Rick Burnes – Faneuil Media

Posted on 05. Oct, 2007 by in Hyperlocal, Social Networking, Technology, Tools

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.

I’ve spent the last year and a half bootstrapping Faneuil Media, an online news startup. Initially, my partner Theo Burry and I focused on creating content for news sites using public data and open applications like Google Maps. Last year we broadened our scope with Atlas, a mapping tool that simplified map and data work for news sites.

Last week we launched our newest project, 9 Neighbors. 9 Neighbors is a local news filtering service for several Boston-area communities. The site uses social data — primarily relationships and browsing histories — to determine which bits of content are most useful to members of a community.

What are your goals?

We have two goals:
(1) To build a healthy, growing business.
(2) To make it easier to find quality, relevant information on a local (town and neighborhood) level.

Notable achievements?

The launch of 9 Neighbors is our most significant, concrete achievement. More broadly, we are proud to have enabled and been responsible for lots of online news experiments. Our mapping and and data projects on Boston.com, NYTimes.com and other sites were some of the first of their kind published on major news sites. Atlas, our mapping tool, made it possible for dozens of major newspapers and local news sites to begin experimenting with Google Maps and data. Our business has also been an important experiment, demonstrating one more approach to independent online news.

Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)

We’ve learned that today it is very, very hard to build an independent business when your primary product is content. Content is abundant, and therefore cheap. Attention is scarce, and therefore valuable. This is why we’re now focusing on filtering tools, which help people use their valuable attention more efficiently.

Are you getting revenue for this? How?

We’re earning money from advertising, right now primarily from our mapping tool, Atlas. In the future, we expect 9 Neighbors to generate additional advertising income.

What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?

We just launched 9 Neighbors, so right now our focus is on getting feedback from users in our Boston communities, then iterating on the product. We’re also beginning to look at how we can partner with local publishers.

Anyone you’d like to talk with, learn from, or work with at the summit

I’m interested in speaking with people who are producing local content.

2 Responses to “Rick Burnes – Faneuil Media”

  1. Rick Burnes

    05. Oct, 2007

    You can find 9Neighbors here: http://www.9neighbors.com.

    One other footnote: we’ve decided to call the site “9Neighbors” as opposed to “9 Neighbors” — makes for a far more unique search


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