Going Hyper-local

Posted on October 16, 2006 
Filed Under Uncategorized

“Go local” is the new mantra of the web 2.0 leaders. Yahoo, Amazon and Google seem set on trying to make as much money in this overlooked space as possible. The idea is if you provide enough maps and such services to the smalltowns of America, they may just bite.

Others have turned the idea on its head by starting local and going national. Sounds unscalable but sites such as Backfence and YourHub are growing. These sites appear on the same track as sites like Judy’s Book and CraigsList where classifieds take on a more human interface.

The most recent entry is Smalltown.com which has received US$3 million in venturecap to creat multi-town site beginning with San Mateo and Burlingame.

Users create a “Webcard” to post and share their wares, services, events, etc. and can pay for an “enhanced card” for a monthly $40 listing fee.

Webcards can be combined to form a “card stack” of information, akin to a file of resources that one might create using index cards and a filing box.

The dream of course is have millions of these webcards of every little service in every little smalltown in America.

Sounds fishy to me. Doesn’t webcard = webpage and if these small businesses were not using the web in the first place, why would they need them now?

In pre-dotcom bust days, the same hype/hope drove thousands to create the space where users would generate the content and the “real-estate” owners would just charge for advertising and reel in the money.

The only difference now is the Flash user interface which — considering its target audience — will be annoying to older audiences it hopes to attract.

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