Tag Archives: Ed Sussman Buzzr

Paul Smith’s College Launches on Buzzr Higher Education Edition

Congratulations to Paul Smith’s College on their new website, created with the Buzzr Higher Education edition. You can seeit here.

The orignal design was created by mStoner.com, our partner in Buzzr Higher Ed. mStoner is the national leader in website design and strategy in the Higher Education market. We have an exclusive deal with mStoner to partner on websites for small colleges.

The Buzzr Higher Ed platform allows mStoner to offer small colleges their services at a fraction of the million dollar price tag typical for large university websites.

The sleek design was created by mStoner and is a beautifule example of the type of sophisticated website that can be created with Buzzr.

The Paul Smith’s College website introduces a host of new features, including content hierarchy, which allows the administrator to specify which pages and which widgets the content should appear on.

We’ll follow up soon with a longer blog post describing new features of the platform and the Paul Smith’s College website in particular.

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Costa Rica’s Largest Media Company Launches Buzzr White Label Environment — Fussio.com

For many months now, we’ve been working with Nacion, the largest media company in Costa Rica, to build them a new Spanish language platform to use for their new small company website and digital products business. The business launches October 15, 2012, under the brand name Fussio.

A team of in-house designers, project managers and sales people has been assembled and Buzzr also spent a week on premises training existing staff. Buzzr has bi-lingual trainers and developers, as well as an office in Argentina. Fussio got a head start with several pre-launch sites, including: jimba.net, lucianoretana.com, jceducaciondental, macawlodge.com, retoescuelasegura.com, jumptogocr.com , motopartescr.com

Here are a couple of screenshots from live websites:

Since Nacion’s initial target market includes the tourism industry, many websites will be offered in both Spanish and English. Nacion commissioned Buzzr to design and build ten new Spanish-language Quickstarts, for one-click rollouts of websites with specific vertical features. Quickstarts include restaurants, hotels, spas, professionals (e.g. dentists), and general contractors (e.g. builders of vacation properties.) Many new styles – interchangeable with any Quickstart – were also debuted.

As a result of our collaboration, Buzzr’s User Interface  is now available in both Spanish and English. The user interface was translated entirely into Spanish for the Fussio project. Here’s an image of one page from the administrative interface:

Spanish Language Website Builder

Here is the homepage of one of three restaurant Quickstarts:

restaurant website template

And here is the homepage of a Spa/Hotel Quickstart:

Spa Tenplate Website

If you’re interested in discussing Buzzr’s white label products, please contact Ed Sussman at ed@buzzr.com or call us at (917) 410-1490.

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October 19, 2012 · 3:02 pm

Explosive Growth in Number of Websites

I was lucky enough to have written a post for the Official Rackspace blog today. Rackspace ia $6.4 billion hosting company known for its fanatical support. We are a Rackspace partner and use them for Cloud installations of our multi-site and private label environments.

Here’s the link to the blog post: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/readying-your-sites-for-explosive-web-growth

And for those of you who don’t want to leave Buzzr.com, here’s the post:

I’ve been hearing lots of speculation lately that social media sites are killing the traditional website. The logic goes like this: organizations can get all of the web presence they need for free with just Facebook and Twitter accounts. Websites are becoming obsolete. That logic, however, is flawed.

My personal observation is that the exact opposite is true – that websites are become more prevalent. So I did a little research. Here’s what I found: about five years ago, there were 54 million active websites, according to web server monitoring stats kept by the U.K. research firm Netcraft. By contrast, this month there were 170 million active websites, according to Netcraft estimates. Parked, or inactive, domains are excluded from this total – including parked domains, there were 663 million websites in May 2012. That was up from 644 million just two months prior, in March 2012.

I know of several universities that five years ago had only a few hundred websites that are now home to a few thousand sites and micro-sites – they have sites for departments, faculty members and student organizations and more. Arizona State University, for example, has witnessed explosive growth in their number of websites. And, in some cases, even for every individual student. A New York-based trade school approached me the other day for advice on creating individual websites for each of its 15,000 graduates. Less than a week later, a leading organization in a consumer industry vertical asked if we could create 10,000 websites for its constituents. The answer is yes we can, and we will.

