Background to TelecomsAdvice and Crucible Multimedia Ltd

by Crucible Multimedia

Who is behind TelecomsAdvice?

In 1999/2000 the Oftel Small Business Task Force identified a need and developed a brief for a website based service to give telecoms and related ICT 'advice' to small businesses which don't have their own ICT support staff, Initial advice and technical assistance was provided by SBTF member 'Telerise', a "not-for-profit" EU funded project based at the University of Sheffield. Crucible Multimedia Ltd was established to administer and develop the site - based in Sheffield and able to take advantage of EU assisted area support, Oftel funded the initial site design and promotion, and David Edmonds, Director General of Oftel, officially launched it in August 2000.

On-going funding was from, upto 30, ICT industry main sponsors. Oftel promoted the site to prospective sponsors and funded promotion to small business consumers until its merger into Ofcom. During the merger period, while Ofcom's new policy was developed, promotion to sponsors lapsed and some of the shortfall in sponsorship was made up by direct funding from Oftel/Ofcom. Crucible Multimedia Ltd. also took on related consultancy work.

While acknowledging our success and supporting our work in principle, Ofcom have made a policy decision not to directly support independant initiatives like telecomsadvice and so we are now entirely funded by sponsorship and advertising revenues. We retain our absolute commitment to impartial or balanced editorial and the maintainance of consumer trust while working with ICT suppliers to provide 'advice' which enables informed choice and to promote effective solutions to our visitor's needs. Any supplier of ICTs to UK consumers can have a free entry in our ICT Directory and submit editorial for publication and selected sponsors' keyword related text ads will appear on relevant pages.

Information for sponsors

TelecomsAdvice continues to be publicised direct to small businesses and through Chambers of Commerce, trade associations, banks, accountants, Business Links and other business support advisers. Our initial endorsement and promotion by Oftel (now Ofcom), the former Oftel SBTF member organisations and the DTI's Small Business Service ensures a high credibility rating and a constant stream of visits by our target audience. Our practical, impartial advice ensures a high level of return visits and referrals. We are an encyclopaedia, a reference resource for the generalist owner/manager rather than a magazine for 'techie' enthusiasts. Our visitors are here to find the first step towards an ICT solution - to find-out about applications and technologies, products and services - to get basic 'advice' to enable them to make an informed purchase.

All main sponsors have in the the past contributed £5000 per year each. This is continuing with increased functionality through our new sponsorship advertising interface. This interface is also now open to advertisers who don't want to commit to an annual sponsorship. Sponsors/advertisers can invest in keyword related pay-per-click (ppc) text ads which appear on relevant editorial, search and ICT Directory pages. Leading brands which get more clicks from us can get a discount on the ppc rates through annual sponsorship. Our ppc rates (which can be seen after registration through the interface) are based on our experience with carrying Google ads and average ppc rates actually earned with them.

We do not have the systems or human resources to administer a commission based scheme ourselves, however we do carry sponsored links from 'affiliate' networks. These links are also keyword related to the page content through our own interface and earn us commission if a 'cookie' tracked sale or formal registration results from a click thru'. Our own 'direct' ads appear above affiliate ads and affiliate ads are ranked by estimated average earnings per click (epc). Low earning affiliate ads may get pushed off all but their own ICT Directory entry page. During a transition period main sponsor text ads may appear together with their own or their subsidiary's affiliate network ads. Any supplier of ICTs to UK consumers can have a free entry in our ICT Directory.

Further development of the site is geared to total funding – we are not reliant on any one company for our continued existence. Content is welcomed from sponsors and non-sponsors, public and private sector, and is published on merit, although we do circulate sponsors with requests for information and sponsors do seem to be more active in providing articles for publication.

We hope the ICT industry will support TelecomsAdvice - to be associated with a consumer advice initiative which reduces the uncertainty and confusion in the minds of consumers which can delay their decision to buy, and for small business awareness of their brands, products and services.

To enquire about sponsorship whether you are a large or small business, principle or advertising agency use the sponsorship advertising interface  or contact by email.

Reviewed January 2011

last updated : 21/01/2011

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