Sheffield based www.writebuzz.com (a showcase for both amateur and professional writers) has a success story to tell. Having recently won an award for the BEST B2C (Business to Consumer) website at the Digital Yorkshire Internet Awards ceremony, media interest has been buzzing. www.writebuzz.com was also short-listed for the Cisco regional award - the best South Yorkshire Internet Company. The awards event, sponsored by Yorkshire Forward, was held at the Queens Hotel in
Leeds . Over 300 top professionals from
Yorkshire 's digital community attended.
So, what was it about www.writebuzz.com that caught the judge’s eye?
Mark Vipan, partner, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP, who sponsored the best B2C award, explained, "I was very impressed by the site and delighted my fellow judges shared my enthusiasm. The reach of the site from its Yorkshire base to the creative writing community in all its diverse forms amateur and professional; young and old across the globe distinguished writebuzz®. The site's modern attractive layout and usability made it a clear winner."
Julie Coggon, director, www.writebuzz.com, (a division of Converse Ltd), described their business rationale, “before we developed www.writebuzz.com, MBA students from
University undertook a market research project for us. Survey results showed that 1 in 6 people are closet writers. Writers write in order to be read; producing a website where everyone can publish their writing has given writers an opportunity to get the feedback they deserve.”
www.writebuzz.com has a review facility where readers provide feedback and ‘stars’. Work which rates the highest is short-listed for the site’s “Pick of the Month” selection. This is a popular feature with both readers and writers; writers, because their work then gets more exposure, and readers because it’s a good way to find new poetry and short-stories recommended by others. Literary competitions are included on writebuzz® on a regular basis, and the site also incorporates The Plot Thickens® where poetry and short stories evolve by joint authorship.
Julie continues “www.writebuzz.com aims to inspire, and to grow. In order to achieve this we are continually adding new functionality to the site. This has included Pen Pals (a writer’s contact agency) and Feature Ring, where a different aspect of the site is featured; we are currently showcasing a series of full collections, by selected authors.”
With over two and a half million page views and a world-wide membership, www.writebuzz.com’s slogan the word is out ... why not share it, appears to be working nicely.
Next on their agenda is an audio facility, which will make the site accessible to a wider community.
Julie said that “everyone involved with the site is absolutely thrilled by our success at Digital Yorkshire Internet Awards.
Getting to this stage has been challenging ; in our start-up period for example, we lost six months development time and a substantial sum of money, when a company that we had contracted to be involved in production, asked for a staged payment and then immediately put themselves into voluntary liquidation, without delivering. This was a crushing blow and what made it even more disappointing was this was another
Sheffield company, and people that we knew and trusted.
The Internet business can be fraught but as with anything else if you have something that you believe in and you work at it, then getting recognition of a prestigious award definitely makes it all worth while.”
Photograph: Julie Coggon and Andy McEwan, directors of www.writebuzz.com, receive their award from Richard Taylor, partner, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.
Photograph by Bruce Greer. (Andy McEwan left, Julie Coggon centre, Richard Taylor right).
More information on the event: http://www.newsco.com/events/yorkshireinternet/06winners
Other: Converse Ltd is currently seeking V.C. investment. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org