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In June 2008, the MGP sat down with Joshua Mack at the JTM conference to ask about his relatively new company outside.in. Outside.in has joined a crowd of people who believe there's a future for organizing internet content by location. Something Mack called a "hyper-local aggregator." They've been in business for about a year and a half and have recently added a new CEO and Mack's position, VP Network, along with new tools.
Outside.in operates simply: go to the site, plug in your zip code, and up comes information for your area, culled from local blogs and news sites. Narrow your search by selecting your neighborhood, or picking a category like restaurants/cafes.
Mack admitted they were joining a crowded field, but he said they were attempting to do something different than other leading sites such as Topix. Outside.in, he said, is trying to go deeper into the community, block by block.
As for sustainability, currently they provide data to the Washington Post and plan on having more of those kinds of partnerships. They also plan to offer advertising once enough people are using the site. Right now, he said, people have a choice of using Google or putting up their own ads, and outside.in wants to improve on that.
Most of the blogs on the site have been added in manually--either by outside.in or the bloggers themselves--but Mack said they were working to automate more and more. He admitted they've had some trouble pulling in occasional bloggers. Their goal is to keep building programs--they currently have a program called Radar in Alpha--that keeps them moving forward in an evolving field.
MGP researcher Sara Majka, September 2008.
What does hyperlocal mean?
Hyperlocal means news and information on a level beyond what traditional media provides. Until now, most "local" sites didn't actually get more, well, local than cities or towns. They assumed that just because you live in a specific city or town you are looking for the same news as everyone else. Hyperlocal content gives you the news and information for the area right around where you are, like the block around your office or the neighborhood where you live.