Corrections or additions?
Prepared for August 16, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All
Life in the Fast Lane: Web Companies
Darryl Copeland, former CEO of a senior housing
is developing a website called Next50.com, an Internet service
portal, and community for those aged 50 and above. "Our targeted
sweet spot is ages 55 to 75, and the vast majority of that population
is still not even online," says Copeland. "We are trying to
create a resource and service provider that the customers will enjoy
and find easy to use."
A biomedical engineer at Duke, Class of ’81, Copeland grew up in
Hill and is the son of an engineer. He has a master’s in computer
science from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and an MBA from
He worked at RCA in Moorestown and on Wall Street for eight years
before taking a job as CFO of one of his clients, Brookdale Living
Communities, a publicly traded senior housing company. He just moved
from Chicago to Cranbury, where he and his wife, Karen, have two
The seed money for this five-person firm was raised through high net
worth individuals. "When I was at Brookdale I saw how computers
were becoming a big activity in the senior communities. But the major
portals were designed, developed, and geared to a much younger
His web portal will be easy to navigate, have big print, and will
have "things that you can see are easy to click on." Links
all over the site provide suggestions for features and resources.
His portal offers two plans, $17.95 for unlimited access, and $6.95
for six hours plus an hourly charge, automatically deductible
from a credit card. He has incentives, such as a free month, for
who recruits a member. The formal launch is imminent and will involve
both an online and offline marketing campaign. Copeland has bought
a two-thirds page advertisement, with picture and text, in the
issue of Modern Maturity but can do no marketing on that magazine’s
website because of its nonprofit status.
He has negotiated a co-branded partnership with MyPoints.com, a
company that uses E-mail campaigns for people online. Called
E-mail" it exchanges reward points for shopping and for actions
within the E-mail site. "E-mail is the top activity that seniors
use online sites for," he says, "and we expect to have a lot
of seniors E-mail each other about our site.
To align his website with senior housing communities, assisted living
firms, and retirement communities, he will donate Internet-enabled
brand-name computers with at least 667 megahertz and large 21-inch
monitors. He will install them in activity centers with his home page
as the start page and pay for the Internet service, from
Covad Integrated Services. Some of the communities want to install
video cameras for face-to-face phone conversations, but as Copeland
points out, "you need someone with software on the other end."
The facilities’ activities directors will train the residents on how
to use the computer, but he will offer a 24 x 7 customer support
that can answer questions on connectivity and how to configure E-mail.
His tagline slogan: "next50.com — resource for your best
70, West Windsor 08550. Darryl Copeland, CEO. 609-275-6150; fax,
At the other end of the age spectrum, a 29-year-old
firefighter from Trenton and a 34-year-old policeman from Hamilton
have pooled their savings
— $12,000 at last count — to create a website for Generation
X-ers that is intended to be the Rough Guide to clubs in the country:
Hotclubs.com. The site was launched on February 1 and it has a handful
of advertisers, including Netacer.com, several restaurants, a tanning
salon, and a body-piercing shop.
"I took a pension loan out, and we have put $11,000 or $12,000
into it already, but our hits are going up every week," says Brian
Butler, co-founder. Describing himself as "the young single guy
who has been partying all my life," Butler picks the spots and
Dan Contento, the webmaster, programs them onto the site. Also on
the selection board are a lawyer, an accountant, and some medical
students, all with different tastes. "If they all agree on it,
it sounds good to us," says Contento.
Other sources for picking the bars are some of Butler’s friends, such
as semi-pro hockey players in Charlotte. "We have the best Irish
pubs in Boston and Baltimore," says Butler. "We link to the
website, and if they don’t have a website we will build them a page.
We give directions door to door, the age group, and what kind of music
Check out Princeton’s listings and you’ll find quite a few
five bars, but no, zero, nightclubs. "None worth going to,
Hotclubs.net. "Try Trenton or Central Jersey."
Noting that each listing contains a bare minimum of information —
name, address, phone, and type of cuisine, Contento says that younger
people aren’t interested in reading a lot. "The other websites
considered our competition are listing everything, and we didn’t find
them very useful," says Contento. "They just want to know
a good place to go out. We don’t list any place that several people
haven’t highly recommended and that Brian hasn’t personally checked
out himself. We will either take it off, if we get negative feedback,
or we will put up a warning."
Words are few, but pictures you will find aplenty. Evidently somebody
went to spring break in Florida because a series of bikini-clad girls
is posted on the site. That’s not all Hotclubs does for promotions,
however. Butler also distributes caps plus tee-shirts and halter tops
— quality $12 ones with "www.hotclubs.net" across the
chest — at some of the hotter venues, places like Trenton’s
Contento went to Notre Dame and majored in psychology at Mercer County
College. He is married, and his full-time job is as a police officer;
he does the web work in his free time. "I bought my first
in 1996 and got bored with games," he says, "so I taught
programming. The site was Brian’s idea, but he needed my technical
skills to make it happen."
Hotclubs.com is hosted in Minneapolis on a server run by the Acme
Information Company and runs on T-1 and T-3 connections. "We are
expanding it almost daily," says Contento, who has had to revamp
the overloaded message board and add security features, such as a
registration requirement. The message board is now hooked up with
LiveUniverse.com, which also includes a lottery system.
"We went to all the bad places so you don’t have to," is the
site’s tag line. The question is — do you trust these guys to
know a good place when they see it?
— Barbara Fox
Route 31 South Suite C, PMB 3025, Pennington 08534. Brian Butler.
609-989-0065; fax, 609-882-1879. Home page: www.hotclubs.net.
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