Google Changes FAQ Schema, Word Agents Down 70%, and 2 Really Weird Niche Sites

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Welcome back to another episode of Niche Pursuits News, with Spencer Haws and Jared Bauman of 201 Creative. This week, like every week, the hosts serve up the latest SEO news as well as inspiration for listeners.

They started by addressing the changes Google announced to the how-to and FAQ rich snippets. Specifically, Google will be limiting how-to rich snippets to desktop results and reducing FAQ rich snippets, and the roll-out should be completed by next week. 

They talk about what this means for niche site owners and content creators, whether FAQs generally drive significant traffic, if this is Google’s attempt to use SGE to provide that information, and whether or not creators should still include them in their content.  

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Then Spencer shares a post on LinkedIn from the COO of Word Agents, David Peterson, where he talks about how AI put them out of business, causing them to lose 70% of their revenue. He talks about how Make Lemonade suffered a similar fate, as discussed in a previous episode. 

They talk about this unprecedented shift in the way content is created and how it’s having a major impact on content agencies. Whether website owners are using AI to create their own content or taking a wait-and-see approach until the dust settles, major changes are happening and who knows what the landscape will look like in 8 or 9 months.

The last news item they tackle is that Google is in talks with the Australian government as it wants to be able to scrape publishers’ content and use it for AI training unless publishers specifically opt out. Spencer and Jared share their opinions on how they think they may affect content creators.

In the Shiny Object Syndrome portion of the podcast, Spencer begins by giving an update on his faceless YouTube channel. His channel was doing very well initially, earning about $1800 in display ads in the first month, in particular thanks to a video that went viral. 

When Google found that video to contain copyrighted material, it had to be demonetized. Although Spencer appealed the decision, he could not reverse it. 

He talks about how he recently started adding more content to the channel, and earnings over the last month were $1.66. Spencer’s not throwing in the towel, though. He’s going to keep working on the channel though and is even starting a second faceless channel on YouTube.

During Jared’s turn, he talks about his faceless YouTube channel that he started and completely forgot about. He shares the strategy he used when he first created the channel. It currently has 23 videos and hasn’t been touched in almost a year, yet it’s got 400+ subscribers and 219k video views. He’s very close to fulfilling the monetization requirements and he shares his strategy to move forward with this channel. 

Jared and Spencer then talk about their weird niche sites, and Jared goes first with Fail Army. This entertaining website shares people’s “fails,” like falling down and running into things. This DR47 website only ranks for 500 keywords and is more like a landing page. The action is over on their YouTube account, which has +16 million subscribers, and Jared talks about the potential they have to grow their website and drive traffic.

When it’s Spencer’s turn, he shares his very weird niche site: Cyberspace and Time. He struggles to explain what this retro-looking website is all about, mainly because the creator also has trouble explaining what it is. What’s really interesting are the stats: 500k visitors per month just a few months ago and 78k clicks from desktop users. All in all, the website is very weird!

And that brings us to the end of another episode of Niche Pursuits News, with a lot of food for thought and no shortage of ideas for listeners!

transcription

Spencer: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. I’m your host, Spencer Haws, with NichePursuits. com, and today we’re doing an episode of This Week in Niche Pursuits News. So welcome, and we have Jared with me here as co host. Jared, how you doing today? Very 

Jared: well, very well. Good to be here. Excited to record today’s today’s news episode.

Spencer: It should be good. We’ve got a few different news topics to cover. Google is always changing, and so we’re going to give you up to date news on what’s the latest there. And then as we always do, we’re going to jump into a couple of shiny objects that you and I are working on. It just so happens that we’re going to talk about a similar subject today.

As far as our shiny objects. So that will be fun. And then finally, we’re going to bring it home with our weird niche sites. Each of us have a weird niche site that we found out in the wild. And we’re going to talk about those and see if they’re making any money and yeah, just glean any information that we can.

So that’s always kind of fun, but hopefully educational at the same time. So, 

Jared: well, last week, Spencer, you and I were matching in attire. This week, I am now matching you in 

Spencer: microphones. Yes, we’ve got a new addition to the microphone setup. So good 

Jared: choice thing right in my face. I’ve got to work through that.

I don’t know how, how do you manage the, the, the, the, the boom and anyways. The mic is awesome, though. I think it sounds a lot better. So I’m very excited to record today’s podcast and take it for a test spin. 

Spencer: Yeah, so let us know in the comments if you like Jared’s sound better than in previous weeks.

That’d just be good, good confirmation of, hey, we made a good choice on the mic, so. 

Jared: It makes my voice sound deeper, you know, I have kind of a higher pitched voice. I don’t know, is there a setting for that? 

Spencer: I don’t, I don’t know. I’m sure there is, but, fix it in post. That’s right, we’ll fix it in post, so, let’s jump into the news. Today Google has announced a couple of different things. So they mentioned that there are some changes to the how to and FAQ rich snippets, so I will just share this. on my screen so that people can see what I’m referring to. But this is on the developer, Google Developers blog.

Essentially, they say to provide a cleaner and more consistent search experience, they’re changing how rich snippet results are shown. And in particular, they’re referring to FAQ rich snippets. And they are going to, it says they’re going to be reducing the visibility. of FAQ rich snippets and limiting how to rich results to desktop devices, okay?

And the changes should be finished rolling out within the next week. And then it says where does it say that government and university FAQ.

Rich results will only be shown for well known, authoritative government and health websites. For all other sites, this rich result will no longer be shown regularly. Sites may automatically be considered for this treatment depending on their eligibility. So it says while you can drop this structured data from your site, there’s no need to proactively remove it.

