Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!


Listeners of the World,

A new year is upon us with new expectations and goals. 2010 was a fun but bumpy ride filled with many high and low points. In this new year we will be pushing forward with many new adjustments and improvements to our site, staff, and overall view of OurTown.com!

List of what to expect:

Site errors and down time will be eliminated for good right after the first of the year!
- For the past few months OurTown has had a lot of down time due to server issues. We have been working non-stop to get these fixed and in the process delayed certain aspects of improving the site. In the beginning of January we will be moving our site to a new "Managed Cloud" that will have a team of Server Admins looking over it. We will also be contracting a team that specializes in Servers to move the site to make sure that we get it done right! After this is done we will be able to put all the errors and down time behind us!

Introducing a new ad platform that local editors will be able to use!

- During the 2010 year our sister company produced a brand new ad platform site (vADz.com) which allows small and medium sized businesses to produce their own video ad. This will now be an option for all of our local editors to help in obtaining local advertising. We hope that with this new added advantage more local editors will start to sell even more ads and at a higher price!

Recruiting 5,000 new local editors!

- This past year was a good year for OurTown, but our local editor count did not increase at the rate we expected. Most of the reason is due to the fact that we had so much going on that we did not focus enough energy and resources to recruitment. This year we are putting this at the top of our list and no matter how crazy this year gets we will not lose focus on this goal!

Release of the new OurTown site!

- This past year we were set to release a new site with a brand new look and new features......but that didn't happen. We had many delays due to many unexpected issues that ranged from programming to servers! This year we are back on track will have the new site delivered!
Plus much more!

- With everything else listed above some may find it hard to believe that we have even more planned......but we do! Stay tuned and focus next year for we will have a boat load of surprises!

We here at OurTown would like to thank everyone for the great year and look forward to next year being even greater! HAPPY NEW YEAR

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to write a local story!


Listeners of the World,

In the past only professional writers, and journalist were considered good at writing and telling stories.......well that has all changed! Now a days you see articles and stories coming from all kinds of talented people because of the overwhelming popularity of blogs, and hyper-local news sites. Many wonder what changed, or did this happen? Well with the continuing disappearance of local newspapers fewer people are choosing writing or journalism as careers, but as hobbies!

Now that we have more writers who are doing it because it's fun and not for just a paycheck I believe we are getting better stories, and a bigger variety! To help keep this passion alive I have put together a few helpful hints to help get some of the newer writers a kick-start.

Tips!

1) When starting an article make sure to gather as much information as possible about the event or story you are covering!

2) Try to get a quote or reaction from either the focus of the story or from by-standers.

3) Give it a personal touch! Give it an opinion or put it into words that the reader would use.

4) Make sure to wrap the story up with the outcome or give it a follow up letting the readers follow the story until the end.

5) Don't be afraid that your article isn't formatted the same as a national story, or that is isn't professional enough. A lot people will find it easier to read than some of the stories they read about in major newspapers.

6) Always be on the lookout for a new story or topic to write about. The best stories come when you least except them.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when you are starting to write your own articles and stories. These will help you at least in the beginning!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why the Need for Hyper Local News?

Listeners of the World,

Many ask why there is the need for smaller hyper-local new sites when we already have big media outlets all over the world, and the answer is simply they don't cover all the news. Yes they cover a lot of different stories, but the face of the matter is that there is no way to cover all the stories so they choice to cover what they deem important. There lies the problem, what if you have a different opinion of what is important?

Well over the past years with all the smaller newspapers going out of business this is occurring more and more with people. They want to know more about what is happening in their town and less about how one politician called another a name! They want to know more about the good things happening around their town instead of there was a fire, murder, and accident. Yes those are all very important news, but with the limited time and space they get for telling news they have to hit those while leaving out other news that might make you feel good.

I am not saying that hyper-local news is the complete answer, but a very important part of news. It goes hand-and-hand with national and state news. It allows you to find out about things that you normally wouldn't of know about. In the future you will hopefully see more hyper-local news along side national news to give you the whole story from the neighborhood to the country!

So why would we need hyper local news? Simply because it's news and without it we would be in dark of what's going on around us!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, December 2, 2010

End of the year.......


Listeners of the World,

It is now December and another year is almost by us with a new year on the horizon. We are very excited about the upcoming year and what it will bring for everyone at OurTown for this year has some big events lined up! Now we still have one more month left this year which will be mainly spent on fixing the servers, the continuation with the new site, and a few additions to the current site.

Some things to look out for next year -

- New OurTown site.
- New ad system with video ads included.
- New training schedule complete with webinars.
- New local editors and areas. (along with new community leaders)

Please make sure send us any questions or requests about the upcoming year at Support@OurTown.com.

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Listeners of the World,

Once again it is that time of year where Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas is right around the corner! A time of year where many spend time with their friends and loved ones to remember why they are thankful. A time of year where gifts are given and people overeat!!! Where you work less and play more! The time of year you get to see your whole family and friends from far off places. A very good time of the year!

With all of that in mind the OurTown Home Office would like to give thanks for all of our wonderful and hard working local editors, local and national advertisers, and of course to all of our viewers. Without all of you OurTown would be nothing! We want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and hope they enjoy it to the fullest.

We would also like to remind everyone that with all of your friends and family in town that it is the perfect time to capture memories and share them with everyone! So please feel free to post pictures, videos, and stories about your great holiday events and experiences.

So once again from all of us at the Home Office we wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!!!!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Day After......


Listeners of the World,

OurTown is back up and has been back up since late afternoon yesterday. We went through a process of setting up new servers that are more powerful than our old ones to help fix a lot of issues we have been having. We did get most of the process finished and are looking very good! We will be taking them back down to finish everything up next week. For now OurTown is operational and you should continue to upload content, comment, and view all pages normally. If anyone finds any errors or has any issues please send them to Support@OurTown.com immediately so that we can take care of them.

I will update you once again when we are taking them back down, and keep you updated on our server situation!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Server Maintenance Today!

Listeners of the World,

OurTown.com has been experiencing a lot of down time lately due to various server and hosting reasons. We have been hard at work on fixing this problem and have decided that we need to transfer OurTown.com to completely new servers, but by doing this OurTown will be down for 4-5 hours! We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank you for your understanding and patience. We will keep you updated today on our progress!!!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Update


Listeners of the World,

We have many things in the mix right now and are gearing up for the new year that is coming! We are right now working with a few sites to add new widgets and feeds to OurTown which will help all of our local editors broaden their content! We are also working on expanding our local editor count and to start new introduction programs.

