| MIKE FILA | The View Newspaper's Website | Original Article |
For once, the bangs and clanks at Kipp Clark's home aren't his fingers walking all over a keyboard.
There's construction going on at his College Avenue house in Ellicott City. A lot of it. The floor in the basement is torn up to install a new drain. The siding on the house has been ripped off and the wood beneath has gotten a fresh coat of paint. New windows have been installed. It's been ongoing since August.
"We're kind of used to it, actually, since it's been going on for a couple months," Clark, who works from home, said.
A native of England, Clark started his company, Ellicott City Graphic Arts, after graduating from Anne Arundel Community College with a degree in Communication Arts Technology. However, he parlayed his degree into a side project, EllicottCity.net, a Web site he uses to promote the culture of Ellicott City.
"There really wasn't anything out there to promote the town, the history, the restaurants and stuff," Clark said. "It was kind of all over the place, you kind of had to look for it. So I had my degree and I thought, hell, let's make a Web site. The town deserves this because it's an awesome place."
Started in 2004, his Web site grew from five smaller sites dedicated to Ellicott City landmarks Hell House, Enchanted Forest, the Fire Station, Thomas Isaac Cabin, and the Colored School House, respectively. His skills honed, he created a home page unifying information about local businesses, events, restaurants, real estate, tourism, and the community, along with a chat forum, about us and contact pages, and a photography page featuring his work.
Clark says he is currently operating about 3,000 pages from his site and other sites that he operates as a Web host."It's a hell of a lot of work, but a lot of fun - especially when you start learning the history of the place, it's awesome," Clark said.
He operates the site with wife, Yesim.
"She checks [the site] over, I run ideas through the mill with her. I do all the design stuff," he explained.
Having lived in Scotland, Libya, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Austria, and Nigeria, Clark moved to Maryland for his wife, a Howard County native, in 2001. "I sold up literally my whole life and moved over here," Clark said.
Though he reports that hits to the site have increased dramatically, from 3,000 in its first year to 130,000 last year, Clark said, "It's been tough."
He charges businesses and visitors a yearly flat rate for advertising and classified postings on EllicottCity.net but explained that he was been met with some resistance from locals. And with no money for advertising of his own, Clark traded his design services to a car detailing shop to paint an ad on the side of his Ford Mustang.
Clark also has a donations page which he hoped to use to recycle funds back into the Web site, but said he has received only $1 all three years the feature has been online."I'm not in this for the money. I don't want to get rich doing this. I just want the basic stuff - feed my wife a little bit and have a few beers," he joked.