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  1. #1
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    Looking to profit from a service I currently provide for free.
    Background:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I provide a free tool for end-users to design a DIY subwoofer enclosure.

    The original goal was "flypaper" for my affiliate store in the same site. It hasn't worked as intended in that regard, though it generates a thousand word of mouth hits a day.

    After looking at the referral logs and the number of repeat visits from IPs that point to "Business class" telco and cable customers, I'm sure at least one of them is a car stereo shop and is using the tool for "custom" designs they sell to customers.

    I knew that was going to happen from the beginning, at the same time it's silly to disallow a user simply because their IP sources from a business and they might use my "free" tool for commercial purposes.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Idea:

    It makes more sense to allow those users to be listed as a box builder, while charging a small monthly fee to be listed as such. No preference would be given to a full-blown car audio shop or a weekend hobbyist looking to make a few extra dollars from his garage full of tools.

    Mechanism thoughts: A user without tools/space/time wants a box built, this user can input their zip code into a form and a map of the five closest box builders would appear. They can submit a saved design to the builder and request a quote. This would be fairly simple.

    Even better: the tool already determines some material needs, it's not difficult to determine remaining materials and how much labor is involved. A box builder could input his rates and availability, my site could handle estimates and payments.

    A builder feedback mechanism would be put into place either way.

    Result: The tool is still free to the DIY community and for those business customers who use it, but provides an income stream to offset the time I have invested.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The question:

    How can I determine if this extra effort is worth my time?

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Go for it! Not only would it help monetize the site/page, but it would also provide a good service to those who would like an enclosure but aren't confident enough (or have enough time) to build one themselves. It's a win all the way around.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Give it a try and see how it works.
    Last edited by Mack; March 6th, 2007 at 01:17 PM.

  4. #4
    Newbie bizzer's Avatar
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    Agreed, you spent the time on the site and you deserve some income streams from it as well. If you know exactly what kind of demographics that are visiting your site (perhaps by having them fill out a form of some kind), then perhaps selecting a few targeted affiliate programs would be a good earner as well.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzer
    If you know exactly what kind of demographics that are visiting your site ..., then perhaps selecting a few targeted affiliate programs would be a good earner as well.
    Thank you for jogging my brain.

    The calc page has a text ad for rockler woodworking. It's probably slightly off-target.

    I should have assumed the user already has tools, or has access to tools if they're looking for plans. They might not have carpet, driver mounting hardware, wood glue, carpet glue, construction screws, etc.

    Those items are inexpensive and ship quickly through a CJ merchant I'm already affiliated with. I'm gonna spend 3-4 minutes adding those items to my database and building a presentation tonight.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    give it a try....if worse comes to worse you could always revert to free and come up with another monetization plan.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sthbodyjewelry
    give it a try....if worse comes to worse you could always revert to free and come up with another monetization plan.
    It will remain free to use, listing yourself as an enclosure builder will cost money. Basically selling hightly targetted advertising.

    The brain jogging I got earlier turned into a sprint. I shot an email to the AM about a "package" that would cater to my audience. One link instead of six, and the user gets everything they need to construct a car subwoofer enclosure, minus the driver and grill.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Ditto, try it out! Alternatively you could go with some CPM or CPC ads if the affiliate links aren't bringing it in.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  9. #9
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    I haven't heard back from the AM about a package of products. After not hearing back for a week, he needed something to catch his attention, so I loaded up the page with links to the products in question. The last five days are my best so far this year. (Considering how low the bar currently is, that's not really saying much).

    I have some more products to add, though those will be dynamically generated since they're specific to the woofer size. I don't have the time to build the builder referral service right now. It's going to take me an hour to build the products.

  10. #10
    Member davecskul's Avatar
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    Hopefully you are capturing the information about the people that are visiting you. Then you can direct email market them.

    David

  11. #11
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    I don't want to use email to market to the audience. They're a fickle group.

    With that being said, I should turn on the forum subscription option. I'm on a much more robust server now.

  12. #12
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    I would promote something like this- cool idea.

  13. #13
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    Classes start up again this week. Gotta put it on the back burner for a bit. Grr. Getting in the way of making money.

  14. #14
    Member Welshie's Avatar
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    I would make the tool available to other websites/bloggers, put a link in the widget to your site and get more backlinks that way. Better SE rankings will bring more traffic and more $.

  15. #15
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    I quit worrying about the SEs as soon as I saw how much traffic WOM can generate. WOM isn't hard if you're the only one with the information*.