We are still working on the new site which we are hoping will be completed now by early next year. I know that this has been delayed and we apologize for this, but we promise that it is worth the wait! Most the new features we are installing on the current site will transfer over to the new site.

We are also looking into installing OurTown leaders and coaches to help with new and old local editors who may be having trouble in certain areas (content, layout, ad sales, etc). We hope that these new additions will help in local editor training and expansion.

Next update will be a lot sooner!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, October 25, 2010

Game Break Anyone?


Listeners of the World,

In today's world you will find piles of work, stress, uncertainty, and boredom around every corner at all hours of the day! A lot of times you feel as if you need to take a "time out" or break and just clear your mind so that you can re-focus. Well some people sit and stair, read the news, surf the net, update Facebook, or do one of the many quick non-meaningful tasks to help clear ones mind - sometimes you forget to have fun in that moment. That is why I always try to play a fun, yet quick game that helps me to clear my mind and reboot!

That is where GamesJr.com comes into play. It is a fun site with many new and classic games on it that can keep you busy for hours, or for that 5-10 minutes you need to clear your head. You even have the option to just play the games without registering or logging on! This gives you the max time to just go to a site, click on a game and start playing.

Right now we are in the process of continuously adding games and adding our "Facebook App" into their directory so that you can even play our games without ever leaving Facebook. To help us with this please click HERE. So the next time you feel yourself needing a "time out", why not play a game!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New to OurTown.com!


Listeners of the World,

While we are waiting for the new site to be completed we have been working to make sure that the current site is updated and fresh! That is why we are still adding new features to the site like our newest island (widget) - FlickedUp Movie Reviews.

This feed is brought to you by Brett Martin who is a certified film critic and member of the BFCA (broadcast film critics association). Brett has 20 years of broadcast TV experience as an anchor, reporter, producer, and photographer. He also produces and directs high end commercials for people in real estate ( primarily vacation real estate).

You will be able to find his feed across the OurTown network of sites starting this week! His feed will be focused on reviewing the latest movies to hit the theaters. For more on Brett Martin and Flicked Up visit - HERE and for some of his great interviews check out HERE !

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Friday, October 8, 2010

Social News?

Listeners of the World,

News is an important and needed part of any person's life whether they like it or not! It is the only way to keep current with the world around us so that we can try and make better choices and understand the changes happening around us. News has been changing a lot over the past few years - how we read it, write it, perceive it, and what type we truly care about! This got our Home Office and team of developers thinking about what type of changes we could make to OurTown to make news fun and important again.

Then we set out on creating a new OurTown site keeping all of this in mind. We have added a lot of new functionality to make it very simple to upload different photos, videos, events, and articles to make sure that entering in news doesn't feel like "work". We have also brought in a "social" feel to the site allowing different local edit0rs to have friends and contributors who will have their own accounts on the site. This way you can create an online community who shares news, photos, events, etc. with not only their site, but with each other.

We are wanting to create a social news feel that will add the fun back into news! It will also give each person the feeling that they are news themselves considering the news that they are submitting is being shown across our news network. It will change the way you try to find and read news!

Please remember that this site and more news is some to come.........

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's been happening in September!

Listeners of the World,

I apologize for not posting a lot during the month of September, but this is because if how busy we are with everything that is going on! This month alone we have been focused on all three of our sites.

OurTown.com

We are still in the process of finishing the site. We have had a lot of set backs on this project due to how big and elaborate the site is going to be! We have our development team working around the clock to try and get this finished as soon as possible, but also with them paying very close attention to detail. It is a very tricky process to balance.

But even without the new site OurTown.com is still moving forward signing up new local editors and reaching out to new content partners to provide as much support as we possibly can to all of our local editors. We will also continue to maintain a very close eye on the current site and put forth a great effort to upgrade it even with the new site so close to being released!

Once the new site is released we will make a huge push for local editor recruitment and local editor involvement throughout the new OurTown community!

vADz.com

vADz.com is up and completed for the most part! We are still changing some of the navigation to create a simpler flow for our users and we are still in the process of adding additional options and features. We have both of our video editors completed! So anyone created a professional video ad as the option of using our "Flash" editor or "HTML5" editor.

For now we are offering a Free Trial to anyone who wants to create a vADz video ad which is good for our middle gold package. We are right now in the process of presenting the site to many different people with many different interests to show the wide range of what you can create through vADz.com.

Well that's just a small look into the busy month we have had and I will continue to update more often starting today!!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Friday, September 10, 2010

All Most Ready!


Listeners of the World,

We are very excited around the OurTown corporate office for the brand new OurTown site is getting very close to completion! We are well into the final phase of the the new site and should be receiving news that it will be ready to start having all the local editors using it very soon! Earlier I posted a link with the new site look and overall feel so that people could see how the new site will be set up.

For all those who missed the first link - New OurTown Site

While we are finishing up the site we are still open to suggests and comments about what you the viewer, local editor, or even potential local editor think! Also we are still looking for new local editors to help fill out our map across the US. So please don't be shy, lets us know what you think so far!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Friday, September 3, 2010

Online Video Advertising


Listeners of the World,

Online advertising has seen a steady growth over the past decade even with the economy taking a nose dive over the past few years and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. In fact it seems that online advertising will start explode soon with the introduction of video ads! In the past text and image ads have been the majority of ads produced and viewed via the web and now it seems to be shifting to more interactive and video ads.

Now a lot of businesses are still skeptic of video ads due to the time and cost you have to put into making and producing them. Also one would have to wonder of the amount of sites that the ad could be posted! But even with all of this companies are pushing forward to make video advertising one of the biggest growing sensations in the advertising business.

There are now a growing number of sites that offer many different type of solutions for businesses that want video ads. One site that comes to mind is vADz.com! It solves the problems of time and money when it comes to creating a video ad. vADz has very cost efficient price points that are all under $100.00, and we give they give you a state of the art video editor which allows you to create the ad at your own pace!

If you are interested in creating a low cost, yet very effective video ad check out vADz.com. As a bonus they just happen to being running a Free Trial offer as well for people to try out this exciting new opportunity!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, August 30, 2010

OurTown's Search!

Listeners of the World,

As we approach the launch of the newly revamped OurTown site we wanted to take some time and focus on the people that will make the site worthwild.............which are the local editors! They are the ones who provide that great stories and information on the individual sites that bring people to OurTown.com. Without these special individuals we wouldn't have a site!

So now that we are getting closer and closer to the release of the new site it's time to ramp up the search for new local editors to expand our reach on the US. So I decided to write a post listing all of the qualities that we are looking for in potential local editors.

