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June 27, 2009

EveryBlock – Get Really Local News

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EveryBlock takes a new approach to local news. Most local news isn’t really local; it can cover quite a wide area and doesn’t answer the question most people want to know: what’s happening on my block? EveryBlock aims to answer that question. It pulls together civic information, news articles, blog entries, and web content such as local photos, reviews of local businesses and Craigslist postings to create a stream of news that is truly local.

To access your news, just type in your address and zip code in the search box for your city and you will see everything available that relates to that location. Of course, if you live in a city other than the 15 already represented, you’re out of luck. EveryBlock is planning to extend its coverage, though. If you’re ever overwhelmed, you can use site menus to narrow what you see.

Once you have found the news that interests you, there are a number of ways to keep up with it, including email alerts and RSS. However, you will have to register to use these and other planned new features. EveryBlock provides what it promises and works well. However, coverage is too limited to give it a five star rating just yet.

Practical Uses:

  • Get a user review of the latest new restaurant in town
  • Find out where the crime hotspots really are so you can avoid them
  • Check out real estate prices near you to find out if your home has increased in value
  • Discover deals that can save you money in your local area

Insider Tips:

  • Enter an address or zip code to get block level news for your area
  • Use the drop down search box to specify the type of news you see
  • Take local news with you anywhere by using the mobile application
  • Look at the trends view for an overview of what an area is really like
  • Keep track of city initiatives by looking at press releases

What we liked:

  • All the information for an area appears on one handy page
  • A wide variety of information is available, including both news and web user content such as photos
  • The information provided is up to date
  • There are multiple options for tracking information with RSS feeds

What we didn’t like:

  • The number of cities covered is limited; only 15 when this review was written

Alternatives:

  • There is nothing exactly like EveryBlock

Company Info:

  • Launched: January 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Chicago, IL
  • Founded by: Adrian Holovaty
  • Web site: http://www.everyblock.com

Costs:

  • Free

Rating:

  • 4 out of 5 (great)