Finding your feet in an Internet business

Last Friday I gave a talk at minibar and I’ll continue to share some lessons learnt about open business. Lesson: Some of the best business can’t be done within the digital realm.

Webconverger went into business when users were asking for their homepage to be configured on static Webconverger Web kiosk LiveCDs. Though I told people how they could do it themselves, with Debian Live, they insisted I did it. As it takes a bit of time and effort, I naturally charged for this service.

This “one off fee” model is easy to get going with services like Google checkout. launches and there is a lot of interest, orders and money comes in.

However as some customers as large as banks, charging a small nominal fee for a customised version with free updates, started to make less and less sense.

Two “business models” present themselves, when trying to charge companies appropriately:

  • “Market research” – i.e. asking prospective customers how much they can pay
  • Get them to into some support contract, a.k.a. the subscription model

Both models should hopefully generate more revenue, with the subscription being most attractive for a company looking for somewhat stable predictable earnings.

Cons are that these model don’t quite fit the revenue model of Google checkout. The new models demand different mechanisms of doing business. For example the holy grail of the rolling contract with a one month cancellation notice is especially hard to attain through Internet advertising.

Therefore some business requires legwork, face-to-face interaction and rapport with the client. So I’m suggesting to be prepared to leave the Internet, call and meet the clients or better still, find a business partner who can.

About Webconverger

Webconverger is an open business offering the very best customised Web kiosk OS software for deployments from anywhere to waiting rooms to digital signs. Webconverger software is all free software and the revenue model is based on customisation fees to meet customer requirements.

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