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    It’s All About the Maps

    by Geoff Dougherty
    December 20, 2007

    Today we’re unveiling some site features on ChiTownDailyNews.org that represent, in my humble opinion, a huge step forward in the way people and content are connected on the internet.

    The features are focused on what’s become known as geotargeting, and they’re things that you won’t find on any other website.

    Basically, we’re making it easy for you to see the news and ads that are relevant to you because they take place near you.

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    If you’re a registered user on the site, you’ll have the opportunity to give us your address. Our frontpage will then display a map centered on that location. It’ll show you the recent news that’s closest to you.

    Similarly, you’ll get ads from local merchants — people whose businesses you’re most likely to want to support.

    For advertisers this represents an amazing opportunity to pay for ads that reach people in a particular neighborhood. And they’re cheap — $50 to get started.

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    There’s more. It’s not just that we’re matching users with ads near them. We’re pairing content with nearby ads, too.

    We’ve been geocoding our content for more than a year now, so we have a library of thousands of articles that are associated with a spot on a map.

    Starting today, if you’re reading an article about a zoning issue in Jefferson Park, you’re likely to see ads for bars and restaurants in Jefferson Park. Which makes a lot of sense, because the people reading that content are the ones most likely to visit those businesses.

    Geotargeting has been around for awhile now, but its effectiveness has been limited. Typically, a website will calculate a location based on your IP address — the unique web address that identifies your computer’s position on the network. In some cases, that information can be used to determine where you are, down to the city or zip code.

    But in lots of cases it can’t. And even when IP geotargeting is successful, it’s imprecise.

    That’s why what we’re doing represents a significant move forward for the industry.

    We’re serving users ads that are within a mile of their location. As we get more advertisers, we may even tighten that up, so users will see ads for businesses that are at most a half mile away.

    Tagged: geotagging local maps

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