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Admin of NeoBux.
1. Firstly, it would be nice to know your name. However, if you would like to keep it private, then I have no issues with it.
My name is Fernando although 99% of the people I deal with on a daily basis call me "Admin”. Many of the ones that don’t know me from the remaining 1% actually use an imaginary surname to mention me although I’m not sure why.
2. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did the idea of opening NeoBux spring up?
I’m just the kind of person you happen to bump into everyday and I don’t really like to get adjectives to describe myself as I prefer the honesty of those who know me. NeoBux was created as a "proof-of-concept” to replace the old and deprecated PTC model with something that actually worked.
3. Lets begin with your Hot-Dog stand. Is it true that you own one or it is just a joke that has been taken seriously by a few?
It’s quite easy. If you find a hot-dog stand that allows you to get extra toppings on your hot-dog for free only by exchanging NeoPoints, you’ll have your answer.
4. Besides obvious financial gain, what inspired you to open a PTC site?
Self financial gain was never and still isn’t in the top 10 of NeoBux’s priorities. It didn’t start out that way and even today we still share most of our profit with our users / advertisers being it with prizes and / or price reductions (either permanent or during a promotional period). The inspiration, or should I say "the need to create something better” came from using a site which pretended to be a PTC and failed to pay me. Since I wasn’t the only one, I decided that something had to be done to prove that a true business can and will be successful. So yes, a simple $10 debt started it all.
5. Managing a site like Neobux must be a grueling task. How do you do it ? Do you delegate tasks to the right people giving them authority to make certain decisions or do you like to micro-manage your team? What type of leader are you?
The core is my own responsibility from the development of the application to the management of the entire site’s structure. We have IT, marketing, and financial consultants (besides many others in different fields) who give us a helping hand to always make the best possible decisions. All remaining areas are handled by others such as moderators for the forum, personnel for support, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary goes on behind the scenes, everything is just normal business… for those that think we do throw a party in the office every now and then, sorry to disappoint you, but we don’t. I’m the kind of leader that has a visionary approach and therefore I love a similar return from those that work by my side.
6. What is your previous experience with a PTC?
As a member it’s almost null. The only experience I had, as explained above, was not being paid after using a site for less than 1 month. As an Administrator, and only referring to the PTC area, this is my first venture.
7. Is your PTC site your main source of income?
No, as it would go against the philosophy on which NeoBux was built. NeoBux is mainly an income source for its users and I am always the one that comes last in the list but still I have nothing to complain for. That’s the beauty of it and that priceless course will remain untouched.
8. What according to you has been your biggest success to date?
I could get you a huge list that would answer that question. I don’t actually have a top 10 of achievements and successes because, in my perspective, every single aspect contributes to a perfectly polished final product. All of those accomplishments can be simply resumed in 4 major points that define what NeoBux is and what granted it its successful position today: Professional, Innovative, Caring, and Serious.
9. Let’s flip the previous question, what has been the biggest mistake you wish you had never made?
Letting NeoBux conduct itself to such an exponential growth in a short amount of time. Although it’s not exactly a mistake (quite the opposite), it has its drawbacks. Being absolutely professional, responsible, and offering quality services all around the clock is a hard and demanding task. Sometimes I feel that it would be much easier to work for a less successful project but in the end I love what I do and that keeps me going.
10. Which forums and blogs do you visit regularly to see what others are saying about your site?
Absolutely none. Did that in our first months of existence as a support backup but soon realized what really goes on there and it obviously goes against the nature of our model due to many easily seen factors. Our users’ opinion is always valued and they do contact us often with suggestions, ideas, or simply to say they love us… yes, support work is indeed not all about support.
11. What do you think makes NeoBux stand out from all other PTCs?
Not only we don’t compete with anyone, we actually help many site in every way we can. The few PTCs that someone with knowledge can actually classify as such are all great in their own way and really complement our model by the fact that they offer many small things that aren’t based on our business methodology. This complementary help is great so that users and advertisers can have the best of all worlds in a single package (if you combine everything together, obviously). We’ll never take any site as a competitor because, as I referred above, it would be great to have more sites like ours. That is the whole point of creating a "proof-of-concept”: Creating something new, that works, and that others can use the same way. I thought it would take only a few months for that to happen but, more than 3 years after, I’m still waiting for someone to help us entirely. When that day comes, the last part of the concept will finally be completed. Wish there were more like us, though… that would make me very happy indeed.
