Is This Thing On?

…And we’re back.

After a long absence filled with career moves, address changes, and soul searching, we are kickstarting UpRating.com ® once again.

Thank you to those who helped us get to where we last ended.  The endless hours of writing, editing, researching, and meetings were much appreciated.  We wouldn’t be even thinking about restarting if it wasn’t for the success and fun we had the first time. Bridget, Erin, and David, we can’t thank you enough for this help.

Our relaunch will create some minor changes to our brand.  First, we will be focusing more on buy guides, case studies, tutorials, and tips that will be geared towards a better lifestyle.  This won’t be a major shift from our previous content but will eliminate a couple of categories.  Second, we will be approaching this as a community driven project.  There will be a lot more content driven by requests and contributions from those who use our site.

Stay tuned!

Sincerely,

Alex Brayman and Jeff Blackler
Co-Founders

One Year of UpRating.com!

Shirts for a Cause

UpRating.com New layout It’s been one year since our first published blog post on UpRating.com! This website has beat almost every expectation that we had when we started it. Although UpRating.com turned out to be drastically different from what we originally imagined it to be, change is sometimes for the better. We love where this website is going and the new areas we are planning to explore.

Every month we have grown in unique views as well as visits per person. This means that people are coming back to see what we do next!

Shirts
To celebrate our successful first year, we will be selling UpRating.com T-shirts. We are ordering from CustomInk.com, owner of booster.com.

We want to celebrate our success by giving back to a cause that means a lot to us. We will be donating 100% of the proceeds generated from these shirts to Can Do Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis has affected some of our friends and family. This charity helps people live with this disease in a dignified way. Please help us support this cause by buying a shirt.

Cost: $15.00 + $5.00 (flat rate, buy more shirts with no additional shipping!) shipping = $20
http://www.booster.com/uprating

Thank You!
Alex, Bridget, and I would like to thank all of you who have visited this site over the past year. Without people coming to our site we wouldn’t have the great opportunities that we have.

We would also like to thank our guest contributors David Holthausen and Erin Cummins. Their contributions have added a new perspective in the worlds of technology and fitness.

This website has grown into something we never imagined. All of you have helped us get closer to our dream. Please continue to follow us along this journey and share our content with your friends. We have set up a monthly newsletter (signup on the right!) to make it easier to follow all of our content!

Paying the Bills
When we started this website we decided that we would not charge a fee to view our content. This means we need to come up with another way to pay for the site. Over the next few months, you will be seeing advertisements and affiliated links (clearly marked) appear throughout UpRating.com.

As we transition to this new format, we want to be clear that it will in no way impact our content. We have never, and will never, accept payments for reviews. It is important that we do not let any money we make influence how we produce content.

The Next Year
We have been working hard to bring some great new content through the form of videos and blog posts. Our focus is to work with more experts, trainers, and educators to better provide our visitors with the best available information.

We are always looking for more contributors! If you are knowledgeable in the areas of technology or fitness we would love to work with you. Any suggestions for content topics is also much appreciated!

The End of the Beginning

Why we ended our Massachusetts LLC

UpRating.com coffee mugAlex and I have decided that we would share our story in an effort to help those who are considering starting their own company. We have taken some interesting twists and turns on our way to where we are now.

Forming The Company
It all started when Alex contacted me to discuss the possibility of working on a website for him and his friend/business partner. After a few meetings with the three of us, we decided that this was something we wanted to move forward with. The next step was to work out the paperwork in order to have things in writing.

Just the Two of Us
After a few months of working together as a partnership of three people, it was obvious that things just weren’t working out. The interpretation of the product was very different between who you talked to which made it hard for us to agree on anything. Our final meeting was very intense and involved some yelling. We decided that night to move on.

To mark the new change, we decided to change our name to Simplex Software Solutions, LLC. Along with the name change came our in-depth Operating Agreement so we would have everything set up if we decided to split off again. This document was huge in establishing our overall mission and how we wanted to go about achieving success. The most important part is that we had many rules in place for making any decision that could impact the company.

