An overview of a subscription information website
Highly specialised, highly accurate, advert-free search is the new trend and to demonstrate just how refreshing and rewarding it can be, GAUK Motors is now live…
GAUK Gen4 Vehicle search engine. Specialised search is the future and here now
I’m Paul Tranter and over the past 15 years have built a successful business, aggregating international auctions, classifieds and dealer websites. Originally, very labour intensive it has been steadily migrating to a technology based solution. We’re now on version 4 (GAUK Gen4) of the technology platform and looking to rapidly accelerate our bootstrapping development programme.
The business has been very profitable generating over £3,000,000 prior to the tech upgrade and the demand is proven to be strong. Our plan details a 3-5 year growth and exit strategy with projected revenue of £11,000,000 by year three. I’ve prepared this overview as an additional resource for The Omniscience Principle, which will give you all you need with regard to the project, where we are and the potential. The page focuses on the vehicle market but the aggregation engine has been built to manage multiple verticals which we’ve identified as Property Auctions, Bankrupt Stock Auctions, Caravans/RVs, Boats
One platform, one membership, custom search feeds querying thousands of websites in multiple verticals GAUK Motors / GAUK Classic Cars MVP.
We have created what we believe, is the most powerful search and aggregation application on the planet. GAUK Gen4 software is capable of handling, categorising and managing EVERY vehicle for sale, at EVERY auction, in EVERY classifieds publication and by EVERY dealer in Britain. Voted the most ‘trustworthy‘ country in the world, we’re based out of New Zealand with lead development in the UK and an offshore data management team.
We operate an unconventional ‘pay-to-search’ but highly profitable and stable subscription model.
Our software is a ground-up build using the very latest technology coupled with the benefit of nearly fifteen years of successful online experience in this sector.
GOAL: 10,000 PAID SUBSCRIBERS @ JUST £4.99/WEEK IN TWELVE MONTHS
Years of in-the-trenches experience shows us to expect 1%-3% conversion rates (depending on targeting) from visitors. Driving just 100,000 visitors per month through a multitude of marketing channels outlined below @ 1% conversion rate will deliver the goal with change to spare.
To put this into perspective, GAUK Auctions (the basis for Motors) enjoyed over 150k visitors a month with ZERO marketing. This was organic Google traffic driven by articles across a large number of keywords.
I saw this gap in the market over fifteen years ago and have exploited it ever since. This latest version of our system has not only taken over two years to develop but has taken us to a whole new level which others that have tried this, could only dream about!
Motors! … By far the biggest marketplace. Millions upon millions of vehicles are sold across the Americas and Europe each year, Terabytes of information is published daily.
GAUK Motors is on a journey and we can’t wait to have you onboard so have a read of this prospectus, hop in and let’s do some skids, drifts and big, fat burnouts together!
Prior to programming our research showed that according to SMMT there were 2.69 million registrations of vehicles and 8 million used cars sold that year. The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for more than £77.5 billion turnover and £18.9 billion value added.’ The trend continues.
The following year just over 8 million used cars were sold and to thrive in the market important changes need to be understood. A common link among the trends is an overall reduction of information asymmetry, which has different impacts based on scale and the importance of that asymmetry for the market, our platform addresses these.
Customers are increasingly using the online channel and looking to be better informed before making a decision. This increasing use of the Web generates more and more available data on the condition of a car. Consequently, players who will be able to find economies of scale in information acquisition and effectively leverage big data will be best positioned in the future.
Increasingly available data, coupled with the increased quality of cars and overall less unobserved variance, will reduce the “market for lemons” effect. As such, business models that rely on information asymmetry — such as auction platforms — will see their margins getting squeezed over the coming years.
Finally, customers are willing to pay more for convenience in buying or selling used cars. This will favour the development of online facilitating platforms, particularly if they manage to increase their level of trust among consumers.
