That’s going to be a long read because there’s something for us to say, something to explain and even something to ask for. I'll start with the backstory about the vision we had all along and still have of a perfect website builder and CMS, why we haven’t managed to create it so far and how it is related to our decision to hold our ICO.
If you are pressed for time to read the entire text, you can go directly to the key paragraphs by clicking on this link. However, I recommend taking some of your time and possibly read this post from start to finish as it promises to be the most interesting company news of the year, the most important for sure.
What do webmasters need?
Anyone who creates websites wants to find a CMS that will be a perfect match for their project. At the same time, it is supposed to be as flexible as possible, scalable and affordable in terms of maintenance and operation. In a perfect world, it should build websites you need on its own as if by the wave of a magic wand, and have no security vulnerabilities and no glitches at all.
Joking aside, every user of a website builder or CMS has their own idea of the way it’s supposed to be like and of what is missing. However, there’s no such system on the market which could be so flexible and universal for all users. Even open source projects do not cover all needs. Yes, they may have a lot of different add-ons created by enthusiasts from all over the world, and those add-ons can fix some problems, they often add new features or expand the existing functionality. But basically, this is only a partial solution to the problem that sounds like "Everything is possible, you just need to install / improve the code right here". With a bunch of side effects: from complexity and time required for its implementation to a serious security threat. Who knows what sort of an "Easter egg" a developer from the other hemisphere will leave for you posting their code to public access. This often happens due to lack of knowledge and with no malicious intent — after all, I’ll repeat, add-ons are made by enthusiasts. But what would you say if someone grabbed the entire database of your website?
So, the ideal picture looks like this: users get exactly what they want while it’s all created and implemented on a system level by professional developers.
Perfect uCoz 2.0
When a trend called “crowdfunding” appeared several years ago, it occurred to me and the whole team that uCoz 2.0 could be built this way.
For those who are not familiar with the term, in a few words: crowdfunding is when people “crowd” together and donate in order to support the creation of a product. As a result, the one who came up with this idea, gets an opportunity to implement their project (now they have money for the launch) and the first customers.
Our idea was not just to raise money and make some perfect version of uCoz with the ability to download and install it to your PC, with an extended API for all kinds of modules and any integrations. We believed everyone who invested in the project was supposed to be given an exclusive right to vote for the features that should be added and which of them should be implemented first. Sounds good, doesn’t it? This idea still seems attractive to us if we forget about the reality. And the reality is that nothing like this has ever been tried to be implemented.
However, right now we feel like it's time to implement a very similar model, and even though it has no direct connection with uCoz as a product, this campaign will have a positive impact on it in case of the success. We might end up creating uCoz 2.0 that I described above, but let me explain our ICO concept first.
uKit ICO: what is that and how does it all work?
I’m not going to quote Wikipedia or other excellent sources that will tell you what an ICO is, I’ll just say that it is a form of online crowdfunding. You invest in a product if:
- a) you believe in it and want to support;
- b) you want to use the benefits that are unavailable to ordinary customers (by benefits we mean a lifetime free use, not delusive discounts; it’s also about the opportunity to vote and directly influence the development of the product in the future);
- c) you want to earn money (by mining data — we’ll tell about this in the next posts, or by reselling a token on an exchange).
By the way, those points do not exclude one another — on the contrary :-) Tokens that are strictly limited in number do not lose their value and do not expire if they are used for personal purposes. It’s expected that after a year, two years, etc. of using a website builder for free, a token can be sold on an exchange which will not only allow to return funds invested in it but also to earn extra. The amount of earnings in this case will depend on the success of the project.
What product is going to be created after raising funds through ICO?
To cut it short, it’s going to be a website builder with integrated artificial intelligence (AI), that will improve websites on the fly, thus increasing sales, or helping visitors reach their goals on a website faster.
Feel free to check out our landing page and read more about our ICO:
Questions and answers
1. Why do you need a new product and even one with some kind of artificial intelligence, if you can just relax and continue developing existing projects?
Any business, especially an online business is about “running as fast as you can just to stay in place”. If we had stopped running and left things as they were, we would have been closed by now and everyone would have been influenced, first of all our customers. There is plenty of examples right here in our niche (not just somewhere): from the oldest and biggest free hostings like geocities and boom.ru to builders like mylivepage and taba, but actually there are many more examples.
It's no secret that for over 12 years in website building industry, we know it all inside out. Alongside with it, we’ve been conducting research and development in the field of generative design for the past one and a half years. Also (and this is not only our opinion), the future of website development is in using machine design wherever possible, as well as in working with big data. So, everything came together: the area we are experts in, existing technological developments and data, diligence, and, of course, ambitions combined with the opportunities to create breakthrough technologies in this field.
