By IAN ROSS
Northern Ontario Business
If you're a homesick Sault Ste. Marie ex-pat teaching English overseas or a local news junkie wondering what's happening at city hall, SooToday.com has become the preferred choice for information.
The fledgling media company has a "winning formula" in becoming a global pioneer in community-based electronic newsgathering. In delivering a combination of fast-breaking stories, tongue-in-cheek commentary and lively discussion forums, SooToday.com is consistently among the world's top 28,000 most visited Web sites with more than 11,500 visitations daily, according to Alexa.com
Since going online as a coupon site in September 2000, SooToday went from earning $3,000 a month in revenues, to raking in $31,000 for the month of February 2004.
"During the coming year, we're going to average about $60,000 a month in sales," says general manager Dick Peplow, who conservatively expects SooToday.com will pull in $720,000 over the next 12 months.
"You have to remember we're not only starting a new business here, but a whole new industry as well," says Peplow, who has assembled staff of 11 full- and part-time former radio industry types.
Last October, the company launched its North Bay Web site (www.baytoday.ca).
If North Bay proves successful - and Peplow suspects it will - they plan on tackling larger markets this summer.