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Thread: Group Sites: Your Advice Please

  1. #1

    Default Group Sites: Your Advice Please

    I'm hoping to move beyond theory to action on some of the threads we've been sharing. Trying to think the following through, hoping you can help.

    On any webmaster forum the dominant culture seems to be lots of small webmasters working on their own, by themselves, struggling to get a profitable site up and running.

    Usually, a lack of publishing information and tools is not the problem, as tons of both are widely available for free.

    The challenge seems to be more one of how hard it can be for any individual to get a site "over the hump" from obscurity to popularity.

    The process can be quite discouraging, which reduces motivation, slowing the process further, etc.

    Sound familiar?

    Ok, that's the theory, now the action.

    Instead of webmasters coming together on forums to TALK about web publishing, would it be more productive to come together to DO web publishing?

    A GROUP SITE: Instead of 20 little sites each inching forward at an agonizingly slow pace, suppose the 20 webmasters came together, and put their content and links in to one domain?

    Each author on the group site has a control panel which allows them to create, edit and delete articles within one section of the site.

    Each author promotes their own section of the group site, just as they would their own site.

    Each author uses their own Adsense and affiliate links.

    Or, a site wide Adsense system could be set up to divide the Adsense income between the publishers. I just realized yesterday it would be possible to do this precisely, documented for all to see.

    Each author owns their own content, and can withdraw from the group site at any time, whereupon their section of the site is removed.

    There's a forum where the group site authors can build personal connections, urge each other on, etc.

    What is your reaction to this kind of proposal? What benefits and problems do you see?

    Ok, that's enough to open a conversation, if you're interested.

  2. #2


    Hi Mathew, thanks so much for jumping in. I don't have "the answer" to any of this, having never done it myself, but will blurt out ideas where ever I can.

    How would you split the income? The expenses?
    Good question, let's get right to the important bit.

    So far, I picture two possibilities.

    First, each author could use their own Adsense code and their own affiliate links. Thus, it's no different than having your own site, your earnings are directly based on your own efforts.

    Or, if the whole site was on one Adsense account, it would be possible to (using Google Analytics and some perl coding) to know exactly which pages generated the Adsense income. Thus, each author could be paid exactly what they earned.

    Hosting expenses are minimal. I think even know some fool that would give it to us for free.

    But, promotion expenses could be an important topic. Ideally, the authors might pool some funds, and use it to bring on a member that does nothing but promote, thus freeing the authors to do nothing but write.

    What if 1, or more of the people did more of the work, and other people were riding coat tails?
    Hope I've addressed that above.

    How would the legal end work?
    Great question, and I really don't know.

    That is a huge can of worms, if you ask me!
    Ok, it's decided, the site will be about worms!

    Seriously, we are making a group site right now, right here, except we aren't getting paid. So it can't be that hard, though I do agree it requires a good thinking through.

    But, you can't get to where you are going on your own either!
    For many of us, this does seem to be true. Not just newbies either. I've been making sites since 1995, and I think I would thrive in such an environment.

    So, it would be interesting to at least watch the progress of something like that!
    Agreed. If anybody knows where this is already happening, perhaps they might educate us?

    Thanks again Mathew!

  3. #3


    Ok, next question.

    What would be a good content model for a group site?

    A group site could be a collection of authors each exploring their own corner of a broad topic theme. As example, on a nature site each author could cover nature in a different part of the world, a different animal species, etc.

    Another model could be a magazine that offers a variety of reading experiences all in one place. News, art, music, entertainment, opinion, science etc. Anything interesting and worth reading.

    The search engines would probably like the single topic model better. It would be much easier to assemble a team with the magazine model.

    What say you? If you were planning a group site, what would you do?


    I'm guessing the majority of webmasters reading this post would have a much better chance of survival on a group site than they will trying to compete on their own.

    Here's a concrete example.

    I'm thinking of turning my nature site in to a group site. For the sake of example, let's imagine you've been thinking of starting your own nature site.

    Which would be more promising for you?

    Starting your own nature site from scratch? Starting at page one, link one, and doing everything yourself? How long is that going to take?

    Or having your own section on an established site that already has 1,000 pages, 10,000+ links, and 600-700 visitors a day? On a group site, you'd be partnering with other guest authors, and the site would become bigger, better, faster than anything you could do on your own.

    This isn't a sales pitch, as I'm nowhere near actually doing this, if I do it. I assume you're not interested in a nature site anyway. I'm just trying to offer a tangible example to chew on, instead of just a bunch of theory.

    Could lots of the problems discussed on this forum be solved with group sites?

    United we stand, divided we fall, etc...
    Last edited by Engage; May 30th, 2010 at 07:46 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Central Florida


    Oooh pick me! I'm IN IN IN! This is a fabulous think-outside-the-box idea! Who wouldn't love a less is more approach -- or would that be more is more? If I qualify, I would want to choose a topic that I would love to learn about (a great idea for niche marketing that I just picked up from a recently posted report from Lynn) -- and since there are so many interesting things in this world we live in, I'm sure I can fit something right in with whatever content the concensus of my fellow webmasters decide upon Tis very generous of you Phil. Can't wait to see who else pops in so we can get the ball rolling with discussion and action, woohoo! What an adventure this could be for so many of us!

    And now I'll hop on over to the appropriate thread and introduce myself. (I just didn't want to let this opportunity to respond here get away from me like so many things do if I don't strike while the iron is hot...)

  5. #5


    Hi Kate!

    Thanks so much for your input. I thought your post was a great example of the group site concept in action.

    You see, I was losing enthusiasm, getting discouraged, and about to give this thread up, because I felt I'm just not well rounded enough to develop this project on my own.

    That's what being a "lone wolf" webmaster is like for many people.

    And then you come along with a big burst of enthusiasm, and that relights my energy, and now I'm back in the game. My renewed enthusiasm might help you reach a new level of interest, and up and up we go, together.

    That's what the group site experience can be like for many people.

    If I qualify, I would want to choose a topic [I]that I would love to learn about
    Yes, that's one of the challenges a group site project must overcome. Finding a reasonably profitable topic that a number of different authors are inspired to work on. I must admit, my mind is not flooded with great ideas. But maybe somebody else's will be?

    -- and since there are so many interesting things in this world we live in, I'm sure I can fit something right in with whatever content the concensus of my fellow webmasters decide upon
    There you go, that's it. It's like any group endeavor, a bit of flexibility is required, something that tends to be challenging for independent minded lone wolf webmasters.

    Can't wait to see who else pops in so we can get the ball rolling with discussion and action, woohoo! What an adventure this could be for so many of us!
    I agree! If you want to work together, perhaps you can introduce this idea within the Elite Club, and I'll keep waving the flag out here in the public area.

    Imho, an idea like this would be a very natural extension of what is already happening within the Elite Club.

    Anyway, for now we have this thread as our group site.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Central Florida


    Very sorry to have dropped the ball for a week on this! I had an impromptu opportunity to travel to another state and surprise my grandkids while they were camping. What a hoot! The kids in primitive campsite with no electricity. Grandma and grandpa in a nearby hotel, lol!

    Hey maybe a joint webmaster adventure revolving around the many facets and ways one can camp -- I'll take the section on RVs

    Okay okay...I'll be thinking seriously about this, and will bring it up soon in the membership area and post back soon...


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