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I’m Going Local and I Think I Like It.



Go LocalThere’s a lot of talk going on about the future of the media, and how real estate businesses essentially have to become nanopublishers if they want to really make an impact with their online marketing.  I’m not a Realtor, but I do see the value in Hyper-local online marketing… and it’s not just for real estate.

I see the beginning of the wave.  The ease of modern publishing on WordPress combined with the the ability to bootstrap marketing efforts using social media is too exciting to pass up. just got a 1.5 million investment to expand it’s concept to Chicago.  I don’t think investors Brad Inman or Nick Denton are shooting blind.  With big news in ’06 and ’07 regarding online media and newspapers migrating focus online in droves, big opportunity exists.

This is why I decided to quit watching and try my hand.  I plan to take the morsels of knowledge I have gathered from countless articles read in 2007 and attempt to put it to good use by building a hyper-local blog for my city… and build local traffic that would be invaluable for a real estate professional or any local business for that matter.

What is my motive?  The hope that my site will become popular, serving with and along side other media sites in my area to bring relevant information to people.  How I use it from there is going to be the fun part.  Right now, I’m focused on people.  In the words of Derek Zoolander: “but what people?”.  And my answer is: “I don’t know, local people!”.

So what defines a hyper-local blog?  What does a local blog for a typical suburb, in a typical city, do for people?  What information is useful?  What are they looking for?  Is this audience already online?  If so, where do they hang out?  How local should I go?  What is the scope of the category content?  How will I promote it online?  Offline?  Where do I start?  Is it possible for one person to handle it or will I need help?  What does the future hold?

These are some of the many questions I will attempt to answer as I chronicle my journey into the local terrain. I need help from geniuses.  Stay tuned… I will roll out the concept in coming posts.

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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  1. Mariana

    January 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I have a city-blogsite (for the city I work in), as well as a couple hyper-local blogs. I really should have made them ONE blog, but I decided to keep one purely real estate focused and one strictly community focused. I promote them in my newsletters and when I deliver things door-to-door in the area. People LOVE the sites, and I always get awesome feedback. and … if you wanted to see what I put into my hyer-local blogs.
    Good luck!

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 17, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Carson, having looked at what you’re doing, I have to say- you are the man… I am glad to know you’re getting close- hurry up! Our readers will want to see this… (no pressure ;] )

  3. Lani Anglin

    January 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Carson, I think that your project is an amazing way for your small city to connect and having been a local and your watching it explode over the years gives you unique insight.

    It will be helpful to EVERYONE to read a chronicle of making a hyperlocal blog because we typically only see an unveiling and never learn what it takes to make it happen behind the scenes.

    Hyperlocal blogging is definitely time consuming, but the readers and writers here are always quick to come up with suggestions if you hit any road blocks. I have a really good feeling about your site’s future success!

  4. Jack A

    January 18, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I am in the middle of implementing an entirely new business plan with deep roots in hyper-local community and real estate website, structured follow-up programs and tons of video. I am from 13 generations of ere and love the community. The bennefit is that by creating this type of site and philosiphy, you create the PERFECT venue for promoting real estate and invaluable and unique services to buyers and sellers. I ave enjoyed the video from Connect that I have seen on successful blogging. I am going the route of finding good, local authors to contribute to the cause.

    Consider the market downturn as an opportunity to prepare for the next generation of consumers and be first to the punch in your local market.

  5. ines

    January 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    When I created miamism, the concept was to be hyper-local….but it’s not easy – I’m still trying to answer all the questions you asked.

    Of course hitting it from the non-Realtor side like Curbed does is an amazing concept.

  6. Steve Simon

    August 12, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Local is a relative term. the amount of work that blogging requires is vastly under estimated.
    Done well its a couple of hours a day.
    If you have three and four blogs that would mean you might need to invest six to eight hours a day to do them justice.
    I am not talking about sitting down for six minutes and banging on the keyboard until tow or three posts appear.
    I’m talking about picking your current topic target, reading eight to ten top sources for input and stimulation then forming you own synthesis; and ultimately getting to the page.
    Then there is the tech aspect of blogging, making sure your read is clean, you have made it easy for readers to share, keeping pace with the evil doers (spammer, hacker, etc) and of course the ever present need for SEO.
    Google has changed the way they do certain things fifteen times since I have been watching! That doesn’t make them bad, but it does mean unless you read the Google forums you will be left behind..
    Just my thoughts 🙂

  7. Laura Cannon

    August 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    There is something very intimate and rewarding about a hyper-local blog. I have one, and I really enjoy writing it. It makes me feel connected to my community. My clients like it because it makes them feel connected to me, and more importantly, to something larger than I am, i.e. the online community that visits the blog. In turn, this helps me build trust and authority with my sphere.

    I think that one of the most important aspects of a local blog is local pictures. I change my blog header picture about four times a week, and I add local photos to my articles. People in my area are not used to seeing their village up in lights and the beautiful parts of it highlighted on the internet. They are flattered to be reminded of how lovely their community is. I get more feedback on my pictures than anything else. I bring my camera everywhere, and I love capturing the “under-the-radar” beauty of my hometown.

    I look forward to seeing your project unfold. 🙂

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Business Marketing

Google Analytics will now filter out bot traffic

(BUSINESS NEWS) Bender won’t be happy that Google Analytics will now automatically remove bot traffic from your results, but it’ll help your business.



google analytics bot

In the competitive, busy world of online content, Google Analytics can help businesses and online publications deliver what their audience and consumers want. Now Google is finally taking the step of filtering out bot traffic in your Google Analytics reporting. This is excellent news!

