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Google Core Update Announced, How to Thrive After the HCU, and 3 Weird Sites

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Welcome back to another episode of the Niche Pursuits News podcast. This week Josh Blackburn fills in for Spencer, and he and Jared sit down to discuss the most relevant news in SEO, digital marketing, website creation, and beyond.

The first order of business is the 2 additional updates Google recently launched following the Helpful Content Update that essentially left the niche website community battered. Jared and Josh weigh in on what they think will happen. Is this Google’s way of “tweaking” the results of the HCU? What should website owners do with their sites during these updates? Tune in to hear what they think.

They talk about a series of things website owners can do to improve their rankings in the wake of the HCU, touching on topics like ad density, usability, pop-ups, and article word count. They also share their observations about the update’s winners and losers and the importance of looking at your website as a business and emulating the features that Google looks for in a business.

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Jared and Josh move on to talk about Google’s antitrust lawsuit and the revelation that it might be altering search results to get better ad results. They talk about some shady emails that were leaked that give an inside look at how Google operates, but the truth is that there are a lot of changes going on now in search and it remains to see how everything will play out.

The next topic is how more and more publishers are blocking GPTBot, with news outlets following suit. Jared asks, “Why would you not block it?” Will partnerships be the way forward? What does the future look like for content creators in the world of AI? Jared and Josh share their thoughts and concerns.

In the Side Hustle Shenanigans portion of the podcast, Jared reports on his Amazon Influencer side project. September earnings exceeded his expectations in the first half of the month only to drop off a cliff in the second half.

Although he still earned over $2k, it’s unclear how profitable this “experiment” will actually be. What’s Amazon doing? What does the future of the program look like? Is it worth starting to make videos if you haven’t already? Tune in to find out what happens in the months to come. 

Josh then talks about a DR32 site of his which saw a massive drop in clicks over time. He recently added 4000 unedited AI articles to it as an experiment and he started to see an improvement; however, with the HCU, it got crushed. He’s going to wait and see if it bounces back or not and how future updates affect it.

They move on to talk about their weird niche sites. Jared’s is Cuddle Comfort, which was first created in 2011. This DR32 site ranks for just 2k keywords but may be getting up to 1 million visits per month. He and Josh talk about how it creates trust and they talk about its monetization techniques.

Then it’s Josh’s turn, and he shares Sunglasses ID, which identifies all the different sunglasses worn by celebrities and in the movies and includes an affiliate link for users to buy them. 

This DR31 site with just over 1000 pages is 14 years and 260 days old and gets 70k visits per month. They talk about how the publisher might get all the data for all of the sunglasses. Then Josh reveals a second site, WatchID, which follows the same concept. This site was created about 17 days after the first site and has a lot of scope for improvement. Are there similar ID sites out there? Maybe!

That brings us to the end of another great podcast on the current SEO landscape. Come back next week to hear the latest news and get plenty of inspiration!

transcription

Jared: ​Hey, hey, welcome back to another week of Niche Pursuits News. My name is Jared Bauman. Boy, do we have a week in front of us. It feels like every week just ramps up in intensity. Today, Spencer’s out, and so we have a good old standby. Josh, it’s got to be number three or four for you. Josh Blackburn joining us.

Josh: Hey, Jared, thanks. Yeah, I think Yeah, I think it’s got to be at least four now. Um, yeah, kind of the designated hitter, but uh, happy to step in and chat about the wild week. 

Jared: I think the last time you were in, I was on summer break or something. And I think I listened to the episode while I was driving my trailer around town around the country or something like that.

I remember hearing about it. So, um, anyways, welcome back. Always good to have you today. We’re talking, uh, for those of you who are familiar, we spend most of the podcast on the news. Talking through the various things that are happening in the search engine land in, in, in, in website creation land and there’s never a shortage of news.

This week’s a doozy. We’ll spend the first half or more on that and then we do move into a couple other segments. Talk about shiny objects, shiny object shenanigans. Uh, Josh, I’m particularly excited to hear what you’ve been working on because again, last time I listened, you were, um, you were doing some cool things.

And then we’ll close out with, um, one weird niche. Although I have to say you’re bringing two niches to the table. You’re kind of just making us all look bad here. No, no, 

Josh: it’s a double whammy. Uh, it’s, um, it’s, it’s super interesting and I mean, we’ll dive into it. Uh, but I think it could be replicated. Um, I think it’ll be fun.

Jared: Oh, good tease. Good tease. Well, let’s set the stage. So last week, Spencer and I spent like 50 minutes or longer talking about what was a landscape changing, helpful content update, right? And, um, as if, uh, we are going to spend some time on the Helpful Content Update, by the way, but Google didn’t even really give us a break here.

They, um, they basically just said, hey, while you’re still licking your wounds from the, uh, Helpful Content Update, we’ve got a couple more updates to launch. So if you have not been paying attention… Since last week, we have had not one, but two additional updates launched. I’ve got the screen right now, we’ve got the October 2023 core update.

Before I move on to the second update, um, let’s see, Josh, this was, we had August 2023 core update. Then we had September HCU update. And then now we have a core update. What are your thoughts, I mean this is hours old, so obviously we have no idea what’s actually happening in the SERPs yet. But what are your thoughts on a core update happening again so fast?

Well, I think it’s 

Josh: interesting. Uh, and I mean also to just looking at the past years, right? We probably can assume that in October or December. I mean, we’re in October in December There’s probably gonna be another core update looking at the last few years, right? So and always it’s gonna be every few months that they’re gonna release one now And I know like as we get into the helpful content update a lot of people.

Hey, is this gonna be reversed? The result results are not good and There were sayings like, Hey, it will not be reversed, but now you have two updates following that. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see if these updates fix what we’re seeing now in the search results. 

Jared: No secret. The SERPs are not, um, necessarily awesome right now.

Uh, even when you take out your own opinions of, you know, kind of what it’s doing to the niche site community, even with that being said, like, man, there’s some really funky results, which we’re going to talk about a little bit. Yeah. You kind of hit one are wondering, Hey, is this.

Is this core update ? Like, is this Google’s PR way of being like, well, we wanna do a reversal, but we don’t want to do a reversal, right? Mm-hmm. , air quotes, we don’t wanna say we’re reversing things. I don’t think they’ve ever really publicly reversed a update, to be clear. Like it’s not really as much a reversal as it’s a tweak or a change or a modification.

Mm-hmm. . But is this sort of like gonna be a rehears, a reversal or a, a partial pullback or something like that? Like, and there’s two updates to look at there because. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Um, we actually started seeing user generated content prioritized and showing up in the August core update, and then it just almost doubled down on it with the HCU.

So, is this gonna pull back on some of the, the, the, the user generated content that’s surfacing and sitting at the top of Google right now? 

Josh: Honestly, I don’t know, right? And, uh, I read something that the, the HCU helpful content update was, is machine learning. Right, so, and is the core updates, I’m not really sure, like, are they machine learning as well?

And we keep seeing more, I feel like we see more and more updates, and we see more and more volatility from each update than we saw, like, three or four years ago, you know? Um, and is it just a matter of training the machines? Is it, hey, we’re gonna let the machine switch this variable, and we’re gonna get all this data, and then we’re gonna put it in, and then just retrain the machine, and eventually, like, is it gonna be an ongoing process?

