For the past four months I have been developing a new service called Shopinsky. I've been excited to talk about the site (and may have let slip a day early by joining the Facebook group) however had to wait until launch before I could blog about it.
The idea is simple, each town in the country has a Shopinsky Page, businesses can join Shopinsky to be part of their local town. They can post messages via the website or sms that are distributed on the site, to the local Twitter account, a RSS feed and a daily mailing list.
For businesses Shopinsky offers a great way to connect to local consumers through social networking services. Building up a following on sites such as Twitter or your own blog is a lot of work, the idea with Shopinsky is that audience is already there for you, all you have to do is send your updates/offers.
For shoppers the site offers a great way to find out about local businesses, offers and freebies. We have made it as easy as possible to interact with Shopinsky and understand that people want content delivered to them rather than having to search for it. Therefore people can bookmark their towns page, subscribe to the RSS feed in their news reader, follow the local town on Twitter or subscribe to a daily email.
Shopinsky is also great for tourists who want to find out what is on offer before visiting a town, they can easily see local restaurants, shops and services all from the towns page.
The site is based on Drupal 6x and heavily uses CCK, Imagecache, Views and a number of custom made modules. Where possible I've tried to keep to the Drupal api's and systems. For example messaging uses the Drupal comments system, categories uses Drupal Taxonomy and profiles are built from content types and custom fields.
By using Drupal as the starting blocks we have managed to save months (if not years) of development and adding new functionality is a much easier process.
Find out more on www.shopinsky.co.uk