Commentary | Street Fight - Part 96

Five Elements of a Successful Hyperlocal Site

Rick Robinson

Five Elements of a Successful Hyperlocal Site

There are numerous places where local content producers can get advice about how to find the right groove with readers. Some have created guides to those businesses who have executed well, or “7 Habits” lists for successful hyperlocal sites. The folks at J-Lab did their own in-depth investigation into “what works” in hyperlocal journalism and came up with this, while a journalist across the pond takes a diplomatic view when considering hyperlocal content/news sites…

An Engaged Audience Is Key to Hyperlocal Success

Kara Hadge

An Engaged Audience Is Key to Hyperlocal Success

The true value of a hyperlocal site is its audience, but eyeballs alone aren’t enough. To create a thriving hyperlocal site today, an editor needs to attract and hold the attention of an engaged readership. Even more importantly, to sustain a hyperlocal site with limited resources, that audience needs to play an active role in providing and responding to its content.

Groupon Pulls a Netflix with Groupon Now (and That’s a Good Thing)

Alex Salkever

Groupon Pulls a Netflix with Groupon Now (and That’s a Good Thing)

As with other Groupon subscribers, a $10 credit landed in my in-box this week. The catch? I have to subscribe to Groupon’s mobile app. It’s part of the ongoing and accelerating full-court press by the biggest daily deal site around the launch of Groupon Now, a geotargeted deal product with much tighter time limitations. This is part of Groupon’s grand plan to shift towards becoming a real-time, location specific, expiring inventory deal site rather than a glorified coupon clipper. … Give Groupon credit for taking a page from the Netflix playbook in rapidly moving to seize a better sales mechanism after spying the declining value of its existing one.

A ‘Vicinity Browser’ That Targets Local with the Power of Social

Rick Robinson

A ‘Vicinity Browser’ That Targets Local with the Power of Social

Once a novelty, “geobrowsing” apps have lately become a bit of a yawn. The products may be useful for navigating the hyperlocal landscape, but they haven’t proven compelling enough to hold consumer interest.

One new-ish product that that might bring geobrowsing back is Cynapse’s Localscope. The iPhone app, which was released in January, does what you might expect from a geo-centered service, gathering information about the area around you from multiple search engines and presenting it on a map. But rather than just focusing on technology or data depth, Localscope takes a lateral step into polishing design and UI to make an elegantly efficient experience…

Webster Says Patch Must ‘Be the Community,’ Others Weigh In

Rick Robinson

Webster Says Patch Must ‘Be the Community,’ Others Weigh In

This is a the third installment in a series about hyperlocal past and present. Read here about Digital City / AOL, CitySearch, and Microsoft’s Sidewalk

I reached out to Warren Webster, President of AOL’s Patch network, the day before their big multi-thousand-blogger launch for thoughts on some of the views of the “Local 1.0” set discussed in the previous posts in this series. In an email he said: “It’s important to note that Patch isn’t citizen journalism. Patch is a platform staffed by professional journalists with an average of nine years experience. Patch also offers many opportunities for members of the community to have a voice on this platform — and for SMBs to drive consumer actions.”..

How a ‘Geo-Contextual’ Ad Campaign Produces Results

Dick O'Hare

How a ‘Geo-Contextual’ Ad Campaign Produces Results

Hyperlocal has become one of the most intriguing new ideas for retailers and national brands looking to reach specific markets. Some people ask what the difference is between “local” and “hyperlocal” from a media perspective. I think the difference is clear. Traditionally, “local” media has meant DMA or metro level content such as major metro newspaper Web sites. But they could cover a pretty vast geography. Conversely, “hyperlocal” means granular, community-based or zip-code-level content…

Put a Geofence Around Your Lunch

Alex Salkever

Put a Geofence Around Your Lunch

So for me, lunch at work has generally been one of three things – eating by myself and reading, eating with co-workers, or meeting up with friends. While often a brief interlude of joviality or solitude, lunch has rarely been functional. Being an efficiency oriented guy (far too much, according to my wife), I decided to try a new service I had read about on TechCrunch called Let’s Lunch. Basically, this is a derivative of the old “It’s Just Lunch” couple matching service favored by urban office dwellers who prefer to see their date in broad daylight before a undertaking a nocturnal mission. Rather, Let’s Lunch is focused on bringing people together to meet for networking purposes…

Hyperlocal 1.0: Matt Kursh Remembers Microsoft’s Sidewalk

Rick Robinson

Hyperlocal 1.0: Matt Kursh Remembers Microsoft’s Sidewalk

A serious contender and moneyed innovator, Microsoft Sidewalk took to the local Web the way the behemoth did most things: with lots of muscle. It quickly squared off with CitySearch over advertising share and rapidly expanded its editorial footprint across the nation – carrying itself with arguably the most style among the hyperlocal contenders.

Ex-CitySearch Chief Conn on Hyperlocal 1.0

Rick Robinson

Ex-CitySearch Chief Conn on Hyperlocal 1.0

This is a the second installment in a series about hyperlocal past and present… An early entrant to the hyperlocal game was the fast-moving (and still going) CitySearch. They focused on data-driven content about entertainment and “things to do,” further crafted by editors in cities around the country. CitySearch went head-to-head with Digital City but saw real competition in Microsoft’s Sidewalk, which they eventually bought. Former CitySearch chief Charles Conn looks back and tells us a little bit about the way it was…

Hyperlocal 1.0 Heavy Bob Smith: ‘The Way It Was’

Rick Robinson

Hyperlocal 1.0 Heavy Bob Smith: ‘The Way It Was’

It’s difficult to pinpoint when online hyperlocal came into being. The idea was there with BBSs (electronic bulletin board services) since the early 1980s or even earlier, when local dial-up services allowed callers to access files, games, chat and so on. Long distance charges caused many to dial in to local boards. And thus local communities developed, with some system operators focusing on delivering local information and news. A few local newspapers tried getting into the game with bulletin boards of their own, or via Usenet Newsgroups…

Read the first in a series of interviews with leaders of what we’re calling Hyperlocal 1.0, as well as a bit of a response from a Hyperlocal 2.0 chief.

