Letters - In Text Format
Just a quick note to say how great it was meeting you and your wife, Naama. Apart from hearing about your life with your family in Israel, our chats about our websites really got me rethinking some of the ways we do things on our rent-a-villa-in-tuscany.com site.
You thought I’d be surprised when someone on the other side of the world, who just happens to use the same web hosting company, contacted me?
No, not in the slightest. You see, SBI is different.
For instance, I wouldn’t expect Colonel Saunders to personally deliver my “finger lickin” KFC with side order of chunky fries and BBQ sauce. And, I would be more than surprised if Ben and Jerry turned up on my doorstep with three giant tubs of chocolate chip and bubblegum flavour ice cream (or even just Ben OR Jerry, I’d understand if one of them had to stay behind in the shop to mind the other 99 flavours). But I’m quite used to SBI’ers getting in touch, asking for advice, making suggestions. Even Ken Evoy, our very own SBI head honcho, has been with me on the phone a few times! Try getting Bill Gates to do that!.
But that’s SBI for you. Ken has created a company that’s grown to be much more than a web hosting service. He’s managed to encourage a certain way of thinking into his “virtual worldwide community” that goes much further than merely supplying “web space”. SBI’ers help and support each other to build successful web businesses. Very few other products or services get the reaction that Site Build It! does. It literally changes people’s lives.
So when you, my fellow SBI’er, contacted me from another country and said that you’d like to drop by, I didn’t wonder for a moment if we’d have anything in common. Of course we would! We both love SBI!
Although both our sites use SBI, it was interesting to compare the different business concepts they have (and how we can learn from each other). With all the visitor-submitted content you get, your sites work on automatic (well, almost…). Whereas, on our rent-a villa site we spend a lot of our time on giving our customers the service they expect before, during and after booking a holiday villa. Both approaches are valid – in order to make money, you need (and get) a whole lot of traffic that clicks on your ads or buys from your affiliates. On the other hand, we need much less traffic to make money. Each villa booking earns more, but it takes a lot of preparation, work and customer contact to reach our targets.
I think one of the main things that Fiona and I have learned from your “coolest parties” is that you don’t have to “do it all yourself”. Sure, content is king, but it can be created by your customers. With only 24 hours in a day, collaborations, joint ventures, affiliate partners, etc. are a way to grow. We already use a number of affiliates and are in the process of setting up collaborations with other companies, but speaking to you has speeded up the process and got us thinking of who else we could work with on other parts of the site. We create the in-demand content, this brings visitors, they read the content and then they click through to our partners. More business but less time consuming. And with all the extra time I may even get to go on one of those around the world treks that you find the time to go on (just as soon as I’ve finished cutting the grass!)
Great to meet you both, good luck with the coolest sites on the planet. Pop in any time you’re passing. You just couldn’t say that to Col. Saunders, Ben and Jerry or Bill Gates!
SBI, it’s different.
Jim & Fiona