Mogdesign UK Ltd.
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How a Sophisticated System Can Create the Largest Online Community for Property Investors in the Country
I am very much a commercially minded kind of a person. We are a profit making organization; we have lots of staff members, we have a proper business to run, we really treat our business seriously. One of the things I like about the guys is that they also treat their business very seriously. It is very important to me to find people within the Drupal Community who have a commercial mindset. They have a good commercial perspective, they understood my business goal and they really took the time to understand the project.
#1 DISCUSSIONS aka Q&A
Ask a question to the property community of over 5,000 members! Tycoonsystem.com visitors can write property questions in 140 characters long messages on various topics like how to buy & sell, all about properties, juridical help and other important issues of the “property” world.
#2 TYCOON MEMBERSHIP
Tycoon Membership provides for its owners valuable information which ordinary website users can´t approach. The level of the Property Tycoon website benefits depends on the purchased membership type. Upgrade from Bronze to Silver, Gold, TMA is done via buying a Subscription product in the E-shop.
Gamification is a motivation tool to positively energize the Property Tycoon Community. Active community behavior and contributions are awarded by “points” and used to calculate IP (important person) & VIP status. The main goal is to become a VIP member who will be promoted on the front page of the website which thousands of users visit.
The Tycoon System website developed a sophisticated system which selects and collects the most valuable property deals data from the several UK websites selling properties. How is the selection provided, what is the system capable of and how is the system implemented to the Drupal… you can find out in the #4 Deals section.
#5 MIGRATION - A Whole New Website
The most difficult situation came along with the data migration. Mogdesign migrated a great deal of information from the website which gathered a huge number of script and audiovisual materials and which over 5000 members have visited every day since 2003.
#6 OTHER SPECIFICATIONS
Mogdesign provided for Property Tycoon a full 48 hour service in case some errors appeared on the website.
To secure Tycoon System’s privacy and policy, Mogdesign had to manage one particular area — video hacking. To forbid the URL address illegal propagation, Mogdesign created a ONE TIME LINK option... Read more in the #6 Other Specifications section.
Mogdesign is a leading central European agency for web design and development services based on Drupal (open-source content management system), located in Slovakia.
The Largest Online Community
The Tycoonsystem.com website started in 2003. The Tycoon Community forum launched in February 2006 and quickly became the most popular property investors’ forum in the United Kingdom. The Community has today over 5000 members, lots of offline events, workshops, coaching programs and the Tycoonsystem.com website which contains a very sophisticated piece of software that sources deals, bargain properties from all over the country and many more benefits.
The Tycoon System is a revolutionary system that is set to improve property investing to the highest level. It is the world's first platform for properties, including deals, finance, education and contacts, in one simple and easy to use resource. Tycoon Community is today the largest online community for property investors in the United Kingdom.
Their vision is to complete 20,000 deals by the year 2020 in order to:
Plans Have Changed
The first Tycoonsystem.com website launched in 2003 was a very basic website, a plain forum where estate agents could chat with each other and discuss their trade issues. They had access to blog posts and deals. But the whole website didn't actually work properly; it was jerry-built and a visually fragmented website. At that time, Parmdeep Vadesha, founder and CEO at Tycoon System, had no ambition to pay in-depth attention to his website, but the increasing interest people had in his project made Vadesha change his plans. He pushed the website to a higher level and created from it his main business traffic.
“I think it was even a Frontpage website that I designed myself. At that time I had no ambition to build any kind of community or web business. But the things we were talking about in our website were very popular, specifically how to find people who wanted to sell their properties cheap. I started helping and teaching people and by 2007 we had the largest online community for people who wanted to find and buy bargain properties,” Parmdeep Vadesha tells his story.
The system started to accelerate by 2010 because of the many business goals Parmdeep Vadesha and his team wanted to pursue, specifically increasing the Community by offering a much better service to the members.
“We found we were very constrained in being able to do that because of all the legacy systems we had operating. They weren't able to allow us to help our members to achieve their goals,” added Parmdeep Vadesha, who spent around a year with his technical team just to try to figure out which were the best systems that would give them an integrated solution for the whole online community. As a result, Parmdeep wrote a vast document where he put together his far-reaching visions about his Tycoon System website and its functionalities.
“According to the documentation, we had received from Parmdeep, it was a project of quite a large scale, which was impossible to deliver in such a short time. We had decided to visit Parmdeep in the UK and talk about the whole idea, find out what were the merits of the case,” says David Lukac, co-founder and CTO at Mogdesign.
