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OurPatch: Australia’s Backfence.com social network?


There’s a few of these popping up now – rural Australia geo-location village communities online.
I had a quick look at it – developed by Simon van Wyk, Steve von Kohorn and Patrick Cusack. Simon is ex-Hothouse. Built on syndeo ::media – ruby on rails framework – and focussed on classifieds and business directory. I think it’s making the same mistakes as the old Backfence.com (which has folded and been reborn a number of times) but we’ll see.

Still it can’t be any worse than the country Community-in-a-Box by Sensis, oops AUDA, that never really took off – I’ve blogged about that before.

Incidentally, how does syndeo::media compare to opensource RoR lovdbyless? Anyone?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

5 thoughts on “OurPatch: Australia’s Backfence.com social network?

  1. There is really no similarity to Backfence. That was largely driven by content i.e. local people contributing news stories. we’ve stayed away from news because it’s really hard to generate traffic that way and very hard to commercialise.

    You’re right time will tell and it’s early days.

  2. Hmmm no, early backfence ( 3 years ago?) was very similar to this one. In fact I wasn’t aware until I checked yesterday that it had been resurrected in the form you see it now.

    good luck with it all, you are up against some big players about to launch in regional online community space. I sincerely hope you route them. Heh.

  3. Hi Laurel,

    syndeo::media and lovdbyless are not exactly analogous. syndeo is a company that specialises in social media.

    We do have a social networking platform based on rails. Our platform media::core has been around for about 18months now. In the case of ourpatch, we developed a custom solution with parts of our toolkit.

    Lovdbyless is a great multipurpose SN platform. Out of the box it offers the core set of tools to build a community. Well recommended for anyone wanting to quickly set up a site.

    From our experience generic community platforms don’t usually work without customisation specific for the community. Not a bad thing when lovd is opensource but does require a knowledgable parties to get something that really works well.

  4. Thank you, you put that beautifully! 🙂

    I do wonder: opensource can be brilliant – I’ve seen Drupal customised and the modules and templates given back to the community. Such a lovely thing when that happens. And it’s been hard for me to find Ruby on Rails community developers here that aren’t flatchat.

    I just had the experience of a British company slapping up a “custom” site for a Middle Eastern company where the only thing custom was the CSS template, which was a bad one … grrr. I know I know, they should’ve caveat emptor… And no, it wasn’t a Ning/Social Platform white label solution they were looking for.

  5. hey, Laurel…
    Now Ourpatch is a couple of months older, come back and see what you think. We have taken on the market and delivered a much better alternative. We have managed to commercialise the model and keep it simple and really useful.

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