Newsletter Reaches 15,000 Subscribers

Nation's most popular weekly local e-mail passes another milestone


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Note that take people's privacy very seriously and this is an opt-in newsletter only, so we will not subscribe anyone you refer directly. The person needs to complete the brief registration form themselves. which is believed to be the largest and most commercially successful hyperlocal site in the country now has 15,000 subscribers to its weekly newsletter.

In a field which is generally characterised by small scale, non-commercial efforts, goes a long way to disproving the contention that sites of this nature are economically unviable. Launched by Neighbour Net in 2000 to cover a single post code district of London there are now 9 similar sites in other areas of West and South West London. The group has over 35,000 registered members.

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Fears of saturation have not been realised with the site continuing to see good growth in both traffic and registrations. During January 2012 there were more than 50,000 unique users of the Chiswick site for the first time (source: Google Analytics) which exceeded the previous best seen during the August riots.

News is of primary importance in driving traffic to the site and at least 20 original news items are published each week. Unsurprisingly, celebrity themed stories are very popular as well as property related items and coverage of restaurants but items about local issues such as planning are not far behind. People like reading news they are helping to make.

The Chiswick e-mail newsletter is widely recognised as the most comprehensive source of local news and information. It features articles on a wide range of topics of relevance to Chiswick. It is also available as free platform for community groups wishing to encourage local participation or raise awareness of fund-raising events. Many local voluntary groups have reported a substantial increase in community activism as a result of being featured in the newsletter.

It provides a weekly digest of stories from around the area, many of which do not appear on the front page of the site. You can unsubscribe to the newsletter any time you want and the details that you give on subscription are not given to any third parties.

The newsletter remains the biggest driver of traffic to the web site. Although content is available through RSS and social media like Twitter, the busiest day of the week for the site is usually Sunday when the newsletter is sent out. Often major news stories are released first in the newsletter and subscribers can get an early view of competitions and offers.

The area was formerly served by Newsquest's Brentford, Chiswick and Isleworth Times which they had bought from the Dimbleby Group. A few years after the launch of Newsquest set up The Chiswick newspaper possibly as a response to the local challenge from the internet but that closed a few years ago as did the Times leaving the web site the only dedicated provider of news to the area.

Chiswick appears to be something of a hub for hyperlocal news with Northcliffe Media's Local People also based there although they do not run a site for the area.

Neighbour Net now has a network of similar sites and is seeing strong revenue and traffic growth in areas of London like Putney, Ealing and Acton. Each site has a locally based editor and a sales person.


March 4, 2012