In summary, these shifts will impact all participants in the used car value chain. However, by understanding the trends and adapting their business accordingly, companies can ensure they are positioned even in a more dynamic used car market. (Source PWC)
GAUK Motors aims to unlock the huge untapped potential in the digital motoring world (there are over 400 million motoring fans on Facebook alone – making cars and automotive a more popular category than gaming, football or news) who until now have not had a global digital platform that delivers reliable, accurate search and automotive data on a global scale.
Two and a half years ago we embarked upon an incredible journey with one aim in mind – to make life just that little bit easier when tracking down your perfect motor.
Now the definition of ‘perfect’ will mean different things to different people. One person might be looking for the most powerful vehicle in its class, another may be looking for that perfect colour, another may be looking for the perfect price and another may be looking for the rarest of the rare.
We set out to provide a platform that will help anyone find their Perfect Ride.
Now GAUK Gen4 Software is set to power aggregation across a number of marketplaces
“GAUK! … that’s a weird name isn’t it?”
Government Auctions UK was an experiment.
Back when the Internet was a relatively new phenomenon, I had noticed a book selling extremely well through classifieds and in local papers and also noticed that there was no digital version.
The paperback was simply a directory of auction houses that dealt with Police and Government related auctions … there appeared to be something strangely alluring about buying the proceeds of crime, legally!
I read somewhere that the book had sold over 200,000 copies at £10 a pop. “Not a bad little earner,” I thought!
I did some research and put together my own database and by 2000 began publishing it on the Internet. Government Auctions UK could be bought online, as a printed document or downloaded as an ebook. Due to the limitations of the web in those days it was pretty basic, yet gave people a starting point, a place from where they could enter the ‘secretive’ world of Government and Police Auctions.
The cool part was, there were a number of publishers advertising across the press for their Government Auction info books. When people began looking online, I was there to be found!
I then progressed by teaming up with a local web agency who built a website with a searchable directory. There were no sophisticated features, yet it contained everything someone needed to track down local ‘No Reserve’ auctions easily. The biggest innovation was that I managed to secure the directory behind a password protected member’s area that could only be accessed via a subscription payment.
It sold well and over the following couple of years proved to be a great success. The Government Auctions UK website took on a life of its own, growing organically through search engine exposure and by word of mouth. However, it became apparent that visitors wanted a grander product than a directory of auction houses so as the web grew more technical, GAUK (as it became known) programmers started to develop a system to better deliver the auction information.
What’s coming up at those auctions, what are the dates and times? … that’s what people wanted!
Finding specific auction information on the net was (and still is) tedious and frustrating. Firstly, to find the auction houses, you need to do a Google search. Google will present you with a list of links ranked by their almighty algorithm created to index every website in the world in every country, covering every niche.
From the pages of Google links you have to decide which one best suits your needs (because Google barely gets it right!) and follow them into each website. Then you have to navigate your way to the information you want within different websites all with different layouts.
To further compound the issue, there are over two thousand auctioneers in the UK alone. Unfortunately, due to the mysterious Google algorithm, only a fraction of those auctioneers can even be found.
It was this demand that drove site development towards something exponentially more comprehensive and targeted towards a very specialised niche. We set out to develop a platform that would display ALL the lots from ALL the different auctioneers in one easy to use, searchable app.
Furthermore, we needed to do this automatically because frankly, auctioneers just don’t have the time or the resources to upload catalogues to third party sites. They do however, religiously update their own!
We spent a couple of years and hundreds of thousands of dollars building the second generation of GAUK search and were pleased with the result. Demand was strong, the site looked good, was profitable and we knew we were onto something special. That year we were on target to clear £500,000, and nearly all of it was profit!
But as the Government Auctions website grew, we began to realise just how big a task we were up against. Going back to the core issue, it was the disparity and diversity of the information we were collating that was causing major problems.
There were platforms out there and we noticed that when auctioneers did post, they only advertised a fraction of their inventory and despite all our efforts and the obvious benefits, we just couldn’t get them to spend yet more time updating ours. Despite this they always updated their own websites, so we developed a team of data input staff to do the job for them using the data they posted. We developed a data management interface to control the tasks and there was even a data manager who monitored quality. This worked well for a limited number of sites but as we rolled out the concept inevitably, human errors compounded and grew exponentially.
