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Hoodline Launches Content Referral Widget That Treats Local News

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Hoodline continues to serve as a reliable source of information on neighborhoods for San Francisco and Oakland, but it has also been creating tools that help other publications to supplement their local coverage.

Earlier this year, the company launched a news feed that automates the creation of local news using online data sources such as Yelp and Zumper. Now, it also publishes a content recommendation widget that is also focused on local news.

We've all seen business widgets like Outbrain and Taboola, usually with celebrity headlines, gadgets or sensationalist headlines. Chief Operating Officer Jessica Wolfe said the Hoodline Module was designed to meet the demands of "hundreds" of publishers and broadcasters who wanted to provide truly relevant content recommendations to readers, not just generic clickbits. "

The recommended stories come from several different sources – the individual publisher (in fact they can limit the recommendations to their own articles if they want it), the Local Data Wire Hoodline and the wider network d & # 39; publishers.

Whatever the source, CTO Shwetank Kumar said that the Atlas Hoodline platform can automatically tag articles with things like geolocation and feeling. So, when the module appears next to an article, it can recommend other relevant articles locally and having a similar theme and tone.

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By limiting recommendations to local news from the Hoodline network, the company should be able to avoid most of the clickbait filling other content widgets. In addition, product manager Melissa Mazman said Hoodline was trying to "find a balance" by publishing content that people really want to read without prioritizing clicks at the expense of quality or other measures. 39; commitment.

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Kumar added that the location-centric approach also means that Hoodline can provide these recommendations without tracking your online behavior. Or, as he says, "We try to do personalization by locating rather than violating privacy."

Of course, not all neighborhoods will have a rich stock of relevant stories, but Mazman said the module "continues to zoom in" on the city or even on the level of the city. state until it finds relevant content. (It's usually not necessary to go anywhere in the state – Mazman said that returning to the metropolitan area was usually enough.)

Hoodline reports that in the initial tests, the module resulted in an average clickthrough rate that was more than double that of existing products. You can judge the recommendations side by side with Outbrain on the websites of local ABC channels. (Hoodline participated in the startup accelerator run by ABC's parent company Disney), for example in this story of a Taqueria fire on Houston – the Outbrain recommendations appear in head, while Hoodline feeds the "Houston Plus" headlines.

By the way, I must note that Hoodline's editorial team is headed by the former TechCrunch editor (and my longtime friend) Eric Eldon. The start-up was acquired by Ripple News (now known as Pixel Labs) in 2016, and since then, Hoodline has become the brand name for all products aimed at business consumers.

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