2 months ago
Send postcards to anyone, anywhere in the world via Facebook Messenger
What is included in the sale ?
The domain, design assets and all code (including YAML for automated deployment via Azure DevOps). The Azure account being used to host the chatbot and site can possibly be transferred to avoid having to deploy the site from scratch.
What is the technological stack ?
Website: ASP.NET MVC hosted on Azure VM
Chatbot: C# using Microsoft Bot Framework, uses Lob.com for sending postcards via HTTP. Bot code is run on serverless Azure Functions so you only get charged when people are using the bot. Paypal SDK.
Which parts of the project are incomplete ?
The chatbot was operational for a year and now is just acting as a portfolio piece. After Paypal changed their API I disabled the payment and sending feature so now it just simulates the experience and no postcards are sent. With a bit of work you could add a new payment provider or update the Paypal code and have it up and running again very quickly.
At some point the bot could do with upgrading to the next version of the Microsoft Bot Framework but that's not so pressing.
Do you have any traffic ?
Not currently, the bot was used to send 120 postcards at £1.99 by users (including quite a few from me but not all) to places all over the world over the course of a year.
Why are you selling ?
I think the product holds promise and with the right marketing chops could be made profitable. I always struggled to get the word out and with paid advertising being very expensive on a cost per click basis it didn't seem the best way to acquire new users.
I'm proud of the product and think it is a great application of conversational commerce but I don't have the time to invest in turning it into a successful product - I hope someone else will.
How can the future owner turn the project into a business ?Find a reliable and cheaper customer acquisition channel than Google or Facebook Ads.
Economies of scale: For every postcard sent at £1.99 profits were around £0.20 but depended on if the cards were being sent in the US or aboard as Lob.com charge different prices. With enough volume cheaper printing is easily possible. Printing could also be delegated to different companies (like Kite in the UK) depending on the recipient location to save on international postage.
Provide a web interface for ordering cards as well perhaps?
Cool idea! Have you done any trademarking/incorp.? Also, what were the biggest painpoints with the business? Thanks!
Hello! I have a limited company in the UK which Caardvark is technically the intellectual property of but I have not done any trademarking and selling would involve me transferring the domain, site, code and assets. The Caardvark.com domain recently expired so that might be worth looking at too if you were interested in taking this project further. There is one company I found after launch that uses the Caardvark name: https://twitter.com/caardvark It looks quite small and probably does not have trademark but this would be worth looking into as it could be an issue. Not something I was particularly concerned with though Hope this helps?