Hi all … it’s been almost four months since I announced that this blog would be shutting down. I mentioned that I’d consider selling the blog and all its content, or just selling the domain someday in the future after I move the content to my main blog. I continue to get emails asking about the status of things, and have been cutting and pasting replies each time. But I thought a blog post might be more effective than that.
Here’s what is going on:
1.) Several people/groups (probably 10-15) have kicked the tires about buying everything outright. I’ve provided analytics access when possible and answered questions as best I can. But no one has made an offer, and I suspect no one will.
Why? Because I never tried to monetize this blog, and never did much promotion of it. So, when an interested buying asks to see monthly revenue, my answer is “zero.” When they want to look at analytics, the numbers aren’t very exciting. We had a great and active community of commenters here, but traffic was never huge. Over the last year of active blogging (November 2009 to October 2010), the site averaged about 2,200 visits and 3,600 pageviews per month.
2.) Some have inquired about buying just the domain. I might be open to that, but not until I’ve had time to migrate the best content to my other blog, setup the necessary 301 redirects, and the search engines have processed the change of URLs on those articles. I don’t know how soon I’ll have time to start the migration, but it’ll take several months.
3.) The main problem in either situation is that I place a lot more value on what this site/domain is worth than anyone else does. That’s how all site owners are — we all think our own stuff is more valuable than anyone else does. Even though this blog was never monetized and never had enormous traffic levels, I have no problem saying that I think the domain and all its content is worth thousands of dollars. I put a lot of sweat equity into this site, and that’s part of how I value it.
So, to sum up, nothing has changed since the previous post. If someone wants to blow me away with an offer for the site and all its content, email me with your offer.
The most liklely scenario is that I’ll finally find enough time to migrate the best articles over to my other blog and this domain will eventually go away. But I don’t have any idea when that might happen.
Thanks again to all who have expressed interest in the site. I’m sorry I don’t have better stats and dollar figures for you to review.
If any group of readers understands the hard work and time commitment involved in blogging, it’s you. So I’m optimistic that you’ll understand completely when I say this: After a little more than two years of calling HyperlocalBlogger.com home, the sun has set and I’ll be shutting the blog down.
The reasons are simple, and some are probably obvious:
I’m simply too busy to keep the blog going. You may have noticed that there were only two posts in all of October, and those were simple link roundups. My work at Search Engine Land and Sphinn is taking more time than ever, and likely to expand more in the not-too-distant future. My blogging at Small Business Search Marketing helps put food on the table and has to be a higher priority than Hyperlocal Blogger, which has always been a hobby. Just last week, I signed an agreement with Omnibus Press to publish an update of my book, U2 – A Diary, which was originally published in 2008. That work will take up most of my free time over the next several months.
I’ve basically spread myself too thin and am now making tough decisions on where my time is best focused. There’s a chance the four hyperlocal blogs my wife and I started to help her real estate career may also be shuttered soon; haven’t decided on that just yet.
What Will Happen to HyperlocalBlogger.com?
I told a close friend about this decision a week or two ago, and he suggested I sell the blog. Hmmmm. I’ve never monetized this site and never made a real hard push to promote it far and wide. I don’t know who would be interested in it or what it’s worth but, after thinking about it, if someone wants to buy the entire blog with all my previous content, or wants to buy just the domain, speak up now.
To be frank, I don’t expect anything to come of that. So, in all likelihood, the blog will sit in its current state for some time. You’ll be able to read and reference old articles. And, someday, when I have time (ha!), I’ll probably grab the best content and move it over to my SmallBusinessSEM.com site. And then I’ll do a 301 redirect on this entire domain and point it there. But that won’t happen soon; too busy.
Closing Words to Readers
Since day one, this blog has been a learning experience for me — a place to post about my own successes and failures as a local blogger. Some of you have been so kind as to tell me this blog has become a learning source for you, too. That’s pretty much the best thing you could tell me.
Despite my overall lack of promotion, we built a fun, active, and generous community here. You helped each other time and time again in the comments. I loved watching that happen. And it was only possible because you all joined in, and then told your friends in the hyperlocal blogging space to join in, too.
Again, thank you.
I’m sorry that I can’t keep serving this community of readers, but I hope that you all keep kicking a** and serving yours. Best of luck in all you do.
I was on the road this past week, so blogging slowed down — but it goes without saying that hyperlocal news didn’t slow down at the same time. Couple articles below about local coupons and hyperlocal web sites. But if you’re looking for some heated debate, don’t miss the ” Community news sites are not a business yet” piece from Newsosaur. Meanwhile, I’m hoping to pick up the pace again around here.
