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A Web Site Just for the Ladies
by Nancy Norstad on Oct 24, 2006
Hillgirlz.com is a casual, creative website for women that includes a Women At Work section with a broad variety of categories of skill and talent, were one to feel more comfortable hiring a woman plumber or attorney. Hillgirlz.com also has restaurant reviews, a calendar of events, an astrologer, music links to favorite women artists, an online advice column and numerous photo albums of events and friends. It even offers "eventmail", a service that alerts its members to various regional events.
The following is an interview with Hillgirlz founder, Alison Terry-Evans:
NN: How did Hillgirlz.com get started and how long has it been online?
Alison Terry-Evans (ATE): Hillgirlz.com has been online for four and a half years and now gets nearly a million hits per month from about 16,000 visitors. The site was created because it was very apparent that we needed a resource that was a focus just for the needs of queer women, rather than queer women being the small L in the alphabet overshadowed by the large G.
NN: What does the Hillgirlz.com site feature that our community should know about?
ATE: A very important area on the site is the Calendar, which features an average of 600 listings per month. There is no other place online, or in print, that shows everything that is happening -- from theater, clubs, dances, hikes, workshops, professional sport, open mics, café socials, sex clubs, comedy, knitting groups, book readings, opera, live music, art shows, etc. The list goes on and on because there really is a lot going on for lesbians in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Women at Work pages is just that. Women only. Women really can find a woman for the job.
We have photographers who go out to events and take pictures, which can then be sent as e-cards. Thousands are sent each month. There are also pages and pages of very fun e-cards of pulp novel covers and other images. Jane Majhid reviews women owned restaurants on Food Faves; the astrologer, Stella Fortune does Star Shards, and BettyFaux Queen gives advice, which is actually really funny.
NN: Are there other local websites you consider competition?
ATE: No, I don’t consider any other local websites as competition for hillgirlz.com, and I don't think that any other website is attempting to compete with us as they cater to the LGBT community as a whole or mostly focus on gay men, with women getting only peripheral attention.
NN: What is it about Hillgirlz.com that is totally unique and innovative?
ATE: Hillgirlz.com is interested in embracing the diversity of the queer women's community. The photographs on the Pictures pages reflect our audience and reflect their diversity of color, age, gender, sexuality and style. It isn't meant to reflect those who produce it, but rather those who use it as a reliable resource.
NN: What features would you add to the site to make it fully sustainable?
ATE: The non answer to that question is that we don't want to succumb to allowing the visitors to the site to become the targets of advertising focused at an audience that is being sought out by corporate advertisers interested in the lesbian dollar. We would like to see the site sustained by those who benefit from it.
All the producers of the events that go on the Calendar and the users who plan their social lives with the Calendar, the women who put free ads on the Women at Work pages
could upgrade their ads for a mere $79 a year and get better exposure for themselves while giving financial support. Hundreds of e-mails we receive talk of countless ways that many women benefit from hillgirlz.com Some women have become Sponsors. Their names are on the Sponsor page. All Sponsors are equal regardless of what amount they are able to give. It's always deeply appreciated. We just need more women to give an amount appropriate to the value that hillgirlz.com has for them. Obviously, there are also other more economically fortunate women who might want to give a greater amount. There are details of payment methods on the Sponsors page. We do have some very economical advertising options for women that can be seen on the Advertising page. We are approached more and more by women who recognize the benefits of this exposure.
NN: I've received several eventmail messages that include contests of one sort or another. Tell me about that?
ATE: We have about 6,000 subscribers who receive an eventmail contest every couple of weeks. We've given away thousands of prizes such as books, CDs, gift certificates for restaurants, tickets to the theater, opera, symphony and winery concerts, passes to clubs and workshops as well as massages and women‚s health services.
by Nancy Norstad on Oct 24, 2006