Backfence in my backyard

This one doesn’t qualify as a random thought, this is just random period. Alternative, I’m missing something very obvious.

Backfence is a host for neighborhood Web sites. Of all the places in the US they seem to operate in thirteen towns for now:

Notice anything interesting about that list? At least interesting if you were me?


I’ll give you a moment. (This will only work for people who know me somewhat.)




Both Evanston, IL and Palo Alto, CA are on the list. What are the chances?

5 Responses to “Backfence in my backyard”

  1. Noor Says:

    At first, I was thinking maybe they were focusing on college towns but that’s only Palo Alto and Evanston.

    And what’s up with all those places in Virginia? Are Virginians more neighborly than others?

  2. Darian Patchin Says:


    I’m actually the VP of Marketing for and I think I can clear up any mysteries here. The company orginally launched in the Washington, DC suburbs about a year ago. The reason for this was partly due to the fact that the founders were based in the DC area.

    Also, we believed that many of the suburban areas were underserviced by local newspapers and web sites in terms of providing good hyper-local information. The concept is to provide a platform for the residents, local organizations, and businesses to report, share, and discuss what’s important to them–essentially letting the community determine what get’s reported. For example, a local newspaper may not have the resources to report that a robbery took place in a local park, but this information is sought after by the residents that live there.

    A variety of data points go into which communities we launch and in what order (demogogrpahics, number of businesses, population, broadband penetration, strength of sense of community, etc.).

    We then launched in the Bay Area–Palo Alto, San Mateo and Sunnyvale. We wanted both an East And West Coast presence and to launch in areas that we felt may be underserved but had all the datapoints mentioned above.

    Most recently, we’ve launched in the Chicagoland suburbs to extend our “footprint” to the Midwest. Chicagoland also has many strong communities that may not have particularly good hyper-local resources. So, we hope that we can fulfill a need.

    In the near future we hope to figure out better ways to launch faster while continuing to provide highly hyper-localized content and outreach to the community.

    I hope this helps answer any questions. Feel free to email me directly with any questions or comments at Darian at

  3. eszter Says:

    Thanks, Darian, it’s interesting to get the background about the company.

    You don’t know enough about me to know why I noticed those cities in particular. I ordinarily live in Evanston, but this year I’m on leave living in Palo Alto. It was funny to see that both of these towns were on that short list.

  4. Darian Patchin Says:

    Well, I guess we both have good taste and business sense! Cheers.

  5. Zoli Erdos Says:

    Hm, Eszter, why didn’t they like your backyard? 🙂