I have done lots and lots of projects overtime but I wanted to share a couple of them that failed for the same reason but there were still successful for the time being. One of them was a shopping comparison site and the other a search engine.
At one point I was big fan of using 3rd party APIs to build sites and add some unique content along with great SEO and traffic would start coming in. And I have mentioned a few times that I really don’t like mini-sites. I don’t really call it even a mini-site if you don’t have at least 100 pages.
The old days are gone; 5-10 page website isn’t going to get you much traffic unless you spend money to get the traffic.
toComparePrices.com – was the first one that I created. It used Yahoo’s shopping comparision API. I couldn’t find a picture for it but it very much resembled price grabber. I did have a little bit of unique content on product description and it was a fully built site. It was using all the product categories with search and price comparison, it was basically using all the api functions.
I also made sure the SEO was great with using mod-rewrite to actually end-up with product category and product name to be in the url and it would end in .htm. I also built google sitemap and submitted it to google in webmaster tools. Imagine every product having its own page on the site, it literally had more than 50k pages. Yes, it wasn’t all unique content, but it did have some uniqueness to it.
While it was not positioned in the first page of google for the top keyword of “compare prices”, it would get a lot of traffic with all kinds of terms. I replicated the concept with some other niche product domains.
But the fact was that it was using yahoo’s api to do all this and one day yahoo decided to shut down the service and killing all my sites that used the api.
Shopping.com had a similar api, I started the conversion but haven’t finished. After all, it’s not the direction that I want to take from now on but when I find some time I might still finish it, just for the heck of it.
feewee.com – was my other project. This was more of a smaller project and I just wanted to test the concept. It was basically a full Search Engine and had Google like interface. And yes, it used yahoo’s API. While it looked simple, it did take some time to integrate with yahoo’s api and provide full search engine like functionality with paging, images so on. While it wasn’t really meant to be a money maker, it did start getting some traffic.
This was because I played with an interesting idea I had and that was to have be able to search for animated images. I still like this idea and might use it for another dedicated project. Basically it had special code to find animated gif images. And somehow this would create a lot of traffic to the site.
And then one beautiful day, yahoo decided to shut down its search api service. And it killed feewee search engine.
While these projects kind of failed, they were still successful for the time being. Important lessons were learned and I don’t really regret that I worked on them. Most important lesson was that you shouldn’t rely too heavily on 3rd party apis for your sites. Try to find workarounds if possible or if something way over your head like a search engine, lol, think twice before you spend your time on it.
As for Yahoo, do you think I’ll ever use another yahoo api? I’ll let you answer that. I kind of feel bad for Yahoo though, at one point, I liked it more than Google. But I don’t know what happened, they totally got off the train and started heading back.
Anyway, I hope you guys are having a great day.