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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The use of GeoDomains is an international success and a growing enterprise

GeoDomain use has expanded internationally and is used to inform residents and visitors of community relevant information. A GeoDomain is a Web address dedicated to a city or region, for example, Wayzata.com. In an entrepreneurial sense, marketers of GeoDomains have found success in working with community businesses to mutually expand business opportunities and exposure.

In an interview with Boulevards New Media Vice President of Sales Barry Hodge, he explains how Boulevards New Media has found success with their GeoDomains in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Below is an excerpt from the interview. To read the entire interview and to learn more about GeoDomains, visit www.associatedcities.com.

Associated Geos: When were you first introduced to the GeoDomain business? What interested you about it?
Barry Hodge: I was first introduced about seven years ago. The guy I was working for purchased Richmond.com. I must say it was against my better judgment! About 12 months later, he asked me if I would be interested in getting involved.

With a strong marketing background, I was curious about how a local city domain could be used to help local businesses utilize the Internet. I was very fortunate in that I had the opportunity to totally revamp how Richmond.com was presented and marketed.

We chose to shy away from a CPM model, which I totally believe devalues the marketing opportunities that exist for a client, and sold fixed-position marketing solutions. It kind of worked, and in our first full year in Associated Geos, Richmond.com was recognized as one of the best GeoDomains in the country.

We were the first (and as far as I am aware) the only GeoDomain to become the default convention and visitor bureau Web site. We also secured a partnership with the Richmond Association of Realtors that made Richmond.com’s real estate channel the most trafficked real estate Web site outside of Realtor.com.

Boulevards New Media was recognized as the 800-pound gorilla within our industry. It was my ambition to see if I could assist them in replicating the success I had enjoyed in Richmond.

AG: Has the future played out as Boulevards New Media predicted? What does that future look like now?
BH: The cost effect on the Internet with GeoDomains and the ability for advertisers to understand the value of what they are getting or not getting with dollars spent has changed the face of media. The old adage was that 50 percent of advertising revenue is wasted, but they never knew what 50 percent.

The Internet has changed that because it’s so transparent. It’s either working or not working. The Internet has changed the face of media without a doubt. If GeoDomains get their act together, they can continue to gain significant market share of local Minneapolis advertising spending.

AG: What type of services do you think a GeoDomain can offer to increase ad revenue and traffic (both of which were once the exclusive territory of other traditional media)?
BH: What springs to mind instantly is e-marketing and video and taking over the functional elements of direct marketing tools like still-picture printed pieces. In terms of classified ads, they are already dead in traditional media and video is going to affect direct marketing in the same way.


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