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screenhunter_31.jpgIn case you missed them, here is a sampling of blog posts from the past week. Click below to read each post in full.

MSN Video Boosts Features; Sets Sight on Local
At Microsoft’s recent Searchification event in Silicon Valley, the company demo’d a new set of features for Live Search and MSN. Today I had the chance to follow up with MSN’s Rob Bennett, GM of entertainment video and sports, to drill down on some of the enhancements specifically made to MSN Video. Among other things, Bennett’s outlook on video opportunities ties back to local, given some of the natural synergies his division will have with Windows Live Local and Live Maps. (read more…)

Topix Refocuses on Place Bloggers and UGC
Under-served small communities are getting more attention. Companies like TownNews, Grayboxx and Topix have set out to focus on small town and exurban residents, and aggregating those local users for advertisers. As we wrote in April, Topix — a 25-person company that is 80 percent owned by Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy — has been aggregating local news from a variety of sources. It has 25,000 news sources in 20,000 communities. It counts more than 12 million unique visitors. (read more…)

New West: Tracking, Facilitating Rockies’ Growth
New West Publishing is a different kind of local company — one that uses Web tools, journalism and themed conferences to track the development of an entire region: The Rockies. Launched by former Industry Standard editor Jonathan Weber — a featured speaker at Kelsey’s upcoming ILM conference — the site operates out of Missoula, MT, where Weber was lured to teach at the J-School after the dot-com implosion. Weber says the challenge of not only covering but also helping facilitate the growth of an entire region was a siren call he could not resist. (read more…)

Next Big Thing: City Guides in Print
Some things were meant to be in print, and some things were meant to be a Web site. But what does it mean when “Hometown Pasadena” sells 10,000 copies? The self-published book by local writer Colleen Dunn Bates and three other locals was put out a year ago. It is now carried at local bookstores, both chain and independent, Costco and even a hair salon (per a nice write-up by Scott Timberg in The LA Times). Amazon has it in hardcover for $22.95, with a paperback version coming out tomorrow. (read more…)

Finding the ‘Ultimate’ Local Ad Model
An interesting panel today at the SMX Local & Mobile conference attempted to find this elusive animal, although Ingenio CMO Marc Barach warned the audience at the onset not to expect the question to be answered because an answer doesn’t exist. Barach and other panelists nonetheless hit on important issues such as reaching a fragmented local marketplace; closing the loop on the disconnected online-offline purchase funnel; and getting lost in the alphabet soup of ad models — CPC, CPM, CPA — that are appropriate/desired by different verticals and market segments. (read more…)

Belo Splits TV and Newspaper: End of Cross Media?
Belo’s decision to split up its TV and newspaper/Web properties makes sense — if you are on Wall Street. TV stations and newspapers have different growth dynamics right now, and there are tax implications too. Is Belo writing off the convergence of TV stations and newspapers too soon? Belo and other media conglomerates (i.e., Media General, Gannett, Tribune and The Oklahoman) have worked their heads off, trying to get the convergence thing going in the newsroom. (read more…)

More on AgendiZe: ‘Widgetizing’ the Yellow Pages Value Proposition
AgendiZe last week announced a new widgetized version of its save & share functionality for small-business Web sites. Peter Krasilovsky mentioned it briefly last week, and it’s been since covered in a few places. But I finally had the chance to catch up with CEO Alexandre Rambaud on Friday to dig deeper on what the product means for small businesses, overall online advertising trends, and for Yellow Pages publishers’ ability to more effectively deliver leads across platforms. (read more…)

Flat Screens in Stock: Krillion Adds Inventory Data
Shopping search site Krillion announced today that it will launch a new feature that includes inventory data for its top retailers. The feature, known as StockCheck, will launch initially in its flat screen television category. Based on the same logic that drives Krillion’s consumer value proposition, the thought is that most conversions happen offline (especially for high consideration items like appliances and flat screens), while an increasing amount of research is being done online. (read more…)

AT&T Uses White Pages to Appease Opt-Out Movement
AT&T has announced an initiative in North Carolina to stop publishing its White Pages directories in Charlotte and Raleigh in favor of Web-based or CD-ROM access to residential listing data. This move is an obvious play to appease the recent opt-out movement in North Carolina and could be a similar blocking strategy in New York and New Mexico where opt-out legislation has also been proposed. (read more…)

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