London-based social directory TrustedPlaces has teamed up with Associated Northcliffe Digital (owned by newspaper and classifieds publisher Daily Mail) to create LocalPeople. The site is an interesting hybrid; it mixes a local newspaper model with a directory site (with reviews) and social features including Twitter-like Q&A and individual profiles.
According to the press release the LocalPeople sites, which are conceived of as a network will target smaller cities and towns:
This week the first phase has gone live with the launch of the initial twenty-three local community websites in the South-West of England, these cover areas with between 10,000 and 50,000 inhabitants that typically do not have a dedicated local online proposition today. The sites are designed to encourage the local community to interact with each other, report on what’s important in their specific neighbourhood. A further twenty plus sites are due to launch in the South-West of England throughout the summer of 2009.
The social features, including Twitter-like comments stream, are front and center, making this different than a conventional local news or directory site:
The local news and dynamic Twitter-like/Q&A element will keep people coming back to the site throughout the day potentially — creating much greater usage frequency than a comparable directory site. I kept suggesting that Yell buy TrustedPlaces, but now that ship has probably sailed.
For more background on LocalPeople see PaidContent.