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WEB/DIGITAL Automated Website Idea

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Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
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Williamsville, NY
I need some advice!!!

For starters, forgive me in advance for an overall lack of knowledge when it comes to internet businesses and the proper verbiage.

I have been in a period of brainstorming for a few weeks now. In the process of doing so, I have come up with several ideas, all of which I believe with the right planning and organization, have the potential to be big. Some of them, I see as potentially being huge.

This is the one that has my juices flowing most right now, and the one that I believe has the most potential to be extremely successful. The biggest challenge right now is that it is a web-based business and I know little about the field.

General Overview:

- A free to use, automated website that links to multiple online news resources, providing a very niche product extracted from these news resources.

- I assume I would need the permission of these resources to use their content.

- My first thought on getting around this would be contacting them directly and setting something up where by allowing me to use their content I site them as the owners of the content and link my website to their websites, and hopefully vice versa, thus generating traffic to my site from theirs. If they declined, I would move on to the next one. I don't know if E-business is done this way, but it is the model I have come up. Relating to gaining access to the content, I'm not sure if there is more that I would need to do???

- I am just now developing ideas of how the website would generate revenue. I am very much in the dark when it comes to understanding how money is made in websites that don't actually sell a product. Adsense (?) and pay-per-clicks (?) are just a couple of things I have seen referenced here on the Fastlane, but they are very foreign terms to me.

Some of the biggest positives I see in this idea:

- The name of the site (still available in .com) is easily remembered and easily spelled, and
completely relevant to the content. Infact, I'm stunned that it is even available.
- If I can figure out what I am doing, I could set this up so that it would require minimal
attention from me to operate and grow.
- The content would be entertaining and relatable to most of its readers.
- It would have a great "word of mouth" advertising appeal to it.
- And lastly, once I understand how to build it and operate it as a business, and build its name
and find success with it, it would be (at least I think) easily sold for a pretty solid amount of
money....Down the road (Exit Strategy).

I would love to hear some feedback.

Thanks,
Andy
 

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Yankees338

Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
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Interesting idea.

A couple of questions (not meant to be discouraging...just a few things to think about):
1) How will this be different from something like Yahoo! News or MSN News? I believe they're all fed from other news sources with some content of their own mixed in.
2) Will the news stories be automatically searched for by a created program and added to your site, or will they be submitted by users like w/Digg?
3) Even if you're just considering the idea, I'd grab the domain while you can (as I mentioned before).

Good luck. Keep us posted. Rep+++ for posting and sharing the idea!
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
yeap this is a great idea and I too have looked at this, infact there are some very successful versions around. Check out http://www.newsvine.com/

you are right, a fair chunk of a successful site is the domain name - go grab it, and get it now, I mean don't finish reading this go, get it now ... have you got it yet? Now .. www.godaddy.com get it .. now ... I'll wait till you get back

...
...
...

back yet? Right .. lets carry on.

I built a test site a while ago that used a small script to fetch & read RSS from popular news sources. This then put these posts in to categories and published this as a blog. No I didn't have permission. What I discovered later was that while sites publish RSS feeds so you can consume their content using any medium you like, you can't take and republish their content.

So, yes you would need to source permission. The hard thing you might find is that many of these sites are not interested in sharing their news to allow you to profit. They might share the topics, or a snippet of the story - meaning your visitors will be forced to change sites to finish consuming the story.

Making money from it:
This is not easy, I'm slowly starting to put down some of my tips and stuff on my blog to help folks like yourself get into this game. I've been in this industry for 14 years and still learning to make $ from it.

AdSense, an advertising program run by Google, will put text based advertising on your site. Google read your site and learn the context, and serve text adverts to your site based on the content.

TextLinkAds, is an inline advertising solution. this system can read your content and sell links from within your content.

AdSense is CPC (cost per click), meaning you get paid (generally) for every click on the advert. TextLinkAds sell slots on your site on a monthly basis regardless of number of clicks or impressions (times the advert was shown).

My forums at it's height made $300 a month from Google AdSense and we were one of the first forums using AdSense - sadly we generally made $150 a month - hence I'm not retired.

Okay, now back to the site. If you are in a niche area you stand to make a little more traction and it is easier to get noticed. It is of course harder to drive traffic, because your niche and not a lot of traffic heads that way.

You also have to becareful when it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation), see Google for example will read the content on News Site A then your site (where you got the same news from News Site A) - if Google deems this to be duplicate content - they can and will penalise you. Meaning your site drops down in Google's ranking and less people find you. There are ways around this, by presenting the story differently and such like (another topic) ... but taking content from one place and representing it in another can lead to negatives in Google.

