Newsonomics thinks they can: by something he calls “commercial crowdsourcing,” and the example given is PlaceLocal:
In a nutshell, PlaceLocal creates instant ads for a business, drawn from the best of the available information out there on the web â€” photos, user reviews, basic address, phone, hours, menus.
It gives publishers â€” TimeOut, Hearst TV, and McClatchy are three of the first companies testing it â€” the ability to create ads on the fly, spec â€™em out and use their sales staffs to do the selling. Victor Wong, one of the young geniuses behind the PaperGâ€™s innovation â€” its first product, FlyerBoard, simply updated for the digital age the old notion of the ubiquitous kiosk flyers found around college campuses â€” tells me he thinks PlaceLocal will be a bigger product. It should sell for a higher rate, and thatâ€™s what his publisher customers are hoping. Initial rates â€” weâ€™re talking about smaller businesses which arenâ€™t frequent advertisers â€” run in the hundreds up to a thousand dollars monthly. That $1,000 target would more than double the pricing of the FlyerBoard product, a key in PaperGâ€™s growth plan as the company of a dozen plus leaves the friendly confines of New Haven for Silicon Valley North, San Francisco.