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In 2007, Tim Armstrong was the head of Google's North American ad sales, making him one of the company's most important and powerful executives.
He was also very interested in local content, and disappointed by the lack of information about his hometown, helped start Patch Media, a company dedicated to building a network of local news and information.
After Armstrong became CEO of AOL in 2009, AOL purchased Patch and started funneling money into the network with plans to establish a footprint in hundreds of cities.
There’s a tug-of-war going on between location-based technology advocates and, well, the rest of the online population. Just 4% of online Americans are actually using location-based services, according to new data from Pew Internet. That paltry adoption hasn’t stopped startups like Foursquare and Gowalla from trying to entice advertisers to offer deals on their location-based platforms.
Now Facebook has entered the fray with its new “Deals” offering, which gives users exclusive deals when they check in at stores. Is it premature?
You may never have heard of Microbilt, a company that offers risk management solutions to small businesses. But chances are, you've seen one of the spots from their super-viral I Love Local Commercials campaign.
Collectively, these send-ups of local TV channel, late-night spots for tattoo parlors, mobile home and furniture dealerships, and a Cuban-gynecologist-cum-auto-dealer have garnered not only views in the millions, but social media mentions from celebrities such as Errol Morris who called out one spot as his all-time favorite commerical on Twitter (re-tweeted by Roger Ebert, no less).
Microbilt hatched the campaign in conjunction with Rockefeller Consulting Group/Insight Capitalists, and the comedy duo of Rhett and Link. We caught up with Microbilt's EVP Strategy & Emerging Markets Brian Bradley (left) to talk about the campaign's genesis, and if all those views of spots that don't even try to sell anything have translated into business for the company.
Google Places. That's the new name of Google's Local Business Center. The search giant has rolled out a host of new features for local advertisers, including a mobile dimension that could help push QR codes into the mainstream.
Media moguls have been kicking up quite a storm about charging for content over the past few months. But a more subtle shift is the one towards local content online. And according to digital media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey, another section of the local market — geo-targeted display ads — is expected to grow to 15% of the display market by 2013.
That's good news for those who are betting on local online. From NBC to News Corp. and The Huffington Post, publishers are rushing out local content sites that can capitalize on local ads. As consumers get more focused on reading and concentrating on local and hyperlocal events online, those moves could be well advised. But it remains to be seen who will come out on top in the local market.
If there's one thing that could tamp down the excitement around localized mobile advertising, it is the usability issue: it's not easy to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. And Google has just proved that point with its new sponsored search results on the iPhone.
Starting this week, Google's iPhone maps program features sponsored links that point users to nearby locations. The trouble is, it doesn't work.
Hard to argue with a $5 CPM for advertising on a New York Times property, even if the ad run on its portfolio of hyperlocal properties. But what do the butcher, baker or candlestick maker know from CPMs?
The Times just announced on The Local, its clutch of microregional, citizen-journalism blogger sites, that it plans to make display advertising easy, self-service, and cheap. It's inviting nieghborhood dry cleaners and hardware merchants to design, post, and allocate a capped budget to ad campaigns targeted to neighborhood audiences.
Local online reviews site Yelp has come a long way in the United States, where it now competes head-on with IAC/InterActiveCorp's Citysearch. Yelp launched in the UK earlier this year and recently rolled out functionality that gives business owners the opportunity to respond to reviewers.
I spoke with Laura Nestler, Yelp's London Community Manager, to find out more about Yelp's efforts in the UK, how Yelp can be used by businesses and where Yelp is headed.