Tale of two years: an open letter to Raven customers

Tale of two years: an open letter to Raven customers

Dear Customers,

If you had asked me in January how many companies I thought would be using Raven by year’s end, my guess wouldn’t have come anywhere close to reality. The adoption rate of Raven in the Internet marketing industry has been nothing but astonishing.

I’m especially proud because Raven began as an in-house tool for our company’s own Internet marketing needs. As the industry evolved, we evolved, eliminating our services department to avoid conflicts of interest, and broadening Raven beyond SEO. Today, I’m elated to see everyone from solo SEOs to enterprise-sized marketing teams use our software.

Raven in 2010

As fast as customers were signing up, we were working just as fast on updates to our software and our company. Some of the highlights:

  • Dashboard and iOS App: We introduced a new dashboard that provides a quick snapshot of each website that’s being managed in Raven. To make the launch even more exciting, we timed it with the launch of a companion iOS app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • Social media tools: We created new management, monitoring and reporting tools for Twitter and Facebook. Raven users can schedule tweets and wall posts, and can reply to tweets and wall comments. We will launch a YouTube tool before the end of the year.
  • Enhanced access rights and accounts: By popular demand, we established an Enterprise account level. The Enterprise account and the Agency account were updated with advanced access rights for large teams. Both accounts also gained the ability to run combined reports — reports that include data from more than one website.
  • Email campaign reporting: Raven’s users saw a new navigation tab appear called Email. The new section introduced the ability to monitor and report on email campaigns for Campaign Monitor and MailChimp.
  • Basecamp integration: To complement the existing Raven messaging system and task manager, we added support for Basecamp messages and todos. This integration made it easy for Internet marketers to view Basecamp project messages and todo tasks without having to leave Raven.
  • MajesticSEO and Open Site Explorer (OSE): To provide more data for website research and link building, we integrated two major link intelligence services, MajesticSEO and SEOmoz’s OSE. Using that data, we were able to enhance existing records and also build new tools including the Site Finder and Backlink Explorer.
  • More education: We spent 2010 increasing and improving our educational efforts. For example, we started a weekly webinar series to help users better understand how to use the system. We also stepped up our marketing efforts, and had fun with contests including RavenHunt.
  • Updates galore! As is the nature with most SaaS platforms, we updated Raven constantly. If we were tracking minor version updates, it would easily be in the high hundreds. The majority of the updates were in direct response to feedback from our customers.

Raven in 2011

2011 should be another amazing year for Raven. The three main things we’ll focus on are performance, feature requests and new features.


The unfortunate consequence of a rapid adoption rate is that it can (and often does) push the limits of the software (think of Twitter “fail whale,” just not as extreme). While our very smart engineers coded the software to handle a significant amount of accounts and data, there are always unforeseen limits to a system. This year, we experienced multiple spikes in growth, which presented our engineers with challenging problems to solve.

Currently, the system can run very slow during peak usage. We have been aware of this problem for several months and actively have been working on a solution. We feel very confident about our strategy to fix the scaling and speed problems and expect to have the system updated by the first or second month of 2011. We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience while we fix this issue. Fixing the speed and scalability of the service is our No. 1 priority right now.

Feature requests

I read every feature request that’s submitted by our users. Our customers have amazing ideas on how we can improve the software. Although we can’t implement every request that’s submitted, we do work hard to address and consider all of them.

Many of the updates and new features we release are in direct response to feature suggestions. Sometimes we can implement them soon after they’ve been requested, while other times it may take up to a year to add a feature. (Basecamp integration is a good example of that.) In 2011, we expect to have the resources to implement a significant amount of feature requests that have been stuck in our development queue.

New features

The thing I’m most excited about are the new features we have planned for 2011. I can’t give it all away, but here are a few things I can tell you about:

  1. CustomRank: We will implement the new CustomRank concept into Raven, starting with a major update to the Quality Analyzer.
  2. Link Management: There are going to be major enhancements to the link management system. They will be released iteratively, with the first update being released before the end of this year.
  3. Third-party integration: We will continue to integrate third-party tools and data into Raven, making it even easier to research, manage, monitor and report on Internet marketing campaigns.
  4. Data filtering: There will be significant enhancements to the filtering capabilities of data views and reports. The enhancements are directly related to keywords and tags.
  5. Refreshed UI: We will be launching a new design for the software. I’m not going to provide any details about it, other than to say its code name is Unity.

Thank you!

I thank all of our customers. Your commitment, feedback and patience have made Raven what it is today. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with you in 2011!

Jon Henshaw
Product Manager

Jon Henshaw
Co-Founder and President

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

  • http://www.boats.com David Main

    Being a member since 2009, I am very thankfull to Raven for what has been delivered in 2010 and am looking forward to what Raven will deliver to me in 2011. I am particular excited to know more about Unity and see some of my feature requests coming to light, such as the copyng of settings, keywords, etc between accounts. Keep up the good work. :-)

  • http://seoserpent.com Marty Martin

    RAVEN is my favorite SEM tool.

    So much so that now, whenever I see a Raven bird IRL, it makes me think of the Raven team. Either I’m a crazy old man (wink at @RobertE) or Jon, Taylor & Team are doing a helluva a job branding and servicing* (another wink at @RobertE) their clients.

    *Disclaimer: I love Raven, but they do not put me to bed.

  • https://mobile.twitter.com/account/suspended Robert Enriquez

    Raven is at the top of their game and one thing that i love about your tool (compared to others) is the high % of ACCURACY!!!!!

    Worked with tools that cost thousands per month, and they don’t provide the same level of accuracy as you guys do.

    If only everyone knew how many Fortune 100 companies are using Raven!!!
    (You should put up a client page list)

    Disclaimer: Raven tucks me into bed every night

  • http://www.markbarrera.com Mark Barrera

    Congrats to the Raven team on all of the success in 2010!

    I’ve become a Raven addict and can’t imagine handling my campaigns with any other tool. I can’t wait to see the upcoming changes and new features. Thanks!

  • Mike Wilton

    Jon, I’ve been along for the ride since early on and I must say, Raven is still by far the most impressive SEO toolset I have used to date. Add that to the amazing support backing the product and it’s no wonder I have continued to use and support Raven. Kudos to you and the entire Raven family for doing an amazing job at keeping up with the demand of your ever increasing client base. 2010 has been an amazing year for the tool, I think every few weeks my team and I found something new in the dashboard that we had either missed or had changed. I look forward to 2011 and all that Raven has in store for the internet marketing community!

  • Rosanne Hodgekiss

    Congratulations, Jon and thank you for doing such an awesome job with email marketing integration this year. We’re really looking forward to seeing what’s next for Raven – all the best for 2011!

  • Samuel Lavoie

    Can’t wait to see the new features, you guys came a long way and made an incredible job.

    Been on the Raven bandwagon since the Beta and boy can’t see myself not using it everyday now :)