February 1998


Check out business opportunities as the World Wide Web goes local

The Web magazine, a terrific guide to what's happening on-line, recently critiqued Internet sites that tell you everything about a city you're going to visit, a place you just moved to or a city you thought you knew.

Jewelers may want to get involved in this new venue for local advertising. Of the $66 billion spent annually in local advertising in the U.S. each year, $1.5 billion is expected to shift to the 'Net by 2001. Get your jewelry store there first and you will be top of mind to city visitors and newcomers.

City sites also often feature free listings, another option you may want to consider. And there's always the advantage of having your store's own Web site linked to a city site so visitors and residents can find you easier on-line. There are several companies that may target your town (it's not just big cities, but smaller ones too) such as the ones below.

This Pasadena, CA, company operates about 30 Internet sites nationwide in mostly medium-sized cities such as Salt Lake City, NV, and Austin, TX. The company was started to help local businesses create Web sites. It wants to remain local-community oriented.

Digital City
This service from America OnLine also hopes to create that community feeling, with classified advertising and smaller items that might interest jewelers. It has big bucks to back it up and a big resource in its captive audience of 9 million America OnLine users. It already has a site in New York and has announced plans for more in 1998.

Available from Microsoft, Sidewalk is another contender with deep pockets and the technological resources to back up its services. The Web's reviewers like Sidewalk's design, slick fonts and efficient search engine. Microsoft plans to have 10 city sites up and running on its Sidewalk service by early this year.

Local guides Your local city newspapers and guides are getting into the act also. While they may lack the financial resources of some of the bigger players, they do have an advantage when it comes to a lot of background and long-term knowledge of the cities they cover. These sources also have the most to lose if local merchants take their ad dollars to the big boys. Check out such sites before signing on to advertise with a nationally known company - you might get a break on rates.

Editor's Note: Professional Jeweler's technology page will feature ideas, tips and information to help you understand the ever-changing world of technology and how it will affect your business. If you have a great story, experience or success to relate in using new technologies such as the Internet, CD-ROM catalogs, inventory systems, digital cameras or any other equipment or service, contact us at Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; (215) 567-0727, e-mail We 'll have our tech-savvy reporters call you to get the details. Thanks!

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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