You’ve probably noticed a recent surge in activity on GringoTree. This is no accident. GringoTree is under new management!
Who is now running GringoTree?
GringoTree has been acquired by Jason Scott & Michelle Puga. They are a mixed expat/Ecuadorian family that has lived in Cuenca for around 3 years. You may already know us from our popular blog, Expats Ecuador.
Michelle is born and bred in Quito where she still maintains strong family ties. Michelle learned English during her 5+ years as a certified Ecuadorian tour guide where she led trips all across Ecuador, including the Galapagos. Michelle successfully transitioned to senior operations roles with prominent tour operators where she still currently works on a part-time basis.
Obviously, Michelle knows Ecuador tourism inside and out. GringoTree will be drawing on Michelle’s deep local knowledge to bring you tasty content related to tourism and traveling in Cuenca. Michelle’s success working with Ecuadorian operators & suppliers puts her in a terrific position to continue growing partnerships for the GringTree Discount Card.
Originally from Australia, Jason lived in 8 countries (including UK, Canada, UAE, Thailand, Colombia & Paraguay) before settling in Ecuador. This video gives a good overview on why Jason chose Ecuador – or how it chose him…
After graduating with degrees in Law and Civil Engineering, Jason turned his back on a traditional career as the possibilities of scaling digital businesses became his passion. He worked for numerous digital agencies & media publishers in Australia whilst simultaneously running his own digital businesses.
Jason will be using his strong content marketing background to lead GringoTree’s editorial & technology teams.
Why did we acquire GringoTree?
Good question. We already own a successful blog that helps expats transition to life in Ecuador, so why would we want another website that provides expat-related content?
Community. Plain and simple. Owning GringoTree allows us to have a meaningful contribution to our chosen home of Cuenca. We get tremendous value from supporting our local community and GringoTree allows us to strengthen our relationships with readers & local businesses.
GringoTree’s core value propositions are “deals + community”. We truly believe that providing a resource where the community can engage with each other & local businesses is a massive benefit to the expats & locals living in Cuenca.
What are our core values?
Obviously, building community is a key driver for both of us. But, we’d also like to share our other core values so you can know us a little better. They are:
- Freedom: To live how we want to live
- Security: Financial and other resources to live a comfortable life
- Contribution: Our work has a meaningful impact on the lives of others
- Love: Provides the foundation for our passion towards work, family & everything in between.
We’re in a fortunate position where we don’t need GringoTree to produce significant revenue in order for us to put food on the table. Our core needs are met by income from other ventures, giving us the freedom to drive GringoTree towards a new era without needing to be constantly chasing advertisers to remain solvent. In this way, we can avoid a core problem faced many smaller, local publishers.
Community 1st, revenue 2nd
The end result means that we don’t need to focus on generating advertising revenue at the expense of our community. Of course, we have a solid road map for generating profits, but this roadmap focuses on building community 1st. We know that by building and nurturing a strong community, the revenue will come.
What are our plans for the future?
Let us be completely honest with you. GringoTree has not been well managed over the past few years. As a subscriber or even casual reader, you already know this. We are here to usher in a new era where our focus will be on the following:
Our editorial policy is dead simple; produce content that is helpful to our readers. We have no set agendas to preach to you and we welcome rigorous, respectful debate.
But, negative trolling or attacking other members of the community has no place at GringoTree. We have a zero-tolerance policy for weeding out these bad actors.
We genuinely believe the GringoTree Discount Card provides substantial benefits to the community.
As a discount cardholder, you get to save hundreds on everyday purchases, whilst providing an additional incentive to try new services, restaurants & other experiences.
As a GringoTree Card partner, your business benefits from reaching our core audience of expats & English-speaking locals. These are generally viewed as attractive customers. You also have the opportunity to discuss digital strategy with Jason – a rather unique opportunity for Ecuadorian businesses to benefit from a professional digital strategist.
We are placing a greater emphasis on managing the discount card program. This includes:
- Regular communication on our card partnerships
- Secret shopper program to ensure card-holders have a positive experience using the card, and
- Content featuring these businesses and their owners so our readers can connect with them.
Our experience building & managing websites allows us to quickly build useful digital tools that benefit the community.
For example, the first feature we’ve rolled out is our Cuenca Events platform. We built it because our experience finding local events was poor. Events were spread out over a variety of publications & platforms, making it harder than it needed to be to find fun activities in and around Cuenca. Hopefully, our events platform changes that for the entire community.
Expect to see several more feature rollouts over the coming months – all aimed at bringing the community closer together.
Our promise to you
We’ll lead GringoTree into a new era where community & transparency are key. We are committed to making GringTree Cuenca’s most useful publication for expats & English-speaking locals alike. It will take us a little time, but we have the means and know-how to make it happen.
We need your support
With all of our emphasis on building community, it seems quite obvious that we can’t do this alone. Nor do we want to. We need your support to help build a thriving community that will benefit us all.
You can help by:
- Posting regularly in our free Classifieds section. Topics include Community Announcements, Business Recommendatinos, Expat Q & A, Business Promotions, Real Estate, Buy & Sell.
- Posting your events
- Purchasing a GringoTree Discount Card
- Contributing content either as a one-off or regular writer (we provide compensation for regular contributors). Submit your interest here.
- Pitching a story idea you’d like us to cover. Reach out to us here.
- Simply enjoy consuming our content. Don’t be afraid to provide feedback by commenting on our articles. We try to respond to all comments.
Keep an eye on your inbox for lots of exciting stuff from us over the following months.
We’re genuinely excited to be part of your community.
Michelle & Jason