Geo Local Road Map: ulocate

According to Fierce Wireless , uLocate launched Where Ads a service to offer hyper-local mobile ads. Of note, uLocate claims, “the click through rates on WHERE Ads exceeded other mobile ads by as much as three times.

This reinforces the findings of eMarkerter and others — location adds relevancy and with relevancy 
consumers are more apt to click.

Coverage also at, Internet2go, etc.

Geo Local Road Map: 2009-01-11

SpotMixer aquisition should connect the dots for local media. They should now see AdSense for content for what it is — a Trojan horse.

Google has been positioned (first through adsense, then through radio advertising, now spot mixer, etc.) to own local ad spend. Meanwhile, TV and Newspapers have been helping Google (running adsense on their sites, sales partnerhsips) build relationships with local businesses. Every time a company signs up for adsense with a $50-$500 account, it is a new relationship for Google and a lost relationship for local media.

Local Media was focused on one or two $20MM deals with auto makers to support the core. They ignored the florist who has $500 to spend. They were winning a sprint but losing a marathon. In the end, it is a missed opportunity for local media, particularly newspapers.

Geo Local Road Map: GPS

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.

Geo Local Road Map: crowdsourcing

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Geo Local Road Map: Darwin, An Analogy for Internet Success?

I recently heard a “speech” in which the speaker quoted Charles Darwin and applied an analogy to the Internet. That is not in itself very interesting or suprising. What was interesting is that the speaker gave what he thought was a verbatim quote. It was not. As it turns out, the speaker may have had it wrong, twice, with the quote and the truth.

The speaker told an audience of young Internet professionals that Darwin did not say the ‘strongest survive,’ but those ‘able to adapt’ survive. He quoted, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” His correction was also in error. This is not an actual quote but a summary or paraphrase of Darwin. Some scholars consider this common paraphrase a misreprestation. According to an article in Cosmos Magazine:

“These sentences do not appear anywhere in Darwin’s work,” said Patrick Tort, a Darwin expert at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris who said he has spent the last decade “combating the endless distortions of Darwin’s ideas.”

The analogy was meant to suggest that the Internet company in question can survive and thrive as long as it can adapt. This probably has truth, but maybe that is not the whole story.

The Cosmos article goes on to say that, “It is not the species that are most responsive to change that are likely to survive… ‘It is the ones that are lucky, or already have the right features that can be passed on to the next generation.’”

If we accept this interpretation of Darwin’s theory and apply it to this struggling Internet company it is far less uplifting, for sure. If we extend the analogy and view the organization as organism, it suggests there is (1) luck, and (2) attributes, possibly equivalent to institutional structure/knowledge/culture, at play. The people and the institutions both carry knowledge, biases and culture with them. I am suggesting these are the “features” or “genes” of an organization. These attributes may manifest in how the company makes key decisions, innovates, and conducts daily business.

This new analysis significantly strips away the ability to WILL success through pure adaptation. Much of the success is left to chance and the ability to transform an institution at its very deepest roots. In comparison, it is simple to change or “adapt” the strategy of an institution, but far more difficult to transform an institutions structure, knowledge and culture, unless that is part of the culture.

Through this new looking glass one would suggest that the Internet company in question will survive by the the benefit of (1) luck and (2) the already established institutional structure, knowledge and culture that led to its early success. Luck may manifest as an upturn in Internet ad-spend in 2010. If adaption is required, and that is part of that culture of the organization, then the company may have an additional fighting chance.

This new looking glass is most interesting when examining traditional media companies such as newspapers and TV. Do they have the right institutional structure, knowledge and culture to pass on to the next generation of journalists and succeed in a digital world? Do they have cultures that are comfortable with adaptation and change? Is luck on their side?

