Freelancer.com Acquires Escrow.com

In breaking news, Australian company, Freelancer.com has reached an agreement to acquire Escrow.com for $7.5m in cash. Freelancer.com is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by number of users and projects.

For many years, Escrow.com has been the company of choice used by many domain investors for their sales and acquisitions. Escrow also partners with eBay, GoDaddy, AutoTrader.com and Flippa.com and has a strategic partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative designed to significantly grow US export volume.

Escrow.com

Since Escrow.com has been a private company this is the first time that we’ve had a glimpse into the financials driving the business. As can be seen from the chart below, Escrow.com has experienced continued growth even in the downturn years of 2012 and 2013. According to the press release announcement, for the FY14, Escrow.com has facilitated a gross payment volume of US$265 million, net revenue of just over US$5 million, US$1.2 million in EBITDA.

Escrow.com Revenue

What's really interesting is where all the revenue is coming from and the fact that  only 41% is coming solely from the US market. This really shows that the Escrow.com team is viewing the world as their marketplace rather than just the USA.

Revenue sources

Given the $7.5 million price tag this means that Freelancer is paying at least a multiple of 6.25. This seems reasonable given the strength, sustainability and market position of the Escrow.com business.

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impulse
That seems like a much lower price for escrow.com than I would have imagined. It is a business with growing sales and a large annu... Read More
27 April 2015
mgilmour
It could be argued that it's a bit of a steal but at the same time my guess is that the single shareholder was a motivated seller.... Read More
27 April 2015
impulse
Yes, that is very true. That is exactly why I sold Bored.com for $4.5 million in 2008, see my reasons at http://www.impulsecorp.co... Read More
27 April 2015
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Saturday Musings - Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Pepper, my cat, is a living, breathing genius! She’s got the whole world completely worked out, organised and constructed to obey her every whim and desire. If only life could be so wonderful for us two legged creatures.

For Pepper, morning starts with a nap followed by slowly strolling over to her bowl so that she can let the rest of the family eat with her (it’s never the other way around for cats).

Just think about it for a second….Pepper has arranged for her servants (ie. me) to fill her bowl with the very best quality food, clean water and provide regular treats of ham, chicken and the like. She doesn’t lift a paw to get this undivided attention. For thanks I have the privilege of her letting me give her a pat. Wouldn’t it be great if the local supermarket deposited our weekly groceries in the cupboard and thanked us by doing our hair as well!

After breakfast, it’s time for another sleep and so she finds the warmest place in the house and curls up. In the meantime, her servants are working their backsides off so that they can provide her with food and lodging. I’m not sure about you but the last time I checked my servants weren’t anywhere to be seen. Worse than that the bank, electric company and all seem to get quite upset when I decide to take a break, let alone a nap each day.

During the day Pepper wanders into my study to make sure that I’m working hard for her empire. Just to reinforce her control over me and to make sure that I’m not messing around with my time she curls up on the floor and pretends to be asleep. What an overlord!

In the evening Pepper then graciously agrees to climb onto my lap as long as I provide her with a scratch behind the ear….after all, it’s too beneath her to do it herself.

So I’ve finally had a brilliant business idea! I’m wanting to build a device that turns me not into a fly (like the movie) but a cat. They seem to have life completely worked out.

Have a great weekend!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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mgilmour
Hi Jeff, Thank you for your kind comments....I must admit that Pepper provides an incredible amount of entertainment and fodder fo... Read More
26 April 2015
mgilmour
Thanks for that Louise.....I presume that you mean massage and not message though. ... Read More
27 April 2015
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Marketing With No Money - Part 6

If you have ever developed a website then one of the things that you’ll be looking for is traffic. I’m a numbers guy and I need information to determine how successful my marketing efforts are for each channel. This article will provide insight into what I’ve built to do all this….

First of all let me say that there is absolutely no point in spending huge amount of time telling people about your product or service if there isn’t any response. You need to clearly define what your goals are and then measure them to see if you are succeeding. For me with the marketing of my Battleframe I’m ultimately after two things:

1. Sales

2. Sign-ups to my website

Escrow.com

Since I’m a new author I’m less concerned about item one and I really want to focus on how to get the sign-ups happening.

So what have I built to track all of this information? If you’re wondering why I decided to build a system then here’s the answer. I’m a firm believer in forcing myself to keep my development skills up to scratch. As one of the founders of ParkLogic it allows me to more fully understand both the challenges of our development team and also what our client’s may be wrestling with. It’s also one of the reasons why I maintain my own personal Unix server.

I personally believe that clients should have the confidence that I not only know ParkLogic’s offering but that I can intelligently discuss solutions that may involve some additional development to meet their needs.

Secondly, when I looked at the different products for tracking advertising I either found them, too complicated, expensive or written by a person that has no idea about the business requirements.

So back to my simple tracking system…. The first thing that I wanted to do was build something that would scale across multiple websites. Each website would then have multiple campaigns and each campaign multiple redirection links where I can track both impressions and clicks.

Although it looks pretty rudimentary the tracking system does all of these things plus a few more. For example at each stage (website, campaign and redirect) I can get a quick report that tells me how they are going.

Tracker 04

The website tab lists the websites and I can either bore down to the campaign level, Archive the website, get a report on overall performance, add a tracking SubID (work in progress) or edit the website details.

Tracker 01

As can be seen from the Campaign’s tab I have a number of different traffic sources that have similar functionality to the websites tab but at the campaign level.

Tracker 02

If I select one of the campaigns it displays a list of all of the redirects that are currently being used to track the traffic. It’s important to realise that each redirect is simply a URL and this means that they can be applied to links, images or anything else.

Tracker 03

At any stage I can Archive a website, campaign or redirect. This means that they will be removed from the reports but it doesn’t mean that they link will break. I will build a series of reports that will show the archived items at a later date.

So as you can see it’s a work in progress but it’s getting there.

The most important next step for me is to start interpreting the data so that I can more fully understand where to focus my efforts. The science fiction book market is incredibly fragmented and it would be really easy to waste a lot of time on marketing channels that really produced no results. So wish me luck as I take these next steps :-)

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Saturday Musings - Star Wars. Are you as Excited as Me?

A couple of days ago I saw a link get posted in facebook which immediately stopped the conversation that I was having on skype. Yes, the next teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie just got released!

For me, Star Wars is more than just another great movie. It inspired me to dream of the stars and think about possibilities rather than problems. In Star Wars, the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad….just the way I like it. It suggested that even the lowliest of moister farmers could become great....so there was a chance for us all.

Escrow.com

So what’s in the trailer? In one word, awesomeness! The opening sequence of the crashed star destroyer and x-wing fighter with a speeder bike zipping its way across the sands of Tantooine was fantastic!

Luke Skywalker’s voice over discussing the roots of his family in “The Force” was equally brilliant. As a kid I always wanted to have the force. The closest I got was when my mother would say, "Use the Fork Michael," at the dinner table.

The Millennium Falcon speeding its way across the sands while it is pursued by a couple of Tie Fighters just got my heart beating all the faster. A tear formed at the corner of my eye when I heard Han Solo speak to Chewie saying that, “We’re home” as he stands in the fastest heap of junk in the galaxy.

I can absolutely guarantee that I will be one of the first people in Australia that will see this film! I’ll become a child once again and zoom around is spaceships, laugh at the corny jokes and cheer when the bad guys lose. We all just need to wait until December….. See you there!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

 

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Marketing With No Money - Part 5

So how are my marketing efforts progressing so far? In a nutshell, things are looking up. Sales of Battleframe are continuing to increase and traffic has just taken an order of magnitude step up. So what have I done?

In a word, the key would have to be engagement. I’ve started participating in the writing, gaming and science fiction communities. What’s really important is to be genuine about your interest in the communities and to not just spam them with advertising about your own product.

Escrow.com

Think of it as if you are at a party and all you talked about was about your product or service. Pretty soon the people around you would get fed up and you would end up being by yourself....not fun! When you engage a community, be polite, participate in the conversation and do what you can to help the other people out. If you do this then you'll find that that many of the community members will reciprocate and help you.

A number of major forums have very strict rules about the number of posts that you need to make before you are allowed to mention your own product/service. My advice is to obey the rules, play the long-term game and enjoy the journey.

So the result of all of this work is that yesterday Battleframe was presented to nearly 1,000 people directly in my target market and this didn’t cost me a penny. One of the nice things about this approach is that the numbers are continuing to grow each and every day.

Yesterday I made the decision to start publishing pre-release episodes from Book Two of the Mindwars and already I can see that this has helped get the message out there a lot. I think that the reason for this is that people like to know that there will actually be a book two after a book one.

What’s my goal in releasing episodes from book two? I want feedback. There is nothing quite like a reader telling you what they think of something to make the final published manuscript that much better. I did this with Battleframe and the end product looked completely different from the raw episodes that I published every few days. Feedback has been really positive to readers that have now read both the initial episodes and the final novel.

So what are my next steps to growing my audience? One of the biggest challenges has been to entice people to sign-up on my site at michaelgilmour.com. Once they sign-up I can then more meaningfully engage them in a dialogue which ultimately will result in a book sale (hopefully). I have some free stuff that I’m giving away but it’s clear that I need to increase the carrot a lot more.

So I’m now developing an area of my website which will showcase the different book characters, locations, technology etc. I will make this information available to registered users only…..so I’d better make it really good! One thought I have is to engage my cover designing artist to create some additional artwork.

I’m a firm believer that the key to any good marketing is consistency. In other words, consistently update your blog, forum participation, content, writing, promotional material etc. It’s frustrating playing the long-term game and holding off spending money but it’s still really rewarding as I learn about a completely new market.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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