Our neighborhood effort will start small and expand over time
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 AnnArbor.com 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 Outside.in, 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.