I’m selling “The Million Mile Challenge”, both the trademark and the site, distancetracker.com. There is a huge investment in the back-end code and I’ll give you the details if you’d like them, just shoot an email to email@example.com. Here is the story..
The Million Mile Challenge is a pursuit of mine for the last 12 years. If you go back to the first web site I ever purchased, biketrip.com, it then really covers a 17 year journey, full of some amazing moments and a lot of disappointment. I’ll do my best to convey if it was worth it.
In 1999 while working at Land O’ Lakes I purchased my first domain name, biketrip.com. It was pretty amazing that it was available, the one domain I wanted happened to become available when I first looked for it. It cost over $100 just for the first year, that is the most I’ve ever paid for a domain. And that was the going rate at the time. Domain names have come down significantly in price, but of course its pretty hard to get an ideal name now, but not always.
I wasn’t sure how to begin with it. I told an old biking buddy of mine that I purchased it, and he being a database developer said lets partner up and create a database of organized bike trips. We did that but he soon exited as he was too busy to pursue it, and that was actually a relief to me because I wanted to run the business anyway.
I ended up hiring a developer and he created a pretty cool site in 2002. The concept was very simple, enter the dates you want to take a biketrip and a few optional parameters, and it would find them. I arranged to carry all of the bike trips from over 20 adventure companies for free, and in a sense, it started. I didn’t have a money maker in there yet, but planned on charging the adventure companies.
In 2003, while still at Land O’ Lakes, I changed gears as discussion forums were the big thing, so I found a developer, and now a great friend Josh, to move my site to this forum software and build in features. I got feature crazy and started asking for everything. No doubt I caused Josh some sleepless nights, but he was awesome and still seems to like me 🙂 The primary feature I put in was a distance tracking feature and a number of companies and schools, including Land O’ Lakes, used the system. Again for free, I wasn’t good at the revenue part :p
In 2006 I invested in an adventure company to bring attention to my site. They drove out to Minneapolis and we attended triathlons, 5k runs, etc.. and put on our own big one day event at Bunker Hills park. We filmed it all and entered CNN’s “Fit Nation” contest and came in second place. It did not yield the attention I thought it would, partially because CNN never aired my piece, which was supposed to be the prize.
Fortunately, through this adventure company I was connected with the CDC and we developed a tracking system for their “Got Health” program. While it did bring in a significant amount of money, it was only enough to pay for the development of the site. I was always thinking, just be patient, we’re after the big prize here, a very active website. Again, I was wrong.
Since then we’ve created tracking systems for the Carolina Healthcare System and The Walking Classroom. While we were able to deliver what they want, I think they all ran into the same challenge, people just don’t want to log their miles on a regular basis.
I still own all of the features I developed for these clients and the site is chalk full of great features. I have an idea and plan to change it again, but not until I have an investor. The lesson I learned is, if you build it they will not come, its hard to succeed, but in the end, had I not tried I’m not sure how I’d feel about not trying. I had to try..