Google has named Scarborough the state’s first eCity, for the strong Internet presence of its business community.
The designation recognizes a city or town in every state where companies are making the best use of websites, blogs and social networks, Google said in a news release.
“We’re incredibly excited that Google has basically named us the digital capital of Maine,” said Karen Martin, president and executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp.
Scarborough, the 10th-largest municipality in Maine, has about 1,600 businesses, according to the corporation’s website.
Google describes the town as a former trading post where “businesses are on the digital cutting-edge, welcoming virtual and real visitors to discover local seafood, shops, and state parks.”
To make its eCity awards, Google used the market research company Ipsos, which first compared the population of communities with the number of local businesses using AdWords, the ads that appear along with Google search results.
Throughout Maine last year, 7,500 companies and nonprofit organizations used AdWords or AdSense, which pays clients to run ads for other businesses on their websites, according to Google.
Together, those services generated $254 million worth of business in the state, the company said.
After narrowing the number of communities under consideration, Ipsos researchers looked closer at how 51 small to medium-sized businesses in town were using the Internet.
Norm Forgey, owner of Scarborough-based Maine Day Trip Tours, said about 60 percent of his business comes from people who find him on the Web — and they come from all over the world.
Forgey offers private, customized sightseeing tours of Maine to groups of all sizes. He blogs about various trips to give people ideas, and has a Twitter account with nearly 3,000 followers.
If Forgey needed more evidence that his Internet presence was raising his company’s profile, he got it in recent weeks. He said the Travel Channel and ABC called him for advice about places to go for upcoming shows in Maine.
“It’s kind of interesting that these people would be contacting me,” he said.
Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: