Online ticketing has actually changed the way events planners sell tickets. these platforms offer convenience for ticket-buyers as well as they significantly minimize overhead costs for the planners themselves. However, TicketMaster and other well-known platforms are only practical for grand productions—like televised sporting events plus mega-star concerts. What if you arrange small scale ones? Acknowledging this specific requirement in her native country of origin, Turkey, US-based Ceren Cubukcu, an MBA graduate of Bentley University, took matters into her own hands—she developed her own self-service online ticketing platform, Etkinlik Fabrikam (My Event Factory).
“Currently, in Turkey, there are two major ticketing companies and one of them is owned by Ticketmaster.com,” describes Ceren. “They usually give ticketing services for major events such as popular soccer games or concerts by popular artists. To start selling your tickets on their websites, you need to call their customer service hotline and fill out a bunch of paperwork to sign up with them. I noticed that there isn’t a ticketing company servicing smaller events, educational events or seminars—[a service] which are easy enough to use so you can start selling tickets within minutes without calling anyone or filling out any paperwork.”
To build the prototype, Ceren searched the Internet for outsourcing sites and ended up on the world’s largest marketplace, Freelancer.com.
“I heard about Freelancer.com in a conference where the person giving the seminar said he used [the site] to hire offshore freelancers to decrease his project costs.”
While she admits that she compared the site with competitors Elance as well as oDesk, she discovered exactly what she needed on Freelancer.com.“I did some research into similar projects on those sites, as well as developers with the skills and experience to do my prototype, but only Freelancer.com had what I needed.”
With development out of the way, Freelancer.com also offered marketing and advertising solutions. Ceren was able to have 2 promotional videos made for only US$900. She hired a Ukrainian videographer, who was confident to produce them in Turkish. “When he bid on the project, he sent me a message that he can speak Turkish and fulfill my request,” Ceren recalls, noting her initial skepticism. “ Then I responded in Turkish to find out if he was fluent and he was.” The videos, which will be embedded on the homepage, can be viewed on www.youtube.com/user/EtkinlikFabrikam.
For US$2000, she today has a ticketing website that is going to provide a springboard for future development. Ultimately, she plans to include more services to it based on suggestions from potential customers. The website will go live as soon as it has been translated into Turkish.
“I did not ask for quotes from other companies but I know from my friends who have paid to build an e-commerce website that it costs more than $2000,” she says. “I had a limited budget so I didn’t want to use any US web agencies. I also didn’t want to use any Turkish web agencies because I didn’t want my idea to be stolen or cloned. The best choice for me was to hire offshore web developers through Freelancer.com for my project, and I am glad that I did. I had a positive experience with Freelancer.com and with the development company I hired.”
“I needed a simple website to help me start and turn my idea into reality so I can show it to potential users and maybe investors to get feedback and eventually, launch my company,” she reveals. “I am happy to see my idea turned into a product. The prototype has helped me get pitching opportunities to potential angel investors. Moreover, the site winning second place in a startup competition called ‘Women Movement in Technology’ in Turkey increased my credibility.” The competition was sponsored by Vodafone Foundation Turkey, in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER) and Turkish Informatics Association (TBV). Ceren received 10,000 TL (Turkish Lira), is equal to US$5,555, as capital to fund the project.
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