Right, now if I haven't scared you off the idea, GOOD. I firmly believe the idea has merit. I'd be happy to talk to you more about what I did, what happened, and where I think it could be made better. I'm sure there are others here who might be able to help with where to source the content from, but yes, after all my long rambling here, I do think what you are saying can be done!
 
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Merkin Man

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
45
Williamsville, NY
Wow! 2:00am and two replies already. Rep +++ for both of you.

Ryan,

- The content I will be targeting is most likely not available on Yahoo, MSN or the other big news sites. I probably should have mentioned in the original post that I will be targeting local online resources, not national ones.

- The answer to your second question is, well, I don’t know! This is where my knowledge, or lack thereof, hurts me. My idea is to utilize a program that searches out the content I want for the site and automatically displays it. I like the idea of my users submitting suggestions for new content to me.

- Sadly, I’m not real sure what Digg is.

Mr. K,

- I figured there would be issues with obtaining rights to other publications’ articles. I don’t much care for the idea of only using a snippet of the story and then changing to the owner’s site. I’ll have to figure a way around that, assuming there is one.

- I think the fact that this site is based on niche content will only help it to flourish. In fact, what I like a lot about the idea is that the term almost anyone would use to google this content is the exact name of the website. I envision that, in time, my site would be at the top of the search results (almost 4 million as of today).

Guys, thanks again for the quick and informative replies. I appreciate your help, and look forward to hearing more feedback from you.

Andy
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
Well it's only 9pm here in NZ :) Thanks for the Rep + ... I gave you one for your post too, thought it was a great thread starter.

Digg btw is a place people can vote on news stories to either promote or sink them.

Niche sites can work well, and if you are able to get that domain (you have ordered it already??) you could well be in for a great site.

Local area ey? As in Local Search? I'm currently involved in local search & think a news site complimented by local information/business etc could work very well.
 
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Merkin Man

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
45
Williamsville, NY
Local area ey? As in Local Search? I'm currently involved in local search & think a news site complimented by local information/business etc could work very well.
How are you involved in local search? Is it in an internet-based capacity?
 

Yankees338

Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
1,829
136
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NJ/MD
Thanks for the rep, Andy. :) And yeah...I should be asleep. It's 3AM here, and I have a basketball game in 12 hours. I'll still drop 35, though; don't worry! :D

Back to your idea...so do you plan on specializing in local news stories, or just concentrating on niche markets? If you go with local markets, you could try the Craigslist approach and divide the sites into regional subdomains (Idk it that's the correct termonology).

Definitely an idea with some merit, though. If you do decide to cater to the smaller, local newspapers, they'd probably be more open to sharing their content with you. With a smaller budget, they'll likely be willing to explore more unique options to drive traffic to their site. If they read an article they like, as long as it's sourced back to them, they could gain a new regular reader. They'd probably be more desperate for exposure than a site like ESPN.com or CNN.com.
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
I am product development manager for the leading local search company for New Zealand. We have the largest business directory in NZ, the most popular Mapping website and a few other things under our belt, infact we are about to dethrone the incumbent Yellow Pages as the number one Business Directory website.

We are working on a lot of ideas to grow local search & hyper-local (which strange as it seems is small region based local search). We also work with Google to provide business data for their Google Local (maps)
 
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Merkin Man

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
45
Williamsville, NY
I don't think this is something I would divide into regional domains. I basically want the site to be the best, if not only, site on the web for compiling articles and related news to this specific content. From what I am able to find so far, this site would be the only one of its kind on the web - which I for one find pretty amazing.

I would like to believe that the local papers would be more apt to work with me on this as it could definately be a solid traffic producer to their sites. I definately like your thinking!!!
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
Great, sounds like you are really onto something (still do heaps more research)...did you get that domain??

Check with local papers - you might find that most are owned by the big boys. The company I work for is owned by a larger media company, we own some big papers, we own a lot of small papers. We own them, and we have trouble getting them to share data with us *sigh*

However often outside companies often can get access to stuff we can't he he silly corporates. My advice, get your domain, set up Google Apps on it (so you can have great email etc) and start sending emails out & get some solid answers as to if people will share with you
 

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Merkin Man

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
45
Williamsville, NY
Great, sounds like you are really onto something (still do heaps more research)...did you get that domain??
Not yet. But I will have it soon. I want a hosting company that can be more than just a hosting company for me. I think GoDaddy might be too big for me. I'm doing some research into what company I should go with.
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
I'm hosting with www.mediatemple.net they are great ... I use GoDaddy simply as the people I buy my domains from. I use MediaTemple for my hosting (that is serving my web pages) and more and more I'm using Google Apps (www.google.com/a) and encouraging others to use them for the email, documents, calender etc.

