iFoods and the Dragons’ Den effect online

I normally resist the temptation to rake over the ashes of the entrepreneurs and inventors subjected to the flames of BBC2’s Dragons.  That said I remember the interview I did with …

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22nd August 2008 at 8:14 pm

I normally resist the temptation to rake over the ashes of the entrepreneurs and inventors subjected to the flames of BBC2’s Dragons.  That said I remember the interview I did with an early victim, Amanda Zuydervelt of stylebible.com, very fondly.

But this week’s episode of Dragon’s Den is worth some follow-up, partly because one of the companies featured has given us an insight into the impact of appearing on the show.

For a while now people have been saying that lots of entrepreneurs only choose to appear on the show to get some publicity and are not seriously looking for investment.  While I’m not suggesting the guys from iFoods.tv did that, they have given us a chance to see the ‘Den effect’ in action.

iFoods.tv is a social media site for sharing cookery videos.  The two entrepreneurs who appeared on the show, Niall Harbison and Sean Fee fell at the final hurdle when it was revealed their site’s domain name was only an ‘s’ away from iFood.tv, an apparently more popular US rival.

Fair enough. And in a fascinating post for all those out there interested in evaluating the relative popularity of web sites, Robert Gowans suggests that the Dragons probably made the right decision to keep their money to themselves.

Nevertheless, what impact did a prime time appearance on national TV do for iFoods.tv and for that matter its rival?  Well, take a look at the following chart from Alexa which shows a massive spike in traffic for both sites this week.  A spike which benefited its competitor also allowed iFoods to close the gap.

And Niall from iFoods confirms this with data for a 24 hour period which shows the following from what I assume is Google analytics:

55,563        Unique Visitors

186,819      Page Views

3.37           Page views per visit

40.97          Bounce rate

88.26          Percentage of new visits

Of course a spike is exactly what this will be, but most startups would be happy with this kind of uplift in traffic, as long as they can retain a proportion of visitors.  The 40.97% bounce rate suggests that ought to be the case for iFoods.

So, is a spot of torture in the Den worth it for the notoriety and traffic a startup might come away with? I’ll let you decide.

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. Yes, it was worth these 2 Irishmen appearing on Dragons’ Den to promote their web-site. That is the only way that people like myself and thousands of others could have heard of their web-site. Dragons Den is repeated so many times that I have have just seen their appearance in August 2009. So the publicity from repeats is invaluable , even if the Dragons do not back the business. Free TV advertising on a popular programme, plus repeats, must be worth tens of thousands of pounds, and entrepreneurs like myself certainly see the value of that.

    The UK needs more entrepreneurs to pay for the burgeoning ,recession-proof public sector! Dragons Den is brilliant !!

  2. We noticed a spike in traffic as a result of people searching for iFoods. I guessed it was a DD repeat.

    I suspect Dragon’s Den producers are wary of businesses just out for some publicity. It can also be a double-edged sword, as Amanda Zuydervelt of Stylebible (one of my early interviewees on the podcast) found out.

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