I want to start off today with a resounding thank you to our members for the outpouring of support and encouragement. It is really appreciated. During stressful times like these, when an organization is struggling against a weight that seems too much to bear, it is the support and encouragement of those alongside them that motivates leadership, solidifies wavering commitment, and creates positive momentum. I want to report how encouraged I have been over the past several days both personally and as a member of the leadership team. The net result has been a united team, driven to succeed.
I suffered a great deal of anxiety and stress as we released the past few news articles and implemented some very difficult changes, especially regarding member withdrawals. I feared we would lose what little momentum we had and be crushed by a rush of complaints and other debilitating actions by angry members. I want you to know the exact opposite happened. As a matter of fact, from our entire membership, we have only received 1 formal complaint, which was filed with the Better Business Bureau. Four other members expressed their concerns with our leadership directly, but all of them stated they understood and were still supportive of our effort. Hundreds upon hundreds of you have expressed support and sent letters of encouragement and suggestions for creating a better future. It truly overwhelmed me to know the level of commitment our members have to the success of our mission.
I want you to know our leadership is optimistic about our future. However, I want you to understand that we are cautiously optimistic. We have taken great strides in a positive direction. We know our membership is hugely in support. Development is already well underway to modify our software and correct the issues that would have prevented long-term success. Our members have put forth some terrific ideas and suggestions to help us create excitement and increase opportunity for everyone. We will be implementing many of these ideas over the next few months. Our plan for success is much better defined. However, we remain cautiously optimistic because we know we still face a major financial hurdle.
Over the next few months, we feel the primary issue we will struggle with, and the only issue that could cause our current positive momentum to fail, could be finance. Revenues have stabilized and even slightly increased, however they are not sufficient to carry us completely to success. A few individuals have stepped forward with investment offers, but they are not sufficient to meet 100% of our capital needs. We have moved toward our financial goals, but we are not quite there yet. We are optimistic that our game plan is solid. We are encouraged and feel fully supported by our membership. But we all must work together to clear the few remaining financial hurdles before us.
Before we discuss upcoming events and our plan to meet our financial needs, I want to address another very important topic. Over the past many days, a great number of you have asked questions about the ‘Mount Everest’ I spoke of in prior articles. As I have said before, I cannot give specific details because they may jeopardize our proprietary software technology and possibly our future competitive advantage. However, I feel there is a bit of light I can shed without compromising our future.
Over the past several months we have been developing and testing various advertising platforms and backend interfaces. We have been building and enhancing database frameworks, data collection and analysis methodologies, statistical reporting systems, and all sorts of other functions needed to provide cross-platform ad creation, association, and delivery. All the while, we have been communicating with advertising and publishing networks so that we could create the best product possible.
Very early on, a specific issue surfaced that at first seemed manageable. Throughout development and testing however, we realized it was not manageable, but rather it was critically detrimental to our future. As our platform became more complex and advertising and publishing networks could see real data exchange interactions, we were told by more and more of them that this issue would completely block them from our product unless resolved. In the end, we realized over 99% of our potential market would never purchase our product.
So what was the issue?
It is a complicated combination of various levels of existing and potential fraud. In reality, every single advertising and publishing platform, even Google’s, are wrought with fraud and manipulation. Every successful advertising network is forced to commit great resources combating fraud and making fraudulent transactions right between publishers and advertisers.
We always expected this and included within our plan the technology to combat fraud and make fraudulent transactions right. What we did not expect was the level of exposure we had, or the cost and complexity that would be required to fight against it. What we also did not expect was that advertisers would not be willing to work alongside us through the development process. We found they would only be willing to join in once our entire anti-fraud platform was complete. This, unfortunately, would take too much time and money and would delay the release of our advertising platform beyond a point our company or membership could bear.
Our exposure to fraud includes many complex layers. We detected exposure to money laundering. We detected exposure to credit card fraud. We detected exposure to outright theft. We detected exposure to system manipulation, data manipulation, and other ad platform manipulation techniques. Each of these individual exposures is a daunting task to combat. Combined, they are overwhelming and completely block our ability to attract publishers or advertisers.
One of the best things I ever learned in my life was to associate with people who are smarter and more talented than myself. I have found the best way to solve any problem is to deploy the resources of a capable group of people. This is exactly how I approached the complex issue we faced. We have an amazing team of brilliant, talented people. And, as I expected, they produced a solution that can win, and is easier and much less costly to implement. We presented the solution to potential advertisers and publishers and found they like it. We found we have turned our existing potential market from an outright ‘NO’ back into a pool of potential clients. And, we have found we have almost accidentally expanded the pool.
