Google August Core Update Announced! NYT Blocks OpenAI and a Funny Book Review Site


Spencer is back this week so everyone’s favorite duo is together again for the latest episode of the Niche Pursuits News podcast. As always, he and Jared Bauman, of 201 Creative, bring listeners up to speed on the latest in SEO and digital marketing news.

Spencer begins by sharing that Google has announced a brand new broad core update, the biggest kind of update Google does. It kicked off on August 22nd and usually takes about 2 weeks to complete. It’s too early to say how it’s going to pan out, so keep an eye on your rankings!

The next news item they cover is the article in The Verge reporting that The New York Times has blocked OpenAI’s web crawler. But not only has this huge news media outlet rejected OpenAI crawling its site and training its models for ChatGPT, it’s also considering legal action against OpenAI for intellectual property rights violation. 

watch the episode

Spencer and Jared talk about the implications of this decision and what this may mean for content creators. Spencer shares a study whch shows that 9.2% of the top 1,000 websites in the world are currently blocking the GPT bot. They talk about what this means for Google and, potentially, the future of AI.

The conversation then shifts to SGE. Spencer shows his search page results, where the information now has down arrowhead symbols next to it, allowing users to access the sources for additional information. Is this good news or bad news for content creators? Hear what they have to say.

Jared and Spencer then move on to talk about their Shiney Object Shenanigans. Spencer kicks it off by talking about the latest news with his WordPress plugin Rank Logic and some new features he’s adding, which should be ready in about 2 months’ time. These include a Google Analytics 4 integration and the ability to update your content using AI.

It’s Jared’s turn, and he talks about his Faceless YouTube channel, for which he now has over 5k subscribers, unlocking some monetization features, but not all of them. He also talks about the Amazon Influencer Program and how Amazon is offering bonuses to influencers who create product comparison videos. Jared and Spencer share their thoughts on the program, a tip or two, and where they think it’s headed in the future.

In the Weird Niche Site portion of the podcast, Jared starts by talking about the site Always Judge a Book By Its Cover, which covers books that are “confusing.” The DA30 site is monetized with display ads and affiliate links but doesn’t rank for many relevant keywords, and probably isn’t making too much money. That being said, it does have scope for growth, and it can serve as inspiration for anyone looking to set up a humorous website or something that’s off the beaten path. 

Spencer shares his weird niche site, Watermark Remover, which likely gets 5 million visitors a month, both organic and direct, and is monetized with display ads. This well-designed website removes watermarks for free, although there is pricing available, and is owned by a larger company that has several image-related tools. Spencer and Jared talk about launching a single-tool website and the strategies that can be used to do so successfully.

That wraps up another episode of the Niche Pursuits News podcast. Tune in next week for the latest news and a large dose of inspiration!


Spencer: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. This week, we are recording an episode of this week in niche pursuits news. And I’m Spencer Hodge, your host here. And I’ve got Jared with me as a co host who regularly hosts the podcast. But of course on this segment, we kind of do it jointly together.

So Jared, how are you doing today? Good, 

Jared: good. Good to be here. Good to have you back and excited about the news. We’ve got some fun topics today. It’s it’s a good week. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a good week. You know, I was out on some, some vacation, summer break for kids is just wrapping up here.

And so we’re wrapping up some, some final vacations. And I know we haven’t lined up our schedules for, it feels like, I don’t know, a few weeks or something. So we’ve kind of had some mismatches. So it’s great to be back. Recording with you, Jared, and to talk about the news. There is news that has happened this week that we’re going to jump into.

Search engine news and other news. But then of course, in our second segment, we’re going to talk about shiny objects. Little projects that we’re working on the side, so be sure to stick around for that. We’ve got a couple of fun updates that we can share. And then finally, we’re going to bring it home with one weird niche.

These are, each of us are going to bring a weird niche site that we found that may or may not be making a lot of money, but is interesting. Maybe a little bit weird, a little bit different off the beaten path. And we’re going to talk about that. So let’s jump into the news for this week. So, up first huge news.

Google has announced a brand new Broadcore update. And so these are their biggest updates that they do. So August 22nd is the date that it started. So just a couple of days ago, 48 hours ago or so from this particular recording. And, you know, there’s not a whole lot else to share specifically about the update.

I’m just opening up the, you know, sort of the Google page that announces this really, we just get a one line here of, hey, we started the August 2023 core update. It has begun. And usually these things take. About two weeks to finish rolling out. 

Jared: Not much, yeah, not much to share here. I mean, I could, I could, I could fill air time if you’d like me to.

But it’s you know, these things increasingly take a couple days to really start actually rolling out. I will say that, which has become the norm. It seems like this actually might have started rolling out a couple weeks ago or last week, right? Like lots of site fluctuations and these sorts of things.

I think one thing to note about this update is… And I was pulling it up as we talked, it feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a confirmed update and sure enough, the last Confirmed Google update was in April, the April, 2023, April, 2023 reviews update. Right. And then that was the first, remember that was when we went from product review update to review update.

