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|What's the "next big thing"?|
Please share your ideas if you cannot make it yourself anyway.
I think I can honestly say that I have tried... everything. For many years now, even before year 2,000, I have tried to make it on the WWW. I have been very honest and also explored the blackhat world. I failed doing both.
I don't quite know why, since I really understand the technology and I consider myself as a person having "good taste" in general. I suspect some things:
* Simply too much competition. Everything has been done, and people don't care about quality but quantity. If you're first, you're set.
* Lack of funds. I have no contacts/friends or money to shell out on advertising.
* All good domain names are registered. Finding a good .com domain is like trying to find and buy a green hill in cental Manhattan, NY for $1... damn near impossible.
This day, I killed my last project. I am now very cynical and sad. I don't feel like trying all over again, as I know my site will go ignored. It seems like I have tried every kind of site out there... but they already existed. I just "perfected" the concept (and they went ignored).
Maybe, just maybe I could come up with something unique. But what would that be? And why would you tell me if you knew?
In either case, I'm gonna try now. Please tell me anything. Any ideas that haven't been done. Preferarly primarily non-content, service-based ideas. Preferarly global in nature, or at least not too niched.
What do you miss from the WWW which could actually stand a chance when the author is broke? I only have my skills to work with.
I don't expect anyone to hand me the solution to my problems, but I suspect there are some good pointers out there I haven't considered.
Please help a desperate soul.
|Preferably primarily non-content, service-based ideas. |
The easiest way to encourage targeted traffic to come to your site is to write lots of well-optimised content. Even if your website is primarily providing a service, you will do yourself a massive favour by writing masses of related content to go with it.
At the end of the day you need qualified traffic to get the ball rolling. Otherwise you won't get off the ground, no matter how good your idea is.
This is where he went wrong:
|Preferably global in nature, or at least not too niched. |
The ONLY way to success for someone who cannot afford to advertise, and does not have huge funds for investment.
To even think about competing with the 'big boys' is futile - you will be assimilated.
But if you know your niche, you can start small, and feel your way around until you get critical amss - then think about going global.
But to even use the word 'global' when you have no world-sized product, suggests a severe lack of understanding of the Internet - and business.
|Simply too much competition. Everything has been done, and people don't care about quality but quantity. If you're first, you're set. |
This is so true, and the first decent 'unique' service usually gets 'some' media coverage. But the idea better be top notch, or you've failed. You were probably right NOT to risk cash on some silly web idea, but checking the competition before you even thought of a great idea is a waste of time. No idea, then there is no business to analyze and there are misconceptions such as:
You will make lot's of money.
You will have few work problems.
You will have more spare time.
Some do, some do not - most only manage.
There will be greater variety of problems - many very serious and unepected!
Most work long hours for little cash, and have few holidays.
|Lack of funds. I have no contacts/friends or money to shell out on advertising. |
Unless the idea is solid - I wouldn't recommend you even contemplating getting 'seed money'. But now comes your 2nd problem -raising finance.... Banks are naturally cautious - they will want to know full details of the proposed business and the people behind it. Having dealt with banks, I can tell you that if they hate the idea, then you won't even get a business bank account. Basically, they will listen to the idea, and make a careful judgement based on risk of the idea - if the idea is stupid - you can be assured they will tell you. And anything web based is very risky! Low cost start-ups doesn't mean low risk - remember that.
In most respects, borrowing capital from family is tougher than getting it from banks. The stress can be tough to bear, failure to pay back money borrowed can wreck families. Borrowing cash from friends - I personally wouldn't go there for obvious reasons.....
Best way - get a job and work for the seed money, then the risk is on you, and because you earned the cash, you will be less likely to blow it on crazy start-up ideas!
|All good domain names are registered. Finding a good .com domain is like trying to find and buy a green hill in cental Manhattan, NY for $1... damn near impossible. |
Again I agree totally. So breaking the known rules is needed here....
|You might have probably given up when you are about to make it. |
Untrue, why? Because gut instinct should tell you if the idea is dumb or not. (In most case at least).
|perhaps it's about time to sit down and really examine WHY things didn't work out |
Sometimes it's pretty obvious why something failed. Better off using the time to think of a proper idea, than analyzing this and that. Usually business failure is about finance management, lack of sales or stupid idea.
Financial management is a top reason for failure these days.
The guy's ideas probably weren't brilliant to begin with, and that's a big mistake. The idea is the thing that brings in the profit, so if it's wrong to start with, the business will likely fail. This is why we have lot's of silly ideas on the web - it looks easy, but in reality it isn't and is why hardly any web businesses promote themselves in a major way. Few make it.
Even if a web business can make 50K a year, doesn't mean it will survive. Just because a certain population of people buy into something, doesn't make it a good idea. Lot's of stupid people out there trying to rip each other off.
