At the end of 2008 Valentine van der Lande took the first steps towards a new publishing concept: TenPages.com. An online platform where talented writers can find shareholders via crowdfunding to publish their manuscripts. For the website, the heart of the organization, Valentine was looking for the best partners in graphic design, interaction design and web development. For the latter she found Ibuildings.
“Ibuildings has proven from the beginning to be a very reliable technical partner on whom we can always count, even in emergencies.” That’s what Valentine van der Lande, founder/director of TenPages.com says. “I’ve never doubted the technology; the application has been cleverly set up. For me, the quality of Ibuildings is the norm, but I hear from others that I have less experience with web builders of similar size. I’m lucky, I guess. Ibuildings is also strong in project management. Sometimes annoying, if at times you want to be impulsive like me, but a blessing for the project. They hold tight on release planning, so we meet deadlines.”
All imaginable functionality
The program of requirements for the website covered about 100 pages and had just about all the functionality imaginable. There is e-commerce functionality with a payment function and an ‘online wallet’ to manage money. With a payout function when books are sold or if not all shares have been sold. This had to be tailor-made. There are extensive filtering techniques on the front-end that make the product database accessible to visitors, such as (sub)genres, top lists, top shareholders. Also made-to-measure. Then a timer function, because manuscripts are open for a maximum of four months. What happens if someone buys shares while time is running out? These are just a few examples. To Ibuildings the question: ‘How do you set up such a site technically and what does it cost?
Of the three remaining web builders on the shortlist, Valentine chose Ibuildings. “Ibuildings was the most professional party for me. I wanted the website in PHP, a proven open source technology, without annual license fees. Not unimportant for a start-up company. For PHP, Ibuildings is one of the strongest parties in the Netherlands; they even organize the annual Dutch PHP conference. Ibuildings responded quickly to the pitch and immediately came up with a well-considered proposal and an extensive technical description of the project at a competitive price. For me it was clear: Ibuildings could trust me with the technical realization of TenPages.com”.
The launch of TenPages.com was supported by a large PR campaign. The date was fixed: February 16, 2010. The goal was the NOS newsreel. That meant a lot of preparation on all fronts and especially for the technology. Valentine says: “Within two months Ibuildings developed the entire site, even outside the usual hours. A mega job. That was also when their talent for project management became apparent. Because they monitored the planning so tightly, we were able to go live on 16 February. With a little less testing than we would have liked, but because the application was technically well put together, we dared to launch it. And so we made the news and many other media. After five days, the first manuscript had already sold all shares”.
Positive feeling as a customer
Valentine appreciates the cooperation with Ibuildings. She says: “I am satisfied. Website projects always end in hours or function differently than expected. Apart from a few minor issues, we have hardly come across that, despite the time pressure and complexity of the website. In addition, Ibuildings simply employs nice, customer-focused people who also communicate well with non-technologists. What else characterizes our relationship? For example, that Ibuildings searched for a hosting party on behalf of TenPages.com and did the price negotiations. Or that they advised us in hiring our own lead developer. That gives me a positive feeling as a client”.
Journal moment coming up
TenPages.com has ambitions. The company has already won several awards, but wants more. The existing application is constantly being improved. For example with more interaction between users. Mobile functionality is coming. Abroad beckons.
Summarizing, Valentine says: “Smart IT is the basis for the success of TenPages.com. If the application were bad, we would never be able to appeal to a large audience. Ibuildings has contributed to that. I still have a lot of plans for the future. With another news moment in about a year’s time. Very exciting, so keep following the media!”