Posts about hyperlocal


Baristanet is now on TV. Check out the first episode about an issue ready to blow up in the ‘burbs.

Killer local advertising

The Journal writes a good primer on marketing online via blogs and search and such. Buried in there is a gem of an anecdote that shows why newspapers and yellow pages are in deep trouble with local advertising — unless they find new ways to serve them and compete with Google:

It’s hard to engage in any public relations, of course, if the public doesn’t know you exist. In early 2004, Kenny Kormendy says he was on welfare and struggling to make ends meet as a taxi driver in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He had tried to reach the public through typical means, such as ads in the telephone book or handing out cards at the airport, but says there “were so few calls, it was unreal.”

Mr. Kormendy was decent on computers, he says, and so he built a rough Web site for his company, Gopher State Taxi, figuring travelers coming to town might locate him when searching for transportation. But he never popped up front and center in search-engine results until he stumbled upon Google’s AdWords service, a cost-per-click advertising program that rotates advertisements on the right side of Google’s search page based on the specific keywords a user types. He decided to give it a shot.

It paid off. In recent months, Gopher State Taxi has routinely popped first on Google’s sponsored link for core keywords, including: “Minneapolis, airport, taxi.” Mr. Kormendy says his business has grown to a network of nearly three dozen cabs and he is off welfare. He estimates his total payout to Google is about $175 to $205 monthly, based on how many clicks his ads get. “People with cellphones on planes can find me,” he says. “Almost every time I ask someone, they tell me it was on the Internet. And nine times out of 10 it’s from Google. I don’t have $50,000 to compete with [bigger taxi companies]. But with what I create off the Internet, I can blow them away.”

Increasingly people turn to the Internet instead of phone books or newspapers to find restaurants, office-supply vendors or any kind of service. In addition to advertising opportunities, companies including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit are tailoring their search products to include maps, narrowed neighborhood searches and storefront images to court small businesses with local audiences.

Hyperlocal citizens’ media: Salt to taste

Douglas Fisher offers quite an impressive cookbook for building a hyperlocal citizens’ media service.

The tribes of citizens’ media

Chris Anderson, the Columbia grad student, gives us a topology for citizens media: Part I and Part II.

Networked mapping

Roy Greenslade points to Chorley, an English town suffering from the lack of an official map. The local paper, the Chorley Guardian, used to produce one but it started a campaign to get the borough council to Give Us a Map.

But why not make a networked map? Start with Google Maps to satellite view of Chorley from above (who needs cartographers when we have satellites?). Then use a social mapping application like Platial to have local folks come in and fill in addresses and names; you don’t need everyone to do it, just that fabled 1 percent of nosy yet helpful neighbors. And they can add more than just names and addresses; they can review restaurants and warn you away from mean dogs. Or you can include dynamic information: report a pothole here. Google Maps will soon allow you find coupons for the local businesses. Then look at data applications like and layer on more information: arrests but also perhaps home prices. And, of course, because the UK has better mobile phones than we do, you’ll be able to see it all on your cell. While you’re at it, why not add on local tour podcasts (on your left, they’re having a nasty divorce….). By God, Chorley could end up with the best damned map on earth.

: And as a commenter points out, I should have included Up My Street.

And with GPS and a phone, people could leave voice or SMS annotations for any location in town.

What else?

LATER: More good ideas in the comments and here, too.