Building the perfect template for hyper-local media has been the endgame for a number of companies--BackFence, American Town Networks, Pegasus News, and Citysquares, to name a few.
HyperLocal Media has been working at it as well, focusing on the synergies of a print/offline model to effectively sell advertising to the community. Since I profiled the company last June, it has built a custom headquarters in cheap-rent Buffalo, and continued finessing its tools and services with Buffalo Rising. In my view, the site is easily one of the best up and running.
Sites like Jonathan Weber's New West Network, George Johnson's Buffalo Rising, Jarah Euston's recently sold Fresno Famous and Deb Galant's Baristanet--as well as Lisa William's H20town--work because they are small and focused, because they have the same focus and value as hand-crafted cigars.
I have been watching this area closely ever since and while there have been a number of interesting services that have developed, I am not sure any of them are venture scale. I like Jonathan Weber's New West Network. I like George Johnson's Buffalo Rising...
Building a Web site from an existing print publication has been the natural order. But the development, from scratch, of dual print and Web 2.0 services is kind of new. That's what Buffalo Rising is doing, with an eye towards expanding its print and Web 2.0 concepts beyond Buffalo (pop 283,000) to similar "secondary urban markets."
Sure, you can buy one of these stogdy city magazines, like The Washingtonian here in the DC area, but you probably have to own a BMW to relate to it. Or you can pick up one of those great alternative weekly newspapers, like Burlington, Vermont's Seven Days, but like a newspaper, it covers everything and anything. However, if you want nice, brief, crisp profiles on the creative and progressive, then having it organized by food and drink; housing developments; free stuff; music; shopping etc. with compelling color photos to match, then Buffalo Rising is the model.
Their mini-empire is housed in a garage apartment near Elmwood Avenue.
Walk up the driveway, ring the bell, say hello to a snow-white, pony-sized canine named Mukluk and peek into the future.
The source of their power rests in a pair of computer laptops set on a kitchen counter.
Here they monitor and control a growing sliver of the New Media, a brave new world that threatens the old ways even as it opens doors of human connection...