My article “Hyperlocal as Community Service Media” on Streetfight discusses why building local media resources to serve the community makes sense. Creating local media is no longer the province of media companies, curation and aggregation tools make it easy for anybody to develop a simple local media resource that maintains itself 24×7. The disruptive concept behind “community service” media is to scrap the classic advertising business model. Why? Simply for the good will of the community. Business owners, not relegated to being the target of ad salespeople, can now contribute local content topical to their business. Publishers of this new local media can provide access and guidance to any contributor in the community, and make sure that this access does not veer into spam.
I believe the pool of local advertising revenue will continue to slide because more local merchants will realize they can control their brand distribution via social media, and cut their ad buys. Real estate agents, once the cash cow of local classifieds, have cut back drastically because they are learning social media marketing, one of the crazes of current brokerage training. The real estate industry, with its intense focus on community marketing, tends to be the bellwether for local marketing practices.
Free local advertising also puts pressure on traditional local publishers’ fee structures. The comments on the Street Fight article demonstrate how foreign the community service concept is to local publishers who rely on ad revenue, and can’t imagine otherwise. What they miss is hyperlocal media does not necessarily need a traditional business model to thrive as long as the community is engaging in it. There are benefits to providing good will to the community.