Exclusive: A member of the French expat Londoners sect speaks out

Posted by on 18-09-2012, under About Buyometric

Mohamad

With just the Channel between the UK and France, London is one of the first destinations for our dear Frogs with an ever increasing 300,000 strong French community. These individuals are secretive by nature and it seems that only the French perceive their peers, although when this happens, you’ll hear people exclaiming themselves in their native language with cries of ‘mais je suis Francais moi aussi!’ Encounter them late enough in the night, and they are singing their national anthem in the tube station. After a certain period of time looking around, we managed to find one of them who agreed to tell us more about himself (on the condition that we source him 7 different highly illegal cheeses on the black market).

I love France. It’s warm, diverse, and the food is amazing. But I digress, my name is Mohamad and I’ve been working at Buyometric for the past 2 weeks. Born in the UK from French and Egyptian parents, I moved to France at the age of 9 and spent 10 amazing years there. After spending a year in Sciences Po Lille, I decided that I could be doing much more in London and decided to expatriate myself here. I’m now starting the 2nd year of my Bachelor’s degree and working at Buyometric in parallel. After spending a month applying to different PR agencies, I got a call back from Andy concerning a hands-on marketing & PR position with the opportunity to work in a start-up environment.  Shortly after, we embarked on an hour long discussion around some coffee. I started off the following day and have been having a great experience since then.

In the startup environment, ideas are constantly flying around and you can sense a feeling of life that can be absent in larger organizations. Between project management, pipelining and a consistent rollout of new features and content, every day you go home also carries a sense of accomplishment. The company has already been around for 2 years, you can sense that it is steadily growing with a vision behind it. Here, I manage the Facebook page, write blog articles and press releases, and delve into business stuff from time to time. I also spend considerable amounts of time contemplating our office shrimp thrive in its aquatic microcosm. This time spent meditating enables me to come up with new ideas and focus my mind on the task at hand.  Alternatively, you’ll find me perusing Reddit and on a day I’m feeling brave enough, 4chan to bring you the best of web content. Regularly updating this blog is also on the top of my todo list in order to update you on Buyometric as well as diverse events and issues of interest to you.

I was aware of the daily offers market, but have only just started gaining an insight to its inner workings, and trust me, there’s a lot going on! I’ve had the occasion to study the players of the field and look into how the market functions. Believe me, we are in a very special period for daily deals. In an era bitten by austerity, people love the opportunity to treat themselves and a one day luxury spa break at highly reduced prices is one of the ways to go. I signed up to a few of these discount websites a while back, but started hitting SPAM when they sent me vouchers for leg epilation. Apparently this is a current trend amongst men, but I still believe in the power of bodily hair (although I still can’t grow a decent beard). That’s why I believe in and endorse the tailored offers concept behind Buyometric and also because I hope to leverage my newfound proximity with its co-founders to get a load of stock options if they go public one day.

Anyways, I’ve seen alot of stuff happening since I’ve been here and had the opportunity to participate in it as well. Following our expansion strategy, we’ll be working incredibly hard over the next few months to provide you with the widest selection possible of relevant deals on our website. It’s going to be bigger, better, and more diverse. Buyometric is continually growing, and as it does, so will I.

When I’m not contemplating fish or browsing funny websites under the pretense of ‘’market research,’’ you can contact me on m.elboudi@buyometric.com or on LinkedIn

Bienvenido Francis!

Posted by on 11-09-2012, under About Buyometric

francis

We wanted to start this week off by officially welcoming spaniard Francis to our team. He’s been with us for a month now, ensuring that the back-end of our  website is sleek and smooth. We decided to ask him a few questions so you can get to know the guy who contributes to ensuring you an easy Buyometric experience.

First of all Francis, where are you from?

“I was born and grew up in Andalusia, Spain. 6 months ago, I decided to make the big move to London.”

Europe is a big place, why did you choose London in particular?

“Well, I wanted to work on my English and since the best way to learn is in the country itself, I decided to move to London and get a taste of the British life. I love it here. The reason I chose this city in particular is that it’s so massive and diverse. I know that I can get a huge number of opportunities that I didn’t have access to back home. All in all it’s been working out very well!”

Ok, so can you tell us how you came to work here?

“A while back, I was looking through web announcements for developers and I saw this one which seemed pretty interesting. I had a meeting with Paul and then I just started off!”

Just for our readers, could you tell us a bit more about what you do?

“Well, on a day to day basis, I manage the data and data structures. I also dig into the core of applications to optimise them and keep them running smoothly. I’m also here to help scale the existing architecture and to roll out a new product.”

