2011, A Year To Remember - PIPA Is Now Ten!

2011 has been an amazing year for PIPA, an important milestone has been reached, namely its 10th anniversary. It is indeed a brilliant achievement for the young founders of what has in a relatively short period of time, become the most visited the most influential and the most successfully monetized pigeon website in the world today.

FLTR: Nikolaas, Carlo & Thomas Gyselbrecht

PIPA was an idea, one man’s idea, in time that idea grew into a vision of how things might one day be, and with the passage of some additional time it  grew to incorporate other men, each of whom  brought with them their own special personalities and talents, together, the vision of the founders coupled with the power of  the  then newly emerging and little understood and even less appreciated “Internet Reformation” plus the human resources that the founders attracted to themselves revolutionized and reinvigorated an ancient hobby  while transforming it into, in many ways something very different. It was in many respects the same but in so many other respects it has now become fundamentally different. One thing is very, very clear and that is that the sport of racing pigeons will never again be the same the internet and the emergence of PIPA have seen to that.

PIPA has changed for good the way that racing pigeons are viewed and marketed, how they are appreciated and how they are valued. The emergence of PIPA has indeed facilitated the very real birth of the global racing pigeon village. No matter where you live on earth whether in 1st  world countries or 3rd world countries or anything in between we now all instantly get the results, and instantly meet the key players. Racing pigeon fanciers worldwide when they access PIPA are really entering another dimension what in the past I have already referred to as a “virtual global piazza”. Thanks in great part to PIPA the racing pigeon community has become more self aware, more focused. We are not identified by our national origin, or religion, or color, or  religious beliefs, or political beliefs. As racing pigeon enthusiasts we rise above all of these constructs. We, all of us, are bound by a common bond and that is our collective appreciation and primal fascination for the inherent ability of the racing pigeon to return to the place of its birth from great distances and against all odds. This seemingly simple fact binds us all.

Over the past ten years in order to insure its commercial success, PIPA has assumed many roles, including an extensive educational role coupled with an ambassadorial role that has allowed it to systematically open up markets around the world that were hitherto not open to the established European pigeon scene. Due to the growth of PIPA and its worldwide network of exclusive PIPA representatives, more quality pigeons are being sold to more countries at higher prices than at any time in history.

With the emergence of PIPA the economic model that preceded it was no longer workable, no more would European agents buy locally at pre-negotiated modest prices and then export their purchases into foreign markets at substantial profits. The  PIPA/internet  connection made it possible for information that hitherto had been the exclusive preserve of a few specialist marketers and representatives to become readily available  to  all who were interested and all who had access to this incredible new tool called the “internet”. Ten short years ago the vast majority of people, in all walks of life, failed to understand that the internet was in fact a “game-changer”. Champion breeders would soon learn the true international market values of the lines of successful racing pigeons that they cultivated. PIPA was in fact the game-changer it harnessed the new emerging technology to the ever important concepts including honor, integrity, respect, friendship, responsiveness and performance at all costs.

It is very interesting to reflect upon how the term “PIPA” has entered our pigeon lexicon yet ten short years ago the term would have been meaningless. PIPA is now a brand recognized worldwide within the pigeon fraternity. What began as a simple and convenient abbreviation for the website “Pigeon Paradise” is now a term that is recognized worldwide from China to North America, from South Africa to South America and from Russia to the Middle East. PIPA stands for timely and accurate pigeon news worldwide. PIPA stands for the highest quality online and offline public racing pigeon auctions in the world. PIPA also stands for exceptional brand creation and management for European clients. In short PIPA stands for integrity, innovation, far-sightedness and total dedication and in so doing it has grown from a one man informational website to an enormously successful commercial enterprise that employs 20 full time PIPA staff, plus 40-50 freelancers, four translators and 23 independent exclusive PIPA representatives in key markets worldwide. A major push is on in China, as I write this article as Nikolaas is personally visiting China and will be reorganizing and appointing a network of key agents across China. China is the most important racing pigeon market in the world today and PIPA’s concentration in rationalizing this market will soon reflect this fact.

The year 2011 is the anniversary of many important people and events.  It is the 10th anniversary of the attacks upon the twin towers, an event that unfortunately changed the entire world. The year 2011 also marked the death of the American computer engineer Steve Jobs as well as Elizabeth Taylor, and Jane Russel. 2011 was also the year that saw the announcement by NASA that its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took photos of what was possibly liquid water on Mars. 2011 was also the year in which Nikolaas Gyselbrecht the founder of PIPA had his first child, the year that PIPA released its very first book “Kingmaker” co-authored by Silvio Mattacchione and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht.

Amalia Gyselbrecht August 16, 2011

PIPA has spent the past decade in putting together an innovative in-house team of IT personnel. PIPA is the only such pigeon auction site in the world that has such a dedicated in-house department and it is therefore unique. In 2011 the PIPA IT team released the new PIPA auction software that it had worked on quietly and diligently for over two years. To say that it was an instant success was indeed an understatement. In fact recently the founder of PIPA was approached by a Belgian Horse racing enthusiast who wanted to purchase the custom PIPA Auction software and adapt it to the needs of the horse racing industry. Indeed quite an accolade and acknowledgement of the PIPA IT teams’ proficiency!

