Monday, December 05, 2005
BUSINESS MODELS: How to make local blogging pay?
BuzzMachine <http://www.buzzmachine.com/> Sunday, December 04, 2005
Catching up on my blog reading this weekend, I see further discussion from
the folks at the frontlines of trying to make hyperlocal work. We all
believe it will work. It has to. We care about our towns. We write about
what we care about. Local advertisers care about us. It has to work. But
how? No one has cracked the code yet. Because local
l> asked Liz George, Debbie Galant's partner at New Jersey's own
Baristanet.com, to review Backfence.com, a funded hyperlocal content company
in Virginia. I'm a big fan of Baristanet and I was glad to be around in its
delivery room; Debbie has said she was inspired to chuck big media and go
hyperlocal at least in part at an NJ.com hyperlocal meetup we held when I
was there. I'm also a friend of Mark Potts, who with his partner, Susan
DeFife, founded Backfence; Mark learned from a number of other projects,
including Northwestern's GoSkokie.com
<http://mesh.medill.northwestern.edu/goskokie/> project, which I worked
with while at Advance. So I'm rooting for them all to find the way to make
it work. I theorized. They're doing it. They're putting their money where my
In Liz's strong review of Backfence, we see a conflict of two models:
centralized efforts to encourage hyperlocal citizens' media (Backfence,
Riffs <http://www.buzzmachine.com/index.php/2005/11/20/riff-raff/> , Judy's
Book) v. decentralized efforts that start up on their own (Baristanet,
Gothamist <http://www.gothamist.com/> , H2OTown <http://h2otown.info/> ).
Decentralized is messier but I believe it is ultimately the way things will
work because it is truly about local control: In the decentralized model,
people start their efforts because they want to, not because somebody had to
convince them to. On the other hand, I learned through Advance and GoSkokie
that to make this work, hyperlocal needs TLC in some form: functionality,
content, promotion, ad sales, something. What's the right mix? Haven't the
Then Pegasus chimes in, arguing in favor of some form of hybrid, but Pegasus
remains an unlaunched unknown there.
The bottom line is that we need more experimentation and study and - I agree
Lockhart Steele - more study to find out what clicks.
Stop be before I call for Hyperlocalcon.
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