I’m becoming increasingly intrigued by the number of “local” web sites that are being launched or revamped at the moment. Backfence.com, which launched its newest California site this week, is just another in a long line of similar sites in the same space: Kudzu.com, Judy’s Book (read my take on them here) and Yelp.com, to name just a few. Search Engine Journal reports that Yahoo! Local has updated this week as well.
While the ‘local’ concept isn’t new, it looks to me like many of these sites have finally hit on the magic combination of mashups, reviews, social networking and news that create the elusive “stickiness” factor that so many sites fail to find. Finally, many of these sites are actually useable and offer some great information to consumers.
I think we’re on the verge of a tipping point here, where some of these sites actually start to cross over into the mainstream and move out of the geek/Web 2.0 crowd.
Of course, with so many competing sites out there, there’s bound to be a shakeout. And I’m not sure which of these sites will still be standing a year from now (though the smart money is on Yahoo! being one of them), but as the dust settles I’m sure we’ll start to see who the clear winners are.
The bottom line is I think there is an incredibly rich opportunity here for some smart advertising by Realtors. As the feature sets become more and more compelling, consumers will migrate onto these local/neighborhood sites, and with the right ad buy a smart Realtor or Broker could be right there in front of them.