In spite of my efforts, I had been unsuccessful in finding funding for Vectorvault‘s Ultimate Search Engine (UVSE). So I turned to a government funded program that matched me with Niagara College to challenge their research department to build the Ultimate Vector Search Engine (UVSE).
Although, it was not a school that I had previously associated with tech development, I was thrilled at the notion of finally getting some help. So I hit the road and headed for wine country.
I put together a crystal-clear briefing with all of the ingredients. Everything was labeled and easy to find. I presented this project to a young team who were all very excited and confident about building this unique search engine. I trusted a friend, far smarted than me to oversee it’s production and installation.
I was also asked to present Vectorvault to the marketing department and eventually as a project for second year marketing students. That made me feel really great. I’ve always wanted to pass my knowledge on. This turned out to be a very satisfying experience.
I assumed that the technical end of it would go just as well.
How to build a niche search engine with no money
The concept was simple: Using established stock company affiliate programs, the UVSE interface would send search requests and display those returns with attached affiliate links. This would allow Vectorvault to not only profit from referring traffic to these stock image libraries, but also capture valuable search and behavioral data.
Interfacing with designers
The search engine user interface was designed to be flexible and clean. I wanted it to be customizable so that designers could focus on brands that they were comfortable with. The stock libraries featured are randomized with social media features. The interface is customizable with drag and drop features. Simple. Direct.
Under the hood
Providing a tool for Vectorvault users to advantage from was only half of the equation. In order to capture the attention of the larger stock companies, I needed to make certain that the behavioural data was harvested and displayed. That meant designing a useful dashboard as well. From there I would be able to manage ad banners and relationships with real players in the stock image marketplace.
Vectorvault was transitioning into a conduit. A routing station for valuable traffic. And it was visualized for me in real time.
Save time and money
Products replace ad banners
You may notice that this site is not cluttered with advertising. That’s done on purpose. As a designer myself, I wanted to keep the focus of my brand on the art and the artists behind it. Some may disagree, but I think that it has maintained the integrity of the brand and improved it’s long-term value.
Instead of advertising, the intention has always been to cycle in vector art products with referral links. Profit from the traffic and record valuable search data.
Why stop at vector art?
So what’s next for Vectorvault?
Read the final chapter to find out.
I’ve learned a few valuable lessons that I would like to summarize for you.
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Do you think the UVSE is a helpful tool? What would you have done differently to make it more effective or valuable? We want to hear your thoughts about it.