And so that was kind of an interesting one. And then also this year there was a February, 2023 product reviews update. So I think that means, and tell me if I’m wrong in the comments, but I think that means this is the first broad core update of 

Spencer: 2023. You know, it could be, so I, you know, it’s different that, you know, they name them different.

We, if I look at previous years, we’ve got the link spam update, the helpful content update. You know, product review updates, right? And so the, the broad core updates are, are just bigger, right? They’re just general. They’re not targeting any specific thing necessarily. It’s just an update. 

Jared: It does say there, March, 2023, there was a core update and the documentation you have.

So. There you go. So maybe this is the second one this year. Maybe this is the first one. So 

Spencer: yeah. And so again, there’s not a whole lot to say about it other than watch your sites, you know, check Google search console, see how your search appearance is. Look at some of your top terms or your ranking better or worse.

From my end, the first couple of days, I don’t see any changes. If anything, things are, are, have improved a little bit, but it’s only been, you know, maybe two days. So we don’t have a whole lot to say about it other than. Maybe it’ll be big, maybe it won’t be big, just keep an eye on your, your rankings going 

Jared: forward.

All quiet in the home front so far, but yeah, pay attention to that. It also makes it complicated with GA Universal GA kind of being sunsetted. I, I know it’s a little bit more difficult to log into GA4 and try to do some comparative analytics. I don’t have the same reports I used to, so. Right. Yeah, might be time for me to roll up my sleeves and find a way to get that report so I can check sites comparatively like to the week before or something like that.


Spencer: So, there you have it. If anybody notices anything on their sites, let us know and maybe we’ll report on it next week. You know, this could be a topic that we bring up next week when we have a little bit more information. It’ll have been a week and a half or so when we record next week, so.

Okay, so the next topic here is The Verge, this is one particular article on the topic, but the Verge reported that the New York Times has blocked OpenAI’s web crawler. And now this is big news because the New York Times is a large website and they very publicly stated, Hey, we do not want OpenAI crawling our website and training its models.

For chat GPT and any other tools. So they’ve, they’ve blocked the GPT bot specifically, and they’ve done that in their robots. txt file is what they’ve done. Now the other piece of news that is related to this is that the New York times is also considering legal action against open AI for intellectual property rights violation.

Okay. And so. And then it goes on to talk about a lawsuit that we actually talked about is that a couple of people have sued OpenAI for copyright infringement. And so New York Times is considering joining that legal action which is which is very interesting, right? If we get all of these content producers, these large news publications or authors saying, Hey, you can’t crawl it.

Any of our information, you can’t train your models using our data. Where does open AI go from there? 

Jared: Also reported this week that open AI is losing, I think, millions of dollars a day. Now they’re facing lawsuits. Now they’re facing the reality that they are getting their, their crawl capability to get content.

I mean, remember, OpenAI doesn’t create anything on its own. It relies on, well, us. But most notably, probably the New York Times and other large scale publications like that. They rely on them to create content so they can then Train their models. And I mean, you know, again, if you’re, if you’re weighing in on this as a publisher, as a small scale publisher, you know, you always like it when the big guys are are kind of doing what you would want to be done.

I think I speak for almost every publisher. When I say we love this, it will certainly make the AI less helpful for a user. But as a publisher, you’ve got to imagine this can only be more positive signs in terms of how we get Compensated or how our content gets utilized. 

Spencer: Absolutely. And so related to this John Gillum, who actually is a business partner of mine on both motion, invest and originality dot a I he did a study or actually original.

Originality. ai published a study and so I’m sharing his tweet about this is they’ve been looking at the top 1, 000 websites in the world to see who is blocking the GPT bot. And they found that 9. 2% of the top 1, 000 websites are in fact blocking the GPT bot currently, and it’s increasing. So you can see this graph here on the screen that, that shows just in the last.

This month, right? Two weeks, basically it’s gone from, you know, less than 1% to now almost 10%. Right. So this is a massive trend. The top 10 top 1000 websites are kind of jumping on the bandwagon of, Hey, we don’t want GPT crawling our websites. I don’t know, Jared, is this something we should consider for our own websites?

Jared: You know, I saw the code come out, the robots. txt, but you know, I mean, anybody can just grab it and block OpenAI from crawling their site. I didn’t pay it a whole lot of mind only because, you know, I figured they’re going to get it anyhow. But that’s a different story. That’s a different story. I mean, I think collectively, as an industry, it’s definitely something that everybody should weigh in on and make a decision on.

In my opinion, it’s one of those things where… It’s more about the signal that it gives, rather than the than perhaps whether or not it has any effect. And what I mean by that is, look at this. Like, whether or not it has an effect on whether OpenAI gets access to, say, the New York Times or not, there’s already data studies coming out that are showing this incredible rise.

And, you know, over time, that could, that could have a lot of weight in terms of the way AI is presented to the world going forward. We’ve talked on this podcast about how governments are going to handle it, how large scale, you know, sentiment organizations are going to handle it, and this is a very, very compelling data study.

Already 10% in two weeks have blocked it. Man, that’s that’s compelling to take, say, before Congress, or before the FTC, or something like that, right? 

