What is a "hyperlocal" Web site, precisely?
As with the term "Web 2.0," I've given up on defining it. Over the years, I've seen the term used to refer to Web sites that cover a metro area but organize their content by specific town or neighborhood, Web sites that focus on a single city or neighborhood intensely and Web sites that focus on a particular part of a metro area. It appears "hyperlocal" means "city/county-level or deeper" — but wouldn't the term "local" work there, just as well?
At EveryBlock, we don't use the term "hyperlocal" to refer to our site, because, frankly, it sells our site short. There's a profound difference between something like the Washington Post's Loudoun Extra — deemed "hyperlocal" because it covers only a single, 521-square-mile county (!) instead of the entire Washington, DC, metro area — and EveryBlock DC, which provides a distinct page of news for every city block in the city of Washington.
That's in no way a slight against Loudoun Extra; it's a solid site that I'm sure I would find useful if I lived in Loudoun County, Virginia. I'm just saying county-level news and address-level news are fundamentally different products — and stretching the term "hyperlocal" to fit both is more confusing than helpful.
So that's why we shy away from calling EveryBlock "hyperlocal." But people love their buzz words, and I do appreciate the value in being able to communicate a concept in as few words as possible — particularly because our brand of local news is the first of its kind and can be tricky to explain. That's why we've started calling EveryBlock something else:
This gives a much better sense of our focus. It's unambiguous in its level of detail: the 1400 block of S. Hill Street in Seattle is unequivocally "micro." Is a neighborhood micro? Yeah, kinda, depending on the size. An entire county, a borough, or city/suburb? No.
Micro implies intense focus, incredibly small scale and rich depth — all of which describe EveryBlock's general take on things. Best of all, people I've talked to seem to understand the term implicitly, as isn't the case with the much more vague "hyperlocal."
Here's to a diversification of the local news ecosystem: the hyperlocal and the microlocal.