Hyperlocal Goes Mainstream: CNN teams up with Outside.in

I've been interested in the hyperlocal blogging movement since I started blogging. Once you have your own printing press, you start thinking about what you might write about the place you live. And I've written about school sports, little league heroics, contentious local issues, and a host of other hyperlocal news over the years.

My unwavering belief is that we will cover ourselves when it comes to local news. We are at the PTA meetings, the little league games, and the rallies to save our local institutions, so who better to cover them than us? This is what hyperlocal blogging is all about and it is slowly but surely it is gaining steam.

Today, our portfolio company Outside.in, which aggregates up all this hyperlocal blogging and makes it available and discoverable, announced a partnership with CNN which, among other things, means that hyperlocal bloggers will start seeing their posts on CNN. That's a big deal. This is the mainstreaming of hyperlocal blogging and its about time.

Outside.in powered neighborhood, town, city, and place pages are already hosted on more than one hundred media partners around the country, including the New York Post, Dow
Jones Local, Media General  and Chicago Tribune. Here's an Outside.in powered page on the New York Post about the Flatiron district in NYC, where our firm Union Square Ventures is located.

If you operate a local media business, big or small, and you want to add the voices of hyperlocal bloggers to your pages, then click here an learn more about Outside.in for Publishers and get started. If you are a blogger and want your stories on CNN and media partners like the New York Post and others, then make sure your feed is in Outside.in's index. You can do that here.

It's taken a long time for this vision to become a reality, but it's happening now. We are covering ourselves and big media is leveraging our voices to cover the local news that they can't get to. It is very gratifying to watch it happen.

Update: Outside.in's founder Steven Johnson's post on the news is here. And here are the engineering hires that Outside.in will make with the new cash. If you are an engineer looking for a new challenge, please take a look.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Huge kudos to Outside.in and a big step forward for all of us. I just registered my blog.

  2. kidmercury

    “This is the mainstreaming of hyperlocal blogging and its about time.”i disagree, i think the way this story was supposed to go is that outside.in and other new media stuff is supposed to put the incumbents out of business, not get acquired by them. when incumbents acquire disruptors, the natural trajectory is for the disruptive value chain to get killed, and for the budding disruptor to simply be inserted into the incumbent’s value chain, which of course creates less value than if the disruptive value chain was allowed to fully develop.so now that CNN is an equityholder in outside.in, is outside.in required to compromise journalistic integrity and censor the truth the way CNN does? will placebloggers who cover 9/11 truth protests at ground zero somehow get censored?+ CNN’s ridiculous coverup of building 7 collapse+ search results for “CNN censorship” (excluding stories from cnn.com)i am somewhat sympathetic to outside.in, as monetary policy fuels industry/wealth consolidation (which is why so many industries in the US are very consolidated, giving them cartel-like power), and puts younger companies in a very difficult position; if outside.in said no to CNN, they probably would have just acquired a competitor to outside.in, which of course increases the likelihood that outside.in will get kicked out of the market. but at some point, someone needs to take a stand. at the very least, i don’t think it’s anything to be proud of to have an unethical “news” organization as investors. it is the lack of real news organizations in the US that has contributed significantly to this country’s ongoing downfall.if you’d like outside.in to respond to how they will deal with being acquired by a “news” organization with a track record for censoring the most important news stories of our time, please like this comment. (see disqus this is why you need a dislike option 🙂 )

    1. fredwilson

      a minority investment is not anything like an acquisition.

      1. kidmercury

        fair enough, but i’m sure you know a lot better than i do that no one is going participate in giving you $7 million investment round without getting something in return for themselves.

        1. fredwilson

          a return on investment and a strategic partnership

          1. kidmercury

            exactly. strategic partnership, of course, requires some agreement as to what the strategy would be. does outside.in agree with CNN’s strategy of censoring the truth? what is outside.in going to do if CNN tries to employ this strategy through outside.in? i’m sure the outside.in folks are good people so i’m not trying to paint them as villians, but it doesn’t change the fact that CNN’s strategy for journalism has created a lot of pain for the world.

          2. markjosephson

            Hi kidmercury. The strategic partnership is that they are a user of our Outside.in for Publishers tools. In that regard they are just like our other partners, only much much bigger!

          3. Mark Essel

            Btw Mark, fantastic idea and from the sounds of it remarkable execution. Truly envy your teams work.

