part of the Scripps Networks Digital media group, which also includes the HGTV cable network and companion Web site, Lacy said that FrontDoor can tap into existing home-related video content.

"We’re used to telling stories with video. We have thousands of hours of video shows that we can pull from and add to," he said.

There are also plans for widgets that will allow site users to export some site features for display "on social networks that they may already be a part of," he also said.


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