Building a strong and scalable marketplace portal – an interview with Russmedia CRO Adrian Daniel

If user generated content is the lifeblood, then the portal is the spine of any successful marketplace. Without a quality portal your entire business will quickly collapse.

Developing and maintaining the framework of your marketplace can be hard and expensive work, that takes away focus from other critical business areas like monetization strategies and product evolution.

Luckily there are a lot of great partners out there providing platform solutions. Russmedia Solutions is one of the most experienced companies in the business, having completed more than 100 successful projects.

We had a chat with their CRO Adrian Daniels about common challenges, pitfalls and tips for marketplace owners setting up their portal.

 

What does Russmedia do?

RussMedia Solutions is an international company that offers software services for online businesses. Our solutions include Job Board Software and other specific solutions for Real Estate Platforms, Car Portals and other online classifieds. We apply a structured approach to development, supported by dedicated project managers and product owners. Today our expertise includes digital marketing, user experience, SEO and conversion rate optimization.

Some of our key features include semantic search, matching, and classification based on machine learning, artificial intelligence, great filtering capabilities, user alerts plus very powerful analytics.

We began as an internal software development department of the Russmedia group, but soon after that, we started to develop online portal solutions not only for our internal products, as we started having requests for our solutions from external partners. We also took on the development and maintenance of news, job, car and real estate portals. Since then it’s been 15 years and more than 100 successful projects.

 

Why should marketplace founders partner with Russmedia to build their marketplace instead of using an in-house team?

We’ve built many projects from scratch. First our own portals and then many for our partners. When you have an in-house team the cumulated experience of your team is rarely that rich and diverse. Finding a solution outside your company might very often prove to be more effective not only cost wise but also from the human resources management perspective. You do not have a handful of people that are specialized in very specific technologies, but an entire company at your disposal with a lot of experience and with expertise in multiple areas. You have support around the clock and you also get to be part of a community.

Having a company that offers software as a service also saves the cost in developing new features or functionalities, many times we develop these and then offer it to our clients either as part of their subscription or at a better cost than if they would have developed it in-house.

 

You’ve recently joined us in a webinar around migrating from one marketplace tech to another, could you give us one example of pitfalls you’ve seen marketplace owners fall into when going through this process?

For sure, we assisted and conducted many migrating processes. some very successful, some that had many challenges. From my experience, there is a huge risk if planning has not been done thoroughly. Transparency and setting up clear goals is crucial and unfortunately, it happens that some of these checkpoints are not completed.

If you’d like here is a very short list:

  • Schedule proper training for all users of the new tool
  • Make a test migration with live data – It’s Important to test with live data, to measure migration timings and find out possible data issues with live data before the actual migration. Once data is there, more complete tests can be performed.
  • Make sure all involved parties are present on migration date

 

What are some of the most common challenges marketplaces have when reaching out to Russmedia?

There are multiple situations, but 3 of the most common are:

  • Undersized infrastructure – companies that did not plan their growth in advance and went for a lower budget solution which is not scalable, and then they end up in the situation where they need to migrate to a different solution for this very reason.
  • The platform they currently use is not flexible enough – We often have prospects that tell us their current solution does not support multiple languages or cannot be integrated with certain apps or simply some desired design upgrades are not possible on the current platform
  • Start-up in need of a solution

 

There are many vendors out there that can help build a marketplace. What sets Russmedia apart?

Indeed, many great companies and many good solutions are out there. I believe our key differentiator is the fact that our platforms are highly customizable. We are very flexible when it comes to integration or any other custom requests. We developed various projects for our clients from classic real-estate portals or general job portals to jobs in aviation or a marketplace for horses. We can adapt our platforms to nearly any language.

Last, but not least our partners become part of a community. We take on the innovation of new features, so the client no longer has to worry about this. Sometimes we give them new features that they did not even consider developing, but which end up being a great revenue stream for them.

 

Any examples of past projects that you’re really proud of? What made that project, in particular, a success?

We are proud of all our projects. Vol.at, CVOnline.hu, Laendleimmo.at, Simplysalesjobs.co.uk, Laendlejob.at, Immo.tt.com, Jobs.tt.com, just to name a few. If we’d have to pick one of them maybe laendlejob.at. It is also part of our group and it looks great; it works great and it is highly profitable.

 

You’ve just recently partnered with Besedo. How does that fit into your strategy? Does it allow you to provide an even better or more complete offering?

Absolutely. Besedo has great tools. AI-powered moderation tools are something that every marketplace should have. This partnership allows us to give more to our clients and it takes the pressure off our team as we no longer need to invest in research to develop something like this.

Last but not least Besedo’s solutions, like ours, are tailor-made so every client gets their own customized solution.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to those setting up a marketplace portal what would it be?

Plan. Make some plans and when you are done revise those plans. You also need to make sure you plan for the long term. Make sure you take into consideration at least the first three years of your existence and make sure that when you build your business it will be scalable.

This should also reflect on the infrastructure you are setting up. It might seem cheaper to get an off the shelf solution at first, but after a few months you might realize this was not a great idea higher costs are involved and more effort: migration, scouting for a different platform all the back and forth…you lose time and money.

About Adrian Daniel

Adrian is Chief Revenue Officer at Russmedia Solutions.  he’s worked his way up in the company, so he knows the business inside-out. Started as a junior programmer in Russmedia more than 9 years ago and believes that technology is here to help us.

He mostly enjoys the fact that technology can create endless possibilities to help businesses thrive. Classifieds portals and their growth have been his focus for nearly a decade and now as a CRO he is am looking at all the potential that Russmedia’s solutions can offer potential partners.

He is highly motivated and believes that any problem has a solution.

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