And just in case you had a doubt, that’s him at the top of this post.

On another note, we’ve been picking up the social media pace at Buyometric and reinvesting Facebook in order to improve our communication with you. As part of this, you’ll see more content published over the next months and, as always, a Deal of the Day bringing you great value and ideas for little luxuries.

Expect Treevia (with our Tree of Knowledge), regular caption contests and more. We also want to get more feedback from what makes you happy in order to improve your experience, so we will be asking you questions about diverse themes. We also want to know you’re getting value from our service, so don’t forget to email us a picture of you enjoying your offer at social@buyometric.com and we’ll be happy to feature it in our blog or on our Facebook page. To finish off today’s blog post, we can’t let you go before publishing the winner of last week’s caption contest:

Caption contest result

Well done Keith and thank you everyone for your entries! Rendez-vous Saturday for the next instalment of our caption contest. In the mean time, don’t forget to enter our Great British Getaway competition. All you have to do is click on the buttons below to enter.

A fresh new look

Posted by on 21-08-2012, under About Buyometric, New features

On Friday we quietly rolled out the first of a series of changes that will transform the look and user experience of our website and emails over the next 4 months.

You might have seen this coming. I’ve been tweeting about the work involved in the rebrand for some time and our blog received the make-over treatment about four weeks ago (alongside the introduction of a companion Tumblr blog). The redesign includes a cleaner looking website that will support more advanced features designed to help you find the perfect deals and offers.

The first thing to receive some simplification love was our logo. The original version was a play on the dictionary definition format, but it’s caused us problems since people struggle to know how our name should be written. We’ve seen Buy-o-metric, Buy.o.metric, Buy O metric to name a few. We are Buyometric, and now that’s exactly what our logo says.

Logo redesign

 

The site has benefitted from an overall de-clutter and brings us back in line with our philosophy at launch – that our technology should provide the wow factor over fancy graphics. We are an engine designed to save people money by matching them with the deals and offers they will be most interested in. Our technology is sophisticated and intelligent. We want our brand to communicate this message.

Aside the aesthetics, the coming months will see a series of upgrades that will completely change the way that customers will use our website. While the bulk of the changes are being release through-out September, two new features are been introduced today in beta format.

Deal search

You can now search for deals using the search bar at the top of every page. Once we see some search activity we will learn more about how the search should work and what results you are expecting to see, and so this first version is very much a beta release. The search results will still be sensitive to your location and other factors that we know about you to help personalise the experience.

Travel search

The are some amazing online offers to be found for short breaks and holidays. Today we have launched a new Travel section that will facilitate the uncovering of these travel deals. We will be increasing the number of travel deals available in this section over the coming months as we learn what types of offers are most popular.

Improved login

We have improved the login experience after much feedback from users, and have also improved the existing facilities for changing usernames and passwords. Both were proving a little buggy and the user experience wasn’t great.

Expect more

The next wave of improvements will hit the site in about 3 weeks time when will build on this redesign. We hope you approve of the changes so far and would love to hear your feedback.

Buyometric at the Olympic Park

Posted by on 13-08-2012, under About Buyometric

Olympic rings

The Buyometric office is lucky enough to be located within easy access to the London 2012 Olympic Park. A few of us have made the most of this fact, attending a whole range of sports including diving, hockey, weight lifting and athletics. And we’re not done yet –  Paralympic tickets are already in the bag. We’re proud to be able to say that we were there, and we are proud of London for putting on an amazing games.

Paul at theOlympic Park gate

Aquatic Centre

Aquatic Centre

Many people have commented on the amazing flower meadows throughout the park.

Olympic flower meadows

The Orbit, made up of recycled washing machines, dominates the park.

Orbit

 

We’re Hiring: PHP Developer – London

Posted by on 27-07-2012, under About Buyometric

PHP Developer – London Bridge

Up to £25,000 per annum + bens

 This is a fantastic opportunity to join a team of 3 experienced developers in a fast paced, growing industry. Just 2 years old, the business is still in its infancy but already a market leader making this the perfect place to become a part of the foundations.

To be considered for this role, you must have a passion for PHP Development, be entrepreneurial in your approach, willing to do what it takes to get the job done and have a desire to be a part of a growing business in a competitive market place. You must be personable, hard working, resilient and ready to take on a real challenge.

 You will be responsible for maintaining and extending our existing web framework, spiders and email delivery system, as well as taking ownership of improvement of site architecture.

