Finch’s Guide To Riding Sleeping Giants

“What’s your favourite niche to promote?” I’ve been asked this same question so many times that it’s a wonder I haven’t snapped up the domain FinchSellsDatingSoSTFU.com

“Whatever you’re not working on.” is my new default answer.

It sounds like a spiteful retort but it’s actually quite true. I do spend a vast amount of my time running like a little girl from the heaving masses of affiliate marketing competition.

When you first sign up with an affiliate network, you could be forgiven for assuming that the world revolves around dieting, dating, getting rich at home and MMORPGs. The large majority of my income has been generated in these niches so I’m not going to turn in to a contrarian snob by suggesting that you’re a fool for pursuing them.

What I would say, however, is that the further you run from the herd of affiliates, the easier your life will become for a number of reasons.

I’ve ventured away from the standard arbitrage mindset in recent months. I’ve been developing a business strategy of finding and mounting the sleeping giants in niches that very few affiliates dare to enter. Now what the hell does that mean? It sounds like I’ve been galivanting on some sexual adventure of epicly seedy proportions, which would probably make for a standard blog post from my pen.

By sleeping giants, I’m referring to websites that are run with all the best of intentions, and offering all the right content – but those that are simply resounding failures when it comes to the owner’s ability to monetize his creation. A sleeping giant in marketing terms is a website that COULD make the owner a fortune, if only he knew that he had a business asset on his hands.

These are my absolute favourite kind of websites. I like to invest in them, I like to copy them, and I like to sit at my desk salivating at the prospect of how my filthy affiliate paws would spend the money I’d make from them.

Do you know what happens when you try to launch an “authority” website in a niche like weight loss these days? Without an eye watering monetary investment, you’ll end up with about six hits per day. Four from your own IP and two from the poor bastard who clicked your Digged review by mistake.

There’s money in the niche but you know what? There was money in being the first man on the moon too. In relative ecommerce years, you’re about five decades too late. It’s happened. It’s gone. So get over it and find something else.

Go find yourself a sleeping giant. Some of the qualities I look for in a potential investment are as follows:

1. Is the owner likely to undervalue his website?

Because if the owner is wise enough to see the money in his creation, I might as well just use my investment to build something similar. I’ve spoken to countless forum owners about buying their creations. Many of these people simply don’t understand the potential in having an email list of 10000 active targeted users in a highly profitable niche. Forums can be great “sleeping giants”. Particularly if you search out the messageboards that have been dead for months.

Forum webmasters rarely value their sites in realistic currency. They value it by the egotistical kick they get out of being head admin. If it no longer satisfies their ego, the price drops. Somebody like me can step in and monetize their creation in the matter of hours. Blogs that have been dead for a couple of months are another of my favourite targets. If the owner was only in it for the hobby of blogging, and he’s no longer blogging, he’s likely to let the site go on the cheap.

2. How major are the changes I would need to make to see increased profit?

I recently purchased an “Adsense automated” site in an obscure niche where I had a directly relevant product to promote to the site’s audience. The owner was claiming $150/month profit from Adsense. I’ve been claming close to four times that figure just by promoting a product instead of shitty Adcents. One small change can make a wealth of difference. If somebody is selling their creation, and the only revenue stream they have is from Adsense – Take a good look! You might find yourself another of these mythical sleeping giants I’m raving about.

3. Is the niche going to present me a legitimate business opportunity?

Take a look at this list. Do you feel it inside? Come on, we’ve all felt it. The temptation to invest in some bat shit crazy microniche just because there’s an interest from 45000 local searches on Google. That feeling…is the affiliate’s desire to hoard fucking with you. It’s easy to spend a lifetime investing in new web assets. But if you’ve got no viable business plan for monetizing them, you’re not waking a sleeping giant. You’re just wasting your time. And giving GoDaddy another reason to ping you an expired domain notification twelve months from now.

Affiliate marketing is a mere tip of the iceberg when it comes to making money online. Yes, there are plenty of opportunities in following the tried and tested niches. But there’s also a lot of money to be made in taking the knowledge of referral marketing and applying it to websites where affiliates wouldn’t normally bat a glance of interest.

Once you know how to monetize assets effectively, you simply need to find the right opportunities to invest. With hundreds of forums and blogs falling abandoned every single day, are you telling me there’s not a bargain to be had out there? Put on your best Duncan Banntyne scowl and get to it.

