HyperLocal Trends 2010 – from The Guardian
As HyperLocal emerges as a key trend for Media in 2010, The Guardian’s Mercedes Bunz has a nice piece discussing the momentum of HyperLocal going into 2010, and highlights some concerns as well around local news reporting.
Large Media Companies acquire HyperLocal startups in 2009
Bunz first highlights key acquisitions of HyperLocal startups by larger media companies in 2009. Specifically:
- AOL bought two local startups with Patch, which brings local news to communities, and Going, a local event listing platform
- AOL’s big rival, MSNBC, acquired the hyperlocal aggregator EveryBlock
- CNN is investing $7m in the aggregator Outside.in
- The Clarity Media Group of billionaire Philip Anschutz, who owns the local news network Examiner.com acquired the citizen journalism site NowPublic
Google and HyperLocal
Of course, Bunz also mentions recent moves by Google in HyperLocal, which I’ve discussed extensively on this blog. Here’s what Bunz has to say about Google and HyperLocal:
If you’re still not convinced, look at Google. Today an increasing number of consumers use their PCs or mobile phones to find local products and services, and quite a few recent developments at the search engine giant took that into account. Apart from Twitter’s integration into Google with the option to get to know what is happening around you at any one point, Google offers Goggles, a mobile video and image search aimed at local information. In addition, it is testing Favorite Places. It has identified 100,000 businesses in the U.S. who receive a window decal with a unique QR code to be scanned with a phone handing out customer reviews.
And what of HyperLocal reporting?
Interestingly, observes Bunz,
If you take a closer look, you quickly figure out that the actual hyperlocal investment is mainly business-related. … But while the business side is taken up, the reporting side isn’t.
As the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, said earlier this year, we face a “collapse of the structure of political reporting”. While businesses get their favourite place on Google, there won’t be any reporting on councils, council committees and the courts. This may mean corruption and inefficiency go unreported.
Despite all the investments above, local news still needs to be supported.
Top Hyperlocal News Sites – A list
As I was writing this post, I also stumbled on a nice listing of top HyperLocal news sites (not from the Guardian).
In Summary …
Look for a lot of innovation to happen around HyperLocal in 2010.