5 Questions for Rick Blair of Examiner.com

This is the fifth in a series of brief Q&As with leaders and up-and-comers in the local space.

Describe Examiner as if a friend’s mother asked, “So what is this Examiner?”
Think of the early roots of information exchange, before the Internet, before phones even. People would return from travels abroad with news, ideas and new trends and happenings. People received their information from those around them that were closest to the subject matter. That’s what Examiner.com is in a modern day form — information straight from the source. Rather than a consumer picking up a story on the latest weight loss craze from a national stringer or cynical reporter, Examiner.com has a local contributor that is a personal trainer or nutritionist, speaking not only with the topical knowledge needed to report accurately, but able to relay information as it relates to local sensibilities. We are America’s town square, 60,000 passionate and knowledgeable people talking about what impacts their communities.

If you were not involved with Examiner which service would you use to satisfy your needs
Examiner.com is a one-stop-shop for everything that’s happening around me, as well a source of information about the topics I’m interested in — there’s not a product like it right now in the marketplace. If I didn’t have it, I would likely go back to doing it the old way — scour blogs, piecemeal from local news sites, use search engines to find the stuff that’s important to me. Then it would be an ongoing analysis of whether or not I can trust the person I was reading.

Why should people use your product over, say, watching a hockey game?
They should use our product while watching hockey, before watching it, and definitely after. We are not a replacement to other forms of media or entertainment — we are an enhancement. Want the back-story of your favorite hockey player? Or photos and information from his latest charity event? We’re there. Maybe you need advice on the best place to park for the game, or a good place close to the arena to take the children to eat after— that’s the kind of local insight our contributors provide. Want a recap of the game that includes more than just a play-by-play and box score, but rather a genuine snapshot from a fellow local? Our Examiners do that and more. We offer news and information people want to read, as opposed to information people feel they have to read.

Tease us with a hint of what’s in your pipeline related to local, will ya?
A lot of new and exciting partnerships to be certain. The amount of content and different categories that customers can find on Examiner.com continues to gain positive attention and attract not only new advertisers, but great companies looking to team up. Clients are continually interested in Examiner.com as they are excited to be part of a page that has a direct correlation with their business. There simply is no other full service online offering delivering both unique, categorized content in a single geographic area, and as such the opportunity continues to grow.

What is the future of local + mobile, in 15 words or less?
Realtime, available everywhere, geo-based hyper-local content with targeted offerings and advertisements.

Rick Blair brings to Examiner nearly 30 years of publishing, business development and electronic media startup experience. Currently Blair is CEO of Clarity Digital Group, the holding company for Examiner.com and NowPublic.com. Prior to joining Clarity Digital Group, Blair was instrumental in launching America Online’s Digital City. During his tenure at AOL’s Digital City, he held a number of positions including Vice President of Sales, Vice President of Operations and Business Development, and Vice President of New Enterprises. Blair’s previous experience also includes serving as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Vice President of Content Management at Picture Network International, funded by the Tribune Co.

This post originally appeared on Locl.ly.