Writers may have noticed that no revenue has yet been registered in the ‘my earnings’ section of their profile page. Don’t worry, there is a reason! Most of the commercial relationships are on a CPA basis (cost per acquisition) - it takes time for the accounting processes to be set up between us and the suppliers. We have now started invoicing and it will be another month or so before we can reconcile the figures and pay money into accounts. We will keep you up to date.
This time scale is totally normal with a start up business, Moneysupermarket and Travelsupermarket - which I launched ten years ago - went through this pain barrier as well. Once money does start filtering through it will flow monthly. Our Financial Director has also writen a specific blog on this issue to give you an update on writers payments.
However please don’t get too excited! The site is only a few weeks old so we won’t have generated a lot of cash yet. When we went live we only had a handful of commercial deals and limited numbers of visitors. Most potential business partners would only consider entering into commercial relationships once the site is in the public domain, so it is only now that they are starting to come on board.
Progress so far
In the weeks since we launched we have been working hard on a number of key areas: editorial, site development, awareness building and commercial monetisation. Here is a summary of where we are up to.
Hundreds of quality guides have gone live on the site - from a mix of travel enthusiasts, travel professionals and celebrities. Our goal is to reach six thousand guides within twelve months, and we are well on track. It is important that we have as wide a range of guides as possible to ensure that users of the site have the best chance of finding what they are looking for.
I would personally like to thank all the writers for taking the time and effort to write and upload guides - I hope you are pleased with the work our editorial team has done to present them as professionally as possible, and will continue to invest your time in the site.
We are well on our way to becoming the place to visit for travel inspiration. Watch out for at least another ten high-profile celebrity guides being published on the site within the next six weeks.
Before the launch we invested close to £1 million to develop the website. This year alone we will double that investment - it’s critical that the usability and functionality grows rapidly to fulfil the needs of today’s savvy traveller. I have recently written a blog sharing some of the new developments coming up on Simonseeks.
We have used PR very effectively to increase awareness of our “brand”. Watch this space for more news and publicity projects (we know it works: we built Moneysupermarket on PR). We also start our first SEM (search engine marketing) campaign next month. Once were happy with the number of guides and the functionality of the site, we will be looking to increase awareness with a TV advertising campaign - probably in the first half of next year.
Since launch we have finalised over 30 deals with hotel, flight and car hire providers - all now in operation on the site. Chris Nixon, our commercial director, who was MD of Travelsupermarket has negotiated the deals personally using the success of his previous business relationships to negotiate extremely favourable terms. There are many more companies to approach; we are also currently considering ways of generating revenue from restaurants and attractions. Read Chris’s blog on commercial deals.
I believe we are well on our way to building a travel inspiration website of global proportions that will change the way people research travel forever. I think it will also revolutionise the way writers get paid for their work. Thanks again for being a big part of Simonseeks and here’s to a successful future for us all.
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