Hello everyone... I'm wondering if anyone would like to chip in and help create a list of techniques to reverse engineer profitable web sites?
Most people that make money online carefully guard their money making secrets.
But, there are a number of ways one can reverse engineer things to find out who is likely making money... and when those sites are found, one could do something similar and make money too. Of course, this splits up the market each time this happens... but it's inevitable anyway... so why not let it be you?
So, I'll take a stab at this and start a list... anyone care to join? ;)
Profitable Web Sites
1 - Must be getting fairly decent traffic. You have to have traffic to make money online.
2 - Sites that advertise over and over. Nobody will keep buy ads over and over unless they are making money.
3 - Sites that get a lot of comments. As long as they are real comments, the more on each blog post the more moola the site makes.
4 - Check Google Adwords Placement Tool - shows sites with estimated traffic. Search for keywords, browse by category.
5 - Check Digg, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and other sites for popular stories/web sites
6 - Alexa - Kind of lame in some ways, but still gives you a general idea of what sites are popular.
I'll add more ideas as I think of em'.... anyone else got some secret techniques to share? ;)
None of your ideas pertain to reverse-engineering the success of a site. Your list describes successful sites but does not show what it was that brought them to that point. Reverse engineering shows how something happened, not the after-effects.
If you are interested in putting in the time to see a site go from rags to riches then I have a blog for you to read. If you REALLY want to see how a site went from a few dads programming a flash site to a few years later selling their site for $350 million dollars in cash, then read the Club Penguin Developers Blog, available on Archive.org [web.archive.org].
There are many lessons to be learned there, foremost of them being that conventional wisdom isn't always right. It was understood that sites targeting children can't make money. These dads came up with a way to do it.