This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.
One question in the wake of MSNBC Interactive’s purchase of EveryBlock is how MSNBC.com will integrate EveryBlock’s hyperlocal news feeds. In an interview, MSNBC.com president Charles Tillinghast tells us that EveryBlock feeds will be added to the local news section of MSNBC.com “probably in the next few months.” (That should add some unique content to a section of the MSNBC site that in its current state mostly links away to various local news sources).
At the same time, EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty (pictured above) says his site will continue to expand on its own—adding both cities and data sets, along with other features. Other highlights from the interview:
—The future of the code: EveryBlock’s platform is open source, meaning it can potentially be replicated by competing sites. But Holovaty and Tillinghast say that others will only have access to the code as it existed on June 30—when it was initially released—meaning MSNBC.com will likely have an edge over any competitors. “What happens after that we’re not obligated to make that open source,” Holovaty says, adding that so far only a handful of sites have actually adopted the code.
—Deal terms: The Knight Foundation funded EveryBlock via its Knight News Challenge program but the foundation did not have equity in the startup. “Basically the grant was paying for development of the open source code and we fulfilled the obligation,” Holovaty says. Asked whether he was now considering returning some money to the group, Holovaty says he is “planning on pointing everyone I know to the News Challenge. That’s what they’ve asked me to do.” As for other potential acquirers, Holovaty would only say he talked to a “bunch of people.” He wouldn’t say if any newspaper companies had been interested.
—The hyperlocal market: With Patch Media and now EveryBlock bought up, who might be next? Holovaty says he is not impressed with other online hyperlocal startups, saying most are simply replicating what newspapers were doing in print. “What we found exciting about EveryBlock was that they were providing content that never existed on a local level before,” Tillinghast says.
By Joseph Tartakoff