Friday, July 20, 2007

Monetizing a local Web site takes patience

Is anybody ever going to make money doing local news and ads online? We know of four attempts (Microsoft's Sidewalk, the Palo Alto Weekly's, Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere and now Backfence) that haven't been able to create the local community necessary for an ongoing business. But the backers of Smalltown, a startup on B Street in San Mateo, say they'll succeed where others have failed, according to this article in the San Mateo County Times. Mangement explains why they're not like Backfence. But the key part is at the end:
    Anyone who wants to monetize a local Web community needs to have a great deal of patience, said [Dan] Payomo [formerly of the Examiner, then Backfence and now Smalltown]. And investors need to understand that even the most successful communities take years to turn a profit.

    "It's going to be a marathon," Payomo said. "It's not going to be a sprint."
The story gives favorable mentions to two local, homegrown sites: Burlingame Voice (Fiona Hamilton is quoted) and Barry Parr's Coastsider, which serves Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo County coast.

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