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Is Hyperlocal Reporting Over?

Is Hyperlocal Reporting Over?

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Grub Street debuted its new look today as a national New York food blog, after announcing the elimination of non-New York City blogs. And while the format seems unchanged from the Grub Street New York blog page, city editors Hadley Tomicki, Michael Gebert, Jay Barmann, Collin Keefe, and Kara Baskin are all out of a job.

Of course, as Chicago editor Gebert mentions on his blog Sky Full of Bacon, being a city editor for Grub Street was just one of many jobs for him (as was probably the case with most Grub Street city editors). "I don’t feel like someone who lost a job, mainly because I have at least two others at any given moment. At most I’m merely underemployed again," he writes.

Gebert told The Daily Meal that he has been invited to contribute in the future, most likely with national trend roundup reports we imagine. According to New York Media’s representative Lauren Starke, the new Grub Street will focus more on national stories, "but won’t disappoint readers who come to the site for big news on the New York food and restaurant scene. There's a certain amount of overlap with so many New York chefs being national figures."

So what’s happened with the hyperlocal coverage? "The multi-city strategy was an outgrowth of New York Media’s acquisition of MenuPages in 2008, and a way to enhance the MenuPages offering in its cities outside New York," Starke said.

MenuPages blogs already operating in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco were relaunched as Grub Street blogs, and a Los Angeles blog was created, though MenuPages' actual menu pages were maintained as a separate operation. That operation was sold to Seamless in 2011, however. Now, Grub Street has decided to shift resources to cover "food trends and the politics of food, high-profile and rising chefs, ingredients, food TV, and other topics of national interest, along with big national roundups such as 101 of America’s best new desserts, and important news from the New York restaurant world."

A sample? Today new Grub Street published a guide to 41 hyper-regional sandwiches, plus a series of gifs on how to make coffee sans a coffee maker. And while the blog promises to report on major food developments outside of New York, we’re expecting less on openings and closings and more on trends. This expansion to more national news and trends is like what New York Magazine has done with blogs The Cut and Vulture.

"I think the trend of the last few years is let’s microcover everything," said Aileen Gallagher, a professor at Syracuse University who helped launch the Grub Street city blogs back in 2009. "We obsessively covered everything, and things that used to be in the features lifestyle section got spun out to its own title. Perhaps what they found was that is very hard to do well, it takes a lot of resources."

The downsizing of Grub Street's city pages is echoed by changes at the Chicago Sun-Times and its food section (which turned into a sponsored page) and at The Washington Post, which cut its food blog All We Can Eat this year. And let's not forget the New York Times closing its East Village blog The Local. (Meanwhile The Daily Meal now has 22 city pages in the U.S. and Canada, with cities in Europe and Asia on the drawing board, editorial director Colman Andrews notes.) Just as Grub Street is shying away from hyperlocality, other news media sources are shying away from food-focused blogs.

"I can’t speak for others but I wasn’t shocked that the day came that a New York-based publication shut down operations outside New York; I’ve been in enough ad agencies expanding and then shrinking to be unsurprised by that happening eventually," Gebert wrote on his blog. "We’re in an age when things grow fast and die fast, you have to make that work for you, or go work at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles."

And of course, on the online world, a national audience is a larger audience. "It seems like the trouble with hyperlocal is if there is enough local advertising to sustain hyperlocal," Gallagher said. "With the way that advertising is, if you’re talking about hyperlocal you’re talking about small businesses reaching a very specific small audience, and the volume isn’t there to make the money [online]. So it’s an expensive proposition to do hyperlocal on a big scale."

The future of journalism will not look like its past – and that is a good thing

T o understand where journalism is heading, think ecosystems. Once a concept that referred to complex communities of interdependent living organisms, the metaphor is gaining traction in sectors well beyond the natural world – particularly where the rise of digital networks has radically disrupted and reshaped old institutions. Journalism may well be at the top of that list.

The disintegration of traditional journalism’s business models, in the UK and the US, means we can no longer rely on a few institutions to gather and disseminate news. But the democratisation of tools – and access – means that acts of journalism now come from new people and places almost daily. But more needs to be done to connect those individual pieces and form new networks for civic engagement and quality journalism.

Understanding how to strengthen these networks is something with which we’ve made significant headway in the US in recent years, but today is an important day for community journalism in the UK, too. Digital analysts, academics, journalists and policy-makers will gather at Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism to see how this agenda can be driven forward in the UK.

That the Centre for Community Journalism exists in the UK is proof of a growing commitment towards the sector, but clearly the UK faces many of the same challenges as the US when it comes to its preservation and growth.

Key to today’s event will be the launch of a report – What next for UK community journalism?, which has been undertaken by the university. It highlights some hopeful trends but also makes clear how many challenges remain in strengthening the news ecosystem in the UK. According to the report’s author, Damian Radcliffe, there are more than 400 active hyperlocal websites in the UK, many of which are covering important civic debates and providing a new tier of local reporting. Yet, clearly, hyperlocal news in the UK still faces extraordinary challenges in terms of its long-term sustainability, discoverability and impact.

Those challenges are familiar, in some ways painfully, to media development around the US. But Radcliffe’s study, a collaboration with innovation charity Nesta, points out that there are also important differences in the US and UK hyperlocal landscape – not least in terms of funding.

In the report Radcliffe outlines that investment in UK hyperlocal media has beenm less than £5m over the past three years, compared with more than $400m (£260m) in the US over two years.

In the US the bulk of that funding, much of which has come from foundations, has gone to an emerging class of non-profit news organisations working at state and regional level. These projects are adding investigative muscle to public interest reporting, but they may have done too little to develop meaningful business models. And relatively little funding, beyond individual founders’ investments of time and money, has gone to support small hyperlocal entrepreneurial journalism projects.

