Southern Comfort – Text And The City

From Crains Cleveland Business


Southern comfort

The Cincinnati Enquirer profiles a couple Medina entrepreneurs who are getting some traction for their startup in northern Kentucky.

A year ago, the newspaper says, Shawn Blain and Steve Wallack “had a product they thought worked — a hyper-local mobile app that connects users with businesses and events in their own neighborhoods. But they needed more funding, more research, and the talent and technology to finish it.”

They found it in the UpTech business accelerator program based at Northern Kentucky University.

“Nearly a year after entering the program, Blain and Wallack are preparing to launch their ‘Text and the City’ app by June 1,” The Enquirer reports. “They’ve also found a home here. Their company is now based in Newport, and the app will focus on northern Kentucky neighborhoods (with a Cincinnati version coming next year).”

Ms. Blain tells the newspaper that UpTech connected them with experts in the community (including former executives at Procter & Gamble) and gave them access to the tech expertise of NKU students, which proved vital to finishing the app.

Their business was one of eight companies that each received up to $100,000 in seed money to develop their fledgling tech companies into viable business ventures at UpTech.

The newspaper reports that UpTech “will begin accepting applications for the second round on April 16, and online seminars will be offered between now and then for interested applicants.” Last year’s inaugural round drew 157 qualified applicants; organizers hope to double that number this year.


Study: More than 77 Million Using Mobile Apps to Find Local Information

By Greg Sterling – Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence (SMI),

I only just posted on the comScore-15 Miles-Neustar local search study. However this morning the Local Search Association (LSA) offered a generous preview of its own local search study, focusing on mobile. More findings from this study will be presented at the upcomingLocal Search Association conference.

While much of the data in the LSA’s “Mobile Landscape Report” are generally consistent with the 15 Miles-Neustar study, there are also some different areas of inquiry and findings.

Among the major drivers of changing user behavior documented in the report is the rise of multi-device ownership. Almost 40% of smartphone owners now have other “connected devices” as well.

PC vs. other device share of web traffic

Read More

Local Businesses Losing Out on Outdated Online Listings

February 07, 2013 — By 


According to the findings of a new survey from SinglePlatform, a division of Constant Contact, small businesses may be missing out on a critical opportunity to be found by customers who are looking for products and services online.

Incredibly, 49 percent of local businesses admitted having never updated their online listings.

“Online listings” is defined as everything from search engines and review sites to mobile apps.

 “Consumers are using the internet as a discovery engine and the opportunity for a local business to be found by their next great customer continues to grow,” says Wiley Cerilli, vice president and general manager of SinglePlatform. “It is important for small businesses to list their products, services, and menus across the sites that consumers use to make their purchasing decisions. Equally important in today’s mobile world is making sure your online content like websites and digital storefronts can be viewed on mobile devices. As smartphone adoption continues to rise, being a mobile-friendly business is becoming a necessity.”

Other findings from the survey show that:

  • 84 percent of small businesses believe that having a website that can easily be viewed on a mobile device is important to their business
  • Only 25 percent of small businesses know how to create a mobile optimized web site
  • 62 percent of small businesses think it is important to be seen on major mobile apps
  • 85 percent of small businesses believe that in the future more people will be looking for their business on mobile sites
  • Only 23 percent of small businesses have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business
  • 50 percent of small businesses have seen listings for their business that are not accurate
  • 70 percent of small businesses say they don’t have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use

If you’re a business owner who is concerned about being discovered, have you committed the cardinal sin of not keeping your information updated on the web?

UpTech: Launches year 2 with new fund manager

Written by
Josh Pichler

Brad Zapp was packing for vacation on a Friday afternoon in late 2011, when Casey Barach and Adam Caswell showed up to tell him about a Big Idea.

 The two were working on a program that would bring 50 startups into Northern Kentucky over five years and leverage Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics to create a technology hub in the region.

They had already lined up financial and corporate support for the business accelerator program that would become known as UpTech. What they didn’t have was a manager to oversee UpTech’s first $1 million Equity Fund. They wanted Zapp.

The role is critical: In addition to being the public face for UpTech’s fund within the business community, the manager oversees the flow of capital into the startups, which each get $100,000, six months of support and office space.

The job requires financial expertise, diplomacy and the willingness to work a lot of hours for free.

“Because I wanted to, I put in a significant amount of time. I wanted to be a good steward of the funds, and I wanted to be around these companies,” said Zapp, who called Barach and Caswell later that day to accept the role.

“And I wanted to be part of all the fun stuff, too. The coolest stuff is seeing the rocket pitches, what are these companies doing, what’s their progress. Because of that, I was around quite a bit.”

Read More

43 Percent Of Total Google Search Queries Are Local

Oct 5, 2012 at 11:44am ET by 

Ad network Chitika has just released some new data — you’re seeing it here first — that compares local search volumes on Google, Yahoo and Bing. The study examined both PC and mobile traffic to determine an overall number.

Chitika looked at “millions of online ad impressions seen between September 21st and 27th, 2012.” To ensure it was measuring “local search,” Chitika compared the queries it was seeing from the engines “against its extensive database of local keywords and phrases (e.g. “near me,” “in Boston,” “around St. Louis,” etc.).”

What Chitika found was that 43 percent of the overall query volume coming from Google (mobile and PC) carried a local intent. That compared with 25 percent on Yahoo and Bing.

Roughly two years ago Google reported that 20 percent of PC queries “were related to location.” Since that time Google has put considerable effort into its local and map results, both online and in mobile.

In 2011 Google said that 40 percent of mobile search traffic is local. And last week a Google representative at an event informally said that now 50 percent of mobile search carries a local intent.

Obviously mobile search has raised the overall local percentage reported by Chitika (see postscript below). But these figures argue that local search volumes across engines are now quite massive. Indeed, they represent billions of queries monthly on the PC and mobile web. In addition they’re very high-value queries because local searchers are more likely to covert than others, especially mobile users.

Postscript: I asked Chitika to provide a breakdown of PC vs. mobile search in these findings. Chitika said that nearly three-quarters of Google’s local queries are in fact coming from mobile. It’s the opposite for Bing and Yahoo. However this is logical given that their mobile query volumes are so small compared to their PC volumes and to Google’s mobile search volume.

How Shoppers are Using Smartphones to Save Money

Smartphone coupon usage increased more than 100% in both 2012 and 2011

Smart shoppers are consulting multiple platforms to aid with shopping and to save money, according to recent surveys. Not only are they cashing in print and online coupons, but consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to get deals while in the store. According to a July study by media and marketing services company Valassis, due to rising food and gas prices, 74% of US consumers planned to use more coupons this year.

Mobile coupon usage, in particular, is skyrocketing. According to the Valassis study, use of mobile coupons or apps increased by over 100% in 2011, and 100% again in 2012. Although trailing online coupons by a few percentage points, the Valassis study showed that 79% of US internet users were using more mobile coupons this year—on par with print coupons and circulars.


Money-Saving Tactics US Internet Users Are Using More This Year, July 2012 (% of respondents)

Read more