I’m not sure, I don’t know enough about machine learning, but um, I mean, I guess that’s kind of my theory, is that they’re just essentially trying to train the machines on all of this data and see how users 

Jared: interact with it. It is interesting because we know that even when there’s not a core update or a quote unquote announced update happening, like, you can still see a lot of changes in SERPs, they’re still always tweaking things here and there.

Supposedly core updates are supposed to affect every uh, search, you know, like it’s a, it’s an update to the core for the entire algorithm, so. Yeah, I’m with you. I mean, and, um, and then the double whammy is that yesterday or Wednesday, depending on when you’re listening to this, Google announced the October 2023 spam update.

Um, and the spam update improves Google’s cover. I’ve got it on the screen here. I’m just going to read this part out. Um, the spam update improves Google’s coverage in many languages and spam types. Um, they said it aims to clean up several types of spam that our community members reported in Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages.

It should reduce the visible spam in search results, particularly when it comes to cloaking, hacked, auto generated, or scraped spam. It will take a few weeks to roll out. So, again, many people are talking about how, because there’s very, I would say there is limited blowback on AI content as a whole in some of the recent updates.

AI. It literally says they’re auto generated. Um, you know, I, I don’t know. Uh, it’s going to be very tough for SEOs to analyze when you have two. Uh, algorithm updates happening simultaneously on the back of two algorithm updates in the last six weeks. 

Josh: Yeah, it’s wild. Uh, there’s a Anon Twitter account. I tried to find it before we got on here.

Um, I don’t know if it’s traffic X or something. I don’t know. And he had been showing, uh, screenshots of foreign language sites that are hacked and cloaked that have like zero Dr. Like or Dr. Point, 6.9 hundreds of thousands of traffic in the last, uh, You know, a month or so from AHRFs. Uh, so it’s interesting.

I’ve been seeing those tweets from him. And then now you see this spam update rolling out. Um, I don’t know. I think it’s super interesting, you know. And then, of course, like you say, the core update on top of it. Right? Like, it’s uh, it’s gonna be a wild, wild 

Jared: couple weeks. I did see that Glenn Gabe, I think he said basically, hey, this isn’t just targeting foreign sites.

Uh, it was kind of highlighted in Google’s announcement. But it’s also English SERPs. Um, I don’t have that tweet in front of me though, I can’t really read it or confirm it, but it’s interesting, you know, I, I know the spam updates in the past have again, broadly speaking, felt a little light, like, you know, I think a lot of people maybe would be listening to this podcast, doing their own content site, most people probably didn’t see any effects from the spam update.

Uh, with that being said, I think a lot of people saw effects from the core update and I think the majority of people listening felt effects from the HCU update. So, not to read into that, but I think we might have, maybe for the listeners, a lot of them might see, might, I’m just speculating to be clear, might see effects on maybe mass produced AI content from the spam update, might see effects, generally speaking, from this core update.

Maybe people affected by the HCU could be seeing some sort of rollback. We don’t know if it’s rollback. We don’t know if it’s a part, like, man, it is. We’re just basically guessing here. 

Josh: But I would say, like, one thing that I think we would both agree on, that if you were hit with the helpful content update, don’t make any changes yet.

Just hang tight, and let the spam and the core update roll out, and kind of see where the dust falls, uh, and then try to gather your assessment. And go, you know, and, and fix what you need to fix. 

Jared: You know, it’s a perfect transition or a perfect segue. There’s a lot of, uh, feedback starting to emerge and come out from the helpful content update.

The results that people are starting to gather. There’s a lot going on in this update. Um, I’m going to try to find the screen here. Everybody knows I struggle with this if you’ve been listening to the podcast for very long. Here we go. Um, here’s an article. And again, this is where we, you and I get to kind of.

Knuckle down and chat about the HC. I want to hear, I want to hear your thoughts on it. But here’s an article by Casey Marquis in Search Engine Land. Casey’s a friend of the podcast. I was going back and forth with him actually, um, yesterday. I think it was about a year ago that he joined the podcast. Um, great interview if you have a food website and want to learn more about that interview.

But, um, Casey basically put together an article that he published that’s on, um, how to survive and thrive in a Google helpful content world. I’ll just kind of summarize some of the things he said and then Josh, like I said, I just want to, let’s chat about it for a little while. Yep. Um, he said ad companies, uh, are often prioritized ad, ad income over user experience.

And so you have to be very careful with playing things like autoplaying video ads, full screen ads, high density ads can negatively impact UX. Um, and the helpful content update seems to have targeted that. Um, he recommends optimizing for usability. Um, he has some stuff on interstitials and pop ups. Um, and he, he actually goes through exactly what Google’s guidelines are when it comes to interstitials.

Um, uh, helpful content doesn’t mean more content, so word count is not a ranking factor. Uh, supporting health claims, so that’s specific to health websites. Uh, avoid writing solely for rankings, so original, unique, genuinely helpful. That’s a very esoteric topic, uh, but something that is clearly emerging.

And then, Um, you know, multi niche sites were notably affected by the update negatively. So focus on your topic, uh, and try to find ways to diversify the content types, uh, both internally and externally. There’s a lot there. I definitely recommend reading the article. Um, and Casey’s, you know, got a pretty good handle on what’s going on.

So, let’s talk about the helpful content update. What did you see? How did it affect your sites? Um, what do you think about some of these thoughts that Casey shared as it relates to what you’re seeing? I think a lot 

Josh: of what he says, I mean, it’s true, right? I think a lot of it, I would like to assume that we all know kind of common sense that we should do these things, but I think that a lot of people, and myself included, don’t do all these things, right?

It’s, um, I think it’s tough, you know? I think you kind of got to take a look in the mirror and say, Hey, are you truly running a site that you’re trying to make it the best possible experience for the user, but also where it captures search? And are you running it like a business, right? Or is it like, Hey, this is just a side hustle, a side hobby.

Like I’m just trying to rank, uh, make some cash, uh, flip this site. Um, I, I wish that he, he would have had the sites he looked at what their authority was. Um, you know what I mean? Just like, like the course we could see like, Hey, the sites that did get hit, were they lower authority versus the sites that one were higher authority?

Um, You know, like I shared some examples with you, like if you look at, like, uh, I googled best recliners, like here, so I googled best recliners, um, this was I think number three for me, this is the New York Post, before I could ever see the content, that’s the ad that popped up. So 

Jared: that, that hit you as soon as you got there, basically.

Soon as I got to 

Josh: the content, like, I mean, well, I mean, I opened the site, like, I opened like the first five results, I went to one, I went to two, and then I went to three, and the time I opened my browser for the site, this is what I saw, right? It 

Jared: doesn’t even have a call to action. It’s, uh, yeah, it’s just a straight But as you’re listening, it’s, it’s, it’s just a pop up, basically, for a, a brand advertisement, you know?

Yep. So, kind of, flying in the face of a lot of the experience stuff we’re being told is important. Exactly. 

Josh: That’s my point, right? Is like, they say don’t do this, but here you have a DR 90 something New York Post, uh, that’s ranking for number three for best recliner. Which, how much expertise does the New York Post have on recliners?

I don’t know, right? But they do have a lot of links You know and then like looking at Forbes, right? It’s uh, you know, there’s a lot of talk about no video ads You get on Forbes above the title is an ad with the video The ad follows you down the page it jumps from the right sidebar to the left sidebar Uh, auto playing ad, um, which goes against everything that the experts are telling us to do.

