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The Web changes quickly. Only a couple of years ago, most people googled a restaurant at home before going out for dinner, while now you can just stop in the middle of the city, log in to Foursquare, find a place nearby, and perhaps even get a discount on your meal for checking in.
Marketers can now go real granular with their efforts, catching the customer here and now, and offering them a more personalized experience. In this post, I’d like to talk about how small business owners can leverage the triple power of social, mobile and local to effectively promote their venues among local Web audiences.Begin with a Website
First thing to do is to create a website for your local biz, which you will later use to:
Provide a URL when registering in online directories;
Tie it to your social media accounts;
Create a Google Places and a Bing Local listing;
Provide for potential scaling of your small business in the future.
For unambiguous identification purposes include a crawlable company name – address – phone number somewhere on your website (for example, in the footer), so that it can be correctly associated with your other business profiles in the future.Befriend Local Data Providers
I’m talking about such guys as Localeze (would probably be your priority), InfoGroup, Acxiom, SuperPages, YellowPages new and Insider Pages. These are pretty much a must.
They provide local business data for Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Places, Siri and a number of other services you can use to expose your local biz to online audiences. It is important to start with these directories first since they are the bottom line.
I have a friend in New York who owns several Italian food restaurants in different parts of the city. As he is keen on renaming and re-structuring his various venues (for example, splitting one business into two, or vice versa), I told him to pay attention to what versions of his businesses are listed in these data aggregators, since, even if he goes ahead and changes his contacts on, say, Google Places, his owner-submitted data may get overridden by his old directory data.
Again, while verifying/creating those listings, make sure your business information is the same in all databases. Do not use tracking phone numbers to see which directory performs best and avoid using toll-free numbers that could be associated with any location in the U.S., you’ll want to be more specific than that.Go Social
Then create Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google+ pages for your business. Now, promoting your business in these online venues is a whole different story. To get followers, you can offer points to your customers, encourage them to stay updated on deals and specials, and whatnot – just use your imagination.
To facilitate the act of following you on social networks, use QR codes in a manner they’re used in the image accompanying this post, so that your customers can just scan them and connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Also, here are some great posts of how to engage with your customers via Facebook and Twitter:
How to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page and Get Lots of Fans
How to Get Twitter Followers
What Can You Learn from These 6 Companies That Thrive On Twitter?
Also, for smarter posting, I recommend using the now hot Buffer app, which allows you to schedule your Tweets and Facebook posts. This way, you can post with intervals and at peak times.
And, don’t forget about your brand’s integrity. Being a small biz, you may not have a marketing department to take care of your branding. So, just ask yourself what your brand’s core values are and interact with your social media accordingly.
Deals and coupons
What’s awesome about the above mentioned social networks is that users can check in to actual venues using their Foursquare, Facebook and other IDs. Upon checking-in, they can also leave tips (a-la reviews on Foursquare) and rate places.
Many vendors use coupons, specials and other ways to reward clients for checking in, and a lot of users search specifically for places that have special offers at a given moment. Groupon is probably the most popular local-friendly coupon service. Groupon offers also appear on Foursquare, and one can share Groupon deals on Facebook or Twitter.
Get rated and reviewed
Besides the main social media players, there are tons of review sites and comparison sites that your potential clients may turn to get an opinion on your business. For example, everyone knows Zagat (a famous restaurant guide) and TripAdvisor (mainly used for hotels search), but there are also tons of others.
So, how do you find review sites that apply to your niche? Well, it’s quite simple. Just search for your main niche keywords on Google Places or Bing Local and see where your competitors got their reviews from.
The relatively new kid on the block to pay attention to is Google’s Hotpot that’s built on top of Google Places, Google+ and Google Maps, including Google’s My Places, which allows one to create custom maps of places they’ve been to or are planning to visit.
Also, services like Foursquare, Google Places, InfoGroup and others let users leave feedback as well. So pay attention to that one too.
Get into Google Places and Bing Local results
Now, the tip of the iceberg. It could be hard to rank highly for certain competitive keywords on Google Places or Bing Local where the top is often dominated by big brands. However, you can aim to show up in the top ten for some less popular and thus not hugely competitive keywords, for example, for longer keyword phrases (also known as long tail keywords).
Hence, get listed on Google Places and Bing Local as well.Important things to remember in this respect:
Remember to provide the same name/address/phone number you’ve been providing for your other virtual venues this whole time.
