The GoDMV.com Story: A Tale of International Intrigue
You might be wondering, “How in the world does a website like GoDMV.com get to the Internet?” If not, you’ll want to stop reading now. Because if you continue, you’ll be forced to endure a troubling tale of international intrigue that might be a bit much for the un-curious. For those of you inclined to unravel the mystery, read on �" at your own risk. And if you’re left scratching your head and thinking to yourself, “huh?” you’ve probably understood our story about as well as we do.
GoDMV.com is the brainchild of two recovering attorneys, Craig and Jim. We had the idea that if we could create the best driver information site on the Internet, people would come. Traffic school, defensive driving, driver education, car insurance quotes �" these were things we needed, so we figured other people would need them too. Plus, we were looking for that ever-elusive supreme Internet success. While that world-dominating success remains elusive, the fun of an Internet enterprise has paid dividends from the beginning. It’s not been easy. We wanted to create a site that offered real value, and we spent a HUGE amount of time amassing quality content so that you’d be able to find what you need when you come to our site.
Confident in our ability to create an all-inclusive, easy-to-use driver information site, we were, nevertheless, neophytes in the world of website design and marketing. Rather than shell out real cash to a quality American design firm, we followed the masses down the well-trodden trail of “outsourcing.” What’s that mean? You guessed it. We shipped the work out to India. How’d that work out?
Craig was responsible for managing the website development. With the Indian web developers in a time zone [x] hours ahead, however, his primary form of contact was instant messaging in the wee hours of the morning. Craig came to truly enjoy working with the Indian programmers, who were exceedingly polite. But Craig’s job was to be the detail guy, which resulted in a wide variety of awkward interactions due to language issues. Well, despite some language barriers, eight months after hiring our web design firm, we had a website ready to go! Traffic school and driver education, here we come… sort of.
Upon inspection and discussion with others, we became aware that our website was built in a language called Cold Fusion which was not industry standard. When other design professionals, and companies with whom we planned to do this found out their typical response was, “Did you know your site is in Cold Fusion? Um. Yeah. Well. Um. Yeah. That’s sort of obsolete. Uh. Maybe get back to us when you guys are established?”
Back to the drawing boards. Looks like traffic school would have to wait. Along the way, language problems aside, we’d come to respect and like some of the Indian programmers with whom we worked, but we simply had to start from scratch. [Quick side note: we continue to believe working with Indian firms can be an excellent opportunity…we’re already working again with another Indian programmer, and his work is helping GoDMV.com succeed…so don’t take the experience above as a generalization; it was simply one experience we had that we thought was worth sharing as we tell our story.]
So we were out some money, and eight months behind schedule. Where to turn? Tallahassee, FL, that’s where. Jim had a good relationship with a quality web development firm in Tallahassee who priced the site at (well, let’s just say it was tens of thousands of dollars more than we had to spend). But Jim’s contact liked our idea and offered us a good business compromise…and we went along with it. We were back on track, talking in English and things started to look great!
Then some cold feet. We were hearing from our Internet mentors (people who had SOME experience doing business on the Internet, and to whom we turned for advice) that we were prioritizing all wrong, and that what we really needed to do was focus on marketing efforts, not so much the web development side.
We’d just offered up quite a bit to a web development firm, and here we were being told we’d made yet another strategic error. Luckily, the deal with Jim’s contact was not irreversible. So we canceled that deal and moved on…
(At this point we’d like to say, in fairness, that the web development firm in Tallahassee was both professional and easy to work with…we hope to work with them again someday.)
Around this time, we got our marketing guru, Danny. Danny was an Israeli web-marketing guru by reputation, and we’d been chasing after him for 6 months. Along the way, we’d heard stories that made him, in our mind, the King of Internet marketing. We wanted him on the team. By sheer luck, and the grace of timing, Jim happened to be in a car with Danny’s cousin after a basketball game when he found out some good news: Danny was a free-agent again, and traveling in the U.S.
We wasted no time and began discussions with Danny who was then somewhere in Northern California. A few days of contract negotiations later, Danny was on a plane and we shared with him the plan. Danny was in! His English was not too bad either. He proclaimed, “Consider me as Internet Marketing Expert!” And we did. And he is. Danny has since hired an Indian programmer and a Romanian programmer to assist. The language barriers are his problem, but for a former paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces, dealing with a couple of foreign programmers does not seem to be a problem. We never know where Danny may be…Israel, Miami, New York, California…he just gets the job done.
Serbia. We’ve never been there. Hear it’s nice. Think a couple of world wars may have been ignited there. Doesn’t matter. We found web development in Serbia. After procuring our web marketing expertise, and getting some more quality content together, we really needed a web development team again. We turned to our Internet Mentors, who identified some high-quality, sure-thing web development firms for us outside the U.S. Problem: We couldn’t afford them either. But Craig found a needle in a haystack. A quality web development firm in Serbia ready for action…at the right price. Less than a week into the engagement we’d settled on a design format. These guys worked fast, and language was not an issue. We were on our way…
So here we are. And here you are. On our website. It wasn’t easy for us to get GoDMV.com consumer ready. But we hope you’ll find it visually pleasing, easy-to-use, and valuable to whatever driver needs you have. We provide information about the DMV in your state, about traffic laws, traffic schools, driver education, and a whole lot more. We value your input �" your feedback can only teach us how to be better.
Please look around the site. We truly want to bring driver information to your doorstep (or at least your computer screen). Thanks for visiting, and have a great day. Don’t speed through life…but if you do, and you get a ticket…come back and see us sometime!
Craig and Jim
P.S. Thanks to all of you who helped us get GoDMV off the ground and believed in our vision. Your support matters to us, and we won’t forget it.