In Part I of The Evolution of Replicated Websites, we looked at how the sales industry was pioneering business online. Today I want to look at the initial attempts at distributors moving their recruiting and sales efforts onto the web.
Replicated Sites Gain Popularity
The late 1990’s saw the first attempts at direct selling companies providing replicated websites to the sales force. There was usually one website template from which distributor sites would be replicated from, where 98% of the content was about the company, products and opportunity, leaving about 2% of the content to be about the distributor – just enough to make the replicated websites “personalized”.
By limiting unique distributor content to a name, contact information, and in some cases a photo, distributors could feel like it was their own, and the company could rest assured not having to worry about distributors publishing content that could be controversial, untrue, legally-sensitive, or otherwise not in the company’s best interest.
This provided a place of credibility for distributors to point new contacts to, in hopes of catalyzing new relationships and broadening the distributor’s network. The focus of most distributors was to enroll new recruits for the company, so the early websites tried to emulate that; a place for distributors to attract prospects and generate leads.
As the idea for replicated websites gained interest in the industry, direct selling companies were faced with the challenge of implementing a cost-effective system to manage this new web technology solution.
Next Post – The Emergence of Suppliers
The Evolution of Replicated Website Part III will look into how direct selling companies began to duplicate distributor websites. These sites saw the emergence of new opportunities and challenges for the industry as a whole.
Photo credit: Zach Taylor (handshake)