Spencer: Absolutely. And the other side of it that’s very interesting is like, okay I don’t make any money if GPT bot crawls my website. So it’s like a no brainer.

Like, just block it, right? But on the other hand, you’ve got Google. You’re not going to block the Google bot because you get so much traffic, right? But Google… Barred. Exactly. SGE, barred. They are crawling your website and they are using it for the exact same purpose. now that GPT open AI was using it for to train their models.

And so it kind of puts Google in this dominant position, right? Their competitor is getting blocked because nobody makes any money. If you let open AI use your data, but Google, Hey, you know, they’re sending me traffic, so it’s okay. And so that’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Like Google may just crush open AI.

Like that’s kind of the trend I’m seeing. Right. 

Jared: Yeah. Here’s a, here’s a very meta thought. Could could open AI crawl Google SGE 

Spencer: results? Well, maybe. I don’t 

Jared: know how that works. I’m not, I’m not smart enough to be able to answer that question, but 

Spencer: other people are certainly crawling Google and doing things, right?

Like that’s how we get. All kinds of data SEO tools, right? They’re all just crawling data. So yeah, they’re crawling SERPs. So we’ll see what happens, but that does dovetail into our next sort of news item, if you will, here, is I was just doing a search here on Google, I typed in search engine news to see what they would pull up, and I got an SGE result, and what I noticed is that I now have these Carrot symbols next to the, the essentially quotes that that they’re pulling this data from before it was quotation marks.

And I thought that was a terrible choice by Google because nobody expects to click on a quotation mark to then go to a website. Right. So I thought it was very bad for, for website owners because who’s going to click a quotation mark and then go to the website, but I love seeing the carrot because that is a well known symbol of, Oh, I click this to get more information.

Oh, that’s a website. I’m going to click that and go to that. And so, I think this is a good move for bloggers and website owners to get more clicks from SGE results. And so, I wanted to share this slight tweak. I just noticed it this morning, so I think it’s pretty new. 

Jared: I think it’s very new. It’s been talked about by several people.

There was a period, it looked like, where, and again, I finally now have access. I don’t think you were here last week, Spencer. I have access to SGE now. I don’t know what took it so long, but I got access. So I’ve been playing around with it more so in the last couple weeks, and there was a period where it seemed the links went away, which was concerning, not fun, but this is now kind of the re emergence of them, and I agree with you 100%.

This is more and more feeling like an expanded featured snippet, which, interestingly enough, I mean, we’ve talked a lot about SGE, what’s going to stay long term, what’s not going to stay long term, but you could make an argument that A, this is not as poor of an experience for publishers as any of the future, or the previous rollouts, but B, I mean, maybe this gives us, in your example on the screen right there, There are basically four stories above the fold there in the top area.

I mean, you could argue this is like having four different references in a featured snippet. I, I don’t know. It’s very positive in general, but it could actually be better than what we have now. Not saying it’s gonna be that way, but just, just speculating. 

Spencer: Yeah, yeah, so the way it currently is I’m a fan, it’s moving in the right direction.

I mean, it’s like the only thing they need to do now is like add the URL just like an old featured snippet was, right? Like instead of the caret, just put the URL that people click, right? And then, I don’t know, we’ve come full circle and Google didn’t make any changes. It’s just a featured snippet, right?

So We’ll, we’ll see what happens, but I, but I like the direction that it’s going. Hopefully it’s sending traffic. And then what I would love to see is Google put a report in Google Search Console for here’s how much. Traffic you’re getting from SGE results. I mean, that’d be nice. How do we even 

Jared: know what we’re, yeah, I agree.

Spencer: Yeah. So another slight tweak, right? So, so every week they’re making a little tweaks here, but so, so far, so good, like. I, I’m becoming less and less afraid of SGE results because more and more people like you are getting access to it and my traffic keeps going up, right? Like I haven’t seen any huge impact on my results, my traffic and so I’m becoming less afraid of these SGE results personally.


Jared: I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think the accuracy of a lot of the SGE results has improved, but I think the experience is only getting better and couple that with some of the other news we’ve been sharing throughout the weeks, far less worried, far less concerned, things can change as we see.

They change very rapidly, but there are more positive steps for publishers than there are negative ones in the last month or so. 

Spencer: Absolutely. So, so very good. We’ll, we’ll keep our eye on that as well. So I think that covers all the news that we kind of wanted to hit on today. There, there’s lots of other little things that we could chat about, of course, but that’s kind of the main topics there.

So we’re going to go ahead and jump into the shiny object shenanigans. Now again, this is each of us are going to share a side project that we’re working on. Share some of those results and just kind of, you know, a fun way to talk about, Hey, here’s where we’re spending maybe 20% of our time to start something new.

So I’ll go ahead and go first. There’s a few different things that I could chat about, but one thing that I am working on that I’m excited about is rank logic. This is my WordPress plugin that I. It’s been a month and a half, two months, almost something like that. I don’t, yeah, a couple, a couple of months.

And I’m still working on a lot of new features, so that’s, that’s what I’m excited about is these two new features. I’ve hired a development agency. I I’ve got my core developer that’s working on the existing feature set. Of RankLogic, keep maintaining it and updating it. But I have two huge new features that I don’t remember if I mentioned specifically what they were on a previous episode, I may have.

