Categorized | Shoestring Startup

FilmCrave.com – the New DVD Releases, Movies Coming Soon, Top Movie List…Well the Everything Movies Site

Web stats: 300,000 visits, 1.5 million page views and 5 million ad impressions (monthly).

Interview with Co-Founder Alex Olson.
SM: Why did you start your company?

I, along with two other co-founders had an amazing passion for good movies. We once try to get our reviews syndicated to Rotten Tomatoes. So, when they turned us down (as they should have!) we started our own movie site. During the height of social media and just before Flixster burst onto the scene, we created a massive movie site, complete with a movie database, an ability to create top movie lists and your own profile. We launched in August of 2007, with our fingers crossed and 0 visitors.
SM: What is your product or service?

We essentially promote movie information on our website and are paid via advertisements and affiliate revenue such as Amazon.

SM:

Date started?

August 15th 2007 is technically our launch date but we had a full year of production of the website. This includes the creation of the database, graphics, writing reviews, mild promotion and the launch. It took us this long because we were working on the site only part time, less than 15 hours per week. The project originally started in college with a simple concept but quickly grew into a massive design and a real working site.

SM:

What free online or offline tools do you use?

There are almost too many tools to name.
  • Google Analytics: This one is pretty self explanatory, but the more that I use it, the more that I discover about our web data. It is the ultimate easy to use web based software that will tell you a lot about your content and a lot about your data.

  • SEO Book and Rank Checker: These are used for competitive research. Using these tools, I can determine how certain keywords rank in Google and what our competitors are doing in terms of keywords.

  • Twitter: Fairly self explanatory but Google is now searching through Twitter to determine activity and relevance.

  • Facebook: It is only a matter of time until Google searches through Facebook to determine number of friends and fans that are generated on a weekly, monthly basis for your site.

SM:

How many people are currently working (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?

We have 3 people that work on the site part time. That includes me and the other business owners. It started out as working on the site 10 hours a week but has quickly morphed into 20 hours a week for each person.

SM:

What is the best advice you never got?

I have always received a lot of good advice. But, the best advice I can ever give is to never let someone tell you “it can’t be done.” Anything online is possible and it definitely can be done. It is all about time and resources.

SM:

What almost killed your business in the start?

Flixster. When we first started our online business we didn’t really want to research the competition much. If we had, the site may never have been started. About 3 months before launch we saw their movie application, which exploded their traffic. Unfortunately, with no investment, we could not create our own application in time to compete. Despite this shortcoming, there is plenty of space online for a quality movie site, like our own.

SM:

What is the one thing that you did right?

Well, our motto has always been to do it better than the competition and we still do. Everything you see on the site is cross browser checked, inspected for accuracy and always with the users first in our mind.

We also planned a lot of the features and design much in advance of the actual website going live.

SM:

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

Most all of us had to learn everything. Our programmer had to learn a new programming language; I had to learn more about html and CSS than I ever thought I would have to know. Essentially there is no way around creating a website without knowing everything about it.

SM:

Are you currently in the red or black?

We have never really been in the red with the exception of the first year, which was due to a conference trip that we made.

SM: What would make your business more “Successful”?
Time. We need more time to work on it. As a part time gig, it is virtually impossible to keep up with all of the trends. Not to mention all of the SEO and traffic driving work that we could do to create move visitors to the site.

SM:

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

I would love to sell the site at some point in the future. Working on the site has been a blast and I have loved (almost) every minute of it. But, there comes a time when a company with more resources and a new passion can take over and make it bigger and better than it already is.
SM: How long do you think it will take you to get to your projected annual revenue?
More than likely it will take an additional 12 months from now to reach our monthly revenue goals. It all depends on our growth rate. We have never seen a month that we have not grown and I don’t anticipate that we ever will.

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One Response to “FilmCrave.com – the New DVD Releases, Movies Coming Soon, Top Movie List…Well the Everything Movies Site”

  1. Chris says:

    ImaJAN Media, which brought you FilmCrave.com has now expanded to the world of video games with MeltedJoystick.com It’s everything you like about FilmCrave but applied to video games.

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