In May 2000, having become tired of technical jargon and web design "techies" trying to make the process unduly complicated to inflate their own costs, Robin Hood Limited decided to create a web-engine that would enable their staff to update their own website without the need for extensive training or knowledge of HTML, FTP, databases or stats packages; this product was called VISAV (Virtual Internet Solutions that Add Value).
As the product was being developed for the company's own use, they included vital, practical tools that they wanted and left out all the usual rubbish (adverts/banners/pop-ups etc). They developed a database tool that would:
- allow visitors to the website to join a mailing list (plus a back-end facility to add their existing data to the list)
- remove the need to use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to upload the site (removing the possibility of two users wiping out each other's data)
- add a simple and accurate stats package, that counts page-visits to every page of the site and automatically includes new pages as soon as they are added
Additionally they built a secure web-shop that allowed online sales and management of carriage, vat and user discounts. The back-end to the web-shop was designed to help manage the orders as they came through and track payments and dispatches.
Basically, Robin Hood Limited provided themselves with all the main requirements of a large website but built the admin so a child could use it, saving themselves a fortune in time and money that they had been losing to web builders.
Through discussions with friends' businesses and members of various chambers and business links, it became apparent that just about every business they talked to wanted a similar product.
The provision of Internet hosting, email, computers and technical support was not the objective of Robin Hood Limited but the clear demand for this proven and valuable product was evident.