By the third generation of GAUK we’d managed to cover a large percentage of auctioneers in the UK … but, and it was a great big hulking BUT … if we were to expand to our planned coverage of ALL auctions in Europe and the Americas a better solution had to be developed.
Although we were on target to break the £500,000 (subscription revenue) that year, I made an extremely painful decision … to lock out new subscribers until we could deliver a more accurate database.
A couple more years of R&D and development, the fourth generation platform is built: GAUK Gen4. GAUKMotors.co.uk is the result and Stage One of a planned rollout of the new platform over the next three years.
Motors? When we analysed the traffic at Government Auctions it became clear that Motors and Real Estate were by far the most popular categories, so we chose to develop Motors because we love em!
Hundreds of websites, hundreds of thousands of cars, vans, commercials, plant & machinery and vehicles.
Why spend hours scouring the net for your perfect vehicle when GAUK Motors can do it for you in seconds?
Our proprietary software automatically monitors hundreds of websites aggregating hundreds of thousands of vehicles into a single, searchable database. Customise your car feeds to display only what you’re looking for in My Garage … Simple!
More Vehicles In One Place … GAUK Motors, National Automotive Search Engine
Search cars, vans & vehicles available at auction, dealers & private sale across the country
CAR TRADERS: For traders already ‘in the know’ regarding all the great deals to be found at car auctions and by searching classifieds. Traders who simply want the facility to manage all the events and vehicles available on a weekly basis … we’ve built something they’ll find invaluable!
EVERYBODY ELSE: Those in the market for a vehicle, any vehicle, car, van, motorbike or commercial and don’t want to pay FULL RETAIL PRICE … We’ve built something for them!
GAUK Motors Delivers The Best Deals On Cars, Vans And Commercial Vehicles
Simply put, GAUK Motors has done the hard work so searchers don’t have to!
Each day our software gathers real-time listings from literally hundreds of websites and collates it into a single, easy to use platform. We list vehicles from dealers, private sales and car auctions.
- Real time inventory
- Updated hourly
- Dates and times of upcoming sales
- Vehicles at auction
- Vehicles in classifieds
- Vehicles from dealers
- Every town covered
- Every state covered
- Search, save & compare dashboard
- Historical and current valuations
- Spec & Stats for every vehicle ever built
- Contact sellers directly
At first, the following may appear to be a counter-intuitive statement but I’ll say it anyway: “We are in the unique position of having failed at this for almost fifteen years.”
We’ve messed up, broken it, got it wrong and made just about every mistake possible … and it’s precisely because of that experience that we can now safely say:
“GAUK has been proven and tested over many years, it has grown from the ground up, in the trenches and is absolutely rock solid.”
When starting a new venture you can only ‘guess’ at what you may face in the future based on what you’ve read and maybe some personal experiences.
They say ‘it’s the truck you don’t see that runs you over!’
With a project as complex as ours, there are literally hundreds of really, really big trucks that can and will turn you into a sticky stain on the tar seal.
Avoid the trucks and just when you think you’ve got it right and the people start to visit, that very success becomes your downfall. You find you’ve coded a paragraph in a zillion lines of code badly, or not anticipated server loads or not crunched those images or missed an important data callback or … it goes on and on.
A perfect example was that of a startup called Wheedle here in New Zealand. It was meant as a competitor to our version of eBay, called TradeMe. It was backed to the tune of $10M.
All went well until launch. The publicity was huge with news stories and press interest driving traffic. Vulnerabilities started as cracks that rapidly developed into chasms until the framework crashed completely. Hundreds of thousands of interested and potentially paying customers were met with the ‘page loading wheel of death’.
The only solution was to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the core architecture, which didn’t happen and now Wheedle has joined the regretful list of a million nearly-rans!
The GAUK concept was the easy part, putting it together has taken something pretty special, which is up and running, tested and ready for roll out.
