The relationship between personalization and local has always been a close one, but now Outside.in is banking that consumers want to marry them together. The placeblogger site, which recently received $3 million in new funding from a group of high-profile cyber people such as Fred Wilson and Esther Dyson, has rolled out several personalization/localization software tools.
CEO Mark Josephson, who arrived at Outside.in 10 weeks ago after serving as president of online marketing firm Seevast, says the new software is “centered around geotagging content. It changes the paradigm of local. You are not one of many people in the ZIP code. You are in the center of local.”
Included in the rollout is “Radar,” which incorporates instant alert tools like Twitter and allows you to tag things within 1,000 feet or “close to your heart.” Josephson’s kids’ elementary school is an example he cites.
Another piece of it, just released today in beta, is the Geo-Tool Kit. The toolkit includes My Feed, a “GeoWeb” optimizer that automatically locates the places and neighborhoods mentioned in blogger reports and adds them to the Outside.in database. It also include My Stats, a tag cloud/technorati–like bag of utilities that lets blogs compare what subjects they write about most (“The Bowery”), compare their results with other bloggers, and see which stories generate the most links, and links back.
“People are clamoring for customization,” argues Josephson. “They look at feeds before news alerts. … They are picking up their newspapers less and less. People are looking at being ultra targeted, but they don’t know how.”
Josephson says he’s happy to get on the soap box to push the personalization concept, and has already taken part in a couple of Innovation Days at ad agencies. “We’ve had really interesting conversations,” he says. “We had one conversation with a retailer that was getting ready to do a store opening in a certain neighborhood. He can use a tool by OutSide.in called ‘nearby ads,’ ” he says — a service that is like NearbyNow. “Then he can add reviews and news. Anybody with a store locator can do this.
“We have thousands of content sources. … Absolutely some are businesses that blog about things like trivia nights on Tuesday night… or drink specials,” he says.