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I agree with the need to coexist with commercial sector products &
projects. I was on a panel with Ted Pinkowitz on Tuesday, and have
witnessed some mutually beneficial relationships between for-profit &
nonprofit such as free Internet access & training for nonprofits by
Brigadoon.com.

The strategy I'm following is to try to anticipate which resources that
commercial entities will fund and concentrate my community information
development on areas they'll leave out or maintain poorly. i.e: let
sidewalk do an arts & entertainment guide and focus our work on resources
for homeless/disadvantaged. There is a danger in expecting that ECentral
will devote resources towards maintaining quality community information
when their goal is profit (also since they're not planning to monitor or
offer any design assistance for the information posted). That said, it will
be increasingly crucial to work with good corporate partners as they
leverage resources that are important to those we all seek to bring into
communication.

--phil
\o   o/ Philip Klein, Database Projects Coordinator, CCR
  ()\o/\        1265 S Main St, #210, Seattle, WA 98144
  ||/\||        (206) 461-3213 x218 FAX:(206) 461-3726

http://childcare.org            http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/~most
http://crisisclinic.org
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> From: madeline <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: CN & the Commercial Sector
> Date: Thursday, September 11, 1997 4:30 PM
>
> A few nights ago, I attended a panel session on "local online city
guides",
> which included:
>
> Brad Struss ([log in to unmask]), General Manager of Microsoft's
> soon-to-launch Denver Sidewalk
>
> Meredith Flynn-Ripley ([log in to unmask]), General Manager of US West's
> DiveIn Denver
>
> and Ted Pinkowitz ([log in to unmask]), President of E.Central with the Big
> City - Small Planet site.
>
>
> At the end of their schpeels, I asked the panelists whether they were
> familiar with "community networking"... mentioned that these were
> grassroots efforts that had been springing up in this country for oh,
about
> 10 years or so...  that these projects provided not just online presences
> but also public access sites and community education and training... that
> the categories of information they focused on were directly
complemenatary
> to the categories of information each of _their_ services was focusing
> on... that there was much to be gained by collaborating with these local
> projects... and that there happened to be representatives from the
Boulder
> Community Network and the Denver Freenet in the audience, and would they
be
> open to a possible collaboration.
>
> Each panelist had heard about CN, but did not know really what they were
> about... however each panelist said that the CNers should definitely
> contact them... and afterwards 2 out of the 3 actually came up to me to
> talk about this in more detail, and to get the names of the local CN
> people.
>
>
> Folks: as we wrestle with this question of "long-term funding" for local
CN
> projects, and we explore potential use of domain-name registration
dollars,
> or the "public business model", or any other possible pieces of a funding
> "pie", let's not ignore what is happening in the commercial sector, and
> let's not assume that these people in the commercial sector are "evil",
or
> "out to get us".  Speaking as someone who has been in both the commercial
> and nonprofit sectors:  I am the same person, whether I've been an
employee
> of AT&T Bell Labs or Apple or whether I've been a "community networker".
> And talking to these commercial online service folks this week makes me
> realize all over again that it really is more a matter of _education_ and
> _raising of awareness_ than anything else.  It is up to _us_ to let them
> know about our local projects, and it is up to _us_ to establish contact
> with them when they come to our towns.
>
> We need not view their "arrival on the scene" as necessarily a _bad_
> thing... they are actually bringing some long-overdue media attention to
> this whole area of local community content.  We need to take _advantage_
of
> this!!  And make sure that CN projects are _also_ mentioned whenever this
> topic is brought up.
>
>
> I would highly encourage you to _contact_ any commercial online services
> people who arrive in your city or town, _educate_ them about your CN
> project and explore any potential collaborations that could be "mutually
> beneficial".  As long as the CN project's values were adhered to, there
is
> no reason why CN projects couldn't become "content partners" with them,
and
> possibly receive some funding.
>
> If there is more than one commercial online service provider in your
area,
> I would encourage you to contact them _all_, perhaps even plan an event
> such as the one in Boulder, where a representative from each project
could
> talk about their service, and where the local CN project could also talk
> about _its_ service... and who knows what kind of collaborations might
> result.
>
> Good luck... and tell us how it goes!
>
>
> Madeline
>
>
>
>
>
>
> _________________________________________________
> Madeline Gonzalez
> Phone: (970)728-5170
> Fax: (970)728-3102