Slightly more than a year after its formal launch Merar hits the best upgrade any investment network site would like to have. By making the contact establishment the core paid service on the network we are significantly improving its quality, reliability and trustfulness.
As from today (18 November 2011) Merar is changing its business model of charging project owners and investors the amount of $9.99 USD per month. The network will not require any recurring membership fee. Instead, we will ask both parties (the investor and the entrepreneur) to pay the amount of $50 USD each side if they want to establish contact on the Merar network. Additional discounts apply if the network member is purchasing to make more contacts on the network.
Simplification of the business model – Many of our clients were asking us why do we charge on a monthly basis the hosting of the investment project or the investor activity . There were many entrepreneurs whose projects were less contacted then others. In the end of the day all were paying the same. Similarly, many investors felt paying membership fees while they have only contacted one or two projects.
Our decision was to simplify the business model of establishing contacts by requiring our members to pay only if there is a real interest in their investment project shown by really interested investors.
Fairness and seriousness – Merar is trying to bring the best from the offline private investment world to the Web. We want to display the seriousness of both sides by asking them to split the costs of $100 US dollars for establishing contact. The number of random ineffective contacts (that basically just lose our members’ time) and fraudulent investors will be reduced to minimum. At the same time we will withdraw the restriction of allowing up to 3 contacts to be established per single day.
Further dedication to quality – Merar’s long-term priority is quality. We strictly control the contents of all incoming projects. In the past we returned 3 out of every 10 investment projects for quality reasons. We will now raise this percentage to 40%. If our network is to charge $50 USD for contact establishment, than all of our new investment projects should be of a great quality with no compromise.
Merar credits - All of the services Merar will provide are going to be charged through a website-specific currency we called “Merar credits”. The more credits will be purchased, the lower the price per credit will be. We also seek to implement new products very soon which will also use the credit system.
Proposals - We are upgrading the standard messaging system we had on the system into a new functionality we called “Proposals”. To make the long story short - if an investor wants to contact a project on the network they send short proposal containing the motives for the contact and no contact information. If the project owner confirms the proposal both sides will be charged each one half of the price to connect. If the owner refuses to connect or no feedback is received within seven days after the day of the proposal, the investor will receive back the charged amount (in credits) for the contact establishment.
Member profile - One month ago with some bells and whistles we launched the updated member profile. Our expectations were by asking for more contact details to fight impersonation and prevent spam, scam and Internet fraud.
The result was that many of the members were confused by the complexity of the profile, some were not able to complete their profiles and few others were not willing to share so much of their personal information.
We are reducing the complexity of the member profile. The only mandatory data we will require from our members is to provide two email addresses and two phone numbers. We want to have backup contact details of the project owners for the cases they are being approached by investors and vice versa.
Tell us what you think!
Send us your feedback. We would like to know more about your thoughts on these changes. If there are any bugs found, as always please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The author, Zornitsa Bazlyankova is a key account manager at Merar Investment Network. Her role within the company is related with the acquisition of new projects and investors on the network. Zornitsa holds degrees from the Universität Konstanz in Germany and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Image courtesy: Almas Balg, Flickr CC.