Where is the money in Local news sites?This just in: CEO and co-founder of BackFence, a pioneering startup that had set out to create local web sites for every community, Susan DeFife has resigned from the startup. 12 out of 18 Backfence employees have left so far.
Is the Web 2.0 slowdown already in?
Susan DeFife says
“Ultimately, we did not share the same strategic vision for the company as the Board of Directors...
Allow me to translate that:
1. The money is not coming in from the local news sites as much as expected. I guess you need at least 25% of the local population to be using the site to be able to generate profitable ad revenues.
2. Perhaps there is deficit of properly written and researched local stories – in the end; the news quality will have to stand out.
3. You will need more founding to counter efforts of established local newspapers who are slowly learning from the likes of Rob Curley about creating great local news web sites.
For money, you will need more participation. Topix has built a great Forum service.
Perhaps, local news sites may also try serving as an aggregator of local news and a host for topic forums. Even a Link aggregator such as Digg has great comment section.