Local reviews startup TrustedPlaces has partnered with Northcliffe Media to power the regional newspaper publisher’s experimental hyperlocal web strategy. News of the deal comes six months after its founders stepped back from speculative sales talks to focus on building revenue and cash flow.
LocalPeople beta-launched 20 community sites targeted at small towns and neighbourhoods across south-west England yesterday, with a further 30 planned for rollout in the next month.
The sites focus on communities of between 10,000 and 50,000 users, and blend Northcliffe’s local news and traditional media assets like classifieds and job ads with TrustedPlaces’ local business directories and social media elements, to create an ad-funded community publishing platform.
Sokratis Papafloratos, CEO and co-founder of TrustedPlaces told me the partnership is big news for the three-year old startup, and takes it a big step closer to profitability. Additionally, with Northcliffe’s established sales channels to rely on for market penetration in regions outside TrustedPlaces’ usual big city stomping grounds, the company is free to focus on the technology and product development.
As per the existing TrustedPlaces experience, users can discover, review and recommend businesses in their area, while the value to businesses is a ready-made way to engage with communities around them. There’s a user-generated content aspect to the deal as well, as LocalPeople users will be free to publish stories about their communities – for more on this angle, check out paidContent’s interview with Northcliffe’s director of digital media, Mike Rowley.