Uh, but the one thing that these sites have that most everybody in the niche site community doesn’t have is a DR 80, DR 90 domain. Right? So it’s like, uh, you know, like the, the Google, the Google Docs and everything Google is telling everybody to do is fine. Right? Like, hey, it’s good. A lot of it is common sense and it should be done.

But at the same time, it’s like you kind of got to take it for face value when you look at the search results when you see, uh, Quora and Reddit skyrocketing, you see LinkedIn, um, traffic skyrocketing with, with Parasite SEO, uh, and then you see sites like Forbes and New York Post that cover every topic under the sun, every affiliate product, um, and they rank very well for it, right?

Uh, so at the end of the day, I mean, I think it really comes down to links. Um, but I think it’s diversifying, you know, uh, and then also getting away from affiliate and ad products, right? If it’s something you care about, or even if you don’t care about it, but if you can create a digital product, a physical product, build an email list, um, I know you did a podcast with the guy that had a pet site, uh, and he started selling, uh, his, his own dog brushes and stuff.

Like, that’s a great example. Right? Like you. You have all the, if you have an affiliate website, the Amazon site, you have the data, what people are buying, just make a better version of it. Um, 

Jared: and there’s a lot of conversation, there’s a lot of conversation about businesses winning, uh, specifically like e comm stores winning and by winning like, Hey, I used to rank for something like, um, I don’t know what is an iPhone.

And now my niche site no longer ranks for what’s an iPhone, but some, you know, store that sells iPhones is now ranking for some. Article they wrote that’s 200 words, no images, no bullet points, a wall of text, but they’re ranking because they have authority perceivably because Google thinks that the business has more authority now than my website, you know?

Exactly. You know, and I 

Josh: don’t, you know, a few years ago, uh, maybe it’s more year, maybe it’s three plus years ago, but I felt like every time we got around to like the holiday season, black Friday, uh, Christmas holidays, 

Jared: you would 

Josh: see, you would see the e com sites get a boost in rankings around the holidays, right?

And now we’re seeing it sooner now. Um, you know, and maybe it’s, Hey, if you do have an affiliate site, Hey, can you bolt on a drop shipping site? You know, the drop ships, those products or it’s lower, it’s a lower barrier to entry. Uh, but now it’s, it could appear as a real business, um, or, you know, and it’d be a lot cheaper than getting your own products made.

Um, I think it’ll be interesting to see, you know, how, how it all kind of plays out. 

Jared: All the, all the chatter, all the talk is around this helpful content updates, uh, that the stuff they did is, is fairly permanent. They seem to publicly have doubled down on it. Um, you know, uh, the results have certainly spoken for themselves.

It seems like. It sure feels like it’s targeting kind of what a niche site em, um, emblematically represents or stands for. And when we look at what a, a niche site really is, it’s just a, uh, uh, a website that focuses around a singular topic, right. Um, over the years, the term niche site has kind of evolved tremendously.

I mean, I remember, I remember when I first started listening to this podcast, like Spencer was making like single page websites about like, you know, ant farms and stuff, you know, and ranking. Obviously, the term niche site stands for more than what a definition of niche site is. But, um, it’s interesting to think that maybe Google doesn’t see a content site as a business.

Um, and if they don’t see it as a business in their ranking business content, it’s just interesting to think about your website and how you can think about it like a business and look at the signals that Google… Looks for in businesses and then try to see about emulating some of those things on your website.

Josh: I think so, right? It’s like treat it like a business, uh, instead of trying to have five or 10 websites, have one good website. And I, your, your podcast with Sammy, I thought was a great too, right? Uh, he’s in a super competitive niche. Um, but he’s diversifying, right? He’s got a podcast, a YouTube, like short form.

He’s got all these things. Uh, And he’s competing with these bigger sites, and he’s got a lot less authority, so, um, 

Jared: And he went up some, like, 50 percent or more in the Helpful Content Update. Oh, 

Josh: wow, wow, interesting, yeah, so, you know, it’s like, yeah, that’s more time, uh, but like, I guess for me personally, right, like, my, my way of going about it would have been quantity of content.

More content, more opportunity to rank, more long tails, more page views, ads, affiliate, whatever, right, and going, like, his route, it’s like, hey, less content. But it’s really good content, but then we’re also putting that effort towards video, to audio, to all these other forms, uh, social, you know, etc. 

Jared: Well, it’s um, and I just want to encourage everyone as we move on, we’ll be talking about helpful content update I think for a while, each week, but, you know, I shared on Twitter, uh, today, was it Thursday?

A good, just an example, I thought it represented. A lot of what I’m feeling about the helpful content update and I just deep dove a certain query to buy it’s a, it’s a best query, you know, best X query and I think that what I found is that it’s, it was a DR 39 website, it was ranking number one for this query before the helpful content update, it’s still ranking number one, so it didn’t move up or down, it stayed there.

And I kind of dove into all the things, and a lot of the things they were doing in this article were exactly what Casey was talking about. Very, I mean, you could, I think there were 22 unique photos of the products they were reviewing. Wow. Um, you could tell, like, before and afters, and you could just see it.

It, it had, um, uh, the affiliate links were not prominent. Um, the content was very clearly expert written. It was a persona that clearly was the person doing, like, a lot of the things. That people like Casey and other people we featured say the helpful content update rewarded at the same time. The ads were intrusive.

There were video ads and there were too many ads everywhere. Um, uh, there was a lot of other technical issues with the website. So I think that we need to collectively look at maybe the 15 or the 20 things that moved that moved or that that impacted this update. But no, that You don’t have to get all 15 or 20 right, but if you don’t check enough of the boxes, those are probably the sites that saw a loss.

But there’s plenty of examples of sites that stayed or rose that didn’t check every box, but they maybe checked the majority of them, right? Yeah. 

Josh: You know, and also there’s, there’s a saying too, right? Maybe it’s not the best saying, but it’s like, nobody thinks their kid is… It’s not a good looking kid, right?

You know, so it’s like it’s the same thing like with your website like you might think like hey, this is my baby, right? Like I’m doing everything right like there’s nothing wrong with it, but you kind of got to step back and say okay Like hey, could it be better right? Could I do two or three of these 15 things that could help?

You know make it Appear more like a business and put it in a better light. I, 

Jared: uh, I’ll close the helpful content section by saying, I love this quote. You have a good quote, but, um, Mike Tyson, everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face. Yeah. This, for many, this feels like, um, getting punched in the face.

And, uh, the plan got thrown out the window. And you kind of got to go back to, go back and reevaluate what the plan is and maybe. Maybe, uh, your site isn’t quite as good looking as you thought, and even if the results ahead of you aren’t fair, or aren’t better, it still doesn’t mean that you can’t do some of the things Josh you talked about and evaluate what you have to make it better, so.

Well, from one slippery slope to the next, folks, uh, Spencer and I brought this up a couple of weeks ago, and that was that, um, Google was going before the DOJ, the Department of Justice in the United States, to talk about antitrust. Um, and, uh, there’s a lot of data, or, well, I guess not data, but reports coming out about what’s going on in the antitrust case here.

Um, I don’t know where we’re getting this information. Is this, can we go watch this, or are we just relying on people to talk about it? What, how do we get this information? Do you know? 

Josh: Yeah, it says it’s a, like a closed court, uh, but somehow, like, this guy writing this article said he was in there and he’s, like, something popped up on the, um, uh, man, what is it?

