Million Dollar Wiki: The Million Dollar Idea
As you may already know, the MillionDollarWiki was created by Graham Langdon. The guy goes to school in Connecticut, and like the rest of us, he gets a worthless degree at the expense of $50k in student loans. But unlike you and I, he comes up with a million dollar idea: the pay-per-page MillionDollarWiki. He's also got a blog up, and I still think his first post is one of the best, seeing how it is an introduction to a bright-eyed 21-year-old student and a concept that will eventually make him a millionnaire. It's just heart warming in a way. Also, if you have any ounce of competitive drive, you cannot read his blog and think about his million dollar idea without kicking yourself in the nuts for not thinking of it first. It's truly comical. Simply genius. It's not even the first million dollar idea. But it has a much higher income potential in the long run.
What truly sets apart his million dollar idea from others is that he's not some seemingly altruistic poser. He wants to open a kickass bar in the heart of Boston, arguably one of the greatest places to drink beer. Rather than buy 20 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year, I am donating my money to a great cause: a fundraiser that will facilitate beer drinking and memorable times at an awesome bar in Boston. I'll probably never even be lucky enough to go to Boston (home of many of my fine Irish ancestors) but I will know that I had a part in the laughter and arguments had by many at Graham's bar. Using a million bucks to open a bar in Boston? Maybe Graham is altruistic after all.
Million Dollar Wiki: The Just-In-Case Race for Generic Keywords
Economics is the study of choice in a world where resources are scarce. Companies leverage scarcity on a daily basis, forcing consumers to pay top dollar for goods. In this case, Graham's model relies on the scarcity of valuable search marketing words. The greatest thing about Graham's MillionDollarWiki is not that he is leveraging scarcity or selling a language. Rather, it is the fact that he is using several methods to create a demand for pages on his site. Everyone can supply a product. The trick is creating a demand. Graham has done that. He may have no idea as to the scope of the impending demand for pages on his site, and he may have no idea as to the history of search engines, search engine marketing, black hat SEO, spamming, etc... Despite his intentions or knowledge, Graham has created a genius marketing scheme. Looking at it from the outside, it appears that two things had to happen:
Step 1: Get the media involved.
Step 2: Induce the willingness, compulsiveness, and fear of brands.
Now that these two steps have obviously been completed, it's off to the races for pages, specifically highly competitive keyword pages. You had better get yours now because the buying train is only speeding up. Scarcity is a bitch.
Million Dollar Wiki: Brands on the Run
Once brands know about the MillionDollarWiki, the hundred dollar cost is an afterthought. Hell, even $1000 is an afterthought if it means I can get 10 pages for highly competitive, generic keywords that define my brand. If you are like me, you probably had a similar experience to mine. Once I saw that my keywords were available, I had to have them. No matter what. I can re-organize a budget if I have to, but those keyword pages will be mine. Combined with my compulsive attitude, the prospect of being on the ground floor of something with extremely low risk and unlimited potential is very compelling. Maybe there are other people that do not share my tendency for compulsiveness. That's cool. I'll just beat them to their own keywords.
Now back to scarcity. Incentives only add to the excitement of scarcity. Everything we do in life is done with an incentive in mind. In the case of MillionDollarWiki, you are probably looking for revenue or brand exposure. If I buy the page for free shipping, I can either use it to generate revenue as an affiliate, or I can advertise my site or brand as a place to get free shipping. Sure I can do a number of other things with it, but let's assume that generating revenue and/or brand exposure is my primary goal. I want to be known as the free shipping brand, so I would go after that page.
It only gets better when you stop to think about the keyword possibilities: Digital Cameras, Gifts, Ringtones, Online Poker, Online Casinos, Phentermine, Weight Loss, Insurance, Car Loans. As the MillionDollarWiki gets more and more media coverage, it is only logical to think that brands will be running to the site to purchase the pages for the keywords that define their brands. Most likely, by the time major brands get in the game, the game is over anyways because highly competitive keywords will be very scarce at that point. This will be the point where some very savvy people who purchased pages for $100 now have the chance to sell there pages when big brands come calling. However, if you are a brand, not all hope is lost. Brands can always purchase their trademarked brand name page for $1,000. Once again, when you think about the fact that this whole venture is a low risk with an unlimited potential, $1,000 is also a bargain.
Million Dollar Wiki: The Question of PageRank
The questions on everyone's mind are: What is Google going to do with a site that is by all accounts a gigantic advertising platform? Will my MillionDollarWiki page every see the light of day in natural search listings on Google? Will Google discount the entire site as one, big paid ad? Or, because some of the content is actually unique and relevant, will Google assign a PageRank or relevancy to the site or even some of the site's pages? And to a lesser extent: What will Yahoo do with the site? Even more important: I know MSN will rank my MillionDollarWiki page tomorrow if I buy it today, so which keywords are still available?
For those of you who do not know, the search marketing industry is big. Very big and extremely competitive. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge verticle in the search industry. The job of an SEO is to generate free traffic to a website by any means necessary. The most prominent method is generating more traffic from natural search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN. SEOs make websites more relevant by making websites more accessible to search engines and by modifying HTML elements on the website's pages. Their methods contribute to higher natural search rankings and even an increase in the number of keywords and phrases that drive traffic to a website. There are also just as many methods, which are external to the site, to generate free traffic. Search engines see some SEO methods as ethical and others as unethical.
In its base theory, SEO is all about
manipulating influencing natural search results. Search engines offer guidelines for SEO best practices, and there are risks to your site if SEO best practices are not followed. Now we are getting into a new conversation altogether. As with any subject, it is practically impossible to summarize the entire essence of SEO in 2 paragraphs. Regardless, SEOs and search engine engineers are perpetually facing off against eachother, walking in circles like two crabs about to engage in a fight, knowing that they need eachother to be in the game. It's at this point where the lines get blurred as to what consititutes fair play on both sides.
When it comes to search, Google is dominating the landscape. Because of this, most people tend to focus their search marketing efforts in a way that will best influence Google results. Google makes it very clear that any attempt to influence rankings through unethical methods will put you at risk of having your site banned. From the rate at which your site grows to the rate at which your site acquires inbound links, Google likes things to be natural. Any advertising or sponsored links should be clearly marked on your website, so that visitors to the site can distinguish genuine content from paid ads. This brings us to the MillionDollarWiki.
Every page on the MillionDollarWiki is bought for $100. Most buyers are going to use the page to promote their brand in some way. The advertising will abound. Even with the creation of unique content on pages that actually offer something new and valuable to the internet, Google and other search engines may choose to view the entire site and every one of its pages as a paid advertising site. If this occurs, the likelihood of these pages being displayed in natural search listings goes to zero. Or the search engines may deem that some of the pages are actually providing something valuable to the web, and in that case some of these pages that gain popularity and links may actually show up in natural search listings.
How will it turn out? All we can do now is sit back and wait. If Google returns these pages in natural listings, game on. This place will be a gold mine. If not, this site will be nothing more than a fundraiser for beer drinking in Boston.