Get Shouty

Build it- but will they come?
September 22, 2008, 2:12 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

I’m sure everyone gets asked these kind of questions:


A website that allows users to view local content and upload their own content.


1. The sites profitability comes from the selling of highly targeted ad space, and the effective media cut through on offer to advertisers targeting this demographic.

We are going to register both a .com and a

But want to know if we should have a version of the site for Australia, US, Uk etc, so that the advertising we sell will be at a premium to target customers in each county. (but obviously unique user numbers and site traffic potential will be limited)

Or if we should just focus on one global .com site, the advantage being that it will grow much faster in terms of traffic (ie the whole world vs a potential 20 million for Aust.), but will not be able to deliver the same relevance and targeting in terms of advertising. Or can media agencies know what country a user is from and still deliver premium relevant ads?

Just looking for advice as to which track to go down?

2. How many site visits and subscriber numbers do we need to have to become a serious site on the radar for advertisers in Australia.?

Any advice you can give is much appreciated.

My answer:

Guys: my advice is that you seriously research your offer. And that you really spend some time looking at the social media skills you will need to build a community around your site.

A simple Google search results about 16,900,000 in your content area. So you have 17 million competitors.

Check these out: The Australian Index

There are a number of sites that already do what you want to do- and you will need to a comprehensive understanding of you competitors to differentiate.

The most important question you can ask yourself right now is not how you will monetize- it is how you will launch, build an audience and create enough value for them to keep coming back.

The Cool Hunter is an Australian outfit that has done a brilliant job of this, and now has geo specific versions of its content. But it’s taken years and years to build.

You will not get on an advertiser’s radar with out compelling content and a loyal audience.

Adserving can geo target an IP address. Your best bet is Google Adsense (ads will be contextually served onto your site) and you can do this from day one.

There is no tool in Australia available for media planning that can even see a site with under 100,000 uniques a month. After you have built a decent audience (say 30,000) you might be able to contact one of the Ad Network resellers.

And on an end note: an old fashioned piece of advice. Write a business plan. No one else need see it- but planning is a key ingredient of success. It will walk you through all of the steps that you need to make, allow you to clearly articulate your offer, evaluate your competitive set and work out your business model. Good Luck!

Anything I’ve missed out? What are your tips for online start ups?

UPDATE: Here’s product marketing guru/VC/advisor/author Guy Kawasaki’s The World’s Shortest Marketing Plan, Version 2.0 Click here to get the document. It’s a Word document so that you can fill in the cells with your answers.


11 Comments so far
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first thing would be ‘what are you offering to users they don’t already get’ … the way their questions are phrased indicates they are just out to monetise web ‘content’ … not provide something new in the space.

sure, cool hunter has done well and is nice but i question how much revenue they are making.

also need to question the value to advertisers about this sort of UGC area – dubious at best given the ad options they have outlined.

Comment by Ben

“A simple Google search results about 16,900,000 in your content area. So you have 17 million competitors.”

Thats not true, that sort of advice just show that your subject is or not popular in amount of publish, yhey don’t mean competitors (unless you are only thinking SEO/SERP’s).

Also you suggest that if someone is doing what your business is proposed to do you shouldn’t go online?! This is not right.
Google wasn’t the first SE, but certainly was the best.

Comment by Lucio

@Lucio- can I suggest a deep breath? I have, of course, deleted alot of the salient points about this business case. My point is then, unless you have a strategy and all you are looking to do is exploit the latest ‘cool’ content category- then, because you have no differentiation, because you have no community, you are just an anonymous link.
Suggesting that a business have a plan and research that plan is not advising them to not give it a go- it’s in fact encouragement to give it a go in a measured and professional way.

did you have any advice to offer the start up?

Comment by katiechatfield

Cool Hunter has done well, but the way they will make money is through their brand extensions. So they’ve got the traffic, now they intend to monetize that traffic – not so much through ads, but by producing material that shows them the judge of anything cool.

A great post as always btw.

Comment by Dirk Singer

Thank you very much for explanation

Comment by Julia

A lot of startup ideas want to go big. The challenge though, is to go small. As you suggest, without context, every website is a competitor. Without community there is no reason for repeat visitation. Without a unique value prop there is no differentiation.

By drilling down into a niche, startups can focus on the quality of their content/offering. They can deliver niche volumes of influential traffic. And they can build a business platform upon which to expand. Start small grow fast.

Great post, Katie!

Comment by Gavin Heaton

I strongly suggest the client to watch this video i think will get them to think where they’re at in their process.

Also domains and geo targeted domain have got very little importance if the content and the services that you have online are an asset? What have you got that makes a difference… Otherwise just sat in the line with everybody else in a 17 million serp queue…

Comment by Nico

Hey thanks for all the comments guys!

Nice one Nico- collecting underpants is a business model for sure. Oh- and this wasn’t a client, it’s the kind of random email I get after a dinner party from a friend’s friend who’s Googled me (but not, perhaps, looked for any of their own answers..)

Comment by katiechatfield

Great advice Katie for FAQs!

Comment by Julian Cole

Ok Katie, need to assume typing it’s been faster than thinking,
One more reading it makes a different sense,
In fact yes i do have advice for a start up,
*Read and learn. There are a million clues, case studies, books and proven tactics out there.
Start up’s (unless you are loaded with money) can’t profitably ignore them until get to know them, and usually start ups don’t have the time or the money to make the same mistake someone else made last week.

Comment by Lucio

[…] of days ago I read an article on Get Shouty about the process of building an online start […]

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