So while $400m is notable, it only really begins to replace journalists made redundant in local newsrooms across the country. Meanwhile, the larger field of US philanthropy has been stubbornly slow to expand its support for journalism. As Radcliffe notes, however, the UK has long believed – unlike the US – in direct government support of media.

Regardless of the funding sources, the US and UK should be doing more for unsexy but vital projects that help create structural support for independent local journalism. This means not just investing in quality reporting, but also backing efforts like business model experimentation, community participation and creative collaboration.

Most organisations in hyperlocal media are hanging on by a thread financially, which makes boundless experiments in business models and revenue strategies risky. But those experiments are nonetheless essential. In the US, the Institute for Nonprofit News created a $1m business model innovation fund to help newsrooms develop new revenue strategies around events, mobile apps and sponsorships. We need more initiatives to think broadly about journalism sustainability.

Regardless of business models, local news organisations will have a better chance to thrive if they build community and engagement around the news. Digital news is inherently participatory. Funders and founders should lead the way in transforming sites into platforms for meaningful civic debate, participation and action. For example, in the US ProPublica just received $2.2m from the Knight Foundation to expand its community involvement work and to help other newsrooms do likewise.

If we are going to invest in healthier ecosystems for local journalism, it is not enough to support one-off projects that exist in silos. The strength of ecosystems comes through interdependence. We need investments that help stitch together the hyperlocal journalism landscape through creative partnerships and shared services in areas such as technology, research and legal support.

In New Jersey 120 local civic organisations and newsrooms are members of the NJ News Commons, a state-wide hub where newsrooms access training, share resources and collaborate on reporting. In the UK, Cardiff’s Centre for Community Journalism is leading the way in this space, but it can only do so much.

By funding creative collaborations and networks we can maintain the unique local character of community journalism, while still building a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. To that end, some of the most innovative hyperlocal work is coming from projects that don’t look anything like traditional newsrooms. By combining news, information and engagement, these projects are catalysts for conversation aimed at helping people connect and solve problems. And with off-the-shelf free software, useful services such as FixMyStreet from the brilliant mySociety, can be part of anyone’s offering.

The future of journalism will not look like its past, and that is a good thing. We’re optimistic and realistic. The issues we face in creating a truly diverse, sustainable ecosystem are sometimes daunting. But we should remember that in diverse ecosystems some life-forms die out as others emerge.

We’ll learn from the failures and from the projects that work. In the end, if we get this right, communities of all kinds – geography and interest – will be better served.

Dan Gillmor is a professor of practice at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and mass communication and faculty associate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and professor of practice. Josh Stearns is director of journalism and sustainability at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

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Analysis on Impact of COVID-19: Global Online Hyperlocal Services Market 2020-2024| Increasing Demand for Premium Services to Boost the Market Growth | Technavio

LONDON--( BUSINESS WIRE )--Technavio has been monitoring the global online hyperlocal services market size and it is poised to grow by USD 451.64 million during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of over 18% during the forecast period. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, the immediate impact of the outbreak is varied. While a few industries will register a drop in demand, numerous others will continue to remain unscathed and show promising growth opportunities. Technavio’s in-depth research has all your needs covered as our research reports include all foreseeable market scenarios, including pre- & post-COVID-19 analysis. Download a Free Sample Report on COVID-19 Impacts

The market is fragmented, and the degree of fragmentation will accelerate during the forecast period. Airtasker Pty Ltd., Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Delivery Hero SE, Handy Technologies Inc., Laurel & Wolf, MakeMyTrip Ltd., Maplebear Inc.,, Uber Technologies Inc., Urban Co., and Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd. are some of the major market participants. To make the most of the opportunities, market vendors should focus more on the growth prospects in the fast-growing segments, while maintaining their positions in the slow-growing segments.

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The increasing demand for premium services has been instrumental in driving the growth of the market. However, the expansion of hyperlocal service in the micro interior regions might hamper market growth.

Technavio's custom research reports offer detailed insights on the impact of COVID-19 at an industry level, a regional level, and subsequent supply chain operations. This customized report will also help clients keep up with new product launches in direct & indirect COVID-19 related markets, upcoming vaccines and pipeline analysis, and significant developments in vendor operations and government regulations.

Online Hyperlocal Services Market 2020-2024: Segmentation

Online Hyperlocal Services Market is segmented as below:

  • End-user
    • Individual Users
    • Commercial Users
    • Online Logistics Services
    • Online Food Ordering Services
    • Online Grocery Delivery Services
    • Others
    • APAC
    • North America
    • Europe
    • South America
    • MEA

    To learn more about the global trends impacting the future of market research, download a free sample:

    Online Hyperlocal Services Market 2020-2024: Scope

    Technavio presents a detailed picture of the market by the way of study, synthesis, and summation of data from multiple sources. The online hyperlocal services market report covers the following areas:

    • Online Hyperlocal Services Market Size
    • Online Hyperlocal Services Market Trends
    • Online Hyperlocal Services Market Industry Analysis

    This study identifies the digital marketing trend and consumer engagement on social media platforms as one of the prime reasons driving the online hyperlocal services market growth during the next few years.

    Technavio suggests three forecast scenarios (optimistic, probable, and pessimistic) considering the impact of COVID-19. Technavio’s in-depth research has direct and indirect COVID-19 impacted market research reports.

    Register for a free trial today and gain instant access to 17,000+ market research reports.

