Are authority sites expensive to build? What are the best ways to monetize a hyper local news site, authority site or web directory?

A good friend of mine (and business partner) forwarded this short story from our (once) local newspaper today ( – which did a short blurb of a story on a very successful entrepreneur who is investing in “hyper” local news sites around our old stomping grounds. The sites themselves are super simple (see the article below for an example of one) and to be totally honest, probably not the approach I would use to build locally, although clearly it’s an evergreen approach. (local interest – in local news, was as popular with our ancestors as it is with us – and that ain’t going to change anytime soon)

What I found of particular interest, was the entrepreneur of interest to this story (Michael Golden) – if you look at how he plans on monetizing these sites, it’s very similar to what I’ve been trying to implore many of you to do with a BIG back end – or a back end strategy that does NOT involve adsense or featured listings on a web directory – but instead having high end products and services you can BEHIND the site – using the eyeballs you’ve earned from the content and community, to establish your expertise and sell higher dollar stuff behind it. (in his case, he owns the rights to some events and establishments, apparently….that he will use the site to promote, in addition to advertising (featured listings or premium placements in our directory model) revenue.
The LAUNCHiT! local model really works – and again, while this person is being touted as innovative for building “hyper” local news and community sites, it’s nothing that anyone reading this, right now…..couldn’t begin to build in a weekend, and dare I say….do a better job then some of the example sites these folks are doing above. (on a BOOTSTRAP budget too – 3 employees – and if your focus is USER GENERATED CONTENT (reader submissions) you can reduce that employee count by 2, to start 🙂

Check out the whole article at the link, following the short excerpt below:

Michael Golden, one of the online-commerce pioneers who got rich when eBay bought King of Prussia-based GSI Commerce for $2.4 billion in 2011, is investing a couple of hundred thousand in the local-news business.

Golden is backing “hyper-local news websites”, for Conshohocken, and – and soon another site in Glenside – as part of a new media company, Burb Media LLC.

Local news is famously a great way to make a small fortune – if you start with a large fortune.

 But Golden says it’s not expensive: Burb has three employees: techie-designer Marc Garabedian, “who’s been with me since GSI”; AroundAmbler chief Ben Bergman; and Kevin Tierney, who focuses on Conshohocken.

LAUNCHiT! Local. Get Details Here