Saturday, November 30, 2013

Park City Directory

My Small Business Saturday Link-A-Thon is going slowly. A sustainable small business community grows organically. Organic growth is slow.

My first goal for the morning was to push my Park City directory over the thousand link threshold. This site has a great four letter domain:  When I go bankrupt, I hope to be able to sell the name.

Park City has developed into a luxury resort town. It is the home of the Sundance Film Festival (formerly the Utah Film Festival). The area houses three world class ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley and The Canyons.

One cool thing about Park City is that it has a huge Vacation Property Market. Investors buy vacation homes then rent them out to skiers for the resorts and starlets for the film festival and apres ski scene.

The Internet has facilitates short term property rentals.

Vacation Rentals only work in locations where rich people want to take a vacation.

The Web Site Corporate Housing By Owner out of Denver helps arrange short term rentals for business people. Real estate investors can buy properties and make a little money on the side renting to business travelers looking for alternatives to extended stay hotels.

List your property with Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO)

Park City is also home to a large number of sporting goods companies seeking to have a top notch address for their firm. If I had a source of income, I would consider moving to Park City myself.

Anyway, I just pushed my Park City directory past the 1000 link mark. Through the years I've deleted 349 broken links. My guess is that about 5% of the current listings are broken.

Small Business Saturday Link-A-Thon

It is Small Business Saturday. So, I figured I should do something to promote small businesses.

I believe that promoting small independent business is the first step to restoring the promise of America.

If done correctly a network of small businesses can create a resilient self-sustaining structure that draws people in and creates path to prosperity for a large number of people.

The political class (progressives and conservatives alike) prefer top down hierarchical structures. Progressives and Conservatives simply disgree about who should be at the top of the hierachy.

Top down hierachical structures tend to be brittle and rife of systematical faults that can tear communities apart.

Even worse, the political minds that favor big hierarchical structures to freedom have an ugly tendency to kick people down and create massive populations of poverty and dependency.

A political hierarchy, by its very nature has limited opportunity. There's only a few worthwhile slots at the top while the rest of the people are pushed down.

A distributed system of small business has unlimited potential because all of the people in the distributed network are helping each other up.

The great European powers of old (The Monarchy) had formed into a stagnant hierarchical structure.

The great promise of America was that the colonies were developing into the framework of a distributed network. This system created widespread prosperity.

The political class (progressives and conservatives alike) prefer a hierarchical structure with politicians at the very top.

I am fiercely independent and fight this tendency to hierarchies whereever I find them because I know that a distributed network is more resilient and sustainable.

So, Small Business Satrurday is one of these days that I cherish.

I believe that the first step to restoring the promise of America is to promote independent thinking and small business.

Putting my money where my mouth is, I created a collection of community directories under the brand of Community Color. This one man project developes directories for towns in the mountain west. The directories currently have 27,169 active links. I've deleted 11,945 broken links through the years.

The goal is to link to every site I can find. This includes artists, photographers, bloggers, churches, big business and especially small business.

My biggest problem is there is no local interst in this project. In twelve years of developing this program, I have not had a single person in Salt Lake City, where I live, express interest in the project (beyond salesmen who were interested in selling me a service).

Utah is under the foot of an oppressive political hierarchical structure. The Tower of Power is on the corner of Temple and State.

I thought about engaging in a link drive today. But that idea is spammy and is unlikely to result in anything.

Instead I think I will simply engage in a link-a-thon.

Contacting people and asking permission to link is tedious. So, the Link-A-Thon will be just me trolling web pages and linking to every site I can find. While no-one is interested in linking to me, I will link to them.

Here's thes starting gate. To date, I've listed 39,114 links, I've pulled 11,945 dead links leaving 27169 live links. I've made 4,658 link review pages. Here is a break down of links by community ordered by total traffic.

If there are sites you want me to consider or sites you want removed from the directory, please use the contact form.

