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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Website Developer From the "Show Me" State Unveils Plans for an Online Local Media Empire at Missouri.me

Interest in development continues to grow among domain owners  who want to free themselves from dependence on PPC revenue, especially now that those earnings have fallen off a cliff. I've always felt that the best chances for development success lie in finding an underserved niche and building the best resource within that niche. That is exactly what 

Bruce Marler
LocalTek, LLC

Missouri's Bruce Marler is trying to do right now with development of a statewide portal at Missouri.me that is focused on serving the advertising needs of small to medium sized businesses in Missouri's underserved rural communities

Marler, who quit a six-figure a year high tech job this summer to follow his entrepreneurial dream, set up a new company, LocalTek, LLC, to serve as a one stop shop geared to making a web presence a no brainer for local businesses.  Marler said that LocalTek provides web development, advertising, and targeted online marketing packages that virtually any business can afford. 

Missouri.me serves as the foundation for a network aimed at tying together over 1,000 communities across the state. Each town within the network has its own site on a sub-domain of the main platform. For example a site for Linn, Missouri is located at Linn.Missouri.me

Marley got the Linn site off to a flying start by contacting the county government 

there, which had no website of their own, and offering to build one for them at no charge. They accepted and with that stamp of approval local businesses started buying ads on the site (much to the chagrin of the local newspaper who lodged a furious protest to no avail). Marler has started hiring people across the state to personally call on small business owners with an offer to put them on the web at a price they can afford.

Marler is so convinced that he can cash in on the migration of media consumers from traditional sources to the web that he has gone on to acquire nearly half of the 50 U.S. state names in the .me extension. 

Certainly some will question his decision to use .me which is the country code for Montenegro. As most of you know the government of Montenegro cut a deal to re-purpose .me, opening it for unrestricted global use with the world's #1 registrar, GoDaddy, as a powerful backer and promoter of the extension. 

Playing off the popularity of the word "me",  the extension has done pretty well in aftermarket auctions since it was relaunched. How well those prices will hold up and the degree to which .me will be accepted by web users remains to be seen but if it does gain a foothold people like Marler who are building well crafted useful websites on it will be the ones who deserve the credit.

As much as we love domains, content is still king and his appears to be strong enough to give him a realistic shot at making "me" part of a unique "brand" that people will remember, especially with his focus on catering to businesses who aren't used to such personal service. "We created LocalTek and the Missouri.me concept to level the playing field," Marler said. "Missouri.me allows each and every community in the state to have their own online presence while LocalTek’s web development and targeted marketing services provide value that cannot be matched by traditional advertising only firms, newspaper and even radio." 

One other thing that could work in his favor from a branding standpoint is the fact that Missouri's nickname is the "Show Me" state! 

Marler's company will undoubtedly lose some traffic to the very attractive site that Local Matters operates at Missouri.com (under license from Telepathy), but by zeroing in on his own well-defined niche LocalTek appears to have a good chance of forging a separate identity for Missouri.me.  

For this who want to follow his progress, Marler writes a blog about domaining and site development at BruceMarler.com. In one bit of very good advice he posted there Marler wrote "develop, develop, develop, find an idea that is interesting and works from the business side AND that you will enjoy and good things will happen. Find a hole and fill it, provide solid service at a fair price. People will buy."

(Posted July 30, 2009)

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