Re: A cohousing web hosting service
From: Dirk Herr-Hoyman (hoymanddanenet.org)
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 17:50:07 -0700 (PDT)
Very interesting.  Perhaps it was an idea ahead of it's time.
Things have gotten better in the software world, it's even easier to
put up services of this nature, and the features are better too.

This is not likely to make anyone rich.  More of a service to a
membership organization kinda thing.

--Dirk

On Aug 29, 2005, at 12:19 PM, Chris ScottHanson wrote:

Dirk,

We thought this was a good idea too.

Here at Cohousing Resources (www.cohousingresources.com) we did just what you are suggesting a number of years ago, and many groups signed up and used the service for free. (Some may still be using it, for all I know, but I don't know how to figure that out.) We paid for the development of four cohousing web site templates and made them available to any cohousing group who wanted a web site (and agreed to the accepted definition of cohousing). We hosted them free under our hosting agreement with Interland.

Several years later, when we could no longer provide support or management for this free program, (read - we lost the employee who did this for us) we offered it free to CohoUS and they accepted. Before our guy left us, we paid to have him assist in transferring this to CohoUS. I am not sure what the status is, but I do not think it has yet been implemented. I imagine there is not enough money, or not enough volunteers to do so. (Contact Raines Cohen at CohoUs for more info or status. raines-cohoUS [at] raines.com)

Note that at the same time we offered a map based networking service which we created to allow people to post new communities info by state when seeking new members, or selling units. This was transferred to CohoUs as well (and not implemented as far as I can tell.) Clearly, CohoUs could do with more support - financially, and volunteers.

Chris ScottHanson

Cohousing Resources LLC & Ecodevelopments LLC
Ecovillages, Cohousing & Sustainable Communities
Development and Consulting for a Sustainable Future
   based on the Natural Power of Community

8721 Rosario Place
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

(206) 842-9160 Bainbridge
(206) 260-2800 eFAX
(617) 894-7661 Boston
(617) 344-8563 eFAX Boston

email1:          Chris [at] CohousingResources.com
email2:          cscotthanson [at] mac.com

web site 1:      http://www.CohousingResources.com
web site 2:      http://www.EcoDevelopments.com


On Aug 27, 2005, at 7:57 AM, Dirk Herr-Hoyman wrote:


The discussion around an electronic decision log leads me to cast out
an idea that's been knocking around in my brain for the past few days. Why doesn't someone, oh like cohousing.org, provide a web hosting service for Cohousing communities? This would be filled with standard web-based tools for each community. Getting a web site would be just one part of it, you'd also get things like a discussion blog (if such a thing can be said to exist), a few email accounts and so on.

I see lots of interesting web sites for cohousing communities and some have features like this. Why reinvent the wheel, I ask myself, we should be sharing these approaches. Actually, I'm in the "market" for such things at this very time. And I'm a long time internet, computer geek, but at this point in my life (and the cohousing project I'm involved with), I'd just as soon pick up something already done and use it.

This really isn't a novel idea. I have the same need for the UU society I also belong too. I've been working on a new web site and we also wanted to move to a new web hosting provider that would have email accounts and maybe a place to put some files. Voila, uuism.org is doing just what we want and for a very reasonable cost. It's a cooperative of sorts, just run been someone who wants to help the UU Community.

There would be a great deal of value in such a service to me, if it were
run for the CoHousing community.  How much would we pay for this?
Gee, $25-$100/month. Compared to the overall costs for the CoHousing project, this is but a drop in the bucket. It would literally be an exchange of time for money. Even for ongoing use, after one's project is done, this would still have value at about this level of cost.

Many groups are using Yahoo for some of these services.  While that's
ok for the simple email lists and a place to put a few files, this doesn't provide the other features that one gets with a commercial web hosting service. Yahoo is free, but it also puts in a bunch of ads, which are a tad annoying. I don't see Yahoo adding custom features, just for the Cohousing style usage.

Now, for this to work, and I'll take the decision blog as one example, it would need to be "not so hard to use". Not too many complex features.
Simple is good.

--Dirk
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