Site Connects Chiropractors, CustomersTens of thousands of chiropractors have their own personal Web sites, although most don't know it yet.
MarketRing.com, Alpharetta, GA, has created 40,000 personal pages for chiropractors nationwide at its new site, ChiroRing.com, said Ed Nubel, vice president at MarketRing. Each site contains a chiropractor's phone number, address and directions to the chiropractor's office.
The company, which manages Web sites that bring together businesses, customers and suppliers, launched ChiroRing in an effort to bring patients and suppliers of natural medicine and orthopedic products together through chiropractors.
ChiroRing was created using WebOne, MarketRing's inhouse Web development software. Nubel declined to go into specifics but said the company can feed information about small businesses drawn from lists into WebOne, as it did with chiropractors, and create thousands of pages overnight.
By registering and receiving a password, chiropractors can take control of their sites and edit the content for free, Nubel said. MarketRing is trying to get chiropractors to register through direct mailings and promotions at trade shows.
The pages are already up, even those of chiropractors who have yet to register. Users can find the personal sites of chiropractors in their area by typing their ZIP code into a search engine.
And manufacturers of homeopathic goods and orthopedic devices have the opportunity to get a direct line to chiropractors' patients.
For a monthly fee of $4.95, chiropractors can upgrade their site and offer online catalogs of goods they recommend to their patients, Nubel said. Chiropractors can tell their patients about their sites, and patients can buy directly from the supplier.
The chiropractors get a small fee for running suppliers' ads on their personal sites, Nubel said. MarketRing receives a commission on each sale.
About 700 chiropractors and 11 supply companies have agreed to participate in the site, according to MarketRing. The company was in negotiations last month with eight more suppliers.
MarketRing's concept is to create online "communities" of people and businesses who do not easily connect in the real world, Nubel said.
"The community already exists," he said. "They're just not connected. Here, we have a great tool called the Internet and nobody is using it properly."
Small businesses face a challenging task when trying to take advantage of the Internet because their sites can't compare with those of large companies, which are able to spend loads of capital on design, Nubel said. The ongoing costs of administering the site and keeping it fresh with new content also keep small businesses from competing.
"It makes it difficult for smaller businesses to compete," he said. "You want to put a site on the Internet. But it's tough because the standard is so high."