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Business Idea: Plenty of fish

Markus Frind is a Canadian entrepreneur who owns PlentyofFish.com, the world’s largest online dating website. According to reports in 2006, he earned around $10,000 a day through Adsense’s contextual advertising program.

According to a recent article [1], Plenty of Fish now receives 45 million visitors along with 1.1 billion pageviews every month.

His annual income from PlentyofFish.com alone is currently $5 to $10 million a year.

What is fascinating is that Markus Frind is a one-man show. He virtually ran Plenty of Fish by himself, along with help from his girlfriend and other voluntary moderators.

This is however, set to change as Markus has plans to gradually develop a team of 20 to 30 employees over the next few months.

Notes on Markus Frind and PlentyofFish.com

Two weeks ago, we did a case study of Ashley Qualls, a 17 year old girl who makes $70K a month from her Myspace layouts website. The story was inspirational for many and I’ve thought of doing a similar piece on Markus Frind, who is currently the largest individual Adsense publisher/earner.

The amount of money he makes and how he went about creating this million dollar business has been the subject of much discussion in various webmaster forums. Some bloggers have done interviews with Markus or have written about his success.

Only a very small number of people can achieve a similar income level just from one website and what he has achieved is due to a combination of multiple factors such as technology, market entry/positioning and sheer personal effort.

While what worked for his website might not work for your niche and interests, hopefully this article on his success will help you in some way, to make more money from your existing sites or businesses.

17 Tips on Building a Lucrative Online Business or Website

The quoted text is extracted from some of Markus’s blog posts as well as interviews over the past few years. All of the specific references are left at the bottom of the post and do visit them to read more, if you’re interested.

  1. Enter the Market at the Right Time. “As for the growth, a think a lot of that was accidental or first-mover advantage. Here in Canada LavaLife was the only real dating site, and they had a monopoly. I had a couple of my friends sign up from the major cities and after that the site just started to grow and spread.” 
  2. Free is a Powerful Business Model. “I always liked free sites and couldn’t see why companies had to change insane amounts of money for something that was trivial to make.”“The community was really built by word of mouth. There was a need for a free site and because no one else was providing it, it just grew like a weed. A lot of people just don’t want to pay for dating sites.” 
  3. You Don’t Need a Team. “It’s just me right now, my girlfriend helps with some of the customer service stuff when I don’t want to do it. I am planning on expanding into other markets but I don’t think I need to hire any employees any time soon. Nearly all the work can be automated away except for user stupidity that leads to crazy questions.” 
  4. Offline Marketing is Not Essential. “Offline promo works well when marketing to huge existing customer base. It does not work well when trying to grow big…Like nearly every other site I sort of ignore offline marketing, as it is far too expensive when you don’t have huge numbers of people in your target market already using your service.” 
  5. Success Doesn’t Just Depend on One Thing. “I like simplicity, and I am not a graphic designer at all. Success doesn’t come down to just one thing. Its not like Microsoft can clone Google’s layout and be the largest search engine. Success is a combination of things and having the right idea at the right time.” 
  6. Uptime is Just as Important as Innovation. “I redesign my site every couple of weeks so it doesn’t get crushed by the sheer number of users online. As for front-end design I could care less, lots of users are using my site and more are coming every day, my number one focus is making sure the site stays up for another day.” 
  7. Create Unique Sites that Stand Out. “Google pays out $500 million a quarter to AdSense users. That money is going somewhere, and if you look at the top 1000 sites not a hell of a lot of them have AdSense.Statistically speaking those sites that have low numbers of users and high EPC [Earnings Per Click] will make the most money. Build sites that no one else has done before, stuff only goes viral the first 1 or 2 times after that you have to buy your way into a market.” 
  8. You Need to Have a Rigorous Work Ethic. “When I came home from work I sat down and I forced myself to code for a hour or 2. The enemy was thinking, whenever I paused or started to think I would force myself to type something, its amazing how much you can get done when you just type.For that business its just a matter of repetition and fighting boredom. At the end of the day you just need to sit down and DO it. Most people don’t.” 
  9. Site Value and Functions Trump Design. “Function over form to build an emotional connection with the user. Blend ads into content, No flashing crap, make the site useful. Basically all those things that everyone knows you are supposed to do, but very few people actually do.There is no magic bullet, but you should always test new designs or new text etc to get the result that you want. You will never have the worst design and never the best, but through testing you can always improve.” 
  10. Think of Monetization Potential Before Starting a Site. “Build something useful, simple in ways that people will use. Explore things like Ad Sense, affiliate programs, and just explore ways of making money. Most 2.0 companies will never make a dime and they’re not built to make a dime.So I would start looking at how to make money before you even design or think about starting a business.” 
  11. Don’t be Discouraged With Low Income. “I had a single affiliate program but it didn’t even make $40/month. I went and added Adsense pretty quick, I made a whole $5.63 cents my first month, but that was more then enough for me to realize that I wouldn’t go broke running the site and I could make a business out of this with enough traffic.” 
  12. Learn What You Need to Know. “Basically I spent every waking minute when I wasn’t at my day job reading, studying, and learning. I picked out “enemies” and did everything I could to defeat them which meant being bigger then them. I refused to accept defeat of any kind, and I constantly forced myself to test new things.” 
  13. When You Have Traffic, Look Beyond Adsense. “The main goal is to start replacing adsense/dating ads and hire sales people. I spent the last few weeks working long days optimizing my ad revenue and as a result adding over a million a year net per week of work.At the end of the day its not possible for me optimize revenues myself or to outsource sales as no one vender could sell more than 3% of my inventory. I am at a size now were there are no off the shelf solutions and everything has to be built from the ground up.” 
  14. Know the Limits of Your Business Model. “If I wanted to generate $100 million in revenues per year it would be pretty easy, all I need to do is convert to a paid site. To generate 100 million a year as a free site is virtually impossible as the market isn’t big enough.I’m already the largest player in the UK, Canada, and US. Growing the company another 10 to 20 fold just isn’t realistic.” 
  15. Always Have a Goal to Work Towards. “If you are working in a cubicle, your goal may be to experience the world outside of your cage, or stay at a 5 star whenever you want, or to go on vacation whenever you want.For me i’d set my goal to owning the whole resort and the yacht out front and making 100 million a year instead of just millions.Just because you are already successful doesn’t mean you don’t need a goal to work towards. Don’t assume that anyone successful thinks differently then you.”


  16. Success Doesn’t Happen, It’s Created. “Now I know most of the people reading this are aspiring to create a business of some kind. Many will just day dream all day but never actually do anything.I was like that a few years ago, then I finally sat down and did something, and kept forcing myself to do it till it became a pattern and it turned out hugely successful.” 
  17. Weigh Your Costs to Estimate Profitability. “In my opinion if the cost of your operations are 2-3 cents a unique visitor chances are plain advertising will bring you to profitability. If your costs are over 10 cents a unique visitor then you will need to sell a product or service.This of course assumes a high traffic site with at least 100k uniques per day. In about 2 years from now we will probably see a 30-50% decrease in operational costs as hardware and software costs continue to fall.”

Source: http://www.doshdosh.com/learn-from-adsense-millionaire-markus-frind/

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, invention, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, News, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , | 5 Comments