Case Studies > Blinker, Inc

Making Great Stuff Happen

Document ID: UNIDEN-T91F-3BA7-SG3G

The Background

Blinker is a Denver, Colorado-based mobile app that puts people in control of their car ownership themselves with the snap of a photo.. Blinker was founded in 2013 because they believe the used car market has a major consumer problem – each year, twenty eight million people in the US buy or sell a car at the dealership and lose thousands of dollars in every transaction. Blinker is the only company that allows anyone to sell a car with a lien, buy a car with financing or refinance a car, all on their own with their mobile device using patented image-recognition technology.

As Blinker's traffic increased several years into their relationship with a Denver, Colorado-based data center, they suffered performance problems from their hosting provider, including frequent outages which directly affected Blinker’s bottom line. Blinker’s leadership turned to the provider for answers and assistance, but none were forthcoming.

“We have frequent problems with that service provider – not software issues,” Blinker's President Danny Montalvo said. “They said that the service we was getting was the best that they could do. From our perspective, it just wasn’t enough.”

Blinker, Inc., agreed that better could be found, perhaps even at a better price point while still remaining local.

“We had looked into a number of local hosting providers, and while the one we selected met our price point requirements, their service was not up to the standards we adhere to at Blinker. We run an online app allow our users to make a profit - it's vital we stay online - at all times,” said Rob Buscher, CEO of Blinker, Inc.

The Solution

For Blinker's President Danny Montalvo, UnidenHosting was the best answer for Blinker's, for a variety of reasons.

“With UnidenHosting, we would be able to come in lower on cost, while still remaining local and getting consistent performance,” Danny Montalvo explained. “We can build a custom deployment at UnidenHosting, and very few providers allow me to do that. We can put together something the precise size we want, with a lot of focus on performance and security, but not go crazy with the cost.”

Blinker, Inc., was entirely unfamiliar with UnidenHosting.

“You trust us on the infrastructure, and we can perform on many vendors,” Montalvo said. “But it’s best when the vendor listens to our needs rather than forces us to pick something that's going to be the most expensive and off the shelf.”

That wasn’t the only compelling reason that Blinker offered for the move

At UnidenHosting, Blinker can support the environment locally which is a relief. When you understand that it only takes an hour and a half to get to a facility, it's really not that bad” Montalvo said. “The more capabilities the provider gives us, and the more they let us tweak things, the more we can support our end customers.”

In the end, Blinker’s endorsement of UnidenHosting was very persuasive.

“We knew we needed to make a change, but had no idea where to start,” Adam C, Blinker's COO said. “After being disappointed with other providers, we were wary of making a change that would net the same results. The team at UnidenHosting.com was extremely knowledgeable, and in the end, we were confident with their recommendation to leave our host of multiple years in favor of another that would meet our needs.”

The Result

Before starting the transition process, Blinker, Inc., was considering downsizing their footprint. When they started discussing pricing with UnidenHosting, however, they determined they could increase their infrastructure size for more stability and speed, while still getting a lower price point than they previously had.

“When we were presented with Blinker’s infrastructure challenges, we knew we would be able to develop a custom solution that would provide greatly improved performance and uptime, as well as a far higher level of ongoing support and management” said UnidenHosting's Channel Account Manager Griffin Leen-Sohl. “We were also able to do this at a lower price point than they were previously paying, and I think that's really important.”

As a result, Blinker, Inc and UnidenHosting.com, LLC were able to collaborate on creating an e-commerce deployment that will support Blinker through an immense growth spurt.

“We have a high level of confidence that we can continue to grow our business under this configuration,” Montalvo said. “Honestly, we would have to increase traffic a hundred-fold to put a dent in what this configuration does for us. Even then, it allows for adding more servers without tearing down anything.” Blinker’s caching servers are separated from the web and database servers. All of them are totally redundant.

Montalvo explained the dual purpose of that arrangement.



“In that configuration, we can provide a custom active-active load balancing configuration,” Montalvo said. “It’s not simply failover; nothing is on standby. Also, there should always be lots of resources available, because it’s a distributed architecture with role-specific servers.”

For Blinker, the proof was in the pace of the configuration.

As we ramp up sales and marketing efforts at Blinker, it’s imperative that we optimize the performance of our site. After UnidenHosting support staff reconfigured our servers, we were amazed at the speed in page load times and order processing without having to purchase a CDN

— Rob Buscher, CEO of Blinker, Inc.

Conclusion

For Blinker, the outcome couldn’t have been better.

“If you had told us before we met and began using UnidenHosting services, that our systems could operate at a higher level and at a lower cost, we probably wouldn’t have believed you. We’d recommend UnidenHosting to any small business looking to optimize their processes,” Tracey said.

On UnidenHosting’s end, they know that the good work they do with their allies results in an ever-increasing customer base.

“It’s gratifying for us to know that we perform well enough that our partners regard us as the ideal choice,” Leen-Sohl said. “There are so many options out there, but we try to stand out with our performance, service, people and customization standards. The hosting industry are hard hitters, but I think since 1998 we might just have the secret.”

For Montalvo, UnidenHosting.com, LLC has developed into an outstanding symbiotic partner.

“I know if I need something, that UnidenHosting values its partners. I know I can get what I need through them for my own customer. That’s a big deal for a managed service provider,” Montalvo said. “That is a big plus for UnidenHosting over any other company I deal with. I have found many providers charge for every little thing. UnidenHosting doesn't say ‘we don’t do that’ to very many things. So my customer can get whatever they need without having to pay extra.”

Having a provider that's truly honest and isn't afraid to tell it's consumers how it is, now that's what were all about. UnidenHosting owns a real datacenter but still outsources colocated servers outside of it's foundation just shows they are all about their customers and what the customers want. We haven't looked back since signing!

— Rob Buscher, CEO of Blinker, Inc.

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