In the summer of 2008 a tall. well dressed man walked into my office to inform me about a new investment opportunity. It was an investment in a new type of online business and as he explained the prospectus he was going to leave with me, he made a very memorable point. My objection to his investment offer was that the internet is a difficult investment medium because there is no real underlying asset to tie the investment capital to. It is just ones and zeros, (computer code) unlike other investments that could be sold off in the worst case, an internet investment had no underlying asset to offer as collateral to their investors.
Well, that’s obvious, but here is the memorable answer he gave to my offhanded objection. He said sure that’s true, but why did Google pay two young men working out of their garage 2 billion dollars for a video sharing website “You Tube”.com
Does Google not have the expertise to make their own video sharing website? Could they not have one built in less than a day?
Why would Google invest so much money to acquire that business? (YouTube.com) I answered, I didn’t really know.
He answered, because YouTube has an underlying asset. That asset is the 20 million names of members actively using the site. He went on to explain that this is the underlying asset and a list of members even 100,000 strong is quite a marketable asset.
In the end I didn’t invest in this website, but that conversation had always stuck with me.
1) To make money on the web, the ultimate end goal for any serious business person is in the list of loyal users of your website. The list is the ultimate underlying asset to any online business, as illustrated clearly in the YouTube/Google acquisition.
This first point is number one on my list of 5 sophisticated ideas for making money on the web. Work to build a list!
2) Do you have a digital camera? Did you know there are websites that will let you upload your happy pics, where webmasters can actually download your picture for a fee. The more pictures you have in your portfolio the more money you can make and believe me they do not need to be high end photography, many webmasters prefer gritty, less polished images.
3) Can you make zany videos? Have you ever submitted to YouTube? Why not head on over to ClickBank and pick a product and make a funny video about the topic of the product and put your affiliate link at the end of your video. If it gets lots of hits you can expect a decent return on your time!
4) Can you write a book? Go to cafe express, they will print one copy or a million copies for the same price. Get a serial number for the book and list it on Amazon, then go to work marketing it through blogs and social networks. New York Times #1 best seller list…here we come!
5) Sell shovels! During every single gold rush on the Earth in the last 500 years, from California to Australia, the many that came with gold fever usually went home empty handed, with only a small percentage actually finding gold. But those who set up stores selling blue jeans and shovels, they cleaned up! This same financial strategy can be applied to the internet. Look for the next craze and don’t join the throngs, but instead look at what things they will need and sell those items to them!