The basic business idea is key to future success, and will determine profits.
Over Confidence - Being convinced that your product or service will work.
Underestimating how long it will take to enter a market - never mind obtaining a reasonable market share. Competitors WILL react aggressively.
Just a few things to thing about then hehe
[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 10:32 am (utc) on Oct. 22, 2007]
|You might have probably given up when you are about to make it. |
Untrue, why? Because gut instinct should tell you if the idea is dumb or not. (In most case at least).
In the words of Thomas Edison,
~~ Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ~~
|Usually business failure is about finance management, lack of sales or stupid idea. |
10 years ago I would have called Google's idea stupid, I guess. How can we shelve an idea neatly into a 'stupid' category?
I agree with Quadrille--going global is high risk. Look for a niche. People who don't understand the web look at that first statement and think, "Well, yeah, duh!" But, the web scales so easily it is not difficult to start thinking in "big" ways. So, this needs to be stated clearly. (BTW, yeah, I speak from a tad of experience.)
Along that same line, watch out for doing "what you love." The barrier to entry to the web is so low, those with passion who don't care about making a profit can overwhelm some categories. (The passion usually cools, of course.)
Death and divorce are great topics because they involve pain. If you can reduce someone's pain, you've got a biz.
Just to add, although I read only three pages. It seems most people I've met at WW conventions and those that participate on this board have educations and sit behind a miniotor all day long, or all their lives. Nothing wrong with that but look at the other side. How many people in this world actually work with their hands? Robotics haven't taken complete control yet.
I do both, and found a great niche, but I realize it's not for everyone. Case in point..Look at Mike Rowe and the show Dirty Jobs! Extremely successful, but I think they're running out of ideas.
This isn't for everybody, but for crimity sakes there's just so much room for hotels, electronics, you name it sites out there. Many of the screamers in the Google forum are probably in those industries. Look around, take a part time job doing something entirely different, even if it means getting your hands dirty. This could prove beneficial to the younger guys and gals that have years ahead of them.
|Look around, take a part time job doing something entirely different, even if it means getting your hands dirty. |
lostone, Good point. You are not indeed lost :)
|10 years ago I would have called Google's idea stupid, I guess. How can we shelve an idea neatly into a 'stupid' category? |
But Google was unique.........
Google was a cool idea, and this is what many miss, they miss the main reason why Google succeeded. The Goog had buzz, the search concept became ruined by idiots trying to copy what someone else owned. Trouble is - they didn't own Google, and you can't gain from another's success, it never works out as the media know competitors aren't Google - Duh! Journalists are funny chaps, they want what makes news, and copying something ain't fresh or unique - it's what it is - a copy or cheat as I call them.
The "next big thing" is always something that hasn't been done before, or from a different news angle. Eg: "Air Washer that saves having to wash ever again", okay, probably not possible that one, but you get the idea I'm sure.
Seth Godin just published
I read it on a plane ride home last night
Really good read about 'being the best in the world'
and knowing when and how to quit
The best business model right now for an online business is membership sites. (In my opinion) Once created, the members themselves create the content, no physical product to deliver, and you get paid over and over for making 1 sale.
I know what you mean, I have been there but still hang on. Try hiring an idiot to write for you. (not kidding) I hired one in the past and didn't like the way he wrote, in fact for any person is just bad writing, but those pages ranked really well on the SE. Why? don't know. I took the time to study how to write for SE and for people and didn't work that well.
Don't give up.
Trust me, most of the "successful" sites are just plain krp. Tons of visits with no income, or am I wrong?
I was venting to a relative with lots of business success, not on the internet.
He stopped me after 2 minutes with this advice. "Business development. You don't make money by work alone, you make money by partnering. Bring something that a big company can use, and make the right deal."
If you've got the technical know-how, bring a technically strong project to the table and partner with sites that have the traffic and demographic you want. They might send just a little traffic (for them), but it's big traffic for you.
|Trust me, most of the "successful" sites are just plain krp. Tons of visits with no income, or am I wrong? |
Well, not all of them , IMHO :)
|He stopped me after 2 minutes with this advice. "Business development. You don't make money by work alone, you make money by partnering. Bring something that a big company can use, and make the right deal." |
Very good point. Partnering (or outsourcing) a certain percentage of website project is much better. I've just setup a website with a partner that really skillful in writing contents on that niche, and it's getting better now.
Now serpmaster, if THAT thread doesn't show you support by that crowd here, nothing will!
What a passion for the profession, I am impressed!
Well... I appreciate the many encouraging posts, but I have read this site for years secretly (a typical lurker) and most of it I really already know (fact-wise -- still nice to hear it again for emotional support).
