As part of our ongoing inquiry into whether "hyperlocal" news will help transform the media business, today I spoke with Mark Josephson, CEO of Outside.in, a New York-based "data and technology platform that empowers hyperlocal media discovery and aggregation." This company uses its own geo-tagging engine to parse incoming feeds from thousands of newspapers, blogs, tweets (via Twitter), and Flickr.
It then helps you pinpoint events, businesses, services, accidents, people, and "stories" of all kinds on a map widget (powered by Google) of your neighborhood. One pretty cool "Radar" feature searches within 1,000 feet your precise location for content items of interest. Using it from my house, I found a nice photo of a club less than a block away just as the sun was setting last night.
Josephson says the company is simultaneously developing products for consumers, publishers and advertisers. "Location and proximity are the most importnat determinants of value to both consumers and advertisers," he explained, "and geo-tagging is about to matter -- a lot. For publishers, geotagging makes it easier to expose a whole new dimension of media consumption."
Whereas at present the amount of pre-tagged content by place is limited to Google Maps and some place bloggers, Josephson envisions a serious uptick in pretagged content that will flow straight onto his platform. Thus, the company has a mobile product under development to catch up with the iPhone, GooglePhone, micro-blogging Twitterites tidal wave that is sweeping consumers up and out from their desktops and laptops into the streets, with some sort of powerful mobile device in tow.
Outside.in offers a "Geo Toolkit", which is a way for small publishers and bloggers to promote (and hopefully monetize) their localized content. It's pretty easy to set up and try out on the Blogger platform; I've not yet had the chance to test it on other blogging systems.
Like EveryBlock, and Topix, Outside.in looks to be a natural partner for media companies. Those pinpointed "stories" targeting customers looking for, say, a nearby Mexican restaurant, should turn into a win-win-win for the publishers, advertisers, and consumers alike. An early example is that Outside.in's "Buzz Maps" on the Washington Post website, which provide links to both local blogs as well as stories from the Post.