Get to Know Your Neighbors Better

Media Morph: Outside.in

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: Outside.in.

What it is: Enter a ZIP code and get localized content -- blogs, news, information and other user-submitted info -- aggregated in one place. Outside.in indexes content and uses geo-tagging to create ZIP-code-level databanks of searchable content, or, in its words,"the best way to discover the conversations that are going on in your neighborhood."
Outside.in attempts to tackle a difficult problem: How does original local content proliferate and become real, useful and plentiful online?
Outside.in attempts to tackle a difficult problem: How does original local content proliferate and become real, useful and plentiful online?

Backers: Co-creators are author Steven Berlin Johnson who earned his net cred in the '90s with Feed online magazine, and social-media architect John Geraci, formerly of Pheeder and Foundcity. Last month's list of initial investors reads like a cast of who's who's in web-world financing and includes Union Square Ventures (which funded Del.icio.us) and Village Ventures (Bo Peabody, founder of '90s hit Tripod).

Contributing: So far about 1,600 local bloggers across the country contribute, and Outside.in has begun to aggressively solicit content from its own users, or "neighbors." The site's content already ranks high in Google searches, with some 70% of new visitors coming direct from search, Mr. Johnson said.

Biz model: Mr. Johnson said Outside.in will have "some kind of [advertising] system" in place next quarter. He envisions a system for big advertisers who want to target handfuls of fat-net-worth neighborhoods, but also something "designed so that the local pizza place can target his ZIP code and the one next to him and spend $100 a month."

Why you should care: Outside.in attempts to tackle a difficult problem: How does original local content proliferate and become real, useful and plentiful online? Local newspapers haven't yet figured it out and neither have more national community websites. The idea to aggregate local content into one searchable databank is a compelling market proposition.
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