No Money, No Success
Our goal for the summer of 2011 was the standard boring, by the book approach. We formed a long business plan using all the fancy business wording and exaggerated statistics. Alex then used his connections to get some meetings with potential Angel and Venture Capital investors. These meetings were terribly painful and they were a huge waste of everyone’s time. It was a very frustrating time for Alex and myself since we were doing everything the books tell us to do. Just goes to show, don’t follow the book.

New Concept
After a brief hiatus, we decided to meet in January of 2012 to deal with ending the business. We had a long discussion and proved to each other that we really like working together and maybe our approach was what stopped us last time. We made the decision to start with a new idea that I was trying to figure out. That concept was a better way to approach product search and comparison.

Success!
We are seeing our community grow at a rapid pace as people are discovering our content. We have had a lot of success with collaborations and have started very strong relationships with experts in various fields.

Our success has allowed us to bring on Bridget Germain as an editor and collaborator. We have had a great experience with the addition of Bridget, and we are looking to expand with more frequent contributors. If you would like to contribute, please contact us [here].

To cap it all off we had an article published about us in the Framingham State University Alumni Magazine which is Alex’s alma mater. It is an honor for a publication to take an interest in what we are doing.

Ending the Business
We recently had our two year anniversary of forming our Massachusetts Limited Liability Company in early April. We celebrated with a notification from the state informing us that we needed to submit an Annual Report which comes with a $500 filing fee. That was when we took some time to really decide what our goals were. We filed to end the company on April 1st, 2013.

Since we had no capital or profit, this was an easier choice than we thought. This choice allows us to worry about our product and not how to turn a profit. Our focus is now to help our community make the best decisions they can.

Stronger Than Ever
We are still very active with UpRating.com and have big plans for its future. We are currently working on new features to go along with a lot more new content. We have been working with a wide range of people with expertise in technology and fitness in order to better our community. We look forward to bringing high-quality content from very knowledgeable people.

We are also developing a second website with the goal of helping others through charity. This is a project that we strongly believe in.

Our Advice to You
1) Don’t form a business until someone gives you money
2) Don’t get caught up in an elaborate Business Plan – Everyone’s product changes from business plan to the final product.
3) Don’t wait for perfection – Test small parts of your concept with everyone you know. Waiting for the complete product can take time and also result in a product that really turns off the consumers. Feedback is the most important part of a startup.
4) Use your network – Your network is a lot larger than you think. They also have incredible connections and you never know who you will be able to reach.
5) Collaborate with others – This is a great way to share your product with a new audience.
6) Stick to your morals – This is important for the people you hire, the concept development, and any contract you sign with investors. Know when to walk away.
7) Don’t chase the money – Money isn’t what defines success in a startup. You can get millions of dollars in capital and still fail miserably.
8) Only do what you love – The day you lose your passion is the day you need to consider if this business is for you.
9) Don’t be the “idea person” – Not contributing or being a silent partner rarely works out in an early startup. Don’t be in it just to collect the money.
10) Finish what you start – Don’t give up on your project. You will learn more about yourself by sticking with it even if it doesn’t result in money.

A New Year

Progress and Goals

UpRating.com icon

An Addition to our Team
We are very happy to announce that Bridget Germain has joined our team as the Public Relations and Communications Director. Bridget has been working with us since August and is a large part of the success of UpRating.com.

Progress
We have come a long way in the last year, having purchased a domain, launched a temporary site, and applied for a trademark. We have begun collecting data for testing and we’ve also begun publishing on our blog.

We have been working on redesigning the Simplex Software Solutions, LLC company website, which will better represent our work. We are also going to overhaul UpRating.com to include better navigation and a more interactive home page. You will see these changes over the next couple of months.

The Blog
Our blog is going to include many more long form reviews by our community. Reviews are a big part in the buying process for many consumers and that’s why it is important to us that they be full of useful content. Long form reviews will be a key feature for us as our site grows bigger.

Press
We have had the privilege of talking with some members of the media who are interested in publishing an article about our work. We look forward to the start of a great relationship with the media. There will be an announcement closer to the publishing date.

We look forward to another great year full of many exciting moments and news. Our team has been hard at work to truly make product search easier and more useful. We will keep you posted on our progress as it all comes together.

Thank you for all the support over the past year. Please continue to support us and provide us with feedback.

Sincerely,

Alex Brayman and Jeff Blackler
Co-Founders