Online strategy shift – Looking for success

Culturefinder.com, a money-losing commercial Web site that helps consumers find tickets and information about performing arts groups and events, hopes to turn its bottom line around by becoming a nonprofit site, The New York Times reported Jan. 8.

The move follows the layoff by CEO Eugene Carr of the entire staff of 40 just before Christmas, when the firm faced the prospect of shutting down, the Times said.

Now Carr must figure out how to build a nonprofit on a business plan that failed in the commercial sector.

E-commerce analysts told the Times that a revival of Culturefinder – if it occurs – could prompt a surge of commercial competitors once the Internet’s advertising market picks up.

Carr, who ran the American Symphony Orchestra and another nonprofit arts group before starting Culturefinder in 1995, said he plans to run the business on about $1 million a year – a fifth of his 2000 budget of $5 million – with a reduced staff of 10 or 15 people.

To finance the operation, he said, he will start charging arts groups an annual fee of $150 to $500 to list their performances and sites on Culturefinder.

Until now, 4,000 groups have listed their events for free.

Culturefinder also will continue seel ads and resume the ticketing operation it suspended after the layoffs.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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