I sit here and really try my best to come up with an idea. I have made a lot of sites almost ready that I never launched because I realized they would never work (even if I spent many active weeks and sometimes months working on them).
I know I don't sound that experienced, but some people just don't get lucky, you know?
I am very afraid of failing again... it would crush me emotionally. I am really trying hard to make some very difficult decisions.
Let me add that the worst part of all this is that the only time I actually made any money to speak of, it involved scraping content and otherwise not being whitehat.
I closed all my "arbitrage"/scraped sites before setting to work on my big, honest project. It took a lot longer than I thought, and while I was really proud of it, it failed miserably. I had spent 6+ months just developing it, and a lifetime of learning before it. I closed this project like a week or two ago.
Moral: Being honest doesn't work, but I still could not go back to using shady techniques. I just can't. I hate spammy SERPS myself and go furious when I see sites that, for instance, are just mirrors of Wikipedia with Google AdSense ads on them. So I won't do it myself... again. Please forgive me for my arbitrage sites in the past (and know that I did NOT just make such sites).
The problem is that this world does not reward quality and honesty, as much as one would like to think that way.
|I am now very cynical and sad |
|I am very afraid of failing again... it would crush me emotionally |
Have you considered you may be suffering from depression?
Being honest does work. After being layed off from my $50K/year job in 1999 I started on the web without a clue what I were doing. Hours of sitting in front of a computer screen wanting to cry wondering how to make money as I slipped into debt. But I found a niche and worked at building a site around it. I wanted to give up 100 times but didn't. I hit it big in 2003, and that lasted for a couple of years. I then found another niche and while not having the same success as in 2003, have found a good, steady income.
The point is do not give up. Keep at it. Find a niche. Build a quality site with lots of content. Diversify income. I've been where you are. If I made it work, anyone can.
I'm more of a realist so don't read this for words of encouragement...
|I am very afraid of failing again... it would crush me emotionally. |
Then perhaps pick something you can control and not fail at. Maybe a 9 - 5 job? There are many things I know I will fail at so it's up to me to choose those things or not. You have the same choice. I'd like to play in the NFL but I know I cannot. Should I try it? Nope...not unless I want feel bad because I failed. The 'I know I will fail at this' list is very very very long for everyone.
|I am really trying hard to make some very difficult decisions. |
It really sounds easy to me. Choose a stable path until someday you want to venture out into the wild again.
|Moral: Being honest doesn't work |
Have to disagree strongly.
Not only does being honest give you credibility yourself but publishing a reliable source of information and being willing to research hard and point out other people's dishonesty, helping the general public cut through the smoke and mirrors offered up by snake-oil selling shysters is much valued by the public in the information industry.
Being honest does absolutely work.
|Tons of visits with no income, or am I wrong? |
No you're not wrong, and the fake ease of the web will lure many more into uncertainty. The trouble is getting a website to 'stand out', and is near impossible to do this, and yet funnily enough the more sites and pages that are added - the harder it becomes to promote.
What's the webpage count these days, 1'000'000 new pages per day? Jeeze that's 30 million every month! Not everyone has £15k to splash out on SEO or promotion every month, but this is what it takes to do things properly.
I can also sympathize with some of the sentiments expressed in this post.
Why not take a break, take on some paid work and start another site or business when the idea and the time are both right.
The way I look at it, you can be happy or at least satifised in the short term if you have some security and enough money to live. Why not take on some paid work then you can plan out and research some new business ventures, online or offline, with less pressure.
Remember, most of Einstein's achievements were a result of part time work/study while he held a job at the Swiss patent office. *Speculation* - He may not have been able to work out the theory of relativity if he was worried about paying his rent or mortgage.
I just launched a new site in the spring, new concept (mine own) completely original. It has already been copied, but I don't care... My site is already bringing in a few hundred bucks a month and a few hundred visitors a day... Not bad for its first 6 months.
Money comes from traffic so where did you get the traffic from.
1- from another one of your high traffic/pr8-9 sites?
2- linkbuilding from your high profile friends that have high traffic sites?
4- or the site got just became a hit at social sites because it is such a cool idea.
Also please answer this:
if you did it old fashioned way, I mean writing/creating lots of content then how many pages?
what percents traffic comes from Search engines?
I am assuming it not an ecommerce or membership paying kinda site.
Because Boy couple of hundreds a month from a site from scratch in a short time is quite difficult.
|Financial management is a top reason for failure these days. |
|I have made a lot of sites almost ready that I never launched because I realized they would never work |
The first quote from Maxnpaddy is so true; the second quote from serpmaster is so self-defeating.
