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Backfence opens Palo Alto news site

Backfence, the company that has created “do-it-yourself” community news sites in Maryland and Virginia today (June 14) launched one for Palo Alto. The site says it gets news “by going directly to the best source of information: the community members themselves.”

Daniel Payomo Jr., former advertising vp for the San Francisco Examiner and Independent newspapers, is general manager of Backfence for the Bay Area. He has also held executive and management positions at the Mercury News, AOL’s Digital City and eTour.

Backfence plans to have sections devoted to summer camps, a guide to real estate professionals, places of worship and a directory of business services. Restaurant reviews are on the first page of the site — so far there’s 4 stars for Peninsula Creamery and 5 stars for Buca di Beppo. The site also has an ad for a local advertising sales person — for Backfence. On the Backfence sites out east, perhaps the most popular feature is a gallery of photos contributed by readers. This site has that same capability.

To compete with Backfence, the Palo Alto Weekly has redesigned its Web site and added a blog by editor Jay Thorwaldson and a weblog like the one the Palo Alto Daily News launched in November. The Daily News has said it plans to redesign its Web site, too.

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