Ocere is a relatively small online services business driven by the hustle of its founder, Tom Parling. It evolved from web design to search engine optimization (SEO) to a broad-based online lead generation and services reseller.
Ocere has no outside investors or debt. Instead, Parling prides himself on staying at the leading edge of the digital services industry and constantly trying new services. In other words, Ocere has its products and business model in permanent beta.
It is not nearly as sexy as online fantasy gaming, but every year Ocere tests out new products. The qualified online lead generation service is a great example. The idea was that consumers have shifted to a web searching model for finding certain types of home services: such as replacing a water boiler. The contractors who install boilers, however, are not likely to set up a web presence, deal with SEO issues, and attract qualified leads. Parling figured out how to turn this process into a service for the contractors.
Ocere could generate and sell qualified leads to contractors for a marginal cost per lead, saving the contractors the cost of infrastructure. Ocere turned online lead generation for contractors from a fixed cost to a variable cost paid only when they got a qualified lead. From there, it was a relatively simple effort to begin identifying and pilot testing similar contractor sectors; Ocere now offers the service for solar panels and window double-glazing. There are probably dozens of other specialized contracting opportunities for Parling and the Ocere team to test and implement.