Recommended This Week:

  • If you haven’t read it from front to back already, snap up a copy of the brilliant 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Inspiring stuff for any affiliate marketer.

  • If you’re looking to explore some very different but potentially very profitable micro-niches, take a look at ShareASale. It’s like a CJ that isn’t run by a bag of dicks.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch.

About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

22 Comments

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  • This post tickles my pants a little.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought a site/domain with the intentions of doing A/B/C with it, and ended up doing absolutely nothing.

    Thanks Finch

  • Hey, new to your blog! 🙂

    Good post, I agree that it’s easy to sign up for networks and get sucked in to the good looking, high paying, oversaturated offers that every other sucker is pushing. My problem isn’t so much finding these sites that the owners no longer care for, it’s monetizing them effectively where I need practice.

  • I have so many stupid domains I buy with the intention on doing something with them. I think I have over 600 right now. I’m letting most of the expire. Need to think about potential and if I actually can commit before spending the quick $8.

  • Great post as usual, Finch. Many hobby verticals are filled with sleeping giants — one of the best places to go looking in my experience.

    Frank

  • Good advice! Focusing on domains/sites you can effectively monetize is the key. It is always exciting to find that micro-niche no one else is targeting. But, sometimes it isn’t that no one knows about it, they just couldn’t figure out a way to monetize it. So, before you jump in, make sure you actually have some solid ideas on how to make it profitable.

  • This is by far my favourite post of yours. Love this (maybe because I can relate to it):
    “Do you know what happens when you try to launch an “authority” website in a niche like weight loss these days? Without an eye watering monetary investment, you’ll end up with about six hits per day. Four from your own IP and two from the poor bastard who clicked your Digged review by mistake.”

    awesomness!

  • I use ShareASale and laughed so much at the “It’s like a CJ that isn’t run by a bag of dicks.”. But still, a site is like anything, you get out of it what you put in to it. How effective you are with your time is another factor.

  • I’m a big fan of ShareASale. They’ve got some very strong offers, some with very little competition in the paid search placements.

  • Done a lot with CJ in the past with some ok results. Just signed up with Shareasale on your recommendation – thanks!

  • Finch you know somebody could kill for posting things like this right?

    I had a plan and it involved taking over “the web”, then somebody told me FB is good for advertising, not a bad suggestion but….
    i think one day i’ll buy you a beer…. or maybe 20 bottles of the finest champagne they have in thailand and bring some hot friends with me.

  • WOW. First post I read here and I’m still trying to find my jaw on the floor. Brilliant! I always expect some rehashed shi* when I start reading a new blog. To find a new, unique, NO B.S. post is really rare! Keep it up Finchy, you’ve got a new follower.

    Oded

  • Hey Finch,

    Really though – what niches should I do?

    Just kidding lol. This is a great list and other sleeping giants are domainers. I’ve developed websites on a few names for some domainers because they frankly have too many to know what to do with them. They often don’t know what to do once they own the domains other than park them and make pennies when they could be making thousands of dollars.

    It’s like their one big success in life was to see a future where domain names were the new real estate (obviously this was a huge success) but it’s like they’re just sitting on beach front property hoping some idiot comes along and just has to have their domain name at a crazy price.

    My 2 cents

    Chris

  • […] Are you stuck in the affiliate PPC game having no luck? Are you trying to make quick money but end up losing money to the PPC devils? Does the thought of longterm revenue excite you? Then you will like my post today! Don’t worry i’m not selling anything, but i’m giving away some research i did last night. Last week Finch wrote an article on how he’s moving away from traditional fast paced PPC, read here. […]

  • Great post man. Especially the expiring domain list. I’m bookmarking that one.

    In the meantime, thought I’d throw this out there for your readers. A big site and could be a huge opportunity for someone, guidofistpump.com.

  • I can see the logic in this.

    Rather than build it and they will come, find a site where someone’s already built it and got plenty of traffic.

    I use a forum that was bought out and probably makes much more money than it used to. It’s kept the ethos of the forum but moderators are a bit strictor these days.

  • “Without an eye watering monetary investment, you’ll end up with about six hits per day. Four from your own IP and two from the poor bastard who clicked your Digged review by mistake.” Now that made me LOL.

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