When Internet businesses don't work out as planned...
August 14, 2010 5:03 PM   Subscribe

At what point did you decide to give up on your Internet business?

I've been working on my Internet business for a few years now. After putting in thousands of hours I'd say I'm close to giving up completely, it's just not working. I'm just wondering at what point did other Mefites decide to give up...

I've everything from shopping carts to auctions, forums & AdSense blogs. I feel I'm always 1 step behind 1000 other people trying to compete and it's driving me nuts.

I recently spent 3 months on a life insurance website for a keyword phrase Google said was attracting 70,000 hits per month. After ranking #2 for the phrase I'm only getting around 10 hits per day...

I'm at breaking point... I used to love Google and I feel I've been done over hard! putting up hundreds of pages of unique content and getting absolutely nowhere.

I know I'm not the only one (but need reassurance).
posted by Bacillus to Technology (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was working on an online multiplayer game for a solid year and a half. Like all internet related projects we were ambitious, and yeah, we did manage to attract a few dedicated followers and such. However, we were a tad too ambitious.
Basically, it came down to too many ideas not being executed in a timely manner, and it just went downhill from there.
I personally ditched the game after that year and a half, and I was the lead guy who had the idea for the project. It was a tough thing to do, for certain.
posted by Askiba at 5:20 PM on August 14, 2010


Rule of thumb: If you're doubting whether or not you want to do it anymore -- you don't want to do it anymore.

Running any sort of business is hard work. A lot of hard work. If you're not committed, then take a break and only try again when you are. If your idea simply isn't working out, don't try to force it.
posted by volatilebit at 5:47 PM on August 14, 2010


Get some help, but not from here. Go find other people online who talk about the challenges of running small internet businesses.
posted by micawber at 6:36 PM on August 14, 2010


I looked at your website and it is all over the place, if you don't mind me saying. Articles about bedwetting and playing poker next to each other, the ads are random and not page related, etc. It looks like a spam site, not something you are personally invested in/passionate about. I hope that is not offensive for me to say, but sticking all the 'how to make money on the internet' concepts together and hoping to become rich will not make it happen. Your site liked to on your profile is one I would bounce from right away.

Also, this statement I recently spent 3 months on a life insurance website for a keyword phrase Google said was attracting 70,000 hits per month. After ranking #2 for the phrase I'm only getting around 10 hits per day... doesn't sound right, mathematically. You can memail me and I can take a look at your site for you. Just include the keyword phrase you are working towards. I am no expert, but it is my sole means of income for the past 10 years...


But, really, after that long of a time, if you are not into it, you are not into it.
posted by Vaike at 6:51 PM on August 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


Don't forget to keep your domain name/site name. You may decide later to resurrect the site, and it would suck rocks if it was sold to someone else.
posted by sundrop at 7:31 PM on August 14, 2010


My solution to your problem was to focus on things that I could have instant results with. For instance PPC beats out SEO for me. With SEO you may have to wait up to a year to start seeing results, so if you didn't do it right you won't know for a long time. With PPC you know pretty instantly if it's working or not.

Also every ebook, guru etc gives advice, but even if those things once worked they're very instantly saturated. The only way I've been successful online is by using my creativity and coming up with my own original ideas. I've had only very moderate success copying other peoples plans.

One of the things that was really different for me about working online compared with other projects I've done was that it required me. Most other things in the world you can just robotically plug yourself into and do well if you stick with it. Languages, health, a lot of other jobs for the most part you just have to show up and work hard. On the internet you need all of that plus originality.

I know this doesn't completely answer your question, but maybe it will push you toward the right steps for success.
posted by bindasj at 8:54 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vaike: Your site liked to on your profile is one I would bounce from right away.

Uh, yeah, this. I saw you site once before (after a previous Q?), and quickly decided there's nothing there except yet another "Australian Business Directory" (and a quick google.com.au search brings up ~749,000 of those, including the amusingly-named wangjammers.com). Most, like yours, are as Vaike says "all over the place".