The PIPA IT team developed their new auction software based on “PUSH” technology “Push technology” describes a type of Internet-based communication where the request for a given transaction is initiated by the publisher or central server.”Therefore in the case of the PIPA auctions the birds are updated in real time on a continuous basis and this info is “pushed” through to you in real time. This “PUSH” technology is complicated to prepare but it is very user friendly as we have all seen since the new PIPA auction platform went live. Nor is PIPA sitting on its current accomplishments for the IT team is working on developing a series of new IT ideas (sorry I cannot say as the coming advances are proprietary and confidential for now) that will keep it busy for at least a decade! Additionally the PIPA IT team is analyzing the PIPA business model and creating very detailed mapping of the entire enterprise and therefore working towards implementing and ERP system all intended to reduce the possibility of human error to an absolute minimum.

Since PIPA is the only online racing pigeon auctioniong service in the world that has its own inhouse dedicated IT staff  they are always working on ever more original ways for potential internet buyers to view their potential purchases.The 7th Edition of “Jewels of The Sky” featured a revolutionary new  interactive ability and the buyers were in fact be able to view a number of the pigeons offered in a 360° overall view. This was an enormous step forward, it was a unique ability for  potential buyers worldwide to view  the entire pigeon  by literally clicking and turning the pigeon around so that it could be viewed from  every concievable angle.This  unique  function required the coordination of phographers, fanciers and IT personnel.Certainly not an inexpensive feature  these innovations are the key to the continued PIPA market leadership. Innovation makes  PIPA unique.

Soon bidders in foreign countries that are not English speaking will in fact be able to use the PIPA auction and website platform in their local languages. The pigeon news is now available in eight languages and  navigation now available in eight languages including Chinese, Spanish and Polish. Ease of use is the primary goal and the need to insure that the site is inclusive so that no one is left behind because of an inability to speak fluent English. This will take time but tremendous progress is being made.

The delivery of PIPA's 1st award winning quality book took place the last quarter 2011.
It was immediately a huge success.

No doubt with the incredible success of the book “Kingmaker” ( co-authored by Silvio Mattacchione and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and designed and printed by Silvio Mattacchione & Co.) that PIPA will keep its eyes open wide for the “right project at the right time’!

2011 was also the year that PIPA launched its totally revolutionary “Jewels of the Sky” 360° Edition. The introduction was set to coincide with the 7th edition of ‘Jewels of the Sky’ yearly auction. It was new, it was unique and it was exciting to be able to view selected birds in this new fashion. The only real question for Thomas was this “could it be done? The answer a resounding yes. This new technique has gone a long way to increasing the desirability of these key pigeons and continuing to insure ever greater success for both PIPA and its clients! A “Win Win” situation that is the true making of a long term success story.

Maarten and Rob are the two young innovators behind “Pigeon Photography” and they are definitely the “to go to people” for any difficult pigeon photography assignment. At the request of Thomas Gyselbrecht These young entrepreneurs analyzed the problem and soon devised a unique solution  making use of  a ‘one-shot modus’ the pigeon is photographed from all sides at the same time by several professional cameras, then the separate  images  were combined into a unique 360-view! Via ‘flash’ and ‘java’ the end result was even viewable on iPhone and/or iPad!

I think it safe to say that these young innovators, Maarten and Rob who really are the exceptional talent behind Pigeon Photography should be congratulated for their achievement. Believe it or not from concept to completed prototype was only four short weeks. And what future artwork will they come up with; I can hardly wait to see? It really is clear to me that the youth are dramatically changing the entire racing pigeon sport. The only resource that we all really need to believe in is  the “human resource” for the minds of young people have not  been indoctrinated into  believing that  “It cannot be done”  so they just go “out and do it” and in so doing surprise us all. I pray that one day it will be so in every discipline!

Nikolaas Gyselbrecht the founder of PIPA when asked his feelings regarding “One Loft Races” was unequivocal in his response “One loft races are the future” and he was clear in his opinion that one loft races will “keep the sport alive” and that we need “more professional one loft races around the world!” He felt that it would take time but it was his hope that the professional managed one loft races would be held worldwide with sanctioning in each country by an independent sanctioning organization.

Great Wall Golden Top One Loft Race a prime example of a hugely successful professional one loft race in China. More such races are needed worldwide!

Without a doubt the most successful One Loft Race in the World is the South African Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race.

These one loft races attract the finest racing pigeon entries from all over the world and have raised enormously the profile of the racing pigeon sport worldwide. One day we may, in fact  witness races of this caliber situated  in most countries around the world. It is only a matter of time before this is a reality!