So it, it doesn’t really matter if you have the structured data for FAQ or how to on your website. Google’s really not going to show it. The visibility is going to be limited to, as it says only on desktop. So it’ll only, so I guess mobile will not show it at all. And then, if I’m understanding correctly, even on desktop, it’s still going to only show from authoritative government and health websites.

Jared: Yeah, there’s a lot here. So I, I sort of wish they had announced at the same time because it’s confusing. We know that how to structured data will still exist only on desktop, which predominantly makes up under 50% of SERPs anyways, you know, or people are searching from mobile or tablet devices these days.

And then when it comes to FAQ schema or rich results. I thought it was going away completely, no matter what mobile or desktop, it’s going away unless you’re an authoritative government or health website. 

Spencer: Right. Okay. So there’s a little bit of a, a gray area about where it’s going to be shown or if…

Any normal website will we’ll, we’ll have these results shown. So does that mean that people should no longer be targeting these types of FAQ questions, right. To, to show up in like the people also ask, you know results And I don’t know the answer to that. That’s just sort of a rhetorical question for people to be thinking about.

I, well, I don’t. You know, I think that if it still is valuable content for your reader, if you think, hey, it makes a lot of sense to include a FAQ section I think that. is still good content to be adding to your website. And that type of question and answer can still show up in the SERPs. And so it’s probably still good to have.

It’s just it may not get either as much exposure or may not show up the way that it used to in the past. Yeah, 

Jared: there’s several questions that come out of this. I mean, ever FAQ, like, let’s center around FAQ schema maybe. For the sake of the conversation, I think more people use FAQ schema than how to schema.

I don’t know that for a fact, but ever since this was launched, I think it was 2019 it’s become something that a lot of SEOs will utilize and It allows you to show up with certain questions to enter into the SERP. So people, maybe, you know, the example they give here is you’re ranking for the term.

What is robots. txt? But because you marked up several questions in your article with a VQ schema, you’re actually also showing up in the SERP for, does my website need a robots. txt? What program should I use to create a robots. txt file? So those are going away. And the websites,

Is that over the last year or so the traffic from Google for FAQ snippets has dropped pretty dramatically. So I don’t know if there’s going to be a big immediate effect for a lot of websites. Now that being said, I also saw someone we just had in the podcast, Tony Hill post and say that one article of his was driving.

I think he said like 5, 000 clicks per day from FAQ. Right. So that’s a massive loss. That’s 150, 000 clicks a month that goes away if that turns out to be the case. So that’s going away. But I think you bring up the broader question, which is, should we still be doing FAQs just to bolster our content, even though it’s not getting marked up as FAQ schema, do we still want it to show up in PAAs?

Does it still help an article become more topically authoritative, even though you’re not going to get the benefit from the structured data? Right. 

Spencer: I think if the overall idea is you want to be answering the question as in depth as possible or giving a good answer to the query that people have. And so it probably still makes sense in a lot of circumstances to do that.

Now, I also know that you found a couple of tweets from people, SEOs, that had some comments on the had this particular change. One of those here is Lily Ray. Right? That she’s basically saying that a lot of people have arrived at the same conclusion here that they’re angry, that people believe this is clearly a move for SGE to provide answers instead.

So this is a way for Google instead to just have AI generate those results and provide the answers. So, that’s one way to look at it, and maybe so, I don’t, I don’t know. 

Jared: I mean, I’ve, I’ve seen someone say they’re gonna go remove all of their… FAQ structured data so that Google is less likely to grab their answer and serve it in SGE.

I’m not sure about that. They probably already have it anyways because you marked it up. But, I mean, there’s some credibility to it. It makes sense. What have we been testing SGE on the podcast for? A couple of weeks on and off now and we see that they get a lot of data that mimics what I think we see FAQ schema doing.

So there’s a, there’s, there’s something to it. I have no idea if it’s true, but there’s definitely something to it, 

Spencer: right? Yeah. Potentially there is something to that. And then one other tweet here from Marie Haynes. I don’t know if you had reviewed this one or what are your thoughts on this?

Yeah. 

Jared: So. This was what someone had commented on and she kind of piggybacked off of it. But basically the idea that in 2019 when FAQ, Rich Snippets, and Schema was introduced, it was basically a way for us to tell Google how to identify in content what questions and then viable answers were. And now through their machine learning, they’ve been able to learn how to determine that without the need for schema anymore.

So, thank you very much. We don’t need it, and we don’t need to serve your answers anymore 

Spencer: either. You, you’ve done your job for us, army of content creators. We have everything that we need from you. That’s one way to look at it. And again, I mean, 

Jared: There’s, the same theory exists with a disavow file. Not that we need to go wade ourself into that hot water, but the idea that…

All you’re doing by disavowing bad links is teaching their algorithm how to identify bad links. And then, they’ve had the disavow file for a while, and then, you know, lo and behold, they kind of announced, Hey, you don’t really need to disavow anymore, because we kind of know how to identify these. And, you know, had some similar ideas and threads here.

Yeah, 

Spencer: that is true. Google has it all figured out at this point, thanks to all of us. Yeah, well,

yeah. No, very good. So there’s been, been some changes there. You know, a little bit of a shift here and some of this news might be old for others, but this is something that I just came across. There was a LinkedIn post from the COO. Word agents just two days ago So it’s it’s recent that this post particular post was made even though there’s been some rumblings I think for about the past month as we’ll share here, but I’ll go ahead and share my The, the LinkedIn post that, that I found.

