So what’s new about a community portal, you ask?
Community portals are not a new idea, but because the original excitement of the commercial Internet was in its global reach, its local potential was long over-looked.
No matter how interesting the global aspect of the Net was, and still is, in most cases it is not as relevant as the 10 square mile radius that we live in. As a result, one of the most useful aspects of the Internet has long been eclipsed – its ability to make you more aware of your own neighborhood and town.
Our goal at Long Beach OnLine.net is to bring you, community news, sales and community interactivity. That is why we have included a "Long Beach Only" search engine -- a searchable database of web sites that are especially relevant to this community. We plan to make it the most comprehensive Long Beach focused database availabe anywhere. For instance, did you know that there are @ 16 events calendars maintained by different organizations in Long Beach? Or, that there are over a dozen message/chat boards in Long Beach (Click on "Events" or "People/Chat" in the "Explore LongBeachOnline.net" box on the homepage).
Long Beach OnLine.net also has a special sale feature -- “Buy Long Beach,” that is currently in beta testing now, but will soon help you find anything that you want to purchase, in a local store! Think of Long Beach as one huge department store and “BuyLongBeach.net” as its catalog & directory. Now that’s what “Buy Long Beach!” is all about.
"Find it on sale and buy it in Long Beach!"
Merchants, businesses, shoppers and BuyLongBeach.net
BuyLongBeach.net gives participating local merchants and service providers a platform to add their sale merchandise or service specials into our searchable databases and let shoppers find those items or services, which may be at prices lower to, or at least comparable with merchants in other cities.
This system rewards our community in many ways.
MERCHANTS -- To list your sales here -- click!
It saves the consumer:
- Travel time
- Money on merchandise or services
- Money for gasoline
- Vehicle wear and tear
- Shipping and handling costs
It will benefit the community by:
- Helping to bring local business new customers
- Helping to build more community awareness
- Keeping sales tax money in the community
The best of the "virtual" and the "real"
- Find an item quickly
- Go and pick it up immediately -- no waiting for delivery
About search engines and portals...
In the mid1990s a number of entities started trying to make some sense out of the commercial Internet. Companies like Yahoo, AltaVista, Web Crawler, Lycos and others, steadily developed directories and other methods of indexing the millions of pages that were added to the web weekly. Their "search engine" and portal system services became quite valuable to users (web surfers), giving us all the ability to locate items on the Internet much more easily.
Global focus and "micro" or "niche" focus
The focus of the major search engines is global and their searches tend to turn up pages representing businesses located all over the world. In the earlier days of e-commerce the Internet seemed more focused upon the virtual or electronic world and was under-represented by traditional ("brick & mortar") stores and businesses. Today many of those e-businesses flourish, however in-spite of the "e" phenomenon, most brick & mortar stores and businesses continue to live on as well.
G-site "niche" search engines and portals
G-site: Web Central - International Search Engine Roundhouse
Our first portal was called G-site Web Central
which was actually a multilingual search engine portal for finding search engines, directories and/or resources specific to countries around the world and/or regions utilizing data from the now defunct HVAC Directory.
Narrowing the focus
When we began looking at the phenomenon of search engines, it became apparent that search engines would become one of the primary methods of finding things on the Internet, however it also became apparent that the trend would continue to be global and perhaps too lofty for it to be useful in everyday life and to average users.
Y2k Law Links
One of G-site's first ventures into the "niche engine" market began in 1998 with the public's realization that the Y2K date change had the potential to affect many of our national and infrastructure computer systems. At that time G-site created and developed Y2K Law Links as a global resource, which was niche-focused and designed to locate legal resources specializing in only Y2K issues -- the site was utilized by insurance companies, attorneys, corporate and financial institutions worldwide seeking information relevant to the impending millennium change. As in other times of crisis, it was the combination of government and private efforts, which mobilized the monumental number of resources necessary to remediate the problem. Y2K came and went, and other than some minor isolated glitches the vast majority of us were never inconvenienced.
As a result of our experience with Y2K Law Links, G-site soon began participating in, or initiating numerous data-search projects and niche directories.
G-site and LongBeachCulture.org
In 1999 G-site partnered in the development of LongBeachCulture.org, a Long Beach-specific arts and culture search directory and portal which empowered the local artist to create profile listings, upload music and artwork and maintain their own calendar of events to let the local public learn about them, sample their work and then visit the artists' performances or exhibitions. LongBeachCulture.org has proven itself to be a valuable asset to our community.
G-site and TechBeach.net
In 2000 G-site partnered to develop TechBeach.net, which Mayor Beverly O'Neill has referred to as, "Long Beach's only technology portal." In an effort to help fulfill part of the city's "Strategic Plan, 2010," TechBeach.net was created to attract new technology businesses to our city and to retain, assist and network our existing technology businesses and resources.
Putting "REALITY" back into "Virtual REALITY"
We are now embarking on G-site's latest effort, and again G-site has chosen to focus on enhancing the quality of life within our local community with, "BuyLongBeach.net." This time G-site's Internet focus is a little different. Though our vehicle is the Internet, BuyLongBeach.net marries the virtual-world with traditional "brick & mortar" or real-world business (store).
The local niche
In this model we have de-emphasized typical e-commerce and created a search mechanism that allows you to search for an item that is available in a nearby store. Before leaving your home or office you can search for it, display it and then click on the "map" button which will show you exactly how to get there. It might be a five-minute car ride or just a few blocks away but it's close.
Some tech stuff...
Our system employs "tried and true" technology. G-site has developed systems utilizing various platforms (ASP, ColdFusion, JAVA...). For this system we have utilized PERL coding, running in the stable UNIX environment, to bring you a system that will not let you down. Our databases will allow thorough searches to bring up very complete results and our participating merchants and businesses will have the ability to create and add new sales to the system 24 hours a day through their own admin screens. Some of our merchants may even choose to post sales before they actually begin, thus allowing the public to see what may be coming up soon... or they may post something only a day before it is no longer available -- our goal will be to allow our merchants the ability to make this site a "must check" anytime we are about to make a purchase...
-- To list your sales here -- click!
If you'd like to learn more about G-site click here!
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