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Monthly Archives: September 2013


Front Porch Forum Now Statewide in Vermont

FPF_birds_squareFront Porch Forum is now available in every town and neighborhood in Vermont!  Check out the media coverage here.

Please tell friends, family, co-workers, schoolmates and others to join at FrontPorchForum.com. Share the news via email lists, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter… all channels are appreciated!

We’re especially grateful to the Vermont Council on Rural Development for supporting FPF’s expansion to the entire state.

We depend on word-of-mouth from FPF members to spread the news to others… so please pitch in. Send people to: http://FrontPorchForum.com

Thanks much!

-Michael and the FPF team

UPDATE:  Responses are pouring in from around Vermont…

  • CONGRATS FPF – THAT IS QUITE SOME ACHIEVEMENT!  You have a lot of fans out here!  -Will, Burlington
  • Congratulations to you and your team for making FPF part of our way of life!  -Mickey, Cambridge
  • You have done a great service for Vermont. Thank you.  -Barbara, South Hero
  • I cannot thank you enough for starting the FPF !! It has been such a wonderful way of neighbor helping neighbor! We get so much more news this way than any other source!! -Ginger, Williston
  • I saw this announcement as GREAT news, as I enjoy my FPF. Thanks for all the work you do and the Staff does behind the scenes. This truly is a great community resource. – John, Fairfax
  • I love FPF and look forward to reading it every day. -Kitty, East Montpelier
  • I think FPF is great, and read every Ferrisburgh issue. Thanks, and keep up the good work. -Don, Ferrisburgh
  • Congratulations on reaching Every Vermont Town and Neighborhood with your awesome Front Porch Forum. This is an enormous community and Vermont strengthening accomplishment. Your significant contribution, using technology to build and enliven people’s lives and our neighborhoods via FPF, has greatly increased my neighborly collaboration and sense of belonging, and I’ve lived in the same house for over 30 years. Who’ll ever know the extent of positive social change that you all have catalyzed? Thank you one and all. Gratefully, a FPF regular… -Jean, Burlington

Online recommendations… who to trust?

Consumer Reports takes a look at review websites this month, including Angie’s List, Yelp, and Google+ Local.  While there’s a hint of conflict of interest of a review-based business writing a review about competing review sites, the authors do make some compelling points…

We think that the ability of A- and B-rated companies to buy their way to the top of the default search results skews the results. Cheryl Reed, a spokeswoman for the company, disagrees. “We don’t believe that,” she says. But Angie’s List marketing materials intended for businesses say that companies that advertise get “an advantage of increased exposure” that “can propel you ahead of your competition.” They get 12 times more profile views than companies that don’t buy ads.

Angie’s List encourages businesses to solicit reviews by giving customers free, postage-paid forms, stickers on thank you notes, and Web links embedded in e-mail invoices. But experts who study survey techniques say that can create a bias for positive reviews.

Angie’s List misleads consumers by prominently promising that “businesses don’t pay” and that it’s a consumer-driven service supported by membership fees. But almost 70 percent of the company’s revenues come from advertising purchased by the service providers being rated. Angie’s List tells consumers that it provides “reviews you can trust,” and takes steps to detect and remove fraudulent positive and negative reviews. But company investment disclosures say that “we cannot guarantee the accuracy of our reviews.”

On many Front Porch Forums, recommendations among neighbors for a wide variety of local businesses are a big ongoing topic of interest.  FPF makes no attempt to aggregate reviews or score businesses… we just provide a platform for neighbors to connect and talk about whatever they like.   Having a conversation with neighbors who are recent customers of a certain roofer/plumber/mechanic/etc. can be much more valuable than a couple of sentences typed by an unknown stranger.



Telly, the Prodigal Bird

#VT - “Telly is male Cockateil with yellow face and bright red spot for a cheek, grey with white trim feathers. Answers to Telly and “Happy Holidays” Christmas song whistle. If sighted please call Rick. Last Sighted off White Street, Last heard around Chamberlin School area.”  This was posted five days ago on one of the South Burlington FPFs.

Followed by this posting just today:  “WOW! What a great community South Burlington is. With the help of the community I received Telly sightings and was able to recover my pet. Biggest obstacle was that Telly would not fly down to a lower level and stayed high. He apparently tired and was found on Dorset Street on an outside air conditioner extension and taken to Shelburne Farms Breeding Center. Front Porch Forum is a wonderful tool and you folks are the best. Thanks so much. May God bless you all.”