So this was from the, again, the c o o his name is David P Peterson’s Peterson. Is that what it is? Yeah. David Peterson. And he was the c o o for you know, T 2022 and then a good portion here of 2023. And he was really excited, a great business, but. AI really did some damage to the business.

There’s any, there’s a sort of a 15 page little book here, but basically the, the highlight that I wanted to give here that he shares is that there was a catastrophic decline to the word agents business, 70%. Revenue loss in the wake of AI. So they experienced a huge plunge in revenue a staggering 70% loss.

And they had been trying to figure out how to overcome this. And boy, that is just. tough to overcome. And unfortunately, I mean, it makes sense instead of hiring authors that maybe, you know, cost word agents four cents a word and they charge you seven cents a word. You can get a I to create content that’s just as good, but it’s significantly cheaper.

And so we’ve seen that major shift since chat GPT and other A. I. Tools have come out in the last 89 months. There’s been this dramatic shift in content agencies like word agency. They saw it as 70% drop. And we’ve also talked about niche website builders make lemonade. They went out of business, went into not bankruptcy, but administration.

Yes. Administration for the UK company. And so. I don’t know exactly what the takeaway is here other than we are experiencing perhaps an unprecedented shift in the way that content is created and it’s having a major impact on content agencies. 

Jared: You know, I think there’s another factor at play, and I can say this just from some of my own projects that I have here, I’m interested to get your take on it.

Certainly, there’s the people who’ve gone all in on AI, perhaps had been using word agents, make lemonade, all these companies before. But what about just the trepidation that also seems to exist? How many people who were gung ho about their website are a little bit more cautious about investing in it until the dust settles?

Maybe there’s still… Doing some content, but not as much. Maybe they’re moved into more maintenance mode rather than growth mode. Maybe they’ve, instead of investing in two or three sites, have said, You know, I’m only going to work on one website right now until I see where all this goes. And I wonder how much of that also is at play.

Because certainly there’s a lot of people who have figured out how to write. Publish incorporating AI and not needing some of these more generalist writers. But also I just wonder how many people are not investing as much in general, even if though they’re not using AI, 

Spencer: right? I think that makes sense.

They’re taking a wait and see approach, right? And so if, if enough people are taking that sort of wait and see approach, even if it’s like only three or four months, like I’m going to hold off on investing in content for three or four months word agents had, it says a million dollar cogs cost of goods sold, you know, balance, right?

So they, they have this huge. Expenditures every month, right? This whole army of freelance writers, a million dollars, right? And revenue drops by 70% because people are either using AI to produce content or taking this wait and see approach, right? They don’t have three or four months of the business when you got a million dollars you’re spending.

And that did anyways, long story short, it’s done significant damage to the business. David’s job as the CEO was to go through and find cost savings and way to operate the business more lean so that they could weather the storm. And. Many people lost their jobs at Word Agents, and in fact, David essentially recommended, it sounded like, that he stepped down.

Like, he almost eliminated, he basically eliminated his own job. He did leave Word Agents. And Jared, you were kind enough to remember an email you got a few weeks ago from the new CEO of Word Agents. So, Vin, the founder and CEO of Word Agents, I 

Jared: mean, Vin’s been in this industry for, I don’t know how long, I feel like as long as I have and probably longer.

And I think Vin’s been on our podcast, hasn’t he? Didn’t you interview Vin? Yes, indeed. You know, good guy by all accounts. I’ve had a lot of conversations with him. We’ve used word agents at my agency for different projects over the years. And so I remember being, you know, surprised to see that information.

I think it was the app three, four weeks ago. And so they have a new CEO. I think I believe I, if I understood correctly, perhaps ownership changed and stuff. So a lot going on over there. We wish them the best, whatever that situation looks like. But in terms of news, it seems like we’re having a hard time running away from agencies that produce content really hurting.

And probably if I read into it, the agencies that had that didn’t, that were the time this hit.

Are kind of the first ones to, to kind of cycle through. Right. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. So, big seismic shift in how content is produced. Where will it be in eight or nine months from now? I, I don’t know exactly. But there’s some of the old guard, if you will is, are struggling, or have gone out of business or having major changes to the business.

Again, we don’t wish this on anybody. Yeah, Vin’s a great guy. I hope that WordAgents is able to pull out of this. And that they’re able to restructure their business and move forward. But this is certainly news in the industry, especially because yeah, word agents Vin has been on the niche pursuits podcast.

I know a lot of listeners. A lot of my own friends have used word agents in the past. I’ve used word agents in the past. They’re still around. So I can’t talk to their quality of content currently or how that’s changed. Other than I imagine they have a much smaller team and they’ve had to lean, lean up their operations and they’re fighting to stay in business currently because of AI generation tools.

Jared: Wish them all the best hope for the future. And, you know more and more we’re seeing agencies adapt to AI also as a part of their service offerings. And so we’ll have to see, you know. Not only as we see AI impacting agencies in this manner, but also in the way they produce content going forward. 

Spencer: And since we’re talking about AI and Google, I guess I will share this final brief news article.

Basically Google working with the Australian government. Has said that all online content should be available for AI training unless publishers opt out. So Google wants to be able to scrape your content and use it for AI training. Unless you ask the Google bot to not come crawling, I suppose. And so again, I don’t know what this impact is.

Australia clearly can cares deeply about this subject and so I’m sure they’ve been threatening Google, Hey, you cannot use Australian publishers content for free. You can’t just willy nilly come crawler content and train your AI on that. And Google is arguing that, Hey, we should be able to do that.

