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ArmadilloNet Killed By Apathy

Despite getting more than 200 unique users per day, Auckland portal is closing its doors and its owners feel business apathy, inexperience and a reluctance to follow advice are responsible.

ArmadilloNet is a regional portal showcasing retail and shopping venues in Remuera, Newmarket and Parnell. Only a few of the 280 businesses showcased used the portal site to market themselves - the rest ignored ongoing marketing advice then complained it had been ineffective.

Yet statistically the site was a success and exceeded all expectations from the user perspective.

"We've been absolutely amazed by the attitude," says ArmadilloNet creator Spencer Willis. "These businesses would never leave the same stock on the shelf all year, yet they left their virtual shop unchanged without giving it a thought. While Rattleshack advertised the site extensively and brought lots of customers in, there was nothing happening to keep them coming back."

The few businesses that followed the creative team's advice found ArmadilloNet worked well for them. The Olive Tree café built a roaring trade by rewarding ArmadilloNet users with a free brownie for every large latte. Julie Anne Children's Wear sold $1000 of clothing to a customer on the Island of Jersey, after employing basic marketing techniques to complement their online presence. Likewise Road to Rome - it gained a marked increase in customers after advertising a seasonal sale on ArmadilloNet and has since called on Rattleshack for a full web site solution.

"Not having many proactive member businesses hurt the site in other ways. With no text updates, promotional content or competitions being offered by ArmadilloNet members, it became difficult to maintain high representation in search engine results. City portals can be too generic for high-level search engine results and for businesses on the portal to gain direct 'hits'."

For Rattleshack, the demise of ArmadilloNet showed a clear need for serious education of the small business community. Via the Parnell Community Centre, seminars are being offered to educate businessowners about web marketing.

"Most people believe they need to be on the Internet, but have little idea of how it can really work for them," says Spencer. "ArmadilloNet was a first step into the unknown, and very few made the most of the opportunity it presented. We think businesses, especially small businesses, must wake up to the potential and learn how to make e-business a success."

For more information please contact:

Spencer Willis Tel: 09 623 7491

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