While creating your listings, use your niche keywords in the Description field and choose appropriate categories, which is very important. Creating a custom category for your business and stuffing it with keywords will not help (unless justified). It’s also important to use keywords in the title of the website associated with your business and somewhere in your webpage copy/ image alt text.
The more directory listings and various mentions from across the Web can be associated with your business, the higher it will show up in Google’s local search results.
Reviews and Ratings
The more reviews and ratings your business gets, the better it performs on Google Places or Bing Local. Google also estimates the general sentiment in those reviews and ratings, and takes it into account. However, I wouldn’t worry about that rankings-wise, but I would worry about it reputation-wise. Crappy reviews can turn potential customers off your biz.
*Note: If your business has more than one location, use Google’s bulk location upload instead of creating one listing.
To develop a detailed strategy on how to rank your listing higher on Google Places, give this awesome Local SEO blog by David Mihm a read.
To sum it up, Solomo does a lot of work for you these days. It lets you laser-target your promotional efforts. Plus the fact that clients can find your store on Facebook, Foursquare or other extremely mobile-friendly platforms largely spares you the need to optimize your site for mobile or develop a separate app for mobile users.
At the same time, the challenge here is to appropriately manage campaigns for multiple virtual representation of your biz online and to scale them by attracting new audiences from areas other than your own.
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One of the biggest shifts we’ve since seen in the last year for social media marketing has been the increasing use of international campaigns. This is not very surprising when you consider how globalized our economy has become and the fact that US companies are voraciously spreading their brands to new territories for easy profits. Mirroring this trend is the online move for social media to spread people’s awareness in new territories as well as handle support and complaints efficiently overseas.
The statistics are clear: Around 80% of Facebook’s users are outside the US and Canada and roughly 70% of Twitter’s user base too. This just goes to show how many people are currently being left out in the cold.
The real challenge here is to tackle the situation exactly the same way you would back home; with people deep inside your organization who speak the language and understand the culture. This is essential to build social media trust and will prevent anyone on the receiving end of your messages feeling like they were just an afterthought in a cold, corporate strategy drummed up in a board meeting.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to ask yourself whether or not your campaigns should even be ported overseas at all. Not every country or territory is going to be receptive to your brand, product, message or service. So be selective and make sure you can dominate the space before you enter it. This can be a daunting process since campaigns launched in the States not only have to be localized for each market, but sometimes they have to be scrapped and thrown out altogether. If you are doing a Super Bowl social media promotion for example, how would you translate the term ‘Super Bowl’ from English to Swahili so people will know you’re talking about a sporting event and not some amazing dish you’re dying to cook for them?
Then there’s the challenge of meeting them on their own home turf. While Facebook and Twitter seem to be popular in most countries, others are dominated by completely different platforms like Orkut, Tuenti or VKontakte. These will have to be leveraged, and, in some cases, even learned to meet your target demographics where they are.
Of course many products have strange crossover appeal too. For example, video games are mainly popular with younger boys in the States, but in many Asian countries certain games are just as popular with girls. Can you be sure your product will be accurately represented in each territory?
The Topic of Translation
Here are some examples how Starbucks and Uniqlo are doing all this and dominating with their campaigns…
Starbucks is one of the undisputed kings of social media. They have such an authoritative brand presence that they don’t necessarily need the social media to enhance their brand but they still use it as an effective tool to communicate with their customers. Interestingly enough, most of Starbucks’ tweets start with an apology. While other companies like to sweep problems under the rug to look good, Starbucks goes out of their way to encourage customers to tweet their problems so they can solve them.
A very mature approach.
They even have their own mini social network if you will, called My Starbucks Idea. This is a stroke of pure genius. It allows anyone to post ideas they would like to see incorporated into the company and then everyone can vote on them. Starbucks then follows up on the ideas with their blog to keeping people informed about what they’re doing with it. This not only gives the chain priceless ideas and feedback, but it also fosters a culture of customers feeling appreciated.
A huge win/win!
Starbucks is the benchmark for how everyone should be using social media.
While Starbucks is the king in the food world, Uniqlo is making big strides in the clothing industry. For each country they have a presence in, they have dedicated unique social media accounts for each. They want to ensure that each territory’s profile is a tailored, accurate reflection of the needs and issues that come up. In the US for example, they have 528,000 Google +1s, while in the UK their numbers pale in comparison with only 270. In China they have a strong presence on Renren because it is so incredibly popular. They keep their content very local and highly relevant and their levels of engagement vary drastically from country to country too, which is to be expected.
