Hyperlocal news sites reported big traffic surges during Hurricane Sandy. AOL’s Patch reported its highest ever traffic on Monday. Page views were up 88 percent over its previous highest day, particuarly at the sites based in the NY area. Other local area focused news sites such as The Daily Voice, Sheepshead Bites and Baristanet also reported higher than ever traffic.
Whether traffic spikes translate into long-term gains is unclear. Baristanet founder Debbie Galant said to Advertising Age that six years ago local sites were the only place to find pictures of storms in progress. But with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even platforms like CoveritLive, Scribblelive and Storify, there is less advantage in being the sole purveyor of local news.