GRAND RAPIDS — As the number of Web sites continues to grow and everyone from the local grocer to the dog down the street has one, you can now add local religious organizations and local bands to the circuit.
But there is a twist.
But there is a twist.
They are getting it for free.
How is this fair, you ask? Well, Triton Technologies, one of Michigans leading Internet providers, is offering free Web space, dial-up access and e-mail for interested religious organizations and local bands.
This is just one more way that Triton is responding to our clients needs, said Dennis Gramza, vice president of Triton. In initial response to subscriber requests for shared-cost or discounted Internet programs for their churches, we took a hard look at what churches were currently doing and where they needed to go.
After that the company launched a three-month study to determine demand. We found that many simply did not have the funds available to afford a dial-up service and e-mail, let alone establishing a Web site for their members to access information, he added.
The entire package, which would normally run close to $400 per year, is being offered free of charge and will include one dial-up account, Web spidering every six months, Web statistics, unlimited triton.net e-mail accounts or up to 10 of a personal domain, and use of Tritons domain name. All the company asks for in return is that each organization places its logo on the site. Web design, however, is not included. That service is something Triton does offer, but for a cost.
The donation of space and other services may only be temporary, however, said Lisa Lyonnais, marketing intern for Triton. We will do it for two years and basically see how it goes from there, she said.
Already several churches and bands are participating in the program.
To sign up, those interested must register on the Triton Web page, www.triton.net/church or www.triton.net/band. There, customers must reveal domain name and information about the customer, contact, designer and technical aspects.
The service is open to any church, religious organization, religion and type of band.
One church that has already jumped on board is Community Reformed Church. Rev. Steve Simon said he has informed his congregation of the Triton program.
Having the Web site is a helpful way to communicate information to our members, he said. It is also very helpful to show the community what our church represents. Families that are new in town, or looking for a new church, can visit our site to find information about us. I also like the fact that Triton does not require us to put any banners or pop-up ads on our site.
At the beginning of the year, Triton looked into the Web worlds of more than 100 churches, and what they found was not surprising.
Very few of the organizations we spoke with had any access or Web presence at all, noted Mike Gramza, marketing director. A handful of them had basic access for office staff, but for the vast majority, the World Wide Web is viewed as cost prohibitive so much so that most have never considered it an option.
However, that is something Tritons management team is looking to change with this service.
It is something we can do for these organizations that quite simply cannot afford it, all the while providing an additional channel for churches and other religious organizations to get their message out to the community, Mike Gramza added.
The plan seems to be working.
Our objective with the free Web hosting was two-fold. We wanted to communicate information to our current members and congregation, and we also wanted to make information about our church available to the community, said Dennis Smith, Faith Lutheran Church pastor. Everyone has a PC these days, so we feel this is an effective way to do this.