SmallTown Offers ‘WebCards’ Via Google Gadget Ads, Others

SmallTown, the Bay Area hyperlocal company, is changing its core focus and will concentrate mostly on getting wider distribution of its WebCards microsites for small businesses.

While the nine-person company will continue to maintain its hyperlocal sites, which are now in six Bay Area communities, it sees a bigger opportunity in having third parties such as IYPs and search engines selling WebCards, says CEO Hal Rucker. “WebCards.com has always been our vision. It hasn’t been hyperlocal.”

The WebCards are small-business microsites that may be transported along multiple platforms (i.e., Web sites, e-mail, directory listings, etc.). In this regard, they are similar to other providers such as AgendiZe, Mixpo and Wibiti. A major driver of the WebCards is the ability to “encase” video.

Rucker says the cards will be featured on Google Gadget Ads, where he believes they are the first to focus on small business. Talks are also “very far” along with several major resellers.

As for the SmallTown hyperlocal sites, there are currently 12,000 registered users, and 23,000 WebCards. The bulk of these are on a free tier, but 600 are enhanced customers, paying $50. Most of the enhanced offerings have been sold by premise sales, although some have come in via self-serve.

The vast majority of WebCard users are only using one card, but approximately 15 percent have taken out multiple cards. A real estate agent, for instance, might want to have cards for specific property listings as well as for corporate identity.

The company is also introducing featured listings, which are priced at $4,200 per year for the top listing slot, and $1,200 for the second slot. “With six cities and 300 categories, you can see how it would add up,” says Rucker.

In addition to WebCards and featured listings, Rucker says the company is also bringing in some revenue from white labeling its services. The San Mateo Chamber of Commerce, for instance, is one customer.

Rucker notes that the company has also extended its initial $3 million funding from Formative Ventures and others, and has now raised $4.5 million in total.

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