Here’s my theory: if you show someone how easy it is to have a presence on the web with Facebook or Twitter, they will want a website even more. Actually, they might want two or three at work, one for their kid’s little league team and one for their church group. Since it’s easier and cheaper than ever to get a website up and running – whether through a self-service tool or by hiring a local designer/developer – new websites are flowering – or growing like weeds, if you prefer a less rosy characterization.

Indeed, the reality of website proliferation isn’t at all like the comparatively orderly network of Facebook and Twitter. Chaos – perhaps more charitably called decentralization – is common, even at large companies: different WCMSs are chosen by different groups in the organization, so IT support teams end up being “jacks of all trades, master of none.” Projects stall because of inadequate expertise. There’s no way to quickly reproduce features, designs and content from one site to another site. Tens of thousands of dollars are spent recreating variations of the same sites again and again. Sites take months longer than they need to because of this same issue.

Visitor identity from website to website is non-existent or duplicative. Brand identity is inconsistent from site to site. And regular end users, like the office managers, are sometimes expected to master complex CMS tools designed by and for experts. The more websites an organization supports, the messier the problems can become.

Our company, Buzzr, specializes in organizing this chaos. We provide our clients with a multi-site web content management system in the cloud – a networked environment of on-demand “social publishing” websites specifically designed to be rolled out very quickly and to be run day-to-day by non-technical end users. Our platform works like this:

All websites are created on the same central, hosted environment, with an overview of all websites and users.

-Quickstarts – one-click site clones – are created for recurring use cases. So the same features, layout, designs and user permissions are pre-assembled and ready to be customized.
Best of breed features, especially social features, are culled from a library of more than 10,000 open source Drupal modules.

-Sites can be simplified so end users are only exposed to a sub-set of tools and features that they can easily use. The central site admin has a broader array of tools for managing the same site.

-The websites are networked, so the same user ID works on any site, and site updates can be used to dynamically update a centralized site or member profiles.

-We take care of support, security and feature upgrades, and with the help of Rackspace performance optimization, scaling and 24×7 managed hosting are added.

Because we’re working with Rackspace, we can offer a cloud-based solution, which allows us to support you and your platform in real time. We monitor the entire environment and can also help on any specific site that needs attention. We can also scale the pricing to reflect only your actual usage, in large part because of the flexibility of the Rackspace Cloud pricing model.

At Buzzr, we predict the dramatic proliferation of websites will continue for at least the next decade – especially combinations of website/mobile sites (a new Buzzr offering) and sites in the developing world, where fewer than 10 percent of small businesses have websites. For example, the new Buzzr 3.0 is powering Fussio.com, a Spanish language retail small business website due out in June from Grupo Nacion, the largest media company in Costa Rica. If you’d like us to help you take control of your multi-site universe, give us a call.

Ed Sussman is the CEO and a co-founder of Buzzr.com

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How Ace Hardware Stores Started Using Buzzr.com

Switch from Drupal Shaves Weeks Off Time to Market

(January 25, 2012) FootSteps Marketing, whose bricks and mortar retail client-base generate $180 million in annual revenue, announced that it selected the Buzzr Enterprise Edition as its exclusive platform for creating and maintaining the next generation of online marketing websites.

Since moving this fall from Drupal to Buzzr, average time to create a new website has shrunk from three weeks to less than three days. And, FSM has been able to train its retail store clients to update sites without assistance from FSM, previously impossible when using the much more complex Drupal platform.

The companies released a Case Study today that reviews the project.

Typical clients sites created with Buzzr Enterprise Edition include TerrysAce.com, HappyCooker.ca, ChoiceBuildingSupply.com and StewartHardware.com.

The Buzzr platform, heavily customized to meet the needs of FSM, will serve as the lynchpin of the company’s strategy to expand its service offerings the retail mass market, beyond its position as the elite provider of online marketing for independent Ace Hardware stores.

