About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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January 11, 2007


Mary Specht

Why haven't we seen more here about developments at Backfence.com? Surely you must have some thoughts. Might you consider throwing us a bone?

Mark Potts

Thanks for writing, Mary. This blog really has nothing to do with Backfence, so I'm not comfortable talking about the company here. And there are a great many confidences and sensitivities, particularly to our current and former employees, that I want to honor.

But I will say that Backfence's sites are fully operational and continue to serve our communities and advertisers; that the investors, board, managers and employees and I remain very excited about the potential for advertising-supported user-generated hyperlocal community news and information sites; and that we're also very excited about changes in strategy and product that we're planning for Backfence.

Unfortunately there's been a great deal of ill-informed analysis and speculation that we've chosen not to fully address publicly because we're working so hard on the company. But to slightly paraphrase Mark Twain—who himself knew a lot about fences and communities—reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.

Update: See also Greg Sterling's latest post at http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2007/01/12/backfence-and-setting-the-record-straight/#comments

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