The Challenges Ahead
Like any new space, technology or undertaking, there are bound to be some major hurdles and perhaps even disastrous mistakes ahead – just like we’ve seen with so many big brands in the last year.
So the questions that need to be addressed are: how do you plan to meet the varied needs of people speaking different languages and spread across multiple time zones? How do you align your social media marketing strategies as per the needs and priorities of different markets worldwide?
This is something many brand managers and social media marketers are thinking about right now. So any brave entrepreneur out there that wants to tackle the space with a smart solution, now is your time to dive right in. I’ll applaud you and most probably be one of your first customers.
Key Points to Keep in Mind when Handling Social Media on a Global Scale:
1. One account vs. Multiple Accounts – Should you have one social media account to cater to your global audience or should you create different accounts based on the country you’re present in? Should these accounts be handled centrally or should you appoint native account managers for each region? Native account managers have more of an inkling of what would and wouldn’t work in their geography. Organizations thus need to create a flexible framework that’s practical and mentions clearly who needs to do what and when.
2. Being Careful With Translations – There have been quite a few marketing blunders committed by companies when promoting their products. Pepsi, KFC, Coca Cola in China, Parker Pens in Mexico… the list is endless. You do not want to depend on literal translations or translations that have not been proofread by a native of that language.
When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”
KFC experienced some real problems when its phrase “Finger Lickin Good” came out in Chinese as “Eat your fingers off”
Parker Pens tag line – “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” when translated in Mexico came out to be – “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”.
Important Tip for Marketers – Be aware of the nuances and differences in each culture. A small mistake can turn out to be a huge blunder and embarrassment for the company worldwide. Avoid relying too much on Google Translate to create local language content.
3. Fragment your Markets – Treat each market individually; don’t assume reactions and responses will be the same to a common campaign you may decide to run. A campaign that’s successful in UK may not succeed in Spain, Portugal, France or Belgium. Understand the traits and act accordingly.
For example – If your target is Singapore you need to take care of the fact that Singapore audiences are made up of people from India, China, Malaysia etc. Hence keep a check on different races, religions and beliefs. You don’t want to put up any content that’s offensive in nature to any of those communities.
4. Dealing with a Crisis – Make clear guidelines on what action to take in times of a crisis. Define issues that can be handled by the social media team or if it has to be escalated to the top management. Ensure you have a Plan B ready always.
5. Connect With Your Audience – Make your audience a part of your conversation. Ask them for suggestions, creative ideas, tips and tricks on how you can make your offerings better. While this would apply to even a local social media campaign you run, it’s even more important to do when operating things on a global scale because it’s very easy to get lost and carried away with your own assumptions of what your audience is looking at without really connecting with them and finding out directly.
6. You will make mistakes, learn and adapt – It’s difficult to handle the intricacies of international social media campaigns without making a blunder or two. Accept that it might just happen and be ready on to quickly recover/adapt.
While it’s still a big mystery and very little is known about international social media marketing, there’s an exciting future ahead for sure. But either way the same rules apply with complete transparency and honesty being the name of the game. When in doubt or if someone makes a mistake, just politely own up, say sorry and move on. It works just as well in any language.
The benefits of choosing a local email marketing service provider
While looking for the right email marketing service agency, try giving priority to those based in your local area since this will let you easily quickly communicate with the agency. For example, you can visit the office when you like, although the fact is, many business owners, even through working with a local email marketing service can take a great amount of time as well as resources. Whatever the issues are, always make an effort to find the right email marketing service provider.
I would like to share 5 issues to consider as you search for the perfect email marketing service, along with the benefits of choosing a local agency:Issue 1: Consider the ‘Industry’ factor
Here are some of the ways by which you can find the marketing agency of your choice:
Run an online search of services present near your area.
Ask around for a strong recommendation.
While doing so, always remember to do a thorough background check on the profile of the email marketing service provider. This will let you determine its overall capacity of deliverance and if it is worth your time and investment.Issue 2: Determine their specialities
During your search, you will surely encounter many marketing service providers that specialize in specific marketing formats. Some marketing agencies are experts in the creation of a visual representation of data, while others are good at creating headlines. Also, try prioritizing local agencies as they will be familiar with your area’s changing trends.
