Tag Archives: ILM:10

My Top 10 Takeaways from ILM:10

Our ILM:10 conference probably hit something of “a perfect storm” for the 681 senior level execs and entrepreneurs in attendance. While we’ve been cheerleading the local opportunity since the mid 1990s, the big money has now really focused on the local opportunity.

Amazon’s $175 million investment in Living Social and Google’s failed bid last week to buy Groupon for $6 billion really put things in perspective. During 2010, so did mega-investments from various VCs in everything from Yelp to Angie’s List.

At the end of the day, the takeaway from such an event depends on where we are coming from. Search experts David Mihm and Andrew Shotland certainly have their own view on things, as do social execs like Mike Orren and Sebastien Provencher. Here’s what I walk away with:

1- Google remains the elephant in the room. Google Places simultaneously democratizes the web by opening up more information sources, while weakening the dominance of major review aggregators like Yelp. But we don’t know yet whether Google will use the super fragmentation to support its own competitive position as it gets deeper into SMB and vertical marketing. Neither does Google.

2- Yelp and others can’t count too much on Google to drive its growth anymore. But it has 14 million reviews to leverage, and an alternative opportunity via the whole “App” channel on iPhones and other mobile devices. The App channel represents a major workaround of search, although it doesn’t strike me as being nearly as large.

3- Facebook represents new avenues for SMBs and others to engage consumers “in context.” 48.5 percent of SMBs apparently have a Facebook page (ok, some screwed up data there!) Regardless, some Yellow Pages and event site leaders that it is already more important than search. Aside from effective brand positioning, and discount promotions, however, it is almost entirely green field. But whatever the model, “local should be a layer across all products,” according to Facebook Local Leader Emily White. We’d buy into that.

4- Location Based Services such as FourSquare and Gowalla –and LBS features for major sites — currently rely on game-loving younger men. But as smart phone and tablet penetration zooms – ComScore sees 87 million users by 2013– they have real potential for building community and rewarding frequent users with promotions etc. This space is exploding fast.

5- The tie-ins between LBS and deal-a -day group buying models and other promotions seem clear – especially those that are heavily networked or syndicated. But can the audiences be combined? LBS is currently dominated by men, and deal a days, of course, are heavily dominated by women. It is not a long-term problem.

6- We think Google’s interest in Groupon was partly driven by its disruption of traditional sales channels. There are other interesting takes on how Groupon and other group buying efforts evolve, and incorporate search, Yellow Pages and other features.

7- SMB services may use deal a day as a base for other services. Groupon is pursuing this, and so is Nimble Commerce, Tippr, Adility, DealCurrent, Closely and many others. Angie’s List noted that it is using its Big Deal as a retention tool for advertisers. At the same time, the Big Deals result in more profiles and reports. A win-win all around. Cox Target Media’s Jim Sampey noted that deal a day becomes part of an arsenal to keeping SMBs engaged throughout the month.

8- Self-serve is no longer viewed as a holy grail that makes local selling viable on its own. It won’t. But it is increasingly part of the solution for many SMBs. As Yodle CEO Court Cunningham noted, “people pay with their time or with money. Cash-strapped SMBs “pay with time.”

9- Local content drives engaged users. Perfect Market’s Julie Schoenfeld notes that it will be especially important when content is tagged with “great meta data about when and where it is written.” Amen.

10- It isn’t “online media” anymore. Or “mobile media.” It’s all advertising, whether the format is Web, mobile, audio, video or banner. As Pandora’s Cheryl Lucanegro noted, a multi-media effort can also create multiple consumer experiences: branding, direct response, engagement and multi-screen. I am especially intrigued by multi-screen, as data shows that people are using their smartphones along with TV and laptop use.

ILM:10: Steven Johnson on ‘Where Good (Local) Ideas Come From’

Best-selling author Steven Johnson keynoted at ILM:10 in Santa Clara today. In his talk, based on “Where Good Ideas Come From ,” a new book, he focused on how local media and commerce is affected by ideal environments for innovation that don’t inadvertently add an “innovation tax.” The best ideas, he noted, come from “putting yourself in situations where these kinds of unlikely developments will happen.”

The idea for Outside.in, the local company that Johnson founded and chairs, for instance, originated from the intersection of three things: his research into Victorian England via the Web, the emergence of local bloggers in his neighborhood in Brooklyn and the emergence of the Google Maps API. Basically, you never know where the serendipity comes from.

Fifteen years ago it wasn’t clear that the Web would actually support local, Johnson noted. Futurists speculated we were headed to a “post geographic” age that would make physical location obsolete. In fact, the opposite has happened.

