That Lamentable List of Links

I'm coming to the conclusion that I may be a compulsive blogger — "Hi my name is Greg and I'm a blogaholic." That's why it's always painful for me when I don't get to go into detail about the 101 things in the news or running through my head that I want to address. So for today — unfortunately — I'm going to have to refer people off again to a set of links and "circle back" to some of these items later.

I had dinner with LocalLaunch in connection with their presence at Ad:Tech last night and I learned that it's almost impossible to get a reservation on the same day at popular San Francisco restaurants. 🙂 Anyway, my head was spinning with the things they were telling me about what they're doing and what they're developing on the product side. They have some very interesting ideas about how to solve some of the local consumer traffic/advertiser fragmentation problems that have kept Local from to date realizing its full potential. They told me they'd have to kill me if I said anymore.

Here's Lost Remote reporting on a Chris "Long Tail" Anderson speech at the NAB show in which he previewed his forthcoming book of the same name. The term "The Long Tail" is now something of a cliché (simply because it has been over used). But the concept is fascinating and important — especially in Local. And for those who still haven't read the original article Anderson wrote for Wired (where he is Editor in Chief), here it is.

Here's a ClickZ roundup of recent data and articles about Local Search. Speaking of which, I ran into Rebecca Leib and Pamela Parker (respectively the executive editor and managing editor of ClickZ) outside the restaurant last night. Pamela is based in SF and Rebecca is out from New York moderating and speaking at sessions at Ad:Tech. (I'm thinking if this whole analyst/consultant thing doesn't work out maybe I can become the "Wonkette of Local Search” or the “Dr. Phil” or the “Jerry Springer,” as Paul Levine of Yahoo! once called me. Is that a compliment?)

Speaking of whom, here's Riva Richmond's WSJ (sub. req'd) piece this morning on Google, Yahoo!, MSN and ShopLocal (and the yellow pages) and their Local Search efforts. One of the things that's always challenging in talking about this area or writing these articles is succinctly capturing the complexity of the marketplace. If that sounds like an oxymoron it is. It's fundamentally difficult to capture in 600 or 1000 words all the things that are going on or the value chain/Local Search Ecosystem that has emerged to address the challenges of Local. Paul Levine is quoted at the end of the piece alluding to the role of social search/user-generated content. The role of user-generated content in Local is an entire tome in itself.

Speaking again of Yahoo!. The company has just come out with a new category of advertising: "Featured Local Listings." I'll do a longer post later on it, but it complements the free and enhanced Local Listings products for advertisers. Basically it allows local business, for a fixed fee, to buy placement among sponsored links at the top of a page on Yahoo! Local for an indefinite period. So if I'm a financial planner and I want to come up at the top of the page when appropriate queries are entered into Yahoo! Local (or Yahoo! that refer to Local), I simply pay the rate, which starts at $25 per month and can range up to $300 depending on the market. Here's an example: Fly Recumbent Bikes Trikes (top listing).

MediaNews Group, which publishes the Denver Post, bought four California Knight Ridder papers that McClatchy decided to sell. Those papers are the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Monterey County Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This was a result that many were hoping to avoid. MediaNews has at best a mixed reputation and the concern is that these papers will be stripped of their editorial staffs and run in a bare bones fashion to the detriment of their quality and content. If that does come to pass it will only accelerate negative trends that newspapers are struggling against — in other words, the loss of subscribers and advertisers. Quality remains important in retaining both.

And here’s Judysbook’s blog talking about (and showing the operation of) its new merchant-friendly “Respond to Review” feature.

Over at the Search Engine Watch blog, shopping editor Brian Smith discusses travel “metasearch” engine SideStep’s new Activity Search Beta feature, allowing travelers to look for “local entertainment in categories such as Museums, Sports, Outdoor & Adventure, Amusement & Theme Park, and Dining.” I’m going to try and catch up with Brian at Ad:Tech today if possible. There are many areas in which Travel and Local collide (maps being the most obvious).

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch discusses social network Facebook’s expansion beyond college (we knew it was coming right?) into the enterprise market. Arrington cites company data for the staggering proposition that 85% of US college students use the site. (Stay tuned for the launch of my own social networking venture for infants and toddlers, enabling me to offer extremely targeted advertising to brand marketers going after the highly coveted "diaper and bottle" segment. I'll be looking for a $2 billion valuation as well :).)

That’s it for now . . .

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