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Photo provided by RON HILL
Photo provided by RON HILL

Five Questions: Ron Hill

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Ten-year radio marketing and advertising veteran Ron Hill jumped on board a national Internet startup in February, and he’s traveled coast-to-coast to quickly push New York Shop Exchange’s identity. Hill, who splits his residency between Ozark and Nashville, Tenn., spends days with a technology team in San Diego or at the Northampton, Mass., headquarters working out the kinks for a May 10 launch of the video marketing and online shopping platform.

Q: You’ve described New York Shop Exchange as a merger of eBay, YouTube and Yellow Pages. How so?
A: New York Shop Exchange was birthed out of the concept of online selling, people who are power sellers on eBay (which is) text and static picture-driven. There is a method to becoming a power seller, by earning ratings, (investing) money to upload – there are a lot of components for success in that venue. Marcia Hawkins, our president, her vision was to be able to put more of the profit into the pockets of the seller. As she saw this need … video has become a venue of choice for people when they want to be informed. New York Shop Exchange is a video-only virtual shopping mall and business directory.

Q: At www.newyorkshopexchange.com, there are two video portals for businesses. How do they work together?
A: If you’re a dentist, attorney, plumber, landscaper or pest control company, you can advertise and have your own market space on the video business guide. Think of it as a virtual video office.

The other side is a virtual mall (for) online sellers. Every seller will have a video storefront (with) a four-minute video to talk about services and products. They’ll be able to tag their products in the video so people can find their products easily on search engines. If I’m looking for a particular watch and search online, up will come the video storefronts that have that particular product.

Q: What experience do you bring to this effort?
A: I have worked for a couple of broadcasting companies, Salem Communications and Vision Communications. With Salem, I worked in a local market in Dallas and also as a national advertising executive. With Vision, I worked as an account executive in Springfield. The last three years I have worked personally as an online marketer with my own company, RPH Enterprises.

Q: How have you formed an early foothold in social media – 5,100 Facebook fans and 10,250 Twitter followers?
A: We created such a buzz on Facebook with iPad giveaways. We were watching the fan base increase with every minute. At one point, there were 30 to 40 new fans coming on within a 10-minute span. The last four weeks, we’ve been giving out iPads and $250 Apple gift cards through our Facebook page and Twitter. We’ve given more than $7,000 worth of iPads and gift cards.

Q: As with most startups, there are hiccups. What are yours?
A: We were planning to launch the first of April and found some technical issues. Once it’s out there, and functions aren’t operating right, customers might have their credit cards and are ready to join as a member, but they think it’s just not worth it – there were those types of things we had to think about before we rolled out. We’ve had some technical glitches along the way, but we’ve got some high-tech teams working on that.
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