(Words from Dave Bradshaw - WaterdogWebsites CEO):
I joke about having invented the Internet but the truth be known I have been there at the forefront as an observer and then eventually a contributor.
In the early 80's I was given a private demonstration of an R&D commercial project where people could order groceries on a keyboard from their TV that was hooked to a telephone line. I was amazed!
In the mid 90's as a Recruiter it was apparent there was a changing landscape. Typically, candidates would mail or fax their resume but in time it was clear emailing resumes was extremely quicker thanks to technology. People where exploring the Internet and it was apparent a Website was in order. But, how do I accomplish to be visible on the World Wide Web?
I went through multiple stages to secure a Website to advertise my recruiting business and it was not easy. I tried to learn Website coding on my own to develop a site but it just was not good enough. Then, I hired a couple for $1000.00 to make one for the automotive recruiting business (Transportation Recruiting Services, Inc.) I was the sole proprietor. Unfortunately, the site looked like a porn Website. Little did I know, they owned a massage parlor and knew little about the business community images necessary. Gotta find another resource quickly!
Then, out of no where.... I received a spam email claiming they made recruiting Websites. Naturally I called and hired them to create my desired goal for $3000.00. During our interactions and final product (Autoheadhunter.com): I was extremely satisfied. A bond was created through our multiple interactions.
As TRS grew it was apparent a telephone Internet connection was not acceptable. We switched to DSL and then contracted for a T-1 line.
Little did I know the company that built my Website was not a company at all. In a conversation with my primary contact in San Diego I found that one individual was in Virginia, and one in Idaho, After a bit of negotiation it was agreed that I would loan them $30,000.00, all would relocate to San Diego, a office and equipment would be secured, and they would build me a automotive job-board after we got a certain programmer out of jail for another $10,000.00.
We worked vigorously together to gain customers as I continued to recruit within my niche, manage my employees, launch and expand the automotive internet job board (Autoheadhunter.net). I created relationships with the majority of automotive organizations such as NADA, ASE, ADA, AMRA etc... where my job board was connected to their Website. I engaged a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company to ensure Autoheadhunter.net was ranked #1 in the search engines. In time, created a all automotive segment (Manufacturers, Dealerships, Organizations, etc.. a multi-colored, animated email News Letter to automotive professionals by gaining email addresses in the industry with spiders that crawled the Web nightly and sifted through them each morning.
There were many remote and on-site meetings, face to face sales calls with the Navy, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, US Senators, Fannie Mae NASA, US Army, other national entities offering Websites and a new thing called Mini-CD's. The Mini-CD's were media presentations with content/videos. They were a way to physically advertise to automatically launch to the Website created. In the Navy's Website and attached job board developed, all candidate leads were forwarded thru the net to every recruitment center by zip code. Our customer list grew quickly. We attended countless Internet and niche market trade shows throughout the US and Canada and were interviewed on CNN, other TV news, multiple live Internet broadcasts, front page on numerous magazines... all due to our ability to provide top quality Websites and a new way of marketing through the Internet (Mini-Cd's). Mini-CD's could be mailed or attached to products.
We were #93 of the top US companies per Entrepreneur Magazine / #1 Hispanic majority owned company in 1999-2000.
We even had a meeting with the head of Cuba's Intranet and gained his commitment to partner with us once the country offered the Internet. Unfortunately, it was years later that this opportunity was available and our contact gone.
In the mean time, I individually traveled to Walmart, Autozone, Princess Cruises, R.J. Reynolds, Louisville Slugger, AARP, Trustmark Bank, The State of Mississippi, nation PR firms and many others to discuss our ability to help them gain awareness/market share through the Internet.
- I found it interesting that Walmart and Autozone did not want a Internet presence to purchase products, and of-course it a major aspect of their business today.
- Princess Cruises was extremely interested in our Mini-CD's offering. My sales pitch was to include them in the departure basket where they could share their experience with friends, neighbors, and relatives and gain new customers.
- Louisville Slugger was also excited about my pitch to attach a Mini-CD to each product that included coaching/instruction content/videos info from celebrities. I was under-cut by their PR firms.
- AARP did not see my vision of their members being able to apply for senior jobs although they have that today.
- Trustmark Bank and other Banks wanted aspects a Mini-CD to also be used as a credit card but they are too fragile.
- The State of Mississippi needed a new Website but went with their PR firm. Many MS Departments were approached. EG: The State of Mississippi had just won a landmark court case against the Tobacco Companies and was generating a campaign against youth smoking. I presented the ability of Mini-CD's distributed through the schools, providing animated cartoon characters and driven to a Website in game format to not smoke. They could not see the vision.
- I presented to R.J.Reynolds to include Mini-CD's in each pack of cigarettes since they could no longer advertise on TV to register, gain customer loyalty and receive advertising oriented gifts They stole my idea and engaged another company.
