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Imagine! Asking for $10 Million-Plus to Start a Dweebsite!

How Ezra Klein learned he isn’t a star after all.

January 21, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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Website                        Unique Visitors Per Month

Ezra Klein's Wonkblog     4.0 MM
Salon                            5.7 MM
Politico                          6.7 MM
Drudge Report               14.4 MM
Daily Beast                    15.0 MM
Slate                             17.0 MM      18.8 MM
Gawker                         22.0 MM
E! Online                       24.0 MM
Huffington Post              72.0 MM
Buzzfeed                       85.0 MM

How long would it take for investors to start making a decent return on their $10 million-plus from this crowd? Five years? 10? My opinion: never.

Launching a Website? Follow the Tried and True Model.
If Ezra Klein had a marketing consultant who was schooled and mentored in 20th century testing, he might have come up with a viable business plan.

A website could be launched on a modest scale. Ezra Klein could persuade his chums to provide sweat equity content in return for a pittance and a percentage of the company. Hopefully it would fog the mirror and maybe start to grow legs.

If it makes news, roils markets, creates controversy and virally generates more and more readers, Klein might have a business. With a large enough list of "unique visitors," advertisers would follow.

In turn, this would be attractive to venture capitalists.

A yummy IPO would follow.

Giving Ezra Klein $10 million-plus to create a new dweebsite when his current one runs last in the pack is akin to Newt Gingrich's scheme build a moon colony.

"I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, 'You're fired.'" —Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich, Republican Presidential Debate, Jan. 26, 2012

Takeaways to Consider

  • All the old rules of marketing apply to the Internet.
  • In direct marketing, two rules and two rules only exist: Rule No. 1: Test everything. Rule No. 2: See Rule No. 1. —Malcolm Decker
  • Start with a powerhouse of a USP. Anything less and you don't have a business.
  • Know thy potential universe.
  • Know thy competition.
  • The three-word mantra for success: "PROFITS, PROFITS, PROFITS!"
  • Advice from a geezer to Ezra: Ask for $300,000 and then proceed to work your ass off.
  • "Imitation is the sincerest form of collective stupidity." —W. Carroll (Bill) Munro




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