“Become the first in Runet. Become the best in Runet. Staying like that always. ”- that was what was written on yellow stickers and was always kept close by on the creators' desktop. This is what helped to move further when there were problems with the stability of the technical part and monetization of the toolbar. That is what helped launch the project Rubar.ru
. But first things first.
Nowadays, such monsters as Ask, Yahoo, Google, Bing, everyone probably knows. The realization that major Western players make money by searching through the toolbar inspired us the most. No less important was the acquaintance with the designer from Conduit, who was pleased with the ease of use and the ability to create his controls, but did not have a Russian localization. The decisive factor was the confidence in the talent and the ability of the developers of our team, for which we thank them separately. And, of course, desire! The desire to create high-quality designer toolbars first in RuNet.
4 months. Initially, it was such a period was allocated to create a project ready for launch. Two months were allocated to the client's win32 and server installer installers, a month to the designer’s web part, and a month to test and pairing. Work on the projects was going according to a clearly defined plan, and we did not keep up with the schedule. As a result, the beta version was released in December, as planned. However, after evaluating the reaction of users and communicating with webmasters, it became clear that the project was crude. It should be seriously refined, brought to mind, in the end - peen the file.
6 more months
That is how much was spent on finalizing the project to the current state, and it was at this stage that we got the most useful experience. During this time, I had to change the developer win-32 parts, completely rewritten the framework of the toolbar for IE, wrote a version for Firefox and caught bugs in IE. As a result, we noted for ourselves three very curious points:
- Nota bene # 1 - IE's “everyone's favorite” IE really dislikes toolbars and specifications. Moreover, he demands heightened attention and this has to be considered.
- Nota bene # 2 - Oddly enough, but testing the project took much longer than transferring the project from one developer to another.
- Nota bene # 3 - Finding a good tester who understands what a completed commercial product is is pretty hard. At least, we could not find such a thing.
Despite the fact that as early as December 2009, the designer could use and earn money on it, it took about 10 months of work at an average pace to bring it to its current state instead of the planned 4.
Parts of the project and stages of their implementation
Development installer and subscriberIt was assumed that this part will be one of the most difficult, but everything went smoothly and took the least time.
Development of the toolbar frameworkIn the first version of the framework, it was necessary to periodically insert crutches to add new controls, so a volitional decision was made to rewrite the toolbar framework so that the extension of the toolbar functionality did not lead to the inexplicable behavior of previously created controls.
Development of toolbar controlsA lot of routine, but the result was always predictable and pleasing.
Update moduleA very important block for webmasters. It changes the controls on the already installed toolbars in accordance with the changes in the toolbar in the constructor. It was originally designed to work in XP, but as a result, a second version was written, which stably updates toolbars for Vista and Windows 7.
System of statistics and accountingIt is difficult to come up with something new in this area, so the best practices that have proven themselves in our other projects have been used.
Designer interfaceThree versions have been developed. The first version did not see the light. The second was too hard and bright. The third version so far we like.
Creating promotional pages for toolbarsWe have yet to work on this. While there are only the most simple options.
Achieving the goals set before us helped us focus the entire team on the result, as well as Mantis and Skype. All development is remote, but at the same time busy for full time. The work was structured in such a way that daily communication with our developers was not just the number one rule, but rather the need number one. After all, precisely because of this, we were able to quickly agree on priorities for correcting bugs, implement new functions and get a decent result at the output. Due to this, we have increased the stability of the project in the shortest possible time.
An equally important task was to test the work of the project on real visitors. This is the only way to find out how the toolbar really behaves in the real world, and not on test stands. And we managed to achieve good results - for each new version per day we managed to attract 1-2 thousand installations.
We managed to try out three schemes of monetization of the project:
- Casual games
- Alert users through pop-up window in the tray
- Search through the toolbar
As for casual games, everything is very clear here - they seldom bet, they pay less often. A control was made with a list of popular kazualok. When clicking on the game, the user went to the download page of the game. To say that it upset us is to say nothing, we very much relied on monetization through games.
Notifying users through a pop-up window in the tray - it probably works, but unfortunately, we have not yet understood exactly how. Consequently, this unit is temporarily disabled.
Search through the toolbar - not as popular as we would like. Most often, users make a search from the home page. From the toolbar are looking for the least.
What a joy when the project goes to the finish line and is ready to launch. Everything is debugged and configured. It remains only to increase the momentum, expand the functionality and have time to correct user comments. On the way to this point, important conclusions were made, without an understanding of which, the project would not be successful.
- First of all. Always believe only numbers statistics. The numbers say the following: 30% of users install a toolbar along with software and a toolbar is not such a hateful thing - only 10% of users uninstall it.
- Secondly. Do not change user habits. Users search a little and click a lot on the toolbar buttons. Consequently, for maximum benefit from the toolbar, we recommend webmasters to fill their toolbar with really useful and interesting links and dynamic controls.
- Thirdly. Be flexible. Owners of entertainment sites are less interested in toolbars than owners of download catalogs. In this regard, we made a designer bundle, we use it in private, but soon we will release it.
To be continued ...
We like what the project has become over the past half year, but this does not mean that the work has been done on this. Absolutely not. In accordance with the conclusions sounded above, we go further. We will develop widgets, add a homepage designer, a bundle designer, experiment on monetization and bring the project to the western market.
And of course, we will increase the stability of the toolbar and expand the list of compatible browsers.