A friend of mine recently came up with an idea for a website that he intends to sell down the line for hopefully millions. As usual, I'm the downer in the group and am hesitant to offer encouragement. Only because I've been through my fair share of ideas and I know that the details of it is always hairy and the probability of success is ridiculously low. At the same time, I also know that I know barely anything about this stuff, so I turn to you guys for advice. So, I have a few fundamental questions about all this, some more philosophical, some practical, some naive.
--Firstly, has the time passed where you can sell websites for millions, a la youtube, facebook, myspace? The reason i ask is because of issues like these
. I suspect that it is much harder to do this relative to 5-10 years ago. Especially considering the economy for the next 2 years.
--Next, my assumption is that you can't make millions unless you create a website that is going to make someone addictive and visit it multiple times daily. As in, a regular person (not a geek) will want to go to that website like an addiction. For example, youtube...I probably watch youtube more than regular TV (I really don't watch TV at all, but you get the point). So, if everyone is going to youtube multiple times a day, that's just insane. Same with facebook, everyone's on it all the time. Even if you have a really great idea for a website, unless it becomes addictive like that, it won't sell for millions. many of the ideas I hear are really good, but only temporarily...like, they'll help you for something you're trying to do, but after you do it, you're done with it, and don't have to return to it for a long time, if ever. Think of it like a thread on this forum: you ask a question, you get a lot of activity for a while, and then the question is resolved, and the thread will get visited once or twice a year from then on. That's not going to make a lot of money.
--Also, in my opinion, another reasaon why youtube was so popular was because of the illegal content and the way they handled it. youtube was not the first website to offer putting up videos. yahoo, google, and others tried doing it before, but weren't nearly as viral as youtube. Why? because they were so very concerned about copyrights from the get go. but youtube let anyone put up anything (easily) right from the start, and dealt with the copyrights later, which turned out to be well after everyone was already addicted to it. you see the subtle difference? I mean, honestly, probably 90% of what I watch on youtube is copyrighted material, but it's all there. That's brilliant. instead of protecting themselves and restricting the material from even getting there, youtube put it all up, and took it down later as the complaints rolled in. They're not officially advocating putting up copyrighted material, but they allow it because they allow everything (except porn). it's the users who are uploading the copyrighted stuff, not them. Anyway, it's a very strange and fascinating ethical scenario. if youtube quickly and efficiently removed all copyrighted material, it would destroy the website. My point here is, from a business standpoint, if my friend could accomplish something like that, it would be amazing. That is, create a website that would permit illegal content to proliferate without deliberately creating the website for that specific purpose. Sly. (not that I promote it, I'm just theorizing).
Those are my initial thoughts.