Actually, it’s the ownership, say the folks behind Authentically Local, a collective of 25 hyperlocal Web sites that will be announced today at the GeoWorld Summit in Brooklyn. The collective is “basically a branding campaign” that will eventually be extended to on-the-ground businesses, said Baristanet‘s Debbie Galant, one of the founders.
“The Authentically Local campaign seeks to illuminate the difference between authentic local businesses and those that are just cashing in — before every town in America becomes one giant strip mall,” said Galant in a statement. “This is not just about us, the owned-and-operated sites that write about place. It’s about place.”
In an announcement on its Web site, Authentically Local was also very clear about what local is not:
“Local doesn’t scale. Local isn’t McDonald’s, even if the McDonald’s is right down the street. Local doesn’t send profits back to a home office somewhere else. Local is something that’s part of what makes where you are unique. As unique and flawed and loveable as your own kids. Something is authentically local if it’s the first thing you’d want an old friend, visiting from the other side of the world, to see. It’s authentically local if its disappearance could potentially break your heart.”