Hyperlocal news outlet EveryBlock calls it quits
EveryBlock, a hyperlocal website built on the promise of drawing customers with neighborhood-based news, wrote its own obituary on Thursday.
“We’re sorry to report that EveryBlock has closed its doors,” said a blog posting on the site, owned by NBC News, part of the Comcast media group.
“It’s no secret that the news industry is in the midst of a massive change. Within the world of neighborhood news there’s an exciting pace of innovation yet increasing challenges to building a profitable business,” it said.
“Though EveryBlock has been able to build an engaged community over the years, we’re faced with the decision to wrap things up.”
The site was launched in January 2008 with a grant from the Knight News Challenge program, amid excitement about the potential for hyperlocal news websites that could offer targeted marketing possibilities.
Founder Adrian Holovaty, who sold the site to NBC unit msnbc.com in 2009, said he was “saddened” by the closure.
“The premise of EveryBlock was to offer you a custom site devoted to news in your neighborhood,” he said on his blog.
“We showed you nearby public records (crimes, building permits, restaurant inspections), pointed you to automatically indexed articles (newspapers, blogs, forums) and provided a sort of ‘geo-forum’ that let you talk with people who lived near you.
“It was a great site, beautifully designed and lovingly crafted. It made a difference for people, particularly in Chicago.”
One of the more prominent remaining hyperlocal sites is AOL-owned Patch, which is believed to be losing money on its hundreds of local operations.