Great.com Annual Report | 2020
- Do you want to know how much Great.com has invested so far?
- Are you curious about how much revenue we’ve made?
- Do you want to see what our team members are earning?
- Are you wondering why we focus so much on social media and podcasts?
We’ll answer all those questions and more in this report.
Great.com Annual Report | 2020
Not only will we cover revenue, donations, and team pay, but we’ll discuss some of Great.com’s challenges, successes, and failures from inception (2017) to today.
My name is Erik Bergman, and I’m the founder of Great.com. I’m starting this report on a Saturday morning at 6:45 AM. You see, I’ve procrastinated writing this report for months because there is information in here that scares me to share publicly.
While there are things in this report that I’m ashamed of, there are many more that fill me with pride and give me confidence in our future.
For anyone reading who is unfamiliar with Great.com, our goal is to bring the most good in the world. To accomplish this goal, we’re currently working on generating money as an online casino affiliate of which we’re donating 100% to high-impact climate change initiatives.
We’re currently working within the gambling industry because it’s the field with which I’m most familiar. I began playing online poker at 17, and eventually — started a multi-million dollar online gambling business.
While controversial from a philanthropic perspective, the gambling industry generates billions of dollars annually and is growing even more rapidly with advances in technology and in-person limitations from the pandemic.
The casino industry is not known for its charity — and we plan to change that. We believe that if anyone can make something good out of all the harm that gambling causes, it should be us.
On the charitable side, we are currently focused on climate change. We believe that the climate crisis is the largest challenge that humanity has ever faced. Not only will the current trajectory lead to mass animal extinction, but it’s estimated to cause more than 200 million climate refugees by 2050 due to extreme drought and famine.
However, we believe we can mitigate or even prevent climate destruction as we work to collaborate and unite on a scale previously never seen and strive for a common goal — to save our planet.
If you want to know more about Great.com and our goals, consider listening to the following podcasts:
- Becoming Great.com ep. 80 – What is the Business Model of Great.com?
- Becoming Great.com ep. 68 – What is Great.com? Our 50-Year Vision
Business, Challenges, and Progress
Everything about Great.com is based on long-term thinking — a 50-year vision. We are not looking to be a shooting star that rises fast only to burn out. Instead, we are looking to scale slowly and build this organization into a powerful sun that will shine brightly for decades to come.
On January 31st, 2017, I acquired the domain name Great.com in an online auction for $900,000. I wasn’t ready to kick off the project at that time, so it would take almost two years before we officially launched: January 1st, 2019.
Since then, our main focus has been on company culture and building a team that would collaborate well together. Not only are we completely remote, but we’re trying to build an emotionally transparent organization that recognizes and embraces the daily challenges we face as human beings, not just employees. We offer our team full flexibility and base our performance on trust and passion rather than numbers and goals.
This approach has proven to be a lot harder than I could have ever imagined.
We’ve spent many meetings discussing feelings and personal struggles instead of performance or ideas. We’ve faced communication challenges because of our flexible work schedule, differing time zones, and an inability to meet in-person. We’ve also struggled to unite behind operating in the gambling industry which is a moral dilemma for some.
These hurdles have held back product development — and ultimately, revenue. We’re currently behind where I hoped we would be at this stage and have not hit any performance goal that we have set to date.
With that said, I could not be happier or more proud of what we have accomplished as a team.
The product might not be where I want it to be and we haven’t generated as much revenue as I’d hope at this point, but I can honestly say that this team and the foundational pieces we’ve put in place are beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
I hope to work with these people for the next 50+ years — every single one of them. I’ve never been able to say that about a team I’ve been a part of previously.
If you want to see why I’m so proud of our team, watch the meeting below. What other company gets described this way by their team?
Why Do We Focus So Much on Social Media?
Let’s get a little technical for a moment. Great.com generates revenue as an online affiliate which means we need to drive visitors to our website in order for them to discover and click on affiliate links.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge part of this equation because it helps send relevant visitors to our website. SEO involves strategies designed to help your website rank better in search engines like Google.
