Crewtoo: Largest Mariner Online Network Started with a Question

Crewtoo is known as “the voice of the seafarer” and for good reason: It has 100,000 members now, making it the largest online network dedicated to mariners, and it started by asking seafarerers to voice their opinions. Here’s what happened.

The question that started Crewtoo!
The first Crewtoo questions were in print, as in this November 2011 edition of NEWSlink South Pacific; today Crewtoo is an online network for mariners.

 

Back in a November 2011 edition of NEWSlink (digital newspapers delivered by email to vessels around the world), a small box appeared, titled “Have Your Say with Crewtoo.” As replies rolled in to the NEWSlink offices, the poll results and a selection of comments were printed in subsequent issues of NEWSlink, and seafarers were offered the option of signing up individually to receive the Crewtoo poll questions and answers by email.

Because of the limits of many vessels’ satellite communications systems, those emails had to be less than 3,000 characters of plain text, so NEWSlink moved to printing a weekly Crewtoo newspaper to contain more members’ comments, opinions, and jokes. With the desire to find an outlet for even more comments to be shared, the Crewtoo online network was born in late 2012.

Dan Blakeman, Crewtoo’s original moderator, kept an email received the very first morning of Crewtoo.com, from the third person to ever join, a master on an LPG tanker who was emailing from his vessel: “My wish and prayer were answered at last! Generally I was discussing onboard with my officers [that we should] write Newslink to devise a NETWORK all over the world in order for us to be heard…and now here comes the answer to that long time dream! How I wish that “Crewtoo” will change the world of the seafarers, in terms of treatment and their experiences all over the world’s ports!”

“That absolutely made my day,” recalls Blakeman, who still enjoys seeing new members connect with colleagues. In addition to the 100,000 (and growing every day) members, Crewtoo has 85,000 followers on Facebook, and an active Twitter presence.

Crewtoo_logo_forBLOGHere are some Crewtoo ‘geek facts’ from Blakeman:

  • Our original aim stated in our web design brief was to have 6,000 members by the end of 2012, and we ended up with 22,038!
  • 545,085 unique visitors to Crewtoo.com so far
  •  18.4% of people that visited the site joined
  •  Visitors spend an average of 3 mins 25 secs browsing 3 pages
  •  2,365 people still receive our plain text emails  and interact with us this way on vessel

Both Crewtoo and NEWSlink are part of KVH Media Group (formerly Headland Media), a leading provider of licensed news, entertainment, and training content for the maritime industry. Crewtoo continues to ask its members their opinions about seafaring life. One request that has been voiced many times is a way to learn more about the latest maritime jobs. To that end, Crewtoo is currently developing an online maritime jobs board, which is expected to launch in late March.

 

About Jill Connors 93 Articles
In orbit as Media Relations Manager for KVH Industries, Inc.

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