Website Investing Weekly 🎱 Pooling Capital

Welcome to Website Investing Weekly, bringing you up-to-date with what’s been going on in the world of website investing. If you’re not already on the list to receive these updates, sign up below. You can also leave comments at the end of the post.

🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Group Buys for Digital Assets

Staking is a familiar concept in poker, where one or many parties contribute to the buy-in of a tournament that a professional is playing, and receive a corresponding % of the winnings. It de-risks the investment required from a winning player, and enables them to play bigger events and take higher variance lines that have a positive expected value.

As I got deeper into domain investing, learning what the most successful people are doing, I wondered whether I could invest in them instead of trying to get bankrolled to a level where I could compete. By wonder, I mean tweeted:

I found out that a company called Contrib.io is using the Ethereum blockchain (you knew it wouldn’t be long before I mentioned crypto in this newsletter) to attempt just this. They have a marketplace of companies offering eshares in their domains / websites such as referrals.com. It’s an interesting model.

But rather than investing in individual assets, would it not make more sense for investors to invest into a company / fund that acquires its own portfolio? Back to Twitter:

Dom from Onfolio replied:

I’ll try and get him on the podcast soon to discuss, as I really think this is the future for passively deploying capital in our space. What do you think? Leave a comment below. [RP]


Ⓜ️ Empire Building Capital

Image from lendflow.io

Empire Flippers have now integrated financing options for buyers. Getting finance for websites has historically been very difficult (vs ecommerce sites) which is why they have started working with the financing service Lendflow. This will enable more buyers to be able to acquire websites, and they state you can get funding in as little as 24 hours. You can find out more here. [RP]


🏦 SBA Loan Risk Vs Reward

Before we discuss the pros and cons, let's get one thing straight. It's not the SBA (the Small Business Administration) who makes the loan. The SBA works with other institutions - like banks - that lend money to small businesses. These financial institutions offer better terms because the SBA guarantees up to 85% of the debt, thereby reducing the risk.

There is merit in borrowing to purchase an online business. You leverage your own funds to fast track your business potential and earnings. If all goes well, you'll shave years off the time and effort it takes to grow and scale your business. Plus, you'll reap a quicker return on your investment. But, there is a downside.

Jon Gillham of Authority Website Income argues that the intrinsic value of a website includes no real assets, and that the worth of your site is based solely on the present value of your future earnings. He states:

Many online businesses have a single point of failure that can send the business to ZERO.

This may be anything from having one source of monetization such as Amazon Affiliate or a SaaS business tied to a market you don't control, e.g., Shopify app. In short, if your business fails and you've borrowed more than you can repay, then you've taken a huge risk with your financial future. 

On the flipside, Jon is not averse to this asset class and recommends finding a balance between your capital investment and your time and skills:

If you have limited time and loads of money with the ability to get a manager then looking at larger deals may be the right decision. If you have <$100k but want out of your day job…make a multi-year plan and start off with what you can afford.

Which side are you on? [JL]


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🦄 SEOs with Skin in the Game

Smash Digital - a growth agency, filled to the brim with unicorn images and SEO memes. A team of SEOs with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. An agency with so much link juice you’ll need a mop and bucket to clean it all up. Check. Them. Out.


💰 Most Expensive SEO Domain?

There was a great SEO domain that got picked up at the GoDaddy auctions last week, orderup.com which sold for $14,750 (it has strong brand value too). We feature an SEO domain in the Deals emails every Wednesday for paying subscribers and it got me thinking: What’s the most that someone has spent on just a domain for a website build? I asked @NameBio on twitter who had the answer (link to thread):

Richard Patey @RichardPatey
@NameBio @DomainSherpa @AmmarKubba @BradenPollock @andrewrosener @MediaOptions Looks like
seedmagazine.com sold for $99,501 is the winner (which now redirects to facts.net ) - DR70+ domain with 7,521 dofollow backlinks from unique domains including DR96 adobe.com, DR93 nytimes.com, DR93 bbc.co.uk

Last year, someone picked up seedmagazine.com for a whopping $99,501. What’s your limit with SEO domain acquisitions? [RP]


🔥 Eliminating The Risks In Affiliate Marketing

Running an affiliate website comes with both major rewards and major risks. It's often very lucrative, but danger lurks in the background. If you're dependent on the whims of affiliate programs that change their structures or Google algorithm updates that slam your traffic, then you're not exactly in control of your business. They are.

"The money is in the list" phrase has become a marketing proverb, but it seems most affiliate marketers still aren't building an email list. A decent email list is behind the success of most online business success stories.

Spencer Haws over at Niche Pursuits comments on this in his latest article:

If you build an audience and an email list, you have SO much more control.  You can start taking steps like I have on Niche Pursuits.  You can make even more money as an affiliate by recommending products to your email list (rather than just relying on affiliate commissions from your organic website visitors).

The next step is to diversify by creating and promoting your own products to your audience. But, you can only do that if you start building your list now. It's the smart way to reduce your risk exposure and lessen the influence that Google, Amazon and others may have on your business. Take back the control. [JL]


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🤖 Intelligent Platform for Publishers

Ezoic is an AI-driven platform built for publishers to optimize ad revenue and maximize site speed. As a Google Certified Publishing Partner, they have access to Google Ad Exchange, as well as top-performing ad networks. Their real machine learning optimizes ads and layouts for each individual visitor, resulting in much higher revenue, whilst improving UX. You can drag-and-drop ad testing locations using the Ezoic Chrome extension, and their AI ad inventory drives up bids.

Ezoic also offers access to Big Data Analytics where you can break down revenue at a page level to learn how valuable different blog categories (and even authors) are, and to be able to effectively measure the ROI from SEO. You can start a free trial of the Ezoic platform today.


🎫 Ezoic Event

Pubtelligence by The Ezoic, typically hosted at Google offices around the globe, has grown to be one of the largest publisher-only events in the world. Given the new norm of life in a pandemic, Ezoic will be hosting its first-ever Virtual Pubtelligence from Tuesday July 28th-Thursday July 30th. This 3-day event will focus on one topic each day: Monetization, SEO, and Content hosted by some of the most influential, experienced experts in each industry. Historically, this has been an invite-only event so it’s great that everyone will get the opportunity to learn for free from the comfort of their own home. Check out the Pubtelligence website for details. [RP]


That’s it for another week, hit us up in the comments below.

Cheers!

Richard Patey & Juliet Lyall