Saturday, February 20, 2010

API Streamlines Surfacing of Relevant Geo-Info

I'm going deep into the 'GeoGeek' here, but think this is an interesting application announcement.

Geolenz announced the creation of an API that streamlines the surfacing of relevant data based on someone's location. From my interpretation of the press release, Geolenz created geo-"domains" which are a combination of geographically defined boundaries (possibly a neighborhood, village, city, street route) and search against those boundaries. The result is the ability in input a LAT/LON, filter against the concept of the domain, and return geographically relevant information  from many different sources based on that domain. 

"Each application developer can then enhance with functionality by specifying their own context of rules and terminology for communicating location information about the domain to and from end users." according to Geolenz.

At the face of it, I see this as a way to streamline the delivery of contextual data in location based services, mashups, etc. As a use case, a user may zoom in a weather mashup into  their neighborhood. As a result, the map would call this API to return relevant data for the domain in which the map is focused. That data could be business listings, current weather conditions, tweets from users, etc. Much of this is done now by developers/business owners that hand pick partners and feeds to return specific data. This API would allow for a developer to build the map and choose the data based on what the API returns.

If I am a data provider I would want to know how I can be included in Geolenz' API. If I am Geolenz I'd want to know if this is patent-able.

Innovative Idea -- Automated Weather Tweets

I've already noted that I believe hyperlocal content extends past news. Some of you also know I have a touch of weather geek in me. So, this post on TechCrunch caught my eye.

"A young man by the name of Dave Osborne built an interesting project called SWASAlert, a super-speedy weather severe alert service that supplies super fast weather alerts via Twitter and SMS," wrote TC.

This is an interesting use of Twitter and if the alerts are GeoTagged, they could be plotted on a watch and warning mashup, which would be pretty cool too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Loopt Seeks Advertising 'Holy Grail'

Awash in all the announcements at the Mobile World Congress was the announcement by Loopt that they would offer a new performance-based hyper-local advertising solution.

Mobile Marketing Watch writes, "Loopt could essentially allow a company to keep track of ads shown and whether people actually visited a location later using GPS or voluntary location-sharing," such as check-ins. This, "allows for a cost-per-action pricing model in lieu of more traditional and out-dated cost-per-impression or CPC models."

Many call this the 'Holy Grail' of performance marketing or advertising because it offers real accountability. The advertiser pays for actual visits to their store, not impressions, or clicks. The opportunity is obviously unique to mobile devices and points to why so many people are deeply interested in hyperlocal  and location based services as of late.

"The company’s CEO said there would a self-serve way of buying these ads.  Much farther down the line, one could imagine a bidding model where businesses set the value of a potential store visit from a new customer, for example, akin to Google’s advertising bidding system for clicks," wrote Mobile Marketing Watch.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hyperlocal Isn't Just News

Victor Wong posted an opinion on that raises an important point about what is hyperlocal content. The media in particular are too focused on news as information and miss the fact that people who want hyperlocal information sometime just want events, or jobs, crime stats or even pet photos. Better yet, what about coupons from the following...
  • Living Social
  • Yipit
  • Groopswoop
  • SocialBuy
  • TownHog
As Victor mentions, Everyblock is a great example of this. The creator calls it "data journalism." There appears to be two sides to this coin -- those that just focus on "news" and information and those that just focus on "ads." To me the secret sauce is a combination of both.

Monday, February 15, 2010

MediaWeek Scratches Hyperlocal Surface

MediaWeek did an underwhelming job explaining why hyperlocal is hot right now, and the percieved value and pitfalls of hyperlocal. It suggests there may be opportunity for media if the hyperlocal ad/sales code can be cracked.The article rightly states that the current big winners in the space are Yodel, ReachLocal and

"These companies, which have exhibited the largest ad growth in the space, do the dirty digital work that many small businesses aren’t equipped to do like creating banners and videos, and navigating search marketing," the article said.

It fails to mention local media success stories, such as Fischer Broadcasting's work in Seattle, and McClatchy Newspapers' efforts which were recently featured at the Borrell Conference. While those companies have NOT seen an explosion of ad revenue from hyperlocal they have had success with hyperlocal business models.

Lastly, there are some interesting quotes from players in the space, such as the CEO of I would love to hear or read the full interviews. They would most certainly prove more insightful than the article itself.

Newspapers Try for Hyperlocal announced that McClatchy, Dow Jones, Lee Enterprises & Tribune are partnering with for hyperlocal tools -- NBC already has on its sites. Does this commoditize's offering?  I think yes, unless each property uses them differently and potentially augments the data or interfaces adding unique value.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Google Ads SMB Enhancements to Maps

Greg Sterling points out Google is introducing a new local business ad (”enhanced listings“) on maps. It is only available in San Jose and Houston. It costs $25 per month to get the following enhancements on your listing:
  • photos
  • videos
  • Web site
  • coupons
  • directions
  • menu
  • reservations
According to Sterling, "During the course of the month enhancements can be changed or rotated without paying again. The $25 is a flat recurring monthly fee independent of how many changes are made."

He add some some screens as well.