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Upper West Side Neighborhood Blog Up for Sale on eBay

By Leslie Albrecht | December 6, 2010 7:52pm
The Westside Independent, a neighborhood blog, is up for sale on eBay.
The Westside Independent, a neighborhood blog, is up for sale on eBay.
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Westside Independent

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — For sale: one blog, slightly used.

The Westside Independent, a neighborhood blog that's chronicled news and events on the Upper West Side for just over a year, is up for sale on eBay.

The blog, which started tracking Upper West Side life in July 2009, began accepting bids Monday. By 5:30 p.m. three bidders had put in offers, the largest of which was $112.50.

The winning buyer will own the blog's domain name, a database of articles and design features, and related accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, according to the eBay listing. The auction will last 10 days.

The Westside Independent was started in July 2009 by journalist Avi Salzman, an Upper West Side resident who's written for the New York Times. The blog aimed to cover "the kind of news that a local newspaper covers — crime, politics, real estate, education and the arts" from West 59th Street to West 110th Street, according to the blog's About Us page.

Salzman could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Westside Independent reported on neighborhood-level happenings such as community board meetings, restaurant openings and crime in its bid to fill the gap left by traditional print newspapers as they struggle with reduced staffs and budgets.

The website is one of the few local news outlets that specifically covers Upper West Side neighborhood news, other than the blog My Upper West, the West Side Spirit newspaper and DNAinfo.

In July 2010 Salzman announced he was taking a short break from blogging.

The site hasn't been updated since then, much to the dismay of regular readers such as Malcom Carter, who said he's been checking Westside Independent every morning, eagerly awaiting its return.

Carter, a real estate broker who also writes his own blog, said he counted on Westside Independent to provide "relevant" news.

"I pride myself on keeping my readers up to date and Westside Independent was one important way I could do it," Carter said.

Carter said he learned of the dispute over the landmarking of West-Park Presbyterian Church from Westside Independent before he read it anywhere else.

Carter, a former journalist with the Associated Press, said Westside Independent provided an increasingly scarce commodity: hyperlocal news.

"There's no question that as newspapers run into financial issues and cut back staff, they no longer have the capacity to cover the neighborhood with the kind of comprehensiveness that's vital to anyone who lives in the neighborhood, and not only wants to know what's going, but needs to know what's going on within walking distance," Carter said.