They used to use in school, you put it on like, I guess, like a projector or something, right? He said it kind of popped up on a projector. He was able to take some notes, and then they kind of took it down. So like, it’s very, seemed like it’s very, very, very closed, right? But there’s people somehow that are getting in there and linking this information out.

Well, 

Jared: I’m glad they are, because I’m certainly fascinated by it. Uh, if you haven’t heard, one of the big stories to come out of it, and we’ve got a couple to actually go through. Uh, Josh, you brought a couple things to the table here, but let me try to read off maybe a summary of what you’re seeing. It’s, speaking of a big wall of text, by the way, what you’re looking at, but that’s a different story altogether.

Um, yeah, that was my first thought. Jeez, I can’t read this, man. I don’t have enough time of the day to read all that. Uh, good thing I have, uh, summaries, uh, and I can get some summaries here. But I did get a summary. But basically, the big, the big story of the week is that there’s a lot of evidence.

Suggesting that Google might be altering search queries to generate better ad results or commercial results. An internal Google slide, probably the one you’re referencing, revealed a semantic matching overhaul to its search engine results page algorithm. The overhaul alters user queries to produce more commercial outcomes.

So the example was children’s clothing being covertly changed

to generate more revenue for Google. Um, and obviously since Google has so much market share and, um, and the fact that they are doing this without, uh, our, our ability to know about it or, or, uh, alt, uh, opt in for that, um, uh, is, is, I, I would say not good. I’ll just leave it at that. Um, Google’s, uh, let’s see, where is this one other thing I wanted to say?

Um, even, uh, oh yeah, so, Google first alters the user’s query and then presents results as if they were the best available, i. e. people believe that what they’re reading, um, is, is basically the best available, right? And then, here’s something that you brought to the table that I want to share as well, which has to do with the emails that were leaked.

Maybe you could talk about these emails that were leaked. 

Josh: Yeah, so there was, uh, somebody posted the actual email on Twitter, Um, it was from this court case, and it was the Google PPC team emailing the Google search team, uh, saying that, hey, we’re behind on our quota, meeting our KPIs, uh, we got a team here.

We’re trying to do our best to get ref, to hit the revenue targets for shareholders for the PPC side. Um, you know, pretty much like, hey, we want to get our bonuses this year. Uh, I don’t want to ruin the morale of the team. Could you alter the search results? To help us get more ads, to get more clicks, to get more revenue, so we can, we can, uh, hit our KPIs.

Um, and I seen that there was another Google, I guess, came out and put out a statement, I believe, about this. Yeah, they 

Jared: did. You know, so whether… Didn’t read 

Josh: well. Which makes me think, yeah, I don’t, I mean, I’m assuming that this was a true email, uh, and not doctored. But, like, giving these two things that we just went over, uh, the email and then Google changing your queries of what you’re searching.

Goes back to like these updates and what Google says you should be doing is they You can’t really take it at face value because at the end of the day, they’re a large corporation Um, they’re just really just trying to make money off ads. That’s how they make their money And they don’t care about anyone or anybody’s site or anybody’s business.

Uh, they have shareholders they have to answer to. Uh, I think it’s super interesting. I think it’s great that this stuff is coming out and I hope that there’s some kind of legal action that something happens, uh, uh, to them, you know. 

Jared: I mean, man, like a day at Google this month versus a day at Google even just a year ago and you’re like, there is so much going on there.

They have antitrust and clear evidence that stuff’s happening. I mean, we’re not lawyers. We don’t know what that’s going to go on. I don’t know how legal any of this stuff is. But clearly there’s evidence that’s surfacing that stuff happens that doesn’t seem above board, kind of like what you said. And then you got SGE, so they’re under pressure with AI and they have to figure out how to incorporate AI.

To some degree into what’s happening. Then they’ve got, um, absolute truckloads of content being published right now. Over the last year or so since AI became something available to content producers. And they’ve got to deal with that in their SERPs, they’ve got to crawl it, they’ve got to figure out how to rank stuff when they’re dealing with a scale of content like never before.

And then there are… Rolling out update after update after update that does seem to be following a central vision. They’re sharing, but it’s riddled with, you know, challenges, problems, issues with not being as dead on as they would like it to be. So, you know, I’m trying to be very PC here. Um, you know, off camera with a beer in my hand, I might, I might say something a little bit different.

The reality is they have a lot going on, and the, the, just the big landscape of search is changing, like it’s changing from like four different angles right now, and it’s very hard as an individual to wrap my head around where search is going, how AI plays into it, Google’s antitrust situation with other companies like an Amazon now potentially having the same issue, and then we’ve got all these updates that are targeting things that we’re very out of, you know, some are out of our control, some are in our control, so there’s my two minute monologue.

Lot goin on right now! Lot goin on right now! 

Josh: Absolutely, um, it’s just gonna be wild to see how it rolls out and I guess how the year ends, right? And, uh, and to see how their quarter ends as well. I think reading their earnings as well and seeing, hey, are they up, are they down, right? And how is that gonna affect 

Jared: the coming year, you Man, and you know, you brought it up, like, we are trained to know that there’s an update coming sometime around before or after Black Friday.

Yeah. So, we’re gonna have an August, an October, and then like a December? 

Josh: Yeah, and I, you know, I think last year they started doing them like this way more frequent too, right? Um, I mean, 

Jared: it just appears that it’s getting… We had like, what, March to August, right? I think we had a five or six month gap there between updates.

Josh: Yeah, I, well, the March core, the August core, and was there something in July though? Was there a helpful content in July last year? I don’t remember. No, 

Jared: helpful content first hit in September of last year. That was the first one. But we have had, this is the third one. So we have had a second one in there somewhere.

I don’t remember when that one was. See, it’s just, 

Josh: you know, it just seems to be 

Jared: more and more and more. Maybe we had a product review update this summer. That’s what it was. Yeah, maybe that was in July. And remember, it changed. It’s not the product review update. It’s just the review update now. Review update.

Yeah, yeah. It’s fun to do this live on air. You just figure stuff out live. 

Josh: Right. Uh, but you know, it’s just. It’s more and more updates, right? It’s more and more different names, supposed to be targeting different things. You know, it’s, Google says to do this, right? And you see the people on Twitter like, hey, I’m running Cloak Sites.

Hey, Parasites are still working really well for me. Uh, I think at the end of the day, people just gotta, gotta choose what side of the fence they want to be on, and figure out how to diversify, and I think at the end of the day, I think building an email list is, is gonna be your best bet, you know? 

Jared: Buckle up buttercup.

What a year 2023. We’re going to, um, yeah, I’m pregnant. Tell my kids about this year. Looking back. Well, your father’s hair is gray because of 2023. Yeah, right. And Google. I think we have time for one more really interesting news article here. Um, let’s this again was something that came up a couple of weeks ago.

Uh, and we have more data, more data coming out on it. Uh, here’s an article in Search Engine Land that said 26 percent of the top 100 websites are now blocking GPT bot. If I remember correctly, when Spencer and I talked about it before, it was approaching 20 percent and that was just a couple weeks ago.

Um, uh, But now it looks like 26 percent or 26 of the top 100 are now blocking GPT Bot. That’s, you know, it depends on where you get the data. That’s a 250 percent increase since last month when 69 of the top 100 websites had blocked GPT Bot. Um, so whatever data set you’re looking at, this is increasing quite a bit.

