Online local community site, Smalltown, is starting to think bigger picture. Today, the service launches a new site, Webcards.com, to simplify advertising campaigns over multiple platforms. The idea is still to focus on small local business, but to help these companies easily expand to the Internet at large.
Webcards (the product) have actually been a part of Smalltown since the site launched in October of 2006. Now, however, with an extremely easy-to-use online builder, users can create their own in a few easy steps. Even if businesses are based in a town that doesn’t have a Smalltown community (the service is still only confined to the Bay Area), they will now be able to make these cards.
I met with Smalltown founder and chief executive Hal Rucker who explained to me that a Webcard can be thought of as a Flash widget that can be embedded in any webpage. One of the major benefits of this embedding is that when you change your Webcard, it changes across all the sites it’s featured on. An example usage for such a feature would be a company coupon or promotion that was constantly updated.
I did a walk-through for creating my own Webcard, it was seamless and extremely simple. Utilizing the Webcard Factory, users can have a card ready to go in as few as ten minutes. Rucker expressed that simplicity was important because so many small business owners in these smaller communities do not have the time or quite often the patience to sit through making an extensive advertising campaign.
[Above: a Webcard]
The eventual idea behind Webcards.com is that Smalltown will see which areas people are using the service the most. These areas will then be considered prime targets for expansion of the Smalltown brand itself.
That will be the big question. Will users outside of Smalltown’s Bay Area constituency use the product? Initial launch integration with services YellowPagesLive, Trulia and WebVisible should help the service gain some traction.
Mixpo is one competitor in the small to mid-sized business online advertising game, however it is much more focused on video rather than card-based dynamic information.
Smalltown raised a $3 million Series A round of funding back in 2006 from Formative Ventures. It followed this up with a Series A extension for an undisclosed amount. There is some thought about a Series B in the coming Fall depending on how things go with the new Webcard product.