You know, as long as publishers don’t opt out of that we should be able to crawl it and train our AI bots to work even better. 

Jared: Well, I can tell you from having studied behavioral economics in the past, that if you ask publishers to adopt an opt out rather than opt in model, the majority will not opt out, and so the majority of content will be available to AI and Google’s SGE.

And if you adopt an opt in, then the majority of content will not be available. And this has been studied a lot over the years through a variety of different things. And so I think that’s probably why Google is coming in so heavy on this, because they kind of know the direction this is going to go if it becomes opt in rather than opt out.

Yep, 

Spencer: exactly. So that’s something to keep your eye on. Nothing that nothing actionable, just know that there’s a continued rumblings with government agencies that are, are nervous, I would say about AI and the future of content and, and how AI is trained. And so Google is in the middle of that. And of course that eventually could impact us.

One way or another. So that’s news as of this morning. I think this just was announced. This just came out. All right, very good. We are going to move on to our next section here in the podcast where we talk about Our shiny objects now, before we do that over the last few weeks, I’ve been mentioning that people can leave a review for the podcast on Apple podcasts on iTunes.

And we of course love to see those. And we have a new one here just a couple of days old that I wanted to read 

Jared: on one this week. Last week was a little 

Spencer: You know, it had some a little bit of criticism, you know, for us, but this one’s a little better. I found a nice one. So that’s right. And you are mentioned Jared.

So we’ll be an ego boost. There you go. So here, five star review ideas. Spark ideas. The value and knowledge I’ve gained from listening to Jared and Spencer is invaluable. Even when an episode doesn’t necessarily relate to my website goals, I still listen because of how much creativity it speaks within my own business.

My website is wild and swole. com fitness related. Nothing dirty, stay wild. Wild, wild and swole. I think 

Jared: swole would be a reference to the strength the what would that be, a slang term, I suppose? 

Spencer: Maybe so. Yeah. S W O L E dot com. Wild and Swole dot com. So people can check that out. Thank you very much.

It’s kind of just a unique username, not really a name, but you know who you are. Thank you for leaving that review. Really appreciate that. So another five star review, Jared we did it. 

Jared: You know, it’s funny when we rolled this you’re, you’re the idea of doing this weekly news segment and going beyond the news and kind of talking about shit shiny objects and weird niches and all this.

And I mean, there was a lot where I was like, I don’t, I don’t know if anyone’s going to care about this. I mean, the news I get, that makes sense. But I think a trending thought has always with, especially with the weird niches. And even the shiny object has always just been kind of just giving people inspiration to try stuff or think differently about things and that’s been a thread that people have definitely echoed.

So that’s great to 

Spencer: hear. Yeah, you know, if there’s one thing that I think ties niche pursuits together with all the episodes, not just the news, but the interviews and even all the blog posts, I hope that they just spark ideas or give inspiration or motivation. That’s really. The whole reason that we do all of this is that we can share stories that inspire.

We can share what we’re working on, and sometimes it inspires, sometimes, you know, maybe it just tells you what to avoid. Inspires you to go the weird niche sites, of course, maybe just give you ideas that are fun to think about and dream about. Maybe you’ll never do, but it’s fun to know that things like that exist.

So, let’s, let’s jump into our own shiny objects here. And you know, I wrote down on, on the list, Jared and I, before the podcast, we always jot down what we’re going to chat about. So we stay organized here and As soon as I finished writing, Jared had already written just below mine, which I hadn’t read yet, is his YouTube channel.

And so we’re gonna both talk about YouTube today. We didn’t plan this, we just, we’re in the same sort of wavelength, frequency for some reason here. So I wanted to give an update on my faceless YouTube channel. I’ve talked about this, I think it’s been a couple of months since I last chatted about it.

But to give maybe a new listener an update back in the day I had built a faceless YouTube channel that took off relatively quickly. There was essentially one YouTube video that got about a million views and the channel was up to about 1, 800 in. 30 days in earnings on, on display ads and doing well, crushing it as they like to say.

And the account was very swole, very swole. And you know, I’m, I’m doing the happy dance. Everything’s going great. But then the copyright hammer came down YouTube found that there was some copyrighted content on the channel and I couldn’t argue with them, although we tried to overturn that decision.

They came back a second time and said, sorry, no, there is copyrighted content. Your video can stay up, but it cannot be monetized. And so our channel is… My, all the other videos are still monetized, but this one particular video that was, you know, 99% of all the views and earnings cannot be monetized and try as we might over the last couple of months, we have not been able to reverse that decision.

So that’s one update. The other update is that we kind of waited a while and before publishing a ton of videos, we kind of wanted to see if we could Figure out this situation. But recently we just started publishing more videos again, just this week. So that’s why it’s been top of mind is we are now finally publishing new videos to see if we can replicate the success of that old video.

And unfortunately we have not been able to replicate the success of that video just yet. You know, the videos are getting. 300, 400, some of them getting 500 views within the first week or two. But it’s nowhere near, you know, a million view video within a few months, right? And so, I just looked at the earnings over the past 28 days, and it’s very depressing.

My channel is earning 1. 66 in the last 28 days. 1. 66 in the last 28 days. So that is not enough to, you know, pay for a gym membership. To truly get… Or anything like that. But 1. 66 is where I’m at in the last 28 days with my faceless YouTube channel. I wish I had better news, but I haven’t given up.

We’re publishing new videos and we’re gonna see where it goes from there. 

Jared: When you say you’re starting to publish videos again, have you started, have you already started that or is that? 

