We started our online memory book website because we wanted an easy way to bring family members and friends together online to share stories and photos and compile them into a lovely book to share. Our reason for doing this was because my mum had to go into a care home and we wanted to have something that allowed the carers to get to know her for who she was. We wanted to have a way for family members to be able to continue to show they cared, wherever they were in the world, at whatever time was convenient to them and we wanted to be able to produce a lovely printed book of this unique and personal content.
That's what we had in mind. So where does eBay come in?
As a small company based near the lovely city of Bath in the UK, we are delighted that we've had so many people in the USA sign up and start books. In actual fact the US has been fantastic for us, providing the largest number of visitors to our site. We were surprised though when we noticed a book had been started by someone in Fremont, California who very quickly invited over 60 people to join him. This was a record number of people invited to one book. All the “books” created by our users are entirely private and only people specifically invited to them can see the stories and photos but we do get a list of the email addresses of those invited and they were almost exclusively from ebay.com. The story became even more interesting when we were monitoring activity on the site. In the UK, we're seven hours ahead of California and so when my wife and I had a look on our laptop at 11.30pm at night whilst in bed (for all you twenty something's reading this, this is how we get our excitement in bed these days!) we were blown away that 35 people were online at the same time working on the same book. Further records were broken with a total of 45 stories added in less than two weeks! What were these guys doing?
Pretty soon afterwards the frenzied activity ended so we got in touch with the guy who started the book to find out what their interest in our site was. This is what he wrote back;
“My manager, Todd, is leaving the company after 7 years and I wanted to give him something that he would remember after he leaves... and could look up whenever he wanted. I found your site on Google by searching for “online memory book”. Our Marketing organization is comprised of 60 people and we invited everyone to participate.....Everyone enjoyed using your site and people were talking about it at Todd’s farewell party yesterday. He really appreciated the book as well. Thank you for enabling us to make this work.”
Please feel free to use this experience as a testimonial. We all had a great experience using your site... Tell the world! Steve, Director, Marketing Operations
So, what have we learnt?