Skills Required:

  • Excellent knowledge of PHP.
  • Excellent knowledge of MySQL.
  • Knowledge of the Linux (shell and scripting).
  • Understanding of MVC design patterns and frameworks.
  • Experience with object oriented programming.
  • Understanding of basic algorithms. Know what big O-notation is about.
  • Degree in Computer Science or related subject essential (otherwise proven track record with at least 3 years practical experience in a commercial environment).

Additional Skills are Desirable:

  • Experience with Unit Testing
  • Experience with Agile Development
  • Knowledge of PostFix and how Mail Transition works.
  • Experience with Version Control Systems (ideally Git).
  • Experience with Doctrine.
  • Experience with noSQL (Redis).
  • Experience with Sphinx Search.

If you think you would be right for this position please send your CV to jobs@buyometric.co.uk along with a portfolio of personal projects (GitHub or a personal website would be suitable).

 

NO AGENTS – we do not pay agency fee’s as we have our own in house recruitment team, please don’t waste your time.

A need for speed. The (ongoing) challenge of email delivery

Posted by on 17-07-2012, under About Buyometric, New features

Delivery problems

We have an interesting challenge here at Buyometric. The number of emails we send out on a daily basis is increasing rapidly, but the timeframe we have to deliver them is remaining constant.  Imagine increasing the quantity of breakfast cereal that you pour into your bowl by 5% each morning. One of these days, you’re going to end up in a mess.

Our goal is to deliver an individually tailored email to every one of our users by 10am at the very latest. The email contains some deals that are only available for one day, so the earlier you receive the deals the longer you have to ponder a purchase before time runs out – or the deal sells out. Our classification and email creation processes is completed at around 8am, which gives us a 2 hour window to deliver the emails.

That’s no problem when your sending 10 emails, or 100, or 1,000 or 10,000. But what happens when you are sending hundreds of thousands of emails?

We’ve been finding out. Recently our 10am deadline has been slipping. Some days our mail server would crash altogether, and on others it would grind to a halt after chewing through all the available memory. Sometimes emails can’t be delivered and our server needs to keep trying. On these days, the extra load of repeated delivery attempts would cause something of a nuclear reaction and kill our sending processes dead.

The problem peaked about two weeks ago, where the last emails to be delivered were being received at around 2pm. This was totally unacceptable for us – something had to be done.

The fine folks at Catn, who provide and maintain our infrastructure, worked with us to come up with a solution. First we tried switching to a memory based mail server, but that didn’t cut it, so we ended up moving the server to a machine with a faster disc and much higher memory allocation. We’ve also started compressing our emails prior to dispatch to reduce the overall file size and eliminate any unnecessary overhead.

The result are looking good. We’re back within our target window, with email currently being fully dispatched shortly after 9am.  That enables us to roughly double in size before we need to look at a further upgrade. At this rate we’d better book that in right around Christmas time…

Living Social Completes The Picture

Good news! After 18 months of discussion, Living Social have finally come on board and now complete the picture to ensure that Buyometric really is providing a selection of ALL the best deals from across the UK.

Living Social has a huge range of offers to suit every type of deal fan and now those offers are available in your “daily dose of deals” courtesy of Buyometric. From local offers on restaurants, spas, and haircuts to national brand products, luxurious escapes and fantastic family experiences – there’s something for everyone.

So, what took us so long?

Living Social are a US company, and in early 2011, a decision in their Washington DC head office was taken to steer clear of working with deal aggregators. However the popularity of Buyometric in the UK has reached across the pond, and with the support of the Living Social UK team we’ve joined up with them in a strategic partnership that will see our users benefit from more choice than anywhere else.

We went to meet the guys and girls over at the Living Social UK head offices, and I have to say – I was impressed.

Signing in on a brand new iPad, before being shown to the “Social” bar was great, but passing the games room – Table Tennis, Foosball and Arcade Dance Machines – before dropping by the “picnic” meeting room (grass floors, picnic tables and sundrenched skies), made me realise that our own humble London Bridge office has a long way to go.

 There was a definite sense of pride and achievement and we’re confident that this will shine through in the quality of the offers we’re now sharing with you.

To celebrate this new partnership and to show how ecstatic we are to be working together, we’re giving away £100 worth of Living Social vouchers to one lucky winner to be selected at random from anyone who purchases a Living Social deal through Buyometric before the 9th July 2012. Terms can be found here.