Speed, Userbility & Accuracy
When we began programming GAUK Motors we already had a wealth of experience. Forget the bells and whistles, ‘getting the result’ is at the top of every survey regarding customer satisfaction. People simply want to find what they’re looking for.
Not only have we built GAUK Motors with our trifecta at the top of the brief, we end every programming phase by going back and checking the flow. It’s something we’ll keep doing as we grow. As for speed, we cache and optimise every element of the site. Faster, bigger stronger!
Every site needs an engine room. Most companies use multiple third party services that really don’t integrate well into their sites. I have been marketing online since 2000 and done quite well. As every dollar put on the line was my own, I’ve honed those skills. Based on my experience, we’ve built and fully integrated the most powerful marketing tools:
- In-house email management in partnership with Amazon
- Marketing emails sent at set intervals via autoresponder
- Weekly newsletter created by our own Commander in Chief of Autoinfo (currently 250k readers)
- Direct messaging to user accounts
- Drip feed and lock content
- Upgrade triggers based on user actions
- Viral sign up (share on social media for rewards and discounts)
- Motoblog high quality, unique content. Our daily pick of the week with built in social media share options
- Social media autopost. Every time a post is made to Motoblog it is automatically posted to our social accounts
- SEO best practices. The site is highly optimised for search engines including canonical linking, customised title & description meta, header tags and keyword phrases, internal anchor linking, Image ALT tags and filenames
So How Did We Do it?
GAUK Motors HAD to be 100% automated. Humans just aren’t up to the job! They require unnecessary things like coffee breaks and lunch and sleep, they want to talk to each other and check their social media and then they loose concentration and make mistakes.
No! GAUK Gen4 needed to iron out those inaccuracy bugs.
The first major decision was the programming framework. Without getting geeky we chose PHP and Laravel. Many developers prefer Laravel over other frameworks because of the performance, features and scalability it offers. It has been the perfect architecture for our needs. GAUK Motors runs on the very latest releases and is updated to stay current.
The platform is not only built to look sexy and deliver a sophisticated user experience, it also has to do the heavy lifting. GAUK Gen4 has to manage and collate data from multiple sources and output it into a beautiful, elegant, intuitive platform. That output also has be mobile and web based.
Yet that’s only HALF the story!
How to input that data? Remember, we’ve been here before and data input was our Nemesis.
To say that every website is different is an understatement … in reality, automation is extraordinarily difficult to achieve.
The solution: More programmers. We now have a small, yet scaleable team who write proprietary scripts for each and every website we feature. That script has a feather-light touch on the host. Scripts are staggered to run and maintain a balanced load so as to not slow down the servers. The results are then fed into our main database and in turn output seamlessly to the end user.
Each website we feature is set up as a ‘feed’. Each feed can be customised by the user and monitored in My Garage. Users can customise feeds with any number or variants to find that perfect Motor and they can set up as many feeds as they like (depending on subscription options of course).
Users can set up alerts linked to their customised feeds so that they never miss that perfect motor.
Over time My Garage will become an invaluable and sophisticated interface allowing users to manage multiple feeds from multiple sources. Manage vehicles and all the associated data. They’ll never miss a motoring bargain ever!
The Business Model
Without a strong and viable revenue model, ALL projects fail.
Over the years I presented our model to many people and the general reaction was that of incredulity!
“How the heck do you do that?”
Our model is not only a rock solid concept, it’s proven itself over many years. The model is a simple subscription but the key is that we chose Pay per Search rather then the ubiquitous Pay to Advertise. We developed this for a number of reasons:
- There are only a finite number of publishers
- There are millions of searchers
- Pay to Advertise becomes a barrier to posting valuable information
- Pay to Advertise results in only a few listings from the inventory
- Pay to Advertise traditionally creates a bias towards those with the deepest pockets
- Pay to Search means we can create an unbiased, feature-rich, ADVERT FREE environment
- … searchers will pay for the convenience
So, a clever subscription model partnered with a digital product.
