The path to success for internet start-up Bubbledome means evolving from a pure education website into more of an e-commerce operation.
Launched nearly two years ago, Auckland-based Bubbledome was a fantasy problem-solving story site aimed at seven to 12-year-olds that was to be supported by advertising.
But to increase revenue, company head Rebecca Allcock says it will launch online sales of Bubbledome products next month, such as books and CDs based on its online content, and next year will relaunch its website with subscription-based education services. The website, which will feature sound and 3D images, will cater to foreign-language users and will be capable of handling 500,000 global users a month.
Schools and parents will subscribe to a full service, but there will still be some free content, Allcock says.
Allcock, a trained primary school teacher and graphic designer, says activity books based on the website are receiving “an enthusiastic response” in trials at Ponsonby Intermediate, Kohia Terrace, Newmarket and other Auckland schools.
As another example of the change in approach, the company is surveying 120 Auckland kindergartens on their computer needs and is producing a website for the New Zealand Kindergarten Association. The survey, due for completion in August, will recommend strategies on implementing computers.
“At that early childhood level, children need to be encouraged to use computers,” says Bubbledome assistant manager and art director Justin Marshall. “My research has found that it is good for developing young children’s social and cooperative skills and problem-solving techniques.”
Bubbledome is also designing a website for the child welfare charity ECPAT NZ, showing kids how to be “safe” on the web. It has also completed a maths learning tool for government agency Learning Media and is developing a Maori language version.