Website Ideas

Miserable User Generated Content

Have you ever noticed a good number of people seem to have a default mode of negative? I don’t mean those poor, unfortunate women who suffer from bitchy resting face either. Everyone seems to enjoy it to some extent, from the hard core Debbie Downers of the world who light up when there’s something to complain about, to the people who just want to enjoy a good chuckle at someone else’s expense.

Sometimes there’s a very good reason to seek out the negative. You might be cruising Yelp looking for a new restaurant, so you read all their less than stellar reviews to find out their biggest problem. Or maybe you’re trying to decide to buy from a user on eBay so you skip right to the negative reviews to see what issues this person has had that couldn’t be worked out. Secretly, you enjoy reading them, and the more problematic a person is, the more enticing the read.

Other times, it’s for sport. How many times have you found yourself laughing at other peoples misfortune watching those ultimate fail videos on YouTube? How about all that time you’ve spent on fmylife reading everyone’s posts about life fails? The old saying is true. Misery loves company, which makes a little suffering big business.

I came up with an idea (certainly not a new one) for a user generated content site where users could post funny gripes about their lives. I was thinking fmylife with pictures and video. There is nothing particularly unique about this idea. It’s a simple concept that is obviously incredibly popular. I think I was drawn to it because there was so much saturation out there. That might not make much sense, but in my head there’s always a better way.

I built the site with all free plugins. The only premium part of it was the Eleven40 Genesis theme 1 which is a favorite of mine that I run on a couple other sites too. I got the site the way I wanted it and then lost interest. It’s almost as if once the challenge of getting things working is complete, I either don’t have the knowledge or the motivation to tackle getting visitors to the site.

My favorite part of this project was the name. I thought about the face of a miserable person and then tried to imagine what it would take (other than life in general) to duplicate that face. I came up with biting an onion, and the OnionBites website was born. An Onion Bite would be a post of something that upset you, pissed you off, or basically anything worth venting about.

A lot of the sites I put up are abandoned because I can’t get them the way I want after a short time, but this one ended up exactly how I wanted. It looked clean and everything worked. Sadly, when I visited the site briefly to write this post, the WP User Frontend plugin seems to be effed and the form to submit is showing the shortcode. Maybe something changed that I have to update, or maybe the plugin is just broken. *shrug*

It’s time to let this one go as well. Just like nearly every other domain I mention here, this one is for sale 2 as well if you’re interested. I’m only selling the domain, but if you’re interested in duplicating the current look and functionality, I’d be more than happy to share the plugin list with you.

  1. Shareasale affiliate link
  2. Sedo direct sale link

Run a Naughty Dating Site

I became interested in starting a dating site when I saw how many were popping up around the web for just about every niche imaginable. I had just read the Inc. Magazine article about Marcus Frind and how he works an hour a day and makes ten million a year.

I knew it was tough to get people to sign up for small dating sites when there were so many dominant players in the market, especially when you’re brand new with zero members, so I thought a funny niche with a comical tone might have a shot in the dark.

The first domain I thought of for this was (still available 1 as I write this), and while I chuckled in my head at what I thought a site like that would be like, I kept searching. I figured too many people would miss the point that is was just a joke poking fun at a stereotype.

I came up with a lot of niche ideas, but I sometimes shape my choices around what is available for a domain name. The one I chose was 2 The idea was risque, and fell somewhere between a standard dating site and one of the more explicit hook up sites.

I never decided what the words “cheek peek” were going to mean in regards to the site. Would your main profile photo have to be your ass cheek? Would a photo of a cheek have to be included in your profile pics? Could it be a sexually suggestive site where users slightly tease without the actual nudity?

I preferred to keep it somewhat clean, but certainly not convent clean. When I imagined what kinds of pictures I would allow members to post to the site, I figured you could see or show anything you’d find at a public beach. No nudity, but as revealing as you can get without crossing the line.

A dating site is basically a social network, and while WordPress is definitely coming along in that space with BuddyPress and WP Symposium, I have always felt it still hasn’t matured enough. I played around with a piece of software called SocialEngine during a free trial and at the time I thought that was the way to go. Had I pulled the trigger, this is what would have been running on the site.

I was initially fooled by the member counts on other sites, thinking these were unique to each site. What I found later through research is that site owners will purchase members which seemed totally sleazy to me. I guess it’s nearly impossible to start your own user base from scratch unless you have a couple thousand friends, but buying user profiles didn’t seem right.