- Subscriptions compound month after month creating a valuable financial bedrock
- No physical product fulfillment
- No overheads
- No warehousing and associated overheads
- No price comparison (you can’t compare like with like for information)
- Instant gratification
The Pay to Advertise model can be successful BUT for new ventures and for those without very, very deep pockets, it’s a monster that bites. If you’ve got no traffic businesses won’t list. If you’ve got no inventory, then people will just leave!
Much of the TEN MILLION DOLLAR budget in the example I gave earlier regarding the failed eBay type website called Wheedle was set aside for marketing. To generate traction the focus was on marketing when it absolutely needed to be on infrastructure.
Our Pay to Search model eliminates all of the start up hurdles. At the time of writing GAUK Motors already delivers over one hundred thousand motors daily. Even in start up, with zero marketing, searchers enjoy a vast resource. All our budget and effort is concentrated on delivering a stunning platform and because of that, visitors become friends who become long-term customers.
About the Subscription Model
Why You Should Use a Subscription Business Model
Since consumer buying habits are trending toward more simple and hassle-free shopping experiences, more and more companies are jumping into the subscription space and seeing incredible growth. Recently, Dollar Shave Club was expected to generate $60 million in revenue, nearly tripling its previous year’s revenue. Even more impressive, Honest Company was expected to bring in $150 million in revenue, landing the business a $1billion valuation.
When we look at the success of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, many of which are offering monthly or annual service subscriptions and pulling in multi-billion valuations — DropBox and Salesforce.com — it’s more evident than ever that customers prefer subscriptions. Yet professional service industries are falling behind.
Valuable for the company … and the customer
The subscription model owes its success to the optimal balance of value it provides to both the company and the customer.
For customers, the value lies in the convenience. First, there’s the autopilot simplicity of subscriptions that removes the thinking out of a purchase decision. Subscribers never have to remember to reorder every month, which gives them the reassurance that they will have whatever they need before they actually need it. Everything arrives to your door like magic, removing the hassle of making a trip to the store or website to place an order. Second, subscriptions offer a flat rate which helps customers stay within their budget … always. Lastly, subscriptions usually bring added value to the customer through bundling or getting it all for the price of one.
For businesses, the value of a subscription is the ability to predict revenue through recurring sales. In fact, according to John Warrillow, creator of The Value Builder System, recurring revenue is perhaps one of the most compelling factors in a company valuation.
“The more guaranteed revenue you can offer a potential acquirer, the more valuable your business is going to be,” Warrillow says. “Because a high percentage of the revenue of a subscription-based business is recurring, its value will be up to eight times that of a comparable business with very little recurring revenue.”
This consistency in revenue also allows subscription-based companies to easily calculate the lifetime value of a customer, manage inventory, offer simple pricing and many other business benefits.
Positive impact of a service-based business
Subscriptions allow a company to plan resources and predict revenue. Service subscriptions allow you to be flexible in your tactics without having inconsistent service due to recalculating costs. It gives your company the ability to provide different types of services, not just deliverables.
2. Ability to scale
Subscriptions allow clients the security of knowing that everything is month-to-month, and nothing is set in stone . As a company, subscriptions also allow you to scale if you continue to add value to the client and impact their bottom line.
3. Stronger relationships
The subscription model allows a service provider to grow a relationship with the client and cater to their business or design needs as they change. It builds a substantial level of trust since the client knows that you have their best interests in mind and understand their business.
Moreover, it also forces service providers to be accountable in their client relationships. In a project, the goal is to finish, whereas with a subscription, the goal is to accomplish the objective — and continue to provide value over time. We must always be pushing for innovation and exploring ways to make a greater impact, to be proactive instead of reactive.
Additional Revenue Sources
The subscription model will form a solid foundation to GAUK Motors site and through mobile apps. In addition, there will be multiple opportunities to add value and upsell without the need for those infuriating flashing banners and Google ads that suck visitors away to competitors.
GAUK Motors is a grown up platform and we intend to offer services that compliment, integrate and benefit our customer base.
