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Site can 'connect your world'

So far, Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Clifton Park have been "founded." When members "found" a community, they get a green "key to their community."

While the site is completely free for everyone to use, businesses can buy ads if they choose. Those ads are the site's primary funding source and Goronkin said in the future their may be additional features available for a small fee.

Norreida Reyes of Thinkwellspring, a ghost blogger company, was one of iZoca.com's first paid advertisers. She met Goronkin and Chief Marketing Officer Susan Bardack at a social media meet up.

"I see it as strengthening local communities and in these hard times it's more important than ever that we're able to be closer to our neighbors," said Reyes. "Their model is the same kind of model we should be using in our everyday lives."

Reyes said iZoca.com's mission is something she felt comfortable and confident putting her support behind.

"Primarily, the founders Jeff and Susan have demonstrated a tremendous commitment and I have absolutely no doubt of their success," said Reyes. "When I'm advertising somewhere I want to go to a place I know is working hard to make themselves successful as well as myself. I know they're looking out for all of us as a team."

The "tremendous commitment" that Reyes and other advertisers saw was how Goronkin and Bardack never gave up on iZoca.com, even when it seemed like there was no other choice.

"In 2009 it was so difficult to raise money. A lot of people didn't quite understand [iZoca.com] when we first started out and when the economy started to tank, people weren't investing in startups," said Goronkin. "Susan and I created Buzz Media Solution, a public relations and business development company. We secured some clients and that helped to allow us to keep moving forward using funds we collected. We were committed from day one to making this work."

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