Over the last couple of years there has been a lot of talk about viral websites, I myself wrote a few articles about the topic within the members area of the Digital Academy. The Cash Curator is a system we devised using the successful viral methods.
The information in those articles which I wrote was pretty powerful. when I say powerful I mean “I made $100,000 In A Week” powerful. If you look at the screenshot below you will see a comment left on an article (not mine) covering this subject back in 2014. The guy who left the comment said that he generated $100,000 in Australian dollars within a week with his website which was only a couple of months old.
That is powerful stuff and what is incredible is that many of the websites online that are making good money are not creating the content themselves. Well they are and they aren’t… let me explain.
These sites are curating content, placing it on their own websites which then gets shared across multiple social media platforms. They then generate revenue from advertising platforms such as Google AdSense, Taboola and Content Ad.
Scott DeLong is the master of curated viral content. He built and grew the popular ViralNova website, working from his bedroom he grew the site from nothing to a site generating hundreds of thousands of dollars per month within 8 months.
He started by working 16 hours a day and when it really took off he paid 2 freelance writers to help create the content. This home based business with a team of only 3 people not only generated millions it was sold for a staggering $100 million to media company Zealot Networks 2 years later… within 2 years he went from zero to $100 million! And the content on this website was what? That is right, it was all curated content which Scott and his team copied from other sources.
So What Exactly Is Content Curation?
Content curation is basically taking content from other websites, social media and other people, repackaging and reshaping it and then sharing it via your own site. There is a big debate whether this is ethical and right. Many people believe it is theft and infringes copyright laws. It is if you basically take it from another website as you found it but if you rewrite it and build on it often you are safe.
This has been happening for years by many of the big players online. The big players I am referring to online are the traditional papers like the Daily Mail, The Mirror and the Telegraph etc.
Papers have been doing this for years way before the internet was thought about let alone created. They would trawl other papers and magazines for interesting information, re write it, share it in their own paper and add a source credit.
In the past they might have contacted people to get permission to use certain pictures and maybe even had to license images but since the birth of the internet this has changed a lot.
With so much piracy going on it would take years to take many websites to court for sharing your content. It is generally accepted that your stuff will be reused elsewhere and if the people put a source credit link back to the original post/article artwork it is often overlooked.
The source link is not just a nod in the direction to the original creator in acknowledgement but if it is hyperlinked back it acts as a backlink which as we know is very important online.
This doesn’t mean you can or should use other people’s work all of the time, it means it is more accepted. You should really get permission but with so many blogs and websites being created by fans for example the extra sharing is seen as free exposure and advertising.
Imagine you were an artist creating wall art and you wanted the world to see your work which could lead to you getting commissions to do paid artwork. You would add your images to your website; you create a social media campaign and start the process of putting your work ‘out there.’
How would you feel if the Daily Mail did a two page spread about you and your artwork? You would feel great wouldn’t you? Imagine if the online version of the Daily Mail which is read by millions worldwide shared your artwork and it went viral.
You would feel great again, a lot of the readers who liked your artwork would then share it and more and more people would eventually see it.
Your artwork could be seen by millions in a matter of weeks or even days. A lot of websites know that anything that is placed on the internet is in reality put on there ‘to be seen’, you might personally want to control it better and not have your artwork stolen and used by other people however you cannot argue with the fact that it was put online to be seen. Why else would you have put it online?
With this in mind many people see that they can freely share interesting stories, photographs and artwork without worrying about copyright infringement because they are not technically using it for commercial gain and in fact giving the original source free advertising and traffic.
But the truth is; many websites ARE sharing other people’s content for commercial gain. They are running a commercial business and the pull is other people’s work.
DMCA Removal Request , Copyright Issues & Playing It Safe
As long as a website gives credit and links to the original source and do not publish the whole post as seen on another website they should be fine. To make it more safe many content curation websites will have a dedicated page with details about DMCA Removal Requests and an email that people can use to contact the site owners requesting posts to be removed.
This is usually the first step if people want to have content removed; it is far easier and cheaper than trying to get lawyers involved. When a site receives an email they simply remove the post and people go their own separate ways.
