PC Pitstop is 10 years old. Can you believe it? That’s right, PC Pitstop officially opened its doors in March 2000, exactly 10 years ago. As a former SVP at Gateway Computers, I had noticed that support costs were growing faster than revenue. “There had to be a way to automate the process of diagnosing and fixing common computer ailments”, I thought. And voilà, PC Pitstop was born.
Our tests were revolutionary for its time using principles of cloud computing that would become popular close to a half decade later. As millions of computers came to our web site for PC help, we were also able to collect the world’s largest database of PC statistics.
Flash forward to early 2003 and we noticed that a huge new threat emerged – spyware. Do you remember the times when computers had so much pop up advertising that it was impossible to get any work done at all? I am extremely proud to say that PC Pitstop was one of the leaders in the war against spyware. We went to Washington DC to raise awareness to this new and unchecked threat to our computers. More over, by September 2003, Gator Corporation, sued PC Pitstop because we labeled their software as spyware. Gator was making millions from their illegal activity, and they were bullying us. They also bullied our two largest partners, PC World and CompUSA. We didn’t back down, but we didn’t win either. It is with a lot of pride that I can say, “Hey Gator/Claria, PC Pitstop is 10 years old and you are DEFUNCT.”
It wasn’t until sometime in 2005, that we really figured out how to make money. Up to that point, we had some beneficial advertising relationships with companies such as Pest Patrol and CA. 2005 represented a turning point for the company by offering the industry’s best PC optimization software, Optimize. At the time, it was revolutionary and I am very proud to say that Optimize is #1 in its class. Optimize has bigger competitors and smaller competitors, but Optimize beats them all hands down. Optimize has the best features. Optimize has the best price. And Optimize has the most sales. I want thank all of the legions of loyal Optimize customers.
It was around 2007, when I started noticing some newer and smaller competitors. One competitor whose name I won’t mention touted over 2 million downloads. I had to laugh out loud. We did the math, and PC Pitstop had over 200 million free scans going all the way back to 2000. We were one hundred times bigger. How did we do it? We have a great product, loyal users, and we have been doing it for a long time. To be honest, we have long passed the 200 million barrier and we don’t keep track. We are just too far ahead.
As I reflect back on the last 10 years, it is really hard to pick one thing that made the last 10 years special. Here are a few thoughts. PC Pitstop is a virtual company. All of our employees work from their homes. There are a few minuses but their are some huge pluses as well. The biggest plus is that we can hire the best people we can find regardless of location. I have the pleasure each day of working with so many smart and dedicated people. We are all here for one purpose, to make PC’s run faster and live longer.
But the most important of all, are all of our users. Many of our users and customers have been around for all 10 years. I want to thank all of you. It is unbelievable to me that we have touched so many millions of lives since we opened our doors 10 years ago. It is truly humbling and all I can say is Thank You.