Basically we don’t stand out as we take a much larger approach to the core model. Every good standing PTC excels in their own grounds which is absolutely great. In short we stand out for being something different.
12. You managed to sustain a full ‘bux’ site for close to 3 years whereas all other sites which tried to copy, couldn’t last for more than 6 months. What do you think is the reason behind the success of NeoBux ?
The main reason is basically being fair and always using a business model pointed towards users instead of ourselves. Those that you’ve mentioned cannot be compared to us as they’re totally different internally. Regarding the erroneous "bux” part when referring to NeoBux: People call many things by different names especially when they can’t understand the true concept. When you see a Sports Car and if you understand the true concept of it, you’ll know that a Sports Car is based on an actual car but has many tweaks and additions that make it even better. You wouldn’t call it a bike, would you? NeoBux doesn’t differ from that as it’s a PTC underneath with lots of tweaks and additions. The so called "Bux” model is what people refer to the failed attempts to mimic us and that model has many variables which don’t exist in our DNA thus our continued success and their eminent short life. If we had just one of those variables we wouldn’t be NeoBux and, most importantly, we wouldn’t be here today. Since people usually separate us from that illegal part, a denotation had to be found and that was it. The only "Bux” part we have is actually in our name. Our success is simply due to the fact that we stick to business always with a caring human touch.
13. You made a bold decision to make changes, which did not go down well with members (especially Standard members). Apart from attracting more advertisers what made you take this decision?
NeoBux has always been a PTC website. We never changed our business model, but we did changes (and we will continue to do so) which are welcomed improvements/additions for our users and advertisers. Not only makes advertisers get more for less but users also. It’s a simple concept that not only increased both sides of our site’s usage but also dropped cheaters almost entirely as an added bonus. My biggest concern is that those kind of people don’t stop and having left us they ended up somewhere else and hopefully they can deal with them as we did all those years. So yes, cheaters complained, also a few members who misunderstood the advantages at first did complain but, in the end, everyone else confirmed that the visionary changes were indeed the best that could have happened. More success for advertisers, more profit for our users, a huge drop in false registrations, a slight increase in valid registrations (especially due to the high increase of direct referrals many users are getting now), and a small (although noticeable) overall activity increase. Everything worked better than planned and we were even granted some excellent unplanned bonuses. My main excitement is that this is only the beginning of something wonderful.
14. What is NeoBux going to do to attract more Standard members. Due to the recent changes many have left or vowed to leave the site. So what is NeoBux planning to do to win them over again?
Many of the few that left (and I’m referring to real users, not fake ones) have already returned. This happens every time and it’s like a tradition. Not only few have left but now we’ve witnessed a huge increase in new members who actually stick around much longer than before which only proves that the right path has been taken as predicted.
15. Standard members who don’t have time to spend on the internet throughout the day or who don’t have daily access to the internet (and also for lazy people who just simply don’t want to work hard) earn about $0.0015 through their own clicks. Are you thinking of providing alternative opportunities (apart from NeoPoints) to these members to increase their daily earnings?
As everything in life, we all get what we work for. Sure, a user can only visit us for a few minutes daily and earn a smaller amount than the ones that do it twice per day, for example. That amount you’ve mentioned can be easily earned in less than one minute by any user. We appreciate it a lot when our members spend more time than a few seconds and we make sure that they will be rewarded for it. Activity currently plays an important role in users’ benefits but, in the near future, it will be the ultimate earning potential. Currently a user with low activity can earn a lot depending on the option he/she chooses and that’s why, in the future, we’ll make activity the best of things. We offer several earning possibilities and users choose the one that suits best their lifestyle and ambitions. Our advertisers look for the best potential costumers they can get and we do everything within our reach to deliver it. New earning opportunities unseen before are scheduled to happen for everyone. Some will actually be astounded when the time comes.
