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Business suggestions for Patrick

By someone else following x   2018 Mar 14, 4:48pm 2,558 views   48 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


What kind of service do you think people would be willing to pay $5.46 per month for? (The 46 cents is what Paypal or Stripe will charge to leave $5 in revenue for the merchant.)

I'm thinking of bringing back the housing news links, but it was a huge amount of work, and subscriptions were declining below the point where it was worthwhile. Maybe if I paid for advertising, that would help, but I doubt I'll get anything like the free press coverage I got way back in the housing bubble days.

Is there something else related to investing, housing, or politics? Curated news links like the housing links are relatively simple, but not really worthwhile until you can get well over 1,000 subscribers (= $5,000/month, = $60,000/year)

I know subscription fees are annoying, but they are often totally worth it as a consumer, and are definitely the best business model as a provider. I gladly pay my $5 to Spotify per month for a huge selection of music. They in turn spend most of that on licensing, which is a typical issue with subscriptions to raw data that someone else controls.

OK, housing newsletter again, or something else? Best funny pictures? Carefully selected porn links? What would you really enjoy getting in your email a few times a week?

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9   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 14, 7:12pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I had the idea (as did many others) of crawling all the real estate sites and aggregating price info, but was assured by a lawyer that I would very quickly be sued for violating terms of service, because realtors really do not want a valid asking price history out there, because it makes it harder to re-list a place at a lower price and then lie about it being on the market for the first time. Which they do.

But are there other kinds of housing or financial data I could get with a crawler which would be interesting as a subscription service?
10   mell   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 14, 7:31pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
I had the idea (as did many others) of crawling all the real estate sites and aggregating price info, but was assured by a lawyer that I would very quickly be sued for violating terms of service, because realtors really do not want a valid asking price history out there, because it makes it harder to re-list a place at a lower price and then lie about it being on the market for the first time. Which they do.

But are there other kinds of housing or financial data I could get with a crawler which would be interesting as a subscription service?


Why don't you set up shop overseas, I'm sure you have a trusted friend somewhere, Deploy the code there, let the assholes sue what cannot be sued. I think the original idea is still the most useful, people would definitely give anything to get real housing data not realtor-forged.
11   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 14, 8:33pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

@mell What about some form of crowdsourcing to get the data?

Realtors advertise prices and landlords advertise rents. They essentially need to advertise those prices. People see those ads and know what the price and address is. If they were to enter the data on patrick.net, I am pretty sure that would not be a violation of anyone's terms of service, and advertised prices and addresses are facts, which cannot be copyrighted.

Now what would motivate the crowd to enter this data? Maybe access to more data. So if they enter one data point, they get access to 100 nearby data points, or they get access to important derivative data, like whether a given house is a good deal based on nearby rents. Might work. https://www.gasbuddy.com/ crowdsourcing of data works because users get to feel that they are united against big corporations, and they get access to the data for free. But gas is a commodity and houses are all on unique plots of land, so maybe people wouldn't feel the same way.

Finally, how could I prevent "poisoning" of the data by unethical realtors? They would no doubt try to enter bogus prices. Maybe I need some kind of redundancy, where a price is accepted if 2 out of 3 users enter the same data.

I did think about this very idea years ago, but it has a kind of chicken-and-egg problem. Probably needs to be started locally in San Francisco, and then keep expanding from there if it works.
12   Ironworker   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 14, 8:43pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Start your own version of investing, market timing for real estate and stocks newsletter. You're pretty smart guy Patrick. So what if you can't predict the future. Nobody can! But many still sell their newsletter like for example - Brinkley market timer. I think he charges $160 yearly, delivers 12 newsletters per year and ocassional special announcement. Give it your own twist and start charging. What is $160 for someone worth 3 million? Nothing. People want to keep reading predictions. Everyone wants to know what you think is comming next. It's like mental masturbation that never ends.
13   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 14, 8:54pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Thanks @Ironworker I had not considered that idea, probably because I don't have much faith in my ability to predict the short term, which can deviate for quite a while from what fundamentals would predict. As they say: "The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

I'd feel better about a newsletter if I had some kind of unique data or analysis that others don't really have.

One cool idea I had was using cellphone locations to count cars in retail parking lots over time to give investors an idea of which stores are likely to report good earnings soon. But now probably half the apps on our phones are actually tracking our location without our permission or knowledge, so they could already do such things.

