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How to make money from the internet ? this is the question all newcomers ask themselves. Unless you have serious funding behind you and can afford expensive marketing campaigns, the usual approach is to create a blog, sign up to Google Adsense, then wait for people to click on the ads while browsing through the fascinating contents of your site, then wait for the pay cheque from Google. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, in my opinion, these are the limiting factors to this get rich quick scheme:

  • Your blog might not be indexed properly by the search engine for a while, meaning nobody knows you exist. Furthermore, Google has a habit of ranking your site based on the number of incoming links, and these links only appear once the quality of your articles has improved.
  • You only get paid if someone clicks on the Adsense ads. Most web surfers have a habit of not doing this, unless they are specifically looking for something the ad delivers.
  • The PageRank of your website (the number Google assigns to a website depending on how important they perceive the site to be) will not exceed 4. You will need to have a PageRank of 7 and above in order to cash in on your popularity (i.e. people pays you to promote their products on your site)

So is there a better way to do this ? Let me put forward a different business model to address the above issues:

I would like you to post your articles here, and I will pay you for the number of hits your articles get. How much depends on our agreement, but it should be similar to what Google pays you for the Adsense clicks. So, instead of only getting paid when someone clicks on the ads, you get paid whenever someone reads your article !

So what are the advantages of the above proposal above the traditional Adsense model ? Well, for a start, the ability to keep a visitor at your site past the first 5 seconds depends on what else your site has to offer. So the more articles we have collectively, the more likely we will have something of interest to people. Also, you have nothing to lose above the Adsense model because you are guaranteed income for your articles. If the site's popularity increases, you will directly benefit from it. If one day it is sold to Yahoo!, you will be the equity shareholders of this venture and your share will be directly proportional to your participation.

So what do I get out of this ? Well, I am an independent web developer, so I get a kick out of maintaining, hosting, and supporting the site. It gives me an opportunity to pick up new knowledge about the technologies I use to build the site (which happens to be Ruby on Rails). I posts articles too, so I will be competing with all you bloggers for the hearts and minds of the readers. I realise nobody does something for nothing, this is why I hope a business proposition is more relevant for this collaborative effort.

Geek mode on the site is fully RSS enabled. Each article will be visible to search engines and RSS readers as the application automatically publishes it to most feed burners when you switch its live flag on. You can add your own Adsense codes to your articles, so all your existing revenue streams are unaffected. You can upload and attach images, flash, PDF's etc. to your article. There is builtin support for slideshows if you name your images in a certain way. Articles can be edited using the embedded WYSIWYG editor, or you can edit it elsewhere using Frontpage and just upload it to the site (the images will have to be uploaded separately). Whenever someone comments on your article, you will be sent a copy of it in the mail, where you can either allow or delete it (i.e. remote moderation). Geek mode off

Now for the small prints:

  • This is not a Wikipedia clone, I need articles where you express an opinion, or if you are teaching the world something. The articles have to be your own handywork. You own the copyrights to the contents, I own the rights to display it and refer to it on this site and other related sites. You can withdraw the article at any time. The displayed article will clearly show you as the original poster. You get paid for the number of unique clicks you get on your article. To start with, I will have to pay you using Paypal, so make sure you sign up with Paypal, if you have not already (it is free).
  • This is not a content aggregation site like Digg.com, so do not post articles which refer to another article, unless you are providing your own views about it. Talk about topics you are knowledgeable about. Be prepared to back up your opinion with facts, but your opinion is what makes your articles worth reading
  • As I mentioned above, if the site is ever sold off to someone with a deep pocket, all participants will become shareholders and their allocation depends on the number of hits they have amassed and the amount of cash they have been paid, so if you have faith in this concept and believe the site will take off like del.ici.ous or flicker, then the earlier you jump on board the better, and the less money you demand upfront the better, as this will add to your share of the spoils later.

A collaborative blog will have the collective pulling power of all the individual bloggers involved, so if it takes off, we will all get rich together. If it does not, you all have nothing to lose. This is what I call a win-win situation as far as you are concerned. So drop me a mail if you are interested in this proposition and we will discuss the terms.

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 by by David at 07 Jun 2006 12:40:50
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