LocalReplay, a stealth-mode startup which I invested in, was just outed on Alarm Clock and other sites on the basis of a LinkedIn help-wanted. So much for secrets in cyberspace. The bot’s are ever vigilant.
LocalReplay is a hyper-local site for youth sports and quietly began hyper-locally in North Carolina and vicinity with intense coverage including video and stills of games and players, StarCards, TeamCards, and many other kinds of cards as well. The cards are inspired by what we used to collect from bubblegum packs and have not only pictures but also videos associated with them. Players fill out their own StarCards; TeamCards are composites with parts filled in by coaches and other parts filled in by fans and players,
Here’s the StarCard for basketball player Jamius Gunsby of the LaGrange, GA Wolverines.
Use of the service has been spreading as one team plays (and talks to and emails) another. Professional and amateur photographers and writers, fans, and players all contribute content. The result is a rich archive full of stuff that people really care about. Evidence includes eight minute average visit time and 45% repeat visits.
LocalReplay is an example of what I believe will be the next wave of Web successes – services which strengthen and enhance existing local groups. Broadband penetration has now increased to the point where even a local group can count on most of its members having access. FaceBook (see earlier post) is a prime example of this new breed of application: it didn’t create the campuses, obviously; but it does serve them and, in its initial stage, spread virally campus to campus rather than person to person.
LocalReplay is also an example of how local news can be much richer in the days of the web. Broadcast video of local sports has been almost non-existent, sometimes appearing briefly on local cable channels or over the air. Yet watchers of local sports have been recording it ever since the super-8 movie camera made that possible. The first video-cam I ever used was one we rented to tape a basketball game daughter Kelly was playing in. Now all that recording can be made broadly available to the people who care about it. Everyone who wants to be is a video sports reporter. Proud grandpa in Grand Rapids can watch (and rewatch) the touchdown in Topeka. Last year’s game is as accessible as this one.
Success for these hyper-local sites will come a community at a time. It is possible to succeed in some places and not in others because local participation defines success or failure. Scale is needed to support software development and the platforms but 10% penetration of members of 99% of the targeted local groups is failure while 60% penetration of 20% of the groups could be a wild success (although allows room for competitors to steal a march). It’s better to get it right locally than blow out fast everywhere.