Can I post my deal on Woot
Woot in the Belly: The Story of Matt Rudledge
It has just been announced that Matt Rudledge, Founder and CEO of woot.com is withdrawing from his company, which he founded in 2004 and sold to Amazon in 2010. Actually a nice moment to look back at the beginnings of live shopping:
Pioneering days of e-commerce
It's the middle of 2004. The online auctions on Ebay are still the most innovative thing e-commerce has ever had to offer and keep the online community of bargain hunters in suspense. Facebook is still a small student network in the United States and will not have a German equivalent with StudiVZ until a year later. The German and international copycat industry is just awakening, but is still a long way from reaching its current level of professionalism. Promotional shopping models such as live, club or group shopping as we know them today have not yet been thought of.
Electronics wholesaler Matt Rudledge lives and works in the greater Dallas, Texas area. He sells quantities of 4,000 to 5,000 pieces to other wholesalers. For some time now he has been thinking of entering the end customer business, but he doesn't want to be a shop “like everyone else”. Matt's brother Dave Rudledge attended college at the time and runs a blog with his friend Luke where they post their personal finds online. Every day they tell a new story and thus build their own fan base.
Inspired by his brother's blog, Matt Rudledge came up with the idea of developing a shop that did exactly the same thing. That was the hour of birth of woot.com and the Daily Deal principle, which became known internationally with the woot slogan “One Day, One Deal” and which came to Germany in 2007 as “live shopping”. As in a blog, Rudledge put a product up for sale every day and presented it with a funny to absurd story instead of the usual marketing jargon. A buying experience that had never existed before. He quickly came up with quantities of 2,000 to 10,000 pieces a day. This was followed by other gags such as the “Bag of Crap”, “Two for Tuesday” campaigns or special sales days such as the “Woot-Offs”.
What follows is history: Hundreds of online shops around the world are copying the principle of daily offers. In Europe iBOOD.com and 1DayFly should be mentioned in particular, and in Germany Schutzgeld.de, guut.de and preisbock.de. The idea of the catch-of-the-day spread as far as Australia. Woot verticalized and launched portals for wine, t-shirts, kids, home, sports and a few more. A cooperation with Yahoo under the label SellOut.Woot and a community deal hunter variant under the name dealswoot have also been started. In 2010 Rudledge surprised when he woot! sold to Amazon, which at the time had already adopted Zappos, the US model from Zalando.
The Amazon era
In 2010 everything looked like woot! His independence would largely be preserved
Woot HQ will remain in Carrollton, Texas, and will operate as autonomously as other Amazon companies like Zappos and Audible.
TechCrunch writes about a conversation with Rudledge about his departure:
Rutledge says looking back he might have liked to stay independent and compete in that fast-growing market. As for why he left, Rutledge said that he was too much of a founder to fit into a large organization, and that earlier stages of growth are far more interesting than managing a subsidiary in a behemoth like Amazon.
Amazon recently announced its daughter's woot! Missed a new dress and positioned the shop more seriously - away from the classic live shopper and towards the deal portal. Some home marketing remedies such as prizes or a newsletter that were unthinkable in the past (Darold Rydl announced “We don't do any marketing at all” at the Live Shopping Days 2010 in Berlin) were introduced under Amazon. So it is not really surprising that Rudledge chooses this point in time to exit.
Goodbye Matt! see you soon
With Matt Rudledge, a pioneer and deal rock star is leaving the live shopping stage, who has made a difference in his work at woot.com and has had a lasting impact on e-commerce. Live shopping can now be seen as a direct forerunner for group shopping ala Groupon and DailyDeal and had some influence on the online trend of club shopping and other impulse-driven sales models. It remains to be seen what Matt Rudledge starts next. It may be worthwhile to keep an eye on his brother Dave's online activities this time as well.
Post picture: Photo Matt Rutledge from twitter.com/snapster
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