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Hyperlocal – Key Technologies

February 14, 2010 3 comments

This is the fourth in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:

In this post we consider key enabling technologies that many of the hyperlocal platforms mentioned in previous posts will leverage.

Key Enabling Technologies

The initial post in this series identified the following key enabling technologies for Hyperlocal solutions:

  1. Identity and Personalization
  2. Social Media/Social Web
  3. Real-time Web
  4. Geolocation
  5. Search
  6. Mobile
  7. Machine Learning
  8. Structured Data/Semantic Web

Let’s explore each in turn.

*** Update January 5 2010 ***

It looks like ReadWriteWeb concurs with my identifiation of key enabling technologies for emerging web-based applications. See ReadWriteWeb’s Top 5 Web Trends of 2009. I think leaving out Geolocation is a fairly important omission on RWW’s part. I didn’t make reference to the Internet of Things in my list, but have referred to Web Meets World (another name for the same thing), and its impact on HyperLocal, in previous posts.
*** End of Update ***

Identity and Personalization

Identity is a key part of any online platform these days. Not only does Identity represent one’s online presence, but it’s the basis for relating to other in the context of one’s social graph.

Chris Messina has some great insights into the emergence of Identity as a platform – here’s video of his Identity is the Platform presentation from October 2009, and the slideshow accompanying his talk.

The two key players positioned to dominate the Identity Platform space are:

Identity forms the foundation by which to deliver and manage personalized content for a user. I’m not going to discuss Personalization strategies in detail here, but ReadWriteWeb has an excellent piece on the topic.

Social Media and Social Web

I’m not sure too much needs to be said here. Obviously, Social Media and Social Networks, or what’s often referred to as the Social Graph, is a key feature of the Web today. If you’re going to host and service a Community on your website, you won’t get very far if you don’t design your website for the social web.

Interestingly, the Identity Platforms mentioned in the previous section – OpenID and Facebook Connect – allows you to import the Social Graph from external platforms into your Community site. Alternatively, you may also want to promote your content on other sites on the Social Web – including Twitter and Facebook.

Another important concept to be aware of in the context of the Web and HyperLocal is that of the Social Object. The Social Object is any piece of Content or information that a community might potentially socialize around. So for example, Twitter posts, news articles, photos, business listings, videos, URLs, movies … all are potential social objects that a community might share and discuss.

Social Media is any form of publishing that facilitaties social collaboration and sharing of information, content, and conversation. Social Networking sites, Blogs, Wikis, Microblogging platforms etc. all fall under this category.

The following are just a few of the more popular platforms on the social web:

It’s important on your website to enable key forms of social behavior, including sharing and bookmarking content, commenting, rating and reviewing, and so on. These are features that any social website should support, and the key community platform players, such as Jive, Pluck, and Lithium all support.

Real-time Web

With the viral adoption of Twitter, the real-time web has really taken off of late. To understand the state of the Real-time Web heading into 2010, see the following:

The Real-time Web can be viewed from a number of different angles. Three are:

Real-time Feeds/Sreams

This is the core of the Real-time Web – the underlying real-time feed protocol. Please see:

Real-time Search

Here, see:

Real-time Geo, or Geo-streams

Here, see:

For more on real-time geo and geolocation trends, see the Geolocation section that follows.

Managing the Real-time Firehose of Information

With the Real-time Web, information bursts furth as a massive stream – or firehose – of information, which is then filtered or consumed according to one’s particular social filters and interests. It can be overwhelming at first, as Nova Spivak discusses here.

Geolocation

… This post is a work-in-progress. Please return later to view the completed post.

glenn

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Hyperlocal – Core Dimensions (Part 2)

February 14, 2010 3 comments

This is the third in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:

In the previous post, we explored the dimensions of Hyperlocal News and Commerce. In this post, we will explore Local Advertising and Hyperlocal Community.

Local Advertising

Local Advertising is definitely a key part of Local Business/Commerce, which I explored in the previous post. But local advertising can also be embedded within Local News and Local Community portals. Thus I’ve chose to deal with it as a separate topic.

Insights into Local/Hyperlocal Advertising

First off, I have a few favorite resources for keeping informed in the Local/Hyperlocal advertising space. These are:

Borrell Associates – headed up by CEO Gordon Borrell – also sponsors the Local Online Advertising Conference, which was held in New York city early this month.

Jeff Jarvis also frequently has compelling insights into Advertising strategies for Local News Media. For example, see his recent blog posts from February 2010: Stop selling scarcity and NewBizNews: What ad sales people hear.

