Safety Harbor is a relatively small city west of Tampa Bay. Like many other communities its size, there’s a vacuum when it comes to reporting local news and events.
Safety Harbor resident and CDC Gaming Reports Editor Scott Long decided to do something about it.
Recently Long released Quoz 34695, an advertising-supported free app that provides updates on local news, restaurants and other points of interest in Safety Harbor.
“By combining my own writing and the aggregating of other sources into an app, which is how most people are getting their news now, it seemed like a no brainer,” he says. “So far the reaction has been very good.”
Long, who is in the process of selling his share of Ante Up Poker Media, started his career as a journalist in Ohio. Recent posts include news about an appointment to the county housing authority, a street music festival, and a local shooting. There are listings for restaurants and bars, musicians, and shopping, and the app is designed to help residents and especially tourists to find goods and services.
“We really are one of the jewels of the tourist market in Tampa Bay,” Long says.
Advertising options include display ads, ability to offer coupons, and push notifications and more, including Quoz Quack, an unannounced push notification alert that an announced number of users arriving at designated locations will receive a free gift from Quoz.
Long says the long-term goal is to eventually franchise Quoz to other ZIP codes in Florida.
“The beauty of it is that it takes someone who really knows their community to do this well,” he says. “I’ve been here in Safety Harbor for 21 years, so anyone who has spent that amount of time in their home city, and has the same breadth and knowledge that I’ve built up can make this work if they have the template.”
The name of the app is a bit quirky and is meant to draw attention. During the Revolutionary War “quoz” was a word used to describe someone or something that was “ridiculous,” according to Long. The word fell out of use during the mid-1800s.
“I wanted the name to be unique,” Long says. “Obviously that’s good for web searching us and avoiding trademarks. But also, it’s fun. It’s a conversation starter and as I’ve gone around town these last couple of months, the people who have heard about it ask about it. `What does that mean? What is it?’
“I spend several months stumbling on different words, and when I stumbled on that one, that was it right away.”
Quoz 34695 can be downloaded for free through Apple and Google play stores.