Backfence Shuts Down

Backfence announced June 29 that it is shuttering its 13 community sites, which were in the DC area, Illinois and northern California. The ambitious site raised an initial round of $3 million, but never had high penetration in its communities, or sold enough Yellow Pages listings or banner ads to be optimistic about its future. In … Read more

BackFence CEO Resigns Amidst Downsizing

BackFence CEO and co-founder Susan DeFife has resigned from the company, amidst a major downsizing. Co-founder Mark Potts will serve as the company’s interim leader as the company looks to solve what he calls “BackFence 2.0.” Potts initially said that “roughly” 12 of 18 employees were let go, but now says that his estimate — … 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

Insider Pages Bets It All on Pay-Per-Call

InsiderPages, IdeaLabs’ women-oriented social network that collects user-generated reviews for local businesses, says it now has “thousands of pay-per-call advertisers” and “is probably the biggest” pay-per- call network. In an interview with The Local Onliner, Vice President of Product Andrew Shotland, wouldn’t comment on rumors that the company is in talks to be acquired , … Read more

Yelp Adds Mobile, Partners with Palm Treo

Yelp, a social network/Yellow Pages hybrid, has launched a mobile version for the Palm Treo as part of a broader marketing relationship between the two companies. Terms are not being disclosed, but cash and tech support have likely been provided in exchange for Yelp’s “optimizing” for the Treo, and for advertising the Treo relationship on the Yelp … Read more

Smalltown Adds 3 Locales, Video

When you have access to $3 million of VC money, you are going to eventually want to spend some of it. That’s what Smalltown, an IYP site with social aspects via reviews, calendars and (now) Top 10 lists, is doing. Five months after launching SME-oriented sites in San Mateo and Burlingame, Smalltown has announced three new Bay Area … Read more

Buffalo Rising Finessing Online/Offline Model

Building the perfect template for hyper-local media has been the endgame for a number of companies – BackFence, American Town Networks, Pegasus News, and Citysquares, to name a few. HyperLocal Media has been working at it as well, focusing on the synergies of a print/offline model to effectively sell advertising to the community. Since I profiled the company last June, it has … Read more

Hyperlocal Roundup: WaPo Pulls Out, AOL’s Patch Adds 2 Towns

Hyperlocal, everyone’s favorite unproven concept, has been back in the news this week. It started a couple of weeks ago. BackFence Founder Mark Potts’ announced that he has formed a high profile team and built ad technology to drive network and local revenues for up to “2000 hyperlocal sites” – an interesting and large number. Potts said … Read more

Curley on HyperLocal, The WaPo, and the Vegas Venture

Some industry bloggers like to throw “Google” in the title to get some attention. For me, it is “Hyperlocal.” And somewhere in the middle of any discussion of hyperlocal is Rob Curley.  The hyperlocal maestro has taken his Web 2.0 experimentations (videos, maps, databases, photo galleries, blogs, citizen journalism, pictures of local girls) in rapid … Read more