“We failed to anticipate a couple of core innovations,” said Johnson. “GPS and the concept of the geographic Web. We didn’t realize that the Web would enhance geography and that it would solve a problem: figuring out what’s going on in our community.”

ILM:10: Local Content Economics ‘Not Like Demand Media’

Content farms and aggregators are a major part of the new, scaleable local ecosystem. But the rules of the road are different for local content than for general content, according to executives speaking at ILM:10 in Santa Clara.

MerchantCircle Local Content Studio GM Andy Halliday noted that Merchant Circle is pumping up its context with local content, and now has 120,000 pieces of local content from 15,0o00 contributors after just six months. “Local content has a long tail but there are fewer searches per item,” said Halliday. “It is not the same economics as non-geo topical content like Demand Media.

Halliday also noted that local is “the wild west frontier for getting content up on the Web. It needs to have ‘liveness’ or it’s just a placard. More possibilities open up with the advent of mobile with geo-tracking,” he adds.

Local.com VP for Octane 360 Adam Rioux echoed Halliday’s view, noting that Octane is custom building content that Local.com can sell targeted advertising around. He also noted that Local.com is driving much greater usage for the content by distributing t he content not only to Local.com, but to its partner network, publishers and to SMB profiles.

Perfect Market CEO Julie Schoenfeld said the company has been successfully focusing on working with publishers to monetize non-mainstream content that may have low usage at first but can be pumped up with contextual placement based on search algorithms. It is now working with 30 publishers.

“Think of every article you produce as a deposit in the vault that yields dividends over time,” said Schoenfeld. She advised the audience that with location based services becoming more prevalent, “great meta data, including local geo-targeted content about when or where it was written, is very important.”

ILM:10: Yelp’s Jeremy Stoppelman on Google Places, Mobile, etc.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, in his opening keynote at ILM:10, noted a general frustration with Google’s apparent de-emphasis of Yelp’s content, but said he sees major opportunity in mobile app access as a workaround of Google.

Stoppelman showed an example of a 2007 search that showed the vast majority of results coming from Yelp. “We loved 2007,” he said. A current search has only one Yelp result, although it is on top. The rest come from Google Places, which Stoppelman notes is linking to Yelp, but only “waaay at the bottom of the screen.

“It is always tricky when you have a distribution source that wants to get into your business,” said Stoppelman, who said he focuses on leveraging his arsenal of 14 million reviews. “It is an ongoing conversation with Google: ‘Can we get to win-win with our content?’ ”

He added that Google has been aggressively soliciting content for some time, but for Google, “the content creation hasn’t happened.” It still relies on Yelp “for the majority of content.”

Even if relations with Google don’t improve, however, Yelp doesn’t plan to rely on Google search forever. “The good news is that the industry is changing really, really rapidly. There is a rapid shift to local [apps].”

Yelp currently has 2.6 million unique visitors a month for its mobile apps, said Stoppleman — a small but growing chunk of its overall usage base of 39 million uniques. Mobile “search is so much more intuitive than on desktop. It knows your location. The holy grail of local … is suddenly seeing all kinds of information without typing a thing.”

As for monetization, Stoppelman said he is especially excited about providing listings with video. Local search ads on a click-per-call and CPM basis are a big part of Yelp’s revenues also. Stoppelman also sees Yelp’s Weekly deals, currently in eight cities, as holding significant promise.

BIA/Kelsey President Neal Polachek Interviewing Jeremy Stoppelman

Local Hits the Big Time at ILM:10: 600+ Attendees Expected.

Sixty-eight speakers have been briefed; the BIA/Kelsey moderators have done their research; the demos have been tested; 30 sponsors are in place; and we’re basically ready for a record-setting 600 attendees at ILM:10 in Silicon Valley next Tuesday through Thur. (Dec. 7-9).

Final adds for the program include Google’s Carter Maslan, who has been a leader behind the development of Google Places; and CityGridMedia’s Kara Nortman.

We’re proud to add Maslan and Nortman to a program that really is a “who’s who” of local, with local leaders from Google (and Groupon), Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, AOL, CBS, NBC, Advance, Hearst Newspapers, Pandora, Gowalla, SB Nation, Angie’s List and so many more. Highlights of the show are sure to include the Mobile Superforum on Day 1, and the Deal-a-Day/Pure Pay for Performance Superforum on Day 2.

Haven’t signed up to attend yet? Are you serious about local online and mobile media? We’ll add a chair for you. Here’s the registration link.

Is Groupon Better Off with Yahoo, Google (Or on its own?)

Groupon has been a phenomenal success in the deal a day space, and we envision continued success for the segment’s pioneer. But what shape will that success take?

