I spoke last week with the founders of BackFence. Very interesting site and model. What they're doing is using blogs and wiki collaboration software to make superlocal community sites that expect to rely heavily on user-generated content (more credible/reliable local information and little or no overhead).
They're not a directory site, a classifieds site, a local newspaper or a community calendar. They're combining elements of all these things.
Rather than relying on technology and massive infrastructure, they're going to take a "bottom-up" approach and let local "influencers" (and others) in the local communities (not major metro areas) generate content.
Their hope is that they'll have the breadth of content (news, announcements/calendar, business listings) to drive regular and repeat usage, which is challenging currently for directory sites. That's partly why SuperPages put eBay, Shopping.com and Web search on its site, to boost utility and frequency of use.
Their hyper-super-hyper local orientation, they believe, will differentiate them from the local search offerings of search engines, IYPs and newspaper sites. This is also the theory behind American Town Network.
BackFence intends to have national coverage eventually and says it will field a sales force. But given the size of the communities they're pursuing, it won't need to be 3,000 people.