Spencer: Yeah, we just started one or maybe two earlier this week. So it’s, it’s too early to really know what, what’s going to happen with the traction there.

I actually, I do have another, I guess, big update is that I have decided, decided to start a second. Well, why not? The 

Jared: first one’s going so well. 

Spencer: It’s, it’s going great. I mean, a dollar 66, not everybody is able to do that, but I’m going to try a second channel and it that’s in a different niche that has less risk of getting a copyright Ban, if you will.

This, this first channel, I think it’s always going to be a challenge. I think any video at any moment is at risk of, of getting hit with a copyright claim. Whereas the second channel, we’re going to try and stay away from that, of course, but still have videos that can, can get a lot of views, go viral and still be faceless that, that I can outsource and have somebody else do.

So, so I guess that’s the big update, but no earnings, no big numbers to share. 

Jared: Is there any other way to monetize, because it sounds like you’re still getting some views. Like, is there any other ways to monetize that? I know conversions off of YouTube are terrible. You know, and often times the people who make money off YouTube, from a YouTube channel, but off YouTube are like selling merch.

They have 10, 000, you know, subscribers per day getting added and all that. 

Spencer: I don’t think so. Nothing’s coming to mind that would be easy to do. It’s kind of just an entertainment channel that, you know, it’s not really building like a raving fan base or anybody that would probably buy a t shirt or something.

You know, maybe there could be something there, but probably not worth the effort unless we can get more videos to take off. Well, I 

Jared: ask because this might come up again when I talk about my weird niche later on. 

Spencer: Oh, okay. Alright, little 

Jared: tease. Stick around, Spencer. Maybe you’ll get your own set of inspiration for your thriving faceless YouTube channel when we get to the weird niche segment.

Spencer: Alright, well I’m hooked. I’m not going to leave. I’ll stay right here. Good. I want to hear all about it. So, I also want to hear about your YouTube channel. What’s going 

Jared: on? So, God, how do I work into this? Let me, let me start with a question. Have you ever started a project and gotten, you know, partway into it and I mean, I don’t really know if I’m able to say it, just forgotten about it?

Spencer: Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure I have. Yeah? 

Jared: So, my faceless YouTube channel that I’m talking about today is exactly that. Let me give you a little bit of the backstory. Yesterday morning, literally, I mean, we’re recording this today. This, this came up yesterday. I was sitting down having a cup of coffee in the morning.

And if you have an iPhone, Apple will oftentimes alert you about like, Hey, one year ago today, you know, blah, blah, blah. The photo that popped up yesterday morning was of me. Taking a picture of us filming for a faceless YouTube channel one year ago. Nice. And I realized that I had forgotten all about it and hadn’t checked it in probably 10 months at this point.

Is that right? So a little backstory on it coming out of the may 2022 Google update video made a big push in that update we saw across, you know, a lot of client websites, websites of our own, like. Not only was more video showing up in the SERPs from YouTube, but even articles and websites that incorporated embedded video into their articles also, you know, seem to do pretty well as well.

So, last summer, in response, we had a website that was growing, did well during the May update, but wanted to maybe future proof it a bit. So we decided to start a faceless YouTube channel for it, and just build out about 25 videos. Around enough topics that we could embed one of the 25 videos into every post on the website.

And so we kind of tackled these higher level topics. Most of them were like 5 to 10 minute videos and they were all faceless like demoing stuff with voiceovers. And so we got those published and we embedded them all back into the website. And I’d kind of in my head gone like, Oh, mission accomplished.

Like the website got what it needed. I didn’t really pay any attention to the YouTube channel itself. So yesterday I discovered that I have a side project in the faceless YouTube channel, and it’s this, it’s this project we did a year ago. So I popped up in the results. Any, any guesses you want me to share with you all the metrics about where this YouTube channel is at that was started.

It’s got 23 videos live and has not been touched in 12 months. 

Spencer: Well, is it making more than a 1. 66 in the past 30 days? That’s what I want to know. No, because 

Jared: it’s unmonetized because when I last left it, it had three subscribers. 

Spencer: All right, so I beat you on that. Yes, you did. I’ll catch you up here. Only because it’s 

Jared: not monetized.

It’s not monetized. No, but that’s the interesting conversation here. So you know, these are not great videos, but they’re not like AI videos. They’re helpful. They’re definitely helpful, but they’re, you know, it’s just somebody talking on camera, holding something and demoing it. So here’s, here’s where it’s at 435 subscribers.

Nice. It’s gotten 219, 000 video views. Decent. The last 30 days it’s gotten 11, 800 views. Okay. So immediately, I was like, well, wait a second. Ever since YouTube, and we talked about it on the podcast a couple weeks ago, a couple months ago probably, they lowered the monetization requirements. And as it turns out, Monetization now for a YouTube channel is 500 subscribers, we’re 65 away, and at least 3, 000 watch hours, I think, in the last year or so, and we are at 6, 200 watch hours.

Okay. And you need to have three videos live in like the last month or two or something like that. Now, we haven’t done that, obviously, but I thought, Hey, if we can get 65 subscribers and get a couple videos up, we can monetize this. We’re pretty close. All right. So here’s what we’re doing. To get subscribers, thankfully, we’ve built an email list for this website.

And so early this morning, we cranked out an email asking people to subscribe. We’re up to 461 subscribers a couple hours in. So hopefully between that email and maybe in that second follow up email, we might be at the 500 subscribers by next week. And then I thought, all right, we got to get three new videos.