          4. kidmercury

            hi mark, thanks for taking the time to reply to my uncomfortable comments. doing so reflects positively on you.however, i have a tough time thinking CNN is “just another partner”….presumably all your partners did not participate in your new investment round. my concern is in what regards CNN is going to impact the journalistic integrity of outside.in and its placebloggers.to help illustrate, i consider it somehwat likely at this point that some time next year i will invest in some conspiracy placebloggers. here is teh kind of stuff htey produce:YouTube – We Are CHANGE RI and Boston confront AL GOREYouTube – C.H.A.N.G.E fights for Camera RightsYouTube – Mayor Bloomberg and his Unconstitutional Camera LawYouTube – 9/11 Was an Inside Job- Truth Rally at Ground Zeroi could go on forever. just ask anyone who’s been reading the comments on fred’s blog for the past few years. :)if placebloggers i work with try to promote this through outside.in, are we going to get censored? did CNN’s investment open the door for them to control you on these types of issues, directly or indirectly? of course your investments are your private matter, but this may be a situation in which transparency is to your advantage (assuming CNN won’t penalize you for it 🙂 ). why not make a statement acknowledging how CNN has engaged in unethical and shameful behavior, and outside.in is committed to helping solve that problem while making sure this does not extend to their network of placebloggers? of course, if you did do that, what can CNN do to strike back against you, that’s the kind of concerns i have regarding seeing them invest in you.i do want you guys to succeed, but i want to hold you to a higher standard. real change begins with ourselves and demanding better and exhibiting greater awareness. everyone acting like an unethical, irresponsible propaganda outlet like CNN investing in a promising company like outside.in is a cool thing shows that no one is interested in awareness of big media problems, which is another way of saying no one is interested in reforming media.

          5. markjosephson

            Hey Kid. Think the best way to think of us in this context is as a technology platform. OIP is a toolset that lets any publishers (big or small) make editorial decisions about what they want to run on their pages. Please keep holding us to a high standard. Just know that we are trying hard to give individual partner access to the tools they need to build the business they want to build.

          6. kidmercury

            okay, a smart response, one that likely appeases me and CNN. 🙂 just know you have criminals that own a piece of your company. i hope for everyone’s sake this situation is dealt with responsibly.

          7. fredwilson

            Hey, I’m not a criminal 🙂

          8. kidmercury

            i don’t know about that boss. you are a mets fan. in some parts of the country, that’s a capital offense.

          9. fredwilson

            In philly I suppose

          10. Carl Rahn Griffith

            At least it isn’t Fox …

          11. kidmercury

            lol, i hear what you are saying carl but i kinda sorta disagree…..fox is so cartoonish you have to be practically brain dead to believe it…CNN is much, much slicker propaganda, it will fool smart people. i half jokingly refer to it as the new york times of television.also strangely enough fox actually gives more air time to conspiracy stuff, granted they are bashing it, but it often helps spread the truth anyway, lol

          12. Carl Rahn Griffith

            I think I get the logic, Kid!

    2. AgeOfSophizm

      Great comment, i’d just like to add a couple thoughts:Yes, monetary policy has expedited wealth creation to cartels/oligopolies which ultimately are less interested in creating value for the consumer/employee (they used to be considered “stakeholders” until the mid 80s mantra of corporatism hit). However, thanks to near-zero-cost technology capital, barriers to entry are extremely small and all of a sudden, watch out, Joe Schmoe working from his basement is now competing with CNN. Is it possible that all of these oligopolies brought this competition upon themselves as an army of the disenfranchised made it their mission to disrupt large business, thereby harnessing the power of the internet at exponentially faster rates than if big business actually considered potential threats and coddled the aforementioned disenfranchised?Which brings me to craigslist. Society seems to gravitate to the site, knowing the horrid design is almost symbolic of empowerment. Folks recognize that this is a site for the people, by the people. If CNN were to buy (or strategically invest in) Craigslist, would it kill the model? Not sure, but my gut says yes.Outside.in, I’m pulling for you! Let empowerment reign.

      1. kidmercury

        you know it ryan!!!! the internet is here to save the day!!!!!i agree totally with what you are saying regarding if CNN bought CL, how that could truly suck. that is my concern with outside.in. i too am rooting for them because of their potential to empower people and democratize news coverage.

      2. Ed Freyfogle

        Re: your point about CraigslistThe counterargument would be the UK’s equivalent to CL – gumtree.com owned by eBay. It dominates the London classifieds space, the same way CL does in SF. Despite being owned by a mega-corp it still has the community feel. It’s not perfect, but the usability is miles beyond CL.