Are there some other metrics which would also provide these insights to investors? The easiest way for me to get data is web scraping, but I'm also interested in unusual channels, like automatically scanning satellite photos over time.
14   mell   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 14, 9:35pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
@mell What about some form of crowdsourcing to get the data?

Realtors advertise prices and landlords advertise rents. They essentially need to advertise those prices. People see those ads and know what the price and address is. If they were to enter the data on patrick.net, I am pretty sure that would not be a violation of anyone's terms of service, and advertised prices and addresses are facts, which cannot be copyrighted.

Now what would motivate the crowd to enter this data? Maybe access to more data. So if they enter one data point, they get access to 100 nearby data points, or they get access to important derivative data, like whether a given house is a good deal based on nearby rents. Might work. https://www.gasbuddy.com/ crowdsourcing of data works because users get to feel that they are united against big corporations, and they get access to the data for free. But gas is a commodity and houses are all on unique plots of land...


Also a good idea, but people are inherently lazy and it opens up the possibility for deliberate false data. It's insane that you are not allowed to scrape readily available data. If you get around the blocking, how can anybody prove you have scraped it from somewhere vs entered it yourself?

Patrick says
Thanks @Ironworker I had not considered that idea, probably because I don't have much faith in my ability to predict the short term, which can deviate for quite a while from what fundamentals would predict. As they say: "The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

I'd feel better about a newsletter if I had some kind of unique data or analysis that others don't really have.

One cool idea I had was using cellphone locations to count cars in retail parking lots over time to give investors an idea of which stores are likely to report good earnings soon. But now probably half the apps on our phones are actually tracking our location without our permission or knowledge, so they could already do such things.

Are there some other metrics which would also provide these insights to investors? The easiest way for me to get data is web scraping, but I'm also interested in unusual channels, like automatically scanning satellite photos over time.


I have so many ideas around stocks. I had a near real-time tracker of my buys and sells and would have a bot post them on in a chat room or on social media. But honestly these days it is hard to make money on the web as there are 1000 versions of the same idea being worked at any given minute. The problem with stock stuff is the pump and dump front-running. I never believe any newsletters but it is fun to read predictions. Maybe some sort of app - yes we don't like apps but who cares - that house hunters (and sellers) can use to track their journey. So they will enter whatever the latest info is and you aggregate all info and uncover discrepancies and falsehoods etc. ;)
15   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 14, 10:09pm   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Sell "best of" apolcolypsefuck coffee table books.
16   anonymous   ignore (null)   2018 Mar 15, 6:53am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I think there is a demand for an exchange similar to matchbook.com, people with skin in the game can wager on events. UIGEA shut it all down in the States in 2006, but i wonder if you didn’t accept USD and instead used Crypto, if you could operate within a workaround

Systems are implemented for the purpose of being gamed

I can recall Patnet posters in the past claiming desire to put their money where their mouth is: “have Patrick hold our money in escrow and then distribute it to the winner once the verdict is in”

I used to brainstorm ideas with the idea that I needed them to reach the largest audience, but those tend to require the most energy and yield the slimmest margins. Now I try to focus more on catering to people with money, and instead search out specialized niche ideas.

Sell 1000 units at a 100 a pop net, rather than
Sell 1000000 units that net 0.10 each
17   zzyzzx   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 15, 7:32am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Exactly why are you expecting people to essentially pay for Reddit? Even if Reddit tried to charge $5/month, people would flee it like mad.
18   HEYYOU   ignore (17)   2018 Mar 15, 8:45am   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

CBOEtrader says
Sell "best of" apolcolypsefuck coffee table books.


If the bad words in the books were redacted,the pages would be blank! :-0
19   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 10:06am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

What about scraping the jobs pages of all 500 companies in the S&P 500? Would graphs of open job counts be valuable enough to investors for them to pay some small subscription fee?

This is something I'm pretty sure I could do, just not sure about the demand side.

I suppose that if increasing open jobs predicts rising stock price, the information would be valuable enough that I could use it myself. But it would take like a year to even begin to see the correlation.
20   TwoScoopsOfWompWomp   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 10:19am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

zzyzzx says
Exactly why are you expecting people to essentially pay for Reddit? Even if Reddit tried to charge $5/month, people would flee it like mad.


