Monday's news that MSNBC acquired EveryBlock, a "hyperlocal" news service just a few months after AOL acquired a competing service, Patch, had me thinking about all the start-ups that are vying for your attention by targeting your neighborhood. Of course, many of these sites don't work with every neighborhood, so your mileage will vary.
Regardless, I thought that with the EveryBlock acquisition, it was time to take a look at those services providing a hyperlocal experience.
EveryBlock EveryBlock, which was just acquired by MSNBC, features some outstanding hyperlocal features. The site provides local news, crime reports, and other information at the block level.
Currently, EveryBlock works with a handful of cities, including New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Miami. It would have been nice to find information on more areas around the U.S., but it wasn't so bad. The site does a great job of finding local information, including lost and found lists, building permits, and other information that might be useful to someone living in a particular location. EveryBlock is a great site. I just wish it supported more cities. (Click here for our full review of EveryBlock.)
Outside.in Outside.in is one of the nicest resources in this roundup. It finds out what's happening in (at last count) 35,312 neighborhoods around the U.S. and delivers it to people in those areas.
When you first get to the site, Outside.in asks you to input a ZIP code. From there, it finds local news, discussions (it has a message board for each neighborhood), and establishments for you to check out. I was happy to see that both small suburbs and major metro areas were included in the list of neighborhoods on Outside.in. And since all of the information is constantly updated, it was a great way to find out what's going in my area.
Patch Unlike many of the services in this roundup, which just find local information from existing sources, Patch does it a little differently. The site employs local editors and contributors to run a local news site.
Patch is a really neat idea. Instead of just taking blogs for around the Web, Patch hires an editorial staff to handle the news affecting you in your area. It covers topics ranging from local news to local sports and events. Even better, it gives the readers an opportunity to help populate the site by inputting events and announcements. They need only to sign up, write an announcement, and they're all set. There's just one problem with Patch: it's only available in very few cities in just two states--New Jersey and Connecticut. Since its acquisition by AOL, it has been finding new editors for different cities around the U.S., though.
Placeblogger Instead of searching through the Web to find stories written on topics about your area, Placeblogger uses citizen journalists to populate its site.
Placeblogger constantly searches the Web to find "placeblogs," blogs that are written by people or businesses about a particular area. They can be local blogs that you set up or corporate blogs set up by local companies. In either case, Placeblogger puts those feeds on its site to provide you with one central location to find all the content you really care about in your community. Even better, Placeblogger lets you add images, communicate with others from your area, and "like" a particular place. It's a neat service if you're trying to find more information about your community.
Topix Topix is one of the best ways to learn about what's going on in your community.
When you get to Topix, you can input your location. From there, it populates that page with information it gathers from a variety of sources across the Web. You can still see world and national news, but if you want local news, Topix will provide more information than you would find elsewhere. Plus, it's supported in most areas across the U.S. And thanks to such a large community, you'll find that each location's message board is populated with some great discussions. I really liked Topix.
Wikicity Wikicity is a huge site. The service lists content on any city you can think of in a wiki.
Wikicity's listings pages feature the basic information like local establishments, upcoming community events, and more. But where it shines is in its content. It lists blogs that are written for and about the community, it features a listing of Twitter feeds for all the people that might live in the particular city, and it even provides local news. Those features combine to make Wikicity an extremely useful site for those looking to connect with the community.
My top 3
1. Outside.in: With so much coverage and great content, Outside.in is worth checking out.
2. Topix: It's big, but it deserves some accolades with so much coverage.
3. Wikicity: It's not the best-looking app in this roundup, but there's something to be said for making Twitter streams and blog posts available to the community.