        1. AgeOfSophizm

          I’m sure the usability is better, but that’s not the point. The point is it lacks the smell of corporatism. Did CL ever compete against gumtree? The UK is much different than the U.S. and the country may never support a craigslist given its size and nature of economy (heavily weighted towards financial services – gotta keep the machine rolling) IMHO. No wonder gumtree has success in the UK but I doubt it would be able to compete in the U.S. just b/c of its user friendliness.And yes, E-bay does well in the U.S., but the company is actually playing a disintermediating role by facilitating the purchase of used goods. This should wreak havoc on traditional retailer’s profit margins.

    3. ShanaC

      Finishing up business history, I think that your concept of industries as considated is complicated from a historical standpoint depending on what you think the LBO/PE industry does. There is no RJR Nabisco anymore, nor Beatrice because of the introduction of a complicated debt market. And as many people would testify- now those were old school consolidated industries….Even in Media, we just don’t like full on consolidation of full on companies/industries. Outside.IN is not at the scale of a factory that makes cookies, and probably will never be, since it does not have any physical production problems. It has office spaces, some servers, and people. We try with media, but can barely define what we are doing with it, and what counts at scale when- AOL-TimeWarner did not last long. Name me full partners of equal cap, that are huge of differing mediums in media that are still conglomerates after all this time and are at the top of their game….You are going to come up short. It’s why GE is slowly selling off Media. It can’t be done anymore.

      1. kidmercury

        if your point is that the media industry is not consolidated, i disagree, here is the ownership chart:http://www.freepress.net/ow…here is another good site:http://stopbigmedia.com/the debt markets are the problem, as is evidenced by the fact that we are currently in an economic crisis borne out of too much debt. why is there too much debt, because monetary policy is such that all money is lent into existence, therefore money = debt….this inevitably leads to booms, busts, wealth consolidation, and, if after all this the people still refuse to learn the lesson, then comes the final blow, which is the currency crisis. the good news is that everybody learns after that one.

        1. ShanaC

          I think the debt markets are misunderstood and poorly structured. We in part have elements of that media industry because of the debt market. Turner was crazy, but there was no cable as we understand cable tv before he went to the junk market. Also there were no cell phones in part…Damn brick phones :)Though seriously, some of these companies because of the rate of aquisition (I wish I was keeping an M & A and strategic merger chart) makes me wonder if they are sweating cash. Even though right now that is good (you have a cushion, good!) Long term just ahving cash means ???? for a company? I think one of the great powers of the internet, computing, anything, is that it slowly causes the mighty to fall. You can’t continue sweating cash- they are too big, and will eventually be broken down because the market hates it, you see that on the internet all the time. And as we grow up, that sort of new media fluency that seems to make kids better than me (and I am a kid in all of this compared to some people), I wonder….

  3. rikin

    This is great news for Outside.In and local news as a whole.I worked closely with Mark and Jared during my days in business development with NYPost.com and can say that it was an absolute delight partnering with them. They shared concern over the future of news and media, had a vision for a different path (i.e. not disaster), and placed themselves perfectly within that landscape.I hope to see great things from them but most importantly I do hope that the media, especially newspapers which are so often based in local markets, start embracing the towns and cities around them. Evaluate the need for national news which has become highly comodotized and work along side local writers, artists, and businesses to envision a better path. It sounds too simple because it really is. Things might be rough in the near future but they’ll be rewarded in the long run for it.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for stopping by and leaving this comment rikinit’s always important to hear from the people who actually use this stuff

    2. markjosephson

      Thanks Rikin for the nice words and the early endorsement of OIP! We point to the NYPost.com’s implementation all the time as an example of how granular you can get.

    3. ShanaC

      OK why should any aspect of life be viewed as a disaster- that’s just not a good idea…

  4. David Smuts

    All that’s missing now is for localbloggers to go out w/a camera and live stream real local news. Citizen journalism by the people, for the people.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a great idea

      1. David Smuts

        Truth be told, we’re actually working on a similar platform of empowerment (behind the public veil). You can see a reality tv promo we did for NYC http://bit.ly/6RPaVb which the broadcasters loved but which the timescales were too short and ambitious. Citizen journalism is something we want to be facilitating on our platform and working w/quality production partners to make entertaining.

        1. fredwilson

          I’ll check it out david

        2. David Semeria

          Cool stuff, David. I think the social implications of your concept could be very profound…

          1. David Smuts

            Thanks David. Our inspiration is innovation for social change. Things like citizen journalism, democracy in the music business, net nuetrality, meritocracy, transparency, realtime etc…, motivate me…., I guess that sort of makes me a dot.communist

  5. ATrueGolfer

    Fred,My main question is about the timing process between a verifiable local source. For example, what if Tiger’s neighbor had an established blog and started posting images from the crash scene at 6 a.m. (8 hours before the news was released)? Would CNN publish such a piece not knowing the reliability?The progression is occurring but the kinks could produce some errors on the way. However, I’m glad CNN has taken this step, because the organization that does refine its process is will be ahead of the game.

