London, London bloody London. That’s what I say every time the Olympics get awarded to the UK, or a technology park is awarded, or when there’s talk of the banking crisis and there’s that same damn stock footage of the London skyline in the fog. Or when there’s anything interesting happening at all it’s always in sodding London. So for this post I am paying tribute to five random but successful British websites not based in London.
TheHut.com – Northwich, Cheshire
Chances are you haven’t heard of The Hut but you they may well have fulfilled an order for you if you have ordered media or health and beauty products online. Now running their own successful e-commerce sites including zavvi.co.uk, iwantoneofthose.com and beautyexpert.co.uk they made their fortune delivering online orders on behalf of many famous high street names such as Boots, Argos, Tesco, Debenhams, WHSmith and even the definitely online Lovefilm. Since 2004 they have risen to become the UK’s 3rd largest entertainment retail website.
Northwich was built on salt, it has a salt museum and not a whole lot else. It certainly is not known for anything technologically or media based.
Crowdfunder.co.uk – Exeter, Devon
I first found Crowdfunder whilst looking for a UK equivalent to the successful crowd based fund-raising website Kickstarter, which bizarrely only accepts US based projects. Crowdfunder is open to anybody but because it is newer and not so well known it has fewer pitches to browse. I have certainly seen it grow in the few months and looking at the homepage you can see it is obviously working. Raising 10,000 to make a rap video? I might get pitching.
Exeter, the largest city in Devon, is also the county town and according to Wikipedia is one of the top 10 profitable locations in the country.
Webuyanycar.com – Rochdale, Lancashire
Besides annoying the hell out of TV viewers the people at webuyanycar will buy any car. You tell them what car you have to sell, you agree on a price and they will even come and pick it up. Claiming to take the hassle out of selling a car the chances are you will get a lot less for your car then by selling privately. They also have a sister site at webuyanyvan.co.uk but you can’t sing that.
Rochdale is north of Manchester and is also famous for Lisa Stansfield and being the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement.
Jobsite.co.uk – Havant, Hampshire
Probably not as famous as Monster for being the most well known job, er, website but TV campaigns with Max Beesley, shirt sponsorship of local football club Portsmouth and a well timed recession with job losses have helped raised Jobsite position.
Havant is also home to a stretch of the M3 motorway. I wish there was something more interesting to put but there really isn’t.
Ocado.com – Hatfield, Hertfordshire
We’ve all seen Ocado vans on the road but never seen the stores -the reason is because they are a purely online supermarket. The website was started by, and originally solely run by three former bankers in 2002 they have grown to be a national supermarket still operating from Hatfield. Just shows what you can build with a bit of hard work, and tens of millions of pounds of investment.
Hatfield is 20 miles north of London, was the birthplace of film director Guy Richie and was the site of a deadly rail crash.