    Online Hyperlocal Services Market 2020-2024: Key Highlights

    • CAGR of the market during the forecast period 2020-2024
    • Detailed information on factors that will assist online hyperlocal services market growth during the next five years
    • Estimation of the online hyperlocal services market size and its contribution to the parent market
    • Predictions on upcoming trends and changes in consumer behavior
    • The growth of the online hyperlocal services market
    • Analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and detailed information on vendors
    • Comprehensive details of factors that will challenge the growth of online hyperlocal services market, vendors

    Table of Contents:

    Executive Summary

    Market Landscape

    Market Sizing

    • Market definition
    • Market segment analysis
    • Market size 2019
    • Market outlook: Forecast for 2019 - 2024

    Five Forces Analysis

    • Five forces summary
    • Bargaining power of buyers
    • Bargaining power of suppliers
    • Threat of new entrants
    • Threat of substitutes
    • Threat of rivalry
    • Market condition

    Market Segmentation by End-user

    • Market segments
    • Comparison by End-user
    • Individual users - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Commercial users - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Market opportunity by End-user

    Market Segmentation by Service

    • Market segments
    • Comparison by Service
    • Online logistics services - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Online food ordering services - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Online grocery delivery services - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Others - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Market opportunity by Service

    Customer Landscape

    Geographic Landscape

    • Geographic segmentation
    • Geographic comparison
    • APAC - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • North America - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Europe - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • South America - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • MEA - Market size and forecast 2019-2024
    • Key leading countries
    • Market opportunity by geography

    Market Drivers – Demand led growth

    Market Challenges

    Market Trends

    Vendor Landscape

    Vendor Analysis

    • Vendors covered
    • Market positioning of vendors
    • Bundl Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
    • Delivery Hero SE
    • Handy Technologies Inc.
    • Laurel & Wolf
    • MakeMyTrip Ltd.
    • Maplebear Inc.
    • Uber Technologies Inc.
    • Urban Co.
    • Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd.
    • Scope of the report
    • Currency conversion rates for US$
    • Research methodology
    • List of abbreviations

    Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company. Their research and analysis focuses on emerging market trends and provides actionable insights to help businesses identify market opportunities and develop effective strategies to optimize their market positions. With over 500 specialized analysts, Technavio’s report library consists of more than 17,000 reports and counting, covering 800 technologies, spanning across 50 countries. Their client base consists of enterprises of all sizes, including more than 100 Fortune 500 companies. This growing client base relies on Technavio’s comprehensive coverage, extensive research, and actionable market insights to identify opportunities in existing and potential markets and assess their competitive positions within changing market scenarios.

    AOL Aims High With Hyperlocal Journalism Project

    Lauren Evans, a Patch editor, works on her laptop at a Starbucks in College Park, Md. She says she works "pretty much anywhere" -- from bagel shops to the curb outside of a fire station. Tamara Keith/NPR hide caption

    Lauren Evans, a Patch editor, works on her laptop at a Starbucks in College Park, Md. She says she works "pretty much anywhere" -- from bagel shops to the curb outside of a fire station.

    AOL is best known as an Internet service provider, the one that sent out all those promotional CDs back in the '90s. Now, the company is working to reinvent itself, and as part of that, it is making a big push into hyperlocal journalism with a project called Patch.

    On Tuesday, it launched its 100th local news site. Patch says it will expand to 500 small communities by the end of this year, but it faces big competition and an uncertain future.

    Lauren Evans holds a BlackBerry up to her ear as she quizzes a College Park, Md., police sergeant about a recent wave of robberies. She is surrounded not by the buzz of a traditional newsroom but by other customers in Starbucks.

    Evans says she works "pretty much anywhere" -- from bagel shops to the curb outside a fire station.

    She was headed there to ask some questions about a new firetruck but ended up getting a call on another story. Evans describes herself as a one-woman news-producing machine.

    That's the typical setup for Patch. It goes into a community with a population of 15,000 to 75,000 people, mostly upper-middle class. Then it hires one local editor, like Evans. The editor does most of the day-to-day reporting and writing, but also buys stories from freelancers. It's sort of the online equivalent of the free community paper that in a lot of towns doesn't exist anymore.

    "A large part of the reason Patch exists is because there is this void in local news and information that we can fill," says Warren Webster, the president of Patch.

    Patch is a network of local websites that cover city council meetings, school boards and things like local golf tournaments. Webster points to a story last year in which a Patch editor in Darien, Conn., uncovered the criminal history of a candidate running for local office.

    "No one reported this and he was doing quite well in the election, and Patch broke the story that he had actually been convicted and in prison for shooting somebody," Webster says.

    Other local media picked it up, and he ultimately lost the race. AOL has said it plans to spend $50 million on Patch this year, hiring hundreds of journalists along the way.

    Ken Doctor, the author of the book Newsonomics, says the results have been mixed so far. "Some of it is kind of thin, you know, kind of more one-source stories," he says. "Some of them are better stories where you see some knowledge brought to the reporting, some experience. It's all over the board."

    Doctor says having more local journalism is always a good thing, especially for the communities that are getting the coverage. He says he thinks building an audience and actually making money will be a challenge for Patch because there is already a lot of competition out there.

    "It has Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in front of it on a national level. It has blog networks, daily newspapers, yellow pages -- companies ahead of it in some ways on a local level," he says. "It has the right spirit but it may be entering a very crowded marketplace."

    Going local -- or, in many cases, hyperlocal -- is a growing trend on the Internet. Companies are looking to cash in on local advertising dollars and they are looking to position themselves for mobile advertising when that becomes more of a reality.

    Jim Bankoff is CEO of SB Nation, a network of local sports websites, and a former AOL executive. He says his former employer is trying to reinvent itself with Patch.

    "I think it would be guaranteed that they would be unsuccessful if they didn't take some bold bets, so this is a risky one," he says. "But it's one that at least is rooted in some logic: that the web is fragmenting, that the web is getting increasingly more local."

    The key questions for Patch are the same for all companies in the media business -- new and old: Can they create a news product that an audience actually wants, and can they get companies to buy ads?