The critical feature adopted by FSM is the Buzzr Quickstart system, a method of cloning starter websites with a single click. FSM has adopted four Quickstarts, two for Ace Hardware stores and two for general retailers. The Quickstarts represent typical user cases for FSM. Cloned sites are then customized per client, using the many hundreds of features offered by Buzzr.

In addition, Buzzr created and integrated two major custom features for FSM: 1) online coupon building and distribution, including limited time specials and 2) multi-store listings and location positioning on a single map.

“Our customers need many special features on their websites. So we initially chose a very powerful open source CMS – Drupal – but its complexity was slowing down site building and overwhelming clients attempting to do content updates,” says Pat Curry, President of FootSteps Marketing. “After we switched to Buzzr, we were able shave weeks off of site building. Even better, our clients can readily handle updates.”

Buzzr Enterprise Edition is a Software as a Service (“SaaS) for multi-site website creation and management, offered as a white label solution for resellers. The product is a radically streamlined version Drupal, with a proprietary drag & drop user interface, and integrates more than 100 critical modules to create a method for the rapid implementation of websites.
BEE is a private label replica of the http://Buzzr.com self-service website building platform, and can be customized to include any of the 10,000+ Drupal open source modules. It also includes a multi-site administrative control panel, a sophisticated content management system, a point & click design suite, and a close integration with social media.

“I’m really excited we were able to handle the demands of FootSteps, a highly sophisticated client.” says Ed Sussman, CEO of Buzzr . “The large majority of our work at Buzzr is directed toward our enterprise clients. I think our highly personalized services made all the difference in the case of FootSteps.”

About Buzzr.com: Started in 2008 as a partnership between elite Drupal consulting firm Lullabot, and Ed Sussman, the former president of business websites for Inc. and Fast Company, Buzzr is designed to bridge the gap between sophisticated social content management platforms and ordinary website builders. The flagship product, Buzzr Enterprise Edition is a Software as a Service multi-site CMS and design platform that offers both Drupal back-end tools for professionals and an easy-to-use front-end interface for ordinary users. More than 100,000 websites have been built with tools created by the Buzzr team.

Contact: Ed Sussman, ed@buzzr.com or 212-867-4680.

About FootSteps Marketing : FootSteps Marketing (“FSM”) started as the largest provider of websites to independent Ace Hardware stores in the United States. Its dozens of clients generate $180 million in annual revenue. Founded by five large Ace Hardware dealers, and online marketing expert Patrick Curry, FSM recently expanded its mission to include providing online marketing for all types of independent brick and mortar retailers. Its strategy is to transcend its origins as a specialty web design shop and become a mass market provider of online marketing services.


Contact Patrick Curry, pat@footstepsmarketing.com or 970-510-5233

For those unable to open the PDF of the case study, partial text is reproduced below.

FootSteps Marketing

Organization Background

FootSteps Marketing (“FSM”) started as the largest provider of websites to independent Ace Hardware stores in the United States. Its dozens of clients generate $180 million in annual revenue. Founded by five large Ace Hardware dealers, and online marketing expert Patrick Curry, FSM recently expanded its mission to include providing online marketing for all types of independent brick and mortar retailers. Its strategy is to transcend its origins as a specialty web design shop and become a mass market provider of online marketing services.


FSM’s objective was to: 1) dramatically reduce the average build-time of three weeks to create client websites; 2) enable customers to easily handle content updates, and other website administrative tasks, without daily help from FSM; 3) lower the required skill level necessary to create and run websites; 4) maintain advanced SEO features and, sophisticated content management, such as customizing a constantly changing roster of online coupons.

FSM’s typical client generates more than $1 million in annual revenue. None have in-house expertise in online marketing, so clients require substantial guidance and support. This is FSM’s niche. FSM site building packages range from $3,000 to $6,000 (offered with monthly payment options) and support ranges from $195/mo to $595/mo. At this price point, expectations are very high. Instead of static brochure sites, FSM gained a client following by creating websites with constantly updated content to make the site attractive for repeat visitors. For example, FSM sites offer weekly coupons that could be created and viewed online, then e-mailed or printed out.

