Tag Archives: Local Directory

Increase My Click Through for Local Search Listings

I built my Hyp3rL0cal directory a month ago and I submitted to the CityGrid partner account management team for review. I want to be treated like any other developer, so I understand how to use the CityGrid API places and advertising API properly, and give feedback when things don’t work or make sense.

One of the first items I’m working on is enhancing my local search listings page with the CityGrid Custom Ads API. The CityGrid partner account management team said:

To increase your click through rate for business listings which are advertisers, we strongly advise you to integrate our Custom Ads API and display these listings at the top of your search results page. You can view an example of how the Custom Ads API is implemented on Citysearch’s Search Results Page in the 4th screenshot under 3.6 Places that Pay here.

So I added a method to the CityGrid Advertising PHP Class I wrote for making calls to the Custom Ads API. The API call returns back XML or JSON parts and pieces of a local ad I can list at the top of the search listings page.

I’m able to format the advertising to appear with my CSS styling, and I used the image, name, tagline, description and address if they are available, and provide a link to the advertising destination URL.

I like the way I’m able to blend the custom ads into my local search listings. It definitely seems like users are more likely to click through when presented with a sponsored link that is relevant to their local search.  I’m working more on how to lay out the reviews, ratings and offers part of my local sponsored listings next.

HyperLocal App Idea: Local Laundromat Home Page

I am sitting at the Wash Tub Laundromat in Manhattan Beach, CA doing my laundry tonight. I was working on my Macbook and the owner of the laundromat asked me if I was able to get wifi on my laptop?

I explained that I have a Verizon USB stick to get my Internet connection, since there wasn’t wifi available. He said he had talked to Time Warner Cable and they said they’d install free Internet for him, but it had been months and nothing. I’m assuming they have some sort of public spaces package that routes users to a home page, upon connecting and monetizes the Internet using advertising.

The laundromat owner said he’d just pay for Internet himself. I told him about CityGrid local advertising, and said he could monetize the home page and probably end up paying for the Internet through local advertising.

Seems like a great idea for a local web application, one that helps laundromat, coffee shop and other business owners set up a default home page for their router, and make money from it using CityGrid local places and advertising.

It would be easy to go beyond just ads on a single splash page and build a quality local directory that introduces customers to other products, services and business in the local area.

As I’m traveling, and talking to small business owners about ideas for web and mobile apps, I will keep sharing with developers here, so you can take advantage of these opportunities.

CityGrid PHP Amazon EC2 AMI for Rapid Local Web App Development

I have updated our PHP Amazon AMI after using it at a hackathon last week.  If you haven’t checked out our PHP AMI yet, it is a Fedora Linux, Apache and PHP Amazon Machine Image (AMI) we created for building local web apps around the CityGrid APIs.

I’ve organized all php code libraries, samples, prototypes and starter kits on a Linux server, and made a public Amazon EC2 AMI with it.

Currently I have the following projects and code libraries on the AMI:

  • Twitter Bootstrap - The open source UI library created by Twitter.
  • Local Directory - A basic local business directory that uses CityGrid APIs.
  • PHP Class and Samples - A PHP class for CityGrid places and advertising APIs with usage samples.
  • Twilio PHP Library - Official PHP Twilio REST API and TwiML library

The Amazon Machine Image is - ami-d3f928ba and is available to the public.

The server is pre-configured with the following:

  • Linux (Fedora)
  • Web Server (Apache)
  • FTP (VSFTP)
  • MysQL

The root user is - ec2-user

The FTP user is:

  • u: hyp3r
  • p: l0cal

This AMI is a work in progress, I will update the image as I can make time. If you have questions you can reach me @kinlane or @citygridapiteam.