Something like subscribers get an ad free experience, posting privileges, 3x upvotes or whatever.
21   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 10:43am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I have decided on the following plan and I'm going to stick with it for one year, until March 15th, 2019:

* sell $5.46/month subscriptions to my housing email newsletter once again; 10 to 20 newslinks will come out on Mon, Wed, Fri; subscribers have higher patrick.net privileges; newsletter links each have a link back to the post on patrick.net where they can discuss the article
* sell my Housing Trap book on the site: https://www.amazon.com/Housing-Trap-Buyers-Captured-Yourself/dp/1479156213 and maybe a free copy with a year subscription
* take ads from stock brokers and other parties that are not trying to fuck over young families with mortgage debt; no realtors at all
* sell snarky swag about the housing market: bumper stickers, cups, etc, which is also viral advertising
* accept donations from those who like the message

So that's five possible revenue streams, and I definitely know what I'm doing from long experience. The big question is whether I can get enough subscribers to live from it.
23   komputodo   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 11:38am   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
What kind of service do you think people would be willing to pay $5.46 per month for?

Highway rest stop glory hole? Sorry Patrick, I had to say it. The set up was too good to pass up.
24   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 11:39am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Have to admit that that particular business model had not occurred to me.
26   WookieMan   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 12:35pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
sell $5.46/month subscriptions to my housing email newsletter once again


Is the $0.46 out of the $5.00 for credit card fees or something? Seems like a weird amount. Not that it would prevent people from subscribing, just was wondering.

I think it's high to start out. It's nothing in the grand scheme of things ($5.46/mo), but if you want to charge that, you're going to have to do trial periods for 1-3 months, in my opinion. Then hope they either see the value or forget they signed up and you end up charging them anyway (hate that business model, but if you're looking to make money, it's a proven method).

I think you might be better off getting people signed up immediately at a $1.99/mo rate. Do the usual BS of signing up for the year for $19.99 for a 16% discount!!!, and then of course they would have to cancel or you keep charging. This way, you'll likely get people to just throw out the $20/yr and hopefully can cover the upfront costs of trying to get it going. If they don't cancel, you get the $2/mo after 1 year assume their card doesn't expire.

Patrick says
The big question is whether I can get enough subscribers to live from it.


I think it's a long shot, but I'm not trying to dissuade you from trying it. If you're only spending say 10 hours per week, I think you would need 2-3k subscribers @$1.99/mo to make it worthwhile from my perspective. Building that base would be tough though without a history of content related to the real estate topic. That's why I kind of hinted at the $20/yr up front to try and motivate you if you can get 100-300 subscribers quickly. That way you can hopefully cover your time for the first couple of months and if it doesn't work out, you at least somewhat got compensated.
27   missing   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 15, 12:46pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Some grad students I know wrote several booklets to sell on Amazon. Guides on different math topics. Nothing original in them. Probably copied stuff from here and there. Priced them cheap ($2.99 or $3.99, I don't remember) and wrote fake reviews themselves. They were soon generating as few hundred $ a month.
28   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 1:11pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

WookieMan says
Is the $0.46 out of the $5.00 for credit card fees or something?


Yes, exactly.

WookieMan says
I think it's high to start out.


$5/mo worked reasonably well ten years ago. It's much less money now.

FP says
Some grad students I know wrote several booklets to sell on Amazon. Guides on different math topics. Nothing original in them. Probably copied stuff from here and there. Priced them cheap ($2.99 or $3.99, I don't remember) and wrote fake reviews themselves. They were soon generating as few hundred $ a month.


Yes, my own book is via CreateSpace, which is now owned by Amazon. I get maybe $20/month now without even doing anything more. If I advertise it on my site, should do better.
29   missing   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 15, 2:27pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

stuck with rin
30   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 3:55pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
I'd feel better about a newsletter if I had some kind of unique data or analysis that others don't really have.


Post every news story about crypto, then offer affiliate links to trainings, exchanges, etc... also, how about you literally just ask your readers for little bit tips as they see fit.

If you do bitcoin expert interviews w question/answer session , and allow for a front of the line tip function (a la youtube superchat), I bet you'd find a ton of internet dwellers start to come to pat.net for crypto info and crowd sourced feedback.

