Backfence Enters Bay Area with Bayosphere Acquisition

Congratulations are in order for Dan Gillmor, whose Bayosphere was just picked up by “hyperlocal” site network Backfence.com. I was notified just a few minutes ago by CEO Susan DeFife. The Bayosphere has be changed to make it more consistent with the other Backfence properties, which are currently in Virginia and Maryland. Ironically the acquisition may actually help Baysophere realize its original vision. The acquisition also gives Backfence a running start in the competitive Bay Area online market.

Backfence is a site that relies almost entirely on user-generated content and has a broad range of local content and ad offerings, including local news, classifieds and yellow pages listings.

According to the press release, Gillmor will continue to be part of Backfence/Bayosphere: “In the meantime, the existing Bayosphere site, which has become a popular destination for discussions about regional issues and technology news, will operate under the Backfence banner, and Gillmor’s blog will be available at www.backfence.com/bayarea beginning immediately.”

In addition, Backfence plans to launch other Bay Area sites in the coming months. The company originally told me (more than a year ago) that it would populate a metro area with several sites rather than launching a single metro-wide site to retain the feel and local character of the content and community experience. This “hyperlocal” quality is what distinguishes Backfence from a conventional city guide or metro daily newspaper site.

Backfence simultaneously announced that Merrill Brown, the founding editor of MSNBC.com, has been elected to its board of directors.

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Here’s Dan Gillmor’s blog post about the acquisition and Backfence.

2 Responses to “Backfence Enters Bay Area with Bayosphere Acquisition”

  1. Search Engine Journal » Social Local Network Backfence Acquires Bayosphere Says:

    […] More from Greg Sterling: Ironically the acquisition may actually help Baysophere realize its original vision. The acquisition also gives Backfence a running start in the competitive Bay Area online market. […]

  2. Christine.net Says:

    Collective Wisdom on the Backfence-Bayosphere Acquisition

    There’s been a lot of interesting press today about the acquisition of Bayosphere by Backfence. (Disclosure note: Omidyar Network is a co-investor in both firms, and I serve on the board of Backfence.) It’s been amazing to watch the landscape

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