Ties Hyperlocal, Local Search

Newspaper sites have done a lot of window dressing with “hyperlocal” by adding neighborhood blogs and whatnot. But now some papers are challenging themselves to embrace hyperlocal in all things, as they seek to tame Google and Yahoo in search, take on the Yellow Pages in certain categories, and win back reader loyalty. A lot … Read more

Freedom Interactive ‘Tearing Out the Infrastructure’

When Freedom Communications recruited Michael Mathieu , the monetization leader from United Online (, NetZero, etc.), it was opting for change with a capital “C.” Freedom, of course, is the longtime libertarian owner of 70 properties, including The Orange County Register, a bunch of small papers, a number of magazines and specialty publications, and 21 TV stations. But … Read more

BackFence Update with CEO Susan DeFife

BackFence may be the biggest laboratory out there for community networks. It reads like a newspaper written by citizens, and its hyper-local coverage features community-by-community Yellow Pages, special sections, business reviews, events calendars, classifieds, blogs and user-generated photos. The company raised $3 million at this time last year from SAS Investors and The Omidyar Network, and … Read more

Gannett ‘Info Center’ Repositions Newspapers

Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher with 110 titles, is rolling out “information center” guidelines that it calls “the newsroom of the future.” In its essence, The Information Center downplays hard news in favor of more community touch points. It also de-emphasizes the newspaper industry’s traditional focus on print in favor of a 24/7 multi … Read more

Executive Turnover at Insider Pages

Insider Pages founder Stu MacFarlane has been replaced as CEO by Mitch Galbraith, a veteran of Yahoo’s small business division who was recently brought in as VP of Advertising. The change at the top appears to have been initiated by Insider’s investors, which include IdeaLab, Sequoia Capital and Softbank. The turn of events is a surprise. … Read more

Smalltown: Micro-Sites as Substitute YPs

And they just keep plugging away and plugging away at micro-sites. A new Bay Area company, Smalltown, has launched a micro-site service in San Mateo and Burlingame that serves as kind of a commerce-oriented city guide/Yellow Pages. The service has received $3 million in funding from Formative Ventures, a tech-oriented VC. Micro-sites certainly seem to be … Read more

Second Thoughts on Merchant Circle’s Misbehavior

Last week, I got 22 comments within a 2 day timeframe on a several months old post regarding Merchant Circle. I took all the comments off the blog after noting irregularities among them. Basically, I saw a deliberate attempt by one or more people to create a pseudo grassroots movement by writing lots of phony letters. … Read more

Washington Post Reunites Curley and Holovaty

Newspapers are said to be culturally inclined to fail on the Web. But people make exceptions when Rob Curley or Adrian Holovaty are involved. Curley transformed Morris Communications’ Topeka Capital-Journal into a highly interactive platform from 1997 to.2002 (with additional work throughout the Morris chain). Then together with Holovaty, a journalist with a computer programming … Read more

Can NextDoor Monetize Its 10 Million+ Users?

When we think about “what’s next” in local, we always think it could be Next Door. Despite an unchartered path to revenue, the hyperlocal neighborhood network has raised $210 Million and was recently valued at $1.1 Billion San Francisco-based NextDoor was founded in 2010 and now has more than 10 million members, who share hyperlocal and … Read more