    Three Hyperlocal Best Practices Fintechs Can Adopt

    People and businesses were forced to discover new ways to participate in the economy last year. They bought and sold online, used contactless payments, discovered Venmo and CashApp, and refinanced mortgages without being face-to-face with a personal banker.

    As restrictions continue to ease, I expect a surging desire for in-person interactions. This is especially true for buying the things that can only be obtained locally and require consultation and trust, such as getting your car serviced, going to the dentist or getting a new pair of glasses. The next 10 years will be defined by the convergence of the conveniences consumers realized during the pandemic, along with people’s desire to interact. Technology will be the driver that creates the ideal omnichannel customer experience.

    Building Trust Between Business And Shoppers

    Is Instacart a technology business or a grocery business? I’d suggest it is a people business. The company’s greatest achievement has been building trust between consumers and their proxy shoppers. They leverage technology as a means of connecting consumers with personal shoppers to make sure what they want/need is what they end up with. It isn’t a bot or an anonymous someone but a trustworthy, named person on the other side of the application. They check in midway through a shopping trip, confirm choices and substitutions, and handle everything from selection to safe delivery. Instacart identified a real need. Customer experience matters, whether your consumer is shopping in-person or via a proxy shopper.

    For fintechs, there is a lesson here. Just as Instacart improved the customer experience (CX) for consumers through technology and a human touch, so too can financial technologies better connect merchants and consumers. In the case of fintechs, increasing the trust between merchants and consumers comes by increasing the merchant’s ability to offer better service, options and support.

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    Brokering the relationship between a merchant and a customer should feel transparent, and the fintech should feel invisible. Merchants want to offer better customer experiences, and the fintechs that enable merchants to offer better CX will end up being much sought after. Merchants are busy, and learning how to use financial technology is not their top priority. Any ongoing training or guidance that makes the technology easier to understand, deploy and manage will pay dividends over time because merchants will feel comfortable offering it to their customers.

    Seamless Transactions

    From safety to quality to accessibility, DoorDash changed the way people eat out. By creating an application that has optimized tracking, communication and status updates, DoorDash brokers relationships between restaurants and consumers. Everything is handled seamlessly. From the moment you order to when it arrives, there is nearly nothing for the consumer to do but track their food order from receipt to prep and delivery.

    In financial technology, seamless transactions are essential. Think of Square. Square has made it possible for small merchants to take payments of all kinds. This has enhanced the experience for the consumer and given the merchant a trust boost. There is no interruption or confusion it is a simple swipe, dip or tap of a card, and the consumer gets what they need.

    As with DoorDash and Square, fintechs would be wise to focus on ensuring all transactions are fast and efficient. There is no time to bottleneck at a register or figure out how to use the payment application. Merchants and consumers need something smooth, simple, clear and, at times, contactless. Moreover, the product must be useful for everybody who walks through the doors of the business. You can’t offer just some people a payment option, for instance. All your consumers want to be treated equally and fairly, and any financial technology offering needs to work for nearly all people, nearly all of the time.

    Serving Local Communities

    Everyone recognizes that some things just need to be done nearby. Getting an eye exam, an oil change or a teeth cleaning would be tough to do outside driving distance. Fintechs can help facilitate the local reach of national brands, just like Groupon did. Groupon, reaching local communities with offers of interest, can partner with big-box retailers and national brands alongside Main Street merchants. As a subscriber, you receive offers that range from memberships to national gyms and branded sportswear to local teeth whitening services.

    Similarly, with fintech, you need to balance big with accessible. Is your company accessible to Main Street service providers? Can you work with small retailers and national chains all at once? How are you able to drill into the local community?

    Moving Forward Toward A New Reality

    As the nation comes out on the other side of the pandemic, people will return in many ways to “normal.” But, there are some features of life adopted during the pandemic that feel like they’re here to stay. Consumer expectations are higher than they have ever been. People are now used to getting what they want, when they want it, in a manner that is convenient for them. Consumer brands have set a high bar that is likely to influence what people are looking for from other industries.

    For financial companies looking to increase trust, adoption and lifetime value, the stakes couldn’t be higher. I see a hybrid of past, present and future realities taking hold and creating a new financial paradigm where trust, seamlessness and locality matter.

    There is demand from consumers and merchants for fintechs to deliver their services quickly, efficiently and locally. Post-pandemic life involves the rebuilding of economies, including local transactions. The pandemic is a natural forcing function, motivating fintechs to deliver value to those on both sides of a transaction quickly and effectively — all while delivering superior customer experience.

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    Opinion: You Can Learn Something From The People Of Wuhan

    Media has focused on the top-down, authoritarian response in Wuhan. But the way ordinary citizens handled the crisis should be replicated across the world.

    Posted on March 24, 2020, at 2:40 p.m. ET

    The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

    Years ago, I walked the bustling streets of Wuhan as a Chinese American doing fieldwork on technology use among vulnerable populations. Back in January, when I started seeing footage of those streets silent and empty due to a city-wide quarantine to slow down the coronavirus outbreak, I went back into ethnographer mode. I worked with two of my former researchers, Shayla Qiu and Reginald Zhu, in Wuhan, to conduct virtual fieldwork to understand how people on the ground were responding to this crisis.

    Through a series of interviews over WeChat, I discovered a very different story about Wuhan than what I was reading in Western media. While news reports here focused on the authoritarian, top-down measures the Chinese government used to slow the rate of infection — including the suppression of information and rapid construction of temporary hospitals — the story I found was one of totally invisible, yet highly sophisticated networks of localized cooperation. It wasn’t just top-down measures that successfully slowed the infections in Wuhan, it was also bottom-up, dynamic organizing in emergent, hyperlocal groups.

    Neighbors were using social media to find food and medicine, support the sick, and help each other survive.

