http://www.boostcam.com - Built it in a weekend a couple of years ago. costs next to nothing to run and makes money on adsense.
http://www.sproutvideo.com - SaaS video hosting platform that I built with a partner (I coded everything and he's the business man) in a couple of weeks. We've got a lot of paying customers already.
http://www.physicalfix.com - Fitness web app that I've been building with another partner (Again, I'm the coder and he's the talent) for a couple of years and just launched. Taking a little time to get tracking but doesn't cost much to run and has a few paying customers already.
None of them make me enough money to work on them full-time yet but it's a nice supplement to my day job salary.
Yes. Fortunately, I haven't touched boostcam.com in over a year and both SproutVideo and PhysicalFix only launched in the past few months but have both been pretty stable.I mostly spend my time building new features or dealing with customer support. Customer support is the largest time sink and something I wish I could delegate away.
What kind of video player are you using in the video hosting platform?
I want to sell finance courses as screencasts but i am having huge problem with video hosting platform.
All the html5 players i have seen are crap. Vimeo is good but it does not support commercial hosting.On the other hand Viddler is AMAZING. Their video player is amazing and the streaming is quite good as well but i am ready ready to pay $100 per month in the start. The only option i have is screencast.com. What do you recommend?
We use a flash player and 'fall forward' to html5 when flash is unavailable. We do this because most people do have flash installed and this covers about 99% of the use cases. In the case that flash is not available, we fall back to the default html5 player of the browser and currently don't use any custom chrome of our own.
I'll elaborate to answer what I think are the questions behind the question, since I answered them a hundred times in the last three days at the Business of Software conference and one more time won't kill me:
a) It makes bingo cards for elementary schoolteachers, which is one very specific problem a large group of people know they have, is close to trivial technically to solve, and for which almost all solutions suck. This makes it very achievable for one guy to tackle as a hobby project. (It eventually got to the point where full-time employment was my poor paying quirky hobby project.)
b) The business, as distinct from the application, works because over the course of four years I became very good at organic SEO and metrics-based optimization. These are broadly applicable skills in software (and marketing generally). Surprisingly few people can do them well.
c) No, I do not see myself being the bingo guy for forever. If you wanted to address a similarly small niche yourself, I would say it is a wonderful learning opportunity and has been lifechanging for me. I wouldn't recommend starting with bingo cards for elementary schoolteachers, because if you are capable of beating me at it your skillset is worth a heck of a lot more money than can ever be extracted from that market for that problem, but virtually any developer can find something similar and learn enough to make it work. The amount you learn from having your own experimental laboratory is better than grad school, and you get paid to study. I wouldn't particularly recommend that route if you take money from investors. Two models, vastly different lifestyles, pick your favorite.
http://appshopper.com - I contracted out the design, some of the backend code. I coded the rest and tied it together. Since then, have hired a programmer to handle maintenance, new features. pays his salary + makes a profit.
http://anynewbooks.com is made by me and it's already bringing in some revenue. Not serious money yet (hundreds not thousands of dollars), mind you, but it has been profitable from day one and growing relatively fast.
Thanks for being an anynewbooker, and for the feedback.
> The first thing I go looking for is a synopsis. Amazon isn't always good at this, you should try to incorporate this somehow.
Unfortunately, I tried this one week and it didn't work. The emails ended up being very long, the click through fell down, and I received a few emails of complaints from people who liked the more compact email without descriptions, because they didn't feel obligated to read the whole thing.
It's possible that I may make this an option in the future, but at the moment I'm dealing with other items on the todo list.
> On your "staff pick" could you do a bit of a review?
This is a very valid suggestion and it will probably be implemented soon enough. I think even a one liner saying why it's our pick would help.
> Canada. Give me some Canada options eh! (I know, I know, bigger market etc etc)
WOW. Thank you so much for reporting this; you just found a bug that makes me look evil. :)
Haha, what a crazy funny bug!!! Sorry for my false accusations.
But I'm still not clear how the sign up page is included. Aren't you searching a database based on keywords and generating pages on the fly? What do you mean by "that page will be included by the search function"? I don't see any dedicated pages for individual books.
I use a customized Wordpress instance as the front-end for the website. Worpress search includes both posts and pages by default. I fixed the bug by excluding pages from the search with a filter function. Now only archived newsletters will show up when you search for a given keyword.
In the future I plan to make the search a much more prominent feature, sort of like a search engine for new books. At that time, I will use a backend which will contain the individual books, rather than simply do a text search through the newsletter archives.
I launched it in November of 2006. The temp inbox market had several players in it already, and if I'd actually looked around at all I wouldn't have built it:) But it was just something to learn Seam and scratch my own itch, so I didn't even check to see if there was already a product in the space, much less several.
