You Don’t Scale Until You’ve Had Success

Nov 12 2010

It’s simple business 101.  You work long and hard to create a successful business or entity……………and then you see if you can do it many times over.   It’s hard enough to build a successful small business and becomes even more challenging to take that, supersize it, and generate the same margins. So why do so many in the domaining world think they can scale BEFORE they achieve success?

The old saying is quality over quantity and although this doesn’t apply to all, it certainly applies to web development.  Sully had a nice interview with a group that is mass producing directories and sites, more than 3,000 to be exact.  While I’m sure the guys have a business plan, their early results don’t reflect success?  Under 11,000 uniques last month, their third month and that’s with 3000 sites.  That should have been the traffic to their first directory before they attempted to build more.  Of course it’s too early to tell how their business is going to do,  but common sense tells you that turning out 3000 sites in a few months isn’t going to result in the highest quality sites.

As billions of sites are added to the web, Google is going to be forced to do a heavier “weeding out” of sites they deem lesser quality.  How they determine what is lesser quality is always subject to debate,  but I think it’s safe to say they are leery of large mass scaling of sites with no content.  I also feel that when you build your sites for Google, the greater the chance that Google will turn on you. You want to create a site for PEOPLE and if done with a little SEO, Google will like you as well.

So Shane, you’re so smart how do you build a large group of sites that are successful?  It’s simple don’t.  Start with one site.  Get the traffic, content, and revenue to a point that you feel reaches maximum profitabilty. Then and only then do you take that entity and try and recreate the same model for a different purpose. You analyze what made that business successful and translate it into the new venture.

If the new site is in the same realm/niche as the old you can even bring traffic over.   Instantly your new site has users.  You think BenHuh paid a million for ICanHazCheezburger.com because he thought he could recoup his money just making funny cat pictures?  No, he loved the business model and realized he could use the already successful site’s model and build on it. Sure, he saw better ways to monetize the site than presently being done but knew there was more value than that.  He saw that a successful, heavy trafficked site was all about number of eyeballs, and user content creation.  The users sent in the  original pictures for writers to create content.  He could take those eyeballs and introduce them to a new site and have them generate content for that site as well.  A few months later, Failblog.com is a hit. In Ben Huh’s own words

“I think a lot of people kind of get this idea of big dreams, and they immediately want to go to a big dream, but you got to think small, you got to win that little battle. And once you win that little battle, then you can win a slightly bigger battle, and then so on and so on and so on.”

In summary, show me a business model that was successfully scaled and I’ll show you a business model that was successful BEFORE it scaled.

Share This

About the author

Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

View all articles by ShaneCultra

5 comments

  1. Anthony Hanner

    Well said, Shane.

    Organic search traffic is a must to building a good online business and while a good domain name is important without a doubt…good, unique content is a must.

    Good luck against Miss. State tomorrow. My wife and sons are headed to T-town tomorrow to watch the game.

  2. Troy

    I thought the same thing as I read that interview. I think next year they will end up dropping 90%+ of their domains. No reason to pay another $20,000 with such small results.

    Its a funny thing in the domain industry but it seems like anytime someone is interviewed about something they are doing so many people assume that they are doing really well. For about a year we heard about a ton of .me geo development and so many people sang praises to the developers at what they were doing with .me domains. Now here we are, a year or two later and the interviews have stopped and the websites are stagnant.

    Publicity does not mean success.

  3. John Humphrey

    However it’s almost impossible to resist nabbing domains around your imagined successful niche. If only to lock down your turf. Imagine if Rick had only grabbed bpoilspill.org, to test, before scaling. Someone else would have gotten those names and he’d be out all that dough!

  4. Poor Uncle

    I can see that building out 3,000 site maybe excessive. But then again, it’s for a directory…so it’s more or less, plug and play. Its content building I’d assume is based on getting visitors to list their site. It could be quite compelling to pay a small fee to get linked to 3,000 sites, don’t you think?

    Why do you guys always so concern with developing content? Must you be a publisher to make money on line? I thought traffic can be bought. That’s why there is something call advertising, and affiliates.

    Can you make a living on line if Google and Bing are not your friends?

Comments are closed.