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The Internet boom didn’t end in 2000. In fact, it has only been growing, making millions of dollars for more and more people. Are you one of these successful online entrepreneurs?
I must admit that I often tell myself: “well, it’s too competitive now. I should do something else”. Many successful business people think differently. Facebook is one of the biggest examples of how “it’s too competitive” mentality is simply wrong. I remember I was very active on HiFive, then someone persuaded me to join MySpace – and I was very active there as well. When Facebook came along and someone told me to join – I did. However, I was sure Facebook wasn’t going to make it. Who can beat MySpace? Right?
Zuckerberg didn’t think: “Beh, that has been done. I should start a social network”. And guess what? The new generation of Internet users does not like Facebook. This means there is yet another chance to start something new and big.
Besides Facebook we’ve recently seen a lot of recent stat-ups getting sold for ridiculous amounts of money. WhatsApp was launched in 2009 and less then 5 years later was sold to Facebook for an outrageous $19 Billion! Instagram was created in 2010 and sold to Facebook within 2 years for $1 Billion. Nest Labs (programmable thermostats and smoke detectors) started in 2010 and recently sold to Google for $3.2 Billion. Evernote, software designed to help you take notes – started a few years ago and is now evaluated at $1 Billion… many of these products came out when similar products already existed.
The Viral-Content Websites
Sure, starting a Billion dollar company is not an easy task and requires certain connections, knowledge and skills. However, many online entrepreneurs make 5-6 figures per month from their bedroom. What’s even more shocking – their ideas are so simple, they could be replicated by anyone.
You have probably came across some hyped-up articles from BuzzFeed. This website simply searches for interesting stories online and re-posts this content on BuzzFeed. Before posting the content the site creates intriguing headlines which often do not live up to their promise. It’s called link-bait. BuzzFeed became popular rather fast. Their main source of income – Ads.
Many other entrepreneurs decided to copy the BuzzFeed model and create their own “viral websites”. This is when we saw an explosion of sites like ViralNova, UpWorthy, DailyDot, etc. The owners of these sites did not say: “I shouldn’t do it. I can’t copy BuzzFeed”… There are new “viral-content” websites being started daily. Some succeed, some fail – but that’s another story.
The most interesting thing about these websites is the source of their content. ViralNova earns an estimated $100,000 per week from the Google Ads on the site. Most of the content comes from sites like Reddit and BuzzFeed! Yep, you read that right. You might post a few photos of your creepy basement on Reddit, then Viral Nova will simply re-post your photos on their site and make a few thousand dollars. Interesting business model, isn’t it?
The owner of Viral Nova put up his site for sale because he knows this won’t last forever. I see 2 issues with these sites:
1. People develop immunity against this kind of content. I certainly have… For the purpose of this post I went to VN and clicked on an artile titled: “Warning: Once You See These 21 Pictures, You Can Never, Ever Un-See Them. OMG.” Guess what? It was not OMG. Most photos were not interesting at all. More and more Internet users are getting fed up with these hyped-up subject lines. Not too long ago I wrote a blog post “How You Can Earn Extra $293,887 With This Secret Headline” to prove this point. However, this does not mean you can’t start your own successful viral-content website.
2. What about the copyright infringement? Most of these websites link to the source of the content since they simply use someone else’s content. However, they still make money using content that doesn’t belong to them. I must admit that these sites write their own headlines and their own description for the content – but not the content itself. It seems like the whole copyright issue hasn’t become an issue yet for these websites but I would expect it in near future.
Yes, you can start a very profitable website while using other people’s content. Yes, when you post on Reddit someone can use your story and make money off of your efforts.
Anything to add? Comment below!