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Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Hyperlocal news site bought by MSNBC.com

The “local” web is all a-buzz today…

From its founder

EveryBlock has been acquired by MSNBC.com

From the Local Onliner

While the site takes a unique approach, it is poised to compete with other hyperlocal sites such as Outside.in, Topix.net, Placeblogger and Patch.com (acquired by AOL this summer for $10 million).

From TechCrunch

EveryBlock currently covers only about 15 cities in the U.S. and comScore estimates its U.S. audience to be only 143,000 unique visitors a month (July, 2009). In contrast, competitor Outside.in attracts 800,000 unique visitors in the U.S. These are relatively small numbers, but these services do a good job of collecting neighborhood news without the expense of actually reporting it.

From Kara Swisher

MSNBC.com–a joint venture of Microsoft (MSFT) and GE (GE) unit NBC Universal–paid several million dollars for the “hyper-local” information site, which is up and running in 15 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Boston, sources said.

In June, Time Warner (TWX) online unit AOL paid about $10 million to buy Patch Media.

The New York-based start-up is a platform that does deeply localized coverage of communities on a range of topics, from announcements to news to events to obituaries. It is aimed at competing with local newspapers and other media.

EveryBlock takes a slightly different approach, scouring a mass of publicly available data in a variety of U.S. cities from a variety of public records–such as crime stats, building permits and restaurant inspections–and reassembling them into more comprehensible and geographically relevant news feeds, depending on what a user asks for.

And we’ve been asking the same question as Gotham Gazette…

… anyone familiar with the Knight News Challenge knows about Knight’s open source requirement: projects developed with Knight funding must be released under an open source license — it is one of the terms of funding. EveryBlock released their source code a few months ago, but Biella Coleman posed an excellent question

“Since the code is under a GPL3, doesn’t MSNBC.com have to also keep it under the same license if modified? Or can they take the code base since Everyblock is a web-based service?”

… And, James Vasile at Hacker Visions has an answer. It is a complex answer, and worth a read. Loosely? The holder of the copyright is not necessarily bound by the license a project was released under.

Posted in: Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Maps, Neighborhood, Newspapers, Social Media, Start ups


2 comments

  1. beth says:

    I would love to go to Higher Ground to hear DeLaSoul. sign me up! Beth…..by the way, FPF is the best idea ever! thanks so much Michael.

  2. Matt McGrath says:

    Front Porch Forum is great because ITSOWEEZEE!

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