Tag Archives: The Boston Globe

Hyperlocal Lives? GoLocal24 Preps Second Site

No one talks much about certain topics after public crashes – even when the opportunity remains clear. Hyperlocal is one of these. TBD.com in Washington DC crashed last February, and there is a lot of speculation that Patch.com has become a cash drain on AOL.com and is not sustainable (although CEO Tim Armstrong asserts that several of the largest Patch sites will be in the black in 2013 and that the site remains a definite “go.”)

Meanwhile, the dream lives on, and lots of independent and regional hyperlocal initiatives, in addition to Patch, are still going at it — and should go at it. Main Street Connect, a northeast site, has raised $7 million of new funding and added a new CEO. Many newspapers have launched various hyperlocal sections. The Boston Globe’s YourTown, for instance, has 50 town sites.

Local Thunder, ShopCity and American Towns also have hyperlocal products that emphasize hyperlocal commerce as much as hyperlocal journalism (arguably, an equally important part of a community buzz). A new venture is GoLocal 24, which launched GoLocalProv in Providence in 2010 and is launching GoLocal Worcester.

As an article in today’s Boston Globe points out, GoLocalProv was founded by Josh Fenton, a former advertising executive who grew up in Providence. His cofounder was Paul Krasinski, a Newton native and executive with Arbitron (and brother of The Office’s John Krasinski.) The website employs 10 reporters, including a well known local TV personality.

The article notes that the Providence site became profitable after seven months, and closed a second round of financing in December from Angel Street Capital and local investors.

Hearst Newspapers Launches PaperG’s Self Serve ‘Flyerboard’

Newspapers want to attract smaller local advertisers. To get there, they’ll need self serve solutions. The accounts aren’t valuable enough to assign feet on the street. It would be helpful if they were simple and intuitive as well.

That’s what AdReady, Wave2 Media and 2AdPro have done with solutions for various newspapers that enable prefabricated templates, in AdReady’s case, and fast production of ads, a specialty of Wave2 and 2AdPro.

New Haven-based PaperG is going in a different direction with its Flyerboard product, which lets advertisers instantly create and stick ads up with virtual “thumb tacks,” bulletin board-style. The ads can be hyperlocalized for different zones, and can be themed for certain categories (i.e. babysitting services).

To post, users submit a graphic file. The file is then converted into an interactive ad with various kinds of online functionality, allowing viewers to share it via email and social networks, and locate businesses with online map services

For the past several months, The Flyerboard has been tested by a number of papers, including The Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe’s Your Town hyperlocal site. It has also launched on other Websites, including Parenthood.com, mtvU’s College Media Network and 50 other sites. Today, PaperG announced a formal relationship with Hearst Newspapers for 15 of its newspapers, including The Houston Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Albany Times Union and The San Antonio Express News.

CEO and Founder Victor Wong says Hearst signed after a multi-month test with The Houston Chronicle, which “achieved nearly six figures revenue in the first month” and “is still quickly growing. Sales representatives tell us it is a much easier product to sell than previous offerings, and they can get advertisers who spend between $100 and $10,000,” says Wong.

Top verticals that have been monetized by Chron.com include communities, entertainment, life, sports, moms, real estate, autos and jobs. “We’ve seen a wide spectrum of local advertisers including restaurants, retail stores, service providers, non-profits, real estate agents and auto dealers, “says Wong. “You can see that we have strength in traditional classifieds segments as well as new classified segments like event listings and local promotion listings.”

Wong cautions, however, that the Flyerboard “isn’t a substitute for existing advertising. As reported by the sales people, most revenue is new revenue from new advertisers. We are primarily growing new revenue streams with our partners.”

The service also doesn’t have the flexibility to be totally customized. For instance, advertisers are locked into appearing in a certain part of the page, with good but limited functionality. They can’t post IAB standard ads, for instance. But for those advertisers that can live with that, PaperG certainly represents a new, less expensive option.