Jul 22, 2009: Popular Website Makes a Splash!

EasternMarket.Net, the web site for The Flea Market at Eastern Market, has undergone a dramatic total redesign, owner Tom Rall announced today.
"It's become hip and flashy," Rall claimed, "with many added features." Among those are online exhibitor registration and payment offered for the first time, an entertainment schedule, in-depth answers to many frequently asked questions, profiles of our market team, and a new Faces of the Market section, which features a seven-page photo collage of dozens of exhibitors, who were photographed on recent Sundays.
"An exhibitor photo essay was the primary feature of our last redesign in November 2003 and we've kept this photo history linked on our new home page too," continued Rall. "For me Eastern Market has always been about the people and the collages capture the great diversity among our exhibitors." 
The photo essay and site redesign was fashioned by Chul Park with technical infrastructure from Ken Wolff under direction of Michael Berman, flea market communications and programming director. In addition to being an exhibitor at the Flea Market each Sunday in the Caos on F gallery booth, Park is an advanced student at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and is undertaking other web design work with Berman.  Wolff is founder of Spectrum Computer Technologies, experts in database systems, in Cherry Hill, NJ.
A Systems Administration specialist for more than 20 years, Wolff said he started Spectrum in 2003 because "small companies needed a way to fill their IT needs without hiring full time staff."
"That was just what we needed," said Berman, noting that Spectrum has designed much of the online operations for Diverse Markets Management, a related company to the Flea Market at Eastern Market.  "Now EasternMarket.net has style, a cool new look and logo, streamlined functionality and advanced tracking and database collection programs".  Berman said  many more features will be rolling out soon at the site.  
"Since we've also added new features, including food and entertainment, to The Flea Market at Eastern Market in recent weeks, the planned ugrade to our online offerings is part of the overall vision too," Rall said.  "We have been encouraged by the all the positive feedback we have been getting on Sundays and hope for a good customer response to the new site too". 

Steady Climb and a Spike
Propelled by a record month in June, EastenMarket.net recorded about 3.7 million hits in a twelve-month period for the first time.  "About a year and half ago we hit the 3 million mark", Rall explained, "And we have watched the chart rise each month, with a real jump recently".
"Subscriptions to this newsletter also ballooned to more than 5,400 people," reported Rall. "The numbers amaze me," he said, noting "we last reported statistics in June 2005. Then we only had 2.1 million hits and 1,470 subscribers.
"For the record month, we have to thank all the positive publicity generated by the reopening of the restored historic market on June 28," he continued. "According to our statistics, we received more than 540,000 hits in the month, with 101,450 of those in the two days prior to the reopening.  Normally we get about 15 new subscribers a week, and that soared to 115 for the reopening week.
"Clearly, EasternMarket.net continues to be the gateway portal for customers in search of information about the market itself," Rall claimed. "Even though, sadly, one of the main reasons for the site redesign was to deemphasize promotion of the whole market and concentrate on promoting primarily The Flea Market at Eastern Market.
"Both Shane Gau, then an AOL employee and Capitol Hill resident, who founded the site in the late 1990s, and I envisioned us serving the whole market community," he said. "However, an official Eastern Market site: Eastern Market DC - Capitol Hill's Fresh Food Market was established a few years ago.