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New website helps far-flung families stay connected

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Monday, January 01, 2007

HOOD RIVER — During an internship in Paris, Melanie Salisbury, president of World Wide Nest, struggled to find an easy way to keep in touch with her large family. The redundancy of having to send multiple e-mails sent her on a search for a website that provided families with a more fun and efficient way of keeping in touch.

After looking into other social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook, she saw the need for a family-based site that was safe for kids, too. “The family was uncomfortable with my younger siblings participating in other sites,” she explains. Soon after, she enlisted the help of Ultranoir, a web design company in Paris, and launched www.WorldWideNest.com, a free website where families can stay connected by building family “nests.”

The website describes a nest as, “a virtual scrapbook, photo album, newsletter and refrigerator door wrapped in one.” By creating a nest, communication among family and friends is available through easy technology tools and kept safe for all ages because of various levels of privacy and rules that prohibit content that is less than family-friendly.

After launching the World Wide Nest, Salisbury and her friend Jill Bennet organized a nationwide tour to get the word out. The tour, which began in November and will resume in March, is focused mostly on college campuses and their surrounding communities. “We were met with a lot of excitement, especially from parents,” says Salisbury. The goal of the tour is to end up with 1,000 new family nests.

Salisbury, currently the only employee, hopes that advertisers will eventually support the site —so far the money has come from her own pocket, personal loans, and private investors. The site is still in its infancy, but plans are already in motion for a Spanish version and more features for each nest. If Salisbury has her way, parents may never have to worry about an empty nest again.

—  Julie Taylor

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