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Confessions of a Web Developer
Lee Earn Pin
pin@ 1. com. my
Guide to IOn line Business,
Guide to Online Business
Confessions of a 'Web, Developer
Author Lee Earn Pin
Co ... Authors
Dr, Lee Vee' Loon Lee Wan Ching
Leeds Publications (M) Sdn Bhd (283457-K) 9~] & 11-1, Jalan P'JU I13F.
SunwayMas Commercial Centre."
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.Malaysia.
Tel: 03-78062926, 78063276 Fax: 03-78061923, 78033928 E~mail: leedspub@tm .. net.my
Copyright © Lee Earn Pin ISBN 978-983-3794-56-0
First edition (2010)
Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia
Lee, Earn fin
Guide to online business: confessions of a web developer / Lee Eam Pin.
1. Business enterprises-: Computer networks. 2. Entrepreneurship. 3. Internet marketing. [. Tide.
All rights reserved, No part of this publication may be reproduced. translated, stored in a retrieval system.". or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying. recording, or otherwise. without the prior written permission ofthe copyright owner.
This publication provides accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher assumes responsibility for any error or omission that may arise due to unforeseen circumstances ..
Printed and bound in Malaysia by Vinlin Sdn. Bhd,
LEE EA,RN PIN
Pin is what you'd call a tech whiz, To date, he's founded both 1 .corn.my and a4trip.com,. His company ,provides email hosting and 'web blueprint' services, For the uninitiated, a "web blueprint" is the master plan for a website, which defines everything from the' goal' of the website, tOI how to achieve it. Pin has the, passion to solve email problems for his customers. His approach to business email sollutions has turned his customers 'into friends.
To share his love for travel and animal conservation, he set up a4trip.'com"which also sell's inexpensive e-travel guidebooks online, Pin probably doesn't mind beinq thought of as a consummate tech ge1ek, but he often breaks the mould with his passion for cycling! and gllobe,-trotting. lit seems there's nowhere he can't go without his bike" and the same kind of endurance and passion is what drives him 'in his web busi nesses.
If you feell there is anything Pin can help with, please send a note to:
Pin developed a passion for IT while he was pursuing his first. degree in Electrical Engineering at University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) (previously known as KUiTTHO). I was writing up rny PhD thesis then and applied for two intensified Research into Priority Area (IRPA) research qrants, Upon approval of the, grants, Earn Pin was engaged to assist me under the working student scheme. We formed the IT-Lodge (www.it-lodqe.com) team and explored possibilities. We were, striving to turn biomass disposal problems into opportunities for research and innovation. We focused on soft soil construction problems and water treatment. Pin's final-year project was a webenabled water treatment system. Together with Kok Hou, we also developed a mlcrocontroller-based remote monitoring and alert system.
We started Your Website Solution Sdn Bhd (www.1.com.my) with the motto 'Be the First!'. We developed a research management system for KUiTfHO, the Pusat Penyelidikan dan Pendidikan Berterusan (PPB) online, and a system for students to retrieve marks online and via SMS. We were funded
by ,CRADLE and had opportunities to meet many entrepreneurs .. We developed e-Visa for Cambodia and managed to secure funding to contribute two schools under th'e Kurnorno liree Charity venture and the American Assistance to Cambodia (AAC) proqrarnme, W,e achieved IMSC status in 2005.
Althouqh 'my passion was concrete and construction, I realised the relevance of liT for sharing knowledge globailly. We developed modules on R&D, teachinqlearninq and, skill training and published a book on HTIML and LINUX. We locked at ways to provide shelter for those made h'om,elless by natural disasters. We developed the KIUiK wall incorporating IKUliK alert, a remote rnonitorinq andl alert system. We learnt to fHe patents and took part in exhibitions and competitions. We won our first ,gold medal: in 2005'
We adopted a volunteerisrn approach to comrnercialisation. As the President of the Concrete Society of Malaysia, I am aqqressively driving innovations in concrete ,and construction, I went to Harvard Business School in 2.007 after sabbatical leave with the ,G&P Group, (www.qnpqroup.corn. my) and with the approval of the Technof-und for renew,a,ble energy and sustainable devellopment. A series of new ventures which had been launched were h'ighllightedl in glob,all Entrepreneurship W,eek 2008 to, create awareness about ways to Improve the quality of life of all creatures on earth (www. a4trip.co,m).
