When Your Little Affiliate Blog Gets Bought Out For 7 Figures – Phil Fraser
First Stop, Failure
I took a business idea out to the market looking for funding and failed miserably. Nobody wanted to back my idea. Now the idea I had was to launch what would then have been the UK’s first online pay-to-play bingo site.
Now this was something that was happening in the States but hadn’t come across the UK yet. I took this idea out to the market everybody said nope it’s never gonna work.
Getting To Know The Audience Through A Survey
What I did was as part of my background research to the market, I built a very basic website and listed all USA bingo sites out there at the time (a bout 12 sites) I then put a very basic pop-up on there to get some demographic stats for the audience so age, sex, expenditure, frequency, recency, all that sort of stuff.
I needed to pitch my new site and I wanted to know how much they played bingo and all that sort of thing so that I sounded like an expert when I did my presentation.
What happened was I failed with this presentation. I took it out to the market nobody’s interested.
Something Unexpected Reveals Itself
A number of the bingo sites that were on my website contacted me and said hey can we advertise on your website so I said yeah you know send me some money and I’ll put some ads on the website.
Now fortunately my background before this was that I had sold advertising in newspapers and magazines so it sort of was what I knew.
The First Pivot
That website became the business and it was a total accident.
People started sending us money for running ads and we said all right, we’ll give this a go.
Pivot 2 – The Affiliate Model
The gaming market developed an affiliate model and as it became more trustworthy and more established as a market we went down the affiliate model route.
We were very much in the right place at the right time and the market grew exponentially.
Set Back Reveals Even Bigger Opportunity
It took us five years to get an office and some staff and after six years they changed the law in the United States and basically made gaming sites illegal.
The whole market sort of decamped to the UK but we were ready.
We already knew it was going to come to the UK so we had a website built ready to go.
As the market joined the UK we were there to take advantage of that.
We grew and grew, took on more staff, took on bigger projects, made the website bigger and had a couple of other secondary websites built also.
Getting Acquired by Publicly Listed XLMedia
We were approached by one of the big companies in the market who were buying up the smaller companies. Sometimes get very very attached to their business and I’d always been of the opinion that if you give me enough money I’ll quite happily give you the keys.