I will not go into great detail about DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) but it is a global law protecting people’s work online and if you use other people’s work unlawfully you can be asked to remove it and you must comply otherwise it will be enforced which means your hosting company will be contacted and your account suspended if you do not comply. You can read more here Digital Millennium Copyright Act
One of the reason some people will ask to have their work removed from content curation sites is that the website owners ARE using it for commercial gain. They may not be taking it and illegally adding it to DVD covers or turning it into wallpapers that are for sale or other products which are deemed commercial use but they are using it to generate traffic to their sites so they can generate money through advertising revenue.
That is a commercial set up and a business generating money using other people’s work. As I said earlier this has been happening for years, newspapers need to sell papers to make money and they did that by providing great information and if that meant sharing stories from other papers around the country or the world then they would do that.
The other important thing to remember is that you cannot copyright fact; you can only copyright something that has been created so if that is a photograph, a video, the way something is written or a piece of music then you have to be careful as they are works of art. Most newspapers and websites would rewrite the written information of a news report themselves which is factual and then license or ask to use any images which were usually granted free if the source of the image/story was credited, bit like a gentleman’s handshake agreement.
If you write about something and you were accurate and factual then it is likely that the recipient would be flattered and see it as ‘free advertising’ and let your post go however if you wrote something real sloppy with many inaccuracies then they may see it damaging to their reputation and career and they are more likely to ask for it to be removed. So it pays to make sure you are as factual and as close to the truth as you know it.
Sites like Bored Panda have become very popular and have been around for many years. These sites usually share cool and interesting things like artists work, stories and technology while other popular sites like the Huffington Post stick to sharing the news which as we know is big business and one built mainly on free content.
Some photographers and journalists are paid to write and take pictures but the stories themselves were free. As hard as is it to say this September 11th was great for the news companies, it was awful for mankind but it gave news channels and papers days, weeks, months and even years of free content that a lot of people found interesting.
Creating A Content Curation Website Business
The reason these sites are popular is that they do not require a lot of skill and work. Now I say that carefully, there is some work involved, when the website grows you will need to keep on top of it and that is often done best by hiring people but if it is not generating a lot of money straight away you might decide to do it yourself.
The content itself may not require someone to lock themselves away in an isolated cottage and do hours of creative writing like an author would but you will need to spend some time writing or rewriting articles you find, saving images from articles and uploading them to your own site.
Remember Scott DeLong would spend around 16 hours a day creating content, sharing content and setting up Facebook advert campaigns. It was hard work but it paid off and he sold ViralNova for $100 million as well as the thousands he generated each month before selling it off.
It will take some time to find good stories and videos to rewrite, use and share. While I am on the subject of videos there are a lot of video based sites that generate money by sharing funny videos they find on YouTube.
Why don’t people go to YouTube to watch the videos? Because they do not know they want to see the video until it is posted and shared on social media. Videos can be embedded on any site thanks to the way YouTube is run. If you created a video content curation website that simply took videos from YouTube and shared them then you would have even less writing to worry about.
Creating a website is hard work when you have to create all of the unique content and get the traffic by sharing on social media and worrying about SEO while building a brand. With these types of sites most of the thinking and sharing is done for you.
Since it was talked about in the public arena more and more of these types of sites are appearing online. Some are regurgitating other competitors posts and articles whereas others are looking for the newest and latest stories in a bid to go viral.
Taking existing articles republishing them and then sharing them on social media is a lot easier especially when the content is liked by a lot more people than specific niches. This way there is a greater chance of posts going viral and that is what builds up the big traffic which can generate those ‘$100,000 in a week’ scenarios we all would like to experience.
I might like to read posts on topics such as ‘How To Generate 1000 Page views In A Day’ but many of my friends and family won’t but both myself and my friends are often interested in fun and interesting stories/pictures/videos like the one about the ‘Snake In Australia That Ate A Crocodile’
People are getting hosting packages that allow unlimited disc space and bandwidth at places like Hostgator then putting together a simple WordPress website. With little work a WordPress website is basically ready to take content. They would create a Facebook page, Twitter account and a Google + account so they can start growing an audience to share their posts with.
