BOULDER, COLORADO — A site named “Street Fight” has to deliver action, and the brand new site dedicated to covering the hyperlocal industry expects to do just that— though it’s probably not the kind of action a teenager who stumbles onto the site after a Google search would expect.
Hyperlocal is becoming big business. While the term usually refers to local news, Street Fight has expanded the definition to anybody that targets local audiences—including advertisers. That means popular sites like Groupon, which offers local discounts, and Foursquare, a geographically organized social networking site that allows users to “check in” to places they visit, are within Street Fight’s purview.
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“People talk about what some estimate is a $150 billion advertising pie that has yet to be fully capitalized on by online publishers ” says Street Fight co-founder and editor-in-chief David Hirschman. “We envision it as a fight on the streets for who’s going to get the pieces of that pie.”
Hirschman says that Street Fight, in addition to providing commentary and news analysis about the industry on its website, will also hold events, like conferences, and function as a consultancy and think tank, providing independent research. Not all of this is off the ground yet; the site launched just over a month ago, on April 13.
“Someone told me a few weeks ago that it was exciting that there was a trade publication for the industry,” says Hirschman. “It makes people feel that the industry’s time has arrived.”
The site functions like a blog, with new posts replacing old ones in a simple, vertical setup. The posts fall into four main categories: news, a daily aggregation of industry buzz; commentary, which includes two regular opinion columns (Turf Talk by Rick Robinson and Personal Fight by Alex Salkever ); Street Smart Moves, which notes good business strategies; and interviews and conversations with industry leaders.
Street Fight has already had Q and As with several leaders, including Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix, a local news aggregator. The site also interviews business owners who buy hyperlocal advertising, like the owner of a pilates studio who used the discount site LivingSocial to market her business. “We’re collecting market wisdom,” says Hirschman. The information is valuable to anyone plugged into the hyperlocal industry, from publishers to local advertisers.
The staff is lean—co-founder Laura Rich acts as publisher, Hirschman is the editor-in-chief, and John Hazard is the news editor. In addition to the two weekly columnists, there are a couple of regular reporters, as well as guest bloggers. The site pays contributors a nominal amount for certain types of content, but most of the site’s contributors work on a volunteer basis. Hirschman says that this arrangement will “certainly” change as soon as the site attracts outside funding. Street Fight is a corporate entity owned jointly and funded by Hirschman and Rich. They are actively seeking investors.
“It does take a huge amount of time,” says Hirschman. “We both continue to take outside freelance work, as well.”
The company also plans to earn revenue through events and projects, like a company directory. The directory, which is to be launched over the summer, will provide information about hyperlocal companies. A portion of the directory will be free, but a more in-depth service will be subscription-based. Hirschman says he expects these projects, including original research, will generate substantial revenue.
Hirschman hopes the site, like the industry, will catch on. “The road is littered with bodies of dead hyperlocal projects of the past ten years, but people are getting closer to revenue models,” he says. “It seems like the industry of hyperlocal is exploding. It’s a natural thing for us to cover.”
Street Fight Data
Name: Street Fight
Principal Staff: David Hirschman, co-founder and editor-in-chief; Laura Rich, co-founder and CEO; Rick Robinson, adviser and columnist; Larry Kramer, adviser; Jonathan Weber, adviser.
Affiliations: Content syndicated to Business Insider; Back-end software by Kapost; Ad network: Federated Media.
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