- Two new social media tools to watch for use in Web journalism, www.ojr.org
- Feeling the Groupon heat, Next Door Media unveils coupon site, www.techflash.com
- AOL’s Patch makes WA debut, jumping into hyperlocal hotbed, www.techflash.com
- ‘Making it findable’ – the creed of the hyperlocal blogger, podnosh.com
- Community news sites are not a business yet, newsosaur.blogspot.com
- Hyperlocal: hard work and still not a business – 10 key takeaways, www.wallblog.co.uk
- The History and Future of Hyper-Local Radio, www.theatlantic.com
- Annandale Blogger’s Advice? Stay in School., Outside.in Blog
- Las Vegas Sun rolls out hyperlocal features, Lost Remote
- Patch site launches early after school shooting, Lost Remote
- Why Open Media Boston Attended the "Block by Block" Community News Summit 2010, openmediaboston.org
- Will AOL bring daily deals to Patch sites?, Lost Remote
Some good articles in this week’s roundup. I had hoped to blog in some detail about the “What Works For Hyperlocal News Sites” article that’s listed below, but just ran out of time. There’s some good stuff in there, so don’t miss it. Howard Owens of The Batavian wrote a good piece on beating Patch, and I should offer congrats to Tracy Record of the West Seattle Blog — one of the finalists named in the first article below about the 2010 Online Journalism Awards. Congrats, TR!
- Finalists for the 2010 Online Journalism Awards announced, journalists.org
- Block by Block: Once you’ve launched, what’s Phase 2 of a community news startup?, Nieman Journalism Lab
- Hyperlocal Voices: Julia Larden (Acocks Green Focus Group), Online Journalism Blog
- J-Lab Report: What Works For Hyperlocal News Sites, KnightBlog
- Lesson from a tech startup: Sometimes you need a human, Nieman Journalism Lab
- Patch, the WalMart of News?, www.laweekly.com
- The Rise of Page View Journalism, www.wolf-howl.com
- How to beat AOL’s Patch, howardowens.com
- How To: Add Geotagging to Blog Posts for Local Search Engine Marketing, Online Marketing Blog
- Local Video Online – guest post from Damian Radcliffe, Talk About Local
- Ten Questions: Karen Strunks of Wake Green Park, Talk About Local
- You can compete and collaborate at the same time, stevebuttry.wordpress.com
Interesting: The New York Times is offering an online class in Citizen Journalism: Hyperlocal Blogging and it begins next week.
It’ll be taught by Mary Ann Giordano, the Times’ Deputy Metro Editor who oversaw the paper’s recently shuttered hyperlocal blogs called “The Local,” and also appears to be involved in the Times’ most recent hyperlocal project, a collaboration with NYU students called The Local East Village.
From the course description:
For those who want to start a blog to serve the news and information needs of their community, this course has all the basics. Using the expertise of veteran New York Times journalists, the course will help you decide what sort of community blog you want to build, then show you how to build it. A substantial segment will teach the fundamentals of community journalism and local reporting, including how to find and present information; how to check facts and preserve fairness in coverage; what you need to know about the basics of media ethics. The course will also cover how to find and develop an audience; how to get your blog noticed, and how to get your community (including potential sponsors) involved.
There’ll be weekly live sessions online as well as self-paced material. It starts next Tuesday and runs for five weeks and costs $175. You can read more about the class (and register by October 4) at the link above.
It would be easy to take the low road here and question the Times’ motivation or ask what one of the world’s major newspapers knows about on-the-ground hyperlocal blogging. But I see a lot of value in what that course description says:
“…the fundamentals of community journalism and local reporting, including how to find and present information; how to check facts and preserve fairness in coverage; what you need to know about the basics of media ethics.”
It’s not that difficult to learn to use WordPress, to learn to shoot breaking news photos or videos on an iPhone, and so forth. But real journalism is a craft and, if that’s what the Times is going to teach hyperlocal bloggers, I say “well done.”
I’ve just been reading Mel Taylor’s criticism of last week’s Block by Block Community News Summit, along with the responses to that criticism in the comments of his post and, to a lesser degree, from Ben Ilfeld.
Mel watched some of the live streaming from the summit and came away less than impressed with at least one session that he saw. And so the obvious response from organizers has been, basically, that Mel didn’t really experience the summit.
Well, of course he didn’t. Because it’s invitation only.
Why is that, I wonder. It seems odd to me that, in an industry where the conventional wisdom is that hyperlocal news and citizen journalism is an opportunity that’s available to anyone who wants to try, you basically have to be a “someone” to attend (one of?) the industry’s premier educational events. That seems counter-intuitive and contradictory to me.
Perhaps there are excellent reasons for this; I don’t know. But I’d love to. Organizers? Anyone?
(Disclaimer: I must confess that part of my frustration on this topic stems from the fact that I emailed the organizers in early August looking for information and expressing a desire to attend, got a brief reply back that, as I recall, promised more information in a second email … and then never received another email. I understand; we’re all busy. Still doesn’t feel great.)
Postscript: Shortly after posting this, I found this article by Michele McLellan, one of the organizers, discussing the possibility of a future Block by Block conference(s). Attendees have setup various email lists and social networking groups to discuss that possibility. Since I’m not an attendee, I’ll reiterate my suggestion here: Make it open to all. As an “industry,” we need to spread wings as far as possible and reach as many local bloggers and journalists as we can. We need to adopt our own version of Gusteau’s famous advice from Ratatouille and support the idea that “anyone can blog.” And then help them do it.