‘Hyper-Local’ Site Backfence Shutting Down
Backfence emerged about the same time, a couple of years ago, as InsiderPages, Judy’s Book and Yelp. Now it appears to be closing its doors. The seemingly imminent closure of Backfence raises questions about the economics and viability of so-called “hyper-local” sites. InsiderPages, for its part, was recently sold to IAC/Citysearch and Judy’s Book has changed its model to become an affiliate shopping and local deals site. Yelp, however, continues to forge ahead having hit critical mass in selected markets.
Yet the local segment remains very dynamic with a range of recent entrants and competitors coming into the market: Smalltown, Citysquares, LocalGuides, Outside.in, Yellowbot, MojoPages, Fatdoor, American Town Network, among a host of familiar and unfamiliar others.
I have a much longer post about Backfence and the sales challenges of the local market on my personal blog Screenwerk.