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FreshBooks is a product of the software company 2ndSite Inc. which is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is an online invoicing software as a service made for freelancers, small businesses, agencies, and professionals. The product includes a myriad of other related features, such as time tracking, expense tracking, recurring billing, online payment collection, the ability to mail invoices through the U.S. Post, and support tickets.
Backbone Magazine rated FreshBooks Canada's #1 Web 2.0 pioneer in 2009 and 2nd place in 2008.
2ndSite was founded by Mike McDerment and Joe Sawada in 2003 out of McDerment's previous Internet marketing consulting business Anicon. It has about 30 employees and remains privately held. Among their more notable employees are Mitch Solway, former VP of Marketing of LavaLife, and Sunir Shah of MeatballWiki.
Originally, the product was named 2ndSite, synonymous with the company. In early 2006, the company rebranded the product as FreshBooks with a completely different look and feel based on the then burgeoning Web 2.0 style.
Social media and Word of Mouth Marketing
FreshBooks makes extensive use of social media. They were recognized in 2008 as the second best company in Canada using social media by KPMG and Backbone Magazine (see references).
FreshBooks maintains two primary blogs. The most important one is Fresh Thinking, where the company publishes the majority of its corporate news plus a mixture of opinions on entrepreneurship as well as updates on its product and marketing efforts. They also maintain a developer blog to provide updates about their API. They also create secondary blogs on occasion like RoadBurn, which they created during their RV road trip campaign from Future of Web Apps in Miami to SXSW 2007 in Austin, and Brand Murder which they created during their rebranding. Finally, the company are also extensively uses Twitter under their freshbooks account as recognized by Fast Company in July 26, 2008 (see references).
FreshBooks frequently mixes social media with their word of mouth marketing stunts. For instance, during SXSW 2008, they started with the aforementioned RV road trip for which they hired a videographer to post videos on YouTube, and also extensively stunted SXSW itself. Later that year, at the HOW Design Conference, they rented a trade show exhibit space without a trade show booth. Instead, they hired a muralist to paint their booth during the show, which they later turned into a music video.
- Wall Street Journal (August 11, 2008): Small Talk
- KPMG and Backbone Magazine (July, 2008): Pick 20 award
- TechCrunch (August 23, 2006): FreshBooks pushes the envelope in online billing
- SitePoint (August 8, 2008): 15 companies that really get corporate blogging
- Fast Company (July 26, 2008): Twitter Intelligence? - The New BI Tool?
- CBC (June 16, 2008): BIG MAC ATTACK
- L.A. Times (March 31, 2008): For small business, when the going gets tough, get tough on costs
- IT World Canada (March 25, 2008): RV IT: Toronto’s FreshBooks spreads the word
- ZDNet (March 27, 2008): Bubble Thinking
- U.S. News & World Report (March 10, 2008): Tips for Steeling Your Firm Against Recession
- PC Magazine (February 2, 2008): Editors Choice: FreshBooks
- IT World Canada (August 30, 2007): FreshBooks pilots Amazon payment service
- PC World (July 30, 2007): Trends in Software as a Service
- CityTV (July 25, 2007): Homepage
- Canadian Business (July 24, 2007): SaaSsy: Software-as-a-service
- USA Today (May 18, 2007): Better hone your sales pitch
- PROFIT Magazine (March 22, 2007): The only bills you’ll ever love
- The Globe and Mail (January 25, 2007): Less paperwork just a click away
- PROFIT Magazine (December 20, 2006): Your Next Big Thing: Web 2.0
- CNET (August 9, 2006): A refreshingly straightforward invoicing service
- National Post (May 19, 2006): Encouraging Signs for Web Services
- ZDNet (April 14, 2006): Running a business on Web-based software
- The Webhost Industry Review (April 5, 2005): FreshBooks Automates the Billing Cycle