Given the choice I’d prefer to pay for a product than be the product.
I want ownership of my own data, my own mutterings, musing, incoherent rants and drivvle.
My own words and creations should be available to me in the format I want them in, not subject to someone else’s corporate branding guidelines and platform stifling despotism.
Being in a walled garden feels anathema to the world wide web that was envisaged by TBL and that I fell in love with so many years ago.
So many people whinge about being delivered ads on Facebook, in their Gmail, or promoted tweets on Twitter. Yet often (not always!) those same people don’t seem to get that they are the product.
App.net lays the foundation (important: Alpha does not equal App.net) for that relationship to fundamentally change, in their favour.
Parts 2 and 3 of this series covered legal issues and journalism. Now I’m going to cover that big elephant in the room: money.
Much (most, all?) of the hyperlocal efforts at the moment are voluntary, passion-driven projects. Many I’m sure cost only time; it’s easy enough to run a site on WordPress.com for free for example. However, plenty are paying for web hosting, travel, equipment and more. And while most hyperlocals aren’t for-profit ventures, it’s far better for them to be not-for-profit than anything else.
So how do they achieve this? Here are a few suggestions;
- Advertising – e.g. using a system like Addiply
- Business directory – like that in use on Visit Horsham
- Estate agent listings – the newspapers do it, so why not us?
- Job listings – same as above, why not?
- Selling content – articles could be sold on to franchises like AboutMyArea, The Best Of or even local newspapers
- Print version to be sold in shops
- Classifieds (perhaps using Oodle)
- Eating out guide, with restaurants given opportunity to enhance their listing for a fee
- Entertainment guide with a similar option for venues
- Sponsorship – for example, the sponsor of the local football team may sponsor all the posts about the club
- T-shirt range – like BiNS is doing
- Gifts & novelties – sell locally significant stationery, stickers, posters, flags, anything!
- Lead generation for local businesses (thanks to Craig McGinty)
- Targeted affiliate stories/advertising features that relate locally, e.g. to the local football team (c/o Craig McGinty again)
- Swapping services for adverts (okay, not strictly making money but could pay/provide for much needed resources (via Ventnor Blog)
- Market research (from Martin)
You might think, “Phil, why are you giving us all these ideas, surely this is stuff you should keep to your chest and make lots of money for yourself!” Maybe, maybe not but we need to get serious about making hyperlocal pay so let’s talk about it.
Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments and on Twitter #HLA.
Through WebProNews today I learn that on line advertising spend in the UK is now greater than television advertising.
On line advertising spend reached £2.8 billion in 2007, an increase of 40%, with TV advertising registering £2.4 billion. The figures, from the latest annual Ofcom report into the communications industry, show just how important the internet now is to UK commerce.
Interestingly, the report only looks at paid advertising so what the figures don’t show is how much of the marketing budget is devoted to on line marketing. The £2.8 billion only includes paid search, display and classified ads. This means we miss out affiliate marketing, SEO campaigns, blogging and forum marketing and the rest of the on line marketing mix.
It should be obvious, then, that making the internet a significant part of the overall marketing plan is imperative for British enterprises.