I’ve enjoyed being a regular reader of a blog called Uncommon Business (tagline “Unusual Business Ideas That Work”) for about a year now. Recently, the blog’s author, Dmitry Davydov, offered to provide an interview to bloggers who were interested in learning more about him and his commercial blogging business. He’s been able to pay off two mortgages and support his family through his portfolio of blogs and sites that include Picky Domains (a site where you can earn money by suggesting domain names), NicheGeek, among several others.
Thanks very much for conducting this interview. I’m curious on how you first got the idea to start a blog about unusual business ideas?
Well, I am sort of addicted to such stories and I wanted to keep them all in one place. That’s how this blog started. And then the blog took off.
Where do you get the content/material for this blog? Do you write everything yourself? If you do, how do you find the time? If not, where do you find the content?
99% of content is not mine. I think I have a few posts that werewritten by me, but most are reprints. Most of them come from magazines (Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business 2.0, Startup Journal) plus Springwise.com.
One of the toughest things about maintaining multiple blogs as you do is scalability. How do you manage to keep on top of all of your sites?
Well, you can’t if you have to write all the content yourself. But if you reprint content, it’s not a problem. There is a lot of fuss about printing other people’s content – both moral and legal. However, all my blogs are about topics that interest me personally. For instance, I love documentaries – so I have a blog about that (called Best Free Documentaries). I get e-mails every day about that blog. People thank me about starting it – because they come to one place and it’s all there. Every day there is a new documentary. You can go to Google Video yourself and enter ‘documentaries’ in search. But you’ll get good videos and bad videos. The ‘this is a documentary me and my buddy Mike did for a school project kind’.
So it does pay to collect all the good stuff and post it in one place. And since I do read about weird businesses daily and browse Google Video daily, having so many blogs isn’t a problem for me.
Bloggers span the spectrum when it comes to the question of monetization and commercial blogging. You mentioned that you gave AdSense a shot, which didn’t pan out as well as you hoped, but ultimately you were very successful. I’m sure many readers are interested in how you managed to become a successful commercial blogger. Can you give us a glimpse?
I work five hours. From 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. A big chunk of that time is watching documentaries and reading NYTimes.com and magazines. That’s about it. Oh, and it takes me about one hour a day to deal with PickyDomains.com — this is a domain naming business that I started a year ago. Actually, it’s a good example of my time management theory.
Here is how it works: Time management doesn’t work. The only way to have more time is not to keep scheduling or prioritizing, but having to do yourself as little as possible. People used to pay me $50 to come up with good domain names (I am known for that). And thinking up good domain names and checking their availability, working with dictionaries — that all takes time.
One day it hit me – well, maybe I am not the only person in the world who can come up with cool domain names. Maybe there are thousands of people like that. And PickyDomain.com was born out of that. People who need domain names enter their order and provide specifications. Other people look at these orders and submit their ideas. If their domain ideas are accepted and domain is registered, they get $25. The service costs $50. So I get my $25 as well. Only I don’t have to think of anything and spend my time on that daily. All I do is moderating suggestions and promoting this service. Think of your time as investment. You invest money one time in something and (hopefully) it’ll keep making you money forever, until you take it out. Why not invest your time in something that will give you money when you are not working?
You’re also a big fan of affiliate marketing. Can you explain what that involves and how you make it work particularly successfully for your sites?
That’s a long, long story. I’ve started writing an article about that and I will one day convert into a free one-page website. It’s half written, but it explains most tricks I use to make money. Here is the link: How to Make a Living Blogging – No BS, No Selling.
Can you tell us how you find your ideas for sites and blogs like Unusual Business Ideas and Picky Domains? Does inspiration just strike from time to time or do you have a brainstorming process that you go through regularly?
Real life, to be short. Here is an example. I do affiliate marketing with PPC (pay-per-click) ads. A good PPC ad can make you a lot of money. I had one PPC ad that made me $30,000. But most PPC ads don’t work very well. They are boring, and they get low click-through. So I was thinking of creating a service for creating PPC ads. This is how it would work. You submit your existing ad and the CTR that it has. Then you pay $30-50 and start receiving alternative ads. You test the ones you like the most and if they get more clicks than your existing ad, we keep the money. If not, you can ask for your money back. Naturally, I wouldn’t write ads myself, though I have several years worth of experience, but attract freelancers, who’d get 50% of the money.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, I actually would. Read a book called The Black Swan: The Impact Of Highly Improbable (aff). Learn to love Amazon.com — they are your best friend.
Thank you again for your time!