I didn't do any marketing, just mentioned it to a couple of friends. Apparently those friends know some crazy people because in ~24 hours it was on the front page of Digg, Slashdot, and Yahoo Tech.
Since that initial spike of traffic, and the settle-out afterward, it's been growing slowly but steadily ever since.
By not working you mean sites won't let you register with e-mail addresses ending in lhsdv.com? Or that they do, but there's some issue with 10MinuteMail.com itself that doesn't show you the e-mail? If it's the former, then not much I can do, other than rotating domains every few months, which I do. If it's the latter, email me with an example and I'll try to fix it. firstname.lastname@example.org
Probably 2 weeks of work all said but by far my biggest success in terms of sheer numbers.
It makes money to help pay bills now via AdSense and is totally hands off.
Actually, given our analytics, I think that it's really underperforming monetarily. My partner and I have largely moved onto other things, but if anyone out there loves to do that kind of stuff, maybe we can work something out?
Not quite. Chris (cofounder) works 100% on infrastructure, Dan (cofounder) works on finances and product. We have a full-time designer, a full-time analytics person, and a full-time "head of customer satisfaction".
Customer support for 5 million users also takes a bit of time, and we have several part-time support staff that help people with any issues they run in to.
Having said that, both of our full-time developers are amazing and get things done at a pretty incredible pace.
http://www.w3counter.com - developed and operated by myself, profitable since 2006 - real-time web stats, which I've been offering since before Google Analytics and such existed, tracking all activity on over 50k websites
http://www.w3roi.com - developed and operated by myself, profitable since 2009 - real-time conversion tracking for online advertising
http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/ - by HNer paraschopra is arguably the best A/B split testing tool available. It was developed without any outside funding, by an extremely small team (1-3), and it is making decent amounts of money AFAIK.
Hi there. Amy here. FYI, while yes, I'm the designer/interaction designer/ux/whatever person, I'd like to add that I do the project lead stuff. The idea was mine; the market research mine; the positioning, differentiation, the determination of our initial feature set, and pricing all mine. I find and hire the freelancers. I meet with the productivity coach. I come up with advertising/promo opportunities. Etc.
This is not me being all "I DID ALL THE WORK WOOHOO!" -- far from it. I'd just like to note that there is far more that needs to be done for a successful app than just code + design. I think people don't realize that, when they see 1 or 2 creators listed by narrow roles, for a successful product.
I think the idea is to not start with the thought "I want to make a web app that makes money" but "I want to make a useful web app that solves a problem" - the money will eventually come if you crack that nut!
Xpenser for Business is the commercial version of the product for businesses, and it's bringing in a good bit of revenue. At the moment it's by request/invite only, but will be generally available soon. Anyone interested in an invite can send an email to email@example.com .
Users sign up for the free product, like it (or love it it :-) ), and ask to use it in their company. The free product is acting as a very good way of bringing users to our commercial product, so it's remained free.
Cool, I'm very happy that you guys are making money!
(For what it's worth, my love is not abstract -- I actually learned something about my spending habits in the mere two weeks of using Xpenser that helped my peace of mind. It's something that makes my life demonstrably better!)
It's true, there some similarities, mainly the color and wording, but in this e-commerce shopping cart business to describe the product we always need the words "shopping cart", "create online store", "sell online"... (at least in english)
Honestly speaking, we've put most of our effort on the back-end development. Our landing page is just Wordpress with a modified custom theme. A designer colleague gave us a help on the branding but the same way many banks / big corps use blue in their logo, green is very standard here.
If you think you could do better we're happy to be helped ;) cause every Photoshop crop we do take us half of the day.
http://iWantMyName.com - built by 2 1/2 guys over the last two years out of frustration with the domain registrar business practices. we are not hugely profitable yet but we can live off it and work on our own project which is rewarding enough for the moment.
http://www.eventhq.co.uk; online event registration/management for the UK/European market. Built by 1 person and bootstrapped through contract work. Still relatively small beer but seeing faster growth now
http://www.seeyourhotel.com - Hotel locator with Google Maps. We (2 guys) did it in 2006 and added some features here and there. It's still making money, but we haven't added to it for more than a year.
It would be great to add some more locations around the world.
If you add monitoring and alerts I would probably pay. Not that much as its already a corwded space, but I think a cheap alternative could get traction.
I wonder if its possible to have a business model of only charging when it alerts you to a site being down? E.g. we just alerted you to a site being down. Donate and we will do it again! Dont donate and I will delay my alerts by 1 hour next time!
Thanks. The ads rotate, I have three affiliate links atm. I am currently working on providing an API for this to see how much interest there will be in it. On top of the API I plan on building a monitoring solution which could be monetized. To an extent so could the API (say you get 100 free test an hour and have to pay to get 1000 or some such).
In the mean time I may add more ads but I would hate to detract from the experience for the small userbase.