Wyoming Valley Dot Com

Even though I haven’t lived in the Wilkes Barre area for almost a decade, I still keep a close eye on news and developments in the area. My first real “computer job” was working for an ISP startup exactly a decade ago this month. I enjoy keeping tabs on the various tech businesses in the area. There are a lot more around today then a decade ago.

iGourmet

iGourmet is a firm that was based in NY State, and moved to Pittston, PA because of the area’s cost and warehousing advantages. Its a one-stop shopping site for high end foods and gifts. Think corporate gift baskets. I actually managed to try some cheeses from iGourmet over Christmas, and I can definitely vouch for their quality.

The website of iGourmet is done in the standard amazon.com clone style, which is a good choice. Its a style that most users already associate with safe online transactions.

Pepperjam

Pepperjam is a search engine “optimization” company. You can pay a company like Pepperjam to increase your company’s stature in search engines. SEO’s have a lot of dubious practices in general, but I can’t comment specifically on Pepperjam. Pepperjam has a few other ventures as well, including affiliate marketing and a poorly done comparison shopping site, which doesn’t appear to be online at this time.

The Pepperjam website is a textbook example of bad design, beginning with the focus on the CEO of Pepperjam. The CEO is plastered all over the website in both image and video. The website reminds me of the personal injury lawyer billboards plastered all over the Wyoming Valley with closeups on the Lawyer’s ugly mugs.

Not only do we get a huge banner of the CEO, but we also get a really annoying video too. It simply boggles my mind how a company can think that having their CEO plastered all over the main page of their website is going to lead to success. I can’t think of one major tech company where their CEO or founder is prominently displayed on the front page.
sergey brin
“Hi this is Google.com, I’m Sergey Brin.” “Thank you for visiting google.com” “Google.com is the #1 place to search the Internet.”

Solid Cactus


Solid Cactus is a company that does custom e-commerce storefronts. Thankfully, they don’t have any of their management team plastered on the main page.

Solid Cactus appears to growing like mad, doubling from 32 -> 75 employees over the past year. While I don’t know what their sustainable competitive advantage is over other storefront providers, they are certainly in a growing market. Solid Cactus has a new product called “Feed Perfect” for submitting items to comparison shopping websites.

The Solid Cactus website isn’t too bad. I would definitely remove the senseless use of flash, take another look at other color possibilities. The solid cactus website also has an employee mugshot page, but it is not placed in the main page, and its done in a tasteful and equitable manner.

Burst.net


Burst.net is a colocation provider located in Scranton Pennsylvania, that has been around for a few years now. As a customer, I can’t say I’ve been very pleased with the design of their data center. I’ve had major power and network outages. On the plus side, there hasn’t been a major incident in a few months. (fingers crossed.)

Burst.net’s website is typical for a colo of its size, and it could definitely use a face lift. Burst.net, along with Pepperjam, prominently highlight their listing in the INC 500. No offense to either organization, but the INC 500 is a joke.