The contraction of the newspaper industry has left a lot of journalists without work. And some of those writers have taken matters into their own hands, establishing hyperlocal news sites on the Internet, where the cost of entry is low. But even though it doesn’t take much to launch a site, companies from AOL on down have, so far, been unable to figure out how to monetize the hyperlocal news business.
A new ad marketplace designed to address that need will launch this week. Local Yokel Media is an ad-serving platform that aggregates hyperlocal and local websites and blogs. Advertisers can then easily target via Zip Code, which, according to Dick O’Hare, the company’s CEO, is a more effective way to deliver advertising than looking at IP addresses or cookies.
“As audiences have continued to migrate online, there have been bigtime implications,” said O’Hare. “Print newspapers, yellow pages…it creates a vacuum of truly local coverage.”
Invoking the oft-cited statistics that 80 percent of discretionary spending is done within 10 miles of home or work, O’Hare said that consumers are very receptive to ads for businesses in their communities and local businesses are anxious to reach audiences in their immediate service areas. A platform that addresses those needs improves ad performance. O’Hare said that LYM can serve as a site’s sole source of advertising or as incremental sales to sites that have their own sales forces.
The problem is this doesn’t solve the reticence of local businesses to delve deeply into online advertising beyond search and daily deals.
LYM will initially focus on the New York DMA, which, he said, has 1,000 hyperlocal sites, excluding Patch sites.
“Independent journalists do a great job with content,” he said. “But when it comes to monetization, they need a premium third party solution”
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