There are three customer segments; the first customer segment is the end user, which we have historically been labeling the “mass market,” due to the sheer number of users we aim to acquire. e2 is a free service, so the user base will not be a direct source of revenue; rather, users will fuel revenues from the second customer segment, Advertisements and Higher Education Lead Gen. The third customer segment consists of corporations.
This report gives an in-depth look at the the value proposition, market size estimations, experiments, and results of the “Mass Market” customer segment.
There are some creative, free, online education pioneers such as MIT Open Courseware, Coursera, and the Khan Academy. And more and more are being implemented as we speak. But as these great resources become increasingly available, the question becomes – “how do we organize it?”
Currently a user must use their own search capability, which yields the problem of not knowing all the available online free class resources. Utilizing a specialized search engine, e2 allows you to find “free” or “pay for” individual classes, either for credit or not for credit, online or local.
Through our survey at https://e2venture.wordpress.com/feedback-surveys/mass-market-survey/, in which we received 74 respondents, 88% were interested in taking online classes. In response to factors that inhibit online education ambitions, 54% said cost and 41% said finding interesting classes were issues. There is about an even split when it comes to desiring “for credit” classes, with 70% saying they had an open mind about not receiving credit. This suggests there is a rather large interest in taking free, online classes, and that they could use our help in finding those resources.
Along with the search engine, e2 would incorporate a “Learning Management System” (LMS), allowing the user to manage, plan, and track his or her own learning paths based on these courses. Additionally, with built-in interfacing with social media, you can share your progress through Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. 81% said they would find value in such a LMS, although only 53% would use the social media features. This suggests that the LMS is an essential feature for success, whereas social media plug ins may not be best set as an initial priority.
A non-comprehensive search for competitors reveals online education sites such as http://alison.com/ and http://education-portal.com/. Alison, for example, uses Google custom search, but still results in many non-college level courses, and there is no way to filter for certain results. Nor does it implement a LMS for the user. And navigating the site, though manageable, is a bit cumbersome. As someone noted in our survey (in summary): “It should promote user satisfaction, to keep the user motivated since no one is there to push them. Therefore, it must have good UI, and UX.”
Traffic hits are the initial “currency” for the mass market customer segment of the e2 venture. This traffic can then be used to convert to dollars by calculating estimated conversion rates for advertising. Education-Portal, OpenCulture, and Alison are websites centered are free, online learning and/or higher education lead gen. Each operate at about a 1 million monthly traffic visits. (Source:http://www.trafficestimate.com/openculture.com, http://www.trafficestimate.com/education-portal.com, http://www.trafficestimate.com/alison.com)
We will use 12 million annual visits as our baseline for e2 traffic.Featured image source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-R_zWTCbMkyU/TwM0AzZoKNI/AAAAAAAAAE4/i_hTVNvK0FA/s1600/branded+educate+102.jpg