Street Fight Daily: Desktop Local Search Drops, Print YP Death Watch

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.

wp-pin-map1Search On Smartphones Up 26 Percent, On Tablets Up 19 Percent In 2012 (Search Engine Land)
The total number of U.S. searchers using mobile phones grew 26 percent between March 2012 and December 2012, from 90.1 million to 113.1 million searchers, according to a new study from Neustar. The study also found that local search activity dropped on desktops, declining 18 percent from 2011 to 2012. And while, it doesn’t specifically cite a corresponding increase in local searches on mobile devices, it seems logical that that would be the case.

A Year After Its SXSW Moment, Highlight Keeps Working to Connect People Nearby (Street Fight)
Paul Davison’s location-based startup Highlight has had a strange trajectory. It was the darling of South by Southwest in 2012, then soon lost its sheen for a variety of reasons, prompting a series of “What Happened to Highlight?” posts around the time of this year’s Austin event. Street Fight recently caught up with Davison to talk about retrenching, the definition of fun, and his very real belief that using Highlight can change the way we understand the world around us.

Annual Print YP Death Watch (Blumenthals)
Mike Blumenthals: The print YP are no longer a local advertising medium catering to local business. It is clear that what is left of the print yellow pages has been taken over by regional and national advertisers, and one has to wonder though if they ever bother to calculate their returns or they are doing this out of habit.

PublicStuff Gets Answers for Local Citizens, Even in Chinese (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: Local publishers have long served their communities by shining a light on municipal issues until the folks at City Hall take notice and fill in those dangerous potholes. But in the past few years we’ve also seen several startups pop up that want to make an even more direct connection between citizens’ complaints and government action.

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The Yext Big Thing (Crain’s New York Business)
On the playing field of local search, where the goal is to connect diners with restaurants and shoppers with shops, giants like Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo Local battle each other for market share. Meanwhile, a pipsqueak named Yext, whose name is meant to suggest “the next Yellow Pages,” is rooting for all of them as their partner.

Leaner, Meaner Media Finally Ready to Invade Agency Turf (AdAge)
Steve Rubel: As more brands ramp up their efforts to become storytellers in their own right, some are choosing to bypass certain agencies in favor of working directly with media owners. This slow shift positions the press for a dramatic resurgence, one that could help it grab a significant share of the marketing-services landscape in the years ahead.

What A Deal: Group Buying At The Forefront Of Mobile Commerce (MediaPost)
On mobile, companies like Groupon and LivingSocial became some of the earliest and most aggressive users of display advertising to drive people to specific localized offers. And whatever that segment’s troubles overall, it is doing for mobile commerce what initially it did for display advertising.

Centro’s Riegsecker on Local’s ‘Mid-Tail’ Opportunity (Local Onliner)
The Long Tail in advertising may be ad agency centered media buying, which only go to the Top 100 sites on the Web. The Short Tail may be SMB-centric. If that’s the case, the “Mid-Tail” comes from local publishers, suggests Centro Media CEO Shawn Riegsecker. But these publishers, which rely on high value journalist-based content and integrated advertising, have lately been “losing their shirts.” They can’t scale on the Web.

What The Future Of Advertising On Google Glass Might Look Like (Business Insider)
Early trials of Google Glass are earning some serious hype. The futuristic experiment is not yet ready for ads, and selling a $1,500 device isn’t an ad-based business, but it’s not hard to imagine Google Glass going mainstream a few years for now, sporting a much more affordable price tag that’s made possible by ads.

Centzy Raises $1.6M Seed Round From Cowboy Ventures, Founder Collective, Lightbank & Others To Bring Offline Biz Data To Web & Mobile (TechCrunch)
Centzy, a local search startup which is putting prices, store hours, ratings and specials for convenience-oriented businesses online, is today announcing $1.6 million in seed funding from Cowboy Ventures, Founder Collective, and Lightbank. Centzy is focused on bringing detailed business data online – especially information that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

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