I have this ongoing fantasy of coming up with the perfect internet side hustle. After a blinding flash of inspiration, I set it up. It gets people visiting due to my fantastic SEO skills, and it ticks over with some high-value affiliate or advertising business that I don’t have to do anything with. I sip Mai-Tai’s on the sidelines and watch my bank balance increase…
Unfortunately, this fantasy has remained just that, but it doesn’t stop me from being interested in creative ways to make money on the internet.
When I’m online, I look for examples of these to see if there is an opportunity for a localised version for South Africa or something I could do better.
I recently went on holiday and wanted to confirm whether or not I needed a different plug adapter for when I was there. While searching, I saw a model for a business that I thought was genius. When you search for “Maldives power plug”, you’ll see this site comes out as number one in the Google rankings.
Once you get on the page, it has a dropdown menu which outlines the country you live in and then gives you specific information about the electricity system in the Maldives and how you might necessarily have to adapt what you’re doing to use your appliances. It answers all the relevant questions about the local electricity situation in detail. It is genius that they don’t try to sell you their crummy product at this stage. They integrate with Amazon, your trusted retailer. In doing that, they increase the likelihood that you’ll buy:
- they’re recommending a product from Amazon, so it doesn’t look like a sales plug
- it has reviews, so the product must be decent (which would be harder to prove with their product)
- the customer doesn’t have to worry about buying something from a no-name site that might not arrive. It has the trust halo from Amazon
For the company, this works because they don’t have to manage anything. If you drop ship something, you must control the dropshipping and customer service. You must maintain the website with Amazon affiliates: how you promote products and how many people you get to the website. That’s all you have to do. This business has no marginal costs besides your SEO challenges to get you to the top of the list. That’s great because if you get it right, you sit back and reap the rewards. However, knowing that the top 3 search results get 75% of the clicks means you’re nowhere if you’re not highly ranked.
The website also encourages you to get all the products you require for your holiday by providing a checklist of what you might need. Suppose this is your last Amazon shop before you go on holiday. In that case, this could include your travel pillow, holiday read or any other last-minute purchases (which will bump up your total bill Amazon bill and then provide more revenue for the site through Amazon commissions.) The product niche is excellent for this; you’re thinking about your holiday and what you need, which prompts the shopping process. If you’re buying a $50 product, it’s only $2 in affiliate commission, but the objective is to increase the overall bill and make this off many people.
They’ve extended it as much as humanly possible. If you look down the side, they’ve got all the countries you can find out about relevant power plugs, so you can see it is an extensive resource. The site is localised in numerous different languages, as you can see across the top of the site. They’re making the reach as comprehensive as possible to get as many people into their funnel as possible.
I think it’s a great model. It’s relatively hands-off once you’ve got it set up. Getting into the niches is complex, and maintaining your Google rankings to get the traffic required to make this model viable is a struggle. And it’s not the only player in this market. There are a lot of other people who are looking to do a similar kind of thing if you look at the search results.
Finding a profitable niche is difficult. However, there is a big opportunity if you can find something where there is an information gap that you can create easily templated information across different countries and languages. Once you have an audience, they can be monetised in many ways (but advertising/affiliates is the easiest). I’m not going to start up in competition with the power plug adapter mafia. Still, I think it’s an elegant and intelligent way they’ve approached making money online.
Are there other case studies or examples you can think of to get me to my Mai-Tai dream?