Monday, May 27, 2013

Dunwoody-Style Moneyball

What is a "Dunwoody" Festival?

My three kids and husband (read:  four kids) and I were hanging out at the first Food Truck Thursday in Brook Run and I was mentally making notes on which of these mobile enterprises had mobile-friendly websites, who promoted the event on their site, their social media, and who had visible QR codes on their trucks.  My next post was going to be a commentary on the new necessity of mobile-friendly websites and web media.  (It's still in the hopper, I promise.)

Five years into existence and the race is on for THE ultimate "festival" experience.  Everyone has an idea for a "community" event.  One that will "bring everyone out".  Just have fun.  And of course - earn some money, or lay the groundwork and name recognition for money-making in the future.  Every idea floated around from the DHA to the Chamber, to the CVB, to City Council itself is conceived somewhere else and a local fan wants to copy or "recreate" it.

So instead of going with personal tastes and other subjective criteria, let's go straight to the stats and eyeball what works and what doesn't.

The most successful "community events" in Dunwoody (in no particular order)

  • 4th of July Parade
  • Lemonade Days
  • Light Up Dunwoody
  • Arts Festival (Mother's Day weekend)
  • Food Truck Thursday launch

Least Successful:

  • Dunwoody Fair (by unknown promoter)
  • Music Festival 2011
This isn't including one-offs like "ChickStock" at the newly-opened Chick-fil-A on Jett Ferry that was covered by local news outlets.

Successful festivals and events in Dunwoody - whether they are longstanding traditions or recent developments - have the following traits in common:
  1. Food
  2. Shopping
  3. Entertainment that is geared toward or engages children
"Live Music" is the huge fad in recent years.  However, there is little to show that live music is a big draw in Dunwoody.  When the chili cook-off changed over to a dedicated "music festival", attendance numbers dropped off, in spite of professional promotion and a headline act of national talent.  Even earlier, in 2010, with Banks & Shane as headliners, there was more attention paid to the chili, city logo reveal, and fireworks than the performance.

Lemonade Days 2013 boasted new "live music" and yet, as the Dunwoody Talk blog noted, there was little attention paid to the bands.  The Food Truck Thursdays kickoff had crowds milling about the parking lot and grassy areas between the skate park and kids playground, and about two-dozen people paying attention to the acts that could not be heard anywhere near the trucks.  

The Nature Center has an annual concert series that seems to be an exception to the above but it is unclear whether visitors are coming for the music, or to enjoy the Center where they are already members.  Do the numbers for the concert series come even close to the Butterfly Festival, which fits two of the above three criteria?  Comments are open for more input.

Another observation is that it is irrelevant whether or not the festival and its vendors are from Dunwoody, or whether the sponsoring organization is "for profit" or "not for profit".  In the examples above, the only festival that makes money for Dunwoody is Lemonade Days:  the Dunwoody Preservation Trust raises money to preserve and improve properties around the city, minus whatever cash the carnies drive off with along with their rides and attractions.  (Update:  the carnival company is Dunwoody-owned, per the comments.  Confirmation pending.)

Chick-fil-A is a nationwide chain that makes no bones (pun intended) about their profit motive.  All hail the marketing department and their social media campaign with contest to bring about Dunwoody ChickStock!

Dunwoody Arts Festival - produced by Splash Festivals, based in Norcross.  Were there any artists selling wares that were based in Dunwoody?  I didn't notice any.

Food Truck Thursdays - the promoter is from Atlanta and only one of the five trucks is owned an operated by a Dunwoody resident.  (Update:  supposedly two, Hail Ceasar and one other - pending confirmation.)

Dunwoody Green Market - not mentioned above but outdoor markets are part of "the latest thing" in "community events" and warrants a review.  The mailing address for the organization is in Cumming and I could not find any Dunwoody-based or -owned vendors.

It doesn't seem like a big deal but consider:  Dunwoody as a city and community is losing money with most of these festivals.  Vendors and organizers set up shop to sell to the Dunwoody community, and then take the money elsewhere.  We're a cash cow.  Is that OK?  Or do we want to generate festivals and events that bring money into Dunwoody's coffers?

Comments are open.  Discuss.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Domain Name Registration Prices Are Going Up

When you renew your domain name, whether it's with el-cheapo GoDaddy or el-expensiveo, you're going to have to pay more.

According to an alert I just received from, VeriSign (the authority that doles out domain names) just upped their prices.   So your registrar (the company you bought your domain name from) is going to up their prices as well.  Note, they are not limited to just their cost increase. promises only to pass on the actual cost; others can add on anything they want and are legally entitled to do so.

See below....

ICANN Registry Price Increases

VeriSign and PIR have announced the registry price for NET, ORG and NAME domain names are increasing their registration fee. This ICANN-approved rate increase affects all domain name registrars and resellers alike.

These registry-imposed increases are unavoidable. To minimize the impact, Our Partnerships group are only increasing our costs by the amounts imposed by the registry. Unlike some other registrars we are making no additional profit from these price rises.

Here are some of the questions that you may have on these increases:

Q: What is the increase and when do they take effect?

A: Please see the below chart which outlines the increase and corresponding date.

Q: What do I need to do to implement these changes?

A: Nothing. These new fees will be automatically reflected in your account beginning on the dates indicated above.

Q: Why are the registries imposing these increases?

A: The registries argue that they need the extra funding to build up their security and support infrastructure and keep up with the ever expanding growth of the internet.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Atlanta Ranks 6th for female entrepreneurs

Full article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle

Interestingly, Atlanta (or any other Southeast cities) were not even represented on this list of cities with vibrant start up communities. But for women looking to start businesses, Atlanta has emerged among the top 10 best places nationally. Intuit’s research found more than a third of businesses in Atlanta are owned by women, and there are 9.8 businesses per 100 Georgia residents.

This info comes as a surprise to exactly no one in Dunwoody.  Most of the start-ups I have interacted with were created by women (Lady Jane, Emily G's, and Dunwoody Bakery, for example).  The majority of the heavy lifting at the Chamber of Commerce is done by women too.