Speaking of Local Content...

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 03, 2005

Ross Mayfield notes that Backfence.com has just launched. It’s a collection of Web sites for local cities—so far, just McLean and Reston, Va.—with what cofounders Mark Potts and Susan DeFife hope will be hyperlocal news, information, services, and discussion, all contributed by volunteers in each community. It’s nicely done. Now, we’ll see if it can get traction.

Hope so. As Ross notes, the point of Backfence.com and other sites still to come isn’t to replace mainstream media. It’s to discover and publish information that newspapers can’t afford to cover. I’d describe it this way, but I might scream if I hear that phrase again.

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Reader Comments

Sean Blechschmidt

May 4, 2005 08:33 PM

Yes, it does look nicely designed and organized. And I like the idaa behind it. Got to ask whether they have overlooked the use of RSS here though.

As you point out, they are trying to supplement local newspaper and TV sites rather than replace them, but I don't visit those guy's sites either unless I am already looking something specific up for reference.

I no longer "surf" web sites very often. And though I may not be typical consumer of news generally, I am probably fairly typical for those who have adopted aggregation technology to moderate (or inundate, depending on your subscription level) my information intake.

I find it hard to believe they will generate the kind of buzz to stick around and get the "traction" you are talking about without the ability for opinion makers and early adopters to subscribe to the local content they want using an RSS feed. For all the nice design, so far all they merit for me is a bookmark.

Mark Potts

May 8, 2005 11:17 AM

Not to worry; RSS is coming soon. We believe it's critically important. It just wasn't baked in time for launch.

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