Search Engine Marketing/SEO for SMEs

Obviously, SEM strategies are critical for any local online business on the web. My top go-to resources for local SEM/SEO insights are:

Big Ad Networks

On the solution provider front, you have the big ad networks around Search Engine marketing, some of which include:

Local Advertising Media/Platforms

A number of application/media providers – many with a mobile focus – are positioned to be significant players, including:

Niche/Regional-based Ad Networks and Services

Increasingly, however, you also have your niche/regional-based ad networks and service providers. Here’s some examples:

Bargains and Deals

Numerous vendors provide applications to notify consumers of bargains and deals in the local vicinity, including:

Additional Local Advertising Solution Providers

One more advertising solution provider I’ll mention:

So there you have it, a sampling of Local Advertising solution providers. Local Advertising should be a very interesting space to watch in 2010, particularly when it comes to mobile, location-based tools and technologies.

Local Community

The Local Community view of HyperLocal is about information and events of interest to the Community. Information and Events around the Local Community may be contributed by businesses, community organizations, or municipal governmental sources, or it may be user-generated content contributed by the Community.

When you talk Community, by definition you are talking about Social Networks. Therefore, you have to consider the various social networking platforms, and particularly those that host large social graphs. I’m thinking here most specifically of:

Many of the HyperLocal News platforms are also positioning themselves as Local Community platforms. For example:

You also have open city initiatives/discussions such as those initiated by:

For additional information on open city initiatives, see here.

Then there are do-it-yourself City initiatives and tools, for example:

You have Local Event platforms, such as:

And finally, organizational and community tools around local causes. See:

This is really just a very small sampling of possible ways/platforms for organizing people within a geographic community. I look for a lot of innovation in this space over the next several years.

HyperLocal Business Models

This viewpoint explores various ways to make a HyperLocal business commercially viable. There’s some great pioneering work being done by Jeff Jarvis and the folks at CUNY here – see the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY, and Jarvis’ overview of the work on HyperLocal business models here.

More on this to come.

Hyperlocal – Core Dimensions (Part 1)

February 14, 2010 2 comments

This is the second in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:

In the initial post in this series, I introduced the following core dimensions of Hyperlocal/Local:

  1. Local News/Journalism
  2. Local Business/Commerce
  3. Local Advertising
  4. Local Community
  5. HyperLocal Business Models

This post will briefly explore the first 2 dimensions – Local News and Local Business/Commerce.

Local/Hyperlocal News

An important service to the Local community is News about the Community, or Community perspectives and reactions to the News. A nice definition of HyperLocal News is provided by Christopher Wink here: Hyperlocal news: a definition.

Keeping Informed about HyperLocal News Media

Here are a few of the sites I regularly visit to keep track of happenings in the Local/Hyperlocal News media space:

Sites

There are many, many Hyperlocal blogs and websites currently servicing their local communities. Wink provides a nice overview of some of the major ones in his post Hyperlocal news sites worth following.

Platform Providers

This is a core area of innovation at present, and a slew of recent acquisitions by major media companies of hyperlocal news platform providers illustrates this point.

Some of the key innovators:

Citizen Journalism

Often Hyperlocal news sites leverage Citizen Journalists as contributors to their site. A very interesting example of this approach is Examiner.com, which I blogged about here.

Real-time News Feeds

Finally, with the rise of Twitter, real-time geotagged feeds are also breaking onto the scene. Pat Kitano‘s Hyperlocal Curation of Real Time News post from November 2009 provides some interesting examples. Kitano’s Breaking News Network is a powerful example of location-relevant breaking news.

And of course, Twitter has launched location-based Trending Topics, would should add additional impetus to this trend.

Local Business/Commerce

Here, we’re talking about the commercial aspect of HyperLocal. A profound insight into the potential de-coupling of “core” Local News from Local Business services was recently delivered by Clay Shirky at the Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in September 2009. A must-listen-to presentation IMHO.

There are many, many players and platforms that service local business needs, with many more soon to come no doubt. Here are a smattering of players in a very competitive space:

Business Listings – General

Business Listings – Niche

Services – Niche

Shopping

As you can see, there are a number of different spaces by which software providers and hosting sites are seeking to provide services for local commerce. In the next post, we’ll look at two additional hyperlocal/local dimensions: Advertising and Community.

glenn

HyperLocal Trends 2010 – from The Guardian

January 1, 2010 3 comments

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.

glenn