FerrariChat was founded in 2000 by Rob Lay (also the owner of FreeRangeHunter.com). He had recently purchased a Ferrari and was looking for a place where he could ask questions of other Ferrari owners and share his experiences as a new owner — but he found very few resources on the web. So, Rob launched FerrariChat.com shortly thereafter as a place where Ferrari enthusiasts could interact and share information on everything from how to work on their Ferrari to the latest in designer watches.
Today, the community boasts a total of 93,000 registered users, and nearly 1,000 new members join the site each month. The site receives 6 million page views each month and 20,000 unique visits each day from a combination of both registered and guest users. FerrariChat now has close to 20 competitors, but the site enjoys 9 times the combined traffic of it’s 20 competitor sites.
Rob with his wife Jennie, at the Ferrari Dealership in Brisbane, Australia
The Challenge: Finding the Time to Monetize
Rob works with a variety of consultants to keep the site running smoothly, but is the only individual focused on FerrariChat full-time. As a result, he has limited time to focus on revenue generation.
FerrariChat’s revenue stream is comprised of a combination of direct ad sales and indirect ad sales (e.g. Google AdSense), as well as paid subscriptions. Direct ad sales in particular are quite lucrative for Rob (comprising about 70% of his income), but they are also the most time consuming, requiring that he build and manage a high number of relationships with vendors and advertisers. And while FerrariChat’s high site traffic, unique visitor demographics, and engaged user-base results in a steady-stream of direct requests to advertise on the site, Rob doesn’t always feel as though he is maximizing the full potential of the site’s content.
The Solution: Automated Augmentation
“VigLink quickly exceeded my expectations because it wasn’t replacing anything I was doing previously,” says Rob. “It was a completely different concept that I hadn’t been taking advantage of — and one that didn’t require any of my time to manage.”
VigLink automatically affiliates eligible outbound links to online merchants sites, and compensates Rob when his site propels a visitor to check out another website or make a purchase elsewhere. The service has resulted in an increase of more than 10% in monthly revenue and allowed Rob to access a group of advertisers he wasn’t previously partnered with.
“Because I installed VigLink, I discovered that I was driving a great deal of traffic to eBay and Amazon,” says Rob. “I am now being compensated for that traffic and planning on finding ways to drive additional traffic to those sites. I’ve really only seen upside since using the service.”