    Breaks down like this:
    1. What does the web need that isn't currently on the web?
    2. Can I build it?
    3. (most importantly) will I enjoy working on it?

    I have a list of three other pieces of web software to create when this is done. I keep thinking I need to do some PPC to make enough money to quit the j-o-b so I can work on these.

    * I was informed of a copycat. Too bad they left out a rather important detail from their calc.

  16. #16
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weisinator
    I quit worrying about the SEs as soon as I saw how much traffic WOM can generate.
    It's amazing how much people who rely entirely on SEs fight this. Glad to see others who recognize the incredible importance and power of word of mouth.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  17. #17
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    The irony is that I've seen an increase in Google traffic since the WOM has picked up.

    I feel a new sig coming on...

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It's not a coincidence. Word of mouth brings lots of links, and search engines love natural links.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    It's amazing how much people who rely entirely on SEs fight this. Glad to see others who recognize the incredible importance and power of word of mouth.
    i beg to differ.

    if your website is really good, then the traffic brought about by the SEs will start a good word of mouth campaign on their own.

    and since this traffic comes at an ongoing basis, unlike a press release that usually is good only at the beginning, you can just imagine how fast your business can grow compared to just WOM.


    on the other hand, even a great press release, newspaper article, broadcast interview, or whathaveyou will do you no good if you have a bad website. Your traffic can spike initially, because of curious people, but then will decline almost immediately.

  20. #20
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Are you monetizing with Adsense?

    I sold DIY plans a while back. Made $12 a month. Started giving them away - made $120 a month.

    Your idea sounds good however. Get the listings but still give away the plans w/ Adsense.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  21. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waytogo
    and since this traffic comes at an ongoing basis, unlike a press release that usually is good only at the beginning, you can just imagine how fast your business can grow compared to just WOM.
    If you're equating word of mouth to a press release, you don't understand what word of mouth means. When a site is good enough, people will bookmark it, tell their friends about it, post about it in forums and blogs, etc. This is word of mouth.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    If you're equating word of mouth to a press release, you don't understand what word of mouth means. When a site is good enough, people will bookmark it, tell their friends about it, post about it in forums and blogs, etc. This is word of mouth.
    that's exactly my point. because in your previous post, you were trying to differentiate SE marketing from word of mouth, as if they are two entirely different situations. they are not. they are interwined in the same manner as WOM and forum postings, and WOM and blog postings.

    if you have a good website, a good SE placement or marketing can jumpstart a WOM campaign. there is no such thing as being dependent entirely on SE rankings.

    if you link directly to the merchant using PPC, then that's different.

  23. #23
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    It's amazing how much people who rely entirely on SEs fight this. Glad to see others who recognize the incredible importance and power of word of mouth.
    It's not the traffic, it's the monetization. It's not important or powerful if it can't be monetized well. There's no point in having traffic that won't buy, even 1 million hits/day of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by waytogo
    you were trying to differentiate SE marketing from word of mouth, as if they are two entirely different situations. they are not. they are interwined in the same manner as WOM and forum postings, and WOM and blog postings.
    That, too. And the fact that, before any WOM can hope to happen, the first batches of people have to be able to find the site. They can't talk about what they've never seen.


    There's good and bad in this statement, too:
    Quote Originally Posted by Weisinator
    I loaded up the page with links to the products in question. The last five days are my best so far this year. (Considering how low the bar currently is, that's not really saying much).
    "The last five days are my best..."
    That's got my attention.

    But then, "Considering how low the bar currently is..."
    Gives me much pause.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesehead
    Are you monetizing with Adsense?

    I sold DIY plans a while back. Made $12 a month. Started giving them away - made $120 a month.

    Your idea sounds good however. Get the listings but still give away the plans w/ Adsense.
    The adsense channel on this particular page doesn't perform as intended. In fact, I think I'm going to dump it.

    What has worked since I started this thread is highly targetted product links. (The audience already has tools, already has a woofer, they need carpetting, driver mounting kits, terminals, enclosure construction screws, wood glue, speaker grills, etc.) I've made more money in the last four weeks than I have in the three months prior.

    I just checked my logs, the aff. store pages are receiving some PR spillover, google is sending some traffic for specific keywords. Crazy.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    before any WOM can hope to happen, the first batches of people have to be able to find the site. They can't talk about what they've never seen.
    agree 100%. like i said, a good placement in the SE can jumpstart a WOM campaign. in the same manner as other methods of promoting.

    you cannot say that when people see your site in the SE, that's about it, and they will not tell other people. if you have a good site, they will.

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