Many people want to walk the same path that Ariel took, and oparate a successful affiliate website or network that generate money as they sleep. But how did it all start?
“Well, at the beginning we had an idea of creating money from AdSense. Okay? Ads, creating content, putting on ads and generating a revenue from that. And I must say it started well, but it became really, really rough. We initially thought, ‘let’s index the non-index pages. Meaning let’s find web apps that if you put something inside, it outputs something, but it doesn’t index the page. Meaning Google doesn’t know the output page so it can’t link to it. Let’s say index this page let’s say, copy the content, paste it, of course if it’s legal and give a result. So it was pretty simple. We looked at the Google maps, they had an API, we entered 7 million geographical points of interest that we downloaded free from the USA geographical association, or whatever. And we instantly had 7 million maps of every small place in the world: a river, a mountain or whatever.
And we indexed it, we called it images of mountain XO, maps of this small place in, Cyprus. And we were the only website that had that information because Google at the time, they didn’t know to show a user their own maps. They didn’t ask.”
That was before Google Earth.
“It was before Google implemented the rich snippet that when you search now today, any map of something, they show you the real map. So we did it for them and people came and people clicked the ads. Similarly, we did that in a few other verticals and it worked pretty well. But at some point in time we talked and we said, a hundred percent of our visits come from Google, 100% of our revenue arrives from Google. Now that’s not a good place to be. And Google is dominating those markets, so if one day Google decides they don’t like you anymore, you can not switch to an alternative.
So we moved away from this model and we wanted to work directly with the clients that paid Google. Hence we entered the affiliate Arena. We had a few attempts in that, that vertical. And all of them it was always about let’s turn to the global audience. Let’s not just do it in English. Let’s do it in other languages, because we believe that it’s very hard to do. It’s very hard to translate. It’s very hard to localize. It’s very hard. And many times it doesn’t pay off to translate to small language like Ukrainian or Hebrew or Hungarian. But if you walk in the mass, it’s scale then you start having your own in-house translators and you pay them a bit less, but you know the quality is high because you provide them a full time work for years.
Then we are able to create the economies of scale and when it’s a differentiator no one can easily close. So we wanted to enter projects that there would not be a guy, 16 years old, sitting somewhere, smarter than us, and say ‘You know what, I’ll build a website and beat those guys’. It’s always very costly to enter the market, it’s always takes you two years to really start seeing results. So we know not everyone can compete. And we also know people are often lazy, and expect to see the impact the following day, to take a lotion and wake up the next morning beautiful. And so we did the hard stuff. The stuff that takes a lot of time, the stuff that takes a lot of money but it did prove to be working for us.”