When you have finished short listing your agencies then try to speak to their representatives. If the agency is a local one, try speaking to the representative in person. This will let you have a better idea about the services that the agency has to offer. Also, try asking as many questions as possible as this will help to clarify any important questions.Issue 3: Planning
A well reputed marketing service always has a strategy for every business process. So, when you researching for the right agency, assess if their planning process and strategizing will allow you to fulfill your goals.
Also, as a rule of thumb, always remember that the marketing agency that can come up with better contingency plans is often the most reliable one.Issue 4: Rates
Your budget is one of those things that you must always keep in mind when selecting the right email marketing service. The ‘rates’ factor will also assist you in case you have found more than one suitable choice. Try selecting an email marketing service that gives you best quality services at reasonable or competitive prices. On a side note, you should never compromise on quality in favor of cheaper rates. By selecting a local agency, you will be able to adequately analyze their rates, thereby giving you one more reason to select such a service.Issue 5: Contract
Always choose an email marketing service that offers you flexibility in terms of contractual obligations. You should remember that a good marketing service will take full responsibility of its services and will outline them in obvious terms in your contract.
If you select a local agency, you will have the benefit of coming face-to-face with their officials and deciding the terms of contract. So, go for a local agency if you can.
Finding the best email marketing service may take time, even if it is situated in your city, state or country. But it is necessary that you invest your time in finding an agency that can really boost your efficiency and productivity.
If you read a blog post about link building recently, the odds are pretty good you’ve read about content marketing, info-graphics, or RCS. These are all great. They work. They bring more traffic and links to your site and can help build your brand. For those you who run or market small and local businesses, odds are these strategies are not within reach. Either there are no resources or time.Local Newspapers
Everyone wants a link from the New York Times or the Huffington Post right? If you’re a local business, you really don’t need that strong of links. A couple links from your local newspaper will usually provide significant value. There are a couple ways you can do this. The first is to do a press release. Often times local newspapers will run press releases for local businesses online. Write up a press release the next time you offer a new service, move, get a new product line, hire a new manager, sponsor an event, and, well you get the idea.Search for Mentions
If people are talking about you, hopefully they are linking to your site. If they aren’t email them, or better give them a call, and ask if they would mind linking to you with your name (or business name) in the post or article.
There are a couple ways to go about this. The old way is to create a Google Alert for your name. Once you set this up, you will get emails whenever your name is mentioned. There can be significant lag time though.
Remember when you set it up to put your name in quotes, this will search for your name exactly.
The new way is to monitor for mention with SEOmoz’s new Fresh Web Explorer. This is a great new tool that scans the web for mentions of your brand and name. While this only recently came out there are a lot of great resources on this. Below are some blog posts that should get you started to finding brand mentions to turn into links:Local Maps
You can use Google Maps to build links really easily. Simply create a custom map with points of interest on it. Then grab the embed code. Now edit the embed code and remove the link to Google maps and replace it with a link to your site. Below is an example from my site – I made a map of ski resorts in Colorado while planning a ski trip.
View Map of Ski Resorts in Colorado by Geoff Kenyon
What’s really great about this tactic is that you can do it for just about anything. If there is a conference coming to town, make a map of restaurants and coffee shops near the event venue and hotels. You can also do this for local points of interest related to your industry such as bike trails, running routes, breweries, historic landmarks, or simply a collection of local points of interest for tourists.
To do this simply grab embed code from Google Maps.
Once you copy the code, edit it as shown below:
Original Embed Code
Edited Embed Code
Note, in the above code that is edited, we have added attribution to your homepage.
Once you have your map and embed code, reach out to local blogs and organizations that would be interested in the info and give them the embed code. Remember, you need to tell them what benefit this map provides for their readers or members.YouTube Videos
Like the map tactic above, you can shoot a quick video to help people with something – either explain a topic, provide a review, or show someone how to do something. Then grab the YouTube embed code and make it link back to your site.
Below is an example of this tactic.
The code for the above video was originally:
To do this yourself, simply append your homepage attribution and link to the page on your site the video appears on.
Once you’ve got the embed code edited, you just have to reach out to local people who’d be interested, just like with the map.Local Bloggers Love Reviews
Local Bloggers are overlooked all the time by the big companies looking to give away free stuff. Find some local bloggers in your area and ask them to review your company. If you’re a restaurant offer them a complimentary meal for two and as long as you deliver a decent meal you should get a great review and some links. If you’re a store, offer them a product to review. As long as you don’t give them something cheap (<$50), they will probably be really excited.Testimonials
Testimonials help everyone, right? Who doesn’t want to appear credible? Odds are you use services all the time. Offer a testimonial to the people you’ve hired or work with. Have you moved recently? Write a testimonial for your moving company and real estate agent. Do you use an office supply company? What about a chiropractor, printer, marketing agency, or computer repair service? Write them a review.
