Backfence and Setting the Record Straight

 

I have yet to speak with outgoing CEO and co-founder Susan DeFife but I did have a chance to speak with co-founder and current/interim CEO (or equivalent role) Mark Potts this morning, who told me he was asked to return by the board to run the site.

Both Potts and DeFife previously told me via email that my speculation about the site and its challenges was wrong.

Potts joked that all the blog posts and articles he’d seen pronouncing Backfence dead, “Was a little like the Monty Python skit where they say, ‘bring out your dead’ and you say, ‘but I’m not dead.'”

Potts said that what the site was going through was “a course change” and the layoffs were a reflection of new thinking about how to more efficiently grow. “We’re a whole lot smarter than we were two years ago.” He said that they want to leverage existing tools out there like Flickr and YouTube and do more partnering (e.g., with Oodle for classifieds) “so we can concentrate on what we do well — local conversations.”

In addition, Potts said that they had had great success with local display advertising and would continue to rely on that model, augmented with partnerships and revenue sharing where appropriate. He also said that Backfence would be seeking to pursue content syndication with local newspaper and TV sites.

“The other part of this is about scalability,” said Potts. “We built 13 communities in two years; we should have been doing it better and faster.”

We’ll see whether the new strategy bears fruit for Potts & Co., who added in response to my question about layoffs that Backfence would likely be adding people in key areas as the new strategy is implemented.

I’ll be interested to speak to Susan DeFife and hear her perspective.

4 Responses to “Backfence and Setting the Record Straight”

  1. Ross Notes » A clearer picture of where Backfence is going Says:

    […] Meanwhile, Greg Sterling at Screenwerk got a few more details out of him: […]

  2. A back fence around a ghost town » Mathew Ingram: mathewingram.com/work Says:

    […] about the restructuring and some of the strategic changes he wants to make, and wrote about it here. Technorati Tags: backfence, citizen journalism, local, media2.0 Tag with del.icio.us   | […]

  3. mathewingram.com/media » A back fence around a ghost town Says:

    […] about the restructuring and some of the strategic changes he wants to make, and wrote about it here. Technorati Tags: backfence citizen journalism local media2.0 Tag with del.icio.us   | […]

  4. Local is Hard - More on BackFence at Starting Up… Says:

    […] Greg Sterling has a good post about BackFence and their position on their CEO change and layoffs: Potts joked that all the blog posts and articles he’d seen pronouncing Backfence dead, “Was a little like the Monty Python skit where they say, ‘bring out your dead’ and you say, ‘but I’m not dead.’” […]

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: