Rinse and Repeat

Databases are cool! That may sound like something that only a total computer nerd would say but I don’t care as they make me money.

Just over a year a go I had an idea for a site that I thought would be fun to do as a joint project with my daughter (I often look for projects that I can get the whole family involved in, a/ For fun and b/ For the cheap labour :) )

The site required the gathering of a vast amount of data so I decided to take a shortcut and purchase a database from Oddity Software. As the same database could be bought by anybody and I wanted mine to be unique so I combined it with another freely available database. This gave me unique content as well as adding value to the readers. As you’ve probably guessed I’m not sharing full site details in this post but I’ll to give a similar example of what I did.

Say you buy a database of recipes, many of which are available. As there are literally hundreds of recipe sites out there this is a bit of a duplicate content nightmare. But if you could combine this with a database of foods to calories and daily allowances you now have unique content along with enhancing your visitors experience. This is a fictional example but I hope you get my drift.

Going back to my case it took me about 2 days to code the site, and $100 to pay a designer to create an appropriate theme. I only had to code 5 different pages but as the site was database driven this resulted in 1000s of pages of Google friendly unique content. After a small amount of promotion the site was earning a few dollars on a daily basis, from affiliate schemes and a somewhat well known PPC network.

For the work and cost involved the site was pretty unsuccessful. It was in a very low paying niche that generated around $2 CPM from all revenue sources. However I’d used under 1% of the purchased database (I had to buy a comprehensive database and just used the relevant parts to my niche) and I now had a framework in place and a lot of unique data to exploit it with.

After a bit code restructuring I created a generic site where you specify which niche in the database you want to use and write a small amount of unique content, register a domain and bang in about 30 minutes, you have a unique site that is useful to its readers . Going back to my fictional recipe example, it would be like creating a sites of potato recipes, African recipes, Low carb recipes, Fish dishes, etc..

I’ve got a good dozen of these sites and they continue to bring me a nice bit of extra income. They also clearly indicate the profitability of different niches. The average CPM of the original site is around $2 whilst the most profitable is over $30 and on a good day they can out earn my main site which ain’t bad for a few days work.

That’s why I love databases.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Thats why I love this blog. I just keep getting ideas everytime I read it. Now my problem is I am a professional procrastinator and I can’t write code. But I am getting there.


    • Humphrey says:

      Yeah, same here on the ‘procrastinator’ level. I have done the same type of thing with one of their databases. Could have made more $$ if I could code better, so I just paid them to develop a site for me too. Still more than covered ROI to date. However I must say, you need to quite giving all of my secrets out! jk..

      • I did the same with one of their DB’s, like you I paid them to code it so that I could use the DB in a site, still profitable but it sure would be handy to be a coder.

        • Humphrey says:

          Well since were on the subject, might as well play show and tell. Here is the project they did for me: http://www.rateclubs.com

          Averages $120-$160 in revenues (CPM ads, affiliate ads, paid listings) per week.

          Care to share your project, or is that tip top secret’ish :p

        • That’s a nice looking site Humphrey, thanks for sharing. I intentionally didn’t mention my sites in the post as by sharing how I made them unique would of defeated the object in doing so :)

  2. I, too, am a super procrastinator, and have a hard time getting things off the ground. This site gives so many good ideas though, that I feel almost forced to go ahead and give give something a whirl.

    • Even if it doesn’t work you’ll of learnt something along the way so it’s always worth giving it a shot. Having a failed website is more productive than watching any soap :)

  3. Cool idea Al. I hadnt thought of mixing 2 together to get some somewhat unique work. Time to get thinking here :)

  4. hmmm buying databases, that’s one to think about….. no, not think…. DO!! I’m fortunate enough that like Al, I can do the tinkering with the code and databases, plus I have been known to create some good site designs/themes too.

    Great post as usual though, lots of ideas to get the think tank bubbling without giving away all your secrets :)

  5. I have often believed the web could cater well to this method. Thanks for letting me know it can be done. Time to get diligent and find a few associated db’s for my own site building pleasure.

  6. The poor guys in the sample data from the ‘European Executives‘ database must be on every spam list on the face of the earth by now!

  7. Very interesting, not sure I full understand the concept for implementation.

  8. Wow, I thought about doing this some time ago, but never got around more than thinking about it, though my thoughts didn’t involve combining data from 2 different DB’s with related content. But the way you put it I might have to look into it again.

    Could I ask why you didn’t do the food stuff, because that is something I was thinking about before.

    To Joey: Haha, aren’t we all procrastinators at some level? 😉


  1. […] at jeg sad og læste igennem nogle af de blogs hvis RSS feeds jeg abonnerer på, så faldt jeg over denne historie som jeg synes du skulle tage og […]

Leave a Reply