June 9, 2014 at 8:49 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ – It started as a website experiment initiated by New Providence residents Michael and Lauryn Shapiro five years ago. The Alternative Press (TAP) and its family of more than 30 town sites now has over two million readers annually. Now, the hyperlocal news site is taking the next step in its evolution, announcing its rebranding as TAPinto.net, the future launch of a state-of-the-art website and expansion plans for summer 2014.
While The Alternative Press rebrands as TAPinto.net, a state-of-the-art website is being perfected for launch, projected for July 2014. The new website will be significantly faster to load, easier on the eyes and will include a dedicated mobile site, enhanced video capabilities and more opportunities for local businesses to market themselves to their local customer base.
The Shapiros, who wanted to create an objective online local newspaper for their town and develop a business model to support it, began the business in October 2008 and quickly expanded to three towns: Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit. The growth in the number of town sites, readership metrics and advertising support has since been meteoric.
TAP Into Westfield is owned by local journalist Jackie Lieberman. She's just one of the company’s franchise owner/publishers in over 30 communities in New Jersey and two in Pennsylvania who is helping to make TAP Into a model for local news in the country.
“As one of the first independent business owners to join TAP nearly two years ago, I’m proud to be a part of this fantastic company that's showing tremendous growth and innovation,” said Lieberman.
When TAP began, it was named The Alternative Press because it was the alternative to the local hardcopy newspaper for the New Providence area.
“Today, we are no longer the alternative. We are the press covering our towns. With the decline of local newspapers and AOL’s Patch, in many towns, if we are not reporting on it, there is no one reporting on it. We take this responsibility and commitment to report on the news in our communities very seriously. Today, we announce that people can now TAP into their town’s news and information at TAPinto.net,” said Michael Shapiro, Founder and Publisher.
You can read TAP Into Westfield by visiting www.TAPIntoWestfield.net, or visit TAPinto.net and select the town site you’d like to visit from the town drop down menu. Sign up to receive your news via email for free at www.tapinto.net/enews.
A recently concluded demographic survey shows 74 percent of TAPinto readers earn an average household income of at least $100,000 annually with 37 percent earning over $200,000 annually. Fifty-four percent have purchased a product or service due to an advertisement they viewed on the site, and 87 percent of readers visit the site at least twice a week, with 40 percent of readers visiting at least five days a week.
Expansion plans for the summer include launching more than a half dozen new franchised sites in Morris, Essex, Somerset and Union Counties, as well as expansion into both Northern and Southern New Jersey.