Site can 'connect your world'

It all started during a long layover at the airport. Jeffrey Goronkin, with plenty of time on his hands, wished there was a way for him to connect with other people around him. That's when iZoca.com's community pages was born.

"We plan on focusing heavily on the Capital Region and from there, once we feel like we are firmly established, will branch out to other communities," said Goronkin, president and CEO of iZoca.com. "We're going to grow community to community."

iZoca.com is a group networking website launched in 2007 that "connects your world" by offering businesses and non-profit organizations a way to promote themselves in the geographic community they're active in. The new feature, community pages, was launched on Tuesday, Jan. 4, and takes that concept a step further by providing enhanced interaction between community members. That could mean discussions about local issues, calendar event postings, sharing photos and news.

"Non-profit organizations can definitely benefit from something like this. They can talk about their mission, promote their fundraising efforts, post photos of events," said Goronkin.

Businesses too can use iZoca.com as another marketing tool and way to get their name and service out there.

"Businesses can use our website to create group. For example, a restaurant can post weekly specials and customers can have discussions about dishes they have or post photos of their restaurant in a community photo album," said Goronkin. "Whatever anybody does, whatever product or service they offer, can create a group and promote that."

iZoca.com partnered with a New York City-based company Ouside.in to provide hyperlocal news from various communities onto the site, including the latest news stories and blog posts by neighborhood, zip code or state.

Goronkin said he also hopes residents will catch on to iZoca.com and use it to have community forums, talking about "hot button issues" like politics or anything else that is important to them.

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