It is very truly amazing to see the progress that has been made in the past five years alone in the PIPA specialty “Jewels of The Sky” event.From 2005 to 2010 the average per bird price has gone up from an average of €1442  to an average of €2645 per bird. This represents an increase of  almost 86% in 5 short years.This is truly an incredible indication of the the success of the overall PIPA  brand development strategy.You certainly cannot argue with success!

Jewels 2005-2006 = 290 pigeons , €1442 average, turnover 418.250
Jewels 2006-2007 = 321 pigeons , €1710 average, turnover 548.925
Jewels 2007-2008 = 343 pigeons , €1924 average, turnover 660.125
Jewels 2008-2009 = 343 pigeons , €2051 average, turnover 703.785
Jewels 2009-2010 = 389 pigeons , €2433 average, turnover 946.700
Jewels 2010-2011 = 403 pigeons , €2645 average, turnover 1.066.275

An even more incredible achievement can be seen in the progress that continues to be made in the area of high end complete dispersal or almost complete dispersal sales managed by the PIPA organization.As you can see below the gross turnover numbers are quite astounding.

Top 6 of ALL time total auctions worldwide, all organised by PIPA:

1. Pros Roosen – January 2011 (public auction)  – 1.368.000 EURO
2. Jos Thoné – December 2010 (public auction) – 1.323.780 EURO
3. Erik Limbourg – December 2009 (public auction) – 1.250.000 EURO
4. Dr. H.P. & P. Brockamp – November 2010 (internet auction) – 1.017.750 EURO
5. Verreckt-Ariën – December 2011 (internet auction) – 971.800 EURO
6. Ludo Claessens – April 2009 (internet auction) – 905.450 EURO

As ever more markets for European racing pigeons continue to be opened up by  the PIPA organization I am confident that the prices can only continue to reflect the scarcity of  the truly exceptional specimens that continue to be sold.With so many professional pigeon fanciers chasing so few truly excellent pigeons the marketplace dynamics will indeed take over and so the prices can only continue to rise.We are seeing it everywhere but the most dramatic instance is in the rapidly rising prices of the super breed “De Rauw–Sablon”.

The reality is that  all of the success that has been achieved by the PIPA organization in the past decade is only the beginning of all that still remains to be achieved.Nikolaas and the entire PIPA worldwide organization has fixed its focus on the fast growing, the largest, the richest and the most enthusiastic overseas market in the entire world, CHINA! A century ago if you wanted to make your fortune you were told to “Go West young man, go West”. For almost a century this was indeed true, but no longer is this the case for if you truly want to make your fortune today you would very much need to “Go East young man, go East” and I might add specifically to China!

As regards the racing pigeon world PIPA is already leading the charge. PIPA is a hugely respected and recognized and prefered brand in China. But, truly this is only the very beginning.Like the “Silk Routes” of old that linked South and Central Asia to Europe. PIPA has become a modern day corporate  Marco Polo (1254 – January 9, 1324) that Venetian merchant traveler whose travels were recorded in the book “Il Milione” which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China) withthe Gyselbrecht brothers Nikolaas and Thomas realizing full well the richess to be had if they are prepared to travel. And travel theymost certainly do.

PIPA is in a unique position as a cultural bridge connecting Asia and the West. PIPA strives to promote respect, honor, understanding and genuine cooperation. PIPA continues to play a positive and progressive role in its relationships in China. Like a modern day explorer PIPA has developed a unique trade in a new “living spice” and the Chinese just cannot seem to get enough of it and this new spice is none other than the exceptional European racing pigeon. PIPA is helping to open doors on many levels including social, cultural and economic. PIPA is at its core simply exceptional at cultivating and establishing relationships and generating positive good will. Without this, one cannot hope to ever establish long lasting bonds and global respect and links. This year alone PIPA has already taken part in three of five major expositions in China.

2011 saw PIPA involved in five major pigeon extravaganzas in China!

The third event was the 2011 Wuhan International Pigeon Exhibition

PIPA founder Nikolaas Gyselbrecht gets ready to cut the ribbon
opening the massive Wuhan Exhibition for 2011

China today is without a doubt the most important market in the world for very high quality racing pigeons. This was recognized by the founders of PIPA   very early on so they dedicated increasing human and economic resources to insuring the orderly development of this massive market. The founders of PIPA have traveled often and certainly 2011 was the year in which a major drive was coordinated and executed. Ultimately it boils down to people visiting people, to decision makers visiting buyers, and friends visiting friends. Respect and trust for without these two ingredients nothing is possible. Nikolaas is a master at both! The Chinese people value both.

Nikolaas with a group of friends in China in 2011

Without a doubt the past decade has been full of many firsts for PIPA. The Chinese racing pigeon community is excited about PIPA as is the Chinese business community. No one could have imagined, a decade ago, that these young Belgians could have achieved all that they have already achieved. I look forward to the next decade and I look forward to an ever increasing positive role that will be contributed by the fanciers of China to our incredible sport. Well done PIPA you certainly have earned my respect and the respect of fanciers worldwide!