Link Summary by Community
Community Categories Links Distinct
Page Views
Salt Lake Sites 327 5874 5248 3876777
Provo Utah 141 1861 1558 1243874
Denver Color 242 3736 3309 898799
Grand Junction 84 911 781 675113
Missoula Websites 78 756 642 501299
Park City, Utah 71 940 840 442143
Saint George 71 697 555 345084
Moab 43 431 378 321292
Ogden, Utah 77 784 632 296170
Cedar City 43 326 269 268166
Cheyenne, Wyoming. US 56 416 323 257993
Boulder Color 84 1025 826 244320
Colorado Springs Color 91 959 753 229998
Tooele 34 207 176 214624
Vernal, Utah. US 35 211 182 214900
Logan Utah 46 460 376 186830
Fort Collins Color 68 695 543 165137
Wasatch Color 23 162 138 138759
Durango Colorado 36 395 355 124250
Glenwood Springs Color 33 197 160 112982
Carbon County Color 27 125 101 109293
Pueblo Color 37 209 141 70620
Community Color 9 48 45 50869
Phoenix Color 81 1002 791 49676
Laramie, Wyoming 26 111 92 36121
Pima County 46 419 307 29595
Utah Color 30 329 203 27256
Mohave County 18 92 64 21057
Navajo County 17 61 48 18921
Coconino County 24 143 95 17279
Arizona Color 21 192 154 16006
Yavapai County 21 144 111 15112
Cochise County 18 94 75 14960
Pinal County 22 112 80 14653
Yuma County 19 109 76 13152
Gila County 14 37 32 12397
Apache County 9 22 18 12011
Colorado Color 17 145 92 11307
Graham County 10 29 25 10521
La Paz County 9 25 21 10189
Santa Cruz County 11 34 27 9769
Greenlee County 6 11 8 9315
Steamboat Springs Me 6 10 9 570
Starting figures

      Events  Reviews   Links  Removed Active
Start 16,386    4,658  39,114   11,945 27,169
Links: 39114 27169 11945

Friday, November 29, 2013

Small Business Saturday

I find Black Friday frustrating. I posted a ton of coupons and sales for the event, but I just don't get any Black Friday traffic.

My big hope is a new marketing event called "Small Business Saturday."

Small Business Saturday was coined by American Express in 2010.

The fact that "Small Business Friday" was invented by a huge financial firm is one of those ironies of business.

As a huge financial firm selling merchant services, American Express simply must find ways present itself as friendly to small business.

While the origins of Small Business Saturday is questionable, it is a good idea. Come on. Mothers Day was the creation of Macys.. The fact that an store set on world domination created Mothers' Day does not change the fact that we all love our moms.

Small Business Saturday is a great idea.

During the holiday season there is a great deal of attention on Black Friday Sales held by big box stores and on the Cyber Monday sales held online.

This marketing attention leaves out all of the small Main Street merchants and small businesses which are the bedrock of the community.

Declaring the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as "Small Business Saturday" focuses some attention on the small merchants.

I realized that the Internet age was harming small business long before the Small Business Saturday. Way back in 2000 I started creating local directories to help focus some on small businesses. The first directories were for towns in Idaho and Montana. I gave away all but Missoula.WS.

I moved back to Salt Lake for the 2002 Winter Games.

I happen to be a third generation native of Colorado, and decided to make directories for my home town of Denver (I grew up in Lakewood) and Boulder County (We lived in Longmont for a bit).

The goal of the Community Color directories is simply to list every web site I can find for select towns in the Mountain West. I don't limit myself to business. I start by listing art sites and include blogs, campaign sites, church web sites, community resources and what not.

The goal of this project is to show how the diversity of small communities is reflected online.

To fund the project, I do the following: If a web site has an affiliate program. I join the affiliate program and post the affiliate links. I also joined the affiliate programs of big stores like Walmart and Target.

Big box stores are still part of the community too. They have employees and the stores support community functions.

The affiliate links go through a redirect program lnk.php which I block in robots.txt. The affiliate links get a worse treatment than straight links for small business.

My hope was that the affiliate links would provide enough income to sustain the community directories. This worked up until two years ago when Google set its eyes on dominating local search traffic. Such is life.

My big hope this holiday is that I might attract some attention this Small Business Saturday.

Essentially, I have two collections of local directories. The Utah Color directories focus on the Beehive State. The Colorado Directories focus on the Mile High State. I recently purchased the domain and I have directories for Cheyenne and Laramie.

The directories contain some 27,000 active links. The links include blogs, restaurants, churches, artists, musicians, dancers, schools and small businesses. Through the years, I've pulled 11,000 broken links. Yes, about a third of the web sites I've listed have gone dark. It is really sad.

My hope for this weekend is that people living in the Mountain West who are interested in supporting the small businesses in their community will visit the web site for their town and might consider linking to the site or tweeting about it.

The web sites are friendly to the local community. I list every site I can find. I list Democrats and Republicans, I list small business and big business. I list artists and athletes. The only sites I avoid are porn sites and hate sites (well if you are a Democrat who hates Republicans or a Republican who hates Democrats, that's okay 'cause that's the just the way partisan politics works).

Some people are really upset at the fact that I list affiliate links. I think this is a good funding source. These programs obviously have a marketing budget. I use that marketing budget to provide free local listings for community services, artists and smaller businesses without such a budget.

Linking to the local directory helps support web sites from the local community. I posted Black Friday and Cyber Monday coupons on a coupon site called This is just a way to fund the local sites.