I had the pleasure of presenting the road map of Voice Places to our VVM Editors as a group this last week. I am fortunate to be working with well known brands like LA Weekly, SF Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Village Voice and many more. These are cultural icons in these cities. They were local authorities before the word “hyperlocal” was ever conjured up. I define these editors and their teams as “local legacy.They are a trusted source not afraid to review the good, the bad, and the straight up ugly in our cities. They take pride in their unbiased reviews of restaurants, music, events, and cultural happenings, as they should. When I took over as the new Community Architect for Village Voice Media, I was excited to work for a company with so many award wining content masters as well as brands with this local legacy. I was particularly interested in one of their newer projects Voice Places. I spent two years leading the product development of GannettLocal. So I was obsessive about local search. Connecting this local legacy content with local discovery in these cities was exciting to me. And after the last two months, I have never been more excited.
Local reputation of SMBs matter. In the last two months we have seen powerful Zagat integration to Google’s local search results and a partnership forged with Bing and Yelp. In addition to this massive shift in local search, Google pulls the plug on Google Places and continues to shove Google Plus down our throats.
So much for your investment in Google Places “mom and pop” shops. [Read more...]