via Providence Journal – Remember during the “Cooler & Warmer” tourism fiasco last spring, how it wasn’t just the slogan or Iceland video footage that drew sharp criticism and caused Governor Gina Raimondo to throw out the slogan?

Rhode Island’s outdated and ineffective tourism website also came under fire for its inaccurate listings — of restaurants and shops now out of business; its links to Massachusetts restaurants instead of Rhode Island favorites; and its outdated claim the Ocean State contained 20 percent of the country’s historic landmarks.

Well, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation voted Monday night to start from scratch and hire a company — Simpleview, of Tucson, Ariz. — for $257,500 to build a whole new website. The state’s chief marketing officer, Lara Salamano, introduced the company, its work and its president Rich Reasons to the board of directors, chaired by Raimondo.

Is this real life? Seriously! There is absolutely no way I believe that there isn’t ONE Rhode Island based firm capable of building the state’s tourism website. NO WAY, I REFUSE to believe it!

Last year the RI Commerce Corporation wasted millions of dollars by hiring a New York designer and a New York public relations firm to manage the Cooler & Warmer debacle. And calling it a debacle is generous! So what do they do this time around? They hire a firm from Arizona for $257,500? Really?

The ProJo continues…

Simpleview is already working in Rhode Island: on the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau site and on the Discover Newport site

Wait what?


Is anyone paying attention? There is a reason Forbes ranks Rhode Island among the 10 WORST states for business and it’s not because we don’t have capable website builders in the state.

Here’s a live look in at every Rhode Island based web design company!


and let’s check in with the Commerce Corporation real quick…


Just absolutely incredible!