    1. fredwilson

      ideally someone from outside.in or CNN should answer this, but my guess isthat if the story is in the outside.in feed, it will surface at theirpartners sites

    2. markjosephson

      CNN will be using Outside.in for Publishers. They, like all OIP partners, get tools to curate the feeds and content they want to appear on the site. The goal is absolutely to surface content from great local blogs and drive traffic. So, short answer, yes, in your example, it should appear.

  6. Keenan

    As things become more “local” the need for editorial review becomes an issue. Individuals will be motivated by their own needs, this will create a lot of stuff “news” that is self promoting.I’m curious what type of filters will be created or used to deliver real news not self-promoting or biased information.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith


    2. andyswan

      Things aren’t really becoming more local. If anything, things are becoming more national and global. Hopefully the “local technologies” (which are booming, I agree) will start the pendulum back towards local….but if I had to bet, I’d guess that power will continue to be ceded to federal and global “leaders” at an alarming rate, in response to alarming “crisis” after alarming “crisis”.

      1. kidmercury

        true, but once the new world order collapses, we’ll get a whole bunch of local communities as the new governance mechanism. than they will unite to create the real new world order, in which local and global are not conflicting, but rather complementary.

      2. Marc Vermut

        Funny, I immediately thought the opposite about this. And thought back to Neil Postman’s rant in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that the progression of mass media outlets/platforms exaggerates the importance of the national/global beyond its true impact on our lives, distracting us from what is relevant in our neighborhood that we can act upon.I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be aware of national/global issues or act/participate in some way to create impact, but that it shouldn’t be to the detriment of their own neighborhoods. And this becomes the case increasingly as local mass media outlets that are owned by conglomerates reduce local content for wider coverage that drives down costs.We are entering into a space where web-based tools of mass customization can make it easier to report on/publish the local at no greater cost. And with lower barriers of entry to content creators.One can hope.

      3. ShanaC

        It depends, Bind makes the point very effectively tonight that I am not very interested in California weather, or how that state will budget for the weather (cold, wind and rainy/snowy)

    3. fredwilson

      I believe the trust and reputation of the domain/blog will be paramount here. Do you trust me to be upfront when I post?

      1. tommyperkins

        Fred, who is the “you” here? The media site that reposts the blog entry, or the reader? If it’s the former, what control does the site proprietor have in filtering out content from untrustworthy sources?

      2. Keenan

        Yes, but often news is NOW, and trust and reputation may not have been developed. It’s also about the potential for sheer volume of crap to weed through. Self-interest and promotion take over like weeds when audiences are created. This is bad for news.

        1. ShanaC

          One of the things I remember about September 11 was hating getting News NOW!!!. We had collective ADD, and it led to bad reporting. Maybe because it is hyperlocal, we could go back to old growth news, since most areas unless there is a situation do not have NOW!!! happening to them, but do have situations that require analysis and observation…

          1. Keenan

            good point. is that “news” though?

          2. ShanaC

            I’m in what they call an “Allied Field” for these sorts questions. As an art student, I would question what makes anything in particular news: My comment there implies what we call medium specificity and topicality as a way of marking news from say something else. Even then, I’m not sure my definition is adequate.That all being said, I still think that news has a process function to it. For all that I am inundated with reports, I would say very little is news unless aggregated an analyzed and then presented in some form of news format. And that implies some time and waiting, which is not a function of NOW!!! as much as we hate to admit it. With local news, that might be a very long time compared to TV land.I apologize if I sound in advance too much like an art student -tired and writing my last paper through writers block….

      3. ShanaC

        I do, but I think there are other issues at hand

      4. rosshill

        Yes, and that’s easy now on a per-blog scale. There are search engines / aggregators all over the place now that are finally focussing on indexing realtime and hyperlocal content and the instant commentary is always going to be critical about how they’re not good enough. I’m really excited though because once we have access to the information (happening now) the filtering will be the next thing to improve. Fun times ahead!

  7. joshuakarp

    Yes… something that The Printed Blog pioneered in January of this year… I still think there’s an opportunity for a new type of newspaper born out of the ashes of the old.

  8. Mark Essel

    Damn Fred, me and a buddy at work were talking about a hyper local news aggregator site. Outside.in owns this one :).I need a search engine that compares every groovy startup idea I’ve had and prunes it by removing the ones that are already executed well by a courageous startup team.*reads over Kid Mercury’s comment and gets renewed hope*

    1. fredwilson

      There is no shortage of good ideas but there is a shortage of great teams to go execute on them

  9. Carl Rahn Griffith

    The ratio of people ‘reporting news’ to the actual number of people ‘making news’ is becoming increasingly distorted.

    1. kidmercury

      what, you mean we don’t need another blogger talking about tiger woods’s private relationship with his wife???? lol

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        I think I prefer that kind of inane, crass, meaningless and trivial – but ultimately an ‘honest’ blog – to the many pseudo-intellectual, pretentious blogs which fawn at the altar of TED and the like … 😉

    2. ShanaC

      What is reporting and packaging news then….

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Exactly that – nothing more, nothing less. Which is fine – even if inane Hollywood style gossip. Gutter ‘reporting’ but honest in its crassness and intent.Too many blogs are pseudo-intellectual ‘showcases’. Or, as my wife calls them – ‘blobs’ …

  10. DavidWeinfeld

    I think digital out-of-home media is a perfect platform extension for hyper-local media outlets. What better way to connect with patrons at the local gas station or grocery store than to engage with them through content from the neighborhood newspaper or local bloggers?By tapping into the long tail of hyper local content, digital out-of-home media companies can create richer relationships with their communities by reporting on everything from local politics, sports and education to culture, special interests, weather and news. Digital signage networks gain the benefit of highly relevant and sticky content, and their media partners connect with community residents while they are out and about (further embedding themselves in the local fabric).

    1. markjosephson

      Me too! I find myself staring at those screens in the delis here in nyc craving some news from within a block or two radius.

      1. DavidWeinfeld

        It really is a perfect fit for Outside.in. I see digital out-of-home media acting as a key distribution channel for hyper-local content. Your content is an ideal match for place-based media networks. The contextual relevance that your content would give to such a highly targeted medium makes for a mutually beneficial partnership. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how Outside.in content could be integrated into digital out-of-home media.

    2. fredwilson

      Great idea. Its a natural fit

      1. DavidWeinfeld

        It would be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Outside.in would gain a significant distribution channel by extending its content to digital out-of-home media. There are a number of DOOH networks that reach millions of viewers each week. These networks would jump at the opportunity to feature Outside.in’s hyper-local content on their screens, as it would create strong engagement with their viewers and reinforce the medium’s targeting power.The integration of Outside.in content into digital out-of-home media would be a welcome topic to explore with you and the company’s leadership.

        1. markjosephson

          Thanks. Would love any intros you might be able to make and any insight you could offer.

        2. fredwilson

          Thanks. I will do that

  11. RichardF

    This should have been a reply to kid! but either Disqus or I posted it in the wrong place (user error probably!)That’s an interesting point you make kid an investment/strategic partnership is bound to affect the direction that outside.in takes. Although if you want to take a truly suspicious stance then you could argue that there are other ways in which the editorial stance of outside.in could be influenced regardless of an investment by CNN. I disagree with you about the a dislike option, it too easily becomes an anonymous way to diss someone and I believe if you feel strongly enough to dislike a comment or diss someone then you should stand up, be identified and say why you don’t like their comment. A “like” is a positive endorsement and like most things positive in life, I believe, doesn’t take too much explaining. A dislike has negative connotations and for that reason alone needs to be explained imo.

    1. kidmercury

      i agree outside.in needs integrity regardless of the CNN factor. personally i try to give people the benefit of the doubt, innocent until proven guilty. CNN, IMHO, has been proven guilty already, so i’m not that interested in giving them the benefit of teh doubt.suppose someone left a comment stating, “richard foster is a bad person.” i would want to dislike that comment, wouldn’t you? 🙂 but i hear what you are saying. i actually think it should be fred’s decision, as owner of the blog, regarding what type of functionality he wants in his community. but i’m sure every community will have its own approach, based on their own values.

    2. fredwilson

      CNN did not invest 7mm. They were a participant in a 7mm round

      1. RichardF

        Thx for the correction, my bad (post corrected)

  12. mbrosen

    See also NYC’s own:Neighborhoodrhttp://neighborhoodr.comPowered by Tumblr.Just click on the map to find your hood.”Neighborhoodr is a reader-generated blog network where anyone can quickly and easily post about what’s happening in their neighborhood without having to log in or register.”(I’ve just joined on as an East Village community manager. Great use case for Tumblr.)

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. So much interesting stuff going on in this space

    2. brooksjordan

      That’s very cool, I visited Hell’s Kitchen. You can see how people would start to use something like Neighborhoodr. I mean we’re all doing that anyway individually with Twitter, Facebook, and Four Square and whatever.Would be great to be able to see what’s going on in your neighborhood and contribute to it.