I signed up at a few sites with fake accounts just to see the member areas and what kinds of things they offered. If I did launch this site, I needed to figure out which SocialEngine plugins I wanted, and cruising around a few member areas was helpful. This is how I learned more about purchasing members too.

I started getting emails from other dating sites telling me I had matches or requesting I finish filling out my profile. Pretty sketchy, huh? I guess it’s wise to read the privacy or terms pages on those sites because they shared/sold everything I input on the first site to countless others. Full of shade if you ask me.

Since I didn’t want to buy members, and I don’t have a giant social circle (do Puppets count?) to start my own user base, I couldn’t even come up with a plan to advertise the site if I had to start with zero members. It also doesn’t help when the person wanting to launch the site has no interest in using the site socially.

This is why AllStartNoFinish is the perfect site for me. Just because I love starting all these different projects doesn’t mean I want to stick around and grow them all until they’re all grown up. Speaking of unfinished projects, has anyone seen my kids?

  1. NameCheap affiliate link
  2. Sedo direct sale link

Clone Script Domain Name Sale

When I was going through my Digg phase, I came up with the brilliant </sarc> idea to create a clone of it. You know, because clones are always better, right? </moresarc> I found a piece of open source software called Pligg and I was off and running on my next idea.

I purchased the domain name for this fleeting project. My reasoning was users could thump up or thump down a story similar to how Digg users vote. After adding some articles I re-purposed from an article directory I was adding on to another site, I was pretty much done with this one. It withered on the vine.

After tinkering with some minor customizations to the Pligg software, and not being able to get the site how I wanted, I scrapped the entire site. I was never super crazy about the name either, which is not typical since I’m usually super picky about names, so I decided I’d throw it up on Sedo and see what happens. I figured if it sold before it expired, great. If not, I was going to let it go.

Months later and I received an email from Sedo that my DailyThump domain had sold and instructed me to begin the transfer process. Huh? I have plenty of domains for sale, and this is the one that sells? I wasn’t complaining because I had put it up for sale at $500, but there was a problem. My expiration date had already expired. Oops.

My domain that had just been sold was now in redemption by GoDaddy. I had to pay well over a hundred dollars for the redemption fee and another year for the domain just to hand it over to someone else.

GoDaddy now says the redemption fee is $80, but I’m almost positive I paid nearly twice that. Unfortunately I could not get into my old account to check because I’ve moved all my domains elsewhere years ago, and the password reset button asks for an account name. Don’t remember your account name? Then input a domain on file with us. I don’t have one. OK GoDaddy, I get it. You don’t want me poking around in my old account because I broke up with you.

It was still worth it to pay the fees to get $500, but after the $50 (at the time) Sedo fee, the couple years of annual domain renewals, and the redemption fee, I think I cleared a little more than half of my sales price. A sale is still a sale.

This prompted me to switch gears a bit. I’ve had a habit of coming up with an idea, buying a domain, adding it to a hosting account, and throwing up a site before moving on to the next one. Going forward, I decided any domain I hadn’t put much effort into in awhile, I would add to my Sedo account to sell.

As you can imagine, my Sedo account has swelled a bit with domains for sale since I’m a fantastic finisher. Each sale is only for the domain name, but by having a shell of a site up, maybe it will give a potential buyer an idea of what they could do with it.

Originally I struggled with letting go of my sites/domains. Even if these ideas were short lived, at one brief moment in time, they had my attention because I thought it was a great idea. I’m also very selective about choosing a domain (sometimes I take days to decide), so it’s not easy to part with them either.

In the end I’ve decided to price each domain at a number in which I’m comfortable selling them. I understand domain pricing can be extremely subjective, at least it is to me. I’m not using any type of calculator to come up with value. My prices are all about how I feel about them. To be honest, I don’t want to sell any of them, so the prices I set boils down to what number would it take for me to walk away from an idea and its domain completely. Hint: Not cheap.

Since each domain is tied to a project I’ve never completed, I’m sure you’ll be seeing many of them mentioned here real soon. In the meantime, check out that Pligg software I mentioned earlier. If you like how Digg works and have an idea of your own brewing, this could be what you’re next site runs on.

