June 6, 2022: Announcing the New AACT (Clubs) Website

from Ken Gorman

A major revision to the AACT Clubs website is beginning. In fact, it's more of a re-purposing of the site.

This correspondence is directed to current leaders of clubs as well as those considering putting together an organization. IT'S IMPORTANT TO READ THIS DOCUMENT ASAP BECAUSE CHANGES ARE PROCEEDING AS OF TODAY.

Creating this new AACT site is motivated by the trend regarding the way the SBR HOA presents clubs on the site's "Things To Do" page. It's contrary to the initial statement that the only information that would be included for a club was contact information and, if the club had a website, the link to it. Not withstanding the specific statement that the HOA did not want to maintain club information, fortunately they have been including a brief 'blurb' about the clubs and those blurbs are now in widespread use by clubs.

Initially, I felt the search engine optimization (SEO) techniques would serve Robson Communities well with respect to having SBR clubs rank high in search engine result listings. Key to that was having all HOA clubs represented in AACT. It worked quite well, but RCI was never interested in that, as I learned later. There is now no reason to arbitrarily include all clubs on AACT.

The motivation of this decision is that many clubs have sufficient information to learn about a club without actually visiting a website or even there being a club website. That means that clubs using GroupWorks have a way of presenting information about their club, important because those clubs don't have public-facing websites (pages on the web directly addressable with a URL that you enter in browsers to open those pages). Technically, they are not websites.

I started the AACT site 10 years ago to serve clubs that didn't have websites, starting with the Pickleball club, and it grew from there. Many clubs benefitted by that, and also many clubs chose to either go without a website, create their own, or use a commercial for-fee services that provide club specific websites.

In a meeting with him several years ago, Jack Sarsam clarified that I am an independent vendor, and that AACT is not a club of clubs, so to speak. Therefore, we concluded that being independent, I was no longer restricted by any RCI or HOA rules.

I will be charging a fair fee for use of the technology (but always much less for an equivalently featured website than the likes of ClubExpress). There's no domain name to purchase, no server fees (including mirroring of redundant server distant from the prime server), full SSL certificate security included (https://www.digicert.com/what-is-an-ssl-certificate), nightly backups, automation of time driven features, group email with distribution lists, RSS news feeds including embedded photo and videos (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS), and more.

Putting all that together ...
(1) seeing the need for specialized communication and organizational services on their website,
(2) wanting to also serve organizations that are not "HOA Clubs",
(3) wanting to support private clubs independent of the HOA — and clubs not even associated with Saddlebrooke Ranch...
... I am re-purposing the AACT website to specifically offer specialized features for organization communications and operational needs within and outside of SBR, without limitations. One thing I will not be doing anymore is full custom websites. Instead, I will provide the means to select and configure modules designed for the communication needs of clubs. The Woodworkers site is a good example of application of modules in a manner that offers a custom appearance. In some cases, AACT will employ applications not developed by me. This is illustrated by the use of DropBox as the file manager for Woodworkers documentation.

Starting today, as initial steps in the re-purposing, I will be removing clubs from AACT that don't depend on AACT for its operations, perhaps with a few exceptions for clubs that supported my early development work on this. The decisions will be made in accordance with how their clubs are presented on that "Things To Do" page. Specifically, the club will be removed without losing any "connectivity" with the community if:
— Information to make contact with the club is present on the HOA site (because the club is not dependent on a website for people to reach out and contact the club), or
— a link to a website (regardless of whether or not it's on AACT) is present, or
— the club does not include any meaningful operational features, i.e, is just a simple club description.

For clubs having only a link to their AACT-based website, they will need to add contact information and/or information blurb for their club to be reachable because their website on AACT may be removed.

Clubs that are currently using specialized services AACT provides, for example Enfeedia's RSS news feed publishing service, will not be removed unless they ask to be removed.

For clubs that are dependent on services that cannot be found elsewhere, contact me (see email address below).

I reserve the right to alter the basis for these decisions based on, or example, how much the club is dependent on the site without having alternate solutions.

If you are looking for common features like chatting and presentation of photos and on a low budget, you might consider one of the following: Website builders (such as offered by Godaddy), Facebook, GroupWorks pages, Slack or Wordpress (requires grasp of technical concepts and terminology sufficient to configure WordPress).

But the simplest of all ways to publish substantial information including links, photos, and so on, in a creative way is to freely design a document using Microsoft Word or Apple Page (or other document publishers), and export it to PDF. Put the PDF file online (for example, at DropBox) and use the link to that PDF file on your "Things To Do" page listing. Do not overlook that solution. You can create whatever creative design you want within the capabilities of Word/Pages and maintain it yourself — for example, to post newly elected officers or event news.

If you are a club/owner or planning a new organization, no matter it's called a club, a group, a Unit channel, a gathering, a coffee klatsch … whatever … and no matter what community you live in (anywhere in the country!) or what physical areas is/are "spanned" by the organization you envision, contact me at ken@keligo.com to discuss possibilities. I think you will be impressed with the at-a-glance (in other words, not convoluted like ClubExpress) access to features specifically for group membership collaboration.

I will be publishing a document describing the kinds of modules I have and will be creating, that can be combined in a variety of ways and configured by you.

Ken Gorman