Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home

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Tuesday September 7, 2021

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Google photographer helps small businesses grow in Mountain Home

Chris Fulton

Baxter Bulletin
Jim Fraser sits in his home office of his off-grid farm. Fraser became a StreetView photographer in 2013.










Google has become a part of our lives in Mountain Home.  

While the company started as a simple search engine, it quickly expanded into one of the largest and wealthiest corporations in the world.  

The company produces everything from phones, to computers, to server farms for the U.S. government.  

School children use it to finish their book reports, while businesses both big and small rely on Google to promote their products or services. Simply making the front page of Google can be the difference between success and failure for many businesses.  

And that’s what John Fraser and his small business, Mountain Home Marketing, do for Mountain Home. 

John Fraser poses in front of a solar panel array. Fraser and his wife Kelly began building their off-grid solar farm in 2016.


“I just want people to know, if somebody needs help, we can get out there and do whatever needs to be done to get them over on the map because we need to keep small businesses going,” Fraser said. “We help one business at a time.”  

Fraser is the only Google StreetView trusted photographer in Mountain Home, allowing him to take 360-degree camera shots of businesses to add to Google Maps and StreetView. The process for being added to StreetView takes about an hour. 

Google expanded the program in 2013 to allow panoramic views of the inside of businesses that participated in the program, piquing the interest of Fraser, who became StreetView’s first photographer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after taking a 30-day training course.  

Fraser said joining StreetView is not cheap or easy, with applicants purchasing $5,000 worth of equipment upfront. Those applicants who finished the training process were then required to secure 20 customers within the first month.  

It took Fraser an entire year to finish the process after initially applying for the program. He ran his first photography business, Tulsa Panorama, for a few years until he and his wife, Kelly Fraser, moved to Oakland, Arkansas, in 2016. 

Fraser’s status as a trusted photographer with Google lets him input businesses’ correct hours and locations, letting Google know the information is accurate. Coupled with the panoramic photos on StreetView, this allows Fraser to help his clients get to the top of the front page of Google, often doubling their business within a year.  

He also said he helps businesses with branding on Google, allowing them to compete with larger businesses for the top spot in the search engine. 

In 2015, Kelly asked John to move to Arkansas to complete her dream of owning a farm. The couple now lives on 30 plus acres high in the Ozarks, a few miles from Missouri. 

Their farm is entirely off-grid, being powered by 20 nickel-iron batteries, made famous by Thomas Edison. Fraser built a network of antennas and cellphone boosters to stay connected to the outside world, allowing him to run his online business despite his remote location. 

To help fund their farm, the couple began a YouTube channel and website that chronicles the ups and downs of creating an off-grid home. 

Kelly Fraser milks a cow on her farm. Kelly's dream was to leave the big city life and own a farm of her own.


 “This has always been my dream,” said Kelly as she laughed. “He wanted a 6,000 square foot house with a BMW, theater room. We’d hire everything out. People always asked me what my dream car was, and I’d say the one that’s quiet with cup holders. I’m just not turned on by any of those things.” 

While the move was a change for Fraser, he said it was the best thing to happen in his life. He said he’s learned how to be resilient and how to take care of his own home.  

He’s also said the move allowed him to refocus his work on helping people in need. 

 A photo of John Fraser and his dogs. Fraser said leaving behind his old life and disconnecting from money was the greatest decision he's ever made.

“I love taking new pictures and helping new businesses,” Fraser said. “Disconnecting from the money was the biggest blessing that ever happened to me. We learned to live with nothing. We want to be in a position where we have no bills, no debt, no nothing. I can work with small businesses, increase their traffic, and then we can fix a tractor and do more stuff and build more things.” 

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