Potential Local Editor Qualities:

- Must care and be involved in your community.
- Must be able to dedicate 5-15 hours a week working on the site.
- Must be 18 or older to be a local editor.
- Must live or spend over 80% of your time within community that you are reporting on.
- Must be able to keep "fresh" content on the site each week.
- Goal oriented is a plus!

So if the above describes you then why not check out OurTown.com to read in full the great opportunity that OurTown.com offers!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is Social Media Enough?

Listeners of the World,

One may wonder is social media enough of a marketing tool to only focus on Facebook, Twitter, linkedin, and etc or do you need more? That is a question that many small businesses and major marketing departments are asking themselves. I know because I have asked myself this question over and over again within the past few months.........and the verdict is still out!

Many small start-ups with little to no marketing budget have done wonders using just social media sites to create relationships and to promote their product. They have been able to create the same amount of audience that some companies have spent thousands to obtain. But the question is still there for if this is enough as they grow!

Now the bigger the business the bigger the NO on this question! It took a long time for many of the bigger businesses out there to even recognize social media as a marketing tool. Now they are creating positions just for social media (social media marketing, community manager, etc) to help keep their companies up with the latest online trends. But is this them phasing out other marketing strategies to focus in on social media?

The real answer is both depending on where you are at with your business! I think that only using social media while your business is starting up is a great idea to help save money and to help manage time. This way you can focus most of your time to building your brand and making relationships instead of investing money you don't have into different marketing schemes that don't work out. Once you have build your brand and actually started making money you can focus on hiring marketing firms, marketing associates, etc to help expand your brand!

In the end I think before you answer this question you should take a look at where you business is in the marketplace, because sometimes the answer will be yes and sometimes the answer will be no!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First look at the New Site!



Listeners of the World,

We have been in the process of revamping the OurTown.com site. It has been a process that has been under way since last December which has been nothing but exciting! The site was suppose to be finished at the end of April, but this just didn't happen for many reasons. We now are very close to having a lot of the site completed with some elements missing and we wanted to give everyone a sneak peak to the new site!

If you search for "masonville" you will be able to access a test site that show the layout of the new material. Like always please send me and comments, suggestions, or problems you may have.

New Site

Masonville Site

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Friday, August 6, 2010

Win a New Flip Video Camera!


Listeners of the World,

Today I wanted to talk about another site that was recently created and developed by my parent company (Chicago West Pullman) to help with small to medium sized businesses video advertising needs called vADz.com. Now I have had posts in the past describing the service and how it can benefit you, but today I wanted to talk about something that they are running on the site...........a Contest!

Starting Monday August 9, vADz will be running a promotional contest to see who can create the best vADz video ad. The contest will allow everyone two weeks to enter a video to be judged by the Home Office. Once all video's have been submitted, we will pick the top five videos to be placed on the vADz facebook fan page to be judged by our fans.

Our fans will have two weeks to vote on which video they like the best, with an update on the standings being tweeted everyday via our vADz twitter account. At the end of the two weeks we will tally all the votes and announce the winner who will receive a Free Flip Video Camera, and have there vADz video ad showcased on the vADz homepage.

Now there is one more way to get your video to the vote on the vADz facebook fan page by winning the "At-Large Bid". Now this will go to the person who referred the most people to the contest. When you submit your vADz video ad we have provided a section to enter in who referred you to the contest. So this way you are guarantee to get your vADz video ad one step closer to winning!

So remember come Monday lets get to work on a brand new vADz video ad to have a chance to win a Free Flip Video Camera, and remember that you can use the Free Trial option on the site so that the contest is completely FREE!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

4 Part Social Marketing Series.

Listeners of the World,

About 2 weeks ago I started a 4 part series on how I have used social media marketing to my advantage. Today I am going to finish up with the last installment of the series with my focus on foursquare. Most people have heard of foursquare, but do people really know how to use foursquare!

foursquare - With today's "on the go" society many people have relied strictly on their phones for social media communication thus bringing up the idea for foursquare. This application lets you check in to different places and awards you different badges based on how many times you have checked in. You can even become the major of certain establishments to receive discounts!

Tips on how to maintain a foursquare account:

- To maintain an account is very simple in the world of foursquare! You just need to check in to any important places you go and have it post to your twitter or facebook accounts. Then connect your account with all of your friends to be able to share the information.

- Now make sure that you are not just checking in to everyplace you go or it will become tired-some and time consuming. I like to check in at work, home, and if I am out at a nice restaurant or a sporting event.

- Now many businesses have offered awards in the past for becoming the major, even if the businesses is a big business like Starbucks! Now for all the small businesses I would recommend you sign up and offer an award for becoming the major at your establishment. It doesn't have to be a big award, most places were just offering something small like a dollar off.

Overall foursquare is a rather simple application, so there is not really too much to go over with maintaining an account or trying to use it to attract customers. But, it is a much needed application that will help tie together your social media marketing.

Now that I have covered the basics on 4 of the most popular social applications I want you to step back and think about how to tie all of this together to help promote your brand. The first thing you should realize is that it will be time consuming and not to rewarding in the very beginning. But once you have worked at it for about a month and followed through on all the different sites, then you will see a huge reward!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, August 2, 2010

Great Tips!

Listeners of the World,

Last Thursday I was going to post my final part of a 4 part social marketing series, but I have saved that until tomorrow. Please look forward for the conclusion of the series tomorrow, but today check out these tips to help with creating a great OurTown site!

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/simple-linking-strategies-for-better-seo-steve-strauss

Please let me know if you think these tips help!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hyper-Local Article

Listeners of the World,

Today I have decided to post a worth wild article instead of writing my own. The person who sent it to me found it off Time.com. Please take a look at the link below!



Time Article



Let me know what you think, and don't forget about my final part of my social media marketing series that will be coming this Thursday!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, July 26, 2010

4 Part Social Marketing Series.

Listeners of the World,

Last week we talked about two of the social media giants (Facebook and Twitter) that could help you spread your brand and help create a following. This week I wanted to talk about a site that can not only help in spreading your brand, but also with networking, leads, and much needed tips and advice! A site filled with professionals just like you...........Linkedin.com!

Linkedin.com - Is a great social media site that helps with all aspects of your business. It helps you connect with future customers, competitors, and even maybe future business partners! It is a well build site that helps many marketing professionals stay up with current and new technologies and ideas. The site in short is the real deal!

Tips on how to create and maintain a Linkedin account:

- When you are first starting your account make sure to fill it out as detailed and complete as possible. You want to highlight all of your skills and try to obtain recommendations from friends, employers, and co-workers. The more detailed and complete profile; the more likely you will be to connect with the right people!

- Try and join all the groups that pertain to you and your field of expertise. Once you have joined make sure to participate in the group; not only to just make new connections, but to also learn new tips! Finally try and create a group or your own either for your company or field. This will help with spreading your brand, getting fresh ideas, and helping to find the right people to help your company.

- Connect with as many people as possible! The more people you are connected to the better chance you have of getting introductions to important people in your field. These can help you to reach a deal or partnership that had no way of happening before!

-Take advantage of entering in your business to their business listings, while also posting any job openings on the site. This is a great way to obtain top level employees while letting everyone know the details of your business.

- Lastly we come to their "direct ads" which is advertising directed to the users of your choice on the site. This is a great way to reach business owners, top manage, and even CEO's! It's easy and you can choose your budget!

I hope that you are enjoying this mini-series of marketing so far! I have one last post that will be coming later this week to finish up the series. Please let me know what you think of it so far!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, July 22, 2010

4 Part Social Marketing Series.

Listeners of the World,

Earlier this week I enlighten everyone with the first part of my Social Marketing Series on how to incorporate Facebook into your business. Today I am going to focus on another social media giant that is Twitter.com!

Twitter - Twitter has become a huge sensation over a very small amount of time compared to Facebook. Many businesses are utilizing this tool to reach all of their customers with a simple tweet instead of mass email, or letter. Others are using it to run different contests and even to answer customer service questions and problems. It has become a necessary tool for many small businesses out there with little to no marketing budgets.

Tips on how to build and maintain a twitter account:


- Make sure to reach out to people who are either interested in your field or business. A lot of people will try to just reach out to everyone, but you want to avoid looking like a spammer or amassing a twitter list of people who don't care about your product.

- Make sure to personalize the tweets and to mix it up! This way you don't sound like a marketing machine instead of an interesting person with a product that might peak their interest. Many mix in "quotes of the day" and trivia to keep a fun balance.

- Always answer direct tweets. You will always want to engage your followers so that they feel if they interact someone will care and answer them. Most businesses will also tweet "thank yous" to loyal customers to make them feel appreciated.

- Tweet just the right amount. You don't want to put out too many tweets about your product or people will become annoyed or put off by it. Also you don't want to tweet to little about your product or they will forget what it even is! I would recommend you tweeting about 5-10 times a day and to only make a few about new products and product updates.

- Take advantage of all the extras! Make sure to give yourself a personal background, etc - use all the options given to you to maximize your customers experience!

- Lastly make sure to tie in all other social accounts together once again. Make sure to have a link to your blog, facebook page, fan page, etc to help expand your brand.

Please make sure to tune in next week when I post the final two parts of this series and also let me know if you have any questions, or comments!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, July 19, 2010

4 Part Social Marketing Series.

Listeners of the World,

Today I start a 4 part series on how I have used social media marketing to my advantage. I have operated on what is considered a low marketing budget and I have found different ways to help get your name/brand to the masses. Below I will list the different sites and how I've used them to try and spark greatness!

Facebook - Every business small or large should have some type of presence on facebook. It is now the number one visited site and is closing in on about 500 million users. Now there are many different ways you can use facebook. You can create a user account, fan page, group page, or use the API and create different games and applications to be used by facebook users.

For those who want to take the route of creating a user account I would suggest the following:

- Update and comment daily on your status and those of your friends. This keeps your brand in their news thread and on their minds.

- Post interesting and meaningful links, events, and pictures that relate to your business or brand. For example I post multiple story links a day that will link my friends to OurTown.com.

- Make a lot of friends, but be choosy! Facebook only allows each user account to have 5,000 friends, so you will want your friend people interested in your field of work/brand.

- Link, link, link! Make sure that you have everything linked to your facebook page: your site, blog, twitter, digg, etc. The more options you give the users, the better of you are!

For those who want to take the route of creating a Fan Page I would suggest the following:

- Get someone tech savvy involved to enhance and spice up the page with some HTML coding. This will help make your page stand out from your competitors.

- Make sure not to update too little or too much. Updating too much will annoy your fans and drive them away, while updating too little will make them forget you even exist. I would recommend about once or twice a week.

- Have friends help you! This is a great time to take in your own friends list and send out your page to your friends. Then ask them to forward it on to their friends and so on. This is a quick and easy way to gather fans in the beginning


For those who want to take the route of using the API for games and apps I would suggest the following:

- Make sure it's fun, easy, and working! Now this kinda hits all types of games and apps you can put on facebook.

- Make sure to update these games and apps on a regular basis to keep the users interested and on their heels.

- Make sure to tie in these apps or games to any user account, fan page, or group page you may have.

Now remember the more you have on facebook the better! I would recommend combining a user account with a group page and applications, while also combining a fan page with a group page and applications. Either of these combination's would help out any business with expanding their client base and brand. Make sure to check back later in the week for my next installment!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blog Talk Radio!


Listeners of the World,

This is a very exciting week for we should start to see a working Beta of the brand new OurTown site! But until we can see that I wanted to talk about Blog Talk Radio. It is a potential brand new feature that we might bring to OurTown.com to help out our local editors.

This is a new site (blogtalkradio.com) that one of our very own local editors found and brought to my attention. This site allows any one to be able to host their very own online talk radio show! It is free to use (unless you want the premium package) as just a listener or a host. It has great tools and features to help you really relate to an audience.

There would be many different ways we could use this on OurTown.com. Each local editor would be able to use this to broadcast various radio shows about their community or town per month. We could also use it for all the local editors to tune into a Home Office broadcast letting everyone know about that latest happenings with OurTown.com. Either way it would be a very useful new feature to add to OurTown.com

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, July 8, 2010

OurTown Site Update!


Listeners of the World,

It has been a few weeks since I gave an update on our new site. It is now in its 7Th month of production and I finally received good news yesterday! I will have something to show all the local editors and viewers before the end of the month, and by something I mean a new site!!

It has been a long and drawn out process to get to the point we are at now, but I can say that this site will be worth it. The new look alone with help boost viewer appeal right away, not to mention all of the new and overhauled features. The new site will be the way a news site should look, feel, and entertain!