All you have to do is write your business under your name and link your business back to your site.Local Magazines
Reach out to a local magazine in your area and ask if you can contribute a one off piece. The smaller magazines will typically welcome the added content. Write about whatever you want – either a topic you’re passionate about or teach people to do something related to your business. In your bio make sure you link back to your site!
Those are my seven link building tactics for small and local businesses, what are yours?
Want to learn how to keep returning customers engaged and convert new customers through your Google My Business listing?
On October 28, I moderated a Search Engine Journal webinar sponsored by SEMrush and presented by Ross Tavendale, Managing Director at Type A Media.
He walked through some simple workflows that small business owners can start doing today in order to work smarter with their Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Here’s a recap of the presentation.
Running a small business is hard.
Often, as the owner of a small business, you are in charge of HR, finance, operations, sales, marketing and a million other things.
In today’s fast-paced environment, if you’re just standing still and maintaining the status quo, that actually means that over time your business will experience attrition and start to fall behind.
So when it comes to the world of ranking well in Google, you need smart workflows that save you time, grow your business, and keep your customers happy.What Gets Measured, Gets Managed
In order to make better business decisions, you need to understand what you are looking at.
Have you ever asked yourself these questions:
Where did that new customer come from?
Where did that new sale come from?
Why is it so busy today?
Why is it so quiet today?
How did customers hear of us?
If you say “the internet” in answer to these questions, we have an issue.
The first way to address this is to get your “direct” traffic as close to zero as possible.
Direct is the default for no other information being passed to Google Analytics.
To avoid this you should do the following.Implement UTM Tracking on All External Links
Apply UTM tracking to:
Google My Business.
Your email signature.
You can use Google’s Campaign URL Builder to add UTM parameters to your links.
You can then view traffic segmented in the Events section of Google Analytics.Use Dynamic Tracking Phone Numbers Based on Referrer
You can use a service like Call Tracking Metrics to do this.
Putting a call whisper on each number is also helpful as it allows you to get immediate information from each call without relying on analytics.
Connect this directly to Google Analytics to understand what converts.
If you have the time, it would also help if you listen to calls and train your staff on how to best handle such inbound calls.Create Custom Landing Pages
Another best practice is to create custom landing pages on your Google My Business, Facebook, or Twitter profiles.
Do not send them to the homepage – instead, send them to a dedicated services page.
Your GMB listing already shows your phone number and address anyway.
What they most likely want is to understand your service so they can make a decision to buy from you.Combat ‘Dark Social’ with Tracking on Open Graph URLs
Open graph (OG) is the meta data used when sharing to social sites.
When people share (via WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.), Google Analytics records it as direct traffic.
To combat this, make sure to add UTM parameters to OG tags to combat it
Note that this is not 100% fool-proof, but a work-around you can test.Managing One-Off & Recurring Tasks
You can also set up workflows for managing your one-off and recurring local SEO tasks.
One-off tasks include:
Setting up your Google My Business listing.
Creating listings on third-party directories.
There are also recurring tasks such as:
Managing your GMB listing.
Creating GMB posts.
Responding to reviews and mentions around the web.GMB Listing Setup
Your GMB listing should be complete and fully optimized so make sure to fill in all the things, including your:
You can also use tools such as:
Pleper to get a full list of categories.
GMB spy Chrome plugin to see what others are using.
Another overlooked optimization tactic is the EXIF data contained in your images.
Deliberately take images using a phone camera while your GPS is turned on and upload them directly.
The more location-based signals the better.
To add GPS data to your images, you can use a tool like GPiSync.GMB Listing Updates
You should find the time to regularly update your GMB listing.
Remember to change your categories according to the seasons.
If you are a bakery business, change the category to “Wedding Cakes” in spring.
If you are a butcher, change your category to “Christmas Hampers” in November.
Use SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to see the Trends associated with the keywords.GMB Posts
GMB Posts are like social media updates for your business in your profile.
Use them regularly to communicate with your customers and promote new products and services.
Regular activity helps rankings and boost conversions.
Use SEMrush Social Media Poster to plan the posts ahead of time and automate the process.Mentions Around the Web
Set up Google Alerts to get email notifications once your business name or a relevant keyword for your business is mentioned around the web.
