Slingsley Auto Repair

Creative Circle Media Solutions has announced the release of “What’s open?” – a web application built specifically to help communities and media outlets deal with the chaos of the Coronavirus outbreak.

“This is a way for local newspapers to become the focal point of which businesses are open or closed during this nightmare of shutdowns and constantly shifting hours,” said Bill Ostendorf, president of Creative Circle. “And it’s a way for publishers to help their business community get the word out to their customers.”


The solution, which can work on any web site, is a self-service module allowing businesses, schools and government agencies to indicate whether they are open or closed using a simple form that then displays that information on web sites using widgets. Newspaper staffs can also create or edit listings through the back end of the app.

Users can post something quickly using a very simple form and a couple of mouse clicks, while optional fields and upsells allow them to list hours and provide content, a logo, photos, a video, a menu or brochure, web links, email links and a map.

“We’ve all been flooded with emails from stores telling us they are open or closed or how they are adapting to this rapidly changing situation, but media outlets and their communities need a way to gather all this information up in one place,” said Ostendorf. “This is an opportunity for local media to shine and to provide this kind of essential information – and to remind their communities they are the place to turn to in an emergency.”

It’s a stand alone web app that any newspaper, web site, radio outlet or television station can add to their own site in minutes. Publishers can license the app on a month-to-month basis, pay a flat fee for six months or sign up for Creative Circle’s extended NativeNewsQ platform, which also generates native news, paid press releases, paid calendar items, paid obituaries and other types of paid content.


“We know this situation is crippling newspapers and we wanted to create something to help,” he said. “We brainstormed several concepts last Monday and began releasing it to our clients on Friday."

While it does have revenue producing opportunities, it was engineered to be a public service. It’s wired to assure that the initial listings are free, while discount offers, extended information, preferred display and print listings are extra.

"We’re hosting demos of the platform every day from March 23-April 3 at 1 p.m. Eastern, including Saturdays and Sundays,” said Ostendorf. “We’re trying to get the word out there and help publishers remind their communities of the essential role they provide. This is an important opportunity for local publishers to shine.”