Innovation That Matters

Local news widget helps estate agents inform home buyers

Publishing & Media

Hoodline Neighborhood Kits offer prospective home buyers more in-depth information on the areas they're browsing.

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The online news site, Hoodline, covers local news across San Francisco. Set up in 2010 by CEO Andrew Dudley, the site has until now relied on online advertising as their only source of income. However, keen to diversify their revenue in the face of increasingly stringent online advertising budgets, Dudley has created Hoodline Neighborhood Kits.

Neighborhood Kits are widgets that use content from Hoodline, as well as partners such as Mission Local and SFGate, to provide information about an area. Real estate agents can embed these widgets on their websites, allowing prospective buyers easy access to information about the area they are looking to move to. The kits offer users information on everything from where to eat and where their kids can play in the park, to local development news and how to get involved in community projects. According to Jes Wolfe, Hoodline’s COO, “Many real estate agents told us that they needed much better neighborhood content than the static, easily outdated and incomplete information that existed.” He also revealed that many agents are already buying the product, with prices that start at USD 100 annually for individual agents. The product will soon be available across all 38 neighborhoods in San Francisco. The founders are looking to expand the service out to other cities but say they are focused on proving the model first.

Neighborhood Kits do offer a somewhat ‘curated’ version of Hoodline content, with much of the information about crime edited out. Although Dudley argues that while there is still the opportunity for neighborhoods to be portrayed accurately in Hoodline’s editorial body of work, he is clear that “for this product, it’s important that we meet the customer need.” We have already seen a real-estate company enable house hunters to Airbnb in prospective neighborhoods before buying. Are there more ways technology can help buyers make one of the most important investments of their lives?



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