In the world of websites, online news sites, blogs, and social media, bots are the bane of our existence. In their finest form, they are the electronic equivalent of junk mail. At their worst, they can carry malicious malware and viruses to your site and computer. They can even flood the internet with unfounded rumors that can have an impact on people’s opinions–stirring the political pot or lending misleading numbers to drive unfounded rumors, such as wearing a mask is dangerous. No it’s not! Chalk that nonsense up to bots and crackpots.

For businesses that rely on Google Analytics to determine what content is not only reaching but also resonating with potential customers, filtering out the bot traffic is crucial to determining the best course of action. Bots skew the data and therefore, end up costing businesses money.

Bots set up for malicious purposes crawl the internet looking for certain information or user behaviors. Bad bots can steal copyrighted content and give it to a competitor. Having identical copies on two sites hurts your site and can dink your SEO ranking. However, good bots can seek out duplicate content and other copyright infringements, so the original content creator can report them.

However, it is important for companies and content creators to know if their content is actually reaching real live humans. To this end, Google will start filtering out bot traffic automatically. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) actually provides an International Spiders and Bots list, through which Google can more easily identify bots. They use the list and their own internal research to seek out bots in action, crawling through the internet and confusing things.

Google says the bot traffic will be automatically filtered out of the Google Analytics results–users don’t have the choice. Some may argue there is a good reason to see all of the data, including bots. Many businesses and online publications, though, will be relieved to have a much clearer vision of what content genuinely appeals to humans, to readers and potential customers. It is a welcomed advancement.

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Business Marketing

Opportunity Zones: A chance to do good

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Opportunity zones offer a chance to breathe new life into economically-distressed communities.



opportunity zones

Opportunity Zones are a beautiful mechanism for growing communities that are struggling, but some critics have put this process in a negative light. The following is an expert’s perspective on just this topic.

Jim White, PhD is Chairman and CEO of Post Harvest Technologies, Inc. and Growers Ice Company, Inc., Founder and CEO of PHT Opportunity Fund LP, and Founder and President of JL White International, LLC. His new book is a heartfelt rallying cry for investors: Opportunity Investing: How to Revitalize Urban and Rural Communities with Opportunity Funds, launched March 31, 2020.

Dr. White holds a B.S. in civil engineering, an MBA, and a doctorate in psychology and organizational behavior. He acquires struggling businesses to revive and develop them into profitable enterprises using his business turnaround strategy.

In his own words below:


Every investment vehicle has a twist some folks don’t like. Real estate, stock options, offshore tax havens, and even charitable gifting can be criticized for certain loopholes.

Likewise, some detractors have pointed to opportunity zones, a newer investment vehicle unveiled in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December 2017. This bold, bipartisan plan allows for private investment capital to be channeled into some of the most distressed communities in the nation, serving the struggling residents and the investors alike.

Personally, I believe it is one of the noblest initiatives to emerge from Washington in years.

I grew up in a sharecropper cabin in what would have been an opportunity zone in Salem, South Carolina. What would an influx of investment dollars have meant to my low-income community? More and better-paying jobs to offset unemployment. People relocating to my town for those jobs, reversing population decline and increasing real estate values. New life breathed into local businesses. The increased tax revenues could have helped improve failing infrastructure. Social challenges, like crime and drug use, could have decreased. Better resources for my family and our neighbors, such as health care and education, would have emerged.

Today, there are nearly 8,800 distressed communities dotting the country that have been identified as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). These neighborhoods were designated from census tracks, treasury, and state leaders as communities that would benefit from an influx of investment dollars directed through Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) to reinvigorate businesses, rebuild infrastructure and bolster residents.

As our economy continues to falter, more and more businesses file Chapter 11 and unemployment soars under COVID-19, I believe we are heading toward a painful expansion in designated opportunity zones. Even with the latest round of CARES stimulus money many people will have no way to rebound from this crisis.

One of the unexpected consequences of the coronavirus quarantine is that many businesses are discovering that, in reality, they can succeed through working remotely. This success is a double edged sword, meaning that if a business can thrive with employees working offsite then commercial real estate will suffer. And when companies no longer require brick-and-mortar locations, a local domino effect ensues; ancillary businesses, from cafés to gyms to print shops in and around a commercial office environment will subsequently close. The ripples will be felt through many other industries, including construction, transportation, energy, and retail.

Qualified Opportunity Zones and Qualified Opportunity Funds are instruments that can help stop a downward spiral. When a sponsor is able to present a project that meets the objectives of the QOZ initiative, both the QOZ and the investors benefit. That’s a win!

And, it’s not only urban centers that benefit from investment dollars. Forty percent of opportunity zones are rural. Even with often plentiful food, water, energy and other natural resources, deep poverty exists, and too many of America’s 60 million rural residents lack access to education and healthcare. A declining population often goes hand in hand with failing infrastructure as tax money for repairs dwindles. Many households lack broadband, something the vast majority of Americans take for granted.

Despite the challenges, rural residents are often surprisingly resilient and resourceful. According to The Hill (“Rural America has opportunity zones too”), rural residents create self-employment opportunities at a slightly higher rate than the national average. Their challenge is to connect with investors and access funding, more of which is directed to small business investment on the coasts.

In fact, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t know about Qualified Opportunity Funds. If a business is located in an opportunity zone it is eligible for direct funding by reaching out to the QOFs with a specific request for funding.

More than any investment plan that’s come before, I believe opportunity zones have the greatest capacity for positive social and economic impact. Spread out over many communities, these investments can help our nation flourish as a whole.

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Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.



Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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