The 7th participant is Global Surfari
Global Surfari is a surf forecasting website that provides 7 day surf forecast listings for global locations. It was created by Gary Brewer in London after spending a year in Australia surfing. He finally moved to Australia in 2006 and re-built the site to give it more of a web 2.0 feel and also provided support for Facebook, iGoogle, iPhone/iTouch mobile applications and works for MySpace integration is underway.
Let us explore bit further how Gary and Global Surfari is going:
Q. How long it took before it was up and running?
A. The site uses surf forecasting data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) an American government agency that provides sea data. It took a while to get the data they provide into a format that I could use for Global Surfari to produce the forecasts. However, the initial release of Global Surfari probably took about 2 weeks of solid work. The newest versions and the Facebook integration took around 28 days (mostly at the weekends and in the evenings).
Stage of your start-up is: It is released and is up and running.
Main objective behind this: To provide surf forecasts in an easy to use fashion for people all around the world to enjoy.
Uniqueness about your venture: One of the only surf forecasting websites that allows you to pick your surf spot for the report. Normally you select the surf location from a list. It is the only surf forecast application on Facebook, iPhone and Myspace (beta).
It was one of the first websites to use the google maps mashup – it was used in a demo at Google Sydney Developer Day last year.
Market Segment: Surf Industry and other water based sports that require wave information
Targeted Age Group: 10-60
No of user using this service: Very difficult to say, there are almost 12,000 facebook installs. 2700 installs of the iGoogle plugin. 2800 web site registrations. You can view surf reports without creating an account.
Type of marketing used: I really like Facebook’s Advertising, I can target people interested in 'surfing'. I have spent minimal money on marketing it on Facebook ($100 max) but use the viral nature of the network to get it going. I have bought lots of stickers, business cards and surf wax. I have sent advertising promotion kits to surf brands across the globe.
Measuring Success: My goal is to get as many surfers as possible to use Global Surfari so my success is increasing users of the system. The recent redesign improved SEO (see case study
http://builtwith.com/GlobalSurfariCaseStudy.pdf) which has increased coverage.
Revenue Generation/Model: My revenue model for Global Surfari is advertising. I have contacted many surf companies via mail using the stickers and an advertising promotion kit but had little to no feedback so I am using Google Adsense.
Main Competitors: Biggest competitors in Australia are CoastalWatch.com.au and RealSurf.com. Worldwide competitor is MagicSeaweed.com. My main advantage over these companies is my integration into other platforms such as the iPhone, Facebook, iGoogle etc.
Easy to use technology: Google Analytics and Reinvigorate.net are the most important and easy to use tools for Global Surfari. The initial success of Global Surfari was thanks to Google's Maps API - which was very simple to use and integrate.
Operating System and Environment: SQL Server 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0 - Planning an upgrade to ASP.NET 3.5.
The system is located on a server in the United Kingdom purely for cost savings.
Networking/Catch Up: I have very few contacts in the surf industry. I have made a contact with someone in the UK that runs a surf accommodation site glissers.com - we integrated glissers.com into globalsurfari.com and vice versa.
How much money: To take GlobalSurfari.com to the next level and really develop the
brand it would need some investment, there is a limit to the amount of
things I can do with the brand without backing.
Australian Venture Barriers: I sometimes feel that not being in Silicon Valley is a disadvantage to anyone wanting to do a web2.0 style venture. This is where the investors appear to be based on what I read on TC, RWW etc.
Future Trends and Market Segment: Surfing is a billion dollar industry and is gaining in popularity so there's plenty of opportunity for Global Surfari now it has a foot in the door.
Other Info: The surf artwork was created by a friend of mine in Argentina - anhdres.com
Thanks Gary for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hear from you on the progress of Global Surfari. All the best.
The 7th participant is Global Surfari