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What’s the buzz?

BuzzBolt rewrites the rules of Web strategy.

Jeanne Heydecker and Lee Neubecker teamed up to launch Chicago-based BuzzBoltMEDIA in January 2000 in hopes of creating a strong competitor to city-specific online resource sites AOL Digital City and City Search. We recently spoke to Heydecker, the company’s vice president.

What does BuzzBoltMEDIA do?

It provides full lifecycle services from Web strategy, design, development, Web marketing and measurement, solving business challenges in sales support, customer relations, supply chain management, intranets, and extranets.

BuzzBolt.com develops dynamic ASP Web components. By enabling a company to select from a list of ready-made components for use in their corporate web sites, intranets, and extranets, companies can afford better, more stable sites.

How did you get the idea for BuzzBolt MEDIA?

We met at Lycos, and we knew we wanted to build a top-tier Web site, but the business model at Lycos and its network properties was not financially sound.

We started intending to launch an Events Web destination that competed directly against AOL’s Digital City and CitySearch. We wanted to create significant enhancements for the user, including PDA and calendar integration. We tried to come up with a business model that provided a workable revenue base and that made sense to us financially. However, what we started with wasn’t viable.

First we generated a consistent level of income by opening BuzzBoltMEDIA.com, a site that provides custom Web services for manufacturing and professional services firms. This helped finance our long-term goals.

We knew the free B2C (business-to-consumer) events model our competitors were based on could not finance itself. So instead of developing a free service for users and junking up the interface with irritating advertising like pop-up and pop-under windows, we concentrated on the organizations that need affordable solutions for events and other dynamic listings on their Web sites. Essentially, we changed our focus from B2C to B2B (business-to-business).

You recently released Buzzware. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

BuzzWare is a suite of dynamic Web components built in ASP and Javascript that extract information from Access and SQL Server databases. It includes Tell-A-Buzz, which recommends a Web page to a friend or colleague with a snippet of code embedded on your Web site. It can also provide feedback from your site to the appropriate person within your organization. Another component, BuzzBios, quickly creates a dynamic listing of your employees, consultants, or management team.

Other features include BuzzJobs, which sets up a dynamic job listing service to keep your recruitment efforts up to date; BuzzDirectory, which creates a listing of your member directory with just a few clicks; BuzzEvents, which sets up a dynamic listing of special events sponsored by or related to your business; and BuzzPR, which enables the posting of press releases to your Web site.

What do you think makes BuzzBoltMEDIA unique?

Lee and I both have in-the-trenches experience at Lycos. We learned what works and what doesn’t. Lee managed all of the interactive products–chat, message boards–at Lycos. I’ve spent the last 14 years marketing software, training, and computer telephony for small companies with no marketing budgets. We know how to run lean.

Do you know a local company we should cover? Let us know about it. Send your local profile candidates to Christy Mulligan.

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