Web portal idea draws comments

By From page A1 | July 29, 2013

A Request for Proposal to set up a Web portal drew some clarifying comments from backers after it was reported that included in the RFP was language suggesting that the portal be supported with advertising.

Approved by the Board of Supervisors at its July 16 meeting, the RFP included spending up to $100,000 to develop a Web portal that would serve as a “launching point or gateway to all the assets and resources available in the County of El Dorado.” Assets listed included businesses and restaurants, tourism and recreation opportunities, employment information and real estate services.

One portion of the RFP referenced, “Web Portal Marketing to include but not be limited to advertising the portal to target audiences (businesses, tourists, residents, community groups); and Generate advertising revenue to support the ongoing maintenance of the web portal.”

The latter point was later reiterated by Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kim Kerr at the July 16 board meeting when she was asked by Supervisor Ron Mikulaco if the county was going to advertise and have ads popping up. She said that would be the goal, to get some advertising to help pay for the ongoing cost of the portal. But she said the county was also looking for help in marketing so when someone Googled a topic, El Dorado County popped up first.

That’s not what we meant

However the RFP and subsequent publicity surrounding it drew some follow-up comments by a member of the County Economic Development Advisory Committee and the county.

CEDAC originally advocated for the Web portal as part of a package of proposals to help foster economic development in the county. Michael Ranalli, who is a member of CEDAC, said the original proposal submitted by them to the county made no mention of advertising.

Ranalli said he hoped whoever responds to the RFP provides the Board of Supervisors with information on how to structure the Website as well as a range of options, since other communities with Web portals handle it differently.

“We don’t want to clutter the Website with advertising,” he said. “I didn’t think that was the direction we were going in. But we do want ideas from vendors on how to pay the ongoing cost of maintaining the portal.”

Ranalli claimed in talking with other board members of CEDAC that they didn’t see it as a site for advertising. If it turns out maintaining it is easy, the county may even want to do it, he suggested. It just depends on the degree and cost of maintenance.

Ranalli suggested CEDAC might even want to correct the RFP to reflect its intent. However the RFP has already been released with responses due back Aug. 21.

Mike Applegarth, who is the Principal Analyst in the Chief Administrative Office, repeated many of the same things that Ranalli did, saying the county will use ideas from vendors responding to the RFP for how the portal can be funded on an ongoing basis. That may or may not involve advertising, he said.

“The RFP is just asking for information at this point in order to make the project successful,” he continued. “The county doesn’t intend to compete in soliciting advertising opportunities already available to businesses. At this point we don’t know what the portal will look like, what the cost will be or how to fund it. That’s what the responses to the RFP will tell us.”

“Ultimately the Board of Supervisors will have to make the decision,” he said, “but it’s 100 percent our intent not to solicit advertising or compete with El Dorado County businesses. We don’t want to put ourselves in competition with those businesses.”

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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