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Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007.
Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13 sites near Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Backfence averaged about one full-time staff member per site, though its content came from users, who could blog, edit wikis or post photos there. The company was supported by self-service display and classified advertising. The site was considered at the time one of the bellwethers of the “citizen journalism” movement.
EveryBlock is a site owned by Comcast that collects and sorts local news data and hosts community conversation on a block-by-block level. The site ran from 2008 to 2013 — owned most of that time by msnbc.com — before closing and being relaunched in 2014 by Comcast. The site was launched in 2008 by Chicago-based journalist and developer Adrian…