Healing What Ails Local

Mario Diez

Healing What Ails Local

Local has always been regarded as the sleeping giant in digital advertising, with so much heavy lifting required and so few solutions available at scale. But, at long last, a solution may be at hand. Local publishers are now participating in centralized, single point-of-entry buying platforms that give national brands the tools and data needed to buy premium local audiences with national scale.

Text Me an Open Table

Alex Salkever

Text Me an Open Table

Another true story. I was meeting an old family friend for dinner in downtown San Francisco. I had told him to meet me at ZeroZero, a very popular newish Italian joint with killer pizzas and a reasonable menu. We get there and I ask the hostess how long the wait for a table. She smiles sweetly: “One hour.” Well that won’t do. Oh, by the way. The family friend? Works at Uber, a private car-on-demand company, as a business development guy. He’s newish to San Francisco and doesn’t know where else to go to eat. I’m likewise not that savvy on the Moscone Center locale and also was “budgetarily constrained.”…

Choosing a Data Partner for Local: What to Ask

Jeff Wood

Choosing a Data Partner for Local: What to Ask

Jeff Wood is a guest author. To submit a guest post, go here.

With all of the talk about data in our industry, I’m surprised that so few of the people I talk to in the Local space have a true data strategy — one that gives them real control over their own data and, most importantly, access to this data for decision-making.

It’s the nature of Local that a publisher loses the scale of large network buys. However, you gain the value of a centralized audience. With granular data, a site focused on the hyperlocal market can quickly understand the value of small pockets of inventory, and make educated decisions around how to package and allocate that inventory for sale across appropriate channels.

It’s amazing how many people simply don’t know who owns the data collected on their sites.

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2011: The Year the Check-in Reached Puberty

Mike Boland

2011: The Year the Check-in Reached Puberty

Michael Boland is a guest author. To submit a guest post, go here.

In the location wars of the past two years, one of the battle cries has been the need to continually innovate “beyond the check-in” — building things on top of the core check-in function, driven by evolving device capability and user demand (or boredom).

Companies have taken this in various directions — “checking in” to TV shows, for example. Sector leader Foursquare has dabbled in things like Superbowl check-ins.

At least week’s Where 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California, Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley talked about how the check-in grows up even as it stays focused on “the relationship between people and places.”..

Mobile Search’s Sleazy Side

Alex Salkever

Mobile Search’s Sleazy Side

Mobile search is one of the handiest inventions to hit smart phones – except when you really need it to work.

For me, it was a frightening locksmith experience that revealed mobile search’s serious shortcomings.

My wife was out of town and the spare key was in the car she took to the airport. In a rush to get the kids into the car for pizza dinner, I had pulled the front door shut and locked us all out.

“No problem,” I figured, pulling out my smart phone. I punched in a search for a local locksmith and waited. Dozens of results came back at me, all with local exchange phone numbers and local addresses. This was fishy: we live in a small ‘burb in Marin County and there’s no way that many locksmiths are working in this neck of the woods…

Zaarly: Toll Taker on a ‘Buyer-Powered Commerce’ Highway?

Rick Robinson

Zaarly: Toll Taker on a ‘Buyer-Powered Commerce’ Highway?

Rick Robinson’s Turf Talk column appears every Wednesday. ..

Zaarly – it’s not a new verb expressing something extra cool. Not yet, anyway. But it’s got a pretty good start if you’re judging by its remarkable first two months alone. In that time they’ve pitched and launched the product, wowed celebrity judges at a startup competition in LA and accepted a million bucks in seed funding from, among others, Ashton Kutcher and venture fund Lightbank created by Groupon’s founders. And that’s all before the semi-official launch at SXSW or making a single dime.

Street Fight recently caught up with with the 32-year-old CEO behind this i-need-it-you-got-it service, Bo Fishback…

Can Groupon Guilt Save My Local Sushi Joint?

Alex Salkever

Can Groupon Guilt Save My Local Sushi Joint?

I may have just helped put my little local sushi joint out of business. A place we had eaten at before and liked in my town sent out a killer Groupon deal: $50 of tasty fish for only $25. The economist in me knew the proper path. Maximize the heck out of that puppy and buy two for me (the maximum), two for my wife (as a gift) and two for each of my two children. That would bring my family Groupon savings to a cool $200 and still keep us within the legal limits of the deal.

It would also completely hose the little sushi restaurant we were fond of and do exactly the opposite of what Groupon seeks to do – provide an introduction to new customers. We’d eat there eight times in a year, which is probably more than we would otherwise – and they’d lose money on us every time…

Where ‘Hyperlocal’ Is a Movement, Not a Business Model

Joni Ayn Alexander

Where ‘Hyperlocal’ Is a Movement, Not a Business Model

I’ll bet you £10 that “royal wedding” is the first thought that jumps to the mind of an American journalist asked about Britain today. Yet with the ever-present fixation on their profession’s future, perhaps journalists in the U.S. should look past the palaces to the real action happening at the hyperlocal level…