Here’s a thought… “Local Online” efforts come in two flavors… those provided by locals vs. not. Local-local includes bloggers, local citizen journalism sites, neighborhood websites, community newspaper sites, and lots more. Outsider-local includes national offerings in yellow pages, mapping, search, classifieds, and a quickly growing number of offerings… peer reviews, database mashups, etc.
Both local-local and outsider-local bring value, of course, but outsider-local often lack authenticity. Some of that can be made up with large doses of user-generated content, but still…
Yelvington.com’s post today approaches this point today in discussing regional newspapers vs. those operating at the community level. In our area, the Gannett daily is now putting out suburban weeklies with recycled content from the past week’s regional paper. All the communities served by these new weeklies also have well-established community newspapers. There’s no confusing the two. One is local-local.
Certain national efforts, like craigslist, feel local-local in some locations, but not so much in others. Front Porch Forum is local-local in its pilot area. This suggests a litmus test for local online services. Which national efforts will be able to come across as local-local and thereby more authentic? Which one-city local sites will make the most of their homefield advantage as the heavyweights lumber into town… into every town?