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There has been a lot of talk in the past week over some of the apparent challenges facing local destination sites. Last week, BackFence endured a major downsizing, including the resignation of cofounder Susan DeFife (past writing on BackFence and DeFife here  scroll down for full archive).

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch meanwhile takes a look at some of the recent woes faced by Insider Pages (in comparison to a complimentary look at Judy’s Book).

Finally, Sebastien Provencher provides a roundup on his Praized blog, and draws out the social element that is central to the business models of the companies in question.

Yelp, he contends, is running away with local social search. He also poses a few important questions: the perennial “How important is the sales channel?, build?, buy? partner?” and “What’s More Important: Social Or Local?”

His takeaways:

“1. Local/social sites should come up with an alternative business model that does not depend on having their own sales force and instead should try to partner with existing traditional local media companies.

“2. I believe the social aspect might be more important than the local aspect when dealing with a site that combines the two.”

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