What’s next for EveryBlock?
EveryBlock’s grant ends on June 30. As project lead Adrian Holovaty explains, they are going to open source their code and they are looking for ideas from the community on viable business models:
We have a number of ideas for sustaining our project beyond a dependency on grants, like building a local advertising engine and/or selling hosted versions of the open-source software, but we’re sure there are other ways for EveryBlock to be a successful business. That brings me to the reason I’m posting this—we’re looking for ideas and partners who would be interested in helping us figure this out. If you have any ideas or suggestions, get in touch with me. I’m confident we’ll make something happen; it’s just a matter of how.
EveryBlock’s core innovation is to take existing public information (civic and municipal data, journalism, photographs, user reviews, etc.), and to expose it on the web based on the physical locations to which that information applies. Among other things, EveryBlock has played a key role in opening up government data on the web; Daniel X. O’Neil:
At EveryBlock, where my main role is to work with municipal governments to uncover new data sets, we’re experimenting with a new form of journalism where we treat freshly updated public records as block-level news. It’s a big job to acquire ongoing feeds of government data, and we have a broader goal of spreading the gospel of open data.
If you have thoughts I urge you to share them with the development team. EveryBlock is a point of genuine innovation that has produced a useful new service, in a landscape increasingly littered with irrelevance.
Update: On August 17, 2009 Adrian Holovaty announced that EveryBlock has been acquired by MSNBC.com:
We’ll continue to run the first and best microlocal news Web site on the planet, with the same six people, with the same logo and design, with the same everyblock.com domain. MSNBC.com has hired our whole team, and they’ve made it clear to us that we’ll be driving the site’s strategy and implementation, and that our site will remain an independent destination as a community service.
Sounds like good news.