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Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Local Online Growing, Growing, Growing

Seems like the word is getting out about “local online.” Some recently reported developments…

Greg Sterling takes a look at “mommy sites”… lots of them popping up all over. Some of these are similar to Front Porch Forum… very local and talk about whatever (not just reviews or just classifieds).

Marketers and local businesses should consider some of these mom sites in their thinking about targeting local audiences and in terms of “online word of mouth.” While it’s considerably more challenging to market within online communities, a little time and attention to some of these sites could pay off in a meaningful way. Regardless of whether marketers pay attention to them, these mom networks are in fact driving lots of recommendations and business referrals all over the US. It’s very much an untold story in local.

Bill Day writes for Marchex a post titled “Building relevant and useful sites for neighborhoods.”

How do you cover a landscape as fragmented and targeted as the 42,000+ neighborhoods/ZIP codes that exist in the U.S.? And what needs to be done locally versus done centrally to ensure a solid consumer experience? As a company that owns ZIP Code Web sites covering most of the U.S., we are dealing directly with the challenges and opportunities that come with building highly relevant and useful local sites covering each of the ZIPs.

Hmm… a ZIP Code is interesting, but too crude of a cut. Just in my own experience I’ve lived in ZIPs that feel like home, others that feel disjointed and jerrymandered. And they change. Does that mean the “neighborhood” changes too? Perhaps a techie’s solution to a human challenge. Who knows?

The Local Onliner reports

ReachLocal, a provider of local online marketing solutions for SMBs, has raised $55.2 million in new financing. This comes on top of the $12.7 million it has raised since its founding in 2004. The new funds give ReachLocal an estimated valuation of $305 million, since it was previously valued at $250 million.

That’s a lot of money. Reminds me of Big Tent… social networking for soccer moms. And Ning… DIY social networking. Both of which I believe have huge sums of investment.

Finally, Cameron Ferroni on the Marchex blog seems to agree with my assessment that the local online space is getting both broad and deep…

There is so much data out there that some set of consumers will love, and others will think is irrelevant. Deciding how to bring it all together and get consumers excited – now that is the challenge.

Posted in: Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Local Reviews, Local Search, Neighborhood, Small Business Advertising, Social Media, Social Networking


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