The solution for this complex problem is good. It will accomplish what we and our clients need. It will allow us to approach publishers and advertisers without fraud or manipulation as an objection. It will protect our company from theft, credit card abuse, money laundering, and other types of manipulation. It will strengthen our finances, our credibility, and our product. However, it will take some time, energy, and money to implement. And, for some of our members, it may be a difficult pill to swallow. But that is OK. In the end, our goal is a system and membership that is full of integrity.
The Financial Hurdles
We have a very good plan for success. Software development and operational changes are both well under way. We are moving in the right direction. I feel confident we can accomplish this goal, if we can clear two major hurdles.
The First Hurdle
We must complete our product. I am confident we can complete our entire product as early as August 1st, but no later than September 1st, if we clear the first financial hurdle. Within this time frame, we can fully implement the changes necessary to solve our major issues. We can complete our publishing platform and publishers will be able to manage multiple publishing campaigns across multiple websites. We can complete our advertising platform and advertisers will be able to manage multiple advertising campaigns for multiple products and/or websites. We can complete our cause platform and causes will get publicity, exposure, and donations on a continual, growing basis.
We can do a lot if we clear the first financial hurdle. By August 1st, but no later than September 1st, I am confident we can have a fully completed system. All platforms will be functional. All aspects of our business model will be in operation. The entire vision will be real. But in order to do this, we need to generate $50,000 to $60,000 from a combination of sales and investors over the next 25 days.
We must have support to clear this first hurdle. And we have a plan. We are discussing investment offers with a few individuals that could help us close this gap. We have implemented a Credits special that will run until the end of June. We are putting the finishing touches on an idea brought to us from our members that we plan to implement in July. We believe we can clear this hurdle if three things happen. First, we need our members to take advantage of our Credits Special and trade, trade, trade. Second, we need a few potential investors to believe in us and fund their investments. Third, we need as many people as possible to participate in the win-win opportunity that is planned for July and to bring new members to the site.
The Second Hurdle
We must market and sell our product. No matter when we finish our product, whether it is August 1st, September 1st, or later, it will not automatically be a success. When the product is completed we will not automatically experience a rush of sales revenue. We will still need to market and advertise our product to advertisers and publishers. After all, we are not the only product in the marketplace and most of our clients already have an advertising solution in place.
We plan to implement many marketing and advertising tools that will help drive our product toward success. We plan to become heavily active in publicity campaigns, news distributions, television and radio interviews, and other major media opportunities. We plan to place advertisements in advertising industry journals and other business journals to attract publishers and advertisers. We plan to reach out to advertising agencies, online ad networks, and online publishing networks. We plan to enhance our landing pages, produce professional videos and literature to market our website and our products. We want to be very aggressive, on many fronts. However, we will need capital to make this happen.
Before we can expect to make waves in the industry, we will be required to let the industry know we exist. It is not easy to reach regional, national, or global markets. These types of markets take a well-planned, well-funded effort. Therefore, we will need a minimum of $250,000 to $500,000 in seed funding for our marketing efforts. We can make a splash with this budget. However, to make a real splash we will need much more up-front capital and a long-term marketing reinvestment strategy.
We must have support to clear this second hurdle. And we have a plan. We have another win-win idea that came to us from our membership. We feel this opportunity is best positioned for the initial marketing of our finished product. Therefore, we plan to offer this win-win opportunity to our members just before we begin to market our finished product. The funds generated from this win-win idea will be completely allocated to marketing our product once it is complete.
Along with a plan to partner with new and existing members in our marketing effort, we feel we will be much more capable of attracting serious investors once the product is completed. If we all band together and clear the first hurdle, it should be easier for us all to clear the second one. Why? It should be much easier to gain the confidence, support, and financial investment of a major funding source when the product is completed, already producing sales, and proving itself in the marketplace. When we have a winning concept in existence, and all it needs is growth funding, we think it will be much easier to acquire this type of funding.
Rocking the Vehicle
We are at the end of an incredibly long and dark tunnel. We can see the light just a few meters ahead. But we have run out of gas. Everyone has jumped out and is now gathering behind the vehicle to push. A few of us have been sent out ahead to find some more fuel. There is someone behind the wheel putting the vehicle in neutral and steering toward the light. Everyone else is beginning to push. I can see the vehicle rocking back and forth now. It won’t be much longer until we push it out of the tunnel and into the light.
Thank you for your support and encouragement!