I'd be happy to give you charting tools that can show crypto info, and I'd be willing to write a daily review of the technicals if ya want.
31   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 4:27pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

@CBOEtrader Thanks, first of all, I didn't know about Superchat tipping. So you can pay to have your comment pinned to the top of a stream for some amount of time. I could totally do that with my home page, where a post would get pinned to the top for a while in return for a donation.

As for bitcoin, I just decided publicly (see comment above) to make the site mostly about housing again.

But! I'm interested in bitcoin and would happily start a new site about it if someone else would do the interviewing etc. Want your own forum about bitcoin? I'll pay for hosting and do all the tech stuff in return for your doing the expert interviews and writing that daily review of the technical indicators. We could split the revenue. Email me at p@patrick.net if you're interested.
32   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 5:14pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Yeah let's discuss bitcoin idea in the future. I know some people who'd be better at that than myself, and im currently busy building my insurance business. (Maybe I should start an insurance forum...though that's about as boring as watching paint dry.)

Regarding your real estate concept, first thing I'd do is start tracking data. Your rental and listing info from Craigslist idea is Great! How would they know your pat.net 1 br San Fran average number is coming from their site? Pretty sure Zillow and every other real estate site sells data for a few thousand/year. I'd also consider tracking mortgage rates, average incomes, etc... anything that is related to real estate and put it all into one periodic report. I suggest you use yahoo finance to download stock price history, and create pat.net branded real estate index values. Maybe create a few indexes to track different types of real estate companies.

After you have the data reports running, start doing exactly what we discussed above for bitcoin. Interview "experts", sell seminars and investment books via affiliate links, etc...

FYI, if you join a YouTube superchat, you will see how much an "expert" w a following can make in 90 minutes. I sat and counted tips in a Cernovich superchat, he was making well over $200 every 10 minutes.

Effectively turn your brand into a real estate data and discussion forum, w a hard line on critical evaluation rather than jumping into every idea...

Allow the experts to convince a skeptical patrick that their products are worthwhile, and then let the listener/reader decide what works for him.

A newsletter could even be free if you are selling enough products and superchat tips from your userbase.
33   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 5:29pm   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Oh and take a tip from the financial talking heads, and PLAY UP YOUR HOUSING CRASH call of 2008!

"Patrick Killea, one of the few to call the housing crash of 2008, brings you daily real estate investment commentary with a skeptical perspective", etc.
34   TwoScoopsOfWompWomp   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 6:08pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Wasn't there a guy named Williams who told everybody the great advice: Buy Term, Invest the Difference.

That's what you should do Patrick, every week do a livestream on Youtube with a selected market and some examples if it's better to "Rent, Not Buy".

And put a calculator and some references on this website.
35   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 6:08pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Feux Follets says
why would someone pay you to do what they can do themselves in less than 30 minutes which is establish a daily reading list of Real Estate related websites - for free.


Good question, but it absolutely worked for me before. And then slowly declined in paying subscribers. That's the part I'd need to fix.

It's a lot of work to come up with interesting links every day, or every other day, and moderately witty titles to go along with them. There is no automation for that.

Feux Follets says
If whatever you create allows similar to take place - I would be asking for a full and immediate refund.


That's why it's only $5.46/month. If any given person doesn't like it, no problem, no questions, instant refund. The key is to get enough of them to like it.
36   TwoScoopsOfWompWomp   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 6:12pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I think CBO is on the right track, he toggled my memory about the "Buy Term, Invest the Difference" idea.

It's a hook that spawned an entire industry around the concept, so maybe you should walk the same path.

You should think about making a teaser presentation/2 minute speech about "Renting vs. Buying" and "Debt is Slavery", put it up on Youtube, then link to an online seminar you charge access to.

Maybe $5 gets you membership to the site and the seminar on video, access for a month. Also the calculator and other tools, and maybe a monthly sample of one or two markets to keep people interested as you move around geographically. Back episodes for $5.00

"Don't buy a house, until you use the Patrick.net Rent Vs. Buy Calculator"

Cheaper than some premium streams out there.
37   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 6:14pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I'd expect more revenue and a more diverse community from an affiliate marketing business model rather than subscription model.

