May 27 2007

Making money online in the future

Seeing Matt being 21 and happy made me think back to my 21st. I can’t recall the details so it must have been a good night out too.

Mulling over an idea for a blog post, (because if he is out partying he can’t be blogging, right!) I was thinking how lucky he is to be starting a commercial blogger’s life so early on, at least early compared to my first recent footsteps. There is a lot of fun to be had these days, digitizing ideas quicker than ever before, and it is viewed as work! Perfect.

The most appealing aspect of the blogosphere for me is that it is still a bit like the wild west, growing rapidly (120,000 new blogs a day) and expanding into many different avenues. There is loads of lawlessness and experimentation going on, boundaries being formed, opportunities to create your own niche abound… And there is a lot of money involved already, and it can only get more lucrative for players with a foothold online. But is straightforward day-to-day blogging lucrative, or are there other areas to look for long term returns?

I am not going to be one of those bloggers with 3 ideas pulled off the internet and then call myself a money making expert, and I am not a magician either, but I have a good memory and can give some examples of big real world returns that have come from some very strange areas. Maybe the examples can spur some thinking about where to make money on the internet of the future!

There is money in muck.

I know of half a dozen mega rich guys now who got rich by simply picking up other people’s cast offs and selling them on for a profit. There is the obvious antique / bric a brac, buy-today-sell-tomorrow model.

Then there was a guy who bought Aga cast iron ovens in the 70’s when they became “obsolete” to gas cookers. He literally stored them in a field for 20 years under a tarp and then a few years ago when traditional ranges came back in vogue, he sand-blasted them and sold them on for fortunes.

Many other scrap dealers, and car / stamp and even tupperware collectors have all cashed in by buying and holding until the fashion returns.

Online muck

These entrepreneurs took a bet, but a fairly educated bet at that. Everything comes back in fashion, even horrible 70’s color schemes. Look past trying to create the next eBay to sell real world goods or junk, think digital stuff!

Perhaps there is something now that people are casting off, apparently worthless, but you can see would be in demand when the fashion comes back. Domain names is an obvious starting point, but how about whole websites full of content that are lying un-updated? Save them from the scraper sites by taking them off-line and reinvent them later?

Or you can double guess what will be popular in years to come! Try make some predictions and date them and wait till they come true, pronouncing yourself as a prophet!

Keep some of your best posts back and sell them on later in a different format? Like an ebook of content you haven’t ever published.

Get rich now

And if you don’t want to wait, but want to get involved with the on-line content that is in the highest demand now and the shortest supply, possibly forever, get into video production. Something like 1 person is providing content for every 10000 consuming it. If I had money, I would be compiling videoclips. Just an idea.

What do you think is worthless now but will come back in vogue and be in demand? Should we get Matt to send us signed copies of his birthday photos before he is famous?

You can have my autograph when I am famous, but first you will have to read The Pisstakers every day for a couple of years.

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  1. Polliwog said:

    Interesting thoughts as always Ed. I’ll definitely be reading your blog in the years ahead!

    May 28th, 2007 at 1:09 am

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