Blogging In The 'Burbs

Many readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of "placeblogging" or "hyperlocal". I believe that the future of community newspapers will be found on the web where residents will blog about local issues that matter to them and someone will aggregate it up in a way that makes it easy for the average citizen to keep track of what’s going on.

The New York Times has a story today on exactly that happening in various suburbs around the NY Metro area. I sent the link to the team at, our portfolio company that provides tools and services for placebloggers and local newspapers that want to leverage placeblogging, and a consumer facing service for people to track their neighborhoods.

Turns out they had already read the story and blogged about it on the blog. Mark Josephson,’s CEO, writes:

This is where placebloggers come in.  They can, and do, cover news
and info at the neighborhood level.  The ease of the publishing
platform (blogs) and the acceleration of monetization via networks and
targeted ad sales are making this a much more viable way to spend time
(as the NYT describes).

We track thousands of these sites and are witnessing first-hand how successful they are and how fast this segment is growing.

Hyperlocal/placeblogging is a tough nut to crack but it’s such a worthwhile one because when it is cracked, a whole new way of covering a community will result. The community will cover itself.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. billerickson

    Someone recently sent me a link to GeoPress, a WordPress plugin for geo-coding your posts:'s an easy way to add GeoRSS to your posts, which will get them picked up by

    1. fredwilson

      That’s coolOne more reason I wish I was on wordpress

      1. centernetworks

        what are you using? if you wanted wordpress, why not switch when you relaunched the site?

        1. fredwilson

          I have to get google to move my page rank/juice from before I can think about switching from typepad to wordpress orsomething else

          1. centernetworks


          2. Eben Thurston

            Fred, do you have a plan for migrating pagerank to the new URLs? It looks like the old URLs still resolve to I think you’d need to put 301 redirects on all the old URLs in order to transfer all the juice.

          3. fredwilson

            Typepad won’t support that. We’ve asked for it but they won’t/can’t do itSo we are using google’s webmaster tools, sitemaps, etc to get google torealize that is now the primary domainIt will take time, but I think it will work

  2. Pawel T

    It is possible that this can push also the local business into internet as well as change the way that people acquire information about their neighborhood. It is easy to use Internet global reach, maybe this can be the way to use its local reach as well?

  3. kidmercury

    a service that enables professional and profitable placeblogging is IMO needed — something that will enable placebloggers to intermediate local transactions, and earn a decent income with a relatively small audience. this is why i think placeblogging is so exciting; the economic implications are epic. though i think we need some innovation in blog CMS’s before we can really embark down this path.

  4. reelspit

    thx 4 sharing. Nice 2 see NJ representing well in the hyperlocal blogging scene from the times article. The movement makes total sense 2 me, think locally, act locally. Our town of Maplewood, NJ has a decent on-line bulletin board & i could see that being used as a foundation placeblogging out here. Gives me a bit of inspiration. I look 4ward 2 seeing how the trend continues 2 grow. peace

  5. Greg Clayman

    I’m a huge fan of the hyper-local blog. I probably spend as much time on http://brooklynheightsblog…. as I do anywhere.

  6. Andrew

    I think placeblogging has a lot of potential but it does seem like a really tough nut to crack. Perhaps these blogs need to be injected into community related sites in order to reach more readers. Like we’ve discussed, every Homeowner Association should implement a section for placeblogging news. Sort of like a community newspaper dropping off the weekly in everyones mailbox.

  7. ebrittwebb

    I’m pleased to see this attention to hyperlocal/place blogging. On a related note, I’d like to point out what Social Capital, Inc. is doing above and beyond this to organize local community programs, connected by a website, not only to facilitate hyperlocal/place blogging, but to actually engage people through both physical and virtual activities to rebuild the “social fabric” of our communities. SCI currently runs flagship programs in Woburn, Dorchester, and Lynn, MA. I’m helping them to create a new one in Newton, MA.

  8. Liz

    I’d blog about life in Morris County, NJ but it’s all about real estate prices and soccer game schedules. The descriptive words I’d use are affluent and sleepy. The most exciting thing that happens is when the MidTown Direct is delayed or there is a car accident in the Starbucks parking lot. But it seems like a lot of people prefer pretty & dull to urban & stressful (both good & bad stress).

    1. fredwilson

      Different strokes for different folks

  9. Liz

    I realize to a lot of people small town life is paradise. I’m just a fish out of water. But I think you’re idea of locally focused blogs is intersting. Some local newspapers are already hosting discussion forums, this is the logical next step.

  10. johnmccarthy

    As a regular reader and commenter on , one of the local blogs mentioned in the NYT article, I can verify the power of a local news blog to shape and influence the local public debate. It is a great vehicle for getting people aware of local meetings and issues; we used our comments on the blog as one of our main tools to get 300+ people out for a public hearing on a local neighborhood zoning issue. I am also a member of the local legislative body (Westport RTM) and serves as one of the tools many of us use to let us know what people in town are thinking.Unfortunately, as the blog is owned and controlled by the town’s First Selectman (Mayor) issues covered on the blog are oftentimes influenced by local political choices. When politics don’t rule the agenda, it is a great tool for the community. When politics do influence editorial decisions, the debate does suffer.