GAUK Motors will enjoy a bedrock as a subscription service. However, experience has demonstrated that there will always be a greater number of free users. A traditional business model would seek to sell advertising on free accounts. This can be degrading to the site and intrusive for the consumer. Affiliate marketing is a far more lucrative use of space and furthermore, quality control and targeting give a far more receptive user experience. Affiliate schemes typically pay between 10%-50% per sale with insurance/financial companies willing to pay per lead. Investors will be pleased to hear that we have a wealth of experience in affiliate marketing.
Investor Brand Exposure
Moving forward opportunities for further investment would present themselves. I truly believe that the opportunity to gain so much exposure to such a targeted audience is unprecedented. Experience has shown that we can expect truly huge volumes of traffic. Investors will have an opportunity to tap into this customer base and grow their existing brands.
GAUK Gen4 Software Licencing
The fastest growing and most profitable sector on the Internet is specialised search and aggregation.
The major search engines, although dominant, really don’t do a great job at specialised search. They’ve developed their algorithms to be a one-stop-fix-all solution. The same formulae is applied, no matter what we’re looking for and if a target website that holds the gold does not conform to that algorithm, valuable beer time is wasted trolling through pages and pages and pages of links … who wants that!!!!
Year by Year Google becomes more out of date and LESS accurate.
In the old days we could tweak a website and enjoy the rewards as it rose to top rankings.Then the spammers learned these tricks so that when you typed in ‘vehicle insurance’ you’d instead get viagra and penis enlargement sites at number one!
Google is at war trying to make results more relevant using mathematics whilst the spammers are only one step behind. Unfortunately, high quality websites become collateral simply because they’re not ‘mathematically compliant’, they get shoved down the ranks and searchers can’t find them. The engine currently puts bias towards pages that are established and well read. That, by definition results on older information ranking higher. How many times have I began reading a fix for something that Google presented at the top of the search then noticed after five minutes of reading that the page is three years old!
We regularly check our auction directories for accuracy and latest auction dates by visiting auctioneers’ sites. Over the last year we cleaned out over three hundred listings because the companies had gone out of business. Yet, there in pride of place on Google, is all that dead information. No one is cleaning it out!
At the dawn of search, websites were ranked and checked by humans, but as things grew and algorithms became more sophisticated, automation took over. The new trend is moving back to smaller, more accurate aggregators and search tools. When you do a search through GAUK Motors an actual, real human person has checked and set up every single result. Not a single second of your time is wasted digging through irrelevant crap.
GAUK Motors is powered by what we believe to be the most advanced, highly engineered, aggregation software ever built.
To get accurate listings, GAUK Motors mechanics do the donkey work and fettling ensuring results are categorised and filtered to match search parameters … life becomes just that slightly bit better!
GAUK has been in the auction niche for many years and we chose to launch in an even more specific marketplace with Motors.
Although we chose motors, there are literally thousands of niches we could have chosen and we simply will not be able develop them all.
It’s a dilemma because we developed GAUK Gen4 to make life simpler and better for searchers … The answer?
LICENCE GAUK GEN4.
The most beautiful and comprehensive source of vehicle information on the planet to enhance the vehicle listings
Hundreds of vehicle manufacturers from around the world. Hundreds more motorcycle manufacturers from around the world, tens of thousands of vehicle models and variants …
When building GAUK Motors we wanted to ensure visitors stay engaged. There’s must be nothing more demoralising than spending $millions developing a site only to check the stats and see a bounce rate of 95%.
Stats and descriptions for every make and model since Carl Benz patented the first gas guzzler is a pretty big aspiration. We began searching for a comprehensive source of vehicle specifications to enhance the listings. Unfortunately, the sources we found were either incomplete or lacking in accurate data. Then serendipity played her hand and we were given the contact of a rather reclusive character from Eastern Europe who held a lifelong obsession with building database spreadsheets. A deal was done and Motorpedia was launched … it is the most detailed vehicle database to exist on internet.
The largest rival database currently claims 490,000 data points, Motorpedia dwarfs that.
The database currently boasts detailed and statistical coverage of:
- Almost 350 Vehicle Manufacturers from around the world
- Nearly 450 Motorcycle Manufacturers from around the world
- Almost 3300 Vehicle Models
- Almost 18000 Model Variants
But that was only the beginning!