    3. ShanaC

      Chicago could totally benefit from this, it is a hugely community driven city, originally from the churches from what I heard, and definitely because of the weather. You say what neighborhood you are from here. That would totally work here….

  13. Dave Pinsen

    One good example of local online media is NJ.com, content for which is contributed by a handful of affiliated NJ papers, including my local paper, the Record. I mentioned this in a post last Friday (“The best game by an RB in Giants Stadium this year?”), but Thursday night I saw a bunch of screaming teens cheering some victory when I went out to grab a late snack from our local Sonic drive in. Curious, I logged on to NJ.com when I went home and figured out what they were cheering about right away, Ramsey High School’s state championship win over River Dell in a game held at Giants Stadium. NJ.com even had a professionally produced video clip including highlights of the game and interviews with the star running back and his coaches.

  14. thewalrus

    congrats to the team. big step forward.great to see the team and investors never wavered on the overall vision for this space…..it makes a lot of sense….and x1000 when mobile starts to come mor into play

  15. Morgan Warstler

    Now imagine that the NYPOST has access to every newswire article available, and no matter what newswire story you clicked on any blog, or google news, the syndicated url resolved you back to your local nypost/flatiron environment where you read the story.Immediately the local readership is built in and syndicated content drives community rather than pulling you away from home, because the aggregators no longer decide where you do your reading.Google news eats it. Craigslist eats it. Original content with only one place to be read gains. Murdoch wins.

  16. Anthony De Rosa

    I’m sorry but I am not really all that impressed with Outside.in, they simply aren’t doing anything interesting or innovative with hyperlocal. They’re using spiders and aggregation by robots. Hyperlocal is about curators and people, and not just curation by the people you spider or use robots to gather.People need to realize that building algorithms isn’t the answer for everything. People can organize in way that make content far more interesting and engaging.

    1. markjosephson

      Hey Soup, I couldn’t agree with you more. Not with your less than favorable impression of us, but with your POV on need for curation.Check out our Outside.in for Publishers product. It’s aggregation AND curation. It features a pretty robust toolset that shows all sources and stories and gives editors tools to pick and choose what they want.The model requires great algorithms and automation because there is so much content and 50,000 neighborhoods. But you can really make it sing at a hyperlocal level with some human tuning.

      1. Anthony De Rosa

        I don’t think it makes sense trying to take on 50,000 neighborhoods if you don’t have people interested enough to curate content around it.Start smaller, get more personal, engage, build a community. Don’t expect people to feel warm and fuzzy about a generic skin you slap on a bunch of automated feeds that may or may not have any relevance to their actual neighborhood.Silverlake is a fairly thriving community in Los Angeles, I found exactly one bar mentioned on their Outside.in page and found the news section filled with content that had nothing to do with Silverlake but about Pasadena, which 6 hours away.This is the wrong model for hyperlocal, I am sorry but it just is.

        1. markjosephson

          Frankly, we’re more focused on building the platform that enables the whole ecosystem than on making the individual editorial decisions. Now that’s the right model for hyperlocal, imo.

    2. kidmercury

      i kinda hear what you are saying, as i think based on their current offering they are going to be taking too large of a cut from placebloggers, not really serving them. but patience is needed; in due time that could change. though partnering with CNN does admittedly make that less likely, IMHO.

    3. fredwilson

      I think you are missing a big part of what they do. They supply curation tools for their publisher partners who get the aggregated and targeted feeds and then can curate what stories they want to featureI agree with you that algorithms alone don’t deliver the best product. You need some human curation too

      1. ShanaC

        It has to be human curation for a basic reason: Right now from what I can tell, you are getting most of the material for my area correct. But I can’t tell what Zip code (from looking at the Geofeed) it is coming from. COnsidering my area is two zipcodes and half of both I probably would not want the news from, I would want to know other ways you could curate.

        1. jaredran

          Shana, did you try searching for your zip code on outside.in? Did that make the results any better?On the human curation piece, we agree–it’s necessary. Fred zeroed in on a critical aspect of Outside.in for Publishers. We’re not saying to a news outlet, “here, take the fire hose and best of luck to you.” We’re saying, “you have tons of experience in your market and have built on audience (or are building an audience) based on your editorial voice. Here’s all the content and some tools that make it easy for you to display the headlines you want. Now, use your voice and experience to give your audience something you think is great.”

