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If there's a sexy space on the consumer internet right now, group buying is it. Although there are arguments about whether or not market leader Groupon's first national deal with Gap was really as successful as it appears on the surface, one thing is for sure: companies large and small smell big money in group buying deals.
One of those companies is Yelp, and although it has plenty of competition, Yelp may be one of the few upstarts with the potential to put a dent, even if slight, in Groupon's rise.
Remember when the world was young and finding a copy of your book on Fly Fishing meant hours crawling through the local yellow pages or trusting to luck that ‘Six Gun’ Tex McCain was really a reliable plumber?
Thankfully these days we have the magic of the internet, where anyone can have a fully functional, great looking site for their local business.
Unfortunately this does leave smaller business or individual users with a problem: How are you going to market your site?
There’s a mountain of marketing guides out there, but there is a tendency to assume you’re trying to build a multinational media empire. If you’re just trying to get a few extra people through the door of your cake shop then a lot of this advice really isn’t going to be suitable.
Having a great LinkedIn network is fine, but are those international jet-setters really going to stop at your small Hardware Shop?
If you’re trying to raise localised traffic it can be hard to know where to start, and let’s be honest, if your site isn’t in the top ten when someone Googles ‘Launderette, Stevenage‘ then there’s no point in having a site. So let’s see what you can do to get yourself a decent search ranking...
Google is the internet's 800 pound gorilla when it comes to advertising, but that doesn't mean that it has exploited all of the areas for growth potential. A significant one: small, local businesses.
While many small businesses use AdWords, or have given it a spin, even more aren't using it. There are plenty of reasons why. Many small business owners find paid search challenging to set up and manage, and if not set up and managed properly, campaigns can be very costly and ineffective. One costly, ineffective campaign can potentially cost Google a customer for life.
You don’t have to be an SEO geek to have noticed that over the last six months or so, whenever you search for a phrase with a location in it, Google shows maps with local listings.
What you might not have realised is that these results are sorted and sequenced by a different and far more basic algorithm than the main search index. Not surprisingly given the simplicity of these system and prevalence of the listings, some cheeky beggars have been using some ingenious ways of boosting their rankings on Google Maps.
As most newspapers cut back on their budgets and staff, Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is expanding — launching a new New York section to rival The New York Times' coverage (and steal some of its rival publication's advertising).
Today, Murdoch outlined his logic in growing the paper while other papers shutter their local bureaus. Speaking at the Real Estate Board of New York meeting, he put it simply:
"Technology is putting a premium on content."
Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is making a major play for local this year. The newspaper has hired a large, capable staff (disclosure: many are my former colleagues from The New York Sun) to create a New York focused arts and culture section. The section won't debut until the Spring, but when it does, chances are, it could take a large chunk of The New York Times' advertisers with it.
Why? Because luxury advertisers are often based in New York or targeting its residents and they are more likely to reallocate their ad budgets than increase them in the coming year.
With all of the landgrabbing going on in local marketing right now, Citysearch is trying its best to retain relevance in the space. The latest in its bid to help local business (and its bottom line) is a directory of local business tweets that will help position CitySearch as the go-to for real-time business information.
It may be awhile since you've thought about CitySearch, but the local listings site is not ready to roll over and let Google or Yelp corner the local ad market. Today CitySearch announced the launch of CityGrid, a bid to turn the company's voluminous local listings into the largest content and advertising network for local.
This week Google has brought marketers one step closer to actually tapping into the holy grail of local, mobile advertising with the simple addition of a hot link. Starting Thursday, Google search ads can include click-to-call links.
The look and feel of the ads won't change much, but letting users click on search results gets them one step closer to spending money at those establishments, which is why local businesses are getting excited about mobile advertising.
Twitter's Trending Topics list may or may not be useful to you. While they can often be helpful in spotting breaking news events and the hot topics of the day, they're also notoriously associated with spam.
In an effort to make them more relevant to users, Twitter yesterday rolled out Local Trends functionality for all Twitter users.
For many startups, a purchase bid from Google may seem like an offer they can't refuse. But Yelp has done just that. The search giant was in talks to purchase the local ratings site, but Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppleman walked away from talks this weekend.
TechCrunch reports that Yelp turned down an offer of half a billion dollars from the search giant and speculates that it got another bid or partnership that made selling less than necessary.
Hopefully the recommendation site has some good tricks up its sleeve, because Google's recent moves show that the company is serious about local. And while standing athwart Google yelling "Stop!" may seem a noble cause, many companies have crashed and burned with this strategy before Yelp came along.
One startup that's attracted attention recently in the space is Amsterdam-based Layar, which has created an augmented reality 'browser'.
I spoke to Layar co-founder Claire Boonstra to learn more about Layar and the business potential of augmented reality...