Almost a year after the idea of creating a web portal in Chestnut Hill was first presented, the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) voted to hire a web consultant to oversee the planning phase of the web portal.
Following an hour-long presentation to the CHCA Thursday night, media consultant Mel Taylor was approved for a 30-day engagement, during which time he will build a comprehensive business model for the portal. He will also help the Chestnut Hill Local transition to a more comprehensive, revenue-generating website.
Taylor allowed the numbers to make the case for him. At a rate of $25 per week, if merely half of the 300 members of the Chestnut Hill Business Association (CHBA) opted to advertise on the portal it would bring in $180,000 in the first year. This would create a cushion for The Local, allowing for time to devise an aggressive strategy for sales representatives to bring in new business.
Concerns that merchants already paying for print advertising in The Local may be unwilling or unable to expand their advertising budgets were countered by Taylor’s assurance that other entities, such as AOL’s Patch, WHYY’s Newsworks, Groupon and Facebook, would eventually move in and aggressively snatch up advertising from local businesses.
“If we don’t offer digital to our clients, someone else would,” Taylor said.
The CHCA has already budgeted $24,000 to the Local’s web development.
While the CHCA has yet to vote definitively to accept or reject the proposed web portal, the 20-5 vote in favor of hiring Taylor may be an indication of what will come.