Wikipedia was the most comprehensive resource for accurate information and there’s literally thousands of pages dedicated to vehicles, it’s also a pain in the butt to find them and is pretty damn ugly!
Even when you do start a search you have to know exactly what you’re looking for, otherwise (as with Google) you end up scrolling through pages of search results, disambiguation and totally irrelevant garbage … and often when you do find the page, you’ll find all the models jumbled together. Wikipedia however, does encourage developers to use the information through what’s called creative commons licensing and so we set about creating a better motoring encyclopedia.
First, we took our vast BigData as a baseline and began manually adding a Wikipedia page to each manufacturer. Even this wasn’t easy as layout and pages are not uniform. A special script was written that takes a Wikipedia page, cleans it of all irrelevant, ugly stuff and spits out something that’s finally of a high enough quality for GAUK.
Then we embarked upon the monumental task of creating a page for every model ever built. Not only did we have to create almost eighteen thousand pages, but in the cases of models with multiple generations we had to create further individual pages for each generation and to top it off, find a stunning, royalty free image to feature.
Motorpedia is 90% complete and more information is added daily. Development goals for Motorpedia:
- All vehicle manufacturers … worldwide
- All models of vehicle and motorcycle
- Complete specification for every model
- Owner’s manual download for every vehicle
- Owner’s and car builders gallery and vehicle showcase describing the build
- Available parts for each vehicle
We think the result is stunning and a legacy we’re proud of … but there’s still such a long way to go with a host of improvements planned.
MISSION STATEMENT: WE STRIVE TO DO THE VERY BEST IN ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WE DO
Our next stage was to seek investment to accelerate growth. At the time of writing this is proving to be more complex than initially thought. We were seeking a partner capable of bringing added value. What we don’t want is a greedy dragon. So look for an update in this section sometime in the future. I’ll also be writing an article about the pitfalls of investors.
At the time of seeking the investment, there were just three petrolheads at GAUK Motors and I’m so proud of what we’d achieved to that point.
- We had myself Paul Tranter MFWIC
- My son Jake, Commander in Chief of Motorpedia and Social Media
- Dave, Mysterious and Magical Code Bender. (Unfortunately Dave passed away after losing his fight against cancer)
I’d worked with Dave for almost fifteen years now and created some pretty exciting projects. We’d enjoyed the highs and lows of the furious pace of Internet life. We’d exulted in projects that have reached top ten thousand rankings in the world (Alexa) … and we’d cried as we’ve seen those servers burn!
We’d endured the monotony and frustration of endless programming dullness and being motivated by seeing those project come to life. What we looked forward to most is simple success … just to see this project, so many years in the making, take its next big step.
After Dave programming was taken over by an offshore developer.
Partners & What Next?
Build it and they will come
We built it, they are coming, but we need to deliver the best experience possible and that means more of everything and a hefty marketing budget.
To date, we’ve achieved all that we have by ‘bootstrapping’, a term coined by Seth Godin of Yahoo!
Growing by reinvesting income. We effectively shut down the cash cow to deliver a better website. I’ve ploughed everything back into GAUK Gen4 and now registrations are coming in with over 1,300 (free) users as I check today. GAUK Gen4 is built, tested and ready to rock and roll … Within twelve months GAUK Motors will be in an extremely enviable position.
BUT … our goal is so big that bootstrapping is highly restrictive.
The biggest barrier we face right now is simply bandwidth. We’re bogged down with so many tasks and pulled in so many directions. The total focus (as it should be) is the software. Issue is, that to grow I need to dedicate time to marketing etc.
Our cashflow shows that the magic bullet is just ONE THOUSAND PAID SUBSCRIBERS. We know from many years experience that once we hit that, then the machine starts to chug away. Just like a big, fat V8, it splutters and spits to begin with and then soon settles down to a warm rumble. Once we hit one thousand subscribers the site becomes self sustaining.
