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Goodbye Insightory.com – Opportunity for a management consultancy?


Insightory.com was soft launched two months after edocr.com through TechCrunch. As TechCrunch put it, they wanted to be the Wikipedia for Management Knowledge. I was drawn to Insightory.com as they offered a document publishing, distribution and interactivity platform, albeit focusing on a niche market. Their plan was to approve every publication before displaying on the site. Not the best approach unless you crowd source the approval process similar to wikipedia.

See the email below this post in which Avneet Jolly explains the reasons for the pending shut-down. Instead of arguing about the rights and wrongs of their strategy, I am happy to share my conversation with Avneet and Joao from yesterday.

Lack of strong upside

I reached out to Insightory with two thoughts in mind; explore the possibility of user acquisition, and explore the technology stack. They have adopted a different strategy to edocr.com in terms of displaying documents. They convert each document page to an image before wrapping all the pages in flash. Not something we see value in as an replacement to Flash Paper we use. In terms of user acquisition, it was felt that there were not sufficiently high number of users to make a difference to edocr.com. In addition, it is highly unlikely these users will ever become revenue paying customers.

Opportunity

So what to come out of Insightory.com? Avneet has already received number of offers for the Insightory assets. If you are a management consultancy, Insightory.com might present a nice addition to your website. You would need to think carefully whether you are interested in just the site, or the site and its current user base. If it involves users, what would your strategy be for retaining them and then growing the user base? Do you see it as a permanent financial loss maker, revenue booster for your existing services, or actually making revenues from the user activity? Leave “advertising” out of this as a potential revenue generator. What resources would you allocate to continue maintaining and improving the site? Acquiring and then leaving the site to grow naturally will not work, as there is choice! You need to think this through carefully. If you do decide to bid, it would be great to see Insightory.com continuing, perhaps under a different brand. It’s sad day to see a competitor having to shut down, but I sincerely hope there would be a buyer!

Below is the original email from Avneet, CEO of Insightory.com:

Hi all,
I wanted to let you all know that we have decided to shut down Insightory.com.

Insightory was an experiment in aggregating management-focused content that soon became more-than-a-hobby-but-less-than-a-business. The site itself has grown a lot since we started 2 years ago. We regularly featured content from the best-known business authors, professors, firms and even senior corporate executives. It gave me a huge thrill to host the insights of people whose books I used to read in b-school – Tom Peters, David Maister, Andrew Sobel, Graef Crystal etc. It was also gratifying to help leading global firms like Booz & Co, Watson Wyatt, Nielsen etc – as well as hundreds of smaller firms – promote their thought leadership through Insightory. The range of topics also kept growing – we covered everything from business strategy to generational issues, and from social media to business statistics! This probably sounds immodest, but there aren’t that many sites that give access to such a wide range of quality management content for free.

We logged well over 1,000 page views per day last month. Since the traffic kept growing and the content kept coming in without too much effort from us – we let the site coast for almost a year. Unfortunately, we could never settle on a business model that would let us invest in the technology or content partnerships that could take us to the next level. Every model we looked at seemed to require exponentially more traffic and users than we had – or could reasonably expect in the next few years. The sharp decline in online ad rates didn’t help either.

For a while, we even believed that we could let the site run without any revenue generation at all. But the cost and time required to run such a site with any level of quality & professionalism is not insignificant. At the same time, my other work (I also run a consulting firm) kept growing and taking up an every-increasing % of my time. It has now reached a point where I need to (gasp!) make a significant investment in office space and staff! The writing was on the wall for several months, but I guess it took the end-of-year clarity of vision (should that be hindsight??) to really see it.

We will terminate our hosting contract shortly. The site will no longer be hosted after Jan 31, 2010. That should give you enough time to review your account and migrate your documents to another document/ presentation sharing site. If you need support with your documents after that date, please let me know and I will try to help you as best as I can. Rest assured – your documents, profile and contact information will NEVER be shared with anyone else.

THANK YOU for helping us build the site to this point. You contributed by sharing your documents (even if in response to repeated entreaties from Laurie Smith, Selene Cong, Donna Sacks or me!), commenting on others’ documents and sharing ideas for features and functions that the site should have. I sincerely hope you got something positive out of that experience, and will continue to share your insights on other platforms as well.

It was wonderful getting to know many of you – even if only by email or phone. I hope you will stay in touch.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Wishing you a great holiday, and a happy & healthy 2010.
Best regards,
Avneet Jolly

avneet.jolly@insightory.com
www.insightory.com

Published inedocr.com
  • ManojRanaweera

    Update: Insightory.com is self-hosted and not using Amazon Web Services or similar like most of its competition

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