Civic News

Comcast brings neighborhood discussion site EveryBlock back to Philly

The site will not be a revenue generator, said Comcast local media director Paul Wright. Instead, the company considers it a "community investment."

Dogfish Head brewers doing their part. (Courtesy photo)

Neighborhood news and discussion site EveryBlock is back, under Comcast.

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EveryBlock, which had been run by NBC since 2009, was abruptly shut down in early 2013. Comcast Cable made an internal purchase of the site from NBCUniversal, said Comcast’s director of local media development Paul Wright, and has been working on improving it for the past year.

EveryBlock Philly is the second market for the reincarnation of the site, which features both user-generated content, city data and more than 500 feeds from local media outlets. It first relaunched in Chicago, the former headquarters of the company, in January 2014. Next, the site is headed to Denver, Colo., Houston, Texas and Medford, Mass., among other cities. When it shut down in 2013, EveryBlock was in 19 cities.

The site will not be a revenue generator, Wright said. It falls under Comcast’s local media efforts, which are viewed as “community investments” and include video platform PhillyInFocus, civil rights site His Dream, Our Stories and interview platform Comcast Newsmakers.

While the site looks the same (Comcast did this on purpose, so as not to confuse former users, Wright said), the company added a number of features focused on making it easy to incorporate EveryBlock’s content feed into a website or an app.

Users can choose a neighborhood or a custom region of Philly, like, say N3rd Street, and grab widgets or a WordPress plugin to include an EveryBlock feed of that specific locale. Developers will also have access to the EveryBlock API.

The site incorporates more content than the previous iteration, Wright said, including open data from the City of Philadelphia, like a feed of 311 complaints. Comcast plans to add more city data going forward.

The EveryBlock relaunch in Chicago was successful, Wright said, gaining back — in less than a month — the number of users the previous EveryBlock site boasted. He wouldn’t disclose specific numbers. EveryBlock Chicago had about 40,000 active users, Wright said at an event in early 2014.

About five Comcast employees, plus contractors, work on EveryBlock and Comcast’s other local media projects.

Companies: Comcast / EveryBlock

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