I just received some news and updates from Fred Mercaldo about his company’s “City in the Box” software platform, and I want to share it with you. If you’ve been thinking about working with the company, now is the time to seriously consider it. (This is not a paid advertisement nor am I being compensated in any way for writing this or if you sign up.)
My website, Burbank.com, has been on the platform for a couple of months now, and traffic continues to be solid and advertisers keep asking for information and creating business listings. The sales process is set to begin in about two weeks, and I am very excited about the prospects.
The company has three big announcements today:
- They have added Laramie.com and SanMateo.com to their upcoming development projects, bringing the number of City.com properties using their software platform to 55.
- Scottsdale.com has entered into an exclusive partnership with ZogMedia to provide SEO supervision for all of their partner sites. They have also added FaceBook and Twitter applications/features to City In The Box.
- There will be a price increase, effective November 1st or once an additional 25 City.com properties contract with them for development, whichever comes first, from $12,500 to $16,500.
According to Fred Mercaldo,
“With all of the features City In The Box delivers, and with a decided trend towards developing rather than parking, it has never been a better time to take advantage of our services. We are arguably not only the best priced software solution available today, but also the most reliable and widely used, and it is a system built for monetization.
You get a complete business directory for your City, and by selling Premium Upgraded Listings, along with Category Partnerships, combined with our easy to use Content Management System, you are ready to go to market on Day One. Tons of unique content, Calendar of Events section, custom logo and color schemes, professional SEO, and much more are included. And in cases where after launch you need Advertising and Marketing services, we will do this for you thru our CitiesPlanet program!”
For further information, visit CityInTheBox.com and CitiesPlanet.com. A brief PDF overview can be downloaded on the City in the Box website. You can also send Fred an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elliot, are they creating all the content for you too? Or do you need to contribute it (e.g. blogs)
How much more are you making monthly outsourcing Burbank.com? How much time are you still spending on it?
Its made a few hundred I think, but I haven’t really checked the financial stats. The beauty is that I don’t need to add content as they are doing it for me daily – especially with events. I can add content as I wish, but I don’t have a ton of free time.
Once they begin the sales process I will give more updates, but revenue hasn’t been important yet. The focus has been on getting the site on the new platform and maintaining traffic and search engine placement.
Btw I’m in California for the weekend so comment approvals and feedback may be delayed.
Also, as I mentioned before, Fred and team used all the content I had created and put it on their platform. Ensuring that SE rankings stay the same or improve has been critical, and so far so good. This has been the most important thing for me during the transition… Now its time to make money and I’m excited about their sales team.
I only made a couple advertising deals + hotel booking revenue when I was managing it, and they’ve already made a deal with a city organization.
@Steven (and all) by months end, our Call Center will begin contacting all of the businesses in and around Burbank. We will offer businesses numerous options, everything from Premium Directory upgrades, to Exclusive Directory Partnerships, to Interviews and Feature Articles, and Home Page and Directory Page banner ads. We have developed a system that will provide a business owner a graphic display in an email…..showing them exactly what they get for their advertising dollar….kind of a simple but custom media kit. We have used this technique successfully for years with Scottsdale.com, but it always required many man hours to customize a media kit. We have streamlined the process now, and we look forward to very favorable results.
It is always important to be realistic in expectations when projecting revenue results. While I personally see things getting better, available cash still remains an issue for many business owners. While I don’t predict or project an advertising “feeding frenzy” immediately for Burbank.com, I do expect solid results that will grow over time. With 20-30 categories and directories to market to, and with a goal to sign a “Partner” for each one, along with a minimum of 2-3 Premium Directory upgrades for each category eventually, I believe over the coming 12 months that the revenue will be substantial. Depending upon the category, Premium Upgrades are anywhere from $50 to $200 per month…Partnerships are more. I, along with Elliot I’m sure, will gladly report back to everyone in the coming months as to our progress…this will be a very visible project.
@Andrew….normally, we provide all unique content initially, and then for a fee each month moving forward, if desired. With Burbank.com, we needed to use as much of the content that was existing, as we did not want to start all over getting indexed and recognized by all search engines, etc. so Burbank.com was a special situation.