After common agreement, the Mogdesign team prepared complete project specification which included concrete technical and functional steps of the implementation. Mogdesign identified and implemented the following main aspects of the Property Tycoon project:
#1 DISCUSSIONS aka Q&A
Tycoon System website users may participate in the discussion board where they can ask questions on various topics like how to buy & sell, all about properties, juridical help and other important issues of the “property” world. Discussions aka “Questions & Answers” belong between Parmdeep´s main requests on the site and you can find them on the Tycoonsystem.com in the main menu under the “Community” section.
There are no barriers to asking questions and giving feedback. Tycoon website users can:
Questions are classified into simple flat hierarchy and they contain only one topic. Users can fill out the question form, but at submitting they are asked for login details. Gold and Tycoon Alliance Membership (TMA) members can ask questions as can the VIP experts who receive notification after posting a new ones. Users also can receive VIP badges based on the userpoints; you can read more about this below in this case study.
#2 TYCOON MEMBERSHIP
Tycoon Membership provides for its owners valuable information which ordinary website users can´t approach. The resources which the Tycoon System website offers are a result of intensive work and gaining original and unique information for years. Bronze membership is the basic level and it´s free for a lifetime subscription. Other membership levels are available for a monthly financial fee.
Memberships allow you to, for example, browse the Tycoon System website and view other members’ questions, profiles and blogs; ask a question to the property community of over 5,000 members; preview selected property investment resources; keep up to date with the Tycoon System through email and social media; download investment resources; access full premium resources including over 250 videos, audios, articles, documents, legal agreements, advanced workshop recordings, helping you to create a property investment strategy and much more.
The level of the Property Tycoon website benefits depends on the purchased membership type. Upgrade from Bronze to Silver, Gold, TMA is done via buying a Subscription product in the E-shop. The recurring payments which come along with the Tycoon Membership are for the Mogdesign team novelties/news.
“After the first payment which the user has to provide to receive the subscription product (some level of the Tycoon Membership), the next payments are automatically invoked and performed by Ubercart/WorldPay. This implementation was, at that time, new for our team,” described Milan Lukac, Drupal developer at Mogdesign.
To boost the original idea, Parmdeep Vadesha incorporated gamification system to the project. It´s a motivation tool to positively energize the Property Tycoon Community. How it works on Tycoonsystem.com?
Contributions and “points” are used to calculate IP (important person) & VIP status. Each of the website users earns a number of points while regularly contributing on the site. It means posting questions, answers or messages, responding or adding valuable resources and so on. Points are guaranteed for the mentioned actions every time the users complete them. It is known as active community behavior.
The main goal is to become a VIP member who will be promoted on the front page of the website which thousands of users visit. This status includes a special “VIP Badge” that appears on the VIP member´s profile. This privilege brings users credit and their posts will be more valued. Once earned, the badge is displayed on the member’s profile and everywhere they post.
The gamification implementation is special because of the positioning. It is standalone application; outside the Drupal open source CMS. “It has nothing to do with the Tycoon System website. The website updates its members list monthly and those members who actively contributed in the current month get points. We made it that way on purpose in order to utilize this service in the future. We can use the gamification application on any other website with minimum adjustment to the Drupal,” described Milan Lukac.
Each estate agent wants to build an extensive net of his own bargain properties for sale. They want to become the best agents in the real estate area by presenting the best offers they have, therefore they are intensively looking up new deals from every source the Internet, Print Media or Broadcast Media suggest. The purpose of the Deals section is to bring interesting property deals to users of the Tycoon System website.
That´s the reason why the Tycoon System website developed a sophisticated system which selects and collects the most valuable property deals data from the several UK websites selling properties. These data are retrieved by so called Crawler and stored in the Crawler database. Gathered data are processed by the Crawler and sent over to the Drupal website for further use.
The system chooses the right, so called VALID deals on the base of predefined criteria and at the same time it displays them on the Tycoon System website. Those failed ones which didn´t pass through the predefined criteria on the website become INVALID deals also stored on the website.
Why does the website need invalid deals at all?
The Property Tycoon team review invalid deals to ensure whether they are valuable information or not. Their extra work, in this case, serves to improve the Crawler and the whole system.