But I’ll mention them here. The two new features are one is a Google Analytics 4 integration. So you can get all of your data in WordPress in RankLogic. In a much easier to read format than Google Analytics 4 is. And so it’ll be all your traffic data that you can slice and dice and, and analyze.

So maybe I’ll actually share my screen just to kind of give people the vision of, of what I have here. Because that’s, that’s at least what I’ve heard and my own experience is that Google Analytics 4 is difficult to to read and analyze. You’re being kind with that statement. Yeah, you know, gotta be nice, but we’re gonna make it a lot easier to read.

Now this is maybe a step back here, but this is my installation of RankLogic. This is just search data and this is for a particular project. This is all my AI assisted articles. So that’s one of the current features of RankLogic, is you can set up projects and say, Okay, how is this basket of 50 articles performing, or this?

You know, this group of a hundred articles. And so this is all of my AI assisted. We do have human editors go in and edit all of that. And you can see it’s grown massively over the last couple of months. Right? So in may 1st, I was getting 200 clicks a day now over 5, 000 clicks a day coming just to my AI assisted content.

And it’s grown. You know, exponentially over that time. We are adding new new content, so it’s not the same articles right in May. I had, you know, I don’t know how many 50 right? And then now I’ve got 100 right? So but this is the type of thing that rank logic allows you to do is kind of slice and dice your data.

You can select authors, projects, you know, published a before after certain published dates. Now we’re gonna add Google Analytics. Data so that you can see this data for, for, you know, all your traffic, not just search engine traffic. You can see it from, you know, social media, direct traffic. whatever that may be.

So that’s a big feature that’s coming out. And then the other feature that I have an agency working on right now is the ability to update your content using artificial intelligence. So it’s going to make it much easier to go in and refresh that content. So if you’re missing certain keywords or just you want to expand the content of your article, refresh it.

You can use AI to do that very quickly and easily. And so that’s a feature that’s coming out as well. I’m told that I should have both of these ready to go in about two months. So, about two months of development time and then you can keep your eyes out for RankLogic with those new features, you know, hopefully about, around the end of October, early November, something like that.

So that’s my side project that I’m working on. I’m excited about, and just wanted to share. You 

Jared: couldn’t have timed it better in that this ring logic now almost is like serves two purposes. Number one, I wouldn’t really know how to get any of those of that data in GA4. And number two, even if I knew how to get that data in GA4, I’d still have to slice and dice it and parse it to get it isolated for the specific content block.

In this case, your AI articles. So it almost has a double. Value add right now. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, I don’t even know of how to do that in GA4. There was a way to create some custom reports and universal analytics. But yeah, I don’t even know how to do it in GA4. And then there’s other things that you just can’t do.

for example, categories, right? I could just select, Hey, I’ve got to start a business category. I could check that box and see all the articles in only that category, right? And that’s just not something you can do in Google analytics, at least very easily. It would be a lot of man hours you know, to find all those hundreds of articles.

And so anyways, I’m very excited about the update. A couple of months away and I suspected that some people are looking at this graph and wondering, Oh man, how can I get a graph that looks just like that? I will just say that I created a video specifically I did a, a YouTube live that showed exactly how I create, scale and analyze AI content that Google loves in 90 days.

And so if people watch this video, I, you know, I published this one month ago This is exactly what I’m doing, you know, it’s just been a month since this video and this process continues to work, right? So if people want to watch, you know, I share for free how I’m creating AI content how I’ve scaled that content and how I’ve created my graph to look like this.

So people can check out that video, go to YouTube. It’s you can just go to the Niche Pursuits YouTube channel. And if you click on live videos, there’s only a couple of videos there and that’s probably the easiest way to find that. So. I haven’t watched that one. I need to watch it. Yep, so there you go.

Yeah, you should watch that video. It’s a good one. 

Jared: Well, I’ll ask you more about the AI content updates, the second feature that you tease maybe as we get closer, because I feel like we could fill a whole podcast with questions about that. 

Spencer: So I’ll let you jump into your shiny objects Jared, and yeah, what do you got?

Jared: Couple updates, we’ll, we’ll, we’re right through, I feel like I’ve been doing kind of a ping pong update throughout the last couple weeks, but that’s just the nature of, of what the projects look like right now. Update number one is on the Faceless YouTube channel. We cleared 500 subscribers. We are in.

To monetization land. Now, I tripped over myself a couple weeks ago, and unfortunately a lot of people listen to this, and so when you make a mistake, you hear about it. 

Spencer: So what happened? 

Jared: I have to admit my mistake. Spencer has a very firm quote, if you make more than one mistake a month, you’re fired. So that’s my quote for the month.

I’m out if I do make any more, but. Watch it. No, I’m kidding. Well, if that is there, you haven’t shared it with me. No, so here’s the thing, and we, you know, we talked about this a couple weeks ago when YouTube changed their monetization, right? And they did change and lower the requirements down to 500 subscribers, but in a nutshell, to be super clear, they only lowered certain aspects of the qualification down to 500 subscribers.

