Frequently Asked Questions
(If you would like to submit a question, please do so using the form on the "Contact Us" page!)
What Is Virtual Cities?
Virtual Cities is basically a map of your local area, showing all the local businesses that you might want to patronize. It is a way for you to find out more about local merchants, so you can benefit from dealing locally.
Why did you create Virtual Cities
Well, it's really a strange story. I was working on developing Search Engine Optimization and other forms of online advertizing for some of my customers. As part of my research, I was reviewing all kinds of statistics; and what I found actually ASTOUNDED me! As of 2006, there were about 24.5 million small businesses in the US, according to the US Census Bureau. (They define a small business as 10 or fewer employees.) In that same time period, I found that only 1.5 million small businesses had a website! I thought this is CRAZY - it can't be right! That's only 6.1% of small businesses in the US have websites. But, it does appear to be true - existing "brick and mortar" businesses have been very slow to adapt to this new technology. And, it's really hurting them in a really invisible way. I mean, when was the last time you looked for a local product or service in the phone book? Today, the vast majority of people in the US use search engines to find local businesses. But, most of those businesses don't have a 'Web presence. So I thought, how about I make it EASY for businesses to get online. That is the Virtual Cities concept, in a nutshell.
What does the "" symbol mean, and why should I care?
The symbol is the symbol for an RSS feed, and I believe it is the user-controlled advertising replacement for e-mail SPAM. RSS technology is well-known by a select few, but it has not yet been widely adopted by the average user, which is really a shame. Here's why it should be THE way for businesses to communicate with customers and prospective customers: SPAM is "push" advertising - the advertiser "pushes" e-mails to millions of unwilling recipients; RSS is "pull" advertising - you visit a website, then click on an RSS icon, and (assuming you have an RSS reader installed) you "pull" in articles from that website.
But the real power of RSS is this - from then on, the your RSS reader will periodically check the RSS on that website (which is called an RSS feed), and if any new articles appear, then the RSS reader alerts you that there are new article(s) available. You then choose if and when to view the article(s). If you decide that you no longer wish to view articles from the original website, you simply remove that RSS feed from the list of RSS feeds that your RSS reader has been keeping for you. If you change your mind, all you have to do is go to the original website and click on the RSS icon again, and now you have full access - no penalty, no cost. The beauty of RSS is that the user has complete control, unlike SPAM, where the advertiser has the majority of the control.
And, Internet Explorer 7 and 8 have an RSS reader built right in, so most of you already have easy access to this wonderful technology!