Friday, June 26, 2009

Nearly There!

Well, it's June. How did that happen.

I just got back from an amazing week studying Byzantine Chant at St Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, California. The course is put on by John Michael Boyer (Protopsaltis of the San Francisco Metropolia) and his crack team of teachers and guest lecturers. We're talking about Fr Ephraim Lash, Dr Constantine Kokenes, the sublime Stelios Kontakiotis (who came all the way from the island of Tinos to demonstrate what happens when, as my fellow student and friend Fr Kosta put it, you "cram an angel down your throat") and newly-minted PhD Dr Alex Khalil. It was a jam-packed week, with two services and three classes every day. As JMB says, you don't go there to catch up on your sleep. No indeed. But my brain was buzzing very happily despite the sleep deprivation, and despite learning of the existence of INVISIBLE NEUMES, which, as we all know, are just not fair.

Alright, in Egeria news. Things are really cooking now. Our awesome web developer Robert is going full tilt to have the site basically completed in early July, and then we will do a round of beta testing. Basically this means that we will ask a bunch of folks to log on to the Egeria site as though they were customers and proceed to navigate through the site so that we can ensure that everything works properly. This will take up part of July, then it's over to Robert again for fine tuning. Then we launch the site and open our virtual doors for business in late August -- or allowing for Ortho-flex time, September.

Now a big question when you're setting up a home exchange is, of course, how do you get started? How or why does anyone become a member if there are no other members to exchange with yet?

What we're doing is offering free memberships to friends, family -- and pretty much anyone else who asks -- for a limited period of time, or up to a certain number of listings, say about the first 300. That way by the time people are paying the (small) fee for the membership, there is actually something there worth paying for. Then as more and more people join, the usefulness of the site and the value to each member goes up. There will probably be a period of time after that when new memberships are good for three years for the price of one year. In any case the memberships are guaranteed -- if you cannot find a match within the term of your membership, it will be extended one year for free.

Well, I'm getting bleary-eyed as it is rather late, so I'll stop typing now. I created a Facebook group for Egeria tonight, so feel free to hop over and chack that out too -- I'll post news as it comes up. Look for Egeria to be open for business this September!
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4 comments:

biss said...

This is so exciting. We are really looking forward to having the opportunity to meet new Orthodox who are visiting our area, to have the chance to love and be hospitable to them. Wonderful!

S said...

Is a free membership still available? how can I offer my home, or visit other places?

I'm thrilled with this terrific idea!
SonyaMacrina

Jenny said...

Thanks so much for your comment and question. As of today, Sept 24, we are in the test phase of the site, making sure everything works so there are no problems for our users.
Free memberships will be offered first to -- well, those who ask! Everyone on our Facebook page will be invited to list for free, as well as those who have posted comments on this blog, such as yourself. This way we can get a healthy list of possiblities right at the outset, so that there is value in purchasing a membership once we begin to register members in the normal way, ie through Paypal/ Visa. Watch this space, and if you are able, find us on Facebook too! Thanks again.

Jenny said...

Oops, Sonya Macrina, I forgot to answer your second question!

When the official site goes live there will be a BIG fat announcement on this blog, on Ancient Faith Radio and everywhere else we can get the word out. This should be in October sometime, possibly November. (2009)

When this happens, just log on to the site egeriaexchange.com and contact me for a password to get your free membership. Then just follow the directions on the site for how to browse listings and create your own listing. Our web developer is working hard to ensure that the site is easy to use and flows well. It is looking great, and we`re really excited!
Please spread the word in your community, and again, find us on Facebook if you can. A simple search using `egeria`and `home exchange` will get you there no problem. Or add me, Jenny Hainsworth, and find the link on my info page. Cheers!!!