Publishers are blocking the chat GPT bot and basically saying we’re, we’re opting out. Um, let’s see, is it here? Yeah, so, uh, New York Times has blocked, Reuters has blocked. Uh, BBC and The Times, wherever that is, BBC and The Times still allow access. And then here’s one more screen I want to share. And then Josh, you weren’t here when we first talked about this, so I want to get your thoughts on this.

Um, this is another screen that is more for the news industry specifically. Um, this is talking about how, uh, basically there’s a, a gathering of news sites that are openly advocating to block ChatGPT. And this is as ChatGPT will now start to use news in its, um, in what it’s, in what it’s, in what it’s surfacing.

So the article says, until now, OpenAI’s ChatGPT was only able to use information up to September 2021, the cutoff date for its training database. But paying ChatGPT Plus and enterprise users can now get current and authoritative information quotes. In answers from the chatbot, and this will be expanded to all users soon.

OpenAI promised to provide direct links to sources. So we’ve got ChatGPT getting blocked by the big hundred, the big hundred sites, and then we’ve got a more curated focus for news websites to block ChatGPT because of an update coming through OpenAI. Whew, that’s a lot. 

Josh: You know, I don’t think you can blame them, right?

Jared: That was going to be my question. Why would you, why would you not block it? I’m just trying to think of like 

Josh: a news publisher, right? How does a news publisher make its revenue ads, right? Traffic ads, right. It’s getting the traffic in the ads and you’re already dealing with it with Google. Um, you know, like you, so many sites you probably could look at.

It’s like, Hey, impressions are going up. Position hasn’t changed but clicks are stagnant or they could be decreasing right because of certain features right more more ads Top stories or whatever it might be So as a publisher dealing with Google and then now you have these other AI platforms you have to deal with as well It’s getting to be a tough time to be a publisher.

Jared: I mean, it’s just interesting because we had a graph up a couple weeks ago about Google Trends and just the spike in chat GPT that happened when it was released in November and that carried through and continued to build momentum in the general public eye until I think it was about March. But it’s been on a steady decline.

Since March and, you know, as more and more websites literally block the crawler, uh, you know, I think we all know AI is the future in so many ways, but how it’s the future is going to be very dynamic. Um, you know, if large websites that control a lot of information are blocking and chat GPT bot actually, you know, kind of obeys that, uh, that block, it’s going to be interesting to see where they’re going to get the data from and, you know, how this, how this modeling plays out, they might have to actually strike some partnerships up or something.

Josh: It wasn’t their talk of, of one of them, uh, doing a partnership with, with AP News or something like that, right? So, I mean, they, they see it, right, and trying to, to get ahead of it. Um, yeah, you know, and, and as, like, GPT is using, uh, news, current news, right? Like, is that gonna be the Google competitor, right?

It’s, uh, instead of going to Google searching for this topic or current, are you gonna go to chat GPT and get the information you need? It’s gonna be very interesting. 

Jared: Well, we’re gonna have to kind of wrap up our news segment. So many things we weren’t able to get to. We had, um, uh, we also had a story you brought about news site traffic from Facebook and X decreasing year over year.

Amazon is looking to incorporate generative AI. Um, so much is going on right now in the world that we just had to, uh, to leave, leave out. So, man, um, you picked a good week to come, Josh. Yeah, very busy. You have to take a deep breath, get a glass of water or something. We still got more to do here. So we’re going to move on to our side hustle shenanigans.

Um, I guess I’ll go first, um, and, and share. So, uh, let me bring my calendar back up here and not count on my agenda. Um, yeah, so basically I have been kind of committing to talking about the Amazon influencer program as my side hustle of choice, probably through Q4. You know, and as you know, Q4 is when so much business flocks to Amazon, so much e commerce business flocks to Amazon.

And, um, you know, September is now done and in the books, and, you know, Spencer and I have been kind of teasing at it, but, um, I, I released on my YouTube account a full recap of September, and I’m calling it the Tale of Two Halves. So, uh, basically, in a nutshell. Earnings were excellent, uh, I would say probably higher than what I would expect.

I’m only four months in, so who do I, what do I know about expecting anything? But they seemed higher than I was expecting for the first two weeks or so of September. I was on pace to be earning, um, well over 3, 000 in the month of September. Um, and, and so, uh, and then clicks dropped off a cliff. Um, sometime around mid September, I went from averaging over 600 clicks a day to my videos to, I think, just over 250 or something.

And so as a result, the earnings dropped quite a bit. So, September finished off at just over 2, 200 in earnings. Um, and, um, and, and, and really though, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a tale of two halves because the second half of September was… far below averaging 2, 200 a month. The first half of September was far above averaging.

And so I’m just so curious to see what’s gonna happen going forward in the month of um, of October, November, and December. Um, and I will just say, you know, like, this is a total experiment. And the first couple months, both Spencer and I have been really quick to point out how amazing of an opportunity it is and how well it was doing off the ground.

And at the same time… Uh, some poor results in the second half of August, some poor results in the second half of September. Definitely kind of bringing me back down to earth here on how well this side hustle is doing. And just to close, still at the same time, four months in on a side hustle and earning over 2, 000 a month, with a lot of opportunity for upside in the future.

Still probably not a bad thing, but definitely not the total home run that it was looking like the first couple months. 

Josh: Yeah, I think it’s fantastic, right? Where else are you going to earn two grand in a month and, and, and four months in? Um, I guess my question is like, for you, do you know why the clicks dropped?

Was it more videos, more competition, or was it something that Amazon did with your 

Jared: placements? It would seem like they removed the entire video carousel that sits at the bottom of the Amazon product listings. Um, I, I, I didn’t deep dive it. Like, I don’t have time. Yeah, yeah. And even if I do, I’m like, am I cookied?

Am I logged in? Am I, you know? And so… Those are, there’s people smarter than me that test all this stuff, but word on the street from talking to a few other people who kind of did look into it, and I certainly noticed it while I was going around Amazon. I pay attention to these influencer videos now that I do them.

It’s amazing how, you know, when you’re doing something, you start to notice it a lot more. And yeah, second half of September, I certainly saw far less of them. And it definitely seemed to be limited query based or product based. But they definitely yanked a bunch of them out. And it wasn’t like they yanked my video out.

It was like, oh, I used to have a video that was number one here. And that was where I made money. And I’m not making money on it, so I wouldn’t go look at the video. And oh, yeah, it’s, it’s just not, there’s no videos there. It’s not that my video disappeared and someone came in and took my place. It’s that there’s no videos.

You know, it’s almost like… You rank number one, number two, number three for a query in Google. But now, uh, anytime anybody does that query in Google, it just says, Sorry, no results found. It’s kind of like that. 

Josh: And, I mean, I guess not to be devil’s advocate, but it’s kind of like, as we’ve been talking about this whole episode is, it’s almost like it’s an algorithm, right?

It’s, it’s, it’s Amazon sandbox like Google. Um, and I have to wonder, is it a test? Okay, hey, they gathered all this data from these months with these videos. You know, this was their conversions. Now let’s remove them for X amount of time. Let’s see what happens. And I wonder if, Hey, there’s, they’re trying to decide like, what are we going to do for black Friday?

What are we going to do for cyber Monday for the holiday season? Uh, Do we make more money with these videos there or without them, you know, 

Jared: you hit the nail on the head I mean I could be wrong But I’m seeing so many indications that they’re actually investing in this program from different bonuses and different opportunities They’re presenting and so, you know, I mean, I feel like there could be a better way to test But it it it feels like testing right?