To meet these complex demands, FSM chose to create its websites with Drupal, probably the most robust content management on the market. With more than 10,000 modules and 15,000 active developers who are part of the “open source” Drupal project, it has been used to create thousands of leading enterprise websites with intense content management demands, including WhiteHouse.gov, Economist.com, and Grammy.com.

However, while FSM was able to build a growing roster of clients by leveraging Drupal’s extensive feature set, as it expanded it faced significant challenges: 1) Drupal is a very complex platform to use. It typically takes even experienced programmers months to master. Consequently, FSM had to hire expensive Drupal consultants and in-house programming talent. Even with these experts, creating new features, such as multi-store location maps, was difficult; 2) Drupal sites are very time consuming to build from scratch. Even simple sites can take weeks to build; 3) Drupal’s administrative interface is too complex for typical end users, such as hardware store managers, to be able to update and maintain their sites day-to-day.

After reviewing the market for alternatives, FSM approached Buzzr about the Buzzr Enterprise Edition. Buzzr is built on Drupal and its most important modules, but has been radically overhauled so that non-technical users can build and maintain sites using sleek drag & drop / point & click tools. Sites that took weeks can now be built in just days. FSM liked that Buzzr’s lead developers and co-owners are Lullabot, one of the world’s most elite Drupal consulting firms, whose clients include MarthaStewart.com, Sony Artists and The Grammys. Buzzr Enterprise Edition offers all of the several hundred site building features available on the branded self-service site, Buzzr.com, along with multi-site administrative controls to manage thousands of websites.

Clients can also secure additional modules from Drupal’s extensive library or request that Buzzr’s team engineer custom features. More complex features can be shielded from the view of clients who require a simpler administrative interface. Hosting, performance monitoring, security patches and regular feature upgrades are also included as part of the SaaS offering.


Buzzr began by installing a copy of platform on its servers and inserting the FSM logo to create a branded environment. FSM also chose a URL to serve as a browser-based access point.

Next, FSM and Buzzr isolated website user cases that represented typical clients for FSM. These included 1) single Ace Hardware stores (two variations); 2) multi-store locations sharing the same website; and 3) “houseware” retail stores not related to Ace hardware.

The teams then worked together to build a client website using Buzzr – for Terry’s Ace Hardware in Colorado – to serve as the model for the first
custom “Quickstart.” Quickstarts are starter sites that have packages of features, permissions, content, layout and design configured for a special use case. Quickstarts can be cloned with one click. Buzzr includes many pre-built Quickstarts for verticals (e.g. lawyer, doctor, restaurant) and clients can also request any website built with Buzzr be converted.

As part of the build, Buzzr was commissioned to program two new custom features: a new, comprehensive web coupon system and, a new multi-location mapping system. Several additional existing Drupal modules, especially around SEO, were integrated to extend functionality beyond the Buzzr feature set.

After TerryAce.com, two other newly created client sites were built solely by the FSM team, then converted into Buzzr Quickstarts. The FSM team was trained on back end multi-site administrative tasks, as well as new features, and a simpler interface was exposed to FSM’s clients. For the first time, clients were given access to their sites to do content updates, create coupons and monitor site activity.


• Turnaround time on new sites reduced from about three weeks to three days.

• Average number of monthly site visitors tripled to 3500.

• Customer’s satisfaction greatly increased after providing them with self-service administrative tools.

• Typical clients sites are TerrysAce.com, HappyCooker.ca and ChoiceBuildingSupply.com

Going Forward

• FSM marketing outreach intensified to multiple national trade shows for non-hardware retailers, sporting goods and housewares stores.

• FSM is expanding into the >$1500 price range market for websites and plans to rely heavily on the large range of existing Buzzr Quickstarts (e.g. florist, general contractor, art gallery, etc.)

• FSM off loading more than a dozen new feature requests to Buzzr so it can focus on better serving clients

For more info, contact info@Buzzr.com or call Ed Sussman 001-212-867-4680

Learn about our Multisite Editions at Buzzr.com

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