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DevHub for Geo Domains

Whether you have a generic city/state/region domain name, or if you have a City+something name, DevHub is a quick way to get a site up and running. Most of my geo domains use the .IN extension, but those will be running on our Vocav.com platform. I have a couple of geos using other extensions though and so I decided to experiment with DevHub for building out a site for StSimonsIsland.info (I also own StSimons.info). If you don't live in the Southeast (and even if you do), you may not have heard of this small resort community, but it's located in the Golden Isles of Georgia along with Sea Island and Jekyll Island and just a short distance from the more famous Hilton Head Island. It's a gorgeous little community and a popular destination for Georgians in that it's not as crowded or touristy as some of the other nearby beach resort towns. Anyway, this post is about the DevHub development experience for Geo Domains... so let's dig in!

St. Simons Island

Listings, Listings and more Listings

Job listings, Real Estate listings and Business Directory listings all come out of the box free and with revenue sharing built in with the DevHub site creator. Generally you only have to drag and drop the listing you want onto the page, provide some search criteria (or let the page try to come up with the search criteria by itself) and you are done. Unfortunately, there's really not a way to go beyond that basic setup so if you want to customize what you show or how it's shown you are mostly out of luck. A few things can be done though to make the listings more inline with what you want - for example you can drop multiple listings onto the same Page and that way you can show, say "Homes for sale" for two different Zip Codes on the same page. This is a nice feature but it's not really the level of customization I want. Hopefully this will be addressed in a future release of DevHub.

News you can't use

There is also a prebuilt "News" item you can drop onto your pages, but this news listing is very picky and the sites I've setup so far haven't found any useful news for the search phrases I've used. You would think *something* would show up for the search term "Georgia" at least. I mean, there has to be news in Georgia, right? If this feature gets fleshed out or the filter issue is addressed, then this could potentially be a very nice feature, but as it is, it's very hard to use.

What is very easy to setup however is RSS Feeds. So if you find a good feed (or build one yourself using aggregator tools like Yahoo Pipes - a post on this will be coming up in the future), then you are in business. Of course, I'd like more customization of how the RSS feeds are displayed (for example, showing a profile image next to each post would be nice), but it's functional as is.

The business listing for St. Simons Island is probably not typical of most cities due to the small size and seclusion of the island, but right now there's only one business listed, so I'll likely have to go out and get an additional data feed for this as ... well... there's more than one business on St. Simons Island. You're mileage may vary.

Finally, in regards to listings, I'd really like to have the option for monetizing the "Add your listing" for jobs, properties and businesses, but there would have to be a way in DevHub to ensure that whoever paid to be listed through my signup link got shown in my results. I think that would be an incredibly valuable feature though and one I may need to take into my own hands if DevHub doesn't provide it soon.

Monetization that's missing

Widgets for Hotel bookings, flights and car rentals are a dime a dozen... I've thrown a quick Priceline widget up on the Travel section, but ideally this is something that DevHub could already have worked out for those that don't have their own affiliate setup. It would make sense for DevHub as they could skim some more revenue from these types of sites and it would make sense for newbie publishers who don't know or don't want to know how to setup a 3rd party hotel affiliate. In fact, it would be nice for me too for sites I'm too lazy to do much with, though I will come back to this Travel section soon.

I'd also like to see general classifieds, and specifically autos, and maybe a "Rental Listing" feature as well, though these are more difficult to come by and more difficult to monetize. I'll probably add in my own 3rd party autos listing at some point, as DevHub does allow quite a bit of flexibility in that regard, but it's not ideal. Event calendars, weather widgets and forums would all be welcome additions though they are not really monetized widgets... they do add value to Geo domains.


I'm not abandoning Vocav.com in favor of DevHub, that's for sure, but for a free site, setup in a matter of an hour or so, it's really not bad. DevHub would make a nice placeholder while you worked on developing out a geo domain portfolio for example and can work well for City+Service or City+Profession sites that you want to setup quickly and not have to worry about again. There is certainly room for improvement but the monetization options of the built in listings are a big leg up for folks without much time or money to develop their geo domains.

Let me know what you think of the St. Simons Island site and the DevHub platform in the comments!


  1. I looked at StSimons business directory and instantly a popup came up for a screen saver advertisement. That to me is intrusive and unnecessary and i closed the windows of both immediately

  2. Thanks for the feedback. For anyone with a devhub site with this set by default - you can turn off popunders by going to your "Site Settings" and changing the combobox for popunders to disabled. I've disabled popunders for the site and will try to remember that for future sites developed using devhub. Thanks again!