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MCW LAUNCHES NEW SITE LAYOUT

12/8/2006

By Matt Cook

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Welcome to our new home page and updated website! The past several years have held many exciting challenges for our website, and the support of our readers, fans and event professionals is greatly appreciated. We recently passed an amazing milestone -- the 10,000,000 hit mark. We are averaging more than 10,000 unique hits per month and board usage is way up. Traffic has grown beyond my wildest dreams, and we continue to grow at a rapid pace.

Over the past year, especially with the demise of Amusement Business Magazine, we have been thinking more and more about the need to fill a void in the industry. As you know, we began filing original stories and exclusive interviews earlier this year, and we have broken industry news time and time again. We have expanded coverage to include fairs and events. This is reflected in our new slogan “The internet warehouse for fairs, carnivals and events.” We want to continue bringing you these features and expand upon our offerings. On the front page you will find our daily news links, compiling stories about the industry from newspapers all over the country. Along with the new homepage, we are rolling out our “Top 50 North American Fairs” and “Carnivals Playing the Top 50 Fairs” lists. They are available here. We are also adding content such as a complete listing of fairs and eventually, festivals, with contact names and numbers available free on the site. We are currently compiling one of the most comprehensive directories of carnivals, concessionaires, entertainers, manufacturers and suppliers for the industry ever assembled. We hope MCW will become a great resource for carnivals, fairs and event planners. Listings in these directories without contact numbers or web links is available free of charge. Including your contact numbers and Web link is available for the nominal annual charge of $250 for carnivals, entertainers, manufacturers and industry suppliers and $100 for concessionaires. These directories are available free to our readership, so your listing is an essential way to promote your business and provide others with an easy way to contact you. The databases will be searchable by states and keywords. I hope those of you who work with suppliers who are friendly to the industry such as fuel companies, auto dealers, welders and the like will encourage them to sign up for the directory. We are working with the IISF in Gibtown to provide their members with automatic listings in the database, and we hope to forge similar relationships with the OABA, the IAFE, the IFEA and NICA. Those of you who register for a paid listing through IISF will benefit the Gibtown Club financially! Look for a mailing soon from the club.

I also want to introduce many of you to Jill Rainey, our new Director of Sales and Marketing. Jill was the Marketing Director for the Ohio State Fair for many years before leaving to work for the Taubman Company and Petland as Vice-President of Marketing. Returning to the industry, she formed Centerline Communications to work with events and carnivals on marketing strategies, advertising and promotions. Jill will be writing monthly columns on marketing and advertising for MCW. Her first column is available here. She will also be helping to start a new private message board for industry marketing directors and those with marketing duties here on this site. We envision a place where professionals can post a topic and get feedback from others who have been there before. By drawing from the great wealth of experience out there, we will all be able to do our jobs better and more effectively. Updates to the board will be e-mailed to the membership list. If you are a marketing professional, email Jill at jill@carnivalwarehouse.com to get signed up!

We have had many, many requests for advertising placement on the site. Jill has developed an advertising program she has mailed to many of those who have expressed an interest. Our advertising will take two directions. First, we will be offering banner ads on our pages and in our original stories. Banner ads are exciting because they can link to your website or specially designed page and they have video and sometimes audio to enhance the ad. Second, we will be introducing a brand new Marketplace section where carnivals can list their routes, concessionaires can advertise their services and fairs and events can post their booking needs. The marketplace will eventually be searchable by date and by state so you can find an event or carnival ad for the date or place that fits your route best. The great thing about the Internet is that these ads can be updated much more easily than a print paper. The Marketplace ads are affordable and because access to our site is free, the potential number of readers is enormous. We encourage carnivals to place yearly ads that can be updated as the year moves on. For more information on these exciting new advertising opportunities contact Jill at jill@carnivalwarehouse.com or call her at (614) 596-6760.

We made an important decision to not sell subscriptions to the website or charge for content at this time. We want MCW to be a complete resource for fair, carnival and event professionals and fans of the industry. You can be an active participant in the various discussions on the message boards, read the news links, view original articles and interviews, conduct research to locate a supplier or find a place to book your concession or ride. We want MCW to be a place you visit each and every day for essential news and information about the industry.

MCW is also a community, and we want to continue to draw on your ideas and suggestions. As you have seen over the last year, we have published submissions from readers about event visits and we want to hear from those of you who are interested in occasional submissions to the site. We especially would like to hear from people on the West Coast who are interested in submitting stories and visits for publication. There is now a button on the front page to submit story ideas, press releases, news tips, news links and information to be considered for publication. Please let us know how the site can better serve your needs in the industry.

While the content will remain free, we do want to encourage everyone with a business to consider a full listing in one of our directories. The directories are a great way to promote your business before millions of eyes each year. A subscription to a trade magazine was $200 and only gave you the privilege of reading the magazine. A listing in the directory will pay dividends for your business. Please also consider placing an ad in the Marketplace Section to advertise what you need for bookings for the year.

Thank you all for your help and support over the years. Now more than ever, I need your support and encouragement as the site evolves into the major news and information resource in the industry. Keep your ideas and suggestions coming!

Matt Cook

Lifetime Products



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