Street Fight’s Most Popular Stories of 2012

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On this last day of 2012, here’s a look back at some of the Street Fight stories that really piqued your interest this year (at least as far as page views go). We’re grateful for all of your support this past year, and we look forward to bringing you more great content, research, and events about sustainable hyperlocal business models in 2013!

Top Five Features/Columns

Why Online Marketers Are Rethinking Their Yelp Strategy
Will Scott, Aug. 8: Merchants have historically been wary of Yelp reviews — and for good reason. Yelpers have tended to be snarky and more focused on humor than accuracy. But there are changes coming at the end of 2012 that are likely to make many marketing pros re-evaluate their relationship to the user-generated reviews site.

Why Do We Check In?
David Hirschman, April 4: “I did not want to be mayor of my dentist’s office. Why did I even check in?” read a tweet posted by Digital First Media’s Steve Buttry. Buttry was echoing a thought that I’ve had a lot lately about my own habit of checking in to Foursquare: I don’t know exactly why I’m checking in, or what I get out of it — yet I do it anyway, usually several times per day.

Brady: If Print Is 85% of Your Revenue, You’re Terrible at Selling Digital
Noah Davis, March 13: Online news guru Jim Brady (formerly of TBD and took over as editor-in-chief at Digital First Media with the mandate of focusing the newsrooms of the company’s papers on a, well, “digital first” model. Street Fight caught up with Brady, to talk about what it takes to win hearts and minds of veteran journalists, and why the business side comes first.

Gray Lady Takes the Local: Inside the NYT’s Hyperlocal Efforts
Noah Davis, Jan. 11: Mary Ann Giordano, an editor who oversaw the Times’ recent forays into hyperlocal, talks with Street Fight about her new project SchoolBook, her hopes for Patch, and why the Times is in the hyperlocal game “from a distance.”

Why Isn’t Mobile Display Advertising Huge Yet?
Eli Portnoy, March 12: Instead of trying to force web paradigms onto mobile, advertisers should be rushing to localize their message and take advantage of the 1-2 punch of smartphones’ portability and location.


Top Five News Stories

Patch Triples Traffic Year Over Year, Claims Growth Across Network ‘Consistent’
Jan. 10: The company’s president Warren Webster was eager to discuss the ComScore numbers. According to Webster, the data reflects “relatively steady” growth from town to town, validating a replicable launch approach and the towns in which they’ve chosen to start Patches.

Patch Redesign Emphasizes Social as Path to Revenue Growth
Sept. 23: AOL’s hyperlocal news network Patch released a major redesign, pushing the platform away from a traditional editorial news property and into a more social, user-driven service. The move marks the beginning of what AOL CEO Tim Armstrong called “Phase 2” in the company’s evolution as it looks to establish a place in the market as a local utility, with news as one spoke of the wheel.

Overview: Cerberus Acquires AT&T Ad Solutions, AT&T Interactive
April 11: Cerberus’ challenge will be to continue to purposefully and aggressively reorient an organization that has the dying print directory business in its DNA. The assets at its disposal are quite impressive but can the leadership let the past go and embrace the very fast-moving innovation now occurring in online and mobile?

Study: Mobile Searches Driven By Location, Urgency
Oct. 3: “Whether it’s location or indicators of location, those are probably the most important factors here,” Telmetrics’ president, Bill Dinan, said. “Where you have 3 out of 5 users going into restaurants without a specific restaurant or specific brand in mind, they are looking for something in the category near them.”

SinglePlatform Expands With Partnership
Feb. 21: When you go to now, you can find not just listing information, but also information about what the business is selling and for how much. This effectively moves up in the purchasing decision funnel, shortening the users’ path to a purchasing decision and making it more likely that they’ll finalize decisions on-site.


Top Five Service Pieces

7 Social Media Strategies for Small Business Owners
Stephanie Miles, June 25: A 2011 survey by Hiscox, a small business insurance agency, found that 24% of SMB owners say they don’t have time to participate in social media marketing, while 14% say they don’t even know where to begin. Here are seven tips from experts in the social media marketing industry about how business owners can take advantage of the social media tools available today.

6 POS Systems With Loyalty Program Integration
Stephanie Miles, June 12: With an increasing number of cloud-based point-of-sale systems now offering their own loyalty tools — and some offering integration with existing rewards programs — merchants have fewer and fewer reasons to pay for separate software systems when managing their small to mid-size businesses. Here are six point-of-sale systems that merchants can use to market their businesses and encourage repeat visits…

6 White Label Deal Platforms for Publishers
Stephanie Miles, Feb. 14: Launching a branded deals program gives publishers an additional stream of revenue in a notoriously difficult advertising market, potentially increasing a media company’s annual advertising revenue anywhere from 15% to 30%. These programs also give community newspapers, hyperlocal blogs, television stations, and radio stations a way to capitalize on the trust and authority they’ve developed with their audiences over the years.

6 Mobile Coupon Platforms for Merchants
Stephanie Miles, April 12: One of the simplest solutions for merchants just beginning to dip their toes into mobile marketing is text-based mobile coupons. Coupons that are sent via SMS are eight times more likely to be redeemed than coupons sent through email, and 90% of these messages are opened up within just three minutes of receipt. Here are six tools that local merchants can use to drive sales with targeted coupons sent to their customers’ mobile phones.

5 Online Marketing Strategies Every Restauranteur Should Know About
Stephanie Miles, March 20: Creating an effective online marketing campaign isn’t always a simple task — especially for restaurant owners who are used to focusing the majority of their time and energy on what’s happening in the kitchen. In recent years, a number of hyperlocal platforms have stepped in to make it easier for independent restaurateurs to develop websites, manage social media, and cultivate better relationships with their customers online.