Thursday, July 2, 2009

eDoorways Part 7 - Recommendations

Summary of Recommendations
Here's the recap of the concerns I have with the platform and suggestions to improve the service.

Find a Purpose
The most fundamental recommendation that I have for EDWY is to solve the riddle of purpose. What is the targeted primary goal of the site? If your visitors remember one catch phrase about your service, what would it be?

Innovation is vague and is not a goal. Putting Google & MySpace in a blender is campy and not a goal. A B2C gateway is vague and not a goal. A platform for consumer Q&A with experts is close to a goal, but it competes with other stated goals of providing a marketplace and a 'connection to the global community.' helps you manage your money. helps you make decisions. keeps you connected with friends. Deep behind the scenes of all of these sites you're matched with products and services through ads, emails, and in-line product placement.

So what does eDoorways do?

Solve the Chicken & Egg
Figure out a way to be profitable in the event that the ratio of consumer questions : expert/business answers is not maintained in perfect balance.

Drop the expectation of real time answers unless you can really back that up. Really. You only have one shot at a successful launch. The online hoards will not forgive a fumbled start.

If you do offer real time support, you're going to end up having to pay people to provide real time answers during the startup period and during periods of every day for ever. That's why you should charge for the premium service or drop the expectation of live, expert answers from businesses near your home.

Consider additional delivery models
Consider building a Facebook app to give you instant access to a massive user community.

Consider building an interface for the iPhone or a generic mobile device to give you access to a larger community. Some CSS styling can usually make your app functional on any smart phone. With mobile devices, you can quantify location of the user and match them with the nearest expert (geographically) - especially as the user travels. Plus, you'd get more direct access to 'experts' who might have day jobs. Sending questions on their phone will bypass the corporate network and make it more likely for experts at businesses to respond quickly. For instance, the real time chat could be done through a txt message gateway.

Consider licensing an instance of your app to enterprises for dependable revenue. Not only would you get regular cash, you would ensure a dependable user base of experts paid for by the large corporate clients. So if you're smart about it... you make the back-end fluid enough to intermingle the Q&A from both the corporate instances and the main site.

Test your 'Target Market'
Get a focus group going with your target market and see how your service compares with other close competitors. You still have time to adjust your target market or tweak your site, so get going on this asap.

Augment your deployment with the 'Cloud'
Check out what Amazon is doing to help power the next iteration of web sites. Mixing in scalable and cost effective horsepower will save EDWY hundreds of thousands of dollars and help ensure a smooth and responsive launch.

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