Posts Tagged ‘Local’ – reinventing Hyperlocal

October 4, 2010 2 comments

Revisiting Hyperlocal

Media companies – large and small – continue to look for ways to capture the huge market for local advertising (see here and here). Earlier this year, I posted a series of posts that surveyed the hyperlocal landscape – according to 5 core dimensions:

  • Local News/Journalism
  • Local Business/Commerce
  • Local Advertising
  • Local Community
  • HyperLocal Business Models
  • Enabling Technologies

I think I would now add one other dimension to this list:

  • Local, Places, Things, and Events of Interest to me

But providing hyperlocal news and information as a viable business model has proved a challenging task for mainstream media organizations, as reflected by this post from Sean Carlton from March 2010 titled Is ‘Hyperlocal’ just hype?.

Witness for example, the New York Times decision to pass its community-driven blog in New Jersey to Baristanet.

Does this point to the failure of Hyperlocal for mainstream media organizations? Not so says Jeff Jarvis. In his own words:

For the record, I do not count The New York Times ending its New Jersey version of The Local and passing over its readers to Baristanet as a failure. The idea that The Times could have owned and run a blog with a journalist in every town and neighborhood in New York — let alone America — simply didn’t scale. The more important skill for The Times to learn is working with networks of independent entrepreneurs who own and run their own local enterprises.


Enter is a local/community newsite based in Washington DC that fully integrates social media tools and community into the newsgathering process. I borrowed those words from an excellent article by Vadim Lavrusik’s excellent review: Takes a Community-Driven Approach to Newsgathering.

As Lavrusik points out, what most differentiates is its network of local bloggers – 127 and counting – that will provide content and coverage for its site. This phenomenon of incoporating the local community and bloggers as fundamental participants in the news gathering process is sometimes referred to as Community Journalism – and it represents a profound change to how news is generated and reported in our communities.

Jeff Jarvis, Matthew Ingram, and Newsonomics also covered the launch of, and had interesting insights to share.

So who’s behind

Just a few familiar names. is led by Community Engagement Director Steve Buttry. Obviously this role is a highly strategic one, but it’s not like Buttry hasn’t thought about community engagement!

Equally interesting is the involvement of GrowthSpur. GrowthSpur will work with to develop new business models around local news, content, and advertising.

Note that GrowthSpur’s other media partner is the Journal Register, John Paton’s company, and the instigator of the Ben Franklin project.

Location, Mobile, Video, and Social Media

All four will be key pillars of’s strategy for sharing and delivering news and information to their communities.

In Summary …

With, we’re seeing nothing short of a bold new attempt to reinvent local media – in terms of content, format, organization, and process. It should be an interesting experiment to follow.



SEO for Local Search – David Mihm

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

A nice 10 minute-ish video with David Mihm on SEO strategies for Local Search:

[Vimeo 5119126]

Click here to access David Mihm’s articles at Search Engine Land.


Categories: Local, SEO Tags: , , ,

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.


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


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.

Reinventing Local Media’s relationship with their Communities – Steve Buttry

January 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Steve Buttry is one of the old-school media guys/gals who’s trying to reinvent journalism and local newspaper business models for the digital age. In April 2009, he published a blog post titled A Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection, where he lays out his vision for the transformation of media companies for a digital age.

In the video below, Buttry talks about some of his ideas for how local media organizations have to reinvent their relationships with their community:

Buttry is the the C3 (Complete Community Connection) Innovation Coach for Gazette Communications in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Gazette’s website.

Yet another example of mainstream media seeking to reinvent themselves in a time of great change.


PlaceRank – Google’s algorithm for ranking Local Landmarks

January 17, 2010 Leave a comment

A very provocative article from Chris Silver Smith at Search Engine Land on Google’s algorithm for ranking local landmarks, which Google has recently branded as Favorite Places. This algorithm, often referred to as “PlaceRank”, was apparently first highlighted by Bill Slawski in 2007 in a post analyzing the related Google patent.

Silver Smith’s post goes on to explore how the Placerank algorithm gives prefential treatment to Wikipedia pages, as well as highlights a couple articles on optimizing for PageRank:

For additional local search-related commentary, see additional recent Chris Silver Smith’s articles here.

Geolocation is certainly a dominant trend for 2010.


Google launches Near me Now – positions for Hyperlocal

January 10, 2010 Leave a comment

This past week, Google formally launched its Near me Now Search functionality, which enables one to discover places and things of interest that are nearby ones current location. Here’s a video of the Near me Now capability in action:

And here’s what Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and Search Engine Land had to say about the announcement.