At our Marketplaces conference last March in San Diego, CEO Andrew Mason told us that he felt that Groupon wasn’t so much a deals company as a City Guide. The clever writing, daily emails and targeted demographic all made it seem like “media” to him; something that will have a higher circulation in his home town of Chicago than The Chicago Tribune by year-end.

There is certainly a media aspect with Groupon. In addition to its two or three daily deals, it has also started selling national banner ads, and done well with them.

But frankly, we don’t see Groupon’s future so much as a “city guide.” To us, it is more of a next generation small business leads generator: helping small businesses at the local level, and franchises at the national level (see The Gap).

It is a role that that the company has been vigorously pursuing. Recently, it has been focused on building a personalized platform for deals out of its new Silicon Valley office. It has also been developing a slate of small business services that allow SMBs to trigger (and manage) their own deals – and presumably, manage their own lists — not unlike Perry Evans’ work in developing Closely.

Is all this worth $3 billion to Yahoo? Or even more to Google (per today’s report in AllthingsD)? Would these efforts win synergies from those companies, or would they be stifled? And with 180+ deal a day companies now following in Groupon’s footsteps – plus branded efforts from Yelp, AOL, Angie’s List and others — how unique is Groupon’s longterm value proposition? And what will be the impact of deal aggregation by companies like Yahoo, The Deal Map and others?

These are the questions their bankers will be asking as they look to acquire Groupon. And they are the questions we’ll be getting at on our Deal a Day/Pure Pay for Performance Superforum at ILM 2010, which includes:
Sean Smyth, VP of Business Development, Groupon
Jim Sampey, Executive VP, Cox Target Media
Prashant Nedungadi, CEO, Nimble Commerce
Martin Tobias, CEO,Tippr
Mike Rutz, VP, Angie’s List
Mike Coleman, VP, DealChicken.com/Gannett Phoenix
Jennifer Dulski, CEO, The Deal Map
Landy Ung, CEO, 8Coupons.com
Thomas Cornelius, CEO, Adility

It Keeps Getting Better: Update to ILM:10 Santa Clara Dec. 7-9

The program for Interactive Local Media 2010 is already one of the best we have ever put together. And it keeps getting better and better.

We’d already announced the keynotes from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Microsoft Advertising VP Randy Wootton, Yahoo EVP Hilary Schneider, Cox Target Media CEO Jim Sampey and CBS Local Digital Media CEO Ezra Kucharz.

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve added the local leaders for Facebook; built out the (1) Mobile Local Media and (2) Deal a Day Superforums with key local executives from companies such as Pandora and Google; and brought on three of the smartest newspaper transformers we know from Gannett, Hearst and Advance. Watch this space for new updates.

Here’s a current list of our confirmed speakers (in alpha):
Ethan Anderson, CEO, Redbeacon
Jim Bankoff, CEO, SB Nation
Lisa Bradner, President, Geomentum
Wesley Chan, Investment Partner, Google Ventures
Surojit Chatterjee, Sr. Product Manager, Google
Mike Coleman, VP,Digital, AZCentral.com
Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle
Jennifer Dulski, CEO, Center’d/The Deal Map
Steve Espinosa, CEO Cherrp
Matt Galligan, CEO GeoLocal
Alistair Goodman, CEO, Placecast
Scott Greenberg, SVP, Advertising Services, Marchex
Andy Halliday, VP, Merchant Circle Studios
Tim Kendall, Director, Monetization, Facebook
Satbir Khanuja, CEO, DataSphere
Ezra Kucharz, President, CBS Local Digital Media
Cheryl Lucanegro, SVP, Pandora
Spencer Rascoff, CEO, Zillow
Dan Ruby, Director, Research, Chitika
Jim Sampey, CEO, Cox Target Media
Hilary Schneider, EVP, Yahoo
Julie Schoenfeld, CEO, PerfectMarket
Darian Shirazi, CEO, Fwix
Andrew Shotland, Principal, Local SEO Guide
Chris Spanos, CEO, SeniorChecked
Jeremy Stoppleman, CEO, Yelp
Ky Tang, Director,Marketing, TeleNav
Zaw Thet, CEO, 4Info
Landy Ung, CEO, 8Coupons
Michael Yang, Partner, Comcast Interactive Partners
Warren Webster, President, AOL’s Patch
Peter Weinberger, President, Advance Internet
Stephen Weis, VP, Digital Sales, Hearst Newspapers
Emily White, Sr. Director, Local, Facebook
Randy Wootton, VP, Microsoft Advertising
Payam Zamani, CEO, Reply.com

Sign up today. Online registration is here: More info is here.