If you are still not sure how to get hosting or create a WordPress website then we have easy to follow video modules inside our Digital Academy. To learn more about the Digital Academy watch the video here: ‘It’s Not All About Sunshine, Speed Boats & Shiny Suits’ A Free Look Inside The Digital Academy.
Once those few bits are sorted it is a case of sitting down, finding your content and then curating it into new posts. Some of the bigger websites have a small team of people overseas curating content and others are simply run by their young owners who spend their days looking for stuff and sharing it. If one article can generate $100,000 in a week I can see why they stay at home and do this instead of going out to work.
Generally the biggest content curation websites publish at least one article a day but most of them publish several posts a day. How much does Mashable publish in a day? As you can see from the image below it isn’t always new tech related stuff. They often curate fun content for traffic generation.
They keep churning a lot of content out and they get a lot of shares. It is these masses of content and huge amounts of shares that drive traffic to their sites that generate the huge amounts of advertising revenue they can make or ask for.
So how do you find great articles, news, stories, videos and pictures to share?
There are four main ways I would search for ideas and they are
- ‘Like’ lots of pages on Facebook and watch what they publish and what all of your friends and family share on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram. These social networks are a great way to find new ideas, articles or even loads of fun images you can curate into a unique post of your own.
- Set up a Feedly account and have new posts and articles delivered into one place. Feedly has taken the place of the popular but now defunct Google Reader. You add all of the websites you like into Feedly and it will use their RSS feed and pull their latest posts into one account for you to peruse. The great thing about Feedly is that you do not need to keep going to all of your favourite websites, they are all there and you quickly scan posts to see if you like any. When you find a new website that could be interesting just add its URL to your Feedly account and you will now be updated of all of their new stuff. The website list can include all of the news websites and fun viral websites; it will save you a lot of time searching.
- Do a Google search, this one works better if you have an idea for a post. Let’s say that you wanted to do a post on pimped up camper vans, you type those words into Google and do both a web search and an image search. You will get back ideas and pictures that you can use as you will see in this interesting post ‘You Won’t Believe What These Guys Have Done To Their Vans 10 Pimped Up Vans & Crazy Campers‘
- Do a search on YouTube. YouTube is an incredible place; you find many great channels doing content curation using video as their main media. You will find videos doing many ‘Top Ten…’ videos of everything and I mean everything… I recently saw a video for the ‘Top 10 Sexy Female Aliens’ Yes really! … And here it is 🙂
WatchMojo do loads of Top Ten style videos with clips they have curated and they add them to YouTube and share them on their own website.
Still you will get plenty of great ideas from YouTube and don’t forget you will get news reports and interesting fail videos by the bucket load too.
Only last night as a test I decided to do my own version of this post as a test ‘A Man Takes A Single Rake to The Beach. And When You Zoom Out And See It… Mind BLOWN’, it isn’t live but I did it in a Word Document as if I was doing it for real. This included downloading all 17 images and then placing them into my document, rewriting the content, adding source links and creating a new eye catching title as well as sourcing a new YouTube video to go with the post to make it more original.
I did this on my laptop while watching a film on the TV, it took me about half an hour and had I published it live on a WordPress website with some social media shares it would have been an hour tops. That isn’t bad really is it? I could have managed to have done more posts on a typical evening and had them scheduled but I started late and was only running a test so I do see this as a website business idea with a lot of potential.
When you consider that you could create and run a WordPress website for around £100 for the whole year (that includes the better hosting package with more disc space) it is a pretty cheap business model to get started with. The rest is really free, your content is based on other people’s work and content, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are free to use and they allow you to create things like groups, communities and pages for free to start growing a following.
You can if you wish spend some money on Facebook adverts to grow your page’s likes and this is recommended but then a couple of hundred pounds should be enough to kick start a viral effect to further grow your following.
So that is content curation, I guess you need to decide whether it is ethical or not and whether you want to get involved with it but I have shown you roughly what is involved and how to get started. I will leave that with you. 🙂
Remember: To learn how to build your own viral content curation website we have the several video tutorial modules inside the Digital Academy as well as our very own specially created Cash Curator system for our members using these viral content curation principles.