And a couple weeks ago, I mistakenly shared implied that all the features open up at 500 subscribers, only some do. Some of them are still reserved for when you get to a thousand subscribers. And, perhaps for most people, the most important feature, which is to get YouTube ads placed on your content, that is still for a thousand subscribers.

I knew that, but I always forget to make that, to draw that segmentation. So we did get to 500 subscribers, there’s a couple things that got unlocked, but really… For those ads to go on there and go live, it’s going to be a thousand subscribers. And so still a ways away for that. 

Spencer: All right. Well, okay. So. 

Jared: But, you won’t be hearing from me again on that for a while, because I don’t think we’re going to hit a thousand subscribers anytime soon. But some of those videos I talked about that I published a couple weeks ago, I, I kind of repurposed some of my Amazon Influencer videos that were about the products for this niche faceless YouTube channel.

I have, a couple of them have done for that channel pretty well. And so watch time has gone up 50%. 60% in the last week or two. And so maybe some of these new videos will kick on, will increase the subscriber rate a lot quicker and stuff. So we’ll see. 

Spencer: So what’s a pretty well, like how many views is a good video for that channel?

Jared: Around a thousand views in the first day is a good video right now. And I think I shared that the previous, like when I logged back in for the first time, the 30 day view total with about 12, 000 views, so that’s about like What is that three or four hundred views a day on average across a month and now it’s up to 20, 000, and it’s only been a couple weeks We’ve been doing this so really we got to wait for a full month to get that data But probably if this continues you know a full month will go up to like maybe 30, 000 or so based on the trend of the last Last couple weeks it’s averaging like the channels averaging over a thousand views a day now Whereas it used to average only a couple hundred views a day, so all right awesome I don’t know, I don’t know, I mean, if we triple the number of views per day, maybe we could triple the rate at which we get subscribers, and, you know, maybe we’ll be there by, I don’t know, the end of the year.

Who knows? 

Spencer: Okay. Well, that’s good. That’s good progress. 

Jared: Good progress. And then, you know, Spencer, you and I were chatting a little bit offline about this over the last couple weeks. But on the Amazon Influencer front, So I did share my results from my second month. I made a video on it. You know, kind of like, if people want to go watch that, you can go to the, just go to YouTube and I hope if you search weekend growth.

Maybe put my name on it too. I don’t know. It’s not a very popular channel yet, but you can find the month to video update and everything like that. Amazon announced a very interesting bonus this maybe a week ago, maybe less than a week ago that was targeted at the influencer program. And you know.

Basically, I don’t know if everybody got this who’s in the influencer program. I know you got it and I know I got it because you and I were kind of messaging back and forth about it. But basically, they’re going to pay you a monetary value, a bonus per video that you upload that is within like a set of criteria.

Basically, it needs to be a comparison video. So normally, When you’re making influencer videos, you’re making videos about an individual product, you know, you maybe you have this coffee cup and you’re like, Hey, I’m gonna make a video about this coffee cup and what they want to encourage, they were pretty clear about they want to encourage for Q4 is videos that compare.

And so maybe I would take this coffee cup and compare it up against another type of coffee cup I have, but basically you can make these videos and they will go in the carousel and they will be monetized in the same way. But if you. If you follow a couple of their criteria, you’ll get paid a bonus amount per video that you do that meets this criteria.

So, I, I’ll be honest, I haven’t made a video in, I think, five weeks and I, I, so I’m gonna make some, I’m gonna make some videos this week that are comparing, and so by next week I’ll have an update on how many I can crank out. I’m gonna try to crank out a lot of comparison videos and get back on that gravy train.

Spencer: Yeah, I found this really interesting because it’s you know, it’s a decent amount like it’s not, you know, it’s not life changing money, right? To do a video, but 

Jared: it’s sick to work that day to do it. Let’s put it that 

Spencer: way. Exactly. But it, you know, it’s enough that, Hey, even if you just make the video and never make any commissions off of it, it’s probably still worth your time.

Exactly. Right.

Jared: And to money. Like, I don’t know if comparing two coffee cups helps me make money, or maybe I get double the opportunity. I don’t know, but you’re right, the bonus is enough to make me go, Eh, let’s give it a shot. And that’s probably exactly what they want. They want more of these comparative videos. 

Spencer: Yeah.

And so what I draw from this from, from Amazon, what’s really interesting is of course that they really want this type of content. I mean, that’s the big banner is like, we love influencer videos. We want more of them. We need more of them. We’re going to pay you even if you don’t sell any products to create them.

They stink. Right. And so they, they’ve done the calculation, right? Of like, okay, if we get. I don’t know how many thought, you know, we get 100, 000 videos, you know, done by, by the, the end of this promotion, like we’re going to make, people are going to buy more. So they, they’ve they’ve done the calculations.

So I find that very fascinating. I mean, just imagine if they came out and said, Hey, if you write an article that reviews an Amazon product, we’re gonna pay you as a blogger just to write that, just to publish it on your blog, even if, you know, nobody ever clicks your link and, and buys. That’s essentially what, what they’re doing here with the videos.

