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What2do.asia connects you to the best places, deals and events in Asia. Whether you're a local resident or a traveler, you'll find the best places and guides curated by your community.
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Progress Report - Ready For TakeOff!

Published On May 10th, 2014

Over a month ago we opened up our servers and allowed open access to users. This initial period has been an ideal time for us to test various hypotheses and theories about our business model and to eliminate any bugs that somehow evaded our extensive automated testing systems. In parallel we commenced and conducted meetings with many potential site users, both businesses and individuals, and received some great feedback about our tools and business model.

You could label this period as our initial “alpha/beta” or soft launch period, but we didn’t want to label it as such, because from our perspective, for us to become a successful Internet based business, we have to, on an ongoing basis, analyze our performance and listen to our users. Especially important, for a business such as ours, where our mission is to provide relevant and reliable local Asian destination information. To achieve this, not only do we need to attract “information user” traffic, but we also need to attract a wide range of local businesses and organizations to sign up and use our tools, and hopefully at a minimum “claim ownership” of their business listings to ensure that we have the most up to date information available to our users.

Our hope, is that a key incentive for this will be, our free and easy to use, multi language tools that allow a wide range of businesses and organization to establish and promote their organizations on-line. An additional incentive is that each business receives there own sub-domain Internet address to showcase their business (ie. http://mybar.what2do.asia), so if you don’t have a website here is an opportunity to get your own custom web address!

During this initial period we have discovered a lot of interesting things, and for those early adopters/users brave enough to try something new and future users of our site, we would like to share with you some of our discoveries and findings, and new features we plan to implement as we move out of this “soft” launch period.

When reviewing these findings keep in mind that our initial focus was on Indonesia, and that we have yet to conduct an extensive pr campaign, announcing our launch.

  1. After having our initial database (which covers almost 300 categories of business) crawled by Google, we rank on the first page of search results for over 2000 different keyword searches. This we believe has a definite benefit to other members of What2do, as discovery of their places, events and promotions/deals is enhanced. Organic search accounted for 30% of our traffic.

    we rank on the first page of search results for almost 2000 different searches

  2. We had almost 1000 unique user visits during this initial period, with approximately 55% coming directly to the site due to some limited experiments we conducted with email marketing. We also experimented with sharing via social media (Facebook and Twitter), which generated 30% of our traffic. As our initial focus was on Indonesia, unsurprisingly 75% of our visits were from Indonesia.

  3. Our initial limited email marketing campaign, generated some interesting results. Of those people that opened our emails, which was focused on our business marketing and promotional tools, almost a quarter came and visited our site, notwithstanding that we were highlighting our offer to businesses of free marketing and promotional tools!.

    Interesting observation for business owners if you have delegated the task of opening emails to an employee, if they are lazy or don’t have any incentive to grow your customer base, they will ignore free promotional tools that can help your business enhance its on-line presence.

  4. The KISS principle in Internet development (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) is extremely relevant, especially for most users. We discovered that many users had problems with our Business Member sign up ( it didn’t help that we had a few bugs in our system - which have since been eliminated). This principle is especially relevant in Indonesia, where the Internet infrastructure outside of Jakarta is pretty pathetic (see the next point). As a result of problems we noticed people were having and user feedback, we implemented a new “one click” member claim for listings in our existing database.

    Whilst new listings will still need to use our add listing wizard, hopefully, we have made the task easier. If any business or organization owner continues to have problems adding their listing (whether due to poor Internet connection or lack of a the right computer) please feel free to email us at feedback[at]what2do.asia and we will add your listing for you, so you can take advantage of the one click claim.

  5. The internet infrastructure especially in Indonesia presents some significant challenges, especially outside of Jakarta. If your read the press releases from major telecommunications and Internet companies in Indonesia, you would think that Internet access is significantly improving and now Indonesian internet users have access to bleeding edge broadband technology. Wrong!, outside of Jakarta the Internet infrastructure is extremely lacking, and here in Bali where we spend most of our time, is substandard to say the least.

    Outside of Jakarta the Internet infrastructure is extremely lacking

    Fixed lines are not available to many businesses and the mobile network is substandard (to make a mobile call from our office - using a “premium” provider - in a populated area - we have to walk 25 meters outside). This definitely has implications for user sign up, as we found out first hand yesterday, with a new business member, who let us observe the challenges he encountered as he signed up for a business member account. This business cannot get a fixed line as none are available currently, and there are no plans to make this available in the near future. During the sign up process he used 2 different 3G USB modems with services from 2 major providers and lost his connection 3 or 4 times!

  6. Mobile responsive design is extremely important - approximately one third of our visitors used a mobile device to visit our site and of these devices approximately 60% used smart phones, with a 40:60 split between Android and iOS devices. Given that we are still awaiting completion of our mobile application (coming soon!), we have now made modifications so that our browser application is fully responsive for the most used site pages (for both tablets and smart-phone devices).

  7. If you are paying or promoting your business via traditional print media in Indonesia, you may be wasting your money, especially in Indonesia, where circulation figures are extremely suspect. We heard from several hospitality/restaurant business owners that have magazine/newspaper stands at their entrances, that very few people read or take these any more and they are being thrown out with the garbage. Increasingly, most customers come into their establishments, sit down, and start browsing on their tablets and smart-phones.

    if you are spending money on print advertising and don’t have an on-line presence you should perhaps reconsider your promotion/marketing strategy.

what2do.asia progress report

Anyway, we have learned a lot during this initial period, not only have made the above modifications, but we also have some great new features that we have completed initial implementation of, including a reward system where businesses can create either a “virtual” vip card or a free promotional reward available to what2do members (we call this our “Anti-Groupon” reward as we don’t charge commissions and business owners can actually engage new customers whilst retaining full control over their costs). We also are planning to significantly expand our event coverage, guide content, and to provide video tutorials for using both our business and user features. So if you are a user please check back frequently to see these changes.

As we approach our formal launch, if you like what2do.asia and agree with our mission - to provide up to date and reliable destination information - we would appreciate if you can spread the word and share our site with your friends. Also, any direct feedback would be much appreciated - just click the feedback tab - visible on the side of each page. Or, like us on facebook or follow us on twitter.

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