- In a meeting with the PGA President I presented the opportunity to film PGA's golf course(s) hole by hole (with a one man light plane and video camera) that would allow the opportunity for golfers to actually see the course on a Website. No such luck.
- In a meeting with the Houston Astros Baseball Franchise, I presented a way for them to reduce scouting costs by sending Mini-CD's (where: they would be driven to a recruiting Website) to all Baseball coaches where they could provide real-time pertinent info by entering baseball player contact information, stats, videos, and commentary by position. The results would be in a hierarchy format. They were set in their ways.
- Win some Lose some.
I was approached by some big money players from North Dakota (each had their own jet plane and flew down to MS) and wanted me to develop a gambling Website in the Caribbean, but I was concerned about hackers and the responsibility of financial losses. The liability was just to great at my end.
I created schoolpolls.com. It allowed the ability for parents and students to provide feedback on individual schools. Polls were a new thing at this time and I called on countless schools and PTA Presidents/members. I sold some but it did not go national as planned.
I upgraded the thedock.com (a large bar that sold more liquor in the state of MS than any other establishment). It was designed with 1000's of customer pictures (updated weekly), original animation, band updates, menu etc... With the advent of being their Webmaster I secured and developed dozens of bars and restaurant Websites. In some cases I created in-house advertising videos and animation seen on their in-house TV's as well as their Website.
The pricing of custom Websites were dropping significantly due to cookie cutter Websites available to the public. So, I needed more customers. I made countless Websites for Parks, Restaurants/Bars, Doctors/Clinics, Art Galleries, MS Chiropractic Association, Stores, a vast array of Service Industries (Auto/Marine/Motels-Hotels/ Bed & Breakfast Establishments etc.(many included original Internet accessed fun gambling/kids/& family games (with a sales twist) which required writing content, related construction and animation.
During the legislative controversy in Mississippi to keep the State Flag or replace it two partners and myself set-up a company and Website (msflags.com) to buy the state flag on the Internet. We advertised in state/local papers to drive potential customers. After a threat by the KKK or similar group we decided to get out of business. We still own thousands of flags.
While being involved with Website sales & development I joined a local company and agreed to sell surveillance equipment that was capable of an owner to watch (on the Internet) their multiple operations at once from a remote location. In addition I marketed to Casinos for related surveillance equipment with more attributes than than others. I also set the systems up, trained employees, installed fiber-optics and more. During this time, I also sold WIFI systems to Law Enforcement, Housing Developments, Hotel Chains, other companies and was a paid consultant for Cable One.
I also proposed a TV commercial interruption service to Buffalo Wings Top Franchise in the US. While all their TV's were displaying sporting events the commercials would be exchanged for numerous advertisements to influence increased on-site sales. With an associate we developed the system and although the FCC told me it was legal, another company (a national truck stop company) ended up being sued for doing the same. The project was dropped.
Another venture was Ubeware.com that was created. It was a Website for people who were jilted for one reason or another by a x-loved one that was geared to warn others. Although created, it was never launched due to liability.
The technology has changed in 20 years. At first, Websites were strictly code and then various programs came to market and continued to evolve, each requiring a learning curve. Search engines change their algorithm requirements almost on a daily basis. To ensure a Website's ranking is high, one must meet the new parameters. Sometimes, unforeseen changes occur. For nearly ten years I incorporated a program called Flash. Flash provided the ability to make mini animated movies for a Website. It made a Website stand-out. Unfortunately, the powers that be found that hackers or developer can insert virus, malware and it is no longer a viable alternative. The dynamic Websites I hung my hat on were no longer available to create, and another sales hook lost. Back to learning other methods.
After relocating to Texas I sold Websites for the Mobile Home Industry, Upholstery Services, Maid Service Companies, Home Improvement Companies, Beverage establishments such as Daiquiri Drive-Ins, Extreme Sports Companies, created a religious Facebook type site, Equestrian Sales, Beauty Services (Hair & Nails), and an Native American Indian Website along with SEO services throughout the greater Houston area..
There have been many ventures where it did not come to fruition such as a TV Homeless Show (where I was going to be the Webmaster) as well as the invisible host interviewer, a Home Healthcare Franchise partnership and others.
One restaurant, as the Webmaster that I am particularly proud of is darwellscafe.com where I created multiple versions the Website in time, and also promote to this day. Darwell's Cafe. was ranked #10 in Forbes Magazine 2016 as one of the top 10 places to eat in the US. I also made doctorbobandmisskitty.com (an Internet Radio Show) with Darwell's Cafe commercials interjected between songs.
It is my view Internet Pod-Casts, much like TV with promotional inserts is the future.
There is no project too large or small. I recommend to customers to go with experience,