News from the front

Publiziert von Anna, 25. März 2008 um 18:05. Diese Seite wurde 319 mal angezeigt.

Hoi zäme,

Usually, I write here to announce interesting and enthusiastic things, like new features. Unfortunately, this time it’s not the case.

We’ve decided to write this message, because we think you’ve right to know not only the nice and positive aspects of this project, but also the negative ones. This is an important message and I hope you will understand my English because I don’t have the strength to translate now.

First some history. We are two professional programmers. After we finished the studies (PhD aka Doktorarbeit), we have worked in „serious“ companies, made some „serious“ work. This was not only boring, but ultimately was making me physically sick (I had asthma and other respiratory problems). Moreover, we realized that this “lifestyle” is equivalent to throw our life away.

So we move here with the idea to do something that has a real value. We started hikr and in April 2006 decided to develop only this project. Our goal was and still is to make the best website of this kind, not only for the technical quality, but also for the community, that allows enthusiastic alpinists and hikers to find other people like them.

Today, is one of the biggest (probably the biggest) websites in this domain in Switzerland. It has grown of 500% in one year, thanks to your contributions and to our work. So finally I feel that we’re doing a good thing, useful to people we like, and even promoting a lifestyle close to the nature.

Unfortunately, there is something that can’t be forgot, even with all our enthusiasm. Last year the site wasn’t so big and we have accepted a sponsoring offer that obliges us to live under the poverty threshold (fortunately we have some resources). But that was okay, because we knew that the site would grow. This year, the site is five times bigger than last year (and I’m sure it will grow more) and we had a new offer, still below the threshold and with conditions that make virtually impossible to have other sponsors in the same time.

Has this work so little value?

Is it possible that in this world the only websites that have value are stupid websites to compare insurances and prices of mobile phones and of ski resorts? I feel sick and useless again.

Probably, it’s the continent. For example, in the US there are many passion-centric websites around any subject. Those websites generate interest, enthusiasm and also some money for their developers. Why Europe is always so retarded? Why is it always impossible to make something interesting and modern here?

We don’t know what we should do now. Look for others sponsors to receive the same response, if any? Look to find several small advertisers? It’s true that with our complete lack of commercial skills, we probably will not find any one. Look for a normal job? Even this is difficult here, because they will first look my gender, age, and photo and only if they like those things, they will consider what I did. Indeed, I’ve already found an interesting, enthusiastic job in a small US startup company just by sending them the address of this website. But, unfortunately, we cannot move there.

Kommentare (11)

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CK hat gesagt:
Gesendet am 25. März 2008 um 19:27
Hoi Anna,

first of all, I have to say, that you reached your goal with making the best website in this domain. Hikr is the BEST website I've ever seen! I really appreciate how much afford you have spent and still do for Hikr, but I was also wondering how Hikr is financed, because there is no advertising on the website and with the membership fee you probably getting not much money. I know now why!
Unfortunately, I have no experience in commercials and can't give any recommendations for this! I would be very sad, if you can’t continue with Hikr and if you wouldn’t find a sponsor. There must be somebody who is interested to support this project!
If there is anything I can do, please let me know.

Best Regards,


Anna hat gesagt: RE:
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 09:11
Salü Christian,

Thanks a lot for your support. This is really something that we need right now.

You don't see any ads because you have the Pro account.

Thank you

gurgeh hat gesagt:
Gesendet am 25. März 2008 um 20:58

i am a very happy user of this website, or better say, member of the hikr community, enjoying each and every feature, the reports, the fun with maps :) etc. we can see the work behind it, the hours invested and the overall spirit that you mentionned, anna.

what else can i say than "keep up the good work"? indeed, i am also totally unable to provide any marketing advice whatsoever, being myself stunned by the success of some web2.0 communities. how can you make yourself a living out of such a concept? if you find the key, i'll be more than happy to have a hint ^_^

you've got anyway my full support, if of any help. please keep us informed about the future steps; who knows how the community may give you back what you gave it...


Anna hat gesagt: RE:
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 09:19
Salü Jerome,

Thank you for your support. It's very important for us.

I think that web2.0 communities live of ads and some of them also use paid accounts.
Probably the problem is very specific to hiking and mountaineering, and there are not so much people practicing those activities. But I think not everybody yet knows about the existence of this site. That's something that can be improved.

