Have you seen this man? If so, report him to the police immediately. He’s taken over my website for his own financial gain without paying me a cent. That can’t be legal, right?
Developing a website for your new business is becoming more common than buying business cards, and is often the first step before selling your first widget. But doing so can be expensive and in the end, yield no better results than that unopened box of cards with your name on them sitting next to you right now.
As simple “business card” websites (yes, the industry really does call it that) become more prevalent, fighting for traffic, legitimacy, and hopefully a sale seems like an exercise in futility for all except those with deep pockets. And then to recoup your expenses, you jack up your prices, making the sale that much more difficult.
Luckily, the Web of 2010 still has a place for pirates and bandits, willing to think outside the box and take measures into their own hands. After all, why build your own website when you can hijack someone else’s for free?
- Locate your Target
The magic formula here is pretty much the same as stealing (or business, in general) – minimum risk, maximum reward. In our case, risk is the competition, and reward is the target audience. I use this same formula when targeting keywords for SEO – find the keywords that are searched the most, but have the lowest number of results (organic) or cost (PPC). In our scenario, you can use some services such as Alexa to find out approximately how popular a site is, and then eyeball the site to see how easy it is to steal (see step 2). Of course, your target doesn’t have to be a website. It can be a mailing list or LinkedIn/Facebook/Yahoo!/Google group (abide by list/group rules and nettiquette for long-term results).
- Be the expert
You chose your field because you can do it better than most people. Who cares if the newspaper doesn’t call you (yet) for your opinion on the story. Even if you know 5% more than the average Joe, you’re an expert in their eyes (that’s all that qualifies me to write articles like these). But it’s not enough to know more, you have to show it. Most sites, just like this one, allow visitors to submit comments on articles, if not complete articles or other content. Since content helps with search engine exposure, sites take a “the more, the merrier” approach. Be the first to submit a comment, and reply first to other visitors’ comments, even before the original author. Submit testimonials with your name attached. Make sure that your name, e-mail, and/or URL are easily accessible. Any visitor to your newly stolen site could be a potential client, so make sure they know how to reach you.
And tell Yonatan that I’m coming for him…