Pay Per Click Search Engine

The domain I’ve owned the longest (over a decade) is a search engine for a specific creative niche and the very first iteration of it was the pay per click model. I wish I could remember where I obtained the script, but whatever it was, I’m sure I found it searching the pages of Hot Scripts. I used to love searching that site for a suitable piece of software when I’d come up with a new website idea.

The more I became comfortable with WordPress, the less I wanted to deal with the one off commercial software scripts. I eventually moved this site to the open source WordPress software, so my new Hot Scripts is the Envato network; Codecanyon 1 for the plugins and Themeforest 2 for the themes. Plugins and themes are a lot easier to handle compared to posting ads on the old Scriptlance site (acquired by looking for customizations.

The pay per click script was pretty plain out of the box. It had all the functionality and almost no design, so I had to add my own finishing touches with some rather archaic html I learned screwing around on a WebTV (remember WebTV?) back in the late 90’s. It had separate advertiser and publisher logins, and a step by step wizard to create and pay for ads too. At this point in my life I had never spent this much time and effort on any other project. I was really proud of this one.

Once I had it looking half way decent, I was ready to launch. I hooked it up to a couple of other search engines so the search results wouldn’t be a barren wasteland. I was also an affiliate of those search engines, so if users clicked on certain results I’d also get a small kick back. I set up my own accounts at larger search engines to advertise, and I also starting reaching out to a handful of the larger sites in my niche to inquire about procuring some monthly banner advertising slots.

I really put a lot into this site, so when it wasn’t producing after quite awhile, it was a bitter pill to swallow. I decided to try and expand the sites foot print by adding something to attract more users. Article directories were very popular at the time, so I created one for just this niche. It worked pretty well to get more people to the site, but the pay per click idea was just a bust.

I don’t know if it was the wrong market for such an idea, or if it was another situation where I had all the ambition in the world and no business sense, but I threw in the towel on the pay per click idea after a couple of years. I ended up finding a search engine script called Sphider and rebuilt the entire site. (Sphider up front with everything else WordPress) This software even came with its own crawler so I could pick only the sites I wanted to index. My little search engine became highly specialized.

I like it better with more content control anyway, but there’s no revenue generation on the site other than a few Adsense ads, so it’s hard to stay motivated and keep up with it. Websites change too, and I constantly have to re-index them so the search results don’t become obsolete. This isn’t a site I’m willing to give up on just yet, but the pay per click thing was another failure for me.

  1. Codecanyon affiliate link
  2. Themeforest affiliate link

Novelty Bachelor Party Gift

Let’s get something out in the open right now. If I believe there’s a way to make a lot of money from it, and it’s legal, I have no issue with it. If I thought I could make millions selling adult diapers or disposable enemas, I would. The money still spends the same.

The same goes for pornography. I came up with an idea to sell gift baskets of porn. I’m sure they already exist out there somewhere, but there wasn’t much that I could find when doing some research on competitors. Maybe there’s no competition because it’s been tried before and it didn’t work, but I still think it’s got potential.

Initially the baskets were geared towards men only. You might be thinking that people usually don’t buy gift baskets for men, and I agree. That’s why I was going to wrap them in tin or galvanized steel pails. That’s the kind of gift basket I could see a man getting for another man. What do you bring to that bachelor party for a gift? (besides a bottle of liquor) A pail or porn of course!

I later found cute colored pails that would work for women too. I did the research and found you can buy porn really cheap in bulk. I planned on including a few DVD’s, some magazines, condoms, lube, adult candy, and a couple of small toys. I even investigated some fancy seals for branding. I still love this idea.

The best part was that the first name for a domain I came up with was actually available. This never happens. I usually search different variations of keywords for days looking for a domain name I’m happy with, but this time I got lucky. A five letter dotcom that sums up my idea perfectly.

Eight years later I still own the domain, and that project still remains idle. I usually throw up a WordPress install and create a rough mock-up of what I want, but I’ve never done enough to consider launching it, or even bought product for the idea.

The good news is you don’t need my domain name to start a business like this one. I really feel like this one is still worth checking out. I couldn’t even find one on eBay last time I checked, so either there’s zero interest or it’s yet to be tapped.

If you have any interest in the five letter dotcom domain name I originally purchased for this, I have it for sale at Sedo 1 right now.

  1. Sedo direct sale link