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January 13, 2010

NovaSite! Archive

NovaSite! Recognition Plaque

Aylis Ltd

My name’s David Conway, I was born in England, November 1980. I am the owner of Aylis Ltd, a web development company and parent of the Nodus Award program. From drawing and painting in junior school, to graduating from University with a BSc Hons in Product Design, creativity has always played a major role in my life. It is my passion.

Soon after education, I discovered the web as the perfect platform to convert my eye for design into a structured and commercially viable opportunity. In July 2002, I set up a freelance graphic and web design business called Nodus Design. Nodus proved to be a great learning curve in terms of designing for the web, site deployment and subsequent marketing strategies. One of these strategies was to create a Nodus “Award Program”.

My initial intension was for it to be an inexpensive way of gaining additional traffic and for it to provide a constant view on the market sector Nodus was involved with. Whilst my decision for starting the program was based on commercial gain, I soon grew very fond of the community and the friendly, like minded owners within it. I was part of this community from 2002 to 2004 and in that time I thoroughly enjoyed being part of a large, diverse and thriving scene.

Aylis Ltd

My program started from humble beginnings but thanks to hard work and the teachings from more experienced AP owners, it grew to be recognised as one of the toughest and most sort after Awards and was highly prized by web designers (A Nodus Gold Award was VERY hard to get).

In November 2004 I closed Nodus Design to work full time for a former client as their Chief Designer. Nodus Awards was receiving an average of 15 applications per day and unfortunately, despite 3 evaluators, our work commitments meant we couldn’t cope with the volume and subsequently closed the program in December 2004. I often wonder how large Nodus could have grown between then and now but I don’t regret the decision, it was the right, and possibly only choice.

My career progressed well over the few years and I was appointed as Creative Director in October 2006. I managed a team of twelve designers and developers and together we built an industry leading service that currently has a $1.5m annual turnover. In August 2009, I resigned from my position to focus on a new challenge.

I have known for several years that ultimately, I am destined to run my own business. I dream big and work hard to make them come true. I am strong minded and confident in my abilities and over the next few years, I plan to grow Aylis Ltd into a real online force. The foundations for this were set in Jan 2009 when I reopened the Nodus Award Program as a way of kick starting traffic for the website. As of November 2009, the Aylis portfolio of websites (including the new Nodus Awards) has received over 60,000 unique visitors which considering a marketing budget of zero, I am very pleased with.

It has been very interesting to come back to the Award community after an absence of 5 years. The more I catch up, the more worried I become. The scene is now a shadow of its former glory. Programs are disappearing each month, the owners citing health or work commitments as the cause but I suspect that many simply have a site that in 2009, few are interested in. It seems the award seeker has changed, the award giver has not.

The 2009 Nodus Awards is quite different to the original as websites are reviewed multiple times by the site owners’ visitors rather than a single evaluation from one person. There are two problems with this concept, one encouraging visitors to provide feedback and two, keeping that feedback consistent from person to person. After three months of evaluation, I've concluded that it hasn't worked as intended but after the next major site update, I believe Nodus Awards will be back at full strength. Time will tell…

The Brothers Grinn
(Denny Lancaster and Bernie Howe)

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