Examiner.com scoops up NowPublic

One citizen journalism news site buys another for an undisclosed sum, as the congested "hyperlocal" space starts to consolidate.

Citizen news site NowPublic has been sold to another company in the "hyperlocal" space, Examiner.com, the two companies announced Tuesday.

The two sites will operate independently, but Examiner will integrate NowPublic's technology into its site and will encourage NowPublic's contributors to also write for Examiner--right now, the buyer says it has grown 200 percent since the beginning of the year (it launched in April 2008) and has 15,000 active contributors, hoping to hit 30,000 by year's end.

NowPublic's executives, including CEO Leonard Brody, will join the management team of Clarity Digital Group, parent company of Examiner.

"Every day, we hear discussions about whether hyperlocal content will ever be scalable, sustainable, or profitable as a business entity," Examiner CEO Rick Blair said in a release. "With the acquisition of NowPublic, we have the technology to further engage our community of more than 17 million unique visitors per month, and distribute our stories in new and innovative ways."

Was this a bargain-basement acquisition? The companies did not disclose financial terms. But an insider in the space told CNET News that NowPublic had been shopping itself to some pretty big media companies for some time at a higher price than potential buyers were willing to pay. The company had raised about $12 million in venture funding .

Many media companies have simply been launching their own "citizen journalism" initiatives, like CNN's iReport and blogging experiments from newspapers like the Washington Post , which could make an exit tougher for the smaller players.

Digital-media companies like AOL and InterActiveCorp have also made plays to dominate the local-news market--AOL recently acquired local-focused start-ups Patch and Going , the former of which was already a personal investment on behalf of CEO Tim Armstrong, and the Barry Diller-run IAC has been placing a big emphasis on business directory Citysearch .

 

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