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Microsoft Launches Online Circular Ads for MSN Local

Microsoft Advertising has unveiled new localized deals through interactive online circulars (like those ads that fall out of your newspaper, the company notes) as part of MSN Local Edition.

The site is geo-targeted, so only location-relevant circulars will be shown to consumers.

Google Focusing On Check-In Services with Google Places API
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Google is placing a great deal of emphasis on check-in services, with regards to Google Places. This could mean some interesting things for businesses.

Booyah Launches Check-Ins for Products in MyTown

Booyah, one of the companies gaining buzz in the check-in service space, has announced a new product check-in feature for its MyTown game/service.

Local Merchants Utilizing Social Media More as Confidence Remains Flat
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This week, MerchantCircle shared the results of its "Merchant Confidence Index," in which about 10,000 local merchants shared their confidence levels in the current economy. While confidence has remained generally flat, the index also found that many of these merchants are more prominently using social media as a free online marketing tool to increase their customer base and revenue.

Google Announces Partnerships with Ford and General Motors
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Google announced that it has extended its Google Maps Send-to-Car service to Ford and GM vehicles. This applies to Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles in the US that are enabled with Ford SYNC, as well as OnStar equipped GM vehicles, which include models from Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn.

Groupon and McClatchy Team Up on Deals at Newspaper Sites
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Groupon has signed a national agreement with The McClatchy Company to distribute exclusive content to McClatchy’s sites in 28 U.S. markets.

Visitors to McClatchy sites will get deals from Groupon that aren’t even available at Groupon.com. These will initially launch in Sacramento and Kansas City, with other regions following over the coming months.

Local.com Pays $5m for Local Ad Solution Provider Octane360

Local search site Local.com has acquired Octane360, a provider of domain-based local ad solutions for small businesses, domain portfolio owners, agencies and channel partners.

Local.com is paying $5 million in cash and stock, with an earnout of up to $5.9 million if certain performance criteria are met in the two-year period following the closing.

WhitePages Releases New Version of Local Business Search Offering
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WhitePages.com has released a new version of its Business Search today. It includes contact info for over 15 million local businesses around the U.S. as well as a Store Locator providing one-click access to neighborhood contact info for over a million local branches of national chains.

MerchantCircle Gives Merchants Their Own Version of Foursquare

Local business social network MerchantCircle has launched a "Mayors" program to its 1.4 million members, no doubt an attempt to capitalize one the growing popularity of Fourquare.

Microsoft Tests New Local Mobile Ad Product
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Microsoft Mobile Advertising has started piloting a new local ad product for mobile. Geodelic, a third party publisher of a location-based discovery app is conducting the pilot.

YouTube Local News “News” Just Part of YouTube Direct?
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SF Weekly ran a story yesterday evening about YouTube having a "top secret news experiment" involving citizen journalism and "going local in San Francisco".

Upgrading Local AdWords Ads to Location Extensions

Google is about to transition local business ads in advertisers’ AdWords accounts to ads that are compatible with the location extensions the company introduced last year.

MerchantCircle Aims to Duplicate U.S. Success Internationally
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MerchantCircle is going international. The local business social network, which gets nearly six million unique monthly visitors (according to Compete data), should be increasing that number greatly as it expands into Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Facebook Finding More Ways to Compete with Google
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Apparently Facebook is not content with only taking over the web, but wants to get some penetration into the physical world as well. Taking a cue from another dominant company, Google, Facebook is now giving brick and mortar businesses decals to put in their windows. While Facebook tells WebProNews the decals are currently only a test with a small number of businesses, I would expect this to be expanded in the future.

Augmented Reality App to Provide Greater Value to Local Businesses

It’s a very interesting time for local businesses. Mobile apps are opening many different opportunities for them to be discovered and new and creative ways. Likewise opportunities for engaging with customers and providing them with offers are becoming increasingly apparent.

Layar
, which makes a pretty useful augmented reality app, announced Layar Stream today, which will fuel the discovery of augmented reality content that is available around you.

Citysearch and AT&T

AT&T Interactive and Citysearch have expanded their relationship, so that sponsored listings on YP.com (the rebranded yellowpages.com), can be displayed across CityGrid, Citysearch’s local content and advertising network the company told us about in March.

Citysearch and AT&T

AT&T Interactive and Citysearch have expanded their relationship, so that sponsored listings on YP.com (the rebranded yellowpages.com), can be displayed across CityGrid, Citysearch’s local content and advertising network the company told us about in March.

Citysearch and AT&T

AT&T Interactive and Citysearch have expanded their relationship, so that sponsored listings on YP.com (the rebranded yellowpages.com), can be displayed across CityGrid, Citysearch’s local content and advertising network the company told us about in March.

Citysearch and AT&T

AT&T Interactive and Citysearch have expanded their relationship, so that sponsored listings on YP.com (the rebranded yellowpages.com), can be displayed across CityGrid, Citysearch’s local content and advertising network the company told us about in March.

Google Expands Tag Advertising for Local Businesses
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Last week Google changed the Local Business Center to Google Places, and along with that change came some new features for local businesses. We looked at those here.

Yahoo Whips Up Clever Food Finder

It must be rare for a person to crave a certain restaurant ("ooh, those straight-backed chairs would hit the spot right now"); instead, most hankerings relate to food.  Yahoo seems to have introduced a very helpful feature, then, as it’s started allowing users to search for exact menu items instead of eateries.