Monday, April 13, 2009

Online News and Ads Go 'Hyperlocal'

Don't you love it when people make up new words? I'll know I've made it the day I make up a word and someone else blogs about it.

Today's new word (which, alas, I cannot take credit for) is 'hyperlocal.' And it's all over the front page of this morning's edition of The New York Times online.

Apparently, a number of online start-up companies are creating 'hyperlocal' news sites. The sites are so-called 'hyperlocal' because they let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, such as an arrest a block away, the sale of a home down the street, or a review of a nearby restaurant.

Sites like EveryBlock and Placeblogger are rapidly growing in popularity, and operate by collecting links to articles and blogs and often supplementing them with data feeds from city governments, crime reports, restaurant inspections, and notices of road construction and film shoots.

The Times calls EveryBlock "one of the most ambitious hyperlocal sites." It is Backed by a $1.1 million grant from the Knight Foundation, it has created sites for 11 American cities, including New York, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco.

And, most importantly for us marketing folk, hyperlocal sites such as EveryBlock are tapping into a hugely unexplored online ad market -- the millions of small businesses in North America that have never advertised outside the local Yellow Pages -- whose worth is expected to double to $32 billion by 2013.

Looks like going hyperlocal may also be hyper-lucrative!