$12k or $16k is a lot of money.
I had a very nice (in my estimation) and flexible custom cms built for one of my city sites for $2,000. Had a writer spend the entire summer creating content for the site for a few thousand more. Really, really hard to justify $15,000 for me on something like this, at least for what I needed. Certainly not as powerful, but still pretty good and left me with $13k to spend on marketing, content etc.
given the numbers you mention with Burbank.com, $15k seems hard to justify as well – luckily you didn’t pay it!
$12k to 16k is a chunk but i guess people who own good city.com don’t mind spending the money.
Gordon and Ari…it is all relative. If you have a GeoDomain that you want to seriously monetize, the options are few if you are not a programmer yourself. If you do not have a full time programmer on staff ($60,000-$100,000 per year plus benefits etc) then you go out and have a web design company build your site…only who designs the spec sheet and who determines what is important for a City.com site? Our system is based on over 5 years of trail and error, and experience on what works.
What is the first thing a business does when deciding whether or not to advertise on your site? They visit the site…and if it is not 100% professional and working properly, you don’t have a chance. City.com’s deliver not only traffic, but quality traffic to advertisers, and even if the GeoDomain represents a small population, and even if all the revenue that can be is $2500 per month ($30,000 per year) I would state without question the decision to spend $12,500 on the right software is the proper decision.
It’s not a question of owners not minding spending the money….it’s what the final product delivers for the money. I’ve seen local Scottsdale businesses spend $40,000 and more on a site that gets no traffic and ultimately is worthless. And with everything going on with UDRP challenges on parked City.com sites, I myself would not subject any valuable asset I own to a suit, and this can be avoided by properly developing the sites as City.com’s.
Finally, if you are an investor looking to sell and not develop/monetize, and looking to sell to a local end user for your GeoDomain, one of the issues the end user/buyer is looking at is cost of development and programming. If you install our CityInTheBox system, this is one problem that no longer exists, and will make the sale that much easier for a buyer….with no doubt much more in return to you than the $12,500 or $16,500 that was spent.
I didn’t pay $15,000 – my cost was $12,500.
The primary purpose for me was to get the sales team once the site launched. Fred and I went through projections and assuming they hit the numbers (even the low end), it will be well worth the investment with a relatively quick ROI. With a lot of money invested already in Burbank.com, I need the website to start earning good revenue.
I paid a few $k for the development of Newburyport.com and Lowell.com, and I am on my own with sales. I am doing okay, but it’s quite a lot of work to maintain the sites and keep them updated.
Fred, how does your system compare to eDirectory.com?
I like Bahamas.co so far so good – great job! 🙂
I just heard about City in a Box and had no clue that you were actually using it. Is Burbank.com the only one you have on that platform right now? How do you like it? Reason I ask is because I get geo related development inquires with no way for me to handle sites such as those. It would be great to refer them to a good solution.
Burbank.com is the only website I have on the platform (I use a custom-designed site on WordPress for Lowell.com and Newburyport.com). The platform is easy to operate, and when I found a few minor issues that were a bit annoying to me, the developers were very quick to fix them.
Scott, I don’t doubt the need to develop a quality site on a good geodomain, but was just pointing out that you can do that without spending $12 or $16k. I did it for $2k and elliot did it previously for about the same amount.
Your system is undoubtedly more powerful than mine, and perhaps in the next year or two I’ll need to upgrade to something like you have….
and by “Scott” i meant “Fred”!
Gordon….no problem! Andrew….although we have researched numerous times looking at eDirectory over the years, I can’t properly comment on how we differ from them. We purchase our business directories from Axciom. And our site is a total solution. Please go to http://www.CityInTheBox.com to see which City.com’s are using us, and please visit them and manuever around the sites….and then compare to an eDirectory site….this is the best answer I can provide! Thanks.
Whats wrong with the burbank.com blog?
2 latest blog posts start with “Things to Do in Burbank” looks like done in error. They are the same apart from one has links inside it and the other doesn’t . Think the guru’s call it duplicate content?