Patch is dead; long live EveryBlock

everyblockAOL’s Patch, the local network of community websites, is technically not dead (yet) and is not really AOL’s, either. It is owned by Hale Global and – much smaller – seems to be waiting for a buyer.

EveryBlock might be in the same shape, although owner Comcast insists they are running the network out of the goodness of their hearts. “This is truly a community engagement, community investment product for us,” Matt Summy, vice president of government affairs for Comcast’s Chicago region, said.

The network was live from 2008 to 2013 with owner NBC News citing “considerable” financial losses as the cause of the shut-down. Current owner Comcast relaunched the Chicago site early this year and has now re-opened the Philadelphia site with plans to add Houston, Denver and three other markets by year’s end.

“EveryBlock is a combination of many different types of local information – from public records like crime reports, to neighbor discussions, to photos people have taken in your neighborhood,” the “About” page states. Curiously, as much emphasis on local and person-level information that EveryBlock emphasizes, the company uses an impersonal website form to submit information.

Again, according to the “About” page, visitors will find four types of content on the EveryBlock homepages:

  • Neighbor messages – what your neighbors are talking about. (“Here’s the scoop on that new bakery coming to Main St.”)
  • Civic information – building permits, crime reports, restaurant inspections and more.
  • Media mentions – any time your neighborhood is mentioned in a media site, we’ll let you know about it.
  • Fun from across the Web – local photos posted to Flickr, user reviews of local businesses on Yelp, lost-and-found postings from Craigslist and more.

Enterprising readers of this blog can probably find many uses for these hyper-local sites.

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