It feels like it’s almost like Let’s prominently display them in the first half of September. Let’s not display them in the second half of September. Let’s compare earnings Amazon earnings, right? Like profit for the company. And then you’re right, like doing this testing in September leading up to what we know starting end of October, early November when people really start buying from Amazon, having data sets in front of them.

Um, you might be thinking at home like, Oh, dude, Amazon’s got it all figured. Like they don’t need to go to those kind of lengths to test stuff. Well, for anyone who’s uploaded a video to the Amazon Influencer backend, trust me, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have a lot of data because it’s quite the…

Throne together user experience when it comes to kind of submitting your video and the analytics are rudimentary at best. Um, so I don’t know. I, I hope so. It’s probably like the, uh, you know, the positive attitude in me that’s saying like, yeah, they’re just testing, you know? So, but I mean, look, we’ll see like, uh, you know, this is kind of those things where I’m in it, so let’s, let’s ride it out.

But, um, but, but you kind of get to just watch and learn as I go through the, uh, the roller coaster of whatever’s coming. Who knows? Yeah, and you have 

Josh: so many videos now too, right? I think that if you probably say, hey, you know what? I’m just gonna take the rest of the year off that you’ll still probably have a very good Q4, right?

But two more things one. I just seen recently that uh, like tik tok has the tik tok shop You know, like they’re putting like shoppable videos out there. I don’t know exactly how it works But I seen somebody that is using it and they said it’s incredible right now because tik tok is covering 40% What appears to be like the purchase price.

So if you’re, if your item’s 100 bucks, the user pays 60, TikTok is paying 40, and the seller is getting the 100 bucks. That’s like how heavily invested they are into getting these shoppable videos. And just as Amazon, right? They’ve got to be aware of this as well, right? And like you said, they’re investing into the program.

You’ve got to think it’s going to be the future, and they’re going to figure out a way to make it work. Um, the second question, uh, Yeah, 

Jared: I was just going to say, I agree with you, man. I’ve got to look at 

Josh: TikTok. Yeah, right? Uh, yeah, I don’t know. Could you do affiliate links, or that would be interesting. I don’t know.

I haven’t looked. So, if somebody is not in the influencer program, and they’re saying, Hey. They’re listening right now, and they’re like, okay, Q4, we’re in Q4. What is your thoughts? Does it make sense right now, if you’re at zero, to start and start getting them out there? Or do you like, eh, maybe focus on, on, you know, building your site or fixing your, your, uh, site from the, the updates?

Jared: Well, here’s the thing, and I’ve always said this about the Influencer Program. Like, it’s forcing me to do things that I should be doing for my site anyways. All the content you create from a video standpoint, with a little bit of extra work, Is, is allowed to be put, put on YouTube. And so, what would I say to someone?

I would say, hey, in general, you should be pr If you’re, if you care about, going back to what you said earlier, like, if you want to make a go at one of your websites, like, you should be producing video content. That’s elevating to the next level. You should be publishing on YouTube, getting that wonderful signal, that you have other sources of traffic and interest, validating your expertise.

And Amazon Influencer plays into that. Um, yeah, like, not everything I’m making a video about would qualify for my niche site, but a lot of it would, and I can parlay a lot of my efforts in creating content for YouTube by also putting it on the Amazon Influencer program. So, to me, it’s almost like getting paid, getting rewarded by Amazon to do something I should be doing anyways to substantiate and support my website.

Josh: It’s almost like a triple, right? You can get Amazon dollars, you can get the YouTube audience dollars, and then you can put it on your website to try to satisfy the search engines, and help your users as well. Exactly. Like a no brainer, you 

Jared: know? Yeah, and so like, you know, I don’t want to get into like a whole strategy there, but like, if you go through your 200 articles on your website, it’s like, hey, um, you know, how do I, how do I refill a ballpoint pen?

Like, you could make a video about that, put it on your YouTube channel. And then make sure you just tag in the Amazon influencer program. This ballpoint pen, that video now can be shown as a shoppable video for the pen. It can be helpful on YouTube and it can also be supporting your efforts on your niche website.

So, yeah, awesome. But you got to qualify and get in, which, um, yeah, that’s the other half of it. Yup. Yeah. Okay. I I’m rambling. What’s going on in your world? Last I heard from you, I think it was August and you were deep into AI publishing. Yeah. Yeah. 

Josh: So, um, so I had a site, it’s a few years old. Um, you know, like I, I, it’s like a DR 32 now.

Um, you know, like I had built links, uh, a year or so ago, like with fairy, um, Haro, uh, You know, other stuff, right? So I had kind of done a lot of the things, but also I know I cut a lot of corners. Um, you know, I was just outsourcing, right? I was head down at, at my last job. Right. Um, so I didn’t, I didn’t treat it like a business.

Uh, it got hit last year, uh, in the late summer, early fall, one of those updates, the tail end of one of the updates, it went from around 800, 900 clicks to. Uh, around 300 or so clicks. 

Jared: Okay, so 60 percent haircut? Yeah, yeah, and that 

Josh: was, and then it just set, right? I let it sit, didn’t worry about it. Um, just did more nothing to do with it.

Uh, and then as the, the rise of AI, and I’m like, okay, hey, this could be interesting. Uh, it’s got some links, it’s got some age. Okay, let’s kind of dabble with some AI content. Let’s do this. And started playing with it. And, you know, I put up a few hundred articles, a few hundred, kind of refined my process.

Um… And so since July to, uh, like September, I put up almost 4, 000 articles. So, okay. And so these were unedited. Um, I was essentially like go to, uh, to Ahrefs type in a keyword, grab every question, uh, cluster them, try to remove duplicates, um, loaded into the AI tool. Put it on my site. Just let it run. I was, you know, publishing probably, I mean, I guess, yeah, I mean.

over 100 articles a day. Yeah. Uh, you know, and it was, I mean, I didn’t drip feed just mass publish. Uh, clicks did kind of start to an impression. Impressions went up. Click started to go up. I mean, it wasn’t like massive. It got to like 300 or so clicks a day. Um, it wasn’t really exciting. So I’m like, okay, like it’s just, it’s not really working.

Uh, well then the helpful content update and now it just got crushed. It’s doing, uh, about 20 to 40 clicks a day now. Uh, and you, you look at GSC, it was just kind of like this, and then it’s just a straight drop, right? It just went off a cliff. Um, I mean, at the end of the day, like, it doesn’t, the site was kind of already dead to me.

You know, like, I just, uh, I’m just not interested in the niche. So it was just kind of just see what would happen, uh, an experiment. Uh, and this is the way it turned out. But now I do think it’s interesting that, uh, we have the spam update, the core update. And when I look at GSC before this call. Um, I guess the data would have been from two days prior.

Uh, you could kind of see, I mean, not much, right? But the clicks kind of turned up a little, which is just interesting. Um, so I’m going to curious to see what’s going to happen over the next few weeks or months. I have no intention to publish more content. Um, I did send a few PBN links to, uh, some money pages.

I don’t think it really affected the, my, my rankings. Um, so I’m just going to kind of let it and sit and see what happens and, uh, You know, uh, as far as the next side hustle or shiny object shenanigan, I might go fire up the Amazon influencer tonight, you know, 

Jared: this shiny object might have lost a bit of its luster is what you’re saying.

