The Sacramento area is fast becoming Ground Zero for local blog networks. McClatchy’s Sacramento Connect, a project carved from The Sacramento Bee, is a content connector for 70+ area blogs and Web sites. It started incubating last summer and was fully in place by March.
Connect, which is subtitled “best of the local Web,” can be personalized for personal tastes a la Fwix. It primarily offers blogs more visibility and traffic, but there is no payment plan. Connect is also doing some cross-publishing based on the aggregated content, starting with a recently published Happy Hour Guide.
The Sacramento Press-related Sacramento Local Online Ad Network (SLOAN), on the other hand, is a network of 31 local blogs and sites powered by Cox’s Adify, a vertical ad network publisher. It is geared toward providing a cable TV-like regional interconnect among local bloggers to build up a base of advertisers. It gets more than 540,000 unique visitors and 7 million impressions, and pulls in a CPM listed at $18.
Many of the Sacramento area blogs apparently take part in both networks (and many still have not joined either — the Connect team has ID’d 400 Sacramento area blogs). “I think it is an important step for The Bee to take a leadership position in building a healthy local media ecosystem in Sacramento,” says Ben Ilfeld, cofounder of Sacramento Press and SLOAN. “It proves they are serious about collaboration rather than strictly competition.”
Ilfeld adds that his team is currently expanding the concept to the Bay Area, where the Bay Area Publishers Partnership (BAPP) is being developed. “The Bay doesn’t have the same level of clear leadership,” he says. “There is no ‘Sacramento Connect’ option for those publishers. I would like to bring the same technology [it is a meebo widget] to our publishers there on top of our ad network.”