Geo Local Road Map: jeff jarvis

I made it to the Borrell Conference in NY this week. The opening panel was very good. Jeff Jarvis opened with his Hyper Local business model followed by a panel with …

KeynoteJeff Jarvis, Director, Interactive Journalism Program, City University of New York
PanelChris Hendricks, Vice President of Interactive Media, The McClatchy Company
PanelChris Jennewein, President, U.S. Local News Network
PanelTroy McGuire, VP of News and General Manager, Fischer Interactive
PanelMark Potts, CEO and Co-Founder,

A lot of the information was a repeat from blog posts and tweets about each initiative but the Q&A section revealed some interesting insights.Here are some notes I captured. I was most interested in the discussion around sales and what strategies are successful in supporting the HL strategies –

Fischer Interactive
Launched or partnered with 109 hyper local Web sites. Generated 400k uniques in seattle a month. They have 1,000 paying advertisers, most of which have never advertised on TV. Fischer claims their HL initiative is profitable. The use a company called DataSphere to power the hyper local sites (widely published partnership) and they have a tele-sales team (40 people) that sells the smaller packages to smaller SMBs. The use of a tele-sales team for going after SMBs was something I pitched to Gannett 5 years ago and was shot down. Fischer claims its very cost efficient and successful because it allows the traditional sales team to focus on the blue chip companies that capture higher revenue per package. One side note that I found interesting and should present a possible gold mine of story ideas for any newsroom — Fischer claims that they find a lot of story ideas come from user comments.

Building a network of HL sites. Started in San Diego and adding Orange County — The focus on blue chip advertisers in the local market. CPM is about $10. They focus on under-served suburbs. They really try to incentivize their AEs in the following way — Relatively low base with 15% commision, 20% if you make quota, 25% if you go 15% over quota. Again, this approach is something I pitched to previous employers as a way to get young, inexpensive and aggressive sales people to sell Web-only. I believe the traditional media companies militate against this because (1) it means complicating something they have done the same way for many years increasing the work they must do for hiring and oversight,  (2) it could create conflict with other AEs in the organization with different compensation structures, (3) ego. USLNN noted that  a segment of advertisers want to have blogs on the core site (A kind of advertorial content) in order to deepen the relationship with their existing customers.

McClatchy Papers
Their hyper local strategy is pro-am strategy, a mix of both professionals and amateurs. Twelve sites are digging into it, including Charlotte and Miami and Raleigh. Raleigh is a success story. McClatchy is against outsourcing sales like Fischer did. Hendricks argued that it somehow undermined the brand having these other people sell. I’ve actually heard that before. McGuire vehemently disagreed. He said most of the advertisers don’t care who is selling, they care about leads and results.Hendricks noted that not all bloggers update as often as a publisher might like. He suggested that they needed to be incented to help them get past the grind of repeated regular publishing which can tire them. They plan to pay blog partners and or share revenue, but they don’t yet.

Geo Local Road Map: 2009-02-08

I could not be more excited to see that Adrian Holovaty has added coupons on EveryBlock. He now shows ValPak coupons on the mashups in the listings. There is a subtle importance here.

Holovaty gets the value of hyper-local. He sees the value in providing people information about their immediate community and sees the value of providing that content in the context of geography/maps. Now, he has begun to draw the important connection with commerce as information and geography for relevance. The average person does most of their living and consuming within 20 miles of their home. So, advertisements increase in value based in part on their proximity to the consumer’s home.

Newspapers, who have thrived on classified revenue for decades — more than any other media — should see this value, but somehow continue to overlook it. TV stations appear to be oblivious as well.

Geo Local Road Map: 2009-08-09

“You can make money from free,” writes Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of “The Long Tail.” “People will pay to save time. People will pay to lower risk. People will pay for things they love. People will pay for status… Free opens doors, reaching new consumers. It doesn’t mean you can’t charge some of them.”

Anderson’s latest book, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” discusses how the increase in efficiency as a result of technology results in deflation of prices and salaries.

Geo Local Road Map: television

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Geo Local Road Map: augmented reality

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