By Stacy Nadelman
Pilot staff writer
Not ones to let a good opportunity stay secret, Karen Clark, Jude Hodge and Bill Johnson have started a new organization to help Curry County businesses or online entrepreneurs promote their businesses at no charge.
Their organization, Look Who's Online, is an advertising co-op with the only expense to members is the cost of advertising the co-op in local press, which will be divided among its members.
They will hold a meeting, open to the public, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the 360 Event Center, located at 15711 Highway 101.
"It's like a Yellow Pages in a way," Hodge said. "I think it's a service that's needed in the community.
Hodge sells Global Positioning Systems (GPS), manages her husband's business Web Site for Dave Hodge Cabinetry and owns Surfside Espresso at the port. She is currently a top ranked Platinum PowerSeller with eBay and has been published in Networking Times, Cutting Edge Media, Money, Makers Monthly, Net workers Advantage and is a contributing author in "Build it Big," a book published by Dearborn Publishing for Direct Selling Women's Alliance.
The idea came about when Hodge, read of an eBay class being offered by Clark. Hodge, a certified eBay educator herself, called Clark to discuss their common interest.
"Not many people do this locally," Hodge said. "I had to meet her!"
They met a few days later and talked about the need for more people with a "Web presence" in the area.
The most important thing they discussed, Hodge said, was the fact that they were both successful selling online and that there were probably others locally who sold their products on the Internet as well.
"But without a directory how does one know who is online?" said Hodge.
"The main thing we wanted, was to do this purely for networking," said Clark, who currently teaches eBay classes at South Western Oregon Community College. She's been featured in a book called, "Using Technology in Business" and manages two Web sites, one for Win Chuck River Store and the other, King Fisher Electric Boats. She also manages an eBay store.
Johnson, who was introduced to Hodge by Clark after attending Clark's eBay workshop, thought the idea of having an online directory for the Brookings-Harbor area was great. He joined the women, bringing his expertise in merchant accounts and they all spent a year formulating a Web site with the catchy name: LookWhosOnline.com. They then contacted the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce and voila, they were in business.
"It's a way for brick and mortar businesses to market their existing Web sites," said Johnson, who's been an outside sales representatives, owned several businesses and been in mid management positions for two Fortune 500 companies. He currently owns Western Merchant Services, acting as a consultant for merchants who process credit cards at their location or on the Internet.
Look Who's Online is endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce. They are associated with the Chamber as a committee within the chamber, said Hodge.
"It's kind of like a Chamber of Commerce for online businesses," she said. "Our goal is to help everyone to become successful."
Clark, Hodge and Johnson will hold monthly meetings to teach anyone who is interested in becoming a member of the online co-op anything they need to know about advertising on the Internet.
One can visit the up-and- running Web site at www.LookWhosOnline.com.
For more information call Clark at (541) 412-0909, Hodge at (541) 251-2814 or Johnson at (541) 412-2780.