Is there an Opportunity for Low-Cost Local SEM?

How Low Cost SEM Compares to Alternatives

Greg Sterling has an interesting post on his Screenwerk blog on the challenges of selling SEM to small local businesses. He argues that most small businesses don’t understand enough about SEM and all the metrics involved to evaluate an SEM service except by trying it. When they do, often the ROI is not great because […]

MapQuest Local: Where Have You Seen this Before?

MapQuest recently launched a new local service called MapQuest Local that more or less follows the Localmouth pattern. Like Localmouth, they’re aggregating content from a number of local information providers to provide guides to individual places. Currently, the information they’re aggregating includes business listings from City’sBest and CityGuide, news from Topix, weather from WeatherBug, events […]

HelloMetro Wins Hyperlocal Trademark

According to their own press release, HelloMetro has been awarded a trademark from the US patent office for use of the term ‘Hyperlocal’. In a comment on Search Engine Watch, their CEO explains that their use describes their service of “advertising/providing information on the goods and services of others that are of local interest”. Astonishing! […]

Brownbook – a Crowdsourced Yellow Pages

I just came across these guys: They’re a sort of open yellow pages where anyone can add, edit or review businesses. This is very similar to what sites like WeLoveLocal and Yelp are already doing, but in a world where many small business owners have yet to really get to grips with online marketing, […]

Washington Post Hits Hyperlocal Hurdles

photo credit: Ed Yourdon Newspapers as we know them are dying. Offline readership numbers are dwindling as more and more people find what they need on the Web. Owners and editors everywhere have been grappling for some time now with how to stay relevant in today’s increasingly online world. Some think the answer is to […]

Death of a Startup: Why Meetro Failed

photo credit: Tony the Misfit TechCrunch ran an interesting post-mortem article yesterday by the founder of Meetro, a location-aware instant messaging platform, that recently closed its doors. Meetro’s idea was to let users download an application onto their wifi-enabled mobile phones that would then allow them to find other Meetro users nearby to chat with. […]

FatDoor is No More


I’ve just been catching up with TechCrunch, and read that FatDoor, a social network for neighbours, has closed down. At one point it sounded promising (and had a fancy-looking neighbour-mapping feature), but I guess things didn’t look good in their beta testing. The founders have changed direction, launching a new site called Center’d, with an […]

Local social network


I’ve been working away on a new site designed to help people connect with other local people. It is inspired mainly by Peuplade, a site that has done very well in France. An initial version is now live, so if you have a few minutes, do give it a go. I’d love to know what […] switches to Rails


Here’s a post about recently switching from PHP to Rails. Interestingly, they cite access to GIS functionality as one reason for the switch. After the switch, their hosting costs were roughly the same as before and their codebase was down to just 20% of its former size!

VillageRatings – now with improved usability (hopefully!)


Taking the usability tips I received yesterday, I’ve spent most of the day updating the VillageRatings site, applying the “low-hanging-fruit” changes. Here’s the new-look version.