“Local” has always been supposed to be the next big thing on the Internet, and there are certainly a number of startups already cracking away at it. Yelp, a local reviews site, is probably doing the best job so far in leading the pact. Though, while Yelp focuses on reviews of things like restaurants and doctors, other spaces like local news and events and conversations are yet to be crowned. That’s where Outside.in in.
The site, like Yelp, Craigslist and many other local ones, is completely location-based — so the experience you have is varied and dependant on your neck of the woods. Currently supporting 11,860 towns and neighborhoods, you can assume that pretty much all of the major cities, towns, and neighboods in America are covered with their own page on the site. For example, here’s Washington DC’s outside.in page, and here’s San Francisco’s.
A page is divided into a number of sections, including top stories, places, local news and blogs, up and coming, and lastly an overview of “neighbors” — or outside.in members. Apart from the “what’s happening in my city part,” each city or neighborhood also has its own discussion board where outside.in members can chat, ask for suggestions, and post reviews and requests.
Outside.in, overall, comes off as a great service with a lot of potential — services like Yelp have proven the market for this is huge among youngsters and out-going urban folks. The only thing it’s lacking is a decent-sized community, but that’s inevitibly going to grow as more people find the service useful.