Attract users interested in real estate investments. Get enough of them and the service providers will jockey for their attention on your site.

Easy, if you can get enough highly targeted clicks.
38   someone else   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 15, 6:41pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I'm grateful for the suggestions. Some things I learned last time around:

* If it's not easily scalable, I can't do it. Meaning the site has to basically run on its own, especially because I'm just one person and I go into full time jobs now and then. I don't have time to deal with issues or the need to create much new content if I'm working. The newslink model is about at the limit of what I can do while working full time, because it was taking me 2 to 3 hours per night to come up with a quality set of links.

* Subscriptions are the best of all possible business models, except that users generally hate subscriptions. But the recurring revenue gives you predictable income and a way for outsiders to value your business easily. So I still love subscriptions. Also don't really trust affiliate marketing. Someone got pissed off about all the Realtalk here and reported this site to Amazon, which cut me out of the affiliate program just because of that.

* If I don't give a shit about something, then I just can't keep doing it. I do still care about the fact that realtors continue to fuck over millions of young families each year for personal profit. I feel energized when thinking about how much it annoys realtors to have people like me point out the fundamentally fraudulent nature of their business. Commercial real estate does not give me the same energy.

* Dependencies are evil. Craigslist cut me off in one fell swoop and killed a running business. Lots of people have profitable YouTube businesses until Google downgrades them or cuts their money. I absolutely must not be dependent on any one supplier for anything. Going to have both Stripe and Paypal, and paper checks. Need to get the site running in triplicate on 3 different ISPs instead of just one.
39   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 7:44pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Feux Follets says
I agree with the concept however there are a lot of blogs and websites already slogging it out in Real Estate. I posed links from one of them on here a few days ago - it's based in San Francisco.


Do these sites create and track their own real estate indexes and/or rental price averages?

I'd think the extra data would attract clicks. If there are also discussions when they get here at least some would stick around.

The indexes and tracked live (almost live) data could be a unique attraction?
40   BlueSardine   ignore (2)   2018 Mar 15, 8:53pm   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Don't fight the wave of clickcash.
sell ads on all pages, tons of clicks a day from everybody...
41   MrMagic   ignore (10)   2018 Mar 16, 8:23am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
* Subscriptions are the best of all possible business models, except that users generally hate subscriptions.


How do you charge subscriptions when posts are moderated, deleted, blocked and delayed? Do people actually pay for that?
42   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 16, 10:51am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

They were paying for emails containing hand-selected external newslinks. Not for the forum.
43   KgK one   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 16, 12:37pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Hi Patrick, I have few ideas on apps. Need someone with little more experience than me to vet them thru. I don't mind giving reasonable amount once app become profitable. Let me know if u want to chat kgodk , been part of the site for 8 yrs.
44   missing   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 16, 2:25pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Yep, having the one whose name cannot be mentioned aroung would have been sooo useful.
45   Booger   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 16, 7:08pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

How about a site where you rate your real estate agent? And/ or landlord?

Just made sure that Apocalypsefuck writes most of the first batch of reviews.
46   mell   ignore (1)   2018 Mar 16, 7:13pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Booger says
How about a site where you rate your real estate agent? And/ or landlord?

Just made sure that Apocalypsefuck writes most of the first batch of reviews.


Actually rate your landlord is a great idea! And only the best of the best get the rare AF M314 seal of approval.
47   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Mar 16, 9:33pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Booger says
How about a site where you rate your real estate agent? And/ or landlord?


We could start right now. Just create a post with the landlord's name as the title. People can vote them up or down.
48   MrMagic   ignore (10)   2018 Mar 19, 7:39pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Patrick says
Business suggestions for Patrick


Start selling SSRI drugs to all the mentally handicapped Lefty posters here who really need treatment.

You'll be RICH (and be helping their Liberalism disease, all at the same time)!!

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The Housing Trap
You're being set up to spend your life paying off a debt you don't need to take on, for a house that costs far more than it should. The conspirators are all around you, smiling to lure you in, carefully choosing their words and watching your reactions as they push your buttons, anxiously waiting for the moment when you sign the papers that will trap you and guarantee their payoff. Don't be just another victim of the housing market. Use this book to defend your freedom and defeat their schemes. You can win the game, but first you have to learn how to play it.
115 pages, $12.50

Kindle version available


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