From Deep Data to Human Help, 2012 Continues the Local Revolution

I think I’ll forego predictions I would have made based on iterations that got us to this point in 2011. I’d rather take a broader view with some thoughts that are as much attached to the local past as to the future…

How to Run Hyperlocals that Make Money — An Email Mini-Debate

Recently the good folks at the American Press Institute asked if I’d help lead a discussion about “Strategies for Sustainable Hyperlocal Business Models.” So I did what I do best: ask other folks what they think. Here are some thoughts on the matter from Rick Blair, ex-CEO of, GoLocal24 co-founder Josh Fenton, Scot Brodbeck from ARL Now, Street Fight columnist Tom Grubisich and Street Fight CEO Laura Rich…

Patch, Others Seek Holiday Cheer Updating Tried and True Guides, Deals

Holidays are a sparkling time to test out the effectiveness of one’s local penetration. And it seems Patch is going all in. I asked Mark Josephson, SVP of revenue, to talk about what Patch is pitching for the holiday (among other obvious questions). Turns out the network of local sites has a Ye Olde Fashioned Gift Guide of its own…

Local Data DJs Can Spin Their Own Around Locationary’s ‘Saturn’

Locationary is now unveiling Saturn, its shiny new beta product referred to as a “Federated Data Exchange Platform.” I queried Ritchie recently about what the system can do, and how location-based startups can use it. Things get a little wonky here, but bear with us — Ritchie’s new release might actually have something for everyone…

Passive Profits? A Discussion with Grabio and Others Leading the Way

With the dawn of smartphones and geo-fences (a virtual radius that can be used to alert devices when they breach the invisible border) passive mobile computing can be taken to a higher level…

A Conversation With Ted Leonsis on Social, Local and Mobile

Ted Leonsis understands social media better than you. Let’s just start there. And he doesn’t just understand it academically, or as a learned practitioner, or even as a social media services innovator (which he was). I’d like to think social media is visceral to Leonsis, but that would miss the mark, too. The truth is […]

Daily Deals Biz: A Race to Own Local, Not Coupons?

I think we may be witnessing a race to see who can capture the consumer on his own time and his own turf — and his preferred context — with content (and deals) of specific interest to him a few moments before he realizes he wanted it. The daily deals are just a foot in the door to the broader hyperlocal market. Whatever territory and mindshare the likes of Patch have, Goup-Social wants. All this will be chewed on in my panel session at the Street Fight Summit tomorrow, October 25, with Jonty Kelt, CEO of Group Commerce, Chad Billmyer, CEO of Dealbird, and Perry Evans, CEO of Closely.

Jim Brady Reflects on WaPo, ‘Blown Up’ TBD and the Do or Die Future of Local

Combine digital community journalism and the New York Jets? Jim Brady might call that heaven. The longtime leader in online journalism and hyperlocal endeavors (though he avoids the term hyperlocal) seems to expend as much Twitter juice on the finer points of the team’s play as he does on crowdsourcing the news. But just barely. Fact is Brady is one of the most recognized editorial leaders in online news going back to (the first time … ya know, in the ’90s) then AOL, then Washington Post 2.0, next TBD and now the Journal Register Company. Before he gets picked up by the Jets as a mid-season PR QB, I thought it a good time to catch up…

GPS for Groceries: Aisle411 Might Have the Right Ingredients

Sometimes when I enter a large space with the intention of performing a specific task I quickly lose all my energy and fall to the ground. For instance looking for a moon rock at the Air and Space Museum, or a particular gift item from a cacophonous mall: Down for the count. Looking for cumin at the […]

Delivering Local Content to American Towns — All of Them

For the folks behind AmericanTowns, tackling every corner in this country is work enough. is a work in progress begun over a decade ago in answer to the question of whether an online tool could enable citizens, groups and merchants to build a better community together…

Patch Pushback: Warren Webster Fires Back Amid Analysis and Criticism

Rick Robinson gets the lowdown from Patch’s president about why they’ve lost sales execs; the network’s plans to “stand on its own financially; and a reply to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s suggestion that Patch could possibly, at some point, be considered for a sale. He also comments on the HuffPo-Patch dynamic, neither confirming nor denying that Patch will merge editorial operations with HuffPo.

What Hyperlocal Startups Can Learn From Mary Kay

What comes to mind when you hear the name Mary Kay? A yellow-tinged business model from the Tupperware era for “housewives” looking to make a little extra money? Maybe so, but if you’re looking to succeed in “local,” you ignore the wildly successful local mid-brow tastemaker at your peril…

Where a Yahoo-AOL Merger Would Leave Patch

Rumors surfaced again last week that AOL and Yahoo were in talks to merge. Where would such a move leave Patch? Or Yahoo’s own local efforts? It all makes for compelling drama for sure, but one area likely to ‘pop’ in both categories is ‘local’ — i.e. Patch, Yahoo’s ‘Neighbors’ beta product, and a litany of other products on each side that are heavily reliant on local advertisers and audiences…

FundsOn: Deals Site’s Charitable Twist – Getting by Giving Back

Charu Chundury was once an entrepreneur focused on software to help manage local youth sports. But these days, he sees an opportunity to tweak the model for charitable giving with an “effort-free” hyperlocal product aimed at the $290 billion a year consumers spend — all the while benefitting small businesses and consumers. How so? With a new company called FundsOn.

Storming the ‘Geolocals’ in the Eye of Irene

How did some of the clever new geolocation/geosocial applications take advantage of a situation where people suddenly needed to find and purchase things they normally would not? For intel on this I chatted up a couple young guns in the space and found, unsurprisingly, weather is still a money maker…

Grab Deals from Nearby Neighbors with Grabio

Grabio pushes ahead into the hot geo-location marketplace sector, prepping its second version with more automation and user conveniences. The question is: can Grabio grab mindshare with so many others targeting the same users.

To Understand Hyperlocal, ‘Shrink’ the Way You Think

By definition, the act of hyperlocalization requires thinking on a smaller scale. Cityshrinker is a series of photographs by Ben Thomas using the tilt-shift method. Thomas’s work looks at broad swaths of a city and closes in, intimately, on a small piece of the picture.

Patch Pitch: 855-Town Gorilla Doles Out Daily Deals

Patch certainly reports the news, but it also seems that often Patch is the news. This is one of those weeks. And not simply because one of their interns recently saved a pedestrian, and covered it. The hyperlocal news destination that AOL’s betting a bunch on (closing in on $200 million invested thus far) announced last week that it had crossed a milestone of one million articles published. It’s also rolling out a shiny new daily deals product in over 800 of its communities…

Neighborland Helps Citizens Share Ideas and Shape Their Community

What if people could easily share ideas for improving their neighborhoods? That’s the simple, and in some cases disruptive, question posed by the team behind Neighborland, a beautifully designed hyperlocal tool that launched earlier this year. The site makes you feel good about where you live (if you live in New Orleans that is — the only city the site covers currently) and want to get involved in making what’s around you even better.

Goshi Adds Images and ‘Meetups’ to Create P2P Hyper-Mobile Commerce

MapDing pivots and rebrands as Goshi, which will try to drive hyper-mobile commerce mainstream by connecting buyers and sellers the old-fashioned way: with face to face transactions of goods bought over the air. Will it work?