    And as coronavirus spreads across the United States and the world, we need to follow suit. We need to connect with people who live near us, centralize communication, and pool resources so we can care for one another. In a crisis where our own government’s response has felt uneven and at times misleading, we must learn from Wuhan and create our own hyperlocal support groups to come out stronger together.

    When Wuhan residents recognized that quarantine would be lengthy and government resources would be stretched, they turned to each other for help. They utilized an existing social construct, the xiao qu (小区) group, which literally translates to “small district.” A xiao qu is an official designation from the city grouping together all the homes in a given area. Typically, a xiao qu captain (a volunteer or someone appointed by the property management) invites all residents into one WeChat group, which can range from 50 to 500 people in size. Wuhan has at least 7,106 xiao qu groups among its 11.08 million residents, many of which existed before the coronavirus took hold.

    Once quarantines started, people realized that they could use the xiao qu to communicate with their socially distanced neighbors. And the hyperlocal network was born.

    They shared information. Whenever a news report circulated on WeChat, the group would examine and vet it together, pointing to better, verified sources. When rumors about potential cures were shared, people would warn each other from trying them.

    They shared uplifting quotes, memes, home exercise regimes, and recipes, but also asked their neighbors to go out and buy food or pick up medicine for them, a way of limiting group exposure. When an elderly woman without a smartphone told her neighbor that she had run out of food, the neighbor posted to the xiao qu group and her people donated portions of their groceries. When people fell ill, members fanned out into other WeChat groups to help find hospital beds and get information on caring for someone with the virus.

    One widely shared Chinese meme, on the social pressure online to wear a mask: "At night: 'when you go outdoors, wear a mask.' At noon: 'when you go outdoors, wear a mask.' In the morning: 'when you go outdoors, wear a mask.'”

    Eventually xiao qu groups and businesses worked together to coordinate group purchasing. When it wasn’t feasible for grocery stores to make deliveries to individuals, members of the xiao qus pooled their orders for a single transaction with supermarkets. Sign-up sheets were made for bulk ordering of eggs, milk, and cleaning supplies. Soon the practice spread to bakeries, restaurants, and, most importantly, pharmacies.

    The xiao qu groups made people feel less lonely and more connected during a time of extended isolation. So while we may not have an exact cousin of the xiao qu outside of China, we can still create similar groups to help us weather the coronavirus storm.

    When New York City began instituting social distancing and staying at home, I set up my own neighborhood xiao qu. I borrowed what I’d learned from my researchers in Wuhan, and connected nearby friends and neighbors within walking distance on WhatsApp where we vetted information, shared updates on local store inventory, and checked in on those who felt ill. I’ve incorporated practices that work well in the online communities I use for work, including asking participants to agree to a code of conduct, maintaining a directory of all participants, and organizing the most frequently asked questions into a shared Google Doc.

    Our group includes families, people who live alone, and people with immunocompromised systems. We have discussed topics ranging from which local stores have hand sanitizers to interesting activities to do with one’s kids. We have solved problems such as how to determine if a mask manufacturer is credible or not, how to safely send laundry to the laundromat, and which local organizations need help. People have asked the group what they should do if they feel sick. When levity is needed, members have organized virtual dance parties like or told others which webcams show the cutest baby animals.

    In the short time that our local network has been up, it has inspired a few other groups in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. All of us manage our groups a little differently, but the Wuhan template remains the same: a small group of neighbors supporting one another during a time when movement is restricted, and knowledge of one’s immediate area is crucial.

    Having lived through SARS and contracted H1N1, I know from personal experience that hyperlocal contacts can mean the difference between life and death. When you’re sick and scared during a quarantine, it could likely be your neighbor, not your sister who lives three states away or overwhelmed health practitioners at hospitals who could help you in that moment. Many of us keep in touch with friends and colleagues across the globe but have never really gotten to know the people on our street or in our building. That needs to change, and fast.

    Federal and state responses to coronavirus are becoming more organized, but the magnitude of this crisis requires massively sustained bottom-up efforts too. This is why mutual-aid networks, caremongering, local delivery for at-risk populations, and neighborhood slack groups are being activated like wildfire across the US.

    We participate in tons of social networks as lurkers, broadcasters, or participants – tiny drops in a sea of anonymity. But right now, following isn't enough. Hyperlocal groups create an opportunity to find commonality with those who live within walking distance, the people who most need your help and who are in the best position to help you. During uncertain times like these, we don’t just need to look to scientists, governments, and industry for leadership, we also need to look to each other.

    If you’re ready to start your own hyperlocal community network, here are step-by-step instructions with a link to a template and best practices.

    Tricia Wang is a human tech designer and cofounder of Sudden Compass.

    How Hyperlocal News Websites Are Surviving The Coronavirus Pandemic—And Some Are Even Profitable

    Nextdoor, the hyper local social network, is seen on a computer screen in Washington, DC, on March . [+] 27, 2020. - There are offers to pick up groceries or medicine for neighbors, to share supplies, or walk people's dogs. And exchange information on where to find scarce items like toilet paper. For people forced to stay home to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, Nextdoor, the hyperlocal social network, has found itself playing an increasingly important role. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

    As many local newspapers are scaling back or no longer publishing, some hyperlocal news and digital companies are making a profit. One of the more successful has been Patch. Patch was founded in 2007 and two years later AOL acquired the company. Under AOL, the company underwent financial difficulties, losing a reported $200 million to $300 million. In 2014, after AOL laid off one-third of Patch’s employees, Hale Global, a private investment company, acquired a majority ownership.

    Today, Patch has over 100 journalists, who post more than 1,000 stories daily covering 1,200+ communities. Each community serves a minimum 30,000 people. Typically, Patch uses one journalist who covers multiple adjacent communities and who produces several stories each day. Readers also have the capability to post and update their own content that allows for comments.

