College Park Firm Knows What It Takes to Spin a Good Web Site

By Skale, Heather | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 12, 1998 | Go to article overview

College Park Firm Knows What It Takes to Spin a Good Web Site


Skale, Heather, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The founders of Customer Insites Inc. of College Park make it their business to know what it takes to make a good Web site.

They can tell you why Amazon.com sells thousands of books a day or why your competitor's Web site sells more cogs than yours does.

"A good Web site is very user-friendly and easy to navigate, it has content-relevance to the audience and has a consistency of message and purpose," said Leslie A. Williams, a former finance manager who started Customer Insites a year ago with her high-school friend, Maurice Boissiere.

Mr. Boissiere came up with the idea of starting a business to measure the effectiveness of Web sites while working as a site designer at Magnet Interactive Communications LLC of Georgetown. His Magnet clients included companies such as Kellogg's and Mercedes Benz.

"We started to see more and more million-dollar [Web site] budgets as people got more and more into it," Mr. Boissiere said.

Repeated requests from clients to evaluate Web sites confirmed his belief that there was a market for such a service. When he first bounced the idea off Ms. Williams, she was doubtful. Eventually, she decided to join him in starting the business.

The partners found a small office for the business and the firm's black Labrador, Koko, at the University of Maryland's technology incubator.

Customer Insites uses both surveys and behavior-tracking data, in which every click a person makes with a mouse at a site is recorded. Mr. Boissiere said his is the only company he is aware of that uses both types of data to evaluate sites.

The owners expect the company to be profitable during its third year of operations and on Oct. 5 acquired an undisclosed amount of financing from venture capitalist Early Stage Enterprises of Princeton, N.J. Customer Insites will use the money to reach a wider audience and upgrade its software.

The 30-something partners have a great idea for a company and will succeed, said Scott McLoughline, chairman and chief executive officer of the Adrenaline Group Inc.

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College Park Firm Knows What It Takes to Spin a Good Web Site
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