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New Zealand startup Locally Informed bring together news, community and services
Posted on 1-Feb-2010 09:00 | Filed under: News

New Zealand startup Locally Informed bring together news, community and services
New Zealand-based start-up, Locally Informed, brings a new way to uncover the local news and local knowledge that matters most to people in their communities. The web site also presents a new Solution Marketplace, leveraging the power of crowdsourcing and creating incentive based participation through the use of Locally Informed Credits.

“From the get-go, Locally Informed presents two compelling opportunities for everyone in New Zealand to earn extra income and become more locally aware and connected” says Shane Redlick, co-founder and director of Locally Informed.

Stepping beyond the boundaries of traditional news publishing, Locally Informed searches and organises news and local knowledge from hundreds of sources on the internet into one place, all continuously updated.

Additionally, readers enhance existing news and information by contributing their own photos and discussions. They also contribute their own stories and local knowledge as citizen journalists. “If it’s online and has something to do with your neighbourhood, city or region, our aim is to provide access to it”, says Shane.

Prior to Locally Informed, Shane was behind the Canadian publishing start-up Opinion250 News Inc, based in Northern British Columbia. “Locally Informed draws on the experiences of Opinion250”, says Shane, “providing the openness, access to information and sense of community we created back in Canada”.

Andrew Ross, co-founder and director, got behind Locally Informed early last year, after the sale of his Napier-based software firm, to US-based SolarWinds.

Shane and Andrew are joined by a team of twelve Community Editors in cities from around the country. “The local understanding and knowledge that each editor brings to the table is crucial to the effectiveness of Locally Informed in each community” says Andrew.

Because of that, Locally Informed is launching in only a handful of locations for now, including Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hastings, Lower Hutt, Manukau, Napier, Taupo, Wellington, and Northland.

According to the founders, the Solution Marketplace leverages the local knowledge and expertise to help people find a new way of solving the challenges and tasks they face every day. “Instead of trying to solve every challenge and task on your own, you tell everyone around you!” says Andrew. The idea of getting others to help out in this way isn’t new. In fact, it’s often referred to as crowdsourcing. What is new, however, is leveraging its strength at a local level and combining it with news and information publishing.

“In every other community or news website we’ve come across, visitors are asked to contribute to the website out of the goodness of their heart or for some other motivation” says Shane. “We’ve introduced a Credits system, where people are compensated for contributing. The more popular their contribution becomes, the more Credits they earn”.

People can then spend their Credits or use them as rewards in the Marketplace. “Our revenue comes from the sale of Credits. If you’ve not earned enough Credits by contributing news and information, or by winning a contest or contract in the Marketplace, you purchase them at a 1:10 ratio. 1 NZ Dollar for 10 Credits”, says Shane.

“Within each community exists the knowledge and skill to solve and build almost anything” says Andrew “and once people wrap their heads around this way of finding solutions, they’ll uncover a new and powerful way to get things done”.

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