Northbrook, IL; Vienna, VA (PRWEB) September 8, 2006
Backfence.com, a leading developer and operator of web sites for local communities, announced today the appointment of Andy Vogel to General Manager and Robert Reed to Content Manager and Editor in its Chicago area office.
Vogel was formerly in charge of digital strategy for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and has charted strategy for many notable online properties including JSOnline.com, the subscription based PackerInsider.com, and cars.com. He ran global business development from Chicago for Nextron, a Silicon Valley based software developer of products for the small business market. He also was consumer product manager for cars.com, where his efforts led to a three-fold increase in sales leads to cars.com customers. Vogel’s 2005 efforts on behalf of Roundy’s grocery chain won the Newspaper Association’s Digital Edge Award.
Reed is a former editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and radio host on WBBM Newsradio 780. He has extensively covered business for broadcast as host of the WBBM Evening Business Wrap-up and as an analyst on many local television news shows. Reed is a contributing editor for Chicago magazine and also a co-author of the Marion Press book, “Covering Business.” He has won numerous journalism awards, including the Peter Lisagor Award for commentary/columns. Before joining Backfence.com he was a reporter for Bloomberg Business News.
"Backfence is excited to have two people begin our operations in Chicago that have such a passion for the communities here," said Susan DeFife, CEO of Backfence.com. "We are going to take our experiences in suburban Washington, D.C., and San Francisco and help folks here mold their own unique Chicago-area flavor.”
Backfence will launch Suburban Chicago sites beginning in late September. Backfence’s local Web sites operate to keep communities informed about local events and issues in their neighborhoods using tools such as blogs, wikis, photo galleries and events calendars.
Founded in 2004 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife, Backfence (http://www.backfence.com) has its headquarters in Vienna, Va. The company is building advertising-backed hyperlocal community Web sites consisting entirely of content contributed by readers. The sites provide news coverage of the communities, as well as event listings, ratings and reviews of local businesses, photo galleries, free consumer-to-consumer classifieds, and other services. Access to the sites is free, and all that is required to post information is a simple registration. Backfence is supported by local and national advertising, including display ads, enhanced Yellow Pages listings and business classified ads—all priced low enough to make purchasing an ad to reach a local community a “cash-register decision” for local businesses. Backfence launched its first sites in McLean and Reston, Va. in May 2005 and has since added sites in Bethesda, Md., and Arlington, Chantilly, and Ashburn, Va. The company has also launched sites in the San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, San Mateo, and Sunnyvale. The company raised $3 million in funding in October 2005 from SAS Investors of New York, Omidyar Network of Silicon Valley, and a group of Washington-area private investors. The company has 20 employees.
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