Thank you

Cyrill Pro hat gesagt: Long life hikr.
Gesendet am 25. März 2008 um 21:14
Ich kann Eure nicht einfache Situation verstehen und nachvollziehen.

Als einer der ersten, noch aktiven User, der auf ( gelandet ist, war ich immer vom "Spirit von hikr" überzeugt und bin es noch heute.

Aber für mich ist die entscheidende Frage: Wie schafft es, so potente Grossfirmen wie Mammut, Diamir, MSR etc. für sich zu begeistern? Fragt doch mal Reto und Philippe die Besitzer. Oder soll ich sie fragen, ich kenne sie.

Gruss Cyrill

Anna hat gesagt: RE:Long life hikr.
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 09:23
Salü Cyrill,

Thank you for your support. That's cool.

I think that you can ask them, if you want. I suppose they already have those contacts because they have a shop and a mountain-guide office.

Thank you

360 Pro hat gesagt:
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 07:57
Your work has a lot of value, maybe not (yet) to the finically potent companies, but definitely to the ever-growing hikr community. I don’t know why sponsors haven’t realized this yet, but I have hope they will eventually.

I hope you realize that for us hikrs you are not useless at all and you should feel proud of what you have achieved with the site. Even for people who are not hikers but just visit the site to look at some pictures and read about mountains and hiking, is an endless source of joy and you bring the beauty of nature to many computer screens.

I’m not sure it is the “retardedness” of Europe, which prevents you from getting financial support. I agree it probably takes the “old world” a little longer to realize and acknowledge new and modern things, but I believe it will happen here too. You probably just haven’t reached the critical mass yet.

If you can, don’t give up yet. I would think that the hikr community is big and innovative enough to help you find some sources to keep you going. Me for my side I will try and do some advertisement and ask some more or less potent companies to support you and I would suggest other hikrs should do the same and hopefully together we’ll get this problem solved.


Anna hat gesagt: RE:
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 09:38
Salü 360,

Thank you very much for your support. It really helps to not get depressed.

I think you're right about the critical mass. I realize myself that there are still a lot of people that don't know about hikr. For example, I have a neighbor, who loves mountains and old school style of mountaineering (i.e. "by fair means"); once I told him about the site and the day after he became enthusiastic; he was very happy to discover this community, he was thinking that there is no people like that on the web.

Now we have about every mountain in hikr database on the first page of google, but apparently this is not enough. I think we need some other way to advertise the site online and offline. Online advertising can be having more links. Offline, I don't really know how "spread the word".

Thank you

gurgeh hat gesagt: RE:
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 17:32
generating offline awareness to bring people to the website can be made through the community and its members, but you could help us helping that :) i think of designing stickers, key holders or these soft badges that you could sew on your backpack with the logo!

Another idea: kindly ask permission to use some pictures from the gallery and organize an exhibition in a mountain village. Or set up a one-day event across Switzerland, bringing the hikr flag on each canton's top peak and make some buzz around, in the newspapers and/or online.

yet, i'm still wondering about the revenues. i could be a bad example but i never click on an online ad... (bad, bad me, i know) but i guess it somehow works for others that way, so go for it!

by the way, do you prefer having non-pro users seeing the ads or pro ones without the ads? i'm thinking of the upgrade but don't want to make you losing some revenues :) ...


Anna hat gesagt: RE:
Gesendet am 26. März 2008 um 21:13
Hoi Jerome,

For stickers, we have still around 1'500 hikr sticker. Probably, you wasn't yet a member at the time we did them. I should re-post the message, because there is a lot of new people now and not everybody knows about it.

Active users already help the site by publishing their report here. I keep the pro-account because this money is enough to pay all technical staff (like the server). This guarantees that the site can eventually survive without me.

I'm now preparing a new community about "business", where people who want can came and discuss those questions. I have some ideas, but I don't know if they can be realized or not. I also want to explain better how the advertising works.

Thank you

chaeppi Pro hat gesagt: chaeppi
Gesendet am 31. März 2008 um 11:02
Hi Anna
I have no idea about marketing. But did you ever try to get Bächli Bergsport or Ochsner Sport as a sponsor. In my opinion your website would be the ideal platform for them to advertise. That should be also no problem for Meindl and Deuter as they are business partners as well. (They both sell their products)Their customers are exactly the people loving your website.
Take care

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