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Posted on Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 9 a.m.

Our neighborhood effort will start small and expand over time

By Tony Dearing

I don't have any doubt that over time, our neighborhood pages will prove to be one of the most important and popular elements on our site.

But taking coverage hyperlocal, down to the neighborhood level, is hard to do and hard to get right.

So we're starting small, and based on what we learn, we'll be looking to build on that as we move forward.

At launch, we're paying special attention to downtown. As we talked to the community about what should be, people told us they were extremely interested in downtown. So we're putting some emphasis there.

We're also focusing on two particular neighborhoods — Burns Park and the Old West Side. We chose them because they already have an abundance of groups and residents creating and sharing information, and they were open to partnering with us.

In neighborhood-level sites, most of the information comes from, and is created for, people who live in that neighborhood. We'll provide some coverage, too. But most neighborhood content is going to be homegrown.

As we stand here on Day 1, even the content for those two neighborhoods is not anywhere close to what it will be as we move forward. Our goal is to develop those two neighborhood pages into what they ought to be, and then take what we learn and expand it out into other neighborhoods.

For now, we're defining neighborhoods primarily by elementary school districts. That's a workable but imperfect approach. And currently for neighborhoods other than Burns Park and the Old West Side, the content is fed in by, a firm that aggregates community content by geography. Again, not a perfect solution, but a small start.

Ultimately, we want to identify neighborhoods much more exactly and have all of them rich with content. We also want to expand beyond Ann Arbor and introduce neighborhood sites for surrounding townships and cities.

We are a new company, starting small. It's going to take us a while to get there. But we understand the importance of neighborhoods, and it'll be a high priority for us as we move forward.



Fri, Aug 28, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

Please add Saline to the Neighborhood section! Thanks


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 7:30 a.m.

Is there any chance you'll offer a Scio Township neighborhood section, or maybe you could just call it the Far West Side?;)

Mark Josephson

Thu, Jul 30, 2009 : 3:21 p.m.

Hey Tony and team! Congrats on a great launch. We at are excited to be a small part of your strategy. The new features you mention above are actually live and a central part of our For Publishers product which launched last month. You can curate the exact news and info you want to appear on your pages and where. You can also give your readers the ability to submit their content for inclusion. We are ready, willing and able to help implement whenever you're ready. Again, congrats on the exciting launch and certain success! Mark ceo @

Joe Bauer

Tue, Jul 28, 2009 : 8:49 p.m.

I look forward to contributing to my neighborhood's section of the site. I'd love to see an iPhone app that allows for easy posting of pictures and micro-blog entries.


Sun, Jul 26, 2009 : 7:31 p.m.

You just can't start small! You are the ONLY link for numerous folks in Chelsea, Dexter-all the outlying areas. The daily paper is gone..beta should have been ironed out & solid before the paper every closed. You are falling down on the job already, imo.

Irwin Martin

Sat, Jul 25, 2009 : 9:27 p.m.

If you want to add something on Scio Township, you can start with a link to Just a group of residents trying to summarize the issues of the day.


Sat, Jul 25, 2009 : 5:49 p.m.

You could start by naming the neighborhoods correctly. I'm not sure what Angells is but I think I live there.

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 11:41 a.m.

May I suggest that Normal Park be added at your earliest opportunity?


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 9:34 a.m.

The coverage for Mitchell seems to cover every locality in the world called "Mitchell." The first link I clicked on took me to a website in South Dakota. Is there any way to make this more accurate? I'd rather see NO coverage of the Mitchell School area of Ann Arbor (to start with) than have to sift through posts from Mitchells all over the country.

Mary Ann Chick Whiteside (mcwflint)

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 9:32 a.m.

Would love to see a map of the neighborhoods, especially when asked to choose a neighborhood on the signup page.

Irwin Martin

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 8:50 a.m.

Not a bad approach, but you do need to be sure local coverage includes the surrounding townships. There are clearly important issues that need to be communicated to residents, and we depended on the A2 News. Without the paper, will become very important. The ability to quickly find issues effecting our townships is very important. Not all Ann Arborites live in the City so named!