On Backfence.com’s expansion

By Steve Outing

Backfence.com, a citizen media company, has announced plans for a major expansion in the number of local community news sites it publishes — from 7 to 22. Last year the company, founded by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife, landed $3 million in venture capital money, so this expansion was to be expected.

Since my company, the Enthusiast Group, also is based on a foundation of citizen media, I’m watching Backfence with more than casual interest. Then again, applying it to hyperlocal news as Backfence does is way different than applying it to niche topics like adventure and participant sports, as we do.

It’s funny, because the Backfence folks (several of whom I know) seem to think that they’ve got an easier task in getting local community members to become active contributors of content and conversation than my company does in getting far-flung people who share passion for a particular sport to do the same. I think my company has the easier task — as is starting to be demonstrated on our first site, YourMTB.com — because of the passion factor. (Backfence has about a year’s head start on the Enthusiast Group.)

This will be interesting to watch.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!