Behind the camera

Posted by on 17-05-2012, under About Buyometric

Buyometric photoshoot

Little did we know that Dan, the latest addition to our development team, was secretly taking photos of our last glamorous photoshoot. Our amazing photographer has finally been unmasked…

Fundraising for Prostate and Breast Cancer: My London Marathon story

Posted by on 02-05-2012, under About Buyometric

London Marathon Medal

Last Sunday I ran the London Marathon, and it will go down as one of the greatest experiences of my life. You might be reading this as a veteran marathon runner and find yourself nodding in agreement, but if you’re someone that has never considered it before, I would urge you to give it a go.

At the beginning of the month we started a campaign to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Care. Together they are the most common forms of cancer in the UK and will have touched many of our lives. Within the last few years I lost my Grandfather to prostate cancer, so it’s a cause particularly close to my heart.

To help the charities with their work in prevention and education we decided to make a donation for every transaction processed through Buyometric during April. I also signed up to run the London Marathon for the charities to personally contribute what funds I could raise from my cash strapped relatives and friends.

Carb loadingThe training was very hard. I’m not a natural runner – nor naturally athletic in any respect – and am far better off with a computer than any kind of gym equipment. That said, running in the dark through snow and sheet ice can’t be anyone’s idea of fun. In the past few months I’ve tripped over fallen branches, cut my legs on barbed wire, and misplaced many a step straight in to deep mud.  And it’s not just physically demanding – my family have suffered from the lack of my presence over the weekends when I’d be out for 3 or 4 hours running then too exhausted to be of any use. On a positive note, the carb loading was truly welcome.

Then the big day arrived. The night before I accidentally melted my charity running vest while attempting to iron my name to the front, so an emergency kit change kept me up late into the night. It was a very early start up to Greenwich Park where the toilet queues were only beaten in length by the number of instructions to remember. How much water to drink, when to take energy gels, and how to pace myself all went out the window when I crossed the start line because all I could concentrate on where the crowds. Tens of thousands of people cheering, shouting my name, willing me on. It was awesome.

Paul runningThey were there the whole time. It’s a strange feeling when your body is screaming you to stop, while your mind is grasping for any reason to continue. It’s those times when you need the crowd.

I reached the finish line in a time of 4 hours 23 minutes, a time that I’m delighted with. It means I beat both Gordon Ramsay and Will Young who both finished along side me. The sense of achievement was temporarily replaced by nausea and I was forced to sit under a tree in St James’ Park for half an hour feeling terrible. A pizza seemed to cure it.

The sense of elation to have completed the London Marathon is hard to describe. The tragic death of Claire Squires at mile 25 is a reminder that this is an extraordinarily demanding feat. Despite the pain and gruelling training, I am already having withdrawal symptoms and am trying to work out how I could improve my time if I were to do it again. Perhaps not next year – I owe my family a break – but I think I’ll probably be back some day soon.

You can ready more about my personal story at justgiving.com/pauljohnfisher, however for now i’d just like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign and sent me direct messages of support – I read each and every one and can assure you they helped me get through to the end!

Amending our privacy policy to comply with EU “Cookie Law”

Posted by on 25-04-2012, under About Buyometric

EU Cookie Law

In November 2009 the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive was modified to regulate the use of cookies and local browser storage. Before the amendment, a website had to allow you to opt-out of cookies, and this was usually performed by the browser manufacturers. The new directive stated that users should be asked to opt in to cookie usage BEFORE they are placed on a computer. The directive will become UK law on May 26 2012 – just one month away.

The new law has been widely derided by anyone who knows anything about web technology. The EU were trying to protect privacy, particularly from cross domain tracking which allows an organisation to collect large quantities of data on people and use that data for commercial purposes. However the vast majority of cookies are used in very simple ways – for example a cookie (which is basically a text file) might just contain your username and password to help you log in to a website, or it might contain some preferences that you have set so that your favourite website is shown using the particular layout that you like.

The law is, however, the law. Here at Buyometric we have been looking at our use of cookies and thinking about ways that we can either reduce their usage or explain them more clearly. The first step in this process is to amend our privacy policy to include a table of the cookies we use and explain what they do.

A good example is our auto-login cookies log_u and log_p. Like many websites, we give people the option to “remember me” when logging in. When you do this, we set a cookie on your computer that contains your email address (log_u) and encrypted password (log_p). When you revisit our website we check for this cookie and use the data to log you in. Only our software can decode your password, so it is safe from preying eyes!

Over the coming weeks we will be thinking about how we can make the setting of cookies more explicit throughout our site, in a way that doesn’t inhibit the user experience. It’s quite a challenge.

See our amended Privacy Policy for further details

pagetop