I really don’t want to create new videos for this, like, ah, man. And then I remembered. We have the Amazon Influencer videos and some of the products that were lying around my house that we made videos about were Products we had bought to review for this website. Is that 

Spencer: right? Okay, 

Jared: so 37 Amazon Influencer videos in total would work well for this Nice, and they are already over and on YouTube and live and our designer was able to even crank out some custom thumbnails 

Spencer: Okay, so you’ve got the requirements now for the videos You’re right there at the subscribers.

You’re about ready to get monetized. 

Jared: So, I mean, let’s be clear at right now, 12, 000 monthly views. This is not going to be a home run in terms of profitability, but I mean, I don’t know, could, could make, could be a 

Spencer: hundred bucks a month. Sure. And you know, like any. Great shiny object. It’s always the nugget of success.

That’s like, okay, if it can make a hundred dollars a month What would happen if I 10 X that what would happen if I? 100 X that if I you know, that’s where it gets exciting right is you just start to start making that first dollar Yep, and then how can we explode our 

Jared: 66, you know? well, and you bring up a good point because all the 23 or 23 videos that are live Those are all like, we’ll call them informational.

So the only way they’re going to make money is through ads on YouTube, which RPMs are, you know, three, five, 10. But all the videos were, we just posted from the influencer program. They’re all product focused. So we provided an affiliate link in each of them to the product that they reviewed. And so that’ll be interesting to see if maybe there’s some additional earnings that come in by recommending products from those videos.

And if those end up getting. You know, any substantial amount of traffic, you’d imagine that some people will buy with that 

Spencer: affiliate link. Yeah. So is the plan to, to get these I think you said 37 videos. Get those up and hopefully get monetized here in the next week. And just wait and see what happens.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. 

Jared: Let’s see what kind of money it makes. I mean, like you said, I’m just so curious. Are these new videos going to do well? Because if they are, like, you could make a case now, as we’ve talked about many times, like, Okay, maybe we expand a lot of what we’re doing on the website, because now we can do it for both YouTube and for the, the website, you know, and, and, and.

You know, I, I don’t, well, I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know what’s on the table, but we’ll have to see. We’re going to sit back and wait, and wait and watch. 

Spencer: Very good. Yeah, that’s the beauty of side projects, is a lot of them are wait and see. You know, try not to wait 12 months before you look at it again.

No, no. But yeah, give, give it some time. See, see how it goes. And maybe next week, or the week after, or in a month, we can chat about it again right 

Jared: here. It’s, it is very embarrassing. I have no excuse. First off, we did the whole segment on YouTube’s new monetization. Why it didn’t spark my memory then.

You’ve been talking about a faceless YouTube channel for how many times? Yeah. I have, I mean, you know. Six, seven months, yeah. Jeez, I don’t know. I’ve been blinded by the influencer program Shiny Objects. So. Yeah. Anyways. Embarrassing as it is, I’m happy to share here about, successes and our failures.

Spencer: No, absolutely. I think there’s, there’s comfort in probably other people listening of like, Hey, you know what? I’ve done that before too. I started something, I forgot about it. And in your case, it’s, it’s actually gained some traction without you looking at it. So that’s. Nothing to be too terribly embarrassed about.

Could be worse. I suppose you could be what I’m doing with my YouTube channel. It could be way worse. Well, maybe 

Jared: that’s the strategy, Spencer. Walk away for 12 months and come back and see what, see what it looks like. 

Spencer: I don’t know. Alright, well, I may do that whether I want to or not. Yeah. If this thing doesn’t start making money.

So, very good. Let’s, let’s wrap it up here with our weird niche sites. So each of us have one weird niche that we’re gonna share. These are things. That we found out in the wild, websites that we’ve come across. And I’ll let you go ahead and go first. Yeah, I’m, I’m still trying to think about how to phrase mine exactly.

It’s a little bit off the wall, but yours, yours looks pretty good, so what do you got? A lot of this. 

Jared: It’s failarmy. com Now if you haven’t been to the website, it’s it’s an enjoyable watch. Speaking of embarrassing my forgetting a YouTube channel pales in comparison to the videos that are on here.

They are embarrassing to the next degree. It’s basically… They say their tagline, new fails, the freshest fails daily, and it’s just it’s just people doing bonehead things. It’s not in the vein of like, I think, what was that show, like Jackass or something, where like, they were intentionally trying to do funny things.

These are like, you know, almost like America’s Funniest Home Videos, but not all the cheesy effects going on. Like these are people, actually that’s pretty much, probably a pretty good description of what it is now at this point. 

Spencer: And yeah, if people are watching, you know, I’m sharing my screen, it’s going through, you know, different videos, a lady on a horse falling into the river and other people falling off platforms, getting wet or whatever.

Right. I mean, pool 

Jared: accident looked it looked painful to be quite honest with you and that didn’t look like and so, you know, I mean. There’s a lot to this site that I thought was interesting. First we’ll just talk about the metrics of the website and really unpack with this YouTube themed hour here.

But the website is not the primary driver. As a matter of fact, it almost feels like nothing more than a landing page for the YouTube account. So the website is a DR 47, but only ranks for 500 keywords. And so if you pull it up, and and the keywords it ranks for, I gotta imagine they’re not even really driving that much traffic maybe a few of them are.

But they’re, a lot of them are branded search terms and search terms for the products that they’re selling presumably via their YouTube account, the merchandise. The YouTube account is quite different. They’re posting almost every day or every couple days. It has over 16 million subscribers. And so being that they’re video driven, it makes sense that their YouTube account is is where they’re…

They’re monetizing, but I, I, I think to me there’s so much opportunity for the website and that’s obviously the SEO hat, the, the content creation hat we put on, but it just reminds me again about the power of being able to have a content core to what you do to your brand and then if you really are able to do it, mastering how to deploy that content across a variety of mediums because they’ve nailed YouTube.

