EveryBlock Launches

EveryBlock launched today. A good overview of the site is available at TechCrunch.

Here in the Loop (Chicago) it works really well. It has good content and useful information and it’s laid out in a very hierarchical manner, which makes it easy to navigate and find information. There is virtually no learning curve to get used to the site.

As I played with the site, I found myself having fun reading about the missed connections in the area and seeing photos that people had taken in my zip code. At the same time, I was alarmed to find out about the aggravated battery with a knife incident that occurred a few blocks away. When I read about this crime and others like it, I found myself wanting to comment on it to provide or get more information.

Bottom-line: The site does a great job of aggregating information from other sites, but will it become the source of information as well by allowing users to directly contribute? I hope so. Congratulations to the team.

EveryBlock was one of the big winners of the Knight News Challenge in 2007. eNeighbors has applied for funding for 2008.

Does the Internet bring us closer together?

From Wired:

Technology makes it more fun and more profitable to live and work close to the people who matter most to your life and work. Harvard economist Ed Glaeser, an expert on city economies, argues that communications technology and face-to-face interactions are complements like salt and pepper, rather than substitutes like butter and margarine.

Does the net actually increase your face-to-face interactions with the people you live and work with? Or does it decrease your face-to-face interactions and isolate you behind a computer screen? Please comment.

eNeighbors Stats: 12/16 – 01/15

eNeighbors closed out the year with some great progress. We signed up 6 new neighborhoods in the last couple months of 2007. Subsequently, our traffic has increased and is continuing to climb every month. So, here’s to a great year in 2008. Happy New Year everyone!

Traffic data:

94,806 page views
10,469 visits
5 minutes average visit duration

32 neighborhoods online. We have neighborhoods in Kansas, Missouri, Florida, Virginia, California, Texas and Arizona.

3,935 registered users at 3,705 unique addresses.

With 11,137 potential addresses in the neighborhoods that have signed up so far, we are at 33% adoption rate for our entire resident base.

The newsletter adoption rate is at 99% of our registered user base with only 40 residents (out of 3,935) opting out of receiving the email newsletter.

Total user-generated content since launch (about 9 months):

News posts: 869
Events: 379
Groups: 108
Classifieds: 618

Also, here’s the support stats for 2007. We received and replied to a total of 1,427 support requests from 3/1/2007 to 1/16/2008.

Support Requests Breakdown:
929 PIN requests
129 new resident requests (add a new neighbor)
369 general support requests

Help us continue to grow. Tell your friends about eNeighbors. And get your neighborhood signed up too.

Short End of the Ad Stick

My take on Eric Picard’s article on local advertising over on ClickZ:

1. Display advertising (i.e., print ads) in the local newspaper is still the best ad/marketing vehicle for a small business to reach its audience.

Article quote:

I’m fairly certain the numbers used by J.P. Morgan’s analysts include classified ad revenue. Classifieds have been decimated in local ad spend, but display ads in local newspapers are probably just as strong as they have ever been, despite shrinking circulation. This is mainly because there are no alternatives for local businesses, including local affiliates of national brands (e.g., local auto dealers, quick-service restaurant franchises, national retailer locations, etc.), to reach their local audiences. Much of this has to do with creative production and the lack of online inventory that can be targeted locally.

2. Online audience targeting is still not good enough for small businesses to shift their ad dollars online.

Article quote:

Local newspaper ad spend on display ads is very unlikely to move online for the next few years. The reason is similar to why television didn’t drop for some time despite shrinking audiences. There just isn’t an alternative to reach the target audience that a small local business, even a local affiliate of a national brand, can take advantage of.

3. Still no infrastructure for small businesses to get “true” local service positioning.

Article quote:

Local search has mainly solidified around mapping, which is great at taking advantage of people searching for a product in a local area but not for driving awareness of a sale or trying to create demand. And without a sales force and creative production resources to serve the local markets, it’s highly unlikely that much of the local inventory available within the online space will ever get sold to local businesses. The infrastructure is really set up for supporting national advertisers with localized creative.

Greg Sterling also comments.

Lost dogs and neighborhood social networking

Last night, a small Sheltie was lost in LionsGate, a neighborhood of 582 homes in southern Overland Park, Kansas. Unsure of what to do to locate the owner, the neighbor who found the dog decided to post a bulletin on the neighborhood website at 11:24am this morning and due to the urgent nature of the request an email was immediately sent to the 533 residents that are signed up to receive email alerts from eNeighbors.

At 1:39pm or 2 hours and 15 minutes later, we received the following email:

Subject: Dog safe at home 

Thanks to our great neighbors and community of Lionsgate, the dog is home with owners. The email system works, thanks for sending it out so quickly.

-M. Kurtz

This is a great example of how an online neighborhood social network can leverage the power of the community to help the community and its residents.

A sign of the times…

via Local Onliner

It was perhaps inevitable, but the first newspaper has made the decision to abandon print and go “online only.” The Cincinnati Post, a 126 year-old paper owned by E.W. Scripps, published its final edition on Dec. 31 at the end of a Joint Operating Agreement with Gannett, which owns The Cincinnati Enquirer, the dominant paper in town. Henceforth, it will publish KYPost.com.

This should be interesting to watch.