Once they give me the information of how to log on and get to the new site I will post it on here for everyone to take a look at the brand new system. Also it's not to late to comment with different suggestions to make the new site great. So please let me know of your ideas!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 4TH


Listeners of the World,

The 4th of July is coming up very quickly and everyone seems to either be getting ready to set out on their long weekend adventure or is already on their way. You will see most people traveling to lakes, family, or nice vacation spots. Others will be throwing parties and meeting at bars to celebrate this great weekend of Independence. But will anyone be truly celebrating and remembering why this weekend is so great?

Over the years I feel that the American people have lost the true meaning of the 4th of July. Just last week I overheard someone talking to a man from another country telling him to have a great 4th of July! Now something tells me that not too many other countries will be celebrating OUR Independence day.

Now I know that their will be people who are out "celebrating" or partying that will keep the idea of what this is all for in the back of their mind, but will they really do anything patriotic? All I am asking for for each person to just stop and take a second to remember why we celebrate this day and to honor the men and women who made this possible for us.

And if anyone wants to express their feelings on the holiday via an article, song, poem, etc. please send them to Support@OurTown.com and we will post them all!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup


Listeners of the World,

Today I wanted to take a break from reporting about OurTown and spend some time on the World Cup. Most of the time the World Cup is ignored by many Americans due to the lack of interest overall in the sport. Well this year it seems a bit different, but why?

It could be due to the fact they we have a team that is acutally ranked within the top 15 in the world. Maybe it's because of all the attention that has been expanding around the World Cup the past decade. Or maybe it's because soccer is actually expanding in popularity in the US. I don't think you can choose just one of these to be the reason, but a combination of all.

No matter what the reason I think it's great that Americans are joining into the festivities. It is a great tournament with the best teams and players in the world competing for the respect of the world. The only thing that could turn off Americans now would be a very disappointing defeat today against a team that they should win.

So until next time......GO USA!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, June 21, 2010

vADz on OurTown!


Listeners of the World,

We are still in middle of preparing the new OurTown site for its launch this summer and I wanted to talk today about one of the new features that will help make the new site GREAT! It's the addition of vADz on OurTown.

vADz is a new concept of video advertising for the small to mid-sized businesses that gives them the advertising quality of a top company. vADz is an easy to use video editor that allows advertisers to combine video, images, sound, transitions, and text into a video that will be able to been seen from a vADzLink or an embedded video on the page.

vADz also offers many options that you can add to your video. Once you are completed with your editing you will be able to add your own coupons, maps, attachments, and a click to buy option. This way your ad becomes more than just a video.....it becomes a sale!!

vADz.com doesn't stop with the video editing tool, or the great options; it continues with a great online ad campaign solution. So after you have finished creating your video ad, and adding all the options you want; you will be able to set up your ad campaign right on the same site!

Now all the local editors on OurTown will be able to use the video editor and the options to create great video ads for all their local businesses giving them an edge when obtaining local advertising!

Just remember this is just one of the great new features coming very soon! Please stay tuned for some other feature details.

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, June 14, 2010

Good Article.

Listeners of the World,

This is why OurTown will work, while others will fail!

http://mashable.com/2010/06/11/google-news-and-why-human-editors-still-matter/

We have been saying that you still need people living in the area to provide the best hyper local news stories.

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris

Friday, June 11, 2010

Site Update.

Listeners of the World,

Today at 2:30 PM EST there will be a newsletter going out to all of our local editors explaining what is going on with the new site. Well I am aware that not everyone who is interesting about the process of the new site is a local editor. This is way I am posting the contents of the newsletter on here so that everyone can be on the same page. Please see below for the contents of the OurTown newsletter:

We have been working on a brand new site for OurTown.com over the past 6 months with a goal of releasing it in May of 2010. Due to the complex nature of a building a site such as a new OurTown we have fallen behind and did not meet our mark. We are still working on the site and making sure that we have all the features that will be needed for our local editors and their viewers. We are going to send out a schedule next week after I meet with the programming team to have dates of when the new site will be up. I know that this a very disappointing news and I hope that you will not get discouraged about the new site for it is coming and very soon.Just to help explain why it is taking this long I wanted to include a description of what will be in the new site and what has been changed and added.

First things first when explaining the new site is that we did not build it off the old site, or just add features for we started from nothing and build it in a newer programming language that would offer better functionality. We have also contracted 2 companies to create a completely new theme to the site with web 2.0 graphics. This should present easier navigation of the site and a much more pleasing setup for your viewers. We have also redesigned and added another type of media for the site. We have built new photo galleries, with a new article management system that will not only help with entering in articles but to sort and manage them as well. Another major change will be our new ad portal which will allow companies to go in and ad their own ads to your sites without our local editors doing anything. It will also help with ad pricing and manage.

These are just some of the new features that we have in the new site. We have worked through most of the problems and will be hopefully releasing this site very soon. Please stay tuned for more updates and don't forget to follow our Blog, Twitter, and Facebook for updates, news stories, and just random fun!


Hopefully this will help explain the delay and give everyone something to look forward to!

Your OurTown Super hero,

Chris

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

OurTown Update!


Listeners of the World,

Last month was suppose to be the release of our new OurTown site into Beta..................well this did not happen due to unseen setbacks. We are in the process of fixing this setbacks and should have a working Beta site during these summer months. These setbacks are extremely painful to me for I had been looking forward to this launch for many months now. We will be updating everyone via our social media pages (facebook, twitter, etc), as well as sending out a newsletter to all of our local editors. This month I will be focusing on the good parts of the project and showing different page looks and functionality until the release of the new site. Please stay tuned for updates!!!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

OurTown Site Update

Listeners of the World,

The month of May was suppose to be the great month of reveling the new OurTown.com. This month has also posed many obstacles and hard decisions. We have gotten behind on the project and miss-timed some of our projections. It saddens me to say that we will not be able to produce the new site this month. However I will be producing many new test URLs for our local editors to be able to go in and see the site and how it is suppose to be set up. We will be sending out a newsletter after the holiday to provide more details about the project. Please stay tuned for my next post where I will go into detail about why we are having this unplanned delay!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Month of May!


Listeners of the World,

It is now the middle of May and we still do not have a new site to show which is very disappointing to everyone involved. We have been working around the clock to get this site finished and we have run into many different road blocks. My programming team has informed me that we will have something before this month is over. It looks like the overall project will be a month behind when everything is said and done.

We are still working on fixing different problems with the old site and making sure that each of our local editors has everything they need to be successful. We are also working through some server issues which another team will have worked out by the end of this week. We are going through a very busy and exciting time and we thank everyone for their patience!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Site Update!!!

