Even though they haven’t really found a big audience yet, hyperlocal news sites are becoming a hot commodity. In June, AOL bought Patch for $7 million, and today MSNBC acquired EveryBlock. EveryBlock was previously funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, which ended in June. The five employees will now work at MSNBC.
The price was not disclosed, but like the Patch acquisition, it is not an audience acquisition. Rather it is a hyperlocal platform play which MSNBC can now plug into its site and push in a major way. EveryBlock is a hyperlocal news aggregator, bringing in geo-specific feeds from neighborhood blogs, Flickr, Yelp, Craigslist, and elsewhere to give readers a picture of what is going on in their town or neighborhood.
EveryBlock currently covers only about 15 cities in the U.S. and comScore estimates its U.S. audience to be only 143,000 unique visitors a month (July, 2009). In contrast, competitor Outside.in attracts 800,000 unique visitors in the U.S. These are relatively small numbers, but these services do a good job of collecting neighborhood news without the expense of actually reporting it.