HomeTownLocator State Gazetteers - a Brief History

Matt and Carolyn Smith formed their first Internet company in March 1995. The company produced a series of Internet "TownCenter" Websites for a number of Florida communities and they soon began providing website design and consulting services to other organizations. Early clients included a leading medical diagnostics company, two cruise lines and a division of a major financial organization. The company was sold a few years later to a publicly traded that was very anxious to get into the Internet buiness.

In April 2002, Matt and Carolyn decided to start another Internet company to refocus on their original idea from 1995 of looking's for ways to leverage the power of the Internet for very local information.

They spent 15 months in research and development and tested different approaches to information architecture. The biggest challenge was developing an organizational structure that made millions pages of very localized information both easy to find and navigate.

While testing the third iteration of site structure, the Internet Scout Report, one of the web's oldest and most respected sources for academics to learn about new web resources, published a favorable review of the site (on November 14, 2003), visitor traffic to the site increased rapidly.

Initially, the visitors were mostly educators, students, researchers, and librarians. Soon thereafter, our organic search traffic started to increase as the Googlebot began making deep dives into our rich content. Our reputation was further increased when  the New York Library Association featured the HomeTownLocator Gazetteer as  the "Site of the Month" in a newsletter.

Traffic to the site continued to grow and by January 2005, the site crossed the one million visitors threshold for the first time. The amazing thing for this two-person, home-based business is that the traffic have averaged over a million visitors per month ever since!

Here's two issues that may of further interest:

  1. Is HomeTownLocator considered a Trustworthy Site? Check References!
  2. Having over 2 million pages of content is fairly impressive, but is the data kept current? The References page linked in the footer of every gazetteer addresses this issue.