News Column

EveryBlock.com Shuts Down

Feb. 7, 2013

Hyper local news and social media site EveryBlock.com has shut down, the company said Thursday.

"Though EveryBlock has been able to build an engaged community over the years, we're faced with the decision to wrap things up," a item on the EveryBlock.com blog said.

The posting said Everyblock faced increasing challenges to build a profitable business. It had 10 employees.

The company was founded in 2007 by Naperville native Adrian Holovaty and acquired by MSNBC.com in 2009. NBC News acquired msnbc.com last year.

NBC News Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller said EveryBlock's financial losses "were considerable," although she declined to offer specific financial results.

"Hyper local is a very tough business. This isn't about anything being a failure, but more about our need to stay focused on the strengths of NBC News' digital portfolio," she added in an email.

Schiller said the company looked for various options for EveryBlock, such as a sale, but none of the options ended up being viable.

Hyperlocal sites in general have surged in popularity in recent years, but with the success came an explosion of competitors, making generating revenue extremely difficult.

"EveryBlock was among the more innovative and ambitious journalism projects at a time when journalism desperately needed innovation and ambition. RIP," Holovaty wrote Thursday in a blog post on his site Holovaty.com.

Holovaty wrote that he believes EveryBlock, founded with the help of a $1.1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was a successful attempt to push innovation in newspapers and journalism.

"It was a great site, beautifully designed and lovingly crafted. It made a difference for people, particularly in Chicago," he wrote.

Holovaty left the site in August to pursue other interests.

-- Tribune reporter Samantha Bomkamp contributed.



Source: (c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services


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