Trib’s new eCommerce program helps generate sales while supporting local nonprofits

Posted Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Trib Total Media has launched a new eCommerce marketplace for businesses and nonprofits looking to increase sales while also supporting the community.

The Trib introduced the platform this week in connection with its growing list of Neighborhood News Network sites, which provide hyper-local news to 31 Pittsburgh-area neighborhoods, according to Joe Lawrence, CEO of a new artificial intelligence company, MeSearch Media Technologies, Ltd., which created the technology platform that runs the local news network.

“For years, I’ve talked about the opportunity to monetize the click, ” said Matt Miller, chief revenue officer for Trib Total Media. “Not just delivering a page view or website visit, but actually help a business complete a sale.”

Miller said the recent state-mandated shutdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus has magnified the need for businesses to participate in online commerce.

“It’s important now more than ever to help small businesses to be able to sell their products and services online, ” Miller said.

There is no cost to sign up as a seller on and no software or hardware is needed. Businesses can sell products through the site and simply pay a 10% commission on sales. There is a 2.99% payment-processing fee that covers a secure checkout for purchases and one-business-day disbursements to sellers after funds clear.

A simple-to-use interface has been created to allow businesses to monitor sales and inventory on

Developers said the system is an easy way for businesses to enter the world of online sales, but also can help companies already doing business online to increase traffic and take advantage of shoppers’ desires to “buy local.”

Through the Neighborhood News Network, Lawrence said the Trib has established the first “digital ecosystem” that furnishes content that is tailored to readers.

“It provides a combination of news and information a place where residents, businesses, nonprofits and municipalities can find, and even produce their own, content that’s important to their communities, ” he said.

In addition to providing news by geographical location, the Neighborhood News Network sites can target readers based upon communities of interest.

“These are not just news sites, ” Lawrence said. “MeSearch uses artificial intelligence to help deliver content most meaningful to readers on the site. It might be a story you want to read or it could be a product you are looking to learn about or purchase.”

The Trib also introduced a very unique feature of the digital ecosystem aimed at helping nonprofit groups. is now available to these organizations to build groups of sellers as a way of generating new revenue for the non-profits — this means that the non-profits can sign up as sellers themselves and more importantly, they can recruit businesses to be members of their sellers’ group.

The nonprofit and its supporters then use the platform to drive customers to the products of their group of sellers. In exchange, 2% of the purchase price of the product is automatically donated to the group.

“This feature highlights how the digital ecosystem works to support businesses, non-profits and communities as a whole while still providing a great customer service experience for the online shopper, ” Miller said.

North Hills Community Outreach is the first nonprofit to partner with the platform, said Lindsay Bock, the Trib’s corporate communications manager. NHCO serves thousands of needy families with an array of services including a food pantry, an organic garden, employment mentoring, senior services and assistance with utility bills, education and transportation.

“We are looking for more nonprofit partners so we can help these community organizations that are doing so many good things, ” Bock said.

The North Hills group also will post information about supporting businesses on its website and generate sales leads for participating merchants. It expects to generate most of its revenue through the six Neighborhood News Network websites that cover the North Hills of Pittsburgh — North Journal, Hampton Journal, Shaler Journal, Pine Creek Journal, Fox Chapel Herald and the Sewickley Herald.

To learn out more about participating in the new program or to sign up, send an email to: or call 1-888-555-8860.

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