Website personalization is expected to become an established trend this year.

2016 Deemed "Year of Personalization"

This year isn't just the year of the monkey, it's the year of websites personalized for anyone-even a monkey.

At ZED Digital's Bridging the Gap Between Personalization and Web Analytics workshop at Brookside Country Club in May, Sumithra Jagannath, president of ZED, gave an overview on what she deems 2016 to be the year of: web personalization-such as the use of geolocation or push notifications to personalize each person's online experience.

"It's actually a very common thing now to come across that word 'personalization,'" Jagannath says. "People were more on the mobile bandwagon in 2015, but 2016 is the year of personalization."

Well-known websites have overshadowed others with their personalization efforts, such as GoDaddy's preference-based personalization. In return, it can appear that personalization is more widespread than it is.

"It's less than five percent of sites (that use personalization)," Jagannath says.

According to Jagannath, the concentration of personalization users lies in early adopters of the trend in retail. Those yet to hop on the trend can buy a CMS that includes personalization tools.


Launch Pad: Credit Fair-E Lean Lender

Invented by: Credit Fair-E, creditfaire.com

Cost: 36 percent APR

Investors: Kiva; Velocity; owners Riley Gilson and Chris Blakeley

Amount funded: $55,000

When it comes to loans, serving larger financial needs is what's more profitable and is therefore more common, says Hilliard resident and former KEMBA financial sales specialist Riley Gilson.

But that same fact propelled Gilson and Chris Blakeley of Louisville, Ky., to offer small-dollar loans with a repayment period that seeks to break the cycle of re-borrowing in the form of a website, Credit Fair-E, which launched this January. The cap for Credit Fair-E loans is small indeed: $500. And, its APR of 36 percent drastically differs from small-loan lenders where APR can reach 300 to 400 percent.

Since January, the online credit lender has had 94 applicants and has given 29 loans, resulting in an approximate 30 percent conversion rate. Still in pilot mode, Credit Fair-E's repayment period is six months, but will change to a 12-month period when its pilot phase ends-which is yet to be determined.

Available to only Kentucky residents now, Credit Fair-E has its eyes on Ohio for its next state to operate in. But it's not just because Columbus is the co-founder's home base.

"We look to partner with financial institutions, and there are quite a few of them that are based out of Ohio, throughout Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. So, that will be our next expansion area," Gilson notes.

He hopes that partnerships with financial institutions will entail investment or licensing Credit Fair-E's technology and receiving a small piece of each loan to maintain a constant revenue stream. To gauge interest in the area, Gilson is currently soliciting feedback from local credit unions.

Will Credit Fair-E achieve startup success?

"The opportunity is big and obvious for Credit Fair-E to address the pressing need of a more mindful solution in short-term lending."

Potential Investor: Andi Sie, venture fund committee member, SunDown Group

"Credit Fair-E seems like a great option ... The low APR is much moreappealing than from payday lenders or other companies."

Potential User: Jennifer Smith, childcare provider, self-employed

"Until this product reports to all three bureaus monthly, I do not see any benefit to 'strengthen your credit,' as the website states."

Industry Pro: Christina Steffy, licensed credit specialist, Anew Start Solutions, LLC