Smalltown introduces “WebCards”

Filed in Local Search, Web Site Content by Matt McGee on October 11, 2006 0 Comments

Smalltown logo(found via Greg S.)

Smalltown.com is a new entry into the Local Search market, and with coverage only in a couple small California towns, it’s really too early to say much about what the site is doing and its chances for success.

But one thing I’m not a fan of already is the use of non-standard language. Smalltown encourages businesses and local citizens to create what it calls “Webcards,” and these Webcards, en masse, create a town profile — they’re not just about local businesses, they’re about all kinds of local information. The release refers to Webcards as “a unified and integrated online user-generated content search tool … that provides all of the functionality of a website without having to build one.”

And therein lies what I think is a problem: It’s a new term and it requires a fairly lengthy explanation.

The release explains that “merchants, schools, moms, anyone” can create Webcards — but the problem is the terminology, the need for explanation. Smalltown is essentially aiming for a grassroots movement to build out this vision, but experience tells me that most moms, schools, and small business owners have a hard enough time grasping the basic concepts. For many, the idea of a web site is just too complicated. Now they’re supposed to want to learn about and grasp a “Webcard?”

This isn’t to pick on Smalltown. The site is quite attractive and the info. they have for those few California towns is good. I just bring this up now because it’s timely, and because I think they’re guilty of a common mistake on the web: trying to create new terminology where none is needed. To reach small businesses, local shoppers, moms, schools, etc., it’s important to speak their language, not create a new one.

[tags]smalltown, local search, local web, small business[/tags]

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