Being geeky is the new wow thing! A Thought-check: Geeks aren’t those boring people- they are the video gamers, the comic-fanatics, science-fiction-aholic people! They are cool and they are simply in love with technology. They have some cool out of the box ideas because their brains are too much into merging fiction with reality. While some like to have racks of books, there are many who love to do something with their wacky ideas. That’s how POP, a startup in Miami had its Eureka moment.
The Eureka Moment
A million ideas keep coming to you. What next? You get a domain name for it. Then? Well, nothing. It is okay to have domain names to tell people..but it really hurts when you have to pay the renewal fee, especially if that is due! There are so many ideas registered, but you always face some friction when it comes to get them rolling. CTO of Pop, Thomas Lackner, discovered many startups and small businesses facing the same problem. He was no outsider, he himself was stuck with many domain names to his many ideas. So, keeping his small ideas aside, he pondered on how he can reduce this initial friction and hit the accelerator, way easily than others allow. Thus, the .Co company came into play!
Millions of questions hurled back at Pop.Co team- What are the technical challenges? How mobile-friendly can it be? How to provide the best customer service- because everyone will agree that setting up DNS is hell confusing! How flexible can the billing be? Most people say “Wow, I wish I had this before I bought those other 20 domains… maybe this would have taken off, perhaps”.
Price is Same as That of Two Cups of Coffee
After you have a domain, to make it run, you need a day or more to just set up that site. Suppose you earn $100 per hour, but you will need two days to set the site- Basic calculations say you just lost $4800! A key part of the POP’s value proposition is “What is your time worth?”. POP is a new way of looking at setting up websites. CTO Thomas Lackner sums up POP as: Instant signup time savings + reasonable prices + good service = More chances that your microbusiness will spring to life. For business people, Time is Money. Here’s a platform where you can sign up easily, create your website and see your stuff running at a price which is simply Wow! You need a concrete amount? Its $5 a month per user. You can access this from your phone as well. Before you finish your meal at your favourite restaurant, you website is set and running at Pop.Co. POP strikes the chord with its freemium model of 15 days free trial period.
“No Strings Attached”
Pop.Co is looking for a way to materialize your ideas as soon as they hit you. You can try this amazing platform and will find yourself urging your friends or colleagues or co-founders to try it too. Lackner says, if you don’t like it, you can walk away! “We don’t hassle you with yearly commitments. ‘It’s okay to change your mind’ is another POP credo”. So, there’s ‘no strings attached’. You come at your will, you stay if you like it here. Orelse, you can move out without having the fear of getting mails to pay a yearly fee! You pay on a monthly basis. When you move out, you are completely out of it!
Magic Happens all the Time!
The last tweak of magic happened from the ‘good peeps’ at Google Apps and .Co who joined hands with POP team. The team wants to add more apps and services in the future from which their users can choose to build and operate their presence on the web. However, there is no compromising on the speed, on its simplicity and easy interface. They have been powered by LaunchRock as well. Lackner quotes “LaunchRock has well deserved reputation in the startup community as a great way to build your MVP’s ‘coming soon’ page. POP, however, cancels out on ‘mailing lists’. Due to CAN SPAM laws, you need to have your mailing address on file if you are going to send emails. This creates some friction when setting up a product.
Get Started with ‘Starter Page’
What POP popped up with, is ‘Starter Page’. They wanted to create something quicker, slim, light yet beautiful to look at. So they developed their own one-page ‘starter page’ product that they call -”POP Page”. It’s basically a mobile-friendly way to put together a simple MVP ‘coming soon’ page, something to satisfy those first basic needs that you encounter in the first couple of weeks of building out your idea. Its similar to About.me or LaunchRock, but with a tinge of POP in it. Another cool benefit of this system is- since it’s a core part of the POP platform, the POP team has full control on how its built and from where it gets data. For example, the site admins don’t have to put in your email address for the contact form to be hooked to their email. A lot more such optimizations are being built in POP system!
Pop’s Future Plans
POP has some long term plans even. Since they are a small team, they started discovering ways in which they can integrate best apps into their offerings. They already cracked ways to integrate third party app- Gmail, LaunchRock, the .CO membership program. After long and hard thinking, they decided to make a ‘POP API’ so that third party developers could put their excellent apps in front of their users. The API would provide for one-click install and unified billing, without having to worry about manually setting up DNS records. The POP team is still working on this, giving finishing specs and figuring out the ‘covenant’ between them and third party apps.
POP team wants you to have the same moral, ethical and technological standards that they do when you are operating your app on their site. It is somewhat like the old Facebook App Store where anything could get published instantly and garbage was made into catalog. POP aims at being reliable, predictable instead of doing shady stuffs like trying to spam their POP users behind their backs.
Have an Idea? Get Ready to POP-up
POP is definitely already live and humming along with a bunch of customers already. In 4-6 weeks we’ll be opening our *developer platform* so that those with cool web app ideas can launch them on POP itself. They handle marketing, app cataloging/discovery, installation on the users’ domain, and billing. You focus on what you do best – your app. There are few great looking apps already interested to be aboard. Before that they are trying to sort out all issues like what permissions are granted to the apps, and what are the rules they must operate under. POP people are being cautious about these so that later on they don’t have to ‘break’ the API with changes as they think of new things. Lackner says “That kind of breakage is really disrespectful to developers and we’ve experienced it first hand way too many times to allow ourselves to do it to others”. Although he feels the first version will be kind of buggy, work is going on to reduce that risk! While Pop.Co team works, let’s wait for the POP sound to happen soon!