I got an invite to Yourstreet beta today. I thought, "Cool, I'm special", until I realized that I signed up for the invite a while back.
On the top there's a map that you can drag around on or zoom and resize. There are three types of markers on the map: news, conversations and neighbors. You click on any one of these and get details. You can also choose whether to see news from today, the last week, the last month, or the last three months. Below the map are listings of the local news stories.
Unfortunately, I live in an area where nothing real big happens. They claim they scan blogs and newpapers daily for the stories they show, but it seems there is more happening around here than the map shows. The neighbors thing is obvious. When you sign up, you can set up your location on the map and choose either to have your name public or private. The profile is basic stuff: name, interests and website. Yourstreet says that they will be allowing users to add feeds of their blog in upcoming versions but until then, you can contact them to get your's listed. My city looked like a ghost town. No one else around here must have signed up yet.
Conversations are almost like location specific blog posts. Where a regular blog list posts by date. Here, you rollover a location to get the details. Other users can comment on your post. I made a test post to check it out. It took me a while to think of something. Roadkill here. Don't go to this restuarant, the food sucks. So I just posted something generic to see what it looks like.
This is actually the second incarnation of Yourstreet. They opened back in April as a real estate site that gave more personal details about neighborhoods you were looking at. A good idea. Especially when you have experienced moving 1200 miles like I have.
There are some buggy issues. The link in the Mashable links to http://yourstreet.com which gives you an error because apparently they aren't redirecting to http://www.yourstreet.com. I know the application runs on Rails because the error I got a couple of times while editing my profile said so. I am also not sure how to link to my profile from another site. I tried a few combinations and then found out that no 404 page had been set up. But issues like this are what betas are for.
The only monetization I see are Google ads, but a post on the Yourstreet blog suggests that there is more to come though. I do see a lot of potential. Google maps allows you to add your business for free or bid for advertising placement, but do they add news and open comments. Nope, their route was pure monetization geared toward people trying to find the local Pizza Hut. This takes it a step further, user generated content. I have to admit I don't have time to read the news to see what's going on around here most of the time, but when I see a story near my neighborhood, I might check it out. What about tracking down local concerts, flea markets, and just basic happenings that don't make the newpapers or classifieds. This could become a 2D Craigslist. Well, we will have to see.