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There are two golden rules Lee Robinson, Managing Director of Simplee Ltd., would advocate when creating an effective commercial Web site - offer targeted promotions to attract new customers, and constantly update your site's content to keep them coming back for more. Back that with good service and competitive pricing and you're onto a winner.

It is this formula that underpinned the creation of Simplee's first Web venture WebComp, and in turn assured the site's ensuing success. Launched in Spring 1998, www.webcomp.co.uk was the first UK site to offer major cash prize competitions, and a new and highly effective on-line promotional tool for UK businesses. Fifteen months on the company is following the same blueprint with an online directory that showcases the most proactive UK shopping sites.

An old idea for a new medium
Surprisingly, WebComp was not born out of Robinson's desire to become a budding Internet entrepreneur but from frustration. He explained, "I was working on a concept for a Web site that I wanted to promote online - but I was not happy with the options available at the time. The majority charged upwards of £2.00 per click-through but they could give no guarantee that the visitor would interact with the site."

He continued, "When I began to think through how companies promoted themselves off-line I hit on one of the most popular and successful methods - competitions. I decided to create a central competition site that would offer companies a proven means to spread awareness of their products and services."

Delivering value-added site visits
webcomp.co.uk publishes regular competitions to win cash and product prizes. The site is self-funding, supported entirely by sponsors, which also enables WebComp to provide a variety of prizes without charging users for entry.

Web Directories including blogdir and unearthed