Main Street’s Need for Speed

The single-best deal, assertion, investment or other strategy this week.

Who: Main Street Connect

Why: For its plan to scale up to 6,000 hyperlocal sites across the country in a few short years

Advertisers typically want to reach more than a single town. If independent community news site proprietors are making good dough, why aren’t they propagating, sharing their news prowess with neighbor towns? That’s what we’ll be doing with our profits — reinvest, reinvest, reinvest, so our products and processes get more and more excellent..Carll Tucker, Main Street Connect CEO

It’s not very popular to say when it comes to hyperlocal publishing, where “community” and all its touchy-feely connotations reign, but scale does seem to matter. hasn’t made a lot of friends pursuing this aim, of course, and Tucker doesn’t seem too concerned about rankling the indie hyperlocals, either (see our interview with him, the comments that ensued, and his response).

Main Street may not be backed by a major media company, like Patch is, but it plans on moving just as fast. This past week, it rolled out 32 more hyperlocal sites, bringing the total to 51. It will take some massive hiring and resources to hit Tucker’s goal, but it’s a worthy aim—as long as it is done without careering off-course by all that speed.

Do you think Main Street Connect is right to scale so fast? Post your view in the comments.

Street Smart Moves is published every Friday. If you have a vote for the single-best deal, assertion, investment or other strategy, let us know by Thursday. Read more Street Smart Moves here.
  1. June 3, 2011

    MSC will fail because they are overselling ads in order to remain profitable…  Once the business owners realize they are better off paying for 1) SEO or 2) Google Ads, they will jump ship.  There isn’t much ROI in this “15 ads per page” model…

    1. June 3, 2011

      San Diego SEO,

      The beauty of MSC is that we don’t just run banner ads. See more here:

      Andrew Vazzano
      Marketing Manager, Main Street Connect

    2. June 3, 2011

      In another thread I already addressed your ill-informed opinion on ad models.

      As for Mr. Tucker’s statement, “Advertisers typically want to reach more than a single town.”Actually, no, they don’t.  Not if you’re a small business serving a single town, which is a market terribly underserved by news media all stripes.

      One reason, among others, newspapers have lost so much local advertising is the fact they all went to regional editions.  If Tommy’s Toy Store is based in Smithville, Mr. Tommy doesn’t want to pay the extra $$ to reach people living in Jonesville, which regional newspapers force him to do.  Many small businesses have been priced right out of newspaper advertising.

      As for Google Ads:  I said this in 2005 — Google ads aren’t a great market for SMBOs, because the typical SMB owner doesn’t want to hassle with it.  As simple as Google Ads are, they take more effort to understand and more time to deal with than most SMBOs want to invest.  And seven years later, the lack of serious adoption of Google Ads by SMBOs proves I was right in 2005.

      For years, we’ve seen boiler room operations pop up to sell SMBOs SEO and Google Ads, and none of the efforts have made any serious dent in the market.

      SEO is snake oil and most SMBOs instinctively distrust it.

      There’s simply no substitute for being the guy in the town talking with customers every month and building relationships.

      As for the point of the post, I wish Mr. Tucker and his staff luck.  It’s not how I would do it, but I’d never bad mouth another entrepreneur.  If his model works out, good for him.  I just hope my method is also successful. In either case, it’s really too early to tell or get too uppity about who is right.

      1. June 3, 2011


        I DO AGREE with you that not all small businesses want to market in other towns.  That makes sense…  However, SEO and G Ads do work.  And YES you are right – I partially agree with you – that a lot (probably 70%) of the “SEOs” out there are crap or just snake oil.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I guess we will see – I just had an instant turn off to all of the ads being sold on the homepage.  My instant reaction was “SCAM” – just like your instant reaction to SEO/GAds is SCAM…  We shall see how it all plays out.

        1. June 4, 2011

          As I said in the other post — banner rotation is the real scam.

  2. June 6, 2011

    Fascinating stuff; I think Howard is spot on in the fact that small town toy shop has little or no interest in advertising on another small town website; and the fact that for the vast majority of SMEs, AdWords/AdSense still remains too complex.
    Re: rotation, we’ve been rotating banner ads on my soccer site for the last five years.. BUT we’ve backed it up with a banner ad management system… which then gives local advertisers the chance to access their own numbers via their own log-in pages… ie the warts and all of click-throughs. Simple transparency. It was out of that experience and that of trying to get a Pay-Per-Click AdSense model to deliver off 400,000 page views in the summer of 2007 that was born. Which, hopefully, can enpower everyone to do what works for them – no *one* model will ever fit everyone. So if Howard don’t like banners rotating, switch the function off. If someone else doesn’t want a bid model, switch it off…. etc etc. Make your own choices; make it work for your *own* community. You know what works for them – cos you talk to them every day. You run a P2P business… not B2B or B2C. Person-to-Person is what every hyper-localist should aim for… and, to my money, Howard gets that far more than most. best etc r

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Street Fight Daily: 06.03.11