Hyperlocal failure | Blogads

Hyperlocal failure

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Writing in the WSJ, Russell Adams dissects the failure of the Washington Post’s foray into “hyperlocal online publishing,” Loudon Extra.

The Journal sites three problems: a) lack of links from WPost itself when a big story breaks b) huge geographic spread (520 square miles) and diversity in Loudon county and c) lack of engage and d) hiring nonlocals.

Two other things to consider. The Post hired the guy to create Loudon local based in part on his success building “the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World’s KUSports.com, a site dedicated to University of Kansas sports that grew during Mr. Curley’s three-year reign from 500,000 monthly page views to a one-time peak of about 13 million monthly page views.” Didn’t anyone tell WPost UKansas sports audience a) is a lot bigger and more fanatic than school board audience and b) isn’t local?

And it also doesn’t help that Posts “Loudon Extra” site doesn’t seem to be Google friendly enough (though I can’t see exactly where they’re failing.) My evidence: if you search Google for “site:washingtonpost.com loudon extra” you get only 2200 results and “site:washingtonpost.com loudonextra” you get only 1 result. Their URLs are Goog-friendly (see below), but they seem (on quick inspection) to lack an index page that would make it easy for Google to do a comprehensive spidering. Yep, that was too easy. Someone from the Post wrote to point out that I mispelled “Loudoun.” Ding. Using the correct spelling, the site ends up with 33,000 entries in Google.

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