EveryBlock is no more.
The announcement was made via a friendly-but-succinct blog post:
Within the world of neighborhood news there’s an exciting pace of innovation yet increasing challenges to building a profitable business. Though EveryBlock has been able to build an engaged community over the years, we’re faced with the decision to wrap things up.
This was a surprise to EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty, who left the organization last year.
Hyperlocal is rough. It seems like there’s so much potential. So many local businesses and groups just waiting for the efficiencies of the Internet to revolutionize their efforts. And presumably, there are plenty of local advertisers who want to reach local people. That’s why we still have local radio and local TV and local newspapers.
But there’s something about efforts like EveryBlock and Patch and others that just doesn’t click. I realize I’m generalizing. And I know Patch is still around. And I know these sites all have different approaches and business models. Yet they all have that “hyperlocal” thing in common, and to date that’s been problematic.
The knee-jerk reaction to a hyperlocal failure is to blame the outsider approach. This is a case where I think that knee-jerk reaction is the right reaction. The more hyperlocal failures we see the more I’m convinced the trick to unlocking local is being local. The hub-and-spoke approach these organizations take is fundamentally flawed because they’re trying to create a model that can be plugged into any location. But is that what local audiences want? These outlets are franchising when they should be customizing.
Back to EveryBlock. Whatever the ultimate cause of the service’s demise — it’s weird how quickly it shut down — it’s still sad to see it go. EveryBlock was “data driven” long before everyone jumped on the big data bandwagon.