"Putting up hundreds of pages of unique content and getting absolutely nowhere."

You've got pages of stuff, but almost no content; most of what looks like content turns scammy when followed up (e.g. your classified section has an "iPhone 4G HD"? In black and not-yet-released white? With a spare battery? Allegedly in Qld, but the map points to Georgia, USA? Nuh, nobody's buying that one - but that's OK, 'cos there's no contact info either!). The rest of the front-page content is largely generic, with the occasional scattered "real" entry.

"I feel I'm always 1 step behind 1000 other people trying to compete …"

That's because your site looks, feels, and smells like you are standing amongst 1000's of others - mostly scammers, link farms, or other web parasites. From a potential client's view, it looks like yet another web-equivalent of the old 'business directory' scams; from a visitors PoV, it looks like a typical contentless advertising content-farm. You're probably not meaning to play in that crowd, but that's where your site's look, style, 'content', and lack of focus positions you. Google's not doing you over hard, it's doing it's job.

In short: your site's playing the wrong game in the wrong place. Why would I choose to use/visit your site over, say, hotfrog.com.au? As useless as they are, I've at least heard of them, and know they've been around for long enough that they're probably on the less-scammy end of the spectrum…

Lord knows, one thing the internet does need is a good, reliable, low-scam way of bringing together genuine sellers & potential customers, while also providing relevant information to both. Many have tried; I don't think anyone has managed it yet - at least, not here in Oz. If you want to try, you'll need to be more focussed on a) what your market is (B2B? B2C? C2B?), b) what your product is (selling ad space to businesses? drawing customers to your directory?), c) how it's organised (by locality? by business/product category?), d) keeping it clean, focussed, and current, and e) actually assisting the connection between users.

But before that, the big question: Do you want to make a real business of this, or do you just want to make money from ad sales & hits?

I know that doesn't answer your question - sorry - but it might make your choice a bit clearer/easier.

(Disclaimer: I'm friends with a couple of people playing in a similar space off-line [specialist business/private "Trading Post"-style magazines], and we've talked a lot about how they might transition things to on-line while avoiding the pitfalls of and standing out from the 1000's of existing fake/scam/vanity sites.)
posted by Pinback at 9:38 PM on August 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


You need to have a niche that you can excel at. The niche you have chosen seems to be "making money from the Internet." There are thousands of people who want to be in this not-so-specific niche. Almost none of them will make any money at it. Yes, give this particular business up—it is doomed.

Take a break. If you want to, you can start from scratch later. But you need a coherent business idea. And "shopping carts to auctions, forums & AdSense blogs" is not a coherent business idea.
posted by grouse at 9:54 PM on August 14, 2010


... your site looks, feels, and smells like you are standing amongst 1000's of others - mostly scammers, link farms, or other web parasites. From a potential client's view, it looks like yet another web-equivalent of the old 'business directory' scams; from a visitors PoV, it looks like a typical contentless advertising content-farm.

Yeah, this was my immediate impression, too.

To borrow a phrase I heard someone use on Metafilter, you're pitching your site to the "cheap seats" on the internet. Anyone with an ounce of savvy would navigate away from your site immediately. I don't know how to make money on the web, but I am pretty sure that what you're doing isn't it.
posted by jayder at 7:43 AM on August 15, 2010


The time to give up on your Internet business, (or any business for that matter) is when you no longer feel like you are the right person to be doing the job. Try to imagine if you were employing someone else to do this work and their performance was the same as yours, working the same hours for the same salary and producing the same results - would you fire them?

This is a hard decision to make for the self employed because you need to split out your feelings as the business owner "this guy is working for peanuts, lets keep going even if theres only a 1% chance of hitting paydirt" from those as the employee "I'm being ripped off here, I should quit and get a real job"
posted by Lanark at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2010


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