          1. ShanaC

            Both I think. I’m curious about how it spreads, because my current neighborhood technically is bisected by the zipcode line (60637/60615) so you don’t want too much from either one. You also don’t want life taken up by university news either, or Obama news (his house is in I think 60615…)

          2. jaredran

            Ah, a Hyde Parker! I used to live there! Would love to hear your thoughts about our outside.in Hyde Park page (http://outside.in/hyde-park… vs. Chicago Breaking News Center’s Hyde Park page (http://www.chicagobreakingn…. The former is our uncurated fire hose. The latter is our content curated by the CBNC editors at The Tribune. Do the editors give you a more compelling page (w/o too much UofC or Obama news)?

          3. ShanaC

            No and part of the problem is Hyde Park itself. There are a few people usingsocial media down here, but not enough to say get the random neighborhoodvibe I’m networking to find a job, but I can’t afford a lease by myself,otherwise I would stay here. Some university stuff would be included, butwhat type? Definitely Off-Off p[erformance, those are nationally known asone of the top if not the top improv student groups in the country. (Orjust one of the top improv groups in the country, they placea ridiculous number of people in groups like Second City…)Restaurants hold events. There are and have been school board issues downhere as in every place in Chicago. Did you know that there is an open gallery space for whatever for a monthdown here. And the Rabbi of KAM wishes that her synagoguge homepage wasmore socially engaging and told stories of her congregants and led to jewishstudies.This stuff is barely starting to appear on social media radars. There isone tweeter for just the restaurants down here…and a guy who doeschess…I think also the local chabad might tweet… All of these things somehow need to get into a slow news enviroment. Thereis stuff going on (I mean they maintain there own newspapers, and there areat least two blogs associated with all things Hyde Park…) but they are notregistering.I’m so sad to go :(. For all of its lack of a social life, if you are asober person and enjoy potlucks as a social activity and don’t mind the factthat there is a huge university there, it’s really a wonderful neighborhoodthat needs a slight revival of young people who also like sober things…

          4. ShanaC

            One last thing: They closed Shoreland just so you know…

  17. thewalrus

    Hi Fred. Unrelated to this post but didn’t want to clog your inbox. I was hoping this might be the topic of a future blogpost as I would love to hear your thoughts (don’t recall you addressing this specifically over the years).The basic question is; what (and when) is the ideal number of investors?Nearly always funding involves multiple investors. For the entrepreneur, the upside is that you have multiple parties who are vested in making you successful. The downside is, more investors leads to more potential complexity and overhead, and perhaps differing objectives to balance. In your view, is there an ideal number and timing? …..ex. do you think it is optimal to have 1 investor for seed, but you want to have 2 or 3 onboard for SeriesA, etc?Also, from the investor perspective, what is the main motivator to have multiple investors onboard? …ensure multiple parties are vested to help create success? …limit risk? …justify that you made the right call? etc? To play devils advocate; if an investor finds a great opportunity ….why would they want to share it?I understand that all rules have exceptions but would appreciate your thoughts on this, and the comments they would generate. And if it helps, I’m coming at this more from the perspective of bootstrapping a craigslist, not a pump&dump. Thanks.

    1. fredwilson

      Great question. Fewer is better most of the time. I’ll work on a post

      1. thewalrus

        much appreciated.my feeling is less is more also. but there tends to be pressure to have more. just trying to understand the investor mindset if this is to multiply factors of success….or just a herd mentality to avoid being wrong and on an island (i.e. no one gets fired for buying IBM cause everyone else does).

  18. Roosevelt Islander

    Sorry I’m late to this discussion but topic of hyperlocal news is very important to me since I’ve been writing a local neighborhood blog for a couple of years.The Roosevelt Islander blog covers local events, politics, crime (we call it public safety since there is not much crime), real estate (including some haunted areas), transportation, parks, sports, entertainment and anything else that impacts the 12,000 people who live on Roosevelt Island or others who are just interested in what goes on in this strange place situated in the East River between Manhattan and Queens.Blog content comes from myself and is also user generated from readers, including community residents, local politicians and our equivalent of Town Supervisor, as well as Roosevelt Island feeds from Google News, Google Blogs, You Tube, Flikr and Twitter.I have looked at Outside in for a while and don’t quite understand how it would help me as a neighborhood blogger or my readers interested in Roosevelt Island. I do get some traffic from Outside in links but the overwhelming majority of referral links come through Google searches. A mention of one of my posts in a Paper like the NY Post is nice but tangential.What would be of great use to neighborhood or hyperlocal bloggers would be an accurate and reliable measure of tracking external links from blog to local advertisers. In my experience, Google Analytics does not do this very well or easily. If there was such a tool, a business, or at least part time business, might be made out of hyperlocal blogging.If anyone is interested below is link to Roosevelt Islander.http://rooseveltislander.bl

    1. jaredran

      First off, we are huge fans of your blog and hold you up as an example to which other hyperlocal writers should aspire.As to the benefit…yes, you are correct in that more traffic is the baseline benefit, and as our network grows the size of that traffic will be more meaningful. We are also working on building out our services for bloggers. We’re closing in on some key ideas that I think you’ll find exciting. What you say about links to local advertisers certainly piques my interest, and I’d like to hear you elaborate on this. Drop me a note at [email protected] if you’re as interested as I am in discussing this further.