Listeners of the World,

Well I am here to update everyone on where we are with the new and improved OurTown.com! Our programming team has informed me that we are a little behind on the project and that hopefully you will be seeing something next week. We were hoping this week would be the week, but we have to wait due to some unexpected road blocks. Once we release the new site it will be incomplete for about a month. We are rolling it out in waves!

The first release will be of the main site. You will be able to see the new look and layout of the site including the Home, log on, sign up, search, and local portal. These pages will include most of the functionality along with them as well.

After the first release will come the second release which will include the new "AD Portal"!!! This release will open up the new ad system so that our local editors can start making more money! Along with this release will be our "facebook connect" and new "twitter integration".

Now remember with these releases we will have different bugs throughout the system that we will be fixing nonstop until they are gone! Also some pieces might be missing over a period of day due to different fixes or add - ons that our staff will have to do.

So please be patient and enjoy once we have everything up and running!!!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Month of May!

Listeners of the World,

It is now the great month of May, 2010! That means the new OurTown site with all of its helpful functionality is right around the corner. We were shooting for a "soft launch" at the end of April, but it seems that the team is behind due to unexpected road blocks that took just a little longer than expected to work out. Now that we have worked most of the problems out I can expect the "soft launch" of the site to happen very shorty!

The plan is to launch the site with most of the functionality working with some functions missing. We want all of our local editors to get a glimpse of all of our hard work that we have been doing since last December. There will only be a few things missing and unfortunately one of them will be the new ad system. The new ad system will be following the soft launch very shorty along with some minor features.

We hope that the new site will make it easier for the local editors to focus in on writing new stories, posting pictures, and events. While the set up of the page, input of the media, and obtaining of the ads will become very easy with the new set up. This will also make the site more attractive to the viewers as well hopefully helping the repeat visit rate for all of our local editors!

So all in all here is to hoping that the next post will be able the re-launch of OurTown.com!!

Your OurTown Super Hero,

Chris

Monday, April 26, 2010

New type of Ad!

Listeners of the World,

I have been informing all of my viewers about the new features coming to OurTown.com. One of those features was our new Ad-Portal and the new functionality that it brings to the site. Well I also wanted to take some time and focus in on a new "ad type" that we will also be able to offer our local editors which is a "vADz"! These new ad types will allow for our local editors to offer their advertisers not just banner ads, but video ads as well!

These new ads are know as a vADz and they are Revolutionary Targeted Video Advertising. These are ads that give the local editor best of both worlds - they give you the advantage of a video instead of a still ad, and they are very cost effective. A normal vADz will cost advertisers $19.95 if they go through vADz.com, but this will be something free offered to our local editors to use in obtaining new advertisers!

Now how a vAdz works is you upload your media which can be images, videos and sound to the site. Now these will be available to you once you go into the actual video editor. Once inside the editor you have the option of putting in different videos, images, sounds, music, and transitions. You will be able to simply drag and drop them, shorten them, or make anything longer! It is a simple and very cost effective way to create nice video ads for your company and more!

With the addition of vADz and the new Ad Portal we given our local editors two very helpful tools in obtaining and maintaining local advertisers. We hope that with this it will help boost our local editors into the next level!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More of what's to Come!

Listeners of the World,

I hope everyone found our last post very exciting and helpful to seeing a little portion of what the new OurTown site is bringing to the table once launched! I wanted to keep that vibe flowing so I decided to give some incite on another new feature of OurTown...........Social Media Integration! In this post I will dive in and explain all the new functionality coming to the site involving Americas new favorite past time.......Social Networking/Media.

Now first thing is first, and I guess that "thing" is Facebook which happens to be first among sites! Over the past year Facebook has become the number 1 visited site on the Internet making it the most important site to integrate with. We have done a lot of different things with Facebook, including our OurTown page, and Group page. But, we are not even close to being done when it comes to our local editors and Facebook!

On the new site each local editor will have an option to log on to Facebook from within their OurTown admin using Facebook Connect. From here you will be able to download events, photos, stories, etc to be shown on your OurTown page and to upload them to be shown on your Facebook page as well. Thus fully connecting your Facebook friends to your OurTown page and in turn you are getting more viewers right away. We also plan on using Facebook to connect all the local editors together to give a social forum that will include local editors, home office, and OurTown viewers!

Now on to the second social media craze...................Twitter! Where Facebook is good at a lot of different things, Twitter offers something that is invaluable to our local editors which is instant posts from OurTown to Twitter with the posting of a new story on OurTown! This will be great and keep all the stories very fresh for the viewers considering they will see a tweet for every story. You will also be able to see the tweets on each of the OurTown pages!

Now this is just a little look into what is coming on the new OurTown site! My next post will focus in on another new part of the OurTown site.

Your OurTown Super hero,

Chris

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coming Soon!

Listeners of the World,

We here at OurTown have been developing a new site with a new ad system. Since local and national ads are how our local editors make money and connect with the local businesses we wanted to give some incite to the system. Now many of the things that I'm going to talk about are not finalized for the new ad system will be released about a month after the soft release of the site this month!

Now with the ad system right now there is a lot of pressure and work that needs to be done by the local editor to obtain local advertisements. Local editors are the only ones who can put in ads, update them, place them on the page, and take them down once expired. Also another big part that makes it a little tougher is that the local editors also determine all local ad prices. Now the home office does help with ad pricing if asked and we also post many tips and guides on the subject as well. Now from the current system we have had local editors obtain many local ads while we have had other local editors who could not obtain one local ad! We saw this as a huge problem and needed to make a change!

Now that everyone is up to date with the current ad system we want to give you a glimpse of what is to come! The first big change is the new "ad portal" which will be available to everyone who visits the site. This new ad portal will act as the gateway to our local advertising on the site. This is where local editors will put in ads for there site, but it is also where the local businesses can put in their own local ad and select the area or areas that they would like it to be shown. With this simple new change we have allowed local editors to focus more on updating their site instead of pitching local businesses. If you build your site up and get enough traffic the local businesses will notice your site without you even going to their store!

Another great feature is that the local editor no longer has to place the ads on their site! It will happen automatically based on what information the local business or local editor inputs while entering the ad onto our ad portal. This also means that the site will automatically take down the ad, update the ad based on what was entered in, and it will also renew the ad with simple OK from either the business or local editor.

Now comes the big part that we have been working on here at the home office..............AD PRICING! Many local editors have been stumped with pricing their own ads not knowing how much to charge and for how long. Well we have been working on a solution for a while now and with any luck from the formula we are working on OurTown.com will set the ad prices for each individual area! Now we know that some local editors like to set the prices and we are working so that the system will support both. Now in the beginning it might only support the OurTown prices, but we will have both eventually.

