WNY Information Portals

Where am I?Western New York lacks a cohesive way in which someone from the outside can figure out which organizations actually provide useful information about local issues.

And when I say “someone from the outside” I mean “anyone”.

Let’s say I’m a small business that needs to do some local market research.  Do I turn to the Chamber of Commerce in the town in which my business is located?  Do I call the Buffalo Niagara Partnership?  If I want to include Canada in my market region, do I contact the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise?  What about the Buffalo-Niagara World Trade Center?  Or the Canadian Consulate?

There are dozens – maybe hundreds – of local public organizations acting on behalf of the consumer, supported by government programs, membership fees or private sponsorships.  Most do not want to consolidate with other common-themed organizations.  Hence, there are something like 26 Industrial Development Agencies in Erie County alone. 

Within my various community contacts I’ve begun to advocate a regional map to go onto the main page of every community web site offering community and business services – A pictorial way for all these disparate groups to link to each other in order to help augment a search for information within the WNY community.  It is my belief that the next generation of decision-makers will much prefer a quick Google search to picking up the phone.  We might as well give them a way to make their search as painless as possible.

The regional map would graphically represent the spider’s web of service organizations, and pop up a brief description of the services offered.  It would also provide a hot link to other related services so that moving from one web site to another would require a single mouse click.

The Internet may yet provide a way around the fiefdom problem that exists so painfully in Western New York

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