    To point out how hyperlocal Patch is, they cover news in 12 Manhattan communities (i.e., West Village-Greenwich Village) and 13 in Brooklyn (i.e., Bed-Stuy). Patch covers such localized information as car accidents, criminal activity, store openings, real estate news, weather or school board information, not generally covered by larger media outlets. Patch does not cover any global news.

    Patch says it has been profitable for the past four years, with an estimated annual revenue of over $20 million. One reason for the growth has been the increase in users from 8 million in 2015 to 32 million in 2019. According to Axios, in March 2020 page views for Patch grew from its monthly average of 85 million to 148 million. Furthermore, Patch has increased its email list by 40% in the past year with the newsletters reaching the in-boxes of two million readers every morning.

    Readers can also access Patch using their app. These stories can be shared on social media or sent to friends via text message and e-mail. The app allows for users to push late breaking news notifications as well as sharing content on social media. The Patch app also allow users to access news from other communities by swiping left or right.

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    Patch has created a successful revenue model for hyperlocal, realizing the medium needs innovation, collaboration and partnerships. Patch is free to readers and is reliant on other revenue sources besides traditional advertising. One of them is Patch’s Event Calendar, which allows for readers to post local community events. The cost to post locally is free but, typically, readers want to post events across several communities that can run for several days. As a result, the average transaction for a Calendar Event costs around $50 per post. Readers can also re-post, which expands the reach of the audience. Patch has doubled their event listing revenue in the past year.

    Another revenue source is classified advertising . This enables readers to post “yard sale” type items they want to sell or donate. Services they are willing to offer such as dog walking or yard work. Local businesses can also post any promotions or job openings.

    Programmatic buying is another important revenue source for hyperlocal. Although as Rick Ducey, the managing director of BIA, states, “ Hyperlocal sites can get higher CPMs from their own direct selling efforts, but those sales forces are expensive to maintain and have trouble getting to profitability. Putting locally generated impressions into the programmatic marketplace is the most economically efficient thing to do. But then, hyperlocal publishers compete with everyone from Google, Facebook, major publishers, and other local media like radio and TV stations and now OTT streaming video services that offer geotargeting.”

    Ducey adds, “While Facebook and Google have been efficient with programmatic ad spending driven by impressions from journalism sites, those sites have also been struggling. As a result, the duopoly has discovered they can’t survive on ad revenue alone and in ‘enlightened self-interest’ — they need their content to drive impressions to monetize— they are offering grants, reduced ad server fees, and other in-kind financial support to assist them via Facebook’s Journalism Project and Google’s News Initiative. These initiatives are especially important with communities seeking more local information on the coronavirus.”

    Increasingly, advertisers are interested in hyperlocal media. “Hyperlocal has become immensely popular with advertisers,” Ducey says. BIA recently conducted a survey of companies that advertise in local media that showed 81% of these advertisers use some type of geo-targeting for their advertising efforts. For example, 75% of these businesses say they “occasionally” or “frequently” use "zoned cable ads" where their TV ads air just in specific parts of town. BIA expects mobile ads using location targeting will continue to increase in ad spend from $28.5 billion in 2019 to $50.2 billion in 2024. Location targeted ads in mobile, now at about 36% of total mobile spending, will continue to rise.

    There are other hyperlocal media providers that have met with varying success. For example, local television and radio stations have websites and mobile apps that can provide geo-targeting opportunities for advertisers. In addition, established newspapers, city/regional magazines and local directories have online offerings for geo-targeted advertising. Ducey points out, “ Many of these hyperlocal sites either are struggling financially and headed to failure, or are subsidized to some extent by their corporate owners.”

    There are other companies providing hyperlocal news. One of them is Nextdoor, which relies on neighbors to post local news and events as well as recommendations. Unlike Patch, Nextdoor is global, available in 11 countries. The platform was launched in the U.S. in 2011 and was recently valued at $2.1 billion. In April, McClatchy, a newspaper publisher facing financial difficulties, announced it was launching a new hyperlocal news website in Longmont, Colorado. The initiative, called The Longmont Leader, will be funded by the Google News Initiative and will center on local news/events including community columns written by citizen journalists. Last year, McClatchy launched a similar hyperlocal news website funded by Google in Youngstown, Ohio called Mahoning Matters. More are expected.

    Despite the financial success of Patch (after several iterations), hyperlocal from a revenue perspective has been a tough row to hoe. As BIA’s Ducey points out, even though the hyperlocal space has attracted innovative journalism and business models and scaled somewhat in terms of audiences and advertisers, “ultimately, ad revenue alone has proven insufficient to sustain and scale many of these ventures. Audience subscription plans have been tough to scale as a second revenue source.”

    Besides the coronavirus pandemic, another news item of hyperlocal interest will be the 2020 elections. Billions of ad dollars will be spent in this election cycle. As campaigns collect more voting information, hyperlocal news will play an important role geotargeting persuadable voters with relevant messaging.

    Furthermore, you can pay via cash or prepaid payment. If you need to ship heavier orders, they can assign you to courier partners who ship heavy items. They have several options for local delivery that can be used to fulfill orders seamlessly.

    delivery solutions for your business. You can opt for the most suitable transportation to make sure your products reach your buyer within the stipulated time. They offer you 24/7 on-demand deliveries and booking options also.

    They are a good match for your business as they are experienced and have various methods of delivery.

    Why Launch a Hyperlocal Marketing Campaign?

    In terms of objectives, hyperlocal marketing’s primary purpose is to drive foot traffic to physical locations and capitalize on near-me searches, which have strong commercial intent.

    Near-me searches have become immensely popular in recent years. Data from Google indicates that near-me searches grew in volume by 130% year-over-year between 2014 and 2015 alone, and since then, Google users are using near-me searches to find everything from post offices to New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations.