But they have not nailed web and there’s so much opportunity given just the sheer power that they have with their YouTube channel to make their website into something so much more. 

Spencer: So what would you do? What, what would be your strategy to improve the website? 

Jared: Well, I mean, I think that they could be doing a lot more with brand plays.

I think that they could be doing a lot more with the content they get. I don’t know about the. You might know more about this, but the, it, the rights to the content, I think when you submit your video, you are basically giving them permission to do with it whatever they want. So I can, I could see a lot of different deployments of their content and getting sponsorships, turning them into, you know, best ofs, and then getting those sponsored, you know, I could see That’s just, just to get started, but I think brand plays, to me, is the big one.

There’s a lot going on here that is very whimsical, it’s very funny, and brands are, I can, you know, they’re always looking to align themselves with light hearted, fun, entertaining content. Right. 

Spencer: Yeah, I agree. Do you think that there’s a written content play, or do you think that’s just so far out of the realm of what Fail Army does, they should just stick with 

Jared: video?

No, I do. I mean, have you ever gone to Google and searched, like… You know, funniest swimming pool accidents, or something like that, you know? I mean, you have so many videos, and couldn’t you compile top ten lists of the, the funniest beach accidents, the funniest you know DIY home accidents, the funniest car crash, you know, or whatever it is, the funniest delivery person.

And all ten of 

Spencer: them are your videos, right? So you’re just getting more views on your channel. You’re 

Jared: embedding YouTube content that you already own and that you already have. It’s your channel. I’ve got to imagine listicles would just, I would think they would do well. I would think their search content for that.

Spencer: Yeah, I agree. You know, funny videos involving involving toilet seats. I just see two of those here. Oh, maybe that’s not a toilet seat. That’s a, just a chair. Anyways, but yeah, I get what you’re saying. There’s probably thousands of listicle, you know, topics that you could do. Yeah. I started getting a long tail of search through a written content that really is a list of all these videos.

So. That’s a good idea. I like it. You’re watching the videos playing in the background. 

Jared: I 

Spencer: mean, you can see the lady surfing on the machine. You know she’s going to fall, right? This is 

Jared: going to be a collision. I didn’t see that 

Spencer: coming. Semi collision, that’s just not going to end well, I’m sure. No, it does not end well.

There you go. There it goes. So yeah, no, this is a good one. I clearly they’re doing well. It’s 16, almost 17 million subscribers on YouTube, 443 videos, right? So anyways, yeah, you know, not as many as I would have expected. 

Jared: Yeah. And you know, one final thought on that, but it gives all of us, like if you started the other way and you have the website, but I mean, again, like you agree, this is all user generated content, right?

Oh, yeah, for sure. So, like, really, this YouTube channel, at its core, could be handled by a VA and somehow attracting users, generating and submitting this type of content. Like, that’s really all at its base that it is. I mean there’s a lot of ways to grow a YouTube channel and, you know, if your niche if you’re up against it in terms of what, how much time and effort you have, like, man, interesting to think of something like this as a bolt on.

Spencer: Right. Absolutely. So, a good business to think about might give you some ideas, again, to spark in your own business that you may, might be able to apply or replicate in some way. So, good find. Now, I’ve got a weird niche site here that I don’t really know exactly how to describe this, so I’m gonna just share it.

This is called cyberspaceandtime. com. Now It, it really, if I refresh my screen, maybe that would change it. No, it’s, it remembers my browsing history. But when you first go here, it’s just got like 50 videos embedded that are all from the creator of this particular website. And there’s only a couple of pages.

If you go to the about page, this is a very sort of retro feel type design website. And if you read the about page, he basically says he started As a way to practice his programming and design skills, he wanted to go for a feel of a website. And so he practiced all sorts of these things. Basically, then created a player for YouTube videos.

And so, if I come over… Oh, I guess it didn’t share my, I went to the about page. Here’s the about page. Yes. And so it has a whole explanation and he basically admits that by far the, you know, what is this website? This is by far the most common question asked and I have to say that the answer to that comes with a bit of a struggle for me.

So he even struggles to explain what it is and then proceeds to spend, you know, 500 words trying to explain what it is. I read all this. I still don’t quite know exactly what it is. Other than he was working on some programming skills. Demonstrating, you know video editors and, or video demonstrating the editor and the web server of which he uses anyways.

And so if you, I feel like I’m rambling because I kind of am, because I, I don’t know how to explain this really well, but what really baffled me is that if you come over here to similar web, it says. Right now that only 80, 000 visitors a month come to the website, which is a decent sized website.

But even just a couple of months ago it shows 183, 000, and then back in May, almost half a million visitors for the month. Well, Spencer, 

Jared: I’ll even one up you there. I’m just perusing the About page, and he goes on in one of the drop downs to say, As it is now, the website plays host to about 78, 000 daily clicks from desktop users.

Spencer: Is 

Jared: that right? What it says under the section? I just stumbled upon this. Is it popular? That was my question. . 

Spencer: Is it popular? Yeah. Go up some go up 

Jared: there. It’s right there. I just stumbled upon it. Is it popular? A couple more up, a couple more up there. Oh, okay. Oh, it 

Spencer: starts with I Okay. . I, I still can’t figure out where people are finding this.

