There are several major media and technology companies showing an increased interest in the hyper local market so far. Here are some highlights;
Marissa Mayer, the recently arrived CEO at Yahoo, has already made several acquisitions in location marketing apps, two of which focusing on hyper local content. Stamped – an iPhone app to let people record and share information; and Alike – a mobile app that helps users discover nearby venues and places to visit based on their interests. As Yahoo! mounts a mobile offensive, Mayer uses her experience from heading up Google’s local division to build on personalisation and context-driven content. This will have an impact on the recent tie-in with the French IYP as Yahoo! Mobile expands.
Facebook launched a local discovery feature called ‘Nearby’ in December 2012 and a powerful local graph search in January 2013. Much of their team developing the location marketing app ‘nearby’ came from Facebook’s acquisition of Gowalla (orange logo above) – a location based social networking site once viewed as Foursquare’s biggest competitor. Facebook also bought Glancee to strengthen its local discovery product. Glancee uses Facebook to find common friends and Wikipedia to match users based on interests relevant to one another.
In Sept 2013, Groupon bought Blink, a last minute hotel booking app that competes with the likes of the heavily backed HotelTonight, and Hot Hotels. Its features focus on local area search mapping and room unlocking using the app itself for select chains. One week later, Groupon bought SideTour, a local marketplace where people can book places for small-scale, bespoke activities, and post their own events. Groupon says that SideTour will continue to operate as a separate entity “for some time” as its activity listings start to get distributed via Groupon’s email, web and mobile channels. SideTour has established an identity as a platform where people seek out special events that typically have no more than around a dozen other people in attendance. Activities include meals, wine tasting and cocktail-making tutorials in private homes, walking tours etc.
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IYP – Internet Yellow Pages (yell.com etc)
SEM – Search Engine Marketing
‘YouCom Direct News Article, Sept 2013, London, ‘Hyper local SEM, the dynamics of location marketing’’