2. Why not attract classical investments?
There are many answers to this. But one of them is universal - because the world has changed. A decade ago, money from specialized investment funds was considered and actually was “smart money”. It has long been accepted in the IT market that the raised amounts should be exactly "smart". And we as a company do have experience of attracting this kind of funds. This is a good experience and, of course, such financing is still a good option in a number of cases. But I am convinced that the “smartest” money today is crowdfunding. Especially when you have a multi-user solution, not a B2B product, and especially if it allows you to build the project infrastructure more effectively.
3. Why can I get a lifetime account in uKit and uLanding for a token, but not in uCoz? And can this be changed?
Everything can be changed — well, or almost everything. To be honest, I do not believe that the uCoz audience will actively buy tokens just to get a "lifetime plan". Of course, if we see the demand, this is something we can really change. And it won’t hurt having these additional opportunities for a token. But then, we will have to develop the infrastructure for uCoz to fulfill these token obligations (so that it all works). It is clear that we will have to implement voting for features.
It is necessary to understand that the main advantage of tokens and purchasing them is not this — it is only an additional bonus. A token being secured with uKit and uLanding plans is a kind of guarantee of its minimum price. These builders have an understandable and constant growth of the client base, which will ensure liquidity (demand) for tokens at least at their nominal price. Unfortunately, the same can’t be guaranteed when using uCoz today. uCoz has a steady demand but it is not growing. We can say a lot about its niche, about its existing shortcomings and problems but in this context, it's just a fact that we need to take into consideration. If the situation had been different, there would be different logic behind it.
4. Can you elaborate on how all this can positively influence uCoz?
I think for those who have been with us for a long time, it's no secret that although we did not take uCoz developers to other projects (including uKit), it's clear that the team developing uCoz did not grow, and the initial development of uKit was, in fact, financed from the uCoz profits.
It’s clear that those efforts and resources allocated to uKit could possibly be directed to uCoz, and it would make this product better. But this is in theory. Actually, it already needed considerable changes, with another team, with rewriting the code from scratch, etc. And this is extremely difficult even psychologically when there is a task to support the existing system. At the same time, building a Perl team became quite a difficult task long ago.
As a matter of fact, all this is now the backstory. For today, the positive result is that uKit already covers expenses of the whole team, and its development shows that everything will be fine. Yes, it is still difficult to properly finance ukit.ai and similar initiatives, however, without them, there will be no bright future. This is being done now, despite the difficulties and using available funds of the entire company. Also, I should note that shareholders do not pay any dividends to themselves now, and literally all possible funds are being reinvested into products.
The success of the ICO will definitely kill this pain and allow us to properly develop ukit.ai without taking money from uCoz. This is not only an opportunity but for me personally — an obligation — to start changing the situation. Most likely, we will really return to the original plan of "rewriting uCoz".
5. If the ICO doesn’t reach the Soft cap, and I buy a token during the Pre-Sale, what will happen?
The problem of some pre-ICOs (and this does not apply to our project!) is that in case of their failure, buyers are left with nothing. A product is not yet available, the only thing they have is a hypothesis, and, as a result, the creators of such ICOs just vanish with the words: "Well, it didn’t work out" and come up with new ideas for the next ICO. This is the reason this question is avoided like the plague in all ICO FAQs we have seen. Or it is mentioned with one line somewhere at the end.
In this regard, our ICO is certainly more attractive and safer: we go for it not with a startup that we are asking money for, but with the idea of a new product which is backed up with the tools that already work.
uKit, which has already become well-known to many, has been on the market for more than 2 years and currently has the audience of over 1 million active users. In terms of growth, it is ahead of uCoz in its early years, even though we can’t even compare the levels of competition in the niche of website builders in 2007 (the year when uCoz turned 2 years) and now (ten years later).
Therefore, we can give a simple and clear answer to this question: in case of failure, your investment won’t go to waste, which means free plans to use the company's services will be provided in full measure. What is left for stock gamblers who are not interested in the project itself but only in benefit from reselling tokens? Probably, look for new investment opportunities. Nothing new about that.
6. What are the bonuses for previously registered users?
Until the end of December, everyone who has an account with uCoz registered before December 11th, can buy a token at the price of $100.
At the same time, we appreciate your understanding if we have to ask you to confirm your connection with such an account. We believe a special price can be provided only to those who have been with us for a while.
* To get the special price, follow the link to make a purchase:
If you have any additional questions, reach us at email@example.com — we will be glad to answer them.