But there are also tons of smaller ones, and sub-units tucked into larger businesses — like AOL’s Patch and MSNBC’s EveryBlock.
Some of the businesses are publishers of local information (Patch, and YP, for instance). And others are hyper-local marketing businesses like Groupon or The Weather Channel. Google, of course is both. They all have one thing in common: They’re in the business of helping local businesses advertise themselves to local customers.
We decided to try and display them all in a chart based on size, and whether they are likely to acquire, or be acquired, by other companies. (With all due respect to LUMA Partners, let’s call this an InsiderScape.)
The result suggests that the business has organized itself into two types of companies: a small set of large, acquisitive players; and a large set of small, non-acquisitive players. (There are very few large players that don’t have acquisition histories, and very few small players that are scaling up via leveraged acquisitions.)
Crucially, this huge number of companies are all doing essentially the same thing — digitally connecting local businesses with their consumers. That suggests this is a commodity environment in which companies are likely to experience severe downward pressure on their ability command prices from merchants. And that means consolidation, through M&A, is likely.
Check it out, and let us know if we got anything wrong:
Hospitals are increasingly milling their patients’ confidential medical records to target their promotional mailings for services, reported Phil Galewitz of USA Today.
It’s not illegal, but the practice doesn’t sit well with consumer advocacy groups who point out that many health care providers are choosing to ping patients with better insurance coverage.
That creates a sort of indirect discrimination, as hospitals make it harder for consumers with less insurance to learn about services they may very well need.
To target the ads, hospitals determine the likelihood that patients would need certain services based on age, income and insurance status. Hospitals have said they target patients with private insurance because the companies tend to pay higher rates than government-backed plans like Medicare and Medicaid.
The mailings also advertise a variety of tests, such as screenings for cancers and cholesterol, which are generally more expensive.
As record numbers of Americans go without health insurance, hospitals targeting consumers who are more capable of shelling out money for services has been an inevitable outcome, along with soaring health insurance premiums (Read why the rich are building their own hospitals.)
To make matters worse, employers are also reducing health insurance benefits in the workplace.
As we recently reported, one in five Americans are experiencing difficulty paying off their medical debt, while 25 percent have considered filing for bankruptcy because of rising medical bills.
Though targeted mailings might place others without insurance at a disadvantage, hospital officials insist they target patients who pay more to make enough profit to serve everyone.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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