At the time of writing this post we’d taken the unusual decision to offer an equity based opportunity, a Turbo, Supercharged, Nitrous Injected boost to get us to the next level.
*Data and projections based on over five million UNIQUE visitors. Investors must understand the difference between hits and traffic. most sites quote ‘hit’s. A hit is a request to a web server for a file, like a web page, image, script, or font style. When a web page is downloaded from a server the number of “hits” or “page hits” is equal to the number of files requested. A single visitor can trigger multiple ‘hits’ on just one page. A hit is not a true representation of traffic. GAUK projections are based on unique visitors representing a real person visiting the site for the first time.
Our cashflow is based on the following model but can be accelerated in multiple ways:
- 50K visits/month
- 2-3% Conversion
- Year 1: £1,000,000
- Year 2: £5,280,000
- Year 3: £11,000,00
Round 1 Investment accelerates us to year two of our projections Current cashflow takes us through a steady growth based on income. Our investment proposal will add a little nitrous injection, boosting us along the timeline creating a stable platform and happy workforce. Investment takes care of the groundworks giving us twelve months and a considerable war chest to concentrate on development and marketing. Goal for Year 1 is 10,000 paid subscribers generating sufficient revenue to cover commitments
Once we hit that target growth becomes sustainable. Remember, we’ve done this before so are uniquely qualified to steer the ship. This business is so streamlined without the encumbrances, precarious margins and significant requirements in infrastructure of traditional business.
The goal moving forward is simple and distraction free. The team we secure will have a very simple game-plan and the budget to achieve it. GAUK Motors will achieve 10,000 upgraded subscribers in 12 months.
POTENTIAL MOVING FORWARD
It’s difficult to make projections for the future simply because our system is and business model is unique. We have real substance to our platform with the scope of vehicles we’re able to bring together and Motorpedia. Suffice to say everyone loves or needs motors!
Live Auctioneers (Antiques)
- LiveAuctioneers broke records in 2017! Buyers were connected to more than 7.8 million antiques and collectibles from 1,000s of trusted auction houses. Our most personalized saved search alert emails were sent 22 million times to help treasure hunters secure hard-to-find items. We saw the highest growth in LiveAuctioneers’ mobile app bidding yet.
- Search and aggregation of hotels based on the traditional ‘commission’ model.
- Every month more than 120 million travelers use Trivago
- 12 million unique visitors ebay Motors
- Motoring forum launched 12 months ago. 230m people see content from DriveTribe each month, serving 1.7bn impressions around the world to passionate motoring enthusiasts.
- 200 million car enthusiasts reached every month
- 500 million video views per month Car Throttle
- 60 million cross platform visits in January
- 1 000 000 members
- 4.5 million members using it each month
- Simply a group of forums (some not particularly good!) 100 million monthly visitors
Verticalscope (Use Internet Brands software VBulletin)
- 105 Million Unique Visitors Monthly
- 540 Million Page Views Monthly
- 350 000 members
CURRENT MARKETING CHANNELS TO ACHIEVE THAT 10,000 GOAL
- Marketing manager role to grow and develop fresh blood on social channels driving traffic to Motors. From experience, achieving positive a positive return on investment is a science and a full time job measuring every minute detail through A/B split tests.Your investment secures our marketing manager.
- Newsletter 250k
- Autoresponders automatically drive visitors to the website
- Drive Tribe channel (regular 100k views to our weekly posts)
- Car Throttle
- Quizzes (100k interaction)
- Google + (great for SEO)
- Linked in 2,000 connections
Further Marketing (Development)
- Affiliates – tried and tested!
- Autopost/social media
- Viral sign up and rewards
- Upgrade triggers
- Car builders communities
- Develop more forums
- Facebook advertising
- Google advertising
- FB Groups
- Develop existing channels Car Throttle/Drivetribe etc
- eBay classifieds
- YouTube (specialised advertising)
- Regular press release
- Cultivate journalists
- Cultivate movers & shakers – Influencers/ambassadors.
- Create content for magazines
- Car clubs
COME ON THE JOURNEY!
Let me know your plans in the comments below…