Pin/s latest work, Guide to Online Business covers various perspectives of IT entrepreneurship. Hie has coveredin a unique way the myths and realities of online business. Thismalrks the 10th year of Pin's rellentless entrepreneurial spirit. Putting up incubators in PJ by 2010 marks another milestone,
We hope you enjoy reading this b,oak and wish that you explore with wisdom to, create value in your endeavours.
Dr YL l.ee
Resea rch Advisor www.1.net.my
II ntrod1uction <iii ••• <ill. 0;;; •• ;0.' •••••••••••••• " ".
11. Getting Started' 1-69
1.1 Business model o ••••••• ' ' ••••••••• 1-17
1.2 Domain nam,e,.,. ,.. , 18~23
.24-49 49-51 52-63 64-67 67-69
1 .3 Website desiqn '.' .
1.4 1.5 1.,6
II nfrastru ctu re ' ' ' .. 0 •••• ' •••••• '. 0 ••••••••••••
Entrepren eu r ,., '. ' ' ' .
Brand i nlg .. , ,., ,., ..
Fun d i n 9 ' .' ' ' .' ' 0 ••••
2. Marke,tillng ....•. ' .........•........ ' ...•.••••••••••... 70-8,4
2. 1 Vi si tor ' ' ' '. ' ' '. ' ' ,0 70 - 7 5
2.2 Conversion ,., , '.' 76-84
3., Operation , , , " " 8,5,·,103
3.,1 Ernail.. .. ,., ,., , , , , ' 8,5,-'90
3.2 Team. , , , ,., ,., , ' ' 91
.upport , , , , 92:-97
3.4 MaIntenanc·e ' ' ' '.' 0.. 97
3.5 Payment , 00 •• '....... 98-1011
3 .. 6 Mobile office 1102-103
4~Web,site Critics 1 04-111
4.,1IRev~ew5 , ,., , ,104-1.11
5 .. About Piln .. ' " .. " "" 112 139
5.1 The one story,.. '., ~ 112-1.39
Every business :must b,e unique and remarkable in order to be successful. An online business is not auto-pilot. It is nothing much different from a conventional business. Yet the approach to settinq up, marketing and operatinq is different. Tlhe' stories in this book are a compilation of experiences and ideas from theauthor,
1. Business Model
Old Mark,eting Manager
You have been in the book business for 30 years. The story of Amazon.com motivates you to extend your business online. You start to build a website and sell your books online. Your marketing manaqer is busy adopting new marketing ideas including bloq, email newsletter and pay-per-click.
But, after a while, you start to think why the result was not as expected. Your cost of acquiring new visitors is hiqh, the blog is not active and no one seems to use the tell-a-fri,end box on your website ...
But someone next door ~ without any experience in selling books - started an online book store .. They have some funny stories and people are spreadinq the news for them. Their 'CEO' can be reached any
time by email and the way they reply to the customer support email is fun.
Start an online business, never extend it from a conventional one!
Reward or Penalty?
Yahoo suspends your Yahoo Mail account if you do not loq in for a lonq time while Grnail reward you to stay longer and log in more frequently by counting and 'increasing your email storage whHle you are
I'oggi'ng in! --
Wh~ Does Faceboolk, Not N,ee,d to Advertise on B,illboard?
Have you ever come across any billboard aldvert~sements by Gmail on their Free, WebmaIl1 service? Online business runs very differentlly from conventional business!
Think the Online Way - Even the Smallest 'Things Ma ter
'You may have the best system, software, idea or proposal for your online business, but without changing your mind t,c work like an online business ...
what would you do? Take this test now!
