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Wed
29
Apr '09

Uptake Tackles The Hawaii Vacation Market

Uptake is one of my favorite types of websites, a data aggregator (a site that compiles information from multiple sources into one place). If you take a look at their Hawaii activities section, for instance, you’ll see data pulled from Travelocity, Yahoo!, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Epinions and CitySearch as well as other information directly from Hawaii based websites such as HonoluluZoo.org. It’s pretty easy to see how a website like this can be useful, but how do they make money? A representative from Uptake told me that they worked on a CPC model. But if you look closely at their Hawaii romantic hotels or Hawaii family hotels sections, you’ll see a yellow button that says “Check Rates”. Clicking this button allows you search for hotel prices on TripAdvisor, Priceline and Expedia. So it appears that they are also working an affiliate angle.

  1. Cost Per Click (CPC) – They use Google Adsense for their contextual advertising. It also looks like they have some internal CPC going when they link out to other websites.
  2. Affiliate Model – They use multiple affiliate programs for at least hotels.

Uptakes use of information from multiple sources makes it a winner in my book. You can also see that with a lot of traffic, their CPC and Affiliate models could be very lucrative. After surpassing 1 million monthly visitors in less then a year after their launch in May 2008, they’re well on their way to becoming a profitable company.

Likes:
You already I know I like their data aggregation. Having information from multiple sources makes a site very useful and this is definitely going to pull in the traffic. And once you have a lot of website traffic, making money becomes a whole lot easier.

Dislikes:
It appears they have the ability to include an affiliate model in their Hawaii activities section, however they’re not taking advantage of this yet. I think Uptake understands this and I’m sure we’ll see them monetizing this part of their website in the future.

Conclusion:
Overall this is a great site and the reviews make it useful for planning a Hawaii vacation. If you take a look at Uptake over SEMrush, you’ll see their Google traffic is worth $2.3 M / month alone. If they can figure out how to monetize this to the fullest, they have a very sustainable vacation website.

5 comments »

5 comments to “Uptake Tackles The Hawaii Vacation Market”

  1. Wasabi Says:

    Hey Robert, I’ve worked with Uptake in the past, and these guys got it going on! I know this isn’t an SEO review, but one thing that could go under dislikes for me is that they use subdomains for each of their site sections. Since Google recognizes different subdomains as different websites, they’re not getting the full credit for the authority of their site. And since authority is the #1 ranking factor in Google, it would make more sense if each section of their site was in a folder under one subdomain. They’d see improvements in their web rankings immediately.

    See you on Oahu Friday!

  2. admin Says:

    Hi Wasabi, I’m sure this is great SEO advice. Perhaps they should enlist your services.

    Here’s something that might interest you, their CEO runs a website about green travel ideas.

    Your mother and I are excited about the trip :-)

  3. patriciaj Says:

    Thanks for the positive review. We appreciate it.

  4. Downtown Tommy Brown Says:

    Thanks for the review, Robert!

    As for your dislike: It’s true that we haven’t done a lot by way of monetizing activities . . . in Hawaii or elsewhere. As you know, making money on activities is difficult at best for a site like ours, but I appreciate the “challenge” you effectively issued!

  5. Pling Says:

    Nice review. Like you say, Uptake’s ability to provide accurate and relevant information from multiple sources is what makes it so useful. You get a snapshot view of everything you want to know about the hotel or attraction, and it’s very helpful as a starting point for travel planning and research.

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