    Although near-me searches remain popular, advances in search technology are shaping how users search for businesses near them.

    Many users now expect local search results to take precedence over wider results, even when they do not explicitly state they’re looking for local results. Data from Google suggests that local searches without “near me” or other location qualifiers (such as zip codes or city names) have grown 150% faster than searches including “near me,” revealing that many users now expect Google to automatically take their location into account when serving results.

    Take the figure below, for example. This graph shows search volume for restaurant-related search queries between 2015 and 2017. As you can see, search volume actually increased for restaurant-related searches, but the same searches that included zip code location qualifiers actually declined during this period:

    This may not sound that remarkable at first glance, but it represents a seismic shift in consumer attitudes towards real-time geolocation tracking and how location data can be used to provide more relevant, accurate results for a wide range of search queries. Not only has interest in local search increased significantly, but more users now expect their location to affect their results automatically.

    Just as search technology is changing the ways in which we search for and interact with local businesses online, so too is consumer behavior shaping search technology. We identified “research online, purchase offline” – also known as ROPO – as one of the biggest ecommerce trends to watch this year, and this will likely drive further interest in and demand for locally focused search results over time.

    The popularity of hyperlocal marketing has risen in tandem with the increase in near-me searches observed during the past several years. However, greater adoption of mobile devices is not the only factor that has driven interest in location-based search results over the past few years.

    Google itself has been shaping local search in a very intentional way for some time, prioritizing fewer, higher-quality Google Maps results for near-me searches and offering “near me” suggestions in the “Searches related to…” recommendations at the bottom of the SERP. On some results pages – including desktop searches as of last year – Google has even begun providing additional results in a “Discover more places” section of the SERP, a feature that was formerly limited to Maps results on mobile.

    The combination of widespread mobile device adoption and Google’s heightened emphasis on local search have made hyperlocal marketing a very effective way of attracting new customers to your physical store.


    A working definition of hyperlocal was published in a 2012 Nesta report, describing it as "online news or content services pertaining to a town, village, single postcode or other small, geographically defined community". [2]

    Hyperlocal content has two major dimensions: geography and time. The dimensions are measures of the relevance or value perceived by the content consumer in time and space. The higher the content scores on these dimensions the more relevant the content becomes to the individual and the less it becomes to the masses. Hyperlocal content is targeted at or consumed by people or entities that are located within a well defined area, generally on the scale of a street, neighborhood, community or city. Hyperlocal content must also be relevant in time. The nature of the evolution of hyperlocal content follows these two dimensions. By combining the two dimensions we can identify types of hyperlocal content throughout history. In the distant past, hyperlocal content was low on the geographic dimension, meaning that the content met only broad needs of larger populations across bigger areas, and also low on the time dimension: relevance was perceived over long timescales. Examples include almanacs, town criers and written postings or other similar forms of infrequent content delivery mechanisms. More recent hyperlocal content scores higher on the geographic and time dimensions because it delivers more diverse content that targets geographic areas and remains relevant at much smaller time scales such as days and weeks not months and years. Recent examples of hyperlocal delivery mechanisms include neighborhood focused news sources, neighborhood voucher packs and neighborhood websites. More recently, hyperlocal content has evolved to include GPS enabled internet integrated mobile applications which score highly on both the geographic and the time dimensions. They are capable of delivering content that is relevant not just in a community but relevant right down to the individual within a geographic area that can be measured in meters and blocks not towns and neighborhoods. They are also capable of delivering content relevant at very short timescales such as seconds or minutes not just days or weeks. [ citation needed ]

    Hyperlocal websites can focus on very specialized topics—i.e., stories and issues of interest only to people in a very limited area. So, for example, school board meetings, restaurant, community group meeting, and garage sales can receive prominent coverage. For example, focuses on issues likely of interest only to the few thousand residents of the small New Hampshire towns it serves. Another example is Rheebo, a hyperlocal website that build communities around things people are passionate about. Hyperlocal sites may also focus on particular issues. For example, focus on issues relating to balancing economic development and environmental concerns in quickly growing towns in the Rocky Mountain West such as Boulder, Colorado, and Bozeman, Montana (see Exhibit 4.3). "Our core mission is to serve the Rockies with innovative, particularly journalism and to promote conversation that help us understand and make the most of the dramatic changes sweeping our region," the site notes. Much of the content on comes from freelancers and citizen contributors. [ citation needed ]

    In recent years hyperlocal websites have been created to enable the concepts of the Sharing economy or Collaborative consumption. These websites allow peer communities to share human or physical assets. Examples include Yelp, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, eBay, Craigslist and Krrb. Many of the best-known hyperlocal news sites have sprung up independently, with the battle cry "local doesn't scale," but larger media companies have been interested in the concept as well. Formerly a much-vaunted subsidiary of AOL, [3] Patch Media runs a large US based hyperlocal network of sites. According to a March 2015 article in CIO magazine, "Legions of underserved local advertisers were supposed to flock to Patch sites, leaving national publishers in the collective dust. . . . Of course, this wasn't how it played out. Scores of Patch sites were left inactive as the a company reexamined its strategy. Sure, hyperlocal content sounded great -- everyone wants to know what's happening around them -- but the flawed business model couldn't sustain it. Not enough big advertisers were targeting local markets." [4]

    Another model for a national company running hyperlocal sites is franchising, such as was being done by 2010 startup Main Street Connect. [5] [6]

    The Washington Post Company also made a commitment to developing hyperlocal sites. Rob Curley, who has been called the "hyperlocal guru" for his previous work in Lawrence, Kansas, and Naples, Florida, joined in part to develop hyperlocal sites for that paper. The first Curley-led effort focused on Loudoun County, a fast-growing suburb in Northern Virginia. [7] The site underwent a branding change to, but that now redirects to a section of the parent paper,

