Neighborhood news aggregator Outside.in has been acquired by AOL, according to multiple reports this morning. Apparently it’s being bought for less than the big pile of money that high-profile investors put into it, back when hopes were high. It’s sad, really: the ambitious hyper-local news technology services of the last few years don’t seem to be working out very well.
Outside.in, EveryBlock and Fwix are the three sites best known for building out automated collection and analysis of news about particular neighborhoods of cities around the United States. There is huge, exciting potential there – but it takes resources to develop technology and media sites like this. Maybe a shortage of resources is why none of these sites are the thriving hub of activity that many people hoped they would be. There are many different theories why, but all three of the leading startups in this space feel like a disappointment so far.