HelloMetro, the local news and city guide company based in Louisville, Kentucky, said that it now has unique hyperlocal content for 40 markets, and national coverage. The company has “Hello(cityname)” URLs covering the country, and relies on a core team of 25 journalists — or 15 full-time equivalents — to pump out the content. The writers are supported by 10 salespeople. In addition to local news stories, each of the HelloMetro sites include all the rudiments of a standard city guide, including Yellow Pages listings, events, weather, dining and movies.
In 2009, the site had 4.1 million unique users a month, and is on target for 5.2 million unique visitors in 2010. Founder Clark Scott says he has self-funded the site “with mortgages and credit cards” since its launch in 1999, but it has now been profitable for two years. In 2009, the site grossed $5.5 million and earned $100,000 in profits.
Scott notes that key advertisers include several of the Classified Ventures sites, Edmunds.com and “a bunch of medium-to-small companies.” The site also earns pay-per-click and CPM revenues from various ad networks.
HelloMetro has recently branched out with HelloFlight, an airplane and airport news and tracking service, which gets about 380,000 unique visitors a month. Scott says HelloFlight now represents about 2 percent of the company’s business. He expects to eventually add 25 more journalists to the site. It also has DotMobi, which is HelloMetro’s mobile effort.