I deal with people very frequently who have little money, so I tell them to use a freeware graphic editor to size/crop their images (rather than $350 for PhotoShop); use a freeware HTML editor to write code (rather than $250 for Dreamweaver); get a host for $25 a year (not $25 a month); get a domain for $10; use a free shopping cart until the day comes when they're making so many sales it is necessary for something more sophisticated ..... and put as much of the rest of the budget as possible into promotion.
In other words, keep the startup costs low and spend whatever you reasonably can in driving traffic.
If a person knows what they are doing in terms of site construction for navigation, layout, and search engine optimization, then the total cost to be on the internet for most sites need not exceed $35 per year in required costs (domain & hosting).
So in regards to serpmaster's quote about giving up before even trying to see if it will fly, I must ask the question: Why?
If you don't have the $35 per year, then as has been suggested, pick up a part time job. With the money you make in 2 weeks you could put up 10 websites, and after 8-12 months, you can see which ones will fly and which ones won't.
Then, look at your data -- visitors, search position, etc -- and FOCUS only on the ones that have the most potential. You may be surprised -- the website concept that you may have thought had the least chance of making it (perhaps the one you referenced in the quote above) may very well be the one that connects with the public.
If so, that's your baby!
Giving up in advance is a self-fulfilling prophecy! Don't fall for that.
Serp, many here can relate albeit on varying levels.
I made 7000 bucks a month (on top of my dayjob) before relocating to Europe. Trying to make the next leap into my own business everything fell apart when confronted with burocracy and arrogance, stupidity and inflexible service environment in Germany. So I lost all of it. Of course I wasn't prepared and can't just blame everyone else.
In the process I messed up my 14 year happy marriage too and tried to restart many web ideas ever since.
Three big laernings I took home:
- FOCUS! 1 site serious, 1 for fun and/or toying (not more, don't dilute your energy)
- PATIENCE & CONSISTENCY!
- NEVER do anything to please the search engines!
Your WebmasterWorld name and some of your statements imply (I might be wrong) that your focus might have been a bit too much on technicalities as opposed to enthusiastically become a hero to your web audience.
There are thousands of very successful (not rich, but really well doing) webmasters around here and on other communities who scored highest by just following one goal: create a fan club of web users for what you put together and how you shine through as a master and enthusiast of that content.
As a consequence, everything else will fall into place. It's just like in any other business. I just hate people telling me "we're here to make money".
I rather trust the guys who satisfy or create a need and recognize that making money is just the result of doing the above well in the concert of fruitful competition.
Ok, I have an idea... spend a few bucks on a shared hosting account and one domain name and DO everything opposite. Try what you wouldn't do. Funny things happen.
I discovered some valuable things with a blog I had: my first projects took more than a year to reach "X" traffic, with the blog = 3 months. I discovered funny things, maybe you can do the same.
Perhaps your projects don't take off because you are the only one protecting them... remember, partnerships often mean giving more than you would normally give...
who is Maxmillionos?
See Page 2; this thread.
You raise a valid point that is usually not addressed in forums like this: how do you know when to quit?
What you usually hear on forums like this is eerily like the sentiments expressed in the great 1988 Penelope Spheeris movie "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years". She interviews all these young kids trying to become superstar metal bands, and they all say things you can see posted on WebmasterWorld nearly verbatim.
- You just have to believe in yourself.
- I know I'm going to make it big.
- I don't have a fallback plan, because I'm going to make it.
- I won't consider any other options, because that would keep me from focusing on making it.
- I have to make it, because I can't do anything else.
- I know that vanishingly few people make it, but I know I'm one of them, because the people who fail just must not want it as bad as me.
Where are those kids today? Nowhere. Despite what the zombie-like repeaters of the "believe in yourself" mantra claim, believing in yourself doesn't cure cancer, doesn't cause the universe to send you just what you need at just the right time, and won't make you a success in business.
If life were infinite, then it would be fine to just plan to keep trying until you either make it big or get bored. But life isn't infinite; it's awfully short. So it's entirely sensible to try to figure out when/whether you should give up on what you're doing and try something else.
When to stick, when to quit, how to choose what to do next -- these are big life questions that won't be answered for you in a web forum, but they are good questions to ask. You don't want to wake up in 10 years and realize you never made a conscious decision to be where you ended up, or never seriously considered any other alternatives.
Congratulations on dumping the spam sites-- it represents a step up in Maslow's hierarchy.
Who knows what the next big thing will be but perhaps there are opportunities hiding in one of many big emerging general trends:
- development of geographic Web infrastructure (map bases, api's/sdk's)
- retirement of baby boomers
- economic ascension of China
- contraction in the housing market (US)
- unprecedented global population, poverty
- climate change
- peak oil
Probably lots of other big changest happening out there that present new things to accomplish by a creative Web dude with a sense of purpose and crafty problem-solving.
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