Just how many pies does Stelios have his fingers in (and is it more than he's eaten...)?There's been an orange revolution taking place on the internet for some years now.
It's hardly opening up unexplored channels of the internet to you if I point out that Stelios and his Easy empire have moved into the online travel and car hire markets, but even though I consider myself pretty web-savvy and aware of the majority of online offerings from companies expanding their web presence, I was shocked this week at the breadth of online offerings from Stelios and co through its ecommerce portal.
For example, I'm already aware that Amazon.co.uk will be selling Marks & Spencer's underwear and have moved into the DVD rental space, but I had no idea easyGroup sold pizza, watches or men's cosmetics (though I'm really not sure about the wisdom of this one – smell like a chubby Greek man... nice. But what do I know).
I didn't know the company had a price comparison website either.
I had an inkling the company had websites selling music as well as bus tickets, hotel bookings and cinema seats – but when did this all change? I was out of the country all of last week, but I get the feeling I must have taken my eye off the big orange ball for a little longer than seven days.
Granted, easyPizza is only selling to select parts of Milton Keynes – which sounds like an oxymoron if ever I heard one – but Stelios is clearly testing the waters and there must have been some logic behind his choice of starting point.
And this column isn't about pizza – it's about websites. So what next?
My own suggestions – given he's done easy4men – would be something for the ladies, though I'm not sure easyWomen would really convey the right kind of message (unless Stelios fancies a move into the adult market).
Perhaps easyMatchesInInternationalFootball because, according to Sven, there are none. (Seems like a market crying out for some loving.)
More seriously, the diversity of the offerings via the easyGroup portal is so diverse it's impossible to guess what the next move will be. Ferry bookings on easy's first cruise ship in the Med are now being taken and there is still a travel bias to the offerings.
But there are some areas which could have a fit.
What about easyDoesIT.com – cheap PCs and IT kit perhaps? It's a fast-growing market and a catchy domain name – but one which is already owned. Though EasyDoesIT.co.uk is up for sale by an enterprising soul who seems to be sitting tight on a large number of business-friendly domains.
Essentially, the easyGroup now has a strong brand, diversified from its airline roots – though that business is still responsible for the largest share of online transactions – but in theory it could now be a case of taking anything that sells well online, setting up a site, sticking an 'easy' in the domain name and Demis is your uncle, as they probably don't say on the streets of Athens.
Certainly, Stelios seems to have taken some interest in the success of Amazon and ScreenSelect in creating a market for online DVD rentals. easyGroup is promoting just such a service on easyMovies.com and easyMovies.co.uk – which while promoting his cinema business also offers customers the chance to rent cheap films for home delivery.
(I'm so out of touch with the easy ecommerce offering that home DVD rental service was actually my best bet for a 'what they will do next' prediction – unaware it was already offered.)
And what else sells well online?
easyBooks? The company already owns the UK domain but has been beaten to dot-com.
What about easyGaming? It already owns it, registered to several top level domains.
Or easyCasino? They appear to have missed the boat on this one. And easyDating? Missed out here as well, and easyWine.com and easyGadget should they want them – but of course there is nothing to stop Stelios getting legal in an attempt to wrest back any easy- domains which he's already been beaten to – though he lost out to Easyart and Easybroker on this front.
Certainly it appears many chancers are expecting, as I am, the easyGroup to continue expanding its online empire and are squatting on easy- domains, which is easy enough given the naming strategy has been telegraphed pretty clearly from day one – but it's also strictly against the rules if those domains aren't being used in a clear or logical fashion.
Of course, a registered domain name doesn't mean we'll ever see the business launched – there is some reasonable future-proofing involved ensuring those domains are owned should they ever be needed.
But I'll not turn my back for so long next time – I never know when I might find myself in a select part of Milton Keynes with nothing but an internet connection, £5 and a hunger for some cheap pizza.