1. You have just received an email from your customers to thank you for your good service.
2. You have just taken a picture of your company dinner.
3,. Somleone sent in a very negative comment about your product.
4. You found an interesting link,
What will you do next? Remember, from the viewpoint of online business owners.
Problem is improvement
What happens if your fridge is not workinq? You turn off the power, remove everything and send it for repair You get it back, working perfectly, after two days.
You notice one thinq - your fridqe is cleaner now, with all rubbish cleared and everything in order! I bet you would not clean 'it if the fridge did not go wrong.
How,to apply this to online business?
Create a problem virtually! Assume your customer complains to you, someone hacks into your website, your links. are broken - allill these bring positive resullts.
If Google has created the most arnazinq website, why do they not start th,e,ir own web desiqn business?
When we work for someone, we, get paid and at the same tim'e 'we ,get the chance to acquire new skills, For example, aweb designer creates an online store for someone and gets paid for the time spent and the quality of work. Such a relationship provides a very glood platform for someone to learn.
The owner of the online store will not share the revenue with you, Every day, value is built into the project and this has nothinq to do with you (The most you get ~5 a portfolio). The web designer go,es project by project, having a bad t~m,e during yearend when alii companies hav,e finished their budqet,
This does not only happen to' individuals, but businesses as well. Most successful companies change their business direction 50 as to have recurring sales rather than one-,off profit. All these involve applying their skills in ,differ,e·nt ways.
Web designers venture into their own online business; contractors build their own housinq proj,ect; progra~llmers develop their own software for sale. Remember, the moment tOUI start, you are accumulating your value somewhere. When you wake up tomorrow, it 'is still with you, though you have much more to worry about, such as operations and marketing. If you were Google now, would you want to start your own web desiqn business?
Decide YOIUlr Business Modlel Today!
Think about this:
Group A,: Hair stylist, web develloper, lawyer, doctor, accountant, teac.her, contractor, media planner, photoqrapher, graphic designer ...
(Group A's customers want a customised solution. The solution is unique to each of them. Skills of 'Group A get improved but limited to the person who is offering the service, The vallue of that person who offers. the solution increases.)
Group, 8: 'Online florist, broadband service provider, medical supplier, Gooqle, Jobstreet, housing deve'oper, scientist ...
(Group B come out with their solution first. Their
customers make the decision to choose or reject the solution. 'The solution itself 9Iets improved and the value of the solution increases.)
Decide today! You do not have .5 or 10 years to change your business model!
I talked to one of the largest Asia-Pacific cruise, operators about revamping and prornotinq their business online. To them, the so-called big ideas would be convertinq their existing website into accepting bookings online.
As usual, several web aqencies were invited to present a mock-up, The best one was chosenc A brand new 'website, was launched after several months. Old rnarketinq managers were happy about: it, at least!
The' problem with many businesses is that they do not think big enouqhl Perhaps they halve tried to think out of box, but: the box 'is just too, small.
How far can a cruise operator's website go 'if it can only aillow bookings of their own tour package? What is the difference when it is compared to a cruise booking 'website that allows visitors to book a
tour package with any crulise operator?
I was introduced to this new term by my friend. It looks like many law firms in Malaysia have started the 'tradition' of going to, the client's office for the signing of leqal documents, instead of clients gloing to their office. According to him, they have to do this because of the competition - another classic Red Ocean case!
Sales lawyers, in this case, meet customers and work like marketing guys. l.awyers are selilling their knowledge in legal matters. Trapped in traffic, or spendinq time lookinq for customers does not sound like a ,good communication for them!
You're Bu'sy, You're Rich?
IIAh-Pin, is your company closing down now?"
This was the question my dad asked when I went back to my hometown. The good thing about my dad is that he is allways very supportive in what we are doing. If you have, read 'Rich Dad, Poor IDa.d', you can be very sure that he belongs to .the Rich Dad type. H,e' never cared about our results rn school