Some of the stuff in here is really eye-opening. It's like a whole nother Internet (maybe it is plural after all?) that's not on anybody's radar yet, but which looks to be ready to pick up steam when everybody catches on to what it can really become.
I've been harboring an idea for a local site for quite some time, but until now I had never isolated the local aspect of it as any different than other projects I've worked on.
After reading through some of this forum and bits and pieces in other sections of WW, I must say I'm quite excited about the future of local. I'm particularly interested because I think the local-by-locals model is far superior to any of the other local site varieties. Living in a big city, but one which is not on the cutting edge of... anything... I think I see opportunity due to the lack of current offerings.
I think corporations who try to simulate local with a city and state parameter or a glorious subdomain will always have a piece of the action, but I think they are in a separate market. They can't really be a local site, in my opinion. They'll always be carpetbaggers stunted by corporate bureaucracy and uniformity, which will keep them in the shallow end of the pool.
I've done some searching recently and I've only found a few local-by-locals in my geographic area. The two most successful are employment sites; one appears to be losing a little bit of money after advertising expenses, and the other appears to be losing a lot. The others are likewise rather bland, and aren't really utilizing anywhere near the potential they have as true local sites. They're trying to compete with Monster or Hotjobs rather than leveraging the potential they have as local-by-locals. They are essentially clones of these large sites, with the only plusses being that they have domain names with the city in them and they put all their advertising budget into local media. In the end, they don't do anything that the existing nationals can't do better.
So after all that, I'm wondering the following:
1) Are any of you in medium-sized to large-sized cities that are wired, but which don't have much in the way of local sites?
2) If so, are you finding local businesses are receptive to your offerings? Do they see real potential in what you are working on, or is it just another place to advertise?
3) Do they even understand what you're doing? Are they asking about traffic? Are you just an online YP to them?
I'm really beginning to see what local could be, but I'm not sure if people in my area will be so receptive. I think everybody has heard how revolutionary and life-changing the Internet is, and they've accepted that those changes are limited to what they're seeing right now. Priceline, google, yahoo, porn, email, IM. I've heard countless water cooler conversations revolving around a new, cool site somebody discovered. Not a single local site in the mix -- both because there are none of note, and because they haven't even begun to think about local.
Are any of you finding receptive venture capitalists in your locality, or are you all self-funded?
I know I'm a newbie and quite naive, so go easy on me.