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Getting Real with 99designs

F.Y. Teng | Nov. 23, 2010
A global phenomenon leverages the Cloud to go global and deliver top dollar value to sharp companies looking to elevate their corporate identity and enhance their brands with right designs and smart advertising.

We also faced a number of IT infrastructure issues in our existing hosting facility that were not going to be solved without a large cash outlay and long term lock-in contract. Even if we could justify the cost of a dedicated server solution we had little confidence that the hardware provisioned for us would meet our requirements in the near future.

We looked at several options and were attracted to the flexibility, cost savings, and low barrier to entry of Amazon Web Services (AWS). The initial cost of launching our business on AWS was reduced by a factor of five when compared to conventional hosting with Rackspace or Mediatemple. To allow our application to scale according to demand, we needed to start thinking differently about a few things.

As a result, using AWS helped us make a few improvements to our development and software release processes. Additionally weve been able to implement many forms of redundancy using various AWS featuresthese are now standard practice.

Today, 99designs runs entirely on AWS, which utilises Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) for a cluster of application servers, database servers, proxy servers and Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) to store massive amounts of data.

As 99designs grows across the world, our IT infrastructure requirements change rapidly too due to the agile nature of our business. AWS allows us to stop worrying about IT infrastructure or capital outlay associated with the infrastructure, so that we can concentrate on our business. Rapid growth is no longer a technical hurdle and we can have our important people focus on more important problems, like making our customers happy!

How many artists, partners and customers do you currently have working through 99designs?
The community is booming. We have more than 80,000 designers from all across the globe, who upload a new design every seven seconds and have completed over 55,000 design projects to date.

What is the revenue model like for 99designs?
We charge a US$39 listing fee and a 15 percent service fee per project so a design project where the designer prize is US$300 would have a total cost US$384 to the customer. We are bootstrapped and have been profitable since day one so we use the profits to grow the company and the platform.

What do you reckon on average are the gains that customers should expect from commissioning work through 99designs?
The average cost to get a logo through 99designs is between US$300 and US$350. The costs of engaging a traditional design agency start in the thousands of dollars and go upso the savings can be significant. But what really makes 99designs different is the customer is engaging with multiple designers simultaneously and basing their decision on a design that is actually created for them, and not a portfolio of past work.


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