The user is able to search the available deals by certain filters such as town, postal code, number of bedrooms, etc. The website gives valuable advice regarding which deal is more beneficial for the user. The deals contain an image, detailed information about the property and its market value. The calculated discount value is also available, which is probably the main factor when choosing the right deal. The nice visual design and comfortable website performance makes it a convenient tool for property dealers and buyers.
“The application which goes through several websites selling properties and searching for new potential deals on the base of predefined criteria already existed and worked well. Mogdesign´s task was to integrate the existing application to the website. We also tested the server capacity, concretely how many deals it is capable to handle in one second, how fast it processes the data and whether it slows the website down or not etc. It was a functional system, but we improved it,” explained Milan Lukac.
Property Tycoon has a well-prepared and thought-out system. And because of the large number of valid (displayed) and invalid (stored only) deals, Mogdesign decided to implement the Deals outside the Drupal open source CMS in standalone positioning. This method ensures that the website doesn’t slow down when adding more deals, which can reach up to one million. The number of approachable deals depends on acquired Tycoon Membership level.
#5 MIGRATION - A Whole New Website
Developers from Mogdesign created a whole new website for the Property Tycoon System. The most difficult situation came along with the data migration. Mogdesign migrated a great deal of information from the website which gathered a huge number of script and audiovisual materials and which over 5000 members have visited every day since 2003. There are over 2070 Q&A pages only and many more data.
The Mogdesign team gathered, selected and separated data from its former website. They had to find out first where the data were stored and then replace an old technology with a new, automatic one. Mogdesign provided the whole migration so called SEO friend — every link, source, all data that already existed on the former website system the Mogdesign team transferred to the new Tycoon System website without any loss of index (history data) in Google Analytics.
#6 OTHER SPECIFICATIONS
Besides the main pillars we mentioned above, there are other very important points which Parmdeep Vadesha had intended to include in his project, Property Tycoon System, for example, sending private messages between users, sharing important scripts and audiovisual materials, the possibility to ask specific experts for answers, valuable articles, case studies, blog posts and other services. All these benefits had to help build a strong and large online community.
One of the Mogdesign´s priorities is to create a strong bond between the company and its client, therefore they lay great emphasis on a good service-level agreement. Mogdesign provided for Property Tycoon a full 48 hour service in case some errors appeared on the website. Fortunately, there weren’t any incidents except small issues in the first month after launching, but they were immediately corrected by the Mogdesign team.
VIDEOS & AUDIOS
The most catchy thing you can do to get somebody´s attention for your message is to show them a video. On the Tycoon System website are several videos about property topics which Tycoon members can see and download. These video and audio recordings are highly valuable because they are unique, originally made and prepared for you to learn more about the property world. To secure Tycoon System’s privacy and policy, Mogdesign had to manage one particular area — video hacking.
These videos couldn´t be uploaded only on Youtube, because not only would Tycoon members see them, so would everybody who wanted to without paying Tycoon’s membership fee. Youtube allows the URL address just for one person, that´s true, but not enough security. In this case, just one person has to become a Tycoon member and the problem is solved. It can be posted forward. Also the URL address is very approachable, which brings nothing but illegal propagation. We had to solve this case properly, so we came up with an idea that videos will be privately stored on the Tycoon System website´s server.
“To forbid the URL address illegal propagation, we created a ONE TIME LINK option. This link contains a token (a long chain of signs), which is generated automatically by the Tycoon System website and after one viewing it returns to the “invalid” status. A Tycoon member can see his video multiple times, of course, but always with another link and token, which will send him the Tycoon System website by return if it´s required,” described Milan Lukac, Drupal developer at Mogdesign.
The security system Mogdesign used completely covers the Tycoon System website´s safety, privacy and policy too. What is allowed just for Tycoon members can´t be allowed for the public.
Parmdeep Vadesha´s main purpose in targeting Mogdesign was in supporting his goal of building the most vibrant, exciting and largest online community for property investors. Whole Mogdesign team worked hard on the Tycoon System website for almost a year and delivered a whole package in regards to Parmdeep Vadesha´s vision.
Mogdesign is a leading central European agency for web design and development services based on Drupal (open-source content management system), located in Slovakia. Since 2005, Mogdesign has been helping non-profit organizations, businesses and start-ups around the globe to build their online communities and market their services. Mogdesign focuses on large scale deployments, payment solutions, system integrations and performance optimization. Client list include the Kauffman Foundation, the World Economic Forum, UNDP, UNESCO, and the Drupal Association among many others.