Jared: Yeah. There’s been a lot of people that ask and have said, hey, this is a relatively new program. Or it’s been around a while, but hasn’t been getting utilized very much, just now getting talked about. Is it going to be around in the future? And we haven’t been able to answer that, but this is a feather in the cap of, Yeah, I think it’s going to be around.

It’s a feather in the cap. It’s a vote of confidence that it’ll be around for a while. I’m not saying it is, but this speaks like it’s not getting sunsetted. If they wouldn’t be dumping all this money and energy into it if it was planned on getting sunset or reduced to some capacity, right? 

Spencer: Exactly. I agree.

You know, we can’t predict and Amazon is, is known to change but yeah, I, I would say that, hey, they’re, they’re investing in it. They’re, they’re tweaking it. They’re trying to make it better. They’re encouraging people to record more videos. So it’s probably going to be around for a while. So, 

Jared: so we’ll see.

I mean well, I’ll report you know, on here you know, how, how it’s going consistently. And if it, you know, some months I think are going to be better than others. That’s certainly the experience a lot of people have said, but I’m going to try to track the results from this with what, with what data I have available to me in the future months.

And so you can stay tuned to the news podcast episodes as the, as the months go by to hear how to hear how these comparative videos 

Spencer: go. Yeah, yeah, I will just say that these types of videos will be harder than just a normal video because you’ve got to have two products and They’ve got to be related, right?

And so not everybody has two blenders to compare or two, you know weight sets to compare or whatever it is so you probably can’t do hundreds of these but

Will you be jumping on the bandwagon with these? I I’m gonna try to make it happen. We’ll see. We’ll see. I’m not as confident as you sound that it will definitely happen. But I’m very intrigued. We’ll see if I can get some help to make it happen because I probably won’t record on myself. 

Jared: So let me give you a quick two minutes on what I did yesterday because I think people will find it interesting whether you’re on the Influencer Program or not.

I have a subset of products over here that worked perfectly for this. And I was trying to think of an analogy because I didn’t want to give it away. And so I thought of a good analogy. So imagine, like, and this is true actually, I have, I, I like to garden. And so I have a whole bunch of different pots out in my yard for herbs, vegetables, fruit, flowers, all this stuff, right?

And all these pots are different shapes and different sizes. And I didn’t buy them all on Amazon, but I do believe most of them are sold on Amazon. So what I did yesterday, and again, following my pot analogy because it, it perfectly mimics it, I basically got all the pots together, and I logged all of the different products they are, and I actually, in my example, have eight pots.

And then I went to ChatGPT and I said, Hey, I want to make comparative videos. Of all eight of these products and I can do comparative videos that are two comparisons. So product A versus product B and I can also do three comparisons. So product A versus B versus C. Please come up with every combination I can make.

Oh wow. And ChatGPT gave me a long comprehensive list of every video I need to make and from those eight products I have 96 videos I can make just from those. Is that right? So just to give you an idea, that’s that, that 96 and each one gets a bonus. And once you have them all in front of you, I’m not saying it’s easy, but you can really crank through this, right?

That’s the power of really going and looking at this from a very focused 

Spencer: standpoint. Yeah, that’s very interesting. Hmm. Good tip. I’ve got my wheels turning. I know 

Jared: maybe maybe next week We’ll get an update and you’ll cranked out a couple 

Spencer: maybe maybe I’ll get excited. Yeah and do it. So very cool Did you have any more?

I you have a lot of side hustles going on Jared That’s right, 

Jared: it’s exciting 

Spencer: it’s all good. 

Jared: Yeah, very exciting 

Spencer: All right. Well, very good. Let’s jump into our final segment of the show here. One weird niche. We have each found a weird niche site and I’ll go ahead and let you go first here. I just barely pulled up this website.

I don’t know quite what it is yet. So I’m going to, I’m going to let you explain what’s going on here. This 

Jared: definitely falls into the camp of weird. It is. Always judge a book by its cover dot com. So in, first off, in the world of your URL is way too long, this qualifies. This is and I’ll just read the taglines in case you’re not watching on screen.

Some books win awards, some win our heart, and others only serve to confuse. And this is basically a website that highlights books that are very confusing and no one knows why they got written. It’s actually a very well designed website, I found it to be very attractive, the buttons are laid out well, I would argue you’d want…

Different color buttons because that would have a higher conversion rate, but it’s still a very attractive website. And it’s featuring books like, How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety. This is a real book that was written and is available on Amazon right now. 

Spencer: And, and then the, you know, subtitle, End Abstinence, Drugs, Satanism, and Other Dangers That Threaten Their Nine Lives.

Jared: I, I didn’t look if this is actually a real book or a parody, but it feels real. As you scroll down, Outwitting Squirrels 101. We have Toilet Paper Origami. A book on Toilet Paper Origami. This is a personal favorite. What’s your poo telling you? Something you sit and ponder on the loo. Well, no more.

Anyways. There’s some really good ones. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. These are real books! 