You could try www.dreamhost.com or www.1and1.com I hear they are good too
 

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
68
38
North Carolina
Not yet. But I will have it soon. I want a hosting company that can be more than just a hosting company for me. I think GoDaddy might be too big for me. I'm doing some research into what company I should go with.

We are your #1 choice!!! We have been a board sponsor for months, and we have tons of happy clients on this forum!

You will get much more than a web hosting company with aptohosting.com. We will help you with every aspect of your site, you can call 24/7 and talk to myself (owner) or two of my very skilled support guys. Also we manage the hosting, your domain (dns services), we will help you with site related issues (design/programming/consulting) free of charge.

You can count that you will be on high end servers that are NOT oversold (max 50 websites per server).

If you have any questions you can email me directly at tom@aptohosting.com or call me at 1-866-404-9090.

Thanks,
Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
 

Yankees338

Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
1,829
136
81
28
NJ/MD
BTW, Ryan, why the depressed mood icon???
It was from the end of last week. I had midterms from Wednesday to Friday, and they were so boring and stupid. Most of them were easy, though. But thanks for the concern (you too, Mr. K). I guess I should change it....today should be a good day -- FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!

I would recommend Apto, btw.
 

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
68
38
North Carolina
Well you don't get much better than the owner popping in and saying Hi :)
I've not come across Aptohosting before, care to give a quick run down of your systems, support etc? (sorry probably should start a new post rather than hijack this one)

Mr. K,

No problem!

We currently host over 500 domains, over 15 mid-high end servers. We offer domain services at $15 per year, along with shared, reseller, and dedicated servers. Our plans start at $6.95 per month for shared and go all the way to $21.95 per month. Dedicated servers range from $150-$800.

We have our servers housed at Host Dime NOC, and "The Planet". We utilize their tier 3 bandwidth, OC12 uplink, and all of our servers run Raid5. We have Intel Dual Cores with minimum of 2 gigs of ram, and a range of Opterons and Xeons.

We also have a developer and designer on staff that help me do lots of the web development work for the Fast Lane members.

You can check out the latest website at www.findyourink.com and www.pleben.com.

Also forgot to include my name is Tom, I live in North Carolina. I love running this business and really do enjoy helping get peoples dreams and visions on the web (as corny as that sounds) its true!

If anyone needs to get a hold of me you can contact me directly at 1-866-404-9090 just ask for Tom, or email me at tom@aptohosting.com

Look forward to helping anyone get started with their e-business, or just answer/consult questions about the industry (FREE OF CHARGE)

Thanks,
Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
 

Z5 FILMS

Contributor
Aug 13, 2007
462
75
48
The Woodlands, TX
Not yet. But I will have it soon. I want a hosting company that can be more than just a hosting company for me. I think GoDaddy might be too big for me. I'm doing some research into what company I should go with.
GoDaddy hosting is terrible. Apto would not be a bad choice. I don't know any other hosts where you can call the owner if theres a problem.
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
Thanks Tom (Rep++ for you)

I wouldn't host anything with GoDaddy either, I simply use them as a registrar.
Tom my biggest concern would be support and scalability of your systems. How many support staff do you have, do you offer 24/7 support? The reason I do ask is I will be looking to shift hosts shortly and have about 8 sites that will need to transition - I need a mix of PHP, RubyOnRails, etc.
 

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aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
68
38
North Carolina
Thanks Tom (Rep++ for you)

I wouldn't host anything with GoDaddy either, I simply use them as a registrar.
Tom my biggest concern would be support and scalability of your systems. How many support staff do you have, do you offer 24/7 support? The reason I do ask is I will be looking to shift hosts shortly and have about 8 sites that will need to transition - I need a mix of PHP, RubyOnRails, etc.

Hi there,

We do offer 24/7 support you can call us at anytime, 1-866-404-9090. We currently have 7 people on staff, including myself.

Scalability is never an issue, if you ever out grow your plan its just a phone call or email and we upgrade you instantly. To give you an idea of our hardware, our lowest end box is a 2 gig-Intel Dual Core with 2 x 120 gb hdd, all of our bandwidth is premium tier 3. We can either do shared hosting for you or put you on your own box, just depends what you need! Yes we do offer PHP4/5, Ruby On Rails, Cpanel/WHM, Fantastico on all of our plans/boxes.

You can go to www.aptohosting.com/speedtest and see how fast you can download that file!!! Redundancy is all Raid-5 with daily and weekly back up retention.


I assure that you won't have ANY issues hosting with us, and in in the rare event that you do you can email me at tom@aptohosting.com or call at 1-866-404-9090 24/7/365. I think my reputation on this forum will show that my response times are unmatchable by anyone :)

Thanks and really look forward to working with you,

Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
1-866-404-9090
 

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