Inevitably, There’s a ‘Bot of Bots’ Digging Up Local Services

Bot Hunter allows queries about the latest hot bots, and its makers envision lots of local bots populating the platform. Key use cases include scheduling appointments, retrieving basic information, receiving automatic follow-ups after certain purchases, as well as promotions and loyalty programs.

TableHero Serves Up Restaurants, But Can it Be the OS of Local?

“There’s an entire layer of mission critical technology that small local business owners know they need, but absolutely abhor their current relationship with technology,” says TableHero’s Deap Ubhi. “And at the foundation of that is digital presence, their Websites.”

Augmenting the Local Shopping Reality

“I believe we are now at the tipping point where both AR and VR are set to become accepted into the mainstream and in a few years will play an integral part in all our lives,” says Amplified Robot’s Steve Dann.

Bot Local: Making Appointments Is Getting a Lot More Fun

Pingup is bringing its API-powered live booking capability to “a broader range of leading-edge consumer interfaces and platforms.” This means “Pingup-powered bots” will let consumers book and confirm appointments in real time with “tens of thousands of local businesses across the U.S.”

/Local: ‘Slashing’ the Local Web Into Tiny Nearby Slices

“It’s 2016, and everyone is connected to the information superhighway, and yet our towns, cities and locations are largely still dark and unsearchable,” says Local Web co-founder Jess Bachman. “The Local Web is the off-ramp for the Web. The problems it will solve are as varied as the people using it. “

After School, Generation Z, and the Localization of Anonymous Expression

Investors have poured money into anonymous, local chat apps like After School (which connects students at every public and private high school) — but they can be prime venues for online bullying. To get a little more context about this issue, we spoke with After School’s content director Michael Luchies.

Taking ‘Local’ Right Down to the Keystroke

A new group of companies are finding ways into local services by getting in between consumers’ desires and fulfillment of their desires at the core level: where their thumbs are hitting the glass. Startups like PopKey and Slash have found what feels like a Trojan Horse into our stream of communication.

Turf Talk Redux: Looking for the Future in Companies, People, and Products

I like to be a little out in front of things. Not too far (hyperloops) and not too close (digital couponing). In my writing about local marketing and media (both here at Street Fight, and previously), I’ve generally been most comfortable investigating advancements that attempt to intersect the possible and the inevitable. For instance: the […]

On the Road: The Future of On-Demand Delivery Is in Motion

Figuring out how to consistently and quickly deliver services to a driver when the destination is unsure means a provider needs to develop a mesh network of always-in-motion providers of services and also serve customers in a place they are unaccustomed to doing business.

Tomorrowland: How AOL’s Digital City Foreshadowed More Than the Future of Local

Creating and operating city guides for all major U.S. markets turned out to be something of a cover. What we were really doing was running a skunkworks project with few boundaries on creativity — where success or “failing-fast” were not the goals…

Patch: Here’s Ten Things We’re Doing RIGHT

Anyone paying attention to this column knows I’ve dedicated plenty of thought to AOL’s efforts in local, primarily via its Patch effort. Some at Patch/AOL were unhappy. Others mailed me with even more colorful complaints, or “can-you-believe-this” vignettes. So I wanted to turn the tables on myself a bit and challenge Patch to sell us on what is going right…

Just Another Chat With a Frustrated Patch Editor

“We have had two conference calls in a row the last two weeks with the people at HQ excitedly talking about big ideas that are going to get us to profitability, but the ideas sound like bad ones, not to mention ones that they have already tried,” said this editor, a mix of frustration and exasperation in his voice. “They are getting farther away from the hyperlocal vision and really pushing generic SEO content to try and get unique visitors…”

Location + Mobile + Ads: Verve CEO Says People Are Set to Get It

“I think 2013 is the year that people will begin understand that mobile advertising will soon be the premium channel for all digital advertising,” says Verve Mobile’s chief, Tom MacIsaac. “If you want to reach users when they are out and about, interacting with the real world, closer to the buying decision than ever before, mobile will be the preferred channel. Mobile will begin to do to online advertising what online did to print.”

Mobile Digital Mood Ring? Gravy Targets Hyperlocal Events — All of Them

I recently caught up with Jeff White, the serial entrepreneur behind timeRAZOR’s app. Among other things, Gravy asks users what kinds of events and experiences they are in the mood for — rather than presenting them with a menu of options…

USA Today Publisher Larry Kramer Looks to a Local Future

“This whole company is hyperlocal,” Kramer says when asked about Gannett’s locally targeted news. “We’ve got 81 newspapers and 23 TV stations, all with local news operations.” At the new multipurpose “breaking news” desk he is developing, editors from the flagship paper will work face to face with representatives from local papers and other Gannett media properties…

Creating a City Guide from Scratch? Maybe if You’re a ‘Cool Kid’

Carlos Gutierrez and and Erika Leal, founding editors of, are building a city-guide-cum-entertainment-site for not only big metros but also for smaller, under-served towns (at least that’s the plan). I asked Gutierrez the obvious question first: So many have come and gone; others are moving along (Patch, Yelp, Zvents, Foursquare); still others (LivingSocial, etc.) are morphing toward city guides. Why a city guide?

Guess Who Has a Hyperlocal Foothold in 156 Locations?

So what exactly is the CBS Local product for consumers, merchants and advertisers? “We are local media business that is focused on four areas: News, Sports, Music and Lifestyle content,” said CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz in an email interview. “We reach consumers online, mobile and over-the-air. Merchants and advertisers work with us to reach consumers whether on a national or local level.”

Shining a Light: ByteLight Goes After ‘Holy Grail’ of Indoor LBS

Forget about the “last mile,” this Cambridge, Mass.-based company plans to close the last meter, with light-based technology to target shoppers within a a few feet. Street Fight sat down with CEO Aaron Ganick after the dust had settled on their recent funding announcement to find out whether his product could change hyperlocal commerce — or if it was just technology searching for a problem…

Zaarly Co-Founder on Pivot: ‘Toughest 4-Month Build of My Life’ (VIDEO)

Street Fight was in attendance at the recent Distilled Intelligence 2.0 confab where Zaarly co-founder and CMO Eric Koester talked about the pain that comes with making a pivot at a startup that has tremendous momentum, funding and the former head of eBay on board…

We’ve Seen the Past — And It Is ‘The Neighborhood’

For the past few years, social startups have been spiraling inward toward a smaller and smaller target: your neighborhood, your block. Now Patch is going all in by to leverage neighborhoods through communities of interest. But maybe neighborhoods are an artificial constructs, with borders that mean little even to those they bind. If that’s the case, we need to rethink a lot more than design and tools and lessons of the past…