Homer wins Google recognition

Homer has been named Google’s Alaska’s eCity for 2013.

“The city of Homer is proud to be recognized as the strongest online business community in Alaska,” wrote Mayor Mary E. Beth Wythe in a statement announcing the designation. “The hardworking small business owners in Homer have found the internet to be an innovative way to grow and flourish while still enjoying the wonderful quality of life living in Homer provides.  Technologically savvy entrepreneurs looking for a great place to live, work and play are encouraged to consider Homer.”

Homer Chamber of Commerce Director Jim Lavrakas also was pleased about the designation. The chamber provides an online home for all of its members through a landing page, which can include a logo, phone number and information about the business, he said. “If you’re a member here, you have a presence online,” Lavrakas said.

The eCity designation was based on national research analyzing the strength of local small businesses, including the likelihood that they had a website, used a blog, promoted on social media, sold goods online and had a mobile friendly site.

Generally, Alaska has far fewer businesses online than other states. According to statistics from Google, businesses that are online expect to grow 40 percent faster than those without a web presence.

“Homer’s growth and innovation in e-commerce is an example that other cities across the state can strive to replicate,” said Scott  Levitan, director of small business engagement at Google. 

Homer is among several towns with a strong tourism economy designated for the award, including Kailua-Kona in Hawaii, Ashland, Ore., Scarborough, Maine, and Carlsbad, Calif.