    2. fredwilson

      Nice call for hyperlocal analytics. OI should build this for you and the rest of hyperlocal bloggers

    3. Roosevelt Islander

      Thank you for the very kind words about the blog. They are greatly appreciated.I will be in touch soon.I hope that Outsidein considers Fred’s comment about hyperlocal analytics. The Blog platforms such as Blogger and WordPress should off such services for their respective users but as far as I know they don’t.Outsidein would be offering a needed product to hyperlocal bloggers if you do so.

      1. jaredran

        Hyperlocal analytics are certainly in the mix in some form or another. You can see our initial stab at it by signing up for or logging in at outside.in/geotoolkit. We’ve learned a lot since we launched the Stats page in GeoToolkit and are refining the offering. Again, this is something I’d love to here specific thoughts from you on.

  19. Prokofy

    I started up a little microblog for my few blocks in NYC this summer because I liked some of the new cafes coming in and I had some micro social issues I wanted to publicize (or they are macro in a micro context).I cast around for feeds to put into it and didn’t find much — so I had to make my own Twitter feed on that account with its followers and followees sort of that news ticker.I also had a funny reason to start that blog — people were heavily harassing and stalking me into real life from Second Life because of my controversial views and my criticism of a third-party viewer that violate people’s privacy. So I thought the perfect counterpoint to somebody threatening you that they “know where you live” is to tell them where you live all day long on Twitter with a hundred blips — monotonous and uninteresting granular detail about your little local life (interesting only to those other locals). So those stalkers would go mad and run away.What I’d like is for that “Outside” thing you are describing to come to me on my blog that I already have on typepad. I don’t want to go to *it* and be subsumed in a frame with the NY Post and Fox and such which merely views me as a data point to be scraped for its larger agendas (which is how it appears). I don’t want to be in a company frame that has a top 10 bloggers in my zip code already, etc. Since it doesn’t seem to behave like a feed, i.e. a widget I can put on my blog, and wants me to become merely a widget in its blogosphere, aspiring to be on its leader board, etc, I guess I might make an account and link to it from “my main blog” — but on suffrance.Why? Because I found on another service like this (sorry, can’t remember its name) that I became familiar with in the massive online Connectivism course in Canada (it had cities like Ottawa that you could dial up a page on) that it was throwing up all kinds of irrelevant stuff like fires and celebrities and such because the staple of mainstream media — but I didn’t want them.See, I wanted a kit — but not a Lincoln Log kit, if you know what I mean. I realize they may have made this because not everyone wants white space or DIY and needs a kit — but I don’t want their frame to overwhelm my narration.Still, I’m interested to see how it works and see the stories on it and I hope to find some way to interact with it.

  20. fredwilson

    Yes, everyblock was bought my msnbc this past summer

  21. ShanaC

    The fact that is has police reports from my area creeps me out O_o. Sometimes, I don’t want to know…

  22. fredwilson

    I agree with you about the false positive problem miles. I would also like a tighter filter

  23. Mike M

    Agreed on NowPublic – their community and the local-ness of the News being generated is niche enough, and broad enough to satisfy a large and growing community of visitors.

  24. Drew Meyers

    Ditto. Hard problem though, since as Miles mentioned, media companies tend to want to show users as much information as possible and let the users sort though it.

  25. kidmercury

    old media ftw, i guess

  26. fredwilson

    I hear you but looking for places and other cues can be a good proxy for neighborhood. The backfill problem results from not enough targeted content at this point

  27. Drew Meyers

    Seems like a very cool idea. The sub-domains weren’t loading for me when I tried to click though.

  28. jaredran

    W/o revealing too much of our secret sauce, I will say that detecting the actual name of a neighborhood is not the only means we use of attaching a neighborhood to a story. There are opportunities for publishers and bloggers to tell us what they’re writing about. Utilizing GeoRSS Point is one good way. While I consent that we do have issues with false positives on occasion, I’ll also put out there that we aren’t utilizing backfill right now. But, it is a feature we’re working on offering as an option for publishers.You can read our FAQ on this topic to understand fully what you can do now to give us hint: http://outside.in/faq?utm_s…Needless to say, all of this can get quite complex. I won’t bore you with anymore details.