the last few years, the internet and its giants have
thrown their hats into the ring of controlling local
news online. There is no dominant winner yet and there
may not be in this space for various reason. The other
issue is the word "control" and what this means. Is
there goal just to trade one master (current newspapers
and news channels) for another one in digital form
(Yahoo Local, Google Local, etc). Outside of being
online, is this really any better for us, the local
consumers and residents. Probably not. If anything, it
just allows them to fine tune their advertising models
since they have our local information in-house now.
Have you noticed that when you search for a product or
website and then switch to another site, their ads now
pop up for you? Now imagine on a local basis where they
know where you live. It's getting a little scary.
Let's take a look at this battle for local news and see
how the Zipper and it's decentralized approach might be
the best one for you and for the freedom of local news.
the battle is on for local news and the players are
anything but local. Big players. Huge companies...some
of them are among the biggest corporations in the world
and they all have one interest in common...to become
your sole source of all local news. It's actually
interesting that the digital world has resisted such
incursions so far into the local news space. Why hasn't
Google been able to corner this area with the same
success they garnered for search. Why hasn't YahooLocal
been able to extend their news coverage from national
and international sources to your Yahoo home page?
Probably a better question is why hasn't local newspaper
really become a daily online hub for a majority of
Americans. I'm more likely to check out New York Times
or Wall Street Journal articles than I am the local
online newspaper here. I'm even more likely to real
articles by international news aggregators like Reuters
or AP. What gives? Great question and believe me, many
very high paid employees at all these companies are
asking the same one.
of it has to do with peculiarity of local news. It's
just to hard to create and aggregate information at such
a small scale. Yahoo Local can't possibly have
"reporters" in every local news area. Even the local
newspapers are having difficulty (with budget cuts and
staff reduction) to adequately cover their local areas
above the pivotal or sensational local news story. It's
their community! How is Google or Yahoo going to
accomplish this if the local newspaper is struggling
to? They won't. There's too much information out there
and although it's very important to a small number of
local people, there's no scale in that calculus. Call
it the industrialization of news. The big company's
can't figure out a way to scale down that to so many
local news regions. It can't come from the top down.
Enter the Zipper smart phone app.
information has to come from the bottoms up. It must be
generated by the local communities themselves and
self-policed. Google and Yahoo can't or don't want to
do this as it fosters the lack of control. The Zipper
does not have this concern and the trade-off of control
for local news content generation is one it's willing to
make. There is truly a freedom of the flow of
information and the most important local news stories
will reach their most interested viewers via this tool.
So as the big companies continue to use bunker bombs to
open an egg shell (or thousands of eggshells), we'll let
the individual local creators and consumers of local
news delicately make the omellte. Okay, that was a
terrible metaphor but you get the picture.