For example, when someone searches for “New Jersey online casino” if we’re the top result — they are likely to visit our website and hopefully click an affiliate link.
Now, there are several ways we can improve our ranking for keywords related to casinos. However, one of the best ways to improve your SEO is to generate links back to your website on other websites. The more relevant links we can point back to Great.com, the higher we will rank and the more revenue we will generate.
Most casino affiliates approach SEO using unnatural (black-hat) strategies. Instead of organically earning backlinks, they try to manipulate the algorithms.
They may pay websites to link back to theirs or purchase a group of domains to build a network of “fake” websites that are designed only to link to each other and the main affiliate. These strategies are frowned upon by Google and other search engines because they provide little value other than falsely propping up a website. I know all this because I’ve done these strategies myself previously, and they have worked quite well.
However, everyone in the industry does this — and it’s a short-term approach that will continue to lose value as search engines evolve. If Great.com is going to be a powerful sun, we can’t do what everyone else is doing. We can’t invest in short-term strategies.
We believe our focus on social media is a competitive advantage that will improve our SEO (among other benefits). Growing our social media presence will help with link-earning strategies, brand recognition, and is a strategic approach to building a fan-base that will support our initiatives.
If I’m completely honest, I don’t know the full extent of how growing our social media will benefit Great.com’s business model — but, I’m convinced it will.
Has it positively affected our revenue, yet? Not really. But, we have seen significant growth on social platforms and recognized peripheral value from this effort.
As writing this report the numbers are:
- Instagram: 352 000 followers
- TikTok: 230 000 followers
- Twitter: 30 000 followers
- YouTube: 27 000 followers
All of these accounts were close to zero just 18 months ago.
Great.com 2020 Financials
Transparency is a foundational piece of our company culture. This goes beyond just sharing our failures or successes. We record every weekly meeting with the intention of sharing publicly (which is one area we have failed at currently), we halt meetings to discuss personal matters if anyone checks in below 60%, and we are transparent about our team’s pay.
Great.com Consultant Fixed Fees
We don’t have formal titles, but below is a list of our team members followed by a short description of what they are currently working on and their base fees. Before we go through the consultant fixed fees keep the following in mind:
- The list order is based on when they started working at Great.com.
- The fixed fee is based on IF they would work full time, not all of the team do, and they invoice based on worked hours. (i.e. if a team member only commits to 50% for a pay period, they would invoice 50%)
- Many of the team members have chosen to donate a percentage of their fees, the donations have been excluded from this list.
- The list includes core team members, but there are several part-time and assistants who work with Great.com and are paid but not included in this list.
Erik Bergman: €0/year
Focused on long-term strategy, company vision, and social media.
Emil E: €36 000year
Hosts two of our podcasts, in charge of podcast strategy, and coaches me in various personal and professional areas.
Angelica I: €36 000/year
In charge of product management and everything regarding the development of the website since October 2020.
Spirit R: €36 000/year
Hosts our charity podcast, in charge of team involvement and emotional intelligence, and manages team events.
Derek M: €36 000/year
Manages all English-written content on and offsite as well as the content strategy for the Swedish market.
Joachim A: €72 000/year
Team building, recruiting, consulting on business strategy and business processes.
Tobias R: €36 000/year
In charge of all sales and commercial relationships and partnerships.
Aleksandar T: €36 000/year
In charge of SEO, both technical and strategically.
Arianna M: €36 000/year
Manages everything related to our charity podcast.
How Much Have We Invested and What Have We Earned So Far?
This section may be the part of the report that you’re most interested in learning. How much money has been invested into Great.com to date and how much revenue has it earned so far?
- Approximately $1.72 million has been invested in Great.com
- $900,000 for the domain name Great.com
- $635,000 for team pay
- $42,000 for web development
- $140,000 for other expenses
- Approximately $500 has been earned to date across all products
- $175 from the US
- $325 from Sweden
I do feel some shame in writing that I’ve invested $1.72 million to earn $500, as I was expecting revenue to be closer to $500,000 by now. However, we’re on a 50-year journey, and with that timeline in mind — we’re just getting started.
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