Spencer: That’s crazy. You know Eating people is wrong. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Fifty Shades of Chicken? Okay, that one’s pretty funny. Yeah, so clearly it’s monetized with display ads, right? You know, I’ve got four or five display ads on my screen right now.

Jared: Yep. Yeah, we got display ads. They’re on all the usual spots. They’re definitely, I wouldn’t call it overwhelming, but they’re taking full advantage of all the placements. Didn’t see who it is. Could be, could be an Ezoic actually. I don’t know. They’ve got obviously each of these are, I’m going to assume affiliate links to Amazon.

I didn’t check them, but I would assume so. And they’ve got a newsletter. 

Spencer: Yeah, sorry I’m going to jump in and then we’ll talk about the newsletter because I, I did click on one of these links, how to talk to your cat about gun safety. It is an affiliate link, right? They’ve got a tag there. And look at this book.

I mean, it’s got over 11, 000 ratings. So not only is it a real book, I mean, people are buying it up. Left and right. The Cats of 

Jared: America are under siege. It’s 144 pages.

Spencer: Anyways, I, you know, I could spend some time trying to figure out exactly what this is. But, these are real books, these are affiliate links, and I assume they’re making some sales. 

Jared: Spencer, you know why I didn’t click on it? It’s because now you’re going to get retargeted with lots of cat content. I 

Spencer: suppose I will.

Or, yeah, or other weird books. So, they’ve got a newsletter, so… 

Jared: They you know, if you go look at the stats on, say, an Ahrefs, I mean, they, they’re DR30, but they’re not getting much traffic, they don’t rank for many relevant keywords, I think I saw roughly 1, 500 keywords. When you drill in and look at them, none of them really look like they’re going to be driving a lot of, you know, trending traffic.

I don’t think a lot of people are looking for… Oh, what’s the what’s the weird book, weirdest book of the, of the week kind of stuff, you know, so a lot of it’s got to be branded traffic if they do get that. And and, and so I don’t know how much this site is making. I mean until you, I would have said very next to nothing until you shared about.

The fact that those books they’re reviewing are actually maybe very popular books, so, you know, who knows but boy, what a funny niche. I’ll tell you, you must have fun putting that together. 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly, and that’s, that’s what I love about these niche sites, is that, like, it just gets the wheels turning.

You can start thinking about, oh, is there something I can do that’s just kind of fun that you can throw a website up, and either get some people to join and have some laughs, or maybe actually make a little bit of money. Like you said, I don’t know how much it’s making, but even if it’s making a few hundred dollars a month or something maybe it’s just fun to have one of these little weird niche sites in your portfolio, if you will.


Jared: again, like, thinking in terms of link building because that’s obviously just where my mind starts to go, right? But like, this feels like if you wrote like a top 50 list of the weirdest books, and then you pitched BuzzFeed, you’d get a link, right? Like, this is exactly what BuzzFeed loves to talk about and link to and stuff.

So, it feels like, you know, a great way to build some links too. 

Spencer: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And so just a fun website. That, yeah, I don’t know what else there is to say about it other than, you know, we’ve, we’ve covered a number of websites that are kind of humorous that are in the, the, you know, humor genre, if you will.

And some of them do really well you know, millions and millions of visitors a month. And so maybe this site isn’t getting that much traffic, but there are some Just off the beaten path ideas that people can start that can do really, really well. 

Jared: And I mean, again, like this is a great baseline, but you start getting links and you start doing individual book reviews.

And so maybe you review how to talk to your cat about gun safety, which is apparently a very popular book. I mean, that could drive figure you turn that into a YouTube channel as well. This is very shareable type of content. People. I mean, I could see myself watching a video on the top 50 weirdest books, right?

So like, you could, you can, even when a concept like this maybe isn’t, and we don’t know this, but just looking at the metrics doesn’t seem to be killing it in terms of traffic or profitability. Like it still has a ton of opportunity to 

Spencer: do so. Absolutely. So, good find, Jared. That’s a good site. I like it.

Thank you. 

Jared: Thank 

Spencer: you. So my site that I’m gonna share is is, it’s another niche tool. I’ve shared a couple of these in the past that’s, you know, it’s just a widget, a tool that makes life a little bit easier for one particular task. And this is a very popular tool. According to SimilarWeb, this site gets…

5 million visitors a month. So it’s a large website does one thing and one thing only. And the website is watermarkremover. io. And so it removes watermarks from your images. For free. Okay. And it’s, it’s a well designed looking website. It’s, you know, great, great design. And my first thought is like, is that even legal to remove watermarks from 

Jared: images?

Photographer in me is, is, is freaking out right now. Yeah. 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly. Is like, isn’t that the whole point is that you shouldn’t remove those, you know, you need to pay the photographer or pay the stock photo website. So maybe this is, you know, And legal limbo here but apparently it does really, really well.

Lots of people are coming. You can, I guess, remove the watermark from any photos. And then I noticed that there is pricing and this kind of made me chuckle a little bit is like, okay, remove watermark from images in bulk. Right. So 89 bucks a month, you get 1200 credits, et cetera. It’s like.