Josh: Exactly. Yeah, it was already getting there. Right. It just wasn’t, wasn’t, uh, not a lot of effort on my part. Right. I mean, it’s 20, 30 minutes, maybe, uh, if that a day, um, but it even now, like it’s just clearly not worth the effort. Uh, I’ll just let it sit and kind of see what happens and see how the, these, these updates, if they do affect it, uh, I mean, really can’t affect it any more negatively.

So it’ll just be interesting to see though, like, hey, does it, does it kind of bounce back or not? You know, um, 

Jared: It’s interesting as you, I mean, you mentioned earlier, focusing on maybe one or two websites instead of maybe five or ten notoriously, a lot of people in this space and maybe built up a big, a bigger single site and then, you know, kind of branch out and whether it’s just to have fun or to test something or to seed a future project, we’ll start other sites and, um, you know, certainly seeing that that might have more limited returns by following that approach.

So if you’re someone who’s thinking about going from like, Oh, I got three sites and one took a hit and I got, you know, another one that do it, did all right. So I’m going to just leave that site alone. Like it’s a good ROI decision to think about. But what do you do with it? You know, you just let it sit there.

And in your case, you let it sit there for a year and you’re like, Well, heck, let’s try something with it. You know? Yeah. I mean, 

Josh: it’s at the end of the day, right? You’ve already invested this time and money. And essentially it’s gone, right? It’s… But I guess it depends, too, on where it was at, right? Like, if this was your…

paying your bills, Uh, it’s It’s a whole different thing than it’s like, Hey, you need to get it fixed, and you need to get… You gotta pay your bills, or you gotta go get a job, or whatever, right? Um, but if it’s a side hustle, it’s a shiny object, like… Yeah, you know, I lost, right? But I know… I know why I lost. I know the mistakes I made.

I know I was lazy. And I gotta deal with it, right? I gotta… I gotta lay in the bed that I made. Um, and, and another thing from your interview with Sammy that I really thought was awesome is he said he was looking at his site on a 10 year timeline. You know what I mean? That’s it. That, that, that, to me, that boggled my mind.

Like 10 years, that’s a decade. You know, a lot of things are going to happen in 10 years, but that’s the approach this guy’s taking. So I started thinking like, I already know this site is not a 10 year site for me, right? So I’m like, what is the site that would be 10 years or what’s the niche, right?

What’s the product? Yeah. You know, I think in it’s, or even a five year timeline is massive. Um, so that’s kind of what I’m thinking, like going forward is like, Hey, what, what could that be? And I think that’s a, would be good advice for anybody, you know? 

Jared: Well, if you have shameless plug, I always say shameless, it’s not shameless.

It’s not at all entirely fitting plug. If you didn’t see Sammy’s interview on our podcast, What probably two months ago, maybe I’m guessing a couple months ago. Not that long ago. Yeah, I mean as fortuitous as it gets for the helpful content update I feel like if we if we now Sammy can forever say I told you so in so many ways not that he would 

Josh: Yeah, yeah, it’s a great 

Jared: interview.

I had a lot of stuff. Yeah. Yeah, so well Well, I’ll see if we can figure out how to link to that. I’ll have I’ll have my people talk to Spencer’s people about that. . Uh, hey, let’s move into a fun segment. You know, um, lot of stuff. Very heavy episode here with news and it’s a lot, uh, just all the updates, but we do have a, we do have some, uh, some, some weird niches to talk about.

Always good to get someone like you coming on. We’ll see where you go. I guess I’ll just go first since I’m top of the list here. Um, and I got to share my screen, but I hope people who watch appreciate this because it really, I was telling Josh before we started recording, Spencer is so good at it, and I always complain about it.

Tough for me. Multitasking. And the website is, the weird niche is, uh, cuddlebuddy. com. Uh, no, sorry, cuddlecomfort. com. It’s, uh, but it’s all about having a cuddle buddy. So, um, this is not a weird, like, niche in that way, if that’s where your mind’s going. Uh, it’s just odd. So we’ll use the word odd. This is a legit site though, okay?

This is, um, this site has been around since 2011. And it’s tagline is, get a cuddle buddy today. We’ll find you a cuddle buddy so you can start a friendship based on cuddling without any expectations of something more call to action Start cuddling it has been featured in the wall street journal Fox, Yahoo Finance, um, uh, and I just, I find this site to be fascinating.

Uh, it’s just such a weird concept to me. Um, for starters, obviously there’s, but they’ve got like quotes here, what they’re saying. Um, uh, I’ve had a couple of success stories from this site. Both my Snuggle Buddies were awesome. Uh, I mean, it’s just, half of me feels like they’ve gotta just be making this up, right?

Like, this has to just be a big, elaborate joke. But, I mean, they’ve done everything by the book. Um, and it just, it’s a, it’s, it’s legit, I think. Uh, if you go to About, it says, More than 400, 000 people from the United States and around the world use Cuddle Comfort. We created a platform so you can get a cuddle whenever you want one at no cost.

Uh, they got a big getting, getting started here. Um, uh, they got a big trust pilot, uh, button here. Uh, 4. 2 out of 5, only 66 reviews. We’d like to see a little bit higher for 400, 000 people. That’s, feels a little, uh, inflated, let’s put it that way. Um, SEO wise, they’re a DR 32. Now they only rank for 2, 000 keywords, but they rank for some really, really nice ones.

Probably because of some of those backlinks they’ve gotten. Um, Josh, first, first take on CuddleComfort. com. I don’t 

Josh: even know what to say. Uh, it unreal, right? Um, I guess my first thought is, you know, interesting, right? Uh, super interesting, uh, to find the site to go through the process. And then my second thought is how do they make money?

Um, somebody has got to be paying. I’m guessing maybe the, uh, the the cuddle buddy is, is maybe paying or. 

Jared: It says free, you have to sign up. I’m wondering if maybe they use that data to then sell you stuff. Later, or share that data with other people or other businesses. I agree with you. It says free, but I, I didn’t log in.

I didn’t create an account. I thought that, you know, you know, I’m married here. Yeah. Don’t want to explain that one to the, you know, Hey, that was for, that was for the podcast. I promise, you know, so I didn’t sign up. Yeah. 

Josh: I’m not going to end well. Um, yeah, 

Jared: or maybe if I wanted to go down and test this for the podcast.

But, um, anyways, yeah, I don’t know how they make money. I wonder if maybe 

Josh: dating offers or something like that. Maybe a companion or, uh, I don’t know, super, super interesting. How 

Jared: much traffic are they getting? Yes, our platform is completely free with no barriers or paywalls. Our mission is for people like you to get a cuddle whenever you want one at no cost.

We also have members that prefer the convenience of paying for one. It’s how we fund our platform, but it’s entirely optional. Well, I guess maybe that’s it. 

Josh: I don’t know. Yeah. And according to similar web, it says they’re getting, uh, almost 1 million 

Jared: visits a month. Oh, wow. No kidding. So maybe a DR 32, but clearly they’re getting traffic with only 2000 keywords.

You’re not getting a million pages a month, but, um, but, but that’s some serious traffic. Yeah. So, 

Josh: uh, a lot of people looking for cuddling. 

Jared: Well, you know, I mean, yeah, it looks like they’re based out of London. Um, it is an American website in that it’s a com, it’s not a co. uk. Um, uh, you know, they have a, they have a, not a lot down here in terms of what you can learn about the brand or if it’s owned by a larger business.

