Another attempt at a “hyper-local” Web site has bit the dust. Backfence has announced it is shutting down its 13 sites including those serving Palo Alto, San Mateo and Sunnyvale. Paidcontent.org attributes the death to Backfence’s inability to get any local traction editorially and a series of managment troubles.
When word leaked out that Backfence was coming to Palo Alto last year, the Palo Alto Weekly redesigned its Palo Alto Online site, adding blogs and weblogs. The Palo Alto Daily News also started putting its stories online for the first time and added a weblog element. However, the Backfence approach of a “hyper-local” web site has been tried before in Palo Alto. The Palo Alto Weekly launched Neighborspace.org in 1999. It folded about a year later.
American Journalism Review has a story on the prospects of such “hyper-local” sites.