Interview with Jason Moore, founder of TwitterBackgrounds.com
If you ever googled “twitter backgrounds”, you noticed that one site – TwitterBackgrounds.com – always comes at the very top of the search results list. This site offers the largest selection of free high-quality backgrounds for your twitter profiles. Today we are talking to Jason Moore, the mastermind behind the site.
Please tell our readers a little about yourself and your background.
I am the President of Tree Room, LLC, which owns and operates a handful of successful websites including TwitterBackgrounds.com. I started my first web design company when I was 14, and have been lucky enough to enjoy sustained success. In fact, I still employ a member of that original company over 13 years ago.
How and when did you decide to create the twitterbackgrounds.com site?
Six months ago I took a leave of absence from Tree Room to start a new journey: fatherhood. When my twins were born, I had a month long stay at the hospital. Thankfully it was there where I became hooked on Twitter. I knew right away that our company needed to make an impactful move to Twitter and when I came back all of our resources went into Twitter sites.
How long did the site development take?
Not long. First, our team has a lot of experience creating scalable websites. Second, due to my month long absence, our collective passion bucket was overflowing when I got back. Our team mocked up 6 versions of the site in a week. Once we picked what we liked, it took about a month total to build.
Did the site overall concept undergo any significant changes between the inception and launch?
Surprisingly it didn’t. Everything you see on the site now was planned from day one. It wasn’t all there in the beginning, but we knew where we were going.
When did you actually launch the site?
May 1st, 2009
Are there any challenges that you are facing every day? Any unexpected rewards?
Our biggest challenge by far was timing. In the beginning there was a new Twitter background site popping up every day. This forced us to launch early with only our free section. We then added the custom and personalized sections post launch. As for unexpected rewards, we are overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback we receive.
What’s the site traffic like these days? Are you thrilled or underwhelmed with these numbers?
Last month we had well over 300,000 visitors and almost 5 million pageviews. We’re thrilled and grateful for being the largest Twitter background site, but we know this is just the tip of the iceberg. As a frame of reference, our MySpace resource site did those monthly numbers daily.
How many designers do you have on board, who are they and are you open to hiring more? If yes, what are the conditions and how to apply?
We have 4 full time graphic artists here and 9 total employees. Our work conditions are as good as they get with fully paid benefits, no schedule, ping pong, foosball, Xbox, and more! The only catch is that to work here, you have to move here (Scottsdale, AZ). No outsourcing here!
Do you have favorite backgrounds in the collection? What are they and why?
Besides free backgrounds, twitterbackgrounds.com also offers custom design services. Does having such a large collection of high quality freebies help you or hurt you in finding paying customers?
I think it absolutely helps. For one, I don’t think that the people who need a custom background for their business want a generic (albeit beautiful) non-branded background. But it also allows us to showcase our design skills to hundreds of thousands of people. The same people who one day might bring their business to Twitter.
What do you think will become of twitter and tweeting in the next year of two? Will the value of branded backgrounds remain? Or even more broadly, will twitter backgrounds remain?
Well I definitely believe that Twitter will continue their growth. I don’t think they’ve even reached a fifth of their eventual size. That being said, I think that it will start to niche itself a little further away from friends and family and more to interactions with entities, brands, celebrities, etc. Unless Twitter either offers their own design service or stops allowing customization, TwitterBackgrounds will be along for the ride.
TwitterBackgrounds.com was not your first successful startup, was it? Would you mind telling our readers about your other online projects?
Our first success was in 2005 with FreeFlashToys.com, a site full of fun free widgets to put on social networks. We then launched MyWebsiteLayouts which was similar to TwitterBackgrounds but dedicated to MySpace Layouts. Eventually we merged those two sites to create one of the largest social networking resource sites, pYzam.com. Recently, since our switch to focus on Twitter, we have launched TwitterBackgrounds.com and an awesomely fun social networking game NinjaWarz.com. I highly suggest you go play it right now! We also have another game in the works, but that one is still hush hush.
Do you have any advice for either twitter background designers wanting to break into the field or entrepreneurs thinking of launching a site offering a collection free (or not) twitter backgrounds?
I have two main pieces of advice. One. Don’t just do it because you’re looking for something to break into. You have to love designing and have a passion and talent for it to be successful. Some people were born to be graphic artists and those are the people who will succeed in this market. Two. Be patient. Twitter is everywhere in the news, online media, and conversations right now. But Twitter is still relatively small and the ecosystem is not yet the size of crazy success stories. It will be a year or more before the sheer size will create opportunities worth writing about. But if you get in now, you’ll be ahead of the game for sure. Speaking from experience, the wait will be worth it.