Sydney, NSW, November, 2010 — Developing a successful website is a goal for many web entrepreneurs. Developing a website successful enough to be bought by a world leader is a dream come true. OurExplorer, a Netstarter client, realised this dream recently after being acquired by global online tour booking service Viator, Inc. in a confidential deal.
Netstarter’s association with OurExplorer began in mid-2006. Working closely with OurExplorer’s founder Dave Cunningham, Netstarter was tasked with creating a user-friendly site for the emerging tour guide network. The proposed site was to be rich with member-supplied content and cater for the unique requirements of both tour guides and tourists. Netstarter designed and developed the public-facing site and custom-built several back-end modules to handle reviews and ratings, bookings, payments and internal email. Netstarter Director Michael Rom says that the team faced a few challenges during development.
“The OurExplorer site is large and the requirements were quite complex. Tour guides had to be able to update their availability and have open two way communication with the tourist which includes a unique SMS text alert functionality. Tourists needed to be able to make secure payments to OurExplorer, rate and share their experiences and get in touch with their preferred tour guides. Usability was an issue, as was the flow of information. There were certain things that the site needed to do well or it just wouldn’t have worked.”
After two years of planning, development and user testing, the site was launched in June 2008 and received accolades from both the tourism and web industries. Since its release, OurExplorer.com has attracted over 2000 registered tour guides servicing 500 destinations. According to Michael, the success of the site comes down to one simple thing; authenticity. “It’s very easy for sites that are built upon user ratings to have skewed data. One of Netstarter’s main objectives was to ensure that this couldn’t happen on OurExplorer. We wanted to build upon user loyalty to create an environment that really valued and promoted accurate reviews.”
Authentic information, a solid web strategy, creative web design
and the determination of the site’s founder helped OurExplorer to grow rapidly and capture the attention of global players like Viator Inc.. The recent acquisition demonstrates that a thriving web community has real, tangible monetary value for site founders. Michael adds, “It just goes to show, if you have a solid idea, some drive and a great web partner behind you, anything is possible.”
Formed in 1999, Netstarter is an award winning digital communications company based in Sydney, Australia. With a loyal customer base of over 2500 clients, Netstarter specialises in creating cost effective websites and online strategies that make the most of current technologies.
For information please visit www.netstarter.com.au
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