16. Back in 2008, NeoBux suffered a major setback when its Paypal was limited. I can’t recall any PTC which has managed to have its Paypal account restored after limitation. If I am not wrong, the issue was solved in about 15 days. Tell us how you did you deal with the problem and did you ever think that it would be the end of NeoBux (considering that 72% of the funds were frozen) ?
PayPal had, and I think it still does, a very professional approach in which all accounts with high thresholds are blocked twice in their early days. The second time, however, is only unlocked by real businesses that comply with all legislations. The problem was dealt as professionally as possible from both parties and it took a while to be solved due to all the required confirmations from both ends. Never thought for one second that it could be the end of NeoBux because, since the first day, one of our main internal policy rules was to always have at least three times the amount of funds required to pay our users therefore what was held was just two thirds of the extra backup funds. For that period we kept doing business as usual and only requested small donations from our users, until we balanced the other payment processor’s funds, which wasn’t necessary since the recovery was faster than anticipated and all users who donated got something back for their incredible trust and kindness
17. Lets rewind back to September, 2009. A site called SvBux shut down over night and you decided to refund those who invested there. The amount was around $40,000 which is by no means a small amount. You’ve always maintained that NeoBux is not affiliated to any other PTC so what was your motive behind this?
NeoBux isn’t and never was affiliated to any other website. That was just a small public sample of the help we give our users privately every day. Although NeoBux is a serious business in every way, part of our philosophy is to treat users as part of our family. Wouldn’t you help a family member in need if you could do it? In this particular case, it was a way to try to raise the public awareness that a "bux” model is destined for failure (even the forced investment ones will, although they’ll obviously outlast others). I knew from the start that this wouldn’t stop many from committing the same mistake again (and they prove that everyday), but after many requests from users cheated in that particular site and a few others before, I felt the need to help them with this small contribution. Those that learned the lesson are still faithful because that bad experience could have cost them a lot. Some will never learn but they can’t say they haven’t been warned.
18. One user (Darkstar2) has mentioned about a trend which has been observed time and again on the forum. He says, ” On the issue of locked topics, it has been observed by several members that so many topics get locked on the forum, sometimes without as much as an explanation from a moderator. In certain cases a topic gets locked without a single reply. Certain topics get answered, but there are cases where the answers given are cut & paste and exact replicas of answers given before. Don’t you think it would be good to let other people add their constructive comments and advices, certain topics are rightfully locked, but some are locked way too soon and would certainly benefit from user response. "
What would like to say about this?
All I can say is that no matter how hard we try to have an updated and precise help system, many will still prefer to ask the same questions over and over instead of reading them. All those topics are answered and locked to avoid the inevitable off-topic posts that would make the search even more difficult. There’s no way to change the way how things are done by those that don’t look for answers. We’ll keep on trying as always.
19. Many members have urged me to ask you to disclose your site stats (apart from those you revealed in the NeoBux Trivia) like Total no. of members and no. of upgraded members. Can you provide us with the figures ?
All statistical data are offered occasionally and only unveiled when necessary.
20. You like to keep your cards close to your chest and surprise members. However, I’d still like to ask if there any more innovations that members can be excited about?
NeoBux is, and always has been, a planned project that exceeds the 3 to 5 years timetable. So yes, currently there are changes and additions scheduled to happen at specific points in the future and the last scheduled one is meant for 2016 and it obviously won’t be the final change as many others will already be scheduled by then. I am absolutely excited with all the new things to come and I know that our users, although they can’t be excited right now as they don’t know the great benefits they’ll get in the future, they’ll sure be happy when the time comes. As always I won’t spoil the surprise and every change has its specific time to happen.
21. And finally is there anything else you wish to say which I have not covered in this interview?
I’ve covered this already but I feel it’s important to cover this once more. I just wished more and more sites like our existed to make this industry something very special. Only one would make me and every one of our users happy. I’ll end with an appeal for all of those that want to contribute: Don’t copy just our body because our soul is what makes us special.
Thank you very much Fernando (now that we know your name) for your valuable time in answering the questions.
I’d like to thank everybody who helped me in building the set of questions. Without your help this wouldn’t be possible.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading this much awaited interview.
August 14, 2011