You can also track your brand mentions using SEMrush and subscribe to relevant news stories in Google News.
And remember to always reach out for links and respond to reviews.Setting up Your Business Across the Web
If you need to bulk upload and control your data across various platforms, using the SEMrush Listing Management tool can help.
It also allows you to spot check for Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) data inconsistencies that are hurting your rankings.Reply to All Your Reviews in One Place
Reply within the interface and set up one to many communication so you don’t need to keep repeating yourself.Analyzing Reviews at Scale
There are so many insights you can gain by reading and understanding customer reviews.
If you’re getting a large volume of reviews, you need to be able to mine that information to understand what’s going on.
This is also essential if you’re a multi-location business or if you’ve got multiple services you’re running at any point in time.Use NLP to Get Deep Insights Into Reviews
A scalable way to analyzing your reviews is by using Natural Language Processing (NLP).
NLP is a type of AI that understands the sentiment and entities in text.
Google lets you use their NLP for free.
If you don’t have time to run every review through NLP, you can use chúng tôi which has Google NLP baked in.
It lets you check sentiment, product category, and entities in your reviews to get aggregated insights
Here’s an example using SEMrush reviews from Trustpilot.Use Zapier to Automatically Push Reviews to Your Coda Doc
Every time you get a new review, SEMrush will tell you that you can respond to it.
Coda will collect it and analyze it for you on the fly so you can get an idea about how your customers are finding your experience.
Set custom emails if certain words are mentioned or a certain sentiment score happens.[Slides] Local SEO Workflows to Grow Your Business in Google
Check out the SlideShare below.
All screenshots taken by author, October 2023Join Us For Our Next Webinar! KPIs, Metrics & Benchmarks That Matter For SEO Success In 2023
Reserve my Seat
The Wild West of drone regulation as we know it may soon cease to exist. If lawmakers have their way, state and local governments—including Native American tribal authorities—could soon have the power to regulate the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems as they see fit.
At least, that’s what a group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress are pitching as the Drone Federalism Act. The biggest takeaway from the bill is a provision that allows state, local and Native American tribal authorities to regulate how hobbyists and businesses can operate their drones below 200 feet and within 200 feet of a structure, with the option to seek assistance from the FAA.
“State, local, and tribal governments have a legitimate interest in protecting public safety and privacy from the misuse of drones,” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. “This bill allows communities to create low-altitude speed limits, local no-drone zones or rules that are appropriate to their own circumstances.”
A study released in March by the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College found that at least 135 local governments across 31 states had already enacted their own UAS regulations.
The bill proposes that the FAA choose 10 local, state and tribal governments to create two-year pilot programs they work together on to craft regulations. The FAA would act as a liaison between the local government regulations and the national drone air traffic management system NASA is working on implementing and then report back best practices and how the FAA should work with local government.
RELATED: Tom Cruise Pulled Off an ‘Outrageous’ Pilot Stunt for ‘American Made’
This all comes on the heels of a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruling that the way the FAA wen’t about drone hobbyist registration fell outside the accepted rules of government implementation. This means hobbyists no longer have to register their drones in a national database, or pay the $5 fee, as previously required for any UAS weighing between .55 pounds and 55 pounds.
In an interview with Dronelife, professional drone pilot Vic Moss painted a bleak outlook for operators who have turned the hobby into a business.
“I’ve flown over 55 roof inspections in the last 10 days due to the recent Denver hail storm,” he said. “If Feinstein’s bill had been in effect, and Colorado had fallen into the 200-foot trap, myself and about 30 other pilots would have been out tens of thousands of dollars. And who knows how many insurance adjusters would have fallen off of roofs or ladders in that time? In addition to putting thousands of drone companies out of business, it will set back this industry and its growth potential to levels worse than they were at the very beginning.”
It could also potentially affect first-person-view drone racing, which is a growing segment of the UAS market. Multi GP is a local grassroots-oriented drone racing league that currently has more than 17,000 pilots registered at over 1,000 chapters worldwide, with a large majority located in the United States. The Orlando Multi GP chapter Orlando RotoRacers had to work with local government to continue racing at their Orlando chapter, despite over two years running of incident-free flying, because of a local drone ordinance put into place.
While the drone racing leagues you may be familiar with, like DRL on ESPN, DR1 or IDRA may not be affected by this because of their limited events and select paid-for locations, Multi GP — the place where basically every fast American FPV drone pilot got his start—could be affected heavily.
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