Two years ago, as head of the travel section for one of the UK's largest ISPs, Emily Spencer was searching for a content licensing company to sell her constantly refreshed listings for events tourists might want to attend around the world from German operas to Brazilian carnivals. Mission impossible, so she quit her job and launched Whatsonwhen to fill the gap in the content market.
Marketing Director Joel Brandon-Bravo says, after a bit of initial pricing "trial and error," Whatsonwhen settled on charging about US$5000 a month for the full service including 120 countries and 15 interests categories. Clients can also slice and dice feeds with varying costs; and, choose between XML feeds vs. a hosted events section that looks like their site.
Initially, like many others, Whatsonwhen did ad revenue share deals with some sites instead of requiring cash up-front. They've renegotiated most of those deals since the banner market tanked. They've also switched to carrying purely affiliate-relationship ads on their own destination site instead of selling ads on a CPM basis. (Affiliate ads pay you when your visitors click through to become another site's customers.)
About 80% of the Company's revenues now come from content licensing and 20% from ads. According to Brandon-Bravo, revenues currently cover roughly 75% of costs; and, he expects to hit profitability by fourth quarter this year. This may not be just wishful thinking. On March 30th, two investors, European Equity Partners and Telsun Ltd, believed in the Company's future enough to cough up the funding to see it "though to profitability." Which makes Whatsonwhen one of the very few online companies getting further backing these days.
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