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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.
Bayosphere was a short-lived user-driven local news site in San Francisco. Bayosphere was launched in 2005 by former San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor and Michael Goff and received investment funding from Mitch Kapor and the Omidyar Network. Gillmor shut the site down in January 2006, and the site was bought later that year…