That’s what he, I I think that they’re, he, they’re sharing it, I guess. 

Jared: Well, here he, here’s what he says. If you can believe him. It’s like this, most people stumble upon this place via Google image or, or it’s web search. Some find it by clicking on special, or social links, I thought it said special links, social links, placed on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.

Some put it in their blogs, and some with a keen eye for unique things bookmark it and keep coming back. 

Spencer: Yeah. Yeah, so, I 

Jared: don’t get what this website is, is, is doing. It’s it’s like Bizarro World. 

Spencer: Yeah, so I so I popped in a URL, and I don’t even know how to get back to that. But I had it pop in this video that shows full game highlights.

It was just a random YouTube video that I saw. Right, and so you can then watch this. A quick kitty ball screen. You know, in this player. Right, that’s kind of unique. I guess. Yeah. And, 

Jared: it’s basically like a portal to experience the web from 20 plus years ago. 

Spencer: Yeah, yeah, there you go. So if you want to get a retro feel You come to cyberspace and time.com.

So here, here’s where you can, here’s the more in depth player that you can pop in A U R L, right? Oh, I don’t think we’ve seeing it in the screen. Oh, okay. Let me share that. Oh, there you go. Sorry about that. And what I’m gonna do here to give the full effect, let’s see if I can quickly find a, 

Jared: this website is quick.

Spencer: Yeah. . So where am I at? Here? I gotta find the right tab. So I found a U R L for. One of our interviews. So here we are. So now we can watch the niche pursuits podcast on cyberspace and time. com, right? With this with this unique interface again, that’s I I’m speechless, right? So whether it’s getting half a million visitors a month, a million visitors a month.

80, 000 visitors a month. I’m not quite sure. It’s interesting. There are a few display ads. But other than that, it’s not really heavily monetized. 

Jared: Oh, Spencer. Sorry, I, I hadn’t seen this before you presented it. I’m just, I’m poking around. He shares Google Search Console data down there. Oh, does he really?

Yeah, he does. Look at that. 

Spencer: appendices. Okay, well let’s I, I didn’t spend that much time diving into it, as you can see. 

Jared: It’s pretty, it’s… It does not support his 78, 000 a day. I’ll tell you that much. 

Spencer: Well, I don’t think most of it’s coming from search. Ah, that’s a good point. You know it’s… Well, wow. So if I’m reading that right, he had 58, 000 clicks.

From search. On August 27th, whatever year that was. Yeah. So that’s a lot. 2019? 

Jared: August 27th, 2019. Okay, 2019. Oh yeah, he had 58, 000 clicks in one day. So there 

Spencer: you go. Ahrefs doesn’t really 

Jared: show that. No, Ahrefs does not show any of that. 

Spencer: So I don’t know where it’s coming from. Is it all branded search? 

Jared: Well, it’s not, yeah, it’s not social.

It’s, it’s, it, so he did say that it does very well in Google image search. 

Spencer: Hmm, so that’s probably what’s going on. 

Jared: Usually that’s a, cause it says search type web, normally in Google search console. That would be identified under image search, not web search. Right. Although maybe back in 2019 they didn’t differentiate that way.

I can’t remember if GSC had that tab there at that time. 

Spencer: So I think this raises more questions than answers, if I’m honest. I 

Jared: don’t know what I would do with this either in terms of my niche, but it is a fascinating website. 

Spencer: Yeah, you know, I was preparing for this and I ran across this site and I spent like 20 minutes just kind of looking at this site and trying to figure out what it did, and I hadn’t come to really any conclusions, but I’m like, this is weird enough, we just need to share it.

And so, people can check it out, cyberspaceandtime. com. If you want to try and figure out how it’s making money, if it’s making money, it appears to be getting a bunch of traffic, people must embed this. Watch YouTube videos and kind of use this, yeah, this retro, old time feel browsing experience. 

Jared: I mean, I don’t want to ask you to reveal your sources, you know, because, a bit like journalists, we all have our ways, we find our weird niches, and, you know, I don’t really talk about that, kind of.

We all, we keep it close to the vest, but, generally speaking, where did you find this? I mean, this is what I have to ask about. Well, 

Spencer: I, I have come across a Trevor, treasure trove of a list of, like, weird niche sites. So essentially I found somebody that has compiled a list of sites in the past. And I’ve been digging deep into their list to pull out the real gems that make sense to share.

Jared: That was a good, that’s a good one. So, 

Spencer: so there you go. I, I, I guess we did it. We got through everything. That one, 

Jared: that one might be the weirdest niche we’ve ever done in just brass tacks in terms of like, we’re only even beginning to figure out what the heck it even serves as a 

Spencer: purpose. Right. I, I can’t think of why I would ever go back still.

But people must. And so yeah, I’m a little bit baffled why so many people are visiting the website. But I love it because there’s so many different ways you can look at the internet, get traffic to your website, and this is clearly one of those ways. How people can implement that for, for themselves, I don’t know exactly, but maybe it will spark something.

And so, again, that’s the goal of this podcast is hopefully to just spark some ideas for people. That’s great. Great. Yeah. So we’ve covered the news. We’ve covered our, our side hustles. We’ve covered our weird niche sites. So thank you everybody much, so much for listening to the podcast and we hope that you continue to do well in your own business.

If you want to follow along with additional podcasts or with the niche pursuits newsletter, just go to niche pursuits. com slash. newsletter where I send out a couple of emails a week to update you on any new podcast episodes or anything new going on in my business. So with that, thank you so much for listening today and I hope everybody has a great weekend.

Have a great weekend.



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