In 2012: Local Loyalty Flameout, 2nd Wave of Hyperlocal News Sites

Last column, I wrote a quick end-of-year wish list for hyperlocal advertising and related matters. This column, since it’s already far too late to make predictions, I am going to go ahead and make some. Because, I think, 2012 will be a year of many changes for hyperlocal. Post-haste, here are my three predictions.

Alex’s Holiday Wishes for Hyperlocal

Personal Fight columnist Alex Salkever writes his list of what he wants to see in hyperlocal in the coming year: more “new, easy ways” for SMBs to get into the game. He’d also like to see Facebook build “an app to allow hyperlocals to build out truly robust offerings. Directories, collaborative content, editing, privileges – like a basic CMS but in the FB platform.”

Hyperlocal Has Cracked ‘Local’ and ‘Now’ — Sosh Now Looks to Target Intent

Because it is intentional and transactional in nature, Sosh is probably more likely to see responses akin to search engine advertising, where people who are there know what they want and are ready to buy. And that could be a particularly excellent venue for local advertisers…

The Capitulation of a Social-Mobile High-Flyer

Two years ago it would have been hard to imagine Gowalla selling for anything less than a pretty penny. But a couple things have happened since then to devalue mobile apps. First, the location-based gamification juggernaut has not developed as quickly as some had predicted. Second, the competition for mindshare on handsets has magnified as many more eye-popping apps vie for attention. It’s a real street fight out there in the land of mobile apps and we will likely see more casualties, even among worthy players like Gowalla.

Can Pandora Do Hyperlocal Ad Sales?

To do hyperlocal, Pandora uses the IP address of the device and maps it back to a location. This is standard geotargeting and other local advertising plays are tapping into the same idea. But the question is whether Pandora can push through with this strategy successfully by priming the sales pump with a local sales force…

Foursquare, Groupon: Square Has You in Its Crosshairs

Square is on a roll. The company is now handling $11 million in transactions each day. The majority of those transactions are coming from small businesses who love the simplicity of the system. Square is not the cheapest way to take credit cards but it is probably the fastest. And part of that roll is the announcement of customer loyalty programs wrapped into their existing POS platform…

Oink: A Help to Yelp?

With Oink (“Rate the Adventure”), Digg founder Kevin Rose has chosen to address a glaring problem in the existing world of online (and offline ratings). Namely, what do I buy when I’m there? Or what do I do? Or what should I try? The idea is, with this nifty mobile app, Oink users can give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to anything at all.

How Dating’s Personalized, Localized Future is Good for Groupon

Groupon’s long awaited IPO was wildly oversubscribed, according to AllThingsD – by a factor of $10. The stock priced initially at $20 per share, well over the target pricing of $16 to $18. Considering all the bad press Groupon has endured and slings and arrows from wary small businesspeople and grumpy old CPAscalling for an […]

Could Siri Make Hyperlocal Hypervocal?

The audible realm in my mind is a better communications medium for brain processing than the symbolic realm — which is The domain of text-based or even much video advertising. Only the very best ads cross over into true pattern recognition where our minds shine. Sounds, however, are something we are far better wired for than words. Which is why Pandora has done extremely well with its advertising response rates as compared to other forms of online media.

What BuyWithMe (And All Daily Deals Companies) Could Learn From Woot

We here at Street Fight and other media sources have been calling for a big consolidation in the daily deals market for some time now. But consolidation can take two forms. To date, that has been acquisitions. Going forward, there may be more outright closures. Woot did an amazing job in the daily deals space before getting acquired by Amazon last year. What Woot was trying to pull off, however, was far less complicated than what is being attempted in the local deals space right now…

Yelp Helps Local Restaurants Beat the Big Chains

Positive Yelp scores translate into real revenue boosts for local restaurants but not for chains. That’s the basic finding of a recent study by Michael Luca, a researcher at Harvard Business School. He found that a one-star differential in ratings on the popular crowd-sourced review site can bump revenues by 5% to 9% at a local restaurant. This is not entirely surprising. What is more interesting is that chain restaurants did not benefit from any significant increase in profitability or revenue corresponding to Yelp ratings…

What Bad News Means for the Future of Daily Deals

The fact that sending a mass email to lots of random people advertising a random business may damage said business’ reputation is not entirely surprising. But this news really speaks to group buying 1.0, not where the industry is going. And that future will be far more interesting with differentiated, personalized, time-specific and behavior inducing offers…

Bing is Good for Daily Deals — And Deal Buyers

A few weeks back Microsoft’s Bing! was the first search engine to roll out a daily deals search feature. The deals feed includes 200,000 offers perusable by geography and timing. It’s impressive. The Bing! Team has been aggressive about quickly putting in place customer-centric features like enhanced travel search and visual shopping search that address the way we live now with useful tools. This is the logical extension of the daily deal aggregation game, where the big fellas in the online search biz take the lead. And it both validates and improve my deal experience…

Narrative Science – Closer to a True Robot Reporter?

The New York Times recently published an in-depth article about Narrative Science, a fascinating startup founded by two computer scientists who are also journalism professors at Northwestern University, and a veteran executive from DoubleClick. Their product is a software engine that can, given a box score, a crime log, or a real estate transaction, generate a brief , well-written news article in the classic who-what-when-where-why canon. While not works of art, these articles are credible and often beat what human scribes have to offer…

TownHog Deal Speaks Volumes About VC-Backed Deal Startups

BuyWithMe has been looking to scale to catch up with Groupon and LivingSocial, and this is its sixth acquisition this year. TownHog, which has a strong footprint in the Bay Area, where it was started, is a nice feather in their cap.

But TownHog was backed by some serious hitters. As TechCrunch noted, “The company…was backed by a host of star investors (Jawed Karim of YouTube fame and Kevin Hartz of Xoom / Eventbrite to name but a few)…”

Mission Local: A Hyperlocal that Does It Right

Over the course of the past few weeks the Mission District of San Francisco has been rocked by two shootings. Mission Local was all over it.The publication is a public-private partnership that publishes stories in English and Spanish focused on this district, which still has a strong Latino population…

Rethinking Hyperlocal: Not Just a Paper, Not an Address

The Washington Post’s decision to close most of its regional bureaus makes a tremendous amount of sense and moves us further along the continuum towards a new reality when the news doesn’t have an office and hyperlocal is also hypermobile. In fact, I’d venture to say that real estate is something that the traditional dailies should ditch, pronto, as part of their transition into a new kind of news organization…

Who Will Eat the Hyperlocal Donut?

In big, dense metro areas, dailies are struggling but will likely survive. Or, savvy hyperlocals will be able to capitalize on urban density to maintain coverage and still run viable businesses. In the rural areas, where newspapers are still the only game in town, local media continues to do pretty well and hold their own. But gaps are starting to show in the zone between the cities and the sticks…

Bloomspot’s Guarantee Shows the Future of Daily Deals

A week ago daily-deal service Bloomspot dropped the interesting announcement that it would roll out a “performance-based business model that takes responsibility for the profitability of its merchant partners.” The company will guarantee profitable spending levels from customers. Our post on the Bloomspot news gave a nod to the long-term implications of this announcement. My two cents: This is a clear signal that the daily deals business will quickly morph into something else and that the balance of power has shifted to the merchants…

Local Merchant Reviews: Problem and Opportunity

The more I dig into the local listings and ratings business, the more evidence I see that that the information they provide is so easily rigged or faked, there’s no way I can trust them. It spotlights a hazard that review sites are failing to address—and an opportunity they’re missing.