    Some hyperlocal sites included detailed searchable community events calendars and restaurant information, a complete listing of churches (including 360-degree inside views and recordings of sermons) and police blotter information updated every day. "Knocked down mailboxes will be newsworthy", Curley promised. "What we're doing is taking the local and treating it like it's the superstar". Others at have high hopes for the hyperlocal sites. "It's a big effort", says managing editor Jim Brady. "When you take our daily traffic and combine it with Rob Curley's expertise—if it can't work here, it can't work anywhere". [ citation needed ]

    Some journalists, not surprisingly, are skeptical of the hyperlocal movement's focus on the often mundane information of daily life. Hyperlocal "has the potential to trivialize a media organization's brand and further saturate news sites with myopic local (and frequently unedited) content, perhaps at the expense of foreign and national reporting", said an article in the American Journalism Review. [8] Still, media companies are searching for new ways to reach audiences with content that interest them, and hyperlocal definitely holds that potential. BBC's Van Klaveren says journalistic organizations need to embrace both the so-called "big-J" journalism and the hyperlocal: "We need to move beyond news to information". [9]

    Social networking sites originally did not host hyperlocal content but were the largest distributors of such content hosted on other sites. This is because of the contemporary nature of sharing and the predominantly local composition of user's network in which content is shared. This type of distribution is secondary (done by users) in contrast to the primary distribution done by the content hosting site itself (e.g. Craigslist). In recent years there has been a shift in user behavior to use Social Networking sites for both creating as well as sharing hyperlocal content. Prime examples exist in the phenomenon that Whatsapp is being increasingly used for community organization [10] and eCommerce [11] despite having no feature support for these activities. Facebook also hosts 60x more event than eVite (the leading site which specializes in events only). [12] This user behavior suggests that an effective hyperlocal distribution is a more important consideration for users than the superior quality of the content itself. Since 2010, evidence shows that Social Networking sites have been mobilizing to aid and leverage this user behavior. Google acquired Zagat in 2011. Since 2012 Facebook has been adding new features to create varied hyperlocal content e.g. Blogs, Events. In early 2015 Facebook announced the feature to mark a post as sold and later in 2015 it introduced a C2C payment system. [13] Many believe these steps as precursors to an imminent launch of Facebook Classifieds and Marketplace, most likely rolled into one.

    While many traditional print publications are shutting down or publish exclusively online, local newspapers in small towns can still make a profit. [14] National companies that mail full-color glossy hyperlocal magazines to targeted neighborhoods include N2 Publishing and Best Version Media. Comparing themselves to Facebook, they publish mostly user-generated content written by local residents and homeowners associations. [15]

    The most recent incarnation of hyperlocal content grew out the combination of satellite based location services and advanced wireless data built into mobile devices. Satellite-based location services allow a high degree of physical location precision. When combined with a mobile device's access to the vast set of Internet data and services, hyperlocal takes on new dimensions. Realtime internet awareness of an individual's precise location in time allows people and entities to consume or deliver hyperlocal content that is relevant to specific individuals at very small time scales.

    Hyperlocal GPS mobile apps, in particular, change the nature of human interaction with their environment by providing a much faster, richer and relevant source of information. The mobile Internet data connection available to hyperlocal apps allows GPS location data to be fused with Internet data to improve the decision process of the user. Examples of these types of hyperlocal content providers are Google Maps, Foursquare and LaunchLawyer. In contrast to printed maps, the mobile Google Maps app allows users to identify places and interests around their current GPS location. In contrast to rating services or directories, the mobile Foursquare app uses GPS location data to enable users to make more informed choices and receive better deals. In contrast to printed or online lawyer directories, the GPS-enabled LaunchLawyer mobile app combines GPS awareness with the ability to almost instantly get a lawyer. In each case the combination of mobile device, GPS and the Internet changed the manner in which consumption of information, services or goods took place. [ citation needed ]

    There are other types of data which have local or hyperlocal relevance, or be of interest to residents - e.g. a government statistic on crime rates in one's neighborhood. Such data, while relevant to residents are of a qualitatively different type.

    For large corporations successfully targeting local populations can involve either shedding or leveraging corporate identity:

    • Shedding corporate identity — Starbucks' 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea cafe in Seattle was not branded with its corporate owner until January 2011. Starbucks continued Roy Street Coffee as a separate brand. [16] By shedding the corporate identity, Starbucks hoped to better cater to the local culture through various events and unique offerings. [17] Coffee tastings from experts and open mic night are examples of programs the national coffee chain offered without having it associated with the Starbucks brand.
    • Leveraging corporate identity — The New York Times is tapping into the hyperlocal market online, through "mentor" programs. Essentially, the NY Times wants to have a hand in the editorial process of hundreds of local media outlets. By polishing online news content with their expertise, they seek to gain small portions of advertising revenue from those digital publications with whom they own a stake.

    While there are various ways in which hyperlocal content is being created and published, blogs have become a key part of the hyperlocal ecology. Their basic roles evident in the space include individual blogs, blog networks, and aggregators.

    Some others initiatives are made for this purpose in the USA by the company Marchex, and in FRANCE by the network ProXiti. They are developing networks of thousands hyperlocal news sites like (Manhattan 212) or (paris 16eme arrondissement).

    In response to the burgeoning number of hyperlocal news sites in New Jersey, The Citizens Campaign founded the Hyperlocal News Association (HNA). The HNA works to foster and encourage growth of new hyperlocal sites across the state. [ citation needed ]

    Hyperlocal Marketing is marketing for businesses in certain geographic areas. These are usually focused on geographies such as neighborhoods, towns, streets, and spots located near well-known landmarks. For example, a hyperlocal search targets 'near me' searches like 'coffee shop near me'. This type of search can also be phrased as 'coffee shop' in London.

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