Hi there, My name is Aviran Zazon, I’m 30 years old and live nearby Jerusalem in Giv’at Ze’ev, I’m currently acting as the COO of HostAdvice.com and as the CTO of Ticket-Compare.com.
Working with HostAdvice for a long time is what introduced me to Linode Hosting, the platform we’ve used to host Ticket-Compare.com, I knew exactly what was available and what our options to grow are.
We have separate but connected products on our site:
- User-generated vendor reviews - a 100% user legitimate user reviews for web hosting providers.
- Comparison tables - we have divided our site into several categories where we compare vendors buy their products - a sort of a top 10 list ordered by a combination of price, user reviews, expert opinion, and more.
- Specific tools to assist website owners and web hosting company owners such as a Marketshare Research Tool, Who is Hosting, Web Hosting Advisor, Image Compressor, and many more.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I grew up in Givon, a very old town that is even mentioned in the bible. Currently, it is a sort of a neighborhood in Giva’t Ze’ev, where we lived in a caravan just like the rest of the people in this neighborhood.
Don’t be afraid to approach and offer to be a partner in a company you believe in that already developed a part of your idea or the idea as a whole and you have yet to contribute. It can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Similar to the USA, to be in a better school, you sometimes have to fake your home address to get enrolled in a better school. My mom faked our address and we were listed as living in my grandparents' home and I was able to go to the best elementary school in Jerusalem.
Going to that elementary school I’d finished learning HTML when I was 8 years old and gained English at a high proficiency. That really helped me evolve so that when I had internet at age 14 I immediately got into coding in ASP, eventually setting up my first website that was a mobile phone comparison site that was still unheard of in 2005.
While launching the mobile phone website I got familiarized with Windows and Linux servers, hardware, modems, and is well known in the IRC world at the time. That’s how I was introduced to SEO and began working on some projects.
I have been doing SEO since I was 20 years old, working in marketing agencies and then joining 888.com’s SEO team in 2013. That’s where I met a friend that in 2016 turned into a partner. They had a great idea for comparing football tickets online as there was no good comparison engine to do that.
We decided to quit our jobs at 888.com and start building our startup; my role as CTO as I’m experienced with PHP, JS, and server management. We had a great run for 3 years and then came Covid-19, putting our business on hold as there was no more audience in the stadiums.
When that happened, I decided that an operations role fits both of my experiences in SEO and as a CTO as I can mediate between the marketing and developing teams. Eliran Ouzan, HostAdvice.com CEO, has offered me the role of COO and I’ve happily agreed to join the team.
I have been in IRC since 2004 for almost 16 years now; I’ve met a lot of people that helped me to carve the path in life in many aspects, including people who made it easier to learn SEO, PHP, and JS. Some I created partnerships with, some have hired me to work for their companies, and even one of them is a colleague of mine in the parent company of HostAdvice, Moonshot Marketing LTD.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
My entrepreneurial journey began at age 19 when I opened my first eBay store and generated a few hundred dollars in clean profit every day. Unfortunately, the store closed due to some silly PayPal regulations that limited my account.
Besides that, the only time I really went all in was leaving my job at 888.com and starting Ticket-Compare.com. That is a very difficult decision to make when you’re earning well and gambling on an unknown future, especially while renting an apartment and supporting a wife and a dog.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Covid-19 really changed everything so it’s difficult to tell where I or the businesses I’m involved in will find ourselves 2 years from now as everything is constantly changing.
While Ticket-Compare went to a complete halt, HostAdvice grew rapidly due to Covid-19 and businesses moving online.
I can tell that my personal goal for the next 1-2 years is to bring cutting edge technology to HostAdvice.com and transform it into an even bigger portal than it currently is.
Currently, at HostAdvice we employ over 10 full-time employees and freelancers and the plan is to grow our marketing and the developer staff.
We have many plans and development ideas for the next 2 years. With more than 4000 suppliers on our site, we need to enhance many operations like management along with a lot of content needs.
A few of the plans that we have for 2021 is to invest a lot in content and strengthen our relationships with our partners as well as to be able to better recognize fake reviews left on our site. This is a real struggle and we fight it with a dedicated team that can catch most of them. We plan to partly automate how we manage our reviews and warn our clients of vendors who have been caught trying to manipulate reviews.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We love using ClickUp for our operation assignments, JIRA for our dev team, CloudFlare to protect us from DDOS attacks, Upwork to hire freelancers, SEMRush for our SEO & PPC needs, and MailChimp for CRM.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I love tuning in to SyntaxFM, it’s not just a web development podcast but also a great entrepreneurial one.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
- Never put all your eggs in one basket
- Choose your partners wisely
- Don’t be afraid to approach and offer to be a partner in a company you believe in that already developed a part of your idea or the idea as a whole and you have yet to contribute. It can save you a lot of time and money in the long run
What I’ve seen is a lot of competitors with great technologies that are trying to compete whereas they know they have a big issue marketing themselves and also no budget.
Where can we go to learn more?
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