The Real Money Making Opportunity On The Web
A large segment of internet users today has bought into the goal of making money on the web. Because of the rise of blogging and technologies like WordPress and Joomla, it is easier than ever for an individual to take a stab at earning money online.
The reality is that 99% of bloggers or other web entrepreneurs make no money at all. It’s very tough and very crowded. Understanding why it is so tough will help clarify the real opportunity for making money online.
Blogging and similar ventures can be categorized as content producing. It is extremely difficult to make money by producing content because there are so many content producers doing the exact same thing and there is already an incredible amount of content on the internet. I once read that the content on the internet is doubling every 12 or 18 months (either number proves the staggering growth rate of internet content).
Because of so much content, users can literally find anything about anything. This is a good thing, but the challenge is to continue to increase the effectiveness of search or filters to continue to find the best content from the ever growing amount of “crap” content being produced. The challenge is not solved by Google or other mechanisms, because the internet is continuing to change and grow. While Google has a dominant search engine and is the window for most users to find what they are looking for on the internet, Google must continue to innovate and redefine their services as the internet grows and matures on its own. Google does not control the internet and doesn’t have any potential to control the internet’s growth or lead its direction. While they arguably can lead the direction of the internet’s growth better than many other technology companies, it is still a futile effort. The internet is too big to be controlled by one entity.
Where The Opportunity Lies
Because of the incredibly difficult chance of standing out on the internet by producing content, no matter how unique or good that content is, it is better to focus in a different direction other than producing content. The opportunity is in filtering content or helping web surfers find the best content. Before you think that I’m recommending you compete with Google, I’m not trying to tell you to build a new search engine. There are many ways to filter content other than a search engine.
Review sites like epinions.com help users filter consumer products, yelp.com reviews help filter local businesses, tripadvisor.com helps filter travel data such as hotels or destinations, or even a popular blog on indie rock music helps filter the mediocre indie rock from the quality indie rock. Filtering content does not need to apply to the entire massive quantity of data on the internet; in fact, you’re wasting your time if this is your approach. Instead, focus on a niche, or a corner of the internet. How can you help users filter the content within that niche?
In order to explore this business opportunity completely, you must understand how some of the main filtering mechanisms work on the internet. Google utilizing backlinks to rank websites within a particular content category. Backlinks are defined as websites linking to a website. My blog, for example, 20smoney.com, goes up in various finance categories in Google’s index when more websites link to it. Are there flaws in this design? Is it perfect? It works excellent, but yes, there are some imperfections to it (Google works tirelessly to improve this algorithm constantly). Because even Google, the master of search, has flaws in its search algorithms, there are opportunities for innovative thinkers to launch a filtering service even on a very small scale. Such a service could be very profitable.
Getting Down To Business
In order to explore some actual examples of such a venture, you can begin by asking yourself some questions: What information is tougher to find on the internet? What could be easier to find? Who’s recommendations do I trust?
One area that could be expanded is using experts in various categories or topics to help users find the best websites or content in that area. Google uses backlinks to rank a website. These backlinks can come from anywhere and might be average recommendations at best. While Google’s algorithm attempts to factor in the quality of even the recommendation, there are still opportunities to improve or focus entirely on the expert recommendation. Review websites leverage this strategy, but they are recommending products as opposed to content.
The ability to find quality blogs is actually pretty tough on the internet. Sure, you can find quality posts by searching for a topic on Google or other search engines. The quality posts from blogs will be listed in the search results most likely. But what if the writer of that blog wrote one good post out of a thousand? That search did not help you find a quality blog, merely a quality post? Some ranking service for actual blogs / writers could be beneficial.
Can’t you use technorati’s authority ranking to find the best blogs? Well yes, but too often it seems bloggers that got in early in the game (johnchow.com comes to mind) are high ranked simply because they may have been among the first bloggers in a specific category, not necessarily the highest quality. Furthermore, the technorati categorization is extremely limited. The categories are incredibly broad. The beauty of the internet’s ever expanding content base is that even the smallest of niches can be explored. A quick example, what if I want to find the best blog on SEO for Ruby on Rails web applications? Do I browse the “Internet” category on technorati?
The modern world wide web is about unlimited content; therefore, we need unlimited flexibility in the categorization of that content.
Exploring This Further
If any of this discussion sparks an interest in you, do some brainstorming. I’m definitely open to partner with someone on a venture, specifically someone who can program web applications. I’m too busy to write another web application at this point, but would definitely be open to making one of these ideas happen. Contact me via email if you’re interested.