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Whitestone sites share niche

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Two Whitestone men have started websites for the neighborhood’s business community in the past year, but both say there’s no bad blood between them.

Neither Tino Maiolo, the 47-year-old founder of WhitestoneVillage.com, or Devon O’Connor, the 19-year-old founder of WelcometoWhitestone.com, see a threat in each other’s presence, although their interests seem to overlap.

WhitestoneVillage.com, the newer of the two endeavors with a Sept. 15, launch date and a fully operational office at 150-50 14th Road, is a for-profit undertaking with more than 50 paying clients. Maiolo has had it officially incorporated as a business, and it provides networking, advertising and promotion services for businesses throughout Whitestone and surrounding areas, including Bayside, Flushing and College Point. The site is already getting 50 to 80 hits per day and being advertised via a range of media outlets, and Maiolo hopes to one day expand its reach to include the entire borough of Queens.

WelcometoWhitestone.com, which went live in June, is O’Connor’s way of giving back to his community while providing opportunities for local businesses to join together in order to promote Whitestone’s offerings. The site has a narrower focus, targeting Whitestone exclusively.

O’Connor charges businesses a small fee to list on his burgeoning site, but the money goes toward service projects, such as his $4,000 drive to replace the weathered “Welcome to Whitestone” sign that greets visitors to his beloved hometown.

Both sites are at heart forums for local businesses, with listings of stores and organizations, promotional Facebook pages and hundreds of hits every month. Despite their similarities, however, there is no bad blood between them.

“The kid’s fine, I don’t compete with him, there’s no competition with him, we’re two different things,” Maiolo said of O’Connor. “What he’s doing is good. He’s helping the community. He helps business, too. He puts the name of businesses on the website and everything.”

O’Connor spoke of Maiolo in a similar tone, praising WhitestoneVillage.com for its efforts to promote the community he loves.

“If everyone in the community is doing something for the community, I’m all for that,” O’Connor said. “As long as it’s a positive thing for the community I’m all for it, basically. I think it’s a good thing.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group