LinkedInIan Tester

Ian Tester

Product Director: at DC Thomson Family History

United Kingdom
Online Media
  1. DC Thomson Family History
  1. DC Thomson Family History,
  2. brightsolid online publishing,
  1. University of Oxford
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DC Thomson Family History

DC Thomson Family History

Product Director: British Newspaper Archive, WDYTYA? Story

– Present

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Purely online since 1997 - ouff, that's over 15 years. Worked in many internet companies in many roles but with a focus on creating and optimising great customer experiences, then marketing and growing them. I'm full of wild, good ideas but tempered by years of getting my hands dirty and seeing what works (and intuitively knowing what doesn't). Yes, I'm a new media person who understands customers, technology and marketing. And crop rotation.

Specialties: NPD, Strategy, User experience, Customer engagement, web 2.0, online reputation and karma, social media, metrics, agile, scrum, branding, PR, complex user targeting, retention, online marketing, SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing, email marketing, business planning, process development, creative development, data protection, business law, research, media sales, database development, you name it....

I'm now on a quest to prove that extremely long domain names are no barrier to commercial success.


Product Director: British Newspaper Archive, WDYTYA? Story

DC Thomson Family History
– Present (6 months)London, United Kingdom

Commercial lead for 2 products so brilliant, they need extra-long URLs to convey their awesomeness.

1. The British Newspaper Archive: a 10 year partnership with the British Library to digitise one of the world's most comprehensive newspaper archives.

2. Who Do You Think You Are? Story: a partnership with Wall to Wall, creators of the iconic show, to let everybody be the star of their own #familystory and start understanding more about their family's place in history.

Acting Brand Director - The British Newspaper Archive

DC Thomson Family History
(9 months)London, United Kingdom

Business lead for - a partnership with the British Library to make their astonishing collection of historic newspapers available to all.

Senior Product Manager - findmypast

brightsolid online publishing
(4 years 2 months)London, UK

Lead product manager for the key family history / genealogy brand findmypast, as well as working as a strategist more widely across the group. Launched the immensely successful, now concentrating on international rollouts for findmypast (Australia / New Zealand, Ireland, US) as well as bread and butter site development and a couple of special projects...recently rolling out Scrum / Agile processes into the development team, pimping our CRM strategy and powering up SEO & MVT.

Online Sales Manager

brightsolid online publishing
(9 months)

Head of online sales (acquisition, conversion, retention) at brightsolid's online publishing division which included,,, at the time.

Head of Sales & Marketing
(2 years 4 months)

Head of Sales & Marketing for a family history site spun out of a UK genealogical research specialist. "Helping people understand their place in history". Lots of work on acquisition (optimising online traffic acquisition, customer experience) and retention (rolling out complex email platforms, pricing and loyalty initiatives) plus making sure we can measure it all (metrics, dashboards). Acquired by brightsolid Dec 2007.

Head of Marketing & Distribution

(5 months)

eviivo supplies management software to the tourism industry (mostly B&Bs): I helped to start the b2c side, including some online distribution setup and the first iteration of, and general old-skool direct marketing stuff. Looks like they're still using my site copy, so that's nice.

Customer Engagement Manager, Europe

(2 years)

Looked after Customer Engagement Strategy for Yahoo! Europe (mostly UK, FR, DE and a bit of IT, ES). "Helping Yahoo! get retentive". In reality this meant user cross-sell and up-sell using: a. email/CRM (I was the EU evangelist/fixer) b. online advertising on the Yahoo! network. Defined email strategy, negotiated and rolled out a new email platform across Europe, defined Customer Engagement strategy for EU senior management team and a bunch of metrics to measure it with.

Head of Marketing: Yahoo! Personals Europe

(1 year 6 months)

Head of Marketing for Yahoo!'s online dating product in UK, France, Germany from launch, through breakeven to established service. Focus on ROI-positive online marketing, consumer PR and building heavy, heavy forecasting and analysis tools. Good fun, GREAT team.

Marketing Manager: woowho, studentUK, Gradunet

(2 years 3 months)

Worked as Marketing / Commercial manager on a number of e-commerce ventures including woowho (online dating), studentuk (student media) and gradunet (graduate recruitment) as well as providing consultancy on other business projects. Specced a completely new (and very early socially focused) product proposition for studentUK, but we only delivered half (not the social half) owing to dev budgets. Je ne regrette rien, honest.

Business Accelerator: Emap Digital

(11 months)

Hired to accelerate the digital growth of EMAP's print and radio assets, investment was scaled back just as I arrived. So I provided consultancy on subjects such as DRM / paid-for content and ran a couple of larger projects: 1. SEO best practice & implementation 2. Metrics standardisation across a very large portfolio of sites. For SEO I developed a complete "how to kit" covering every stage of the process. Metrics spun out into a large project around defining key KPI metrics and rolling out standard cookie and webserver configurations across the portfolio of over 100 sites in UK, France and US. Nasty.


Venda (was brightstation)
(4 months)

brightstation (as it was then) bought's immensely complex and scalable backend which I knew pretty well by that point: I continued to help develop the operational ASP plans I'd worked on at After I left, the technology was developed into what is today the immensely successful Clever man, that Mr Wagner.

Business Development Manager
(1 year 1 month)London, UK

Hired to look after Knowledge Management, I actually ended up doing the testing and launch signoff on all backend systems (everything after the buy button - finance systems, logistics including messaging to warehouses, payment gateways, customer care). Aged about 3 years in 6 months but hey, nothing like a steep learning curve and sleep deprivation. Post-launch, I built missing backend processes for the Customer Service team until I could reasonably escape, then worked on an operational and business plan to convert the backend into an ASP e-commerce platform, and on category expansion (into cosmetics). I learned things about product databases, messaging middleware and fraud velocity hedges that normal people might rather forget.

Relive the dream:
Enjoy the hangover:

Sales & Marketing Manager

Fletcher Research
(1 year 6 months)

First employee of Fletcher Research, a start-up internet consulting and market research business that was sold to Forrester and became Forrester UK. Fascinating position that started with me being a cold-calling salesman and ended up with a move to Marketing and PR. Really stunning growth over 18 months through solid b2b marketing and database growth.


Independent Coursework

  • Scrum Practioner


  1. English

    Native or bilingual proficiency
  2. French

    Professional working proficiency
  3. Russian

    Elementary proficiency


  • Online Marketing
  • New Product Ideation
  • Social Media
  • Business Strategy
  • Product Strategy
  • Product Launches
  • Customer Engagement
  • Community Engagement
  • User-centered Design
  • User Generated Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Personal Data Protection
  • Customer Retention
  • E-commerce
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • SEO
  • Public Relations
  • Online Publishing
  • Online Sales
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Product Marketing
  • Usability
  • Strategy Development
  • Product Management
  • Beekeeping
  • Bricolage
  • Product Development
  • Strategy
  • Digital Strategy
  • Direct Marketing
  • Business Development
  • CRM
  • Marketing
  • Market Research
  • See 19+  See less


University of Oxford

BA, MA (Oxon), Modern Languages, 2.i

Based at St Catherine's College. Studies mostly revolved around French and Russian literature. I am left with an enduring love for the medieval world and Soviet Russia (although not the shopping).

Activities and Societies: Publishing: (successful) Business Manager for the Oxford Student newspaper, Oxbridge Careers Handbook and Isis magazine. Scholarship (1994).

Winchester College

I think this all falls under EU Human Right legislation now.

Activities and Societies: Editorial team of Quelle (and Squelle) magazines; The Garden Tools - rhythm guitar, dodgy vocals. Scholarship.

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