4 Minute Roundup: EveryBlock Sale to MSNBC.com; Report from Gnomedex

    by Mark Glaser
    August 21, 2009

    Here’s the latest 4MR audio report from MediaShift. In this week’s edition, I look at the recent sale of micro-local data site EveryBlock to MSNBC.com and the issue of its open source code. Plus, Washington Post announced it would discontinue hyper-local site LoudonExtra.com. I also have a special report from tech conference Gnomedex, where UW teacher Kathy Gill is teaching communications students about Twitter.

    Check it out:


    Background music is “What the World Needs” by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network.

    Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

    MSNBC.com Acquires EveryBlock, a Hyperlocal News Start-up at NYT Bits Blog


    Hyperlocal is harder than you think at Puget Sound Business Journal

    WaPo Closing Hyperlocal Site LoudounExtra at PaidContent

    Newspapers Lose Out As MSNBC.com Snaps Up EveryBlock at BNet

    Big Daily’s ‘Hyperlocal’ Flop at WSJ

    The Knight Foundation News Challenge, Open Source, and the Future of Hyperlocal at Open Parenthesis

    Washington Post Ends Hyperlocal News Experiment at NYT Bits Blog

    Twitter Class at University of Washington


    Here’s a graphical view of last week’s MediaShift survey results. The question was “Would you stop using your iPhone because of its App Store policies?”

    i-f0ca001c74751e4001307f93b600aee5-poll about iphone grab.jpg

    Also, be sure to vote in our poll about what you think the future of hyper-local news sites will be.

    Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

    Tagged: everyblock gnomedex msnbc twitter washington post

    One response to “4 Minute Roundup: EveryBlock Sale to MSNBC.com; Report from Gnomedex”

    1. Jim Gaines says:

      Thought newsosaur’s take on Everyblock worth reposting here:

      How did newspapers lose Everyblock?
      How could MSNBC.Com have scooped the newspaper industry by buying Everyblock.Com?

      If ever there were an application designed to fast-forward newspapers into at least the late 20th Century, then this was it.

      The fact that the leading hyperlocal website was snatched up by a multimedia partnership operated by NBC and Microsoft shows a dismaying lack of imagination, foresight and, perhaps, economic resources on the part of the companies operating the nation’s struggling newspapers. Terms of the deal, first reported here, were not disclosed.

      Everyblock is a clever online compendium of all sorts of community data that enables users in selected cities to drill down to, well, every block to see what crimes have been committed, what property has been sold, what zoning cases are on the docket, what liquor licenses are pending, what restaurants have been cited by health inspectors and much more.

      In Chicago, where the site originated, Everyblock covers 233 distinct neighborhoods and maps information in a simple but elegant format. Everyblock even pointed me to a 2-for-1 coupon for dinner at a restaurant near my old address in Chicago.

      If the last, best hope for print and interactive newspapers is unmatched domination of local news, then the information and advertising opportunities provided so efficiently by Everyblock were strategically essential to newspaper publishers.

      Instead, the franchise seeded with a Knight Grant and developed by Adrian Holovaty and five-man team, will be owned by MSNBC, which intends to operate the site as an independent business that will be rolled out in far more places than the 15 cities it serves today.

      With Microsoft, NBC and MSNBC feeding Everyblock resources and traffic, the site has the opportunity to take as big bite out of local news and advertising as Craig’s List took out of classified advertising.

      While newspapers could make a belated attempt to catch up to MSNBC by building me-too sites, they will be late to the party. If they take their sweet time, as they usually do, the party may be over before they get there.

      Newspaper publishers should have seen this coming. How could they have let this happen?

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