If you’re not willing to pay for the stock photo in the first place, are you willing to pay to have the watermark removed? Maybe. You know, I, I just thought, well, why don’t you just pay for the stock photo membership, right? And then you don’t have to pay for the, remove, the extra step of removing the watermark.

But I guess maybe there’s, there’s people that do that. Right? That, they’d rather pay for the watermark remover instead. So in terms of traffic, like I said, according to similar web it’s getting 5 million total visitors a month. And the source of the traffic, if I can find the right organic traffic is 46% and direct traffic is, you know, 50% with a little bit making up the difference there.

So a ton is coming from organic traffic and I did. Pull this up on Ahrefs. You can see that yeah, they’re getting quite a bit of organic traffic. Most of that is coming from their main term, watermark remover. They rank number one in Google for that particular term. And yeah, if I look at their top pages…

If I recall, yeah, I mean, okay. They’ve got a tick tock watermark remover. But for the most part, it’s, it’s just their homepage. And this is a website that was created by a company in India. And so I think a lot of their traffic, yeah, here in a truss you know, most of their traffic or a big.

Portion of their traffic is coming from India. And then the final thing that I noticed about this website is that it is… One of many websites owned by a larger company. So pixel bin. io over here, which I’ll share, share this. They own several tools and several websites. And where’s the list of their sites?

Okay. Down here on the footer, they’ve got erase. bg, watermark remover, upscale. media, shrink. media convert files. ai. So most of them are related to images or image files. And so they’ve got a whole network of websites that is all linking to each other and that’s helped improve their SEO rankings as well.

Each of these, they launch on Product Hunt I’ve noticed. And so that’s how they get a lot of their initial traction launch it on Product Hunt, get some notice, get some links, and start ranking in Google, and then they’re off to the races here. So, kind of an interesting website, interesting 

Jared: tool.

You know, when you first talked about the legality behind this, You know, you kind of think, ah, you know, some, somebody in his, in their garage starting this up. Like, who knows? But when you see that it’s got a big company behind it, you feel more and more like maybe it, it has a, a, a way to, to be legal and buy the book and it’s a fascinating concept.

Spencer: Yeah. I mean, who knows? I mean, I’m not an attorney, but I would suspect they’re on, you know, not on strong footing here. But they’re doing it and, you know. People on the internet, they don’t care if it’s legal. Hey, if this website lets me do it, I’m going to do it. And so anyways, it’s, it’s a weird niche site.

Yeah. I am so fascinated by these little tool websites that I’ve talked about in the past that just, they do one thing and they’re just crushing it with traffic. Maybe they’re getting people paying for subscriptions. Maybe they’re not. I don’t know, but they also have display ads as you can see that they’re monetizing their site with as well.

So kind of a cool website. 

Jared: If you were going to launch a tool, cause we talk, you’re right. We’ve talked about a lot of tools. Like it feels a bit like chicken or the egg here. Like they ranked number one for watermark remover. But how do you get to number one when you launch a tool and get that traffic?

Like, what would you do? Would you just go about it in a standard kind of SEO way to build that traffic? How would you approach a tool like that? Cause he’s a lot of these feel like single page websites. 

Spencer: You definitely need to do some sort of link building and the approach that they took is an interesting one, right?

Launch it on Product Hunt, get it featured there and that might gain a little bit of traction. And then what you can do if you do well on Product Hunt is then reach out to press and say, Hey, we got number one on Product Hunt or maybe even number two, right? Something you can reach out and say, Hey, this is a cool tool.

Reach out to a bunch of journalists or, you know, tech blogs and see if you can get some, some press and some mentions and do some link building that way. That’s what I would do with these tools. It is probably a little easier to do outreach because you’re not just, you don’t just have a review blog post that you’re trying to get links to.

It’s like, Hey, this is actually a tool, something people can use. And, and maybe you’ll get somebody to mention it. So yeah, definitely. I would do that. Get some SEO, go into your homepage and hopefully that just picks up traction and goes from there. 

Jared: You can do an unlinked mention campaign, you know, scour the internet for every time watermark removal or variations of that term is mentioned and ask if, hey, because you’re right, it’s not like a or an article.

It’s an actual tool, you know? And so probably the value to people is a little higher than reading something. 

Spencer: So, right. Yeah, absolutely. And then what they did with the whole network, right? They’re, they’re just five or six tools all linking to each other and they’re building that network effect and growing from there.

So Anyways, hopefully that gives some people some ideas, something that maybe they would want to try, and if not, just a weird niche site to be aware of. You 

Jared: know, they could find one of our niche our weird sites is very successful, the other one, perhaps not as much. 

Spencer: But one’s a lot more fun. One’s a lot more fun.

One’s a lot more fun. To learn 

Jared: about the origins and the meaning of your poop. 

Spencer: You certainly can. Among other things. Among many. And cats and guns. This, this podcast is going downhill quick. We better wrap it up, Jared. I 

Jared: think we’re at that 

Spencer: time. So, absolutely. Yeah, we’ve covered it all. We’ve covered your weird niche sites, your shiny object shenanigans, and the news overall.

Hopefully you guys, Have enjoyed the podcast. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you have a great weekend. 

Jared: Have a great weekend.


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