EveryBlock’s Community Shift

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The single-best deal, assertion, investment or other strategy of the week.

Who: EveryBlock

Why: Because the company realized that simply shoving aggregated content at people isn’t doing anyone a service.

There’s a solid and growing audience for this, but we’ve realized there’s a much bigger potential here. Simply put, there’s no great way to communicate with your neighbors online. Adrian Holovaty, March 21, 2011

On March 21, EveryBlock, which launched in 2008 as a news feed aggregating local content, unveiled a new look: as a “community platform for discussion around neighborhood news.” The network of sites (logging 220,00o uniques per month) has kept its feed, but added tools to encourage community interaction, including placing comment features front and center, recommendation features and a “thanks” option to show public opinion on the value of the news to their lives.

EveryBlock may succeed no more in this approach than it has with the content strategy, but it wins kudos for recognizing the way people prefer to interact through social media and attempt to adapt its product to that dynamic.

Here’s what some other folks have said:

I think EveryBlock’s change of heart was a necessary one. I’ve argued in the past that whatever value local news sites have comes not from the data, but from the people at the heart of that community — which is why even poorly designed services that are built by the people in a town or neighborhood are almost always better than services that are set up by companies with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Mathew Ingram, GigaOm

Key will be how many users will actually share, especially considering the site’s traffic remains relatively low.
Joseph Tartakoff, paidContent

A few email groups and neighborhood blogs across the country have created thriving news communities, including the Seattle blog network I co-founded with my wife, Next Door Media. The problem, however, is these communities are few and far between.
Cory Bergman, Lost Remote

Do you think EveryBlock’s “geo graph” approach will work? Post your view in the comments.

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