With the new ad system we are hoping that local editors will get to spend more time improving their sites and less time worrying about their ads. Because in the end if you site is good enough the advertisers will come to you!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools!!!!


Listeners of the World,

Today is probably one of the greatest days of the year as far as I am concerned! It is just an overall fun day, and usually is a very nice day outside. As I drove into work this morning the April fools jokes were already being told over the radio and when I switched on my blackberry it took me to Google which is now Topeka! This got me thinking about what I was going to do today to Fool people, and then I started thinking about what OurTown would do today to get people. Well I didn't fully decide on what I would do so I am going to be randomly posted things on our twitter and facebook accounts. Some things will be real while others will be totally random and off the top of my head! I think it will be fun to see the different reactions and even better considering I'm posting what I'm doing on the OurTown blog. No matter what happens today just always remember to laugh!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Dave ( I mean Chris or do I)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why OurTown is better than Newspapers!

Listeners of the World,

Many people who have inquired about becoming a local editor for OurTown.com ask the same question time and time again........how would I compete with the already existing newspaper? Now this is a very smart question to ask considering most of those newspapers have been around for a while and have developed quite a following, but we have the answer. There are some very key elements about OurTown.com that put our local editors above these papers!

First key element is that OurTown.com is the peoples voice from the community, not some reporter who is doing it because that is their job. Local editors for OurTown love their community and love to tell about it. Yes they make money but it is not their main income; they do it because they love it and want to participate. This mind set produces better stories that are more interesting to the people who live in that town.

Second key element is that OurTown.com takes very little money to operate unlike the newspaper companies with overstaffed newsrooms. OurTown.com is a free site to use meaning any money spend would go to marketing efforts to getting the word around town about the new site. Once you develop your following then you will spend no money and just collect money!!

Third key element is that since OurTown.com takes little money to run you become more attractive to local businesses since you won't charge an arm and a leg to run an ad. This gives our local editors a big advantage in making some good money while running their site.

The fourth and most important key element is the site and OurTown staff itself! We have created a site that gives same if not more options and tools that regular newspaper outlets receive. This makes it possible for all local editors to have the same professional and visually attractive news site has the big newspaper companies. When you couple that with the support staff who take care of all problems quickly and are constantly updating and improving the site you can't lose!

These are just a few of the advantages our local editors receive once joining the OurTown team. If you are still not convinced I encourage email me with any questions, or sign up and check out what it means to become a local editor. Send any emails to Support@OurTown.com.

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Monday, March 22, 2010

Porgress Updated!

Listeners of the World,

As promised from my last post I have a few links to share with you! These are very rough pages that still have some work to be done on them, but it does give you the new look and scheme!

http://216.196.182.228/
http://216.196.182.228/Login.aspx
http://216.196.182.228/SignUp.aspx
http://216.196.182.228/AboutUs.aspx
http://216.196.182.228/AboutOurtown.aspx
http://216.196.182.228/ResourceCenter.aspx
http://216.196.182.228/SiteAnalytics.aspx

Please take a look and let us know what you think! We welcome all feedback.


Your OurTown Superhero,


Chris

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Progress!!

Listeners of the World,

As many should note I have been boasting about a grand redesign of OurTown.com and I am here to give a much needed progress report! In this report I will touch on the programming side of the site and the design side of the site to give an overall report.

Over the past few months we have been working with Minimaal concepts on the design portion of the new OurTown.com. We are now over halfway done with having approved the new "front page", "local area portal", "Local editor admin", and "sign up process for users". We still have our new "ad sales portal" and "sign up process for local editors" left to be completed. We will look forward to approving those mock ups by the end of the month completing the design portion of the new site!

Now that we have covered the very important new design look for OurTown.com, we must cover the equally important functionality of the new site......the programming! Our team of programmers have been working for months now programming our new site in a completely new language.....ASP.NET. They have now completed almost all of the databases, the new structure of the site and are working on the new content management system. They still have about a month and half to two months worth of work left and are hoping to start meshing up the look with functionality early April. They have been working hard to make sure the none of the local editors have to work hard while using the site!

In my next post I will be posting links to the new design and will hopefully have a much more detailed update on the programming work. Until next time...

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Press Passes!


Listeners of the World,


Today I wanted to highlight a feature of OurTown.com that often gets over looked.......Press Passes! I seen many articles about online bloggers and journalist not being able to obtain press passes for different events, which in turn causes them to miss out on stories to share with their audience. Here at OurTown we looked into this problem early on because we thought that this was very important for our local editors to have! That's why we had developed our press passes along time ago, modeled after current newspaper passes. We have had much success, along with much resistance from event staff, with our local editors being able to gain access to certain events with these passes. We know that the industry has a long way to go before major events will accept press passes from online bloggers and journalist of hyper local sites, but we feel that we have a great first step. So please remember that when becoming a local editor our staff has truly thought of all the different tools you will need including Press Passes!


Your OurTown Superhero,


Chris

Monday, March 1, 2010

OurTown Problem!!!!


Listeners of the World,

Almost all large trafficked websites encounter problems from time to time and OurTown.com is no exception to this rule! We have discovered an error that seems to be appearing on some of our sites that have overloaded front pages. While we encourage all of our local editors to have the most information on their pages, it looks like this encouragement is the source of the problem! We have had our programming team hard at work, trying out different possible solutions, but to no avail the problem consists. We also decided right away that it would be a good idea to have an error page show when this problem happens, but this is not working either! It seems that the browser is becoming overloaded and giving up which times out the rest of the page. Now with the browser doing this there are no error messages sent back to the code so the error message never appears. Well today it looks like we have finally made some process by upgrading some of the hardware and expanding out to use multiple servers while loading one page. We are looking forward to seeing great improvements in on this problem over the coming week and will keep everyone updated!

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twitter and OurTown!


Listeners of the World,

Over the past few months we have been expanding our social media presence with developing our OurTown facebook account, twitter account, linkedin page, and our blog. We also have been encouraging people to Digg the more popular stories on OurTown. Everything has seemed to be taking off except for our twitter account. We need more followers and we need your help. I want to expand our followers by 100% over the next few weeks. Unlike most sites who have multiple social media accounts, we run different news, stories, and material on the different accounts we run! So by only being a part of our facebook, blog and/or linkedin you are missing out on a lot of great stories and important news pertaining to OurTown. So help us help everyone by connecting them with our twitter account.

Your OurTown Superhero,

Chris

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Simple is the best way!

