After failing to gain traction on his own as an entrepreneur with his startup Bayosphere, Dan Gillmor has found a home for the citizen media service. It has been acquired by Backfence, a community media site that got its start last year in neighborhoods around Washington, D.C.
In a post to the Bayosphere crowd, Gillmor writes in his blog that: "There will be changes, major ones. Backfence is all about local, not global, serving needs that many of us believe has been underserved by traditional media -- for entirely sound business reasons."
In the reporting I did for a story about why Bayosphere didn't work out, this focus on more local issues was something that some of the people who were members of Bayosphere missed. One of the missteps the team behind Bayosphere made was in spending too much time trying to get distribution, rather than building a community for readers and reporters.
Backfence's Susan DeFife has said that the startup planned to expand and now we see how they plan to proceed, at least in the San Francisco Bay area. Both Backfence and Bayosphere were funded initially by the Omidyar Network. (Bayosphere raised about $200,000 in total, part of it from Mitch Kapor.)
DeFife says Gillmor’s blog will be featured in its new Bay Area community sites, the first of which will launch in Palo Alto in May. "In the meantime, the existing Bayosphere site, which has become a popular destination for discussions about regional issues and technology news, will operate under the Backfence banner, and Gillmor’s blog will be available at www.backfence.com/bayarea beginning immediately."