A lot of times, uh, Spencer and I will, will kind of see here on the podcast, like these sites tend to be owned by conglomerates or things like that, so. But, uh, yeah, you know, if you’re looking for the world of weird, I felt like that qualified. Um, Josh, you are up. Let’s see, you want me to go, you got two here today, which technically is not one weird niche, but I’ll let it go because I think, like you said at the outset, these kind of tie together nicely here.

Yeah, I 

Josh: think it’s, uh, so I seen this shared, uh, somewhere, uh, Facebook group or Twitter or somewhere. Um, so the first one we’ll look at is. Is sunglasses id.com. Uh, what it is is just a site that, like every pair of glasses that an actor has worn in a movie is listed here. So you could search like, uh, like Maverick, right?

The the latest Top Gun movie. You could search Maverick and it would tell you the glasses that, that they wore in the movie. And when they tell you that it’s a link to go buy those glasses. Um, so this one is a DR. 31. Uh, And it’s 14 years in 260 days old rem remember the days? ’cause it’s gonna be interesting when we get to the second 

Jared: one.

I, um, I saw that in the notes and I was like, Jo, Josh, what do you, what, what are we getting a days for? Why does it matter? ? 

Josh: Yeah. Right. So it’s, yeah, 14 years in, 260 days old. It has, uh, over, just over a thousand pages. Um, nine, it ranks for 9,000 keywords, 1000 keywords in the top three. And according to SimilarWeb, it’s getting 70,000 visits a month.

Jared: Okay.

You know, I mean, and 

Josh: for 14 years, like, just seems like a great little site, you know, that’s just been making however much money. Uh, but you know, the one question I have for this, and then the second one is how are they finding this? How are you finding all this stuff from the movies? You know, um, 

Jared: You know, I, I got to imagine that, um, it’s like an expert.

I mean, maybe they publish this stuff. I’m not much into celebrity stuff, but maybe they publish some of this stuff. I don’t know. 

Josh: Maybe the costumes or something, like finding the data for the costumes for the movie. Um, I would, I would think that somehow, some way this is automated. 

Jared: Sure feels that way, doesn’t it?

Yeah. Here you go, I’m just for, I’m just poking around Josh, but I got up on camera and Anne Hathaway, uh, The Hustle, and it says these sunglasses are not yet identified. If you know the brand and model of these glasses, please contact sunglasses, sunglassid. com. Hmm, interesting. The closest we can find are these super basic Wayfairs find on eBay.

Yeah. Affiliate link, of course. But it’s like how, you 

Josh: know, how are you finding Anne Hathaway with the glasses and the hustle to do that for every movie out there? Yeah. For the last 14 years is, um, 

Jared: it’s pretty cool. So what’s the second site you’ve got now? So 

Josh: the second site, uh, is watch id.com. So it’s the exact same concept, right?

It’s. Clearly the same guy when you, or girl, when you look at it, but it’s watches. It’s got the same design, the same everything. It’s about movies. Uh, it’s what the watches they wear in movies. Um, it’s a DR 30 and it’s 14 years and 243 days old. So 

Jared: this site 17 days later? Yeah. 

Josh: It’s 17 years, uh, like after the first site was built, this site was built.

So, uh, and I, I didn’t go deep, deeper to see if he has shoes or pants or jackets or, or 

Jared: whatever. I was my first question. Did he do it 17 days later? Did he do it for, uh, you know, whatever? Yeah, shoes. 

Josh: Yeah, I, I wouldn’t be surprised. Um, but so this site, again, thousand pages. Uh, but it’s got 17, 000 keywords ranking, but only 648 in the top three.

And SimilarWeb says traffic is, uh, 117, 000 a month, but I think the watch site looks like it’s, it, according to Ahrefs is, is taking a little bit of hit, uh, I think the Sunglasses site was pretty stable in Ahrefs, um, but just super, to me it was just super fascinating that they, they have all of this information, 

Jared: um.

You know, they certainly could make improvements to these sites, like the pages are pretty thin. You know, um, I, they, they’re kind of, I would say that they have a nice internal linking, um, potentially, structure there. I’m looking at watch ID and the top menu bar is celebrating a 10 year anniversary, 2009 to 2019.

Yeah, they did update their footer, their footer is updated for 2023, but they have not updated their header banner. So certainly they could make a lot of improvements here. 

Josh: Yeah. It’s almost kind of like it, it feels like they are, um, kind of built in my kind of set and forget in a way, right? Like it’s, uh, like you say, right?

Like it’s 10 years there, which is four years old, you know? Um, I don’t 

Jared: know. It’s super interesting. I’m on their about page, there’s, I mean, nothing about, um, So it says, to answer your question, This information is gathered from research by the author, Official press releases from watch brands, Forums, web blogs, and tips from readers.

And then a special thanks to a few people, Uh, for the excellent programming of the website, And then another person for his passionate help in providing some of the screenshots. So, yeah, I guess it’s compiled by, Um, Remmert Van Bram, so it sounds kind of, you know, German or something like that in nature, so maybe Dutch?

Josh: Uh, yeah, it looks like, uh, so their website, okay, so according to their LLC, Remart, uh, they’re in North Carolina and there’s one employee. Um,

Jared: and it’s like, it looks like they’re like a website, yeah, designed yeah, yeah, Remart LLC at the bottom. Yeah, you got the website by Remart LLC down there at the bottom. Okay, yeah. Well, this looks like a site that doesn’t have more than one person working on it. 

Josh: So, interesting, they also have Bond Lifestyle and, uh, trackablemouse.

org. Uh, it’s rem art. nl. 

Jared: Ah, see, you’re starting to find all this stuff now. You know, I 

Josh: looked at his LinkedIn and I didn’t even see that they had the URL to their site on LinkedIn. Um, yeah, this trackablemouse looks cool. Ah, you know, 

Jared: we see so many weeks, we see so many weeks where… You kind of see a website that has this sort of programmatic nature to it and then you find out that the person who started it started three, four, five in similar niches or, you know, shoulder niches or related niches, right?

And here’s another example where they got the website concept down and then they just went sunglasses and watches and, you know, that. A little, a little off the beaten path. Mouses, but you know, hey, while you’re at it, why not? Yeah, so I mean… Well, I think, I think we’re gonna have to wrap up here. Uh, I’m just looking at the time.

Um, we were a little verbose today. We went over the hour mark. But, um, hey, you know what? There was a lot of news to cover. 

Josh: Yeah, a lot to talk about today. And, uh, you know, great call. And thanks for having me, Jared. 

Jared: Josh, remind everyone again where they can find you. You’re with Link Whisper. But where can people catch up with what you’re doing?

Yeah, 

Josh: um, on Twitter. Uh, it’s Josh Blackburn 01. Uh, I’m not too active there, but, uh, you know, if you find me, if you got any questions, you can, I think DMs are open. Happy to, to chat or help in any way. 

Jared: Busy working on, uh, on Link Whisper, I suppose. So, yeah, thanks for stopping by. You obviously have your finger on the pulse with what’s going on, so it’s great to hear your perspectives.

Uh, certainly with just… Update after update after update. Uh, just to remind everyone, um, you know, Niche Pursuit sends out several emails a week with lots of really helpful stuff, including this, but we do weekly interviews and, uh, Spencer has the big, um, the big challenges going on right now that are really interesting.

I saw a really cool interview with an AI specialist being released this week for… One of the challenges and stuff. So you can get signed up for that at niche pursuits. com slash newsletter. And, uh, without further ado, let’s, uh, we’ll kick the weekend off. Everybody have a good weekend. Thanks for joining us.



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