Are you a food blogger looking for a place to write your restaurant reviews? Tired of paying premium prices to design the website for your small dog-grooming business? Want to support a Haverford student’s industry-expanding new project? Well, then Samson Judd has just the solution for you. In September, the sophomore computer science major launched Samway, an affordable alternative to all the pricey website-building platforms on the market.
Judd first came up with the idea in high school, when he was looking to give his IT business an online presence.
“I looked through all the options, and eventually settled on Wix, but all of them, including major players such as Wix and Squarespace, seemed to lack features, and they overcharged for things that I knew could cost a lot less,” he said. “The idea for Samway came to me a year later when I had a former client message me and ask if there was a cheaper option that ‘did it all.’”
After taking a computer science class with Visiting Assistant Professor Jeova Farias Sales Rocha Neto in which students’ final projects focused on solving real-world problems using Java, Judd had the knowledge and the confidence to work on a website that would help small businesses. Thus, Samway was underway.
“Some of the more challenging features to implement were the rather complex email marketing and automation capabilities,” he explained. “For example, I wanted bloggers to be able to use Samway to build an audience and sign people up for their newsletters. Adding the ability for users to schedule and mass-send emails to all of their subscribers through Samway was pretty difficult, because Samway is a new business, so if too many people get emails routed through the Samway domain, they might get marked as spam.” Thankfully, Judd was able to connect with folks at Microsoft to prevent this issue.
Marketing Samway with limited funding hasn’t been easy either, but Judd has been making it work by running Google ad campaigns, starting his own blog, partnering with influencers, and launching an affiliate network. He plans to reinvest his working money into the product’s brand awareness, and he’s excited to pitch his business plan to venture capitalists, startup accelerators, and other potential investors.
For his official launch, Judd sent press releases to Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS, and other news sites through EIN Presswire, and they published them online. He also announced the launch on his personal social media, as well as the “Bexley Buzz,” a Facebook group for his hometown of Bexley, Ohio.
Samway came to life with the help of a few other computer science students who assisted with the website’s design.
“What surprised me the most is how he actually went through to create his own business,” said Vita Meng ‘25, who helped Judd with the design. “I think for the vast majority of us, when we have an idea, we’ll mull about it for a couple days, think it’s cool, and move on. Samson’s one of those few individuals who will actually act on those ideas. He identified an opening in the website market, thought about what he could do about it, and proceeded to dedicate his entire summer designing his own business to capitalize on this opportunity. That’s impressive.”
Balancing the heavy workload of his school schedule with the demands of running a business certainly hasn’t been easy. Fortunately, Judd has learned good habits through years of schooling and knows the value of time management.
“I keep careful track of my time,” he said. “I schedule everything in my Google Calendar and I try to keep my schedule as organized as possible in order to prevent time from being wasted. I also try to get all of my assignments done as early as possible, so I am not stressed about having a ton of things to do at once after procrastinating.”
So far, Judd has received great reception from the public since the launch, including 30 subscribers on the first day of the product’s release, and has officially filed for LLC status. But his work on Samway doesn’t stop there.
“In my experience, it is never a good idea to get complacent when running a business,” he said. “The market is always changing, and it’s important to stay ahead of your competition. Since launching Samway, I have added quite a few features, including an affiliate network as mentioned earlier, integrations with Zapier and Mailchimp, and a design agency service. Next, I plan to implement versatile API integration, along with a smoother user interface, and logo/brand design features. I’m excited to continue improving Samway and helping people attain a web presence for an affordable price.”