No one talks much about certain topics after public crashes — even when the opportunity remains clear. Hyperlocal is one of these. TBD.com in Washington, D.C., crashed last February, and there is a lot of speculation that Patch.com has become a cash drain on AOL.com and is not sustainable (although CEO Tim Armstrong asserts that several of the largest Patch sites will be in the black in 2013 and that the site remains a definite “go”).
Meanwhile, the dream lives on, and lots of independent and regional hyperlocal initiatives, in addition to Patch, are still going at it — and should be. Main Street Connect, a Northeast site, has raised $7 million of new funding and added a new CEO. Many newspapers have launched various hyperlocal sections. The Boston Globe’s YourTown, for instance, has 50 town sites.
Local Thunder, ShopCity and American Towns also have hyperlocal products that emphasize hyperlocal commerce as much as hyperlocal journalism (arguably, an equally important part of a community buzz). A new venture is GoLocal24, which launched GoLocalProv in Providence in 2010 and is launching GoLocal Worcester.
As an article in today’s Boston Globe points out, GoLocalProv was founded by Josh Fenton, a former advertising executive who grew up in Providence. His cofounder was Paul Krasinski, a Newton native and executive with Arbitron (and brother of John Krasinski of “The Office”). The website employs 10 reporters, including a well-known local TV personality.
The article notes that the Providence site became profitable after seven months and closed a second round of financing in December from Angel Street Capital and local investors.