Archive for the “strategy” Category

Along the lines of East 20s Eats, Zagat’s is reportedly soon to launch a New York City restaurant deal site. As best I can surmise, members who join the site would get discounts to Zagat-rated eateries. Sounds familiar ….

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David Carr of The New York Times had an interesting piece today about sustainability and the Web-only Minnpost.com. It is worth a read for those of us on this project.

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Our own East 20s Project was the subject of a post on new blog authored by Pam Fine, the Knight Chair in News, Leadership and Community at the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Her blog, JLocal, explores innovative ways journalism schools are teaching students to cover communities. Here is the link.

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I have been thinking a lot lately about how — exactly — we are going to produce the news stories for our East 20s Project. In my opinion, this question is our most pressing as we move forward with the project. To make the site work, we have to produce a steady stream of stories on a daily basis 12 months a year.

Coincidentally, the Journalism Department at NYU just announced that it will run a hyperlocal news Web site covering the East Village, to be published by The New York Times as part of its “Local” blog series.

Please take the time to read Jay Rosen’s explanation about how the site will work. This is the kind of plan that we have to come up with for our project.  Please add your thoughts to the comments section below.

Click here for Jay Rosen’s post.

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As promised earlier,  marketing director Noah Xfir has filed his full report on the student focus group we held in December.  Continue reading for his full report: (more…)

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We have come up with an ever-growing list of features that we feel should be integrated into the East 20s site. To make the list of items more manageable I broke them up into groups.

The first group lists items that absolutely must be accounted for in the initial framework of the site. The lists after that are features that are not required with the initial framework and can be added later if we decide we need to put them off for a bit.

A. Technical Features That Need to be Done by Site Launch

1. Fully-integrated database: A complete database that would draw together and organize all the information on the site — from profiles pages of restaurants to reviews to photos to mapping information.

2. Editorial content rating system: Readers rate editorial content, with questions such as, “Did you find this useful?”

3. Comments: Users would be able to post comments on all types of files – from stories to videos to slide shows. Rating system would allow highest rated comments to filter to the top.

4. Rating comments on stories: Readers could rate comments from other readers. Useful, or not? System would filter comments with the higher quality ratings rising to the top.

5. Restaurant/business rating system: Users – with just the click of the mouse – could instantly rate a restaurant and/or business or service that is mentioned on the site.

6. User profiles: Users would have their own page where all their information, photos and posts would be displayed. This would have to include a sign-in tab. This would include their top-rated restaurants, comments they’ve posted, photos they’ve uploaded, etc.

7. Mapping/Geotagging: Technology to map all stories, comments, reviews and other content. The idea would be to have a big map of the East 20s on its own page. Readers could zoom into smaller areas that interest them, or could search by address. The map would have a presence on the homepage, but would link off to the bigger image.

8. Reader alert system: Readers could sign up for e-mail alerts on restaurants or topics of interest to them.

9. Capability to post video, audio, photos and audio-slideshows, include a video player: For multimedia reporting.

10. Ad space: Space for different types of ads including banner, vertical and display.

B. Secondary Features (not required for launch but we know we want them)

11. Event calendar/meetups: Users would have the ability to post events or organize “meetups” around food-related events such as food walking tours, street fairs and the like.

12. Aggregation of news, food sites and neighborhood data: Feeds from local and specialty publications and all food/restaurant-related sites such as yelp, menupages, chowhound, eater, etc., and data such as restaurant inspections, etc. Content would likely be pulled and automatically posted via RSS.

13. Ability to use iPhone/Blackberry app features on Web site.

14. Ask the expert: Periodically, we could engage some kind of expert – a chef or nutritionist or food safety specialist – who would be available to answer e-mailed questions on a particular topic.

15. Facebook: Create a presence on this social-networking site.

C. Features that Require Audience Participation

16. Twitter-like reviews: Users would file the briefest of reviews, limited to 140 characters or less. We would use a hash tag on Twitter and display the “tw’eats” in a box or ticker on the homepage.

17. “Latest Plate”: Users could upload a photo and brief caption of the latest meal they ordered. These would show up as a photo gallery on the homepage. Restaurants also could pay to post photos of their latest dishes. These pay photos would be distinguished from reader-generated photos with a “sponsored” tag and a different color background.

18. Communal cookbook Wiki: Readers could post and exchange recipes. They also could suggest changes to improve recipes, all in the spirit of a Wiki, and they could post photos of their dishes. We could organize seasonal “cook-off” events around popular recipes in the Wiki. We could possibly get nearby cooking school involved.

D. Incentives for Site Use

19. Coupons: The ability to sell coupons for restaurants and services.

20. Subscription service: Establish different membership/subscription categories that would give businesses or individuals the ability to search the database in ways non-subscription users couldn’t. This would involve some kind of e-commerce technology such as a shopping cart and PayPal payment system.

21. Incentives to visit site: Users would be rewarded with coupons upon reaching milestone numbers for unique visits. For example, someone with 10 unique visits would receive a coupon for a coffee, someone with 100 uniques would get a free appetizer at a participating restaurant, 200 uniques would get a dessert, and 500 uniques $10 off an entree.

22. Incentives for posting content: Once a month, the site would hold a lottery in which the three top-rated posters of user-generated content would compete for a prize. The idea is that the giveaway would have an element of surprise, something like a grab-bag. These items could be branded items such as e2eats potholders, spatulas or kitchen towels. Those branded items also could be used for promotional giveaways.

E. Pay Services

23. Contributions for site: The ability to solicit donations from users for the site.

24. Consulting services for local businesses: Site would offer services to help businesses. These could include helping them build their Web sites, creating multimedia advertising, offering consultations on their menus and organizing focus groups to improve their business.

25. Spot.us: Crowd-sourcing service to raise money to pay for freelance stories.

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