Listeners of the World,

We have been doing a lot of research and testing over the past few months to help in our re-design of OurTown.com. We have talked with people, studied competitors sites and studied how people in general use the Internet. We have found that "simple" is the key ingredient for success!

We have found that the less steps it takes to input data, the more people will want to participate with the site. That is why we are cutting down steps on the contribution of all forms of media. On the new site you will have one place to go to input stories, photos, videos, events, and PDFs. Once you decide what type of media you are contributing you will only have a one step process. You will just enter in what media it is that you wish to submit to the editor and simply click OK. Our system will take care of the rest!

We have also found the the less time it takes for our viewers to find what they are looking for, the more likely it is for them to come back! We have taken our site and added simple icons for the different types of media you would like to view and paired it with a list of categories and search. Now I know most of you are saying 'well yea that is how its suppose to be",but many sites make it more complicated to find exactly what you are looking for. Example: You are a student looking for a picture of a building burned down in a little neighborhood. You simply go to the neighborhood and click on the photos tab. Once within this tab you can either search the categories for buildings or you can do a search on that building. Most sites will give you many different forms of media on this story and maybe not a picture, where a picture is the only type of media that you would receive from our site.

These are two very vague design elements that are going into the production of our new site. We are going simple where it seems everyone else is going complex!

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cloud Hosting


Listeners of the World,

You might have heard about Cloud Hosting in the news lately. But what is Cloud Hosting? And how will it affect Ourtown?

You might not know it but you probably already take part in Cloud hosting if you are using Google. Google has a huge infrastructure of computers, a cloud, that handle all the searches people do.

So what is Cloud Hosting? Cloud Hosting a large set of computers that all handle requests from clients, that's you, in real time. This is much better than having a single server because it scalable allowing more power to be added to the system as needed. For Ourtown, this means that if we need more power we just add more servers to the Cloud. It also means if a server goes down there are others to take its place, reducing down time. Taking it one step further, this Cloud of servers can be distributed all over the world with multiple backups so if there is a major disaster at one data center another is able to take up the load.

So despite some of the bad press Cloud Hosting has received lately, done right Cloud is very beneficial to Ourtown.

Your tech wizard,
Michael

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black History Month


Listeners of the World,

The month of February is dedicated to celebrating heroes, accomplishments, and the everyday man! It is a month to take time out and look back at what the African American population went through and how they have risen above all the challenges and hardships to become who they are today........ incredible people! Now before you can look back you need to look at people today and a lot of people take too many things for granite and don't appreciate what others have done before them. This is a problem and I think that having a Black History Month helps with making people take a step back and actually learn about the history of what they went through. There are so many heroes and leaders that need to be recognized and too many key events that there are too many to list! This is the month to help people forget about their differences and to embrace everyone as their equal.....because we are in fact all equal and have always been equals. During this month I will post varies stories of certain triumphs in the African American community to honor their heroes and to educate people who are still in the dark!

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Press Release!

Listeners of the World,

We have just released our latest press release listing our latest towns and communities to join the OurTown family. In the past 2 weeks we have added 5 new towns and have had 5 older towns increase their coverage area! We plan on trying to add anywhere from 20-100 towns and communities each month until our new release of OurTown.com. Once the new site is up we will be embarking on a national high pace marketing plan that will increase the amount of towns added per month by 100%! We plan on becoming a household name by the end of 2010 where you can go and find out about anything in your town or community. As we work hard to fill out our map please contact our Support if you are interested in having your own site or wanting to post pictures, events, videos, and stories online!

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Burger King and Beer!


Listeners of the World,

I decided to write a different kind of post today where I would put information about OurTown on hold, and just share a story with everyone that I feel is very interesting! I was reading the various news sites this morning and I came across a story that I just had to share and give my take on. The headline read "Burgers and Beer" and I was instantly intrigued and had to know more! As I dove into the article I was very happy about the notion of Burger King adopting the European way of serving beer at fast food places. I for one have been to Europe and taken advantage of this perk and found it to be great. Burger King is also introducing another notion that I love and that is delivery! The new Whopper Bar will offer outdoor dining, a walk-up window and delivery service in addition to BEER! I mean how could this get any better, I can now enjoy a beer and a great whopper in my own home without ever living if I wish! Now many people are against this stating that we are setting a bad example for our kids, and that the kids will see all the alcohol. Well my response is do you drink at home, at any resturant, or how about Chuck E Cheese! All of those places serve beer as well and nobody seems to care. I think if everyone gives this idea a chance it will be a big hit and you will see that its not that big of a deal.

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris

Friday, January 22, 2010

HTML Island!!!!


Listeners of the World,

I am happy to announce that the HTML island is once again available for all local editors to use on their OurTown sites. We took this island away almost a year ago in an effort to make the site more secure and to develop a better application for our local editors to use. While developing the application we ran into many different issues delaying the release. After a year we have come up with a two step plan. The first step was the re-release of the improved and more secure HTML island. But, this is not enough for this still leaves our site vulnerable so we have also developed a new application that will be launching along site our new site release. With the combination of the new site and new application we will have the perfect balance of functionality and security.

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why .NET?


Listeners of the world,

By now you know that Ourtown is being completely redesigned from the ground up. One of the important factors in the new site is a new technology called .NET. The old Ourtown was build on classic ASP an old Microsoft technology for creating web applications. So, why use .NET?

First, .NET is new and it is here now. Since Ourtown is being rebuilt we thought it best to use the newest technology available to us. .NET has gone through several iterations and is a solid framework proven to build web applications. With a newer technology comes not only better security but also better speed and optimization. With the web today it is more important than ever to take into account security.

Second, .NET is built for the future. This means that we will be able to more easily implement newer technologies that are built for .NET and are supported by Microsoft. With the old system we had outdated code that was not supported and did not have as much of a growing code base.

Finally, .NET allows us to program faster. This means we can build better architecture for Ourtown so we can get things done a lot faster than the old system. Who doesn't want faster updates?

Your tech wizard,
Michael

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Local Editors!


Listeners of the World,

With the release of the new site coming up in only a few months we are making a push to fill out a lot of the OurTown map! Right now we are actively looking for new local editors who will bring the right enthusiasm and skills to OurTown.com. We need people who care about their community or city and enjoy reporting about the different events or stories going on there. We have made a lot of progress over the past year, but it is not enough and we need to make larger strides in the next few months to really help out the new release. If you or anyone you know is interested please visit OurTown.com and take a look around. It is free and we supply you with all the tools necessary to create and maintain a success full site!

Your OurTown SuperHero,

Chris