This is an exclusive interview with Jared Blank,CEO Tripmela.com which recently went on sale on Ebay. Business India 2.0 was the first to cover the same.
Q1. What has changed since the time you started out till recent time. Is it the effect ofaffecting all industries in terms of advertising budget cut or you were not able to raise cash to further product development to sustain and get bigger audience scale?
Pretty much everything has changed since we launched. The OTA market attracted new companies quickly – too quickly – which lead to overspending and then, all of a sudden, to a cutback in spending. Other industries cutback as well, especially in online display advertising. Advertising slowed down, and we were unable to raise additional funds. We should have focused more on developing unique content, which would have helped with SEO. That would’ve driven traffic, which would’ve helped with the CPC and CPA advertising programs on our site.
There are no existing liabilities or commitments. We believe that with a bit of financial backing, a company can grow Tripmela to be a large, profitable business. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the resources to invest. As Travelzoo’s success has shown, the business model works.
We felt that selling it on eBay would be a great way to market the sale of the business. We are talking with interested companies, certainly. But we have been able to let more people know about the sale through eBay than if we had sold it in the more typical fashion.
We haven’t set a reserve price. We feel that it will attract an offer that reflects its value in the marketplace.
I don’t have plans set yet. I’d be very interested in helping transition to the new owners and working with them to grow the email list, if they’re interested. I think Tripmela’s biggest strength was the ability to grow the list at a reasonable cost. I have an idea for a new business, but in the current marketplace, investors seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach for now.
I think so this also stands true for lot of other players in market as well. Players like zoomtra, ixigo etc seems to be well funded and have adapted to changes in indian travel industry which works different from the US industry where number of travel suppliers requires selection products like travel meta search engine or deal aggregators like travelzoo.
Update: (Private commentry with Aloke has been removed)