Hi, I'm a co-founder of Priceonomics. Basically we started seeing more traction from two things (that weren't our consumer price guide).
First, the traffic from our blog was dwarfing the traffic (and engagement) on our price guide. We originally started our blog just to get links to drive SEO to our price guide. But, it turns out we love blogging so we really put our hearts into it.
Second, we started getting a lot more revenue from helping companies acquire and structure data than we were making from the price guide. All those blog posts we write were we crawl the web and do analysis based on the data? That was testing this out. We'll be writing more about that soon, so stay tuned.
The result is that we decided to focus on helping businesses get data and writing about data via our blog. About a month ago we started depreciating the consumer price guide.
So you switched to client-services basically? What sort of clients? I'm guessing buy-side (hedge funds) and maybe a touch of sell-side (investment banks)? Those are the only client-service relationships that immediately come to mind which are profitable enough to pursue entirely.
Some of this yes. But really, our first customers were / are other startups that were dedicating a lot of engineering resources to crawling and analyzing data. Eventually one company we were helping asked if they could pay us. We sort of stumbled into our first revenue and then realized there was a business there.
Good to know and good luck! On the financial clients, stick with the buy-side as they have substantially larger budgets and are willing to pay quite well for exclusivity. Providing data to sell-side analysts rapidly dilutes the value of your information.
On startups aspect, I'm surprised to hear that they aren't just using readily-available tools like Mozenda for basic crawling/scraping. Guessing you're able to provide either the scale or deep data that those tools are lacking? There's of course the legal implications with selling someone else's data / marketing leads / etc to be mindful of which can definitely get tricky as times. Yelp is notorious for pursuing with legal action those who scrape + sell their data. Yet everyone in the SMB marketing world still craves it.
Glad to hear you folks are still around and only pivoting to something (hopefully) sustainable.
I've always been a curious follower of Priceonomics for two reasons. One: the sheer research/depth of your posts that hit HN frequently. It's rare to find blogs that deep dive into such a diverse set of topics while writing eminently readable prose. Would love to read a post on how you find experts/how they research topics sometime.
Two: your name - Rohin Dhar - is a deprecation of my name - Rohin Dharmakumar. You've also been quicker than me in signing up with the @rohin usernames on most web services, HN included :) Glad to make the acquaintance!
But are you sure all the revenue coming from "helping companies acquire and structure data" is not correlated with the price guide access? That people that are long and short-term users of the price guide are the ones bringing their companies to your site?
Thank you Rohin and congratulations! I'm happy for you. It sounds like you've hit a market fit and will do well.
I am still sad for the loss of priceonomics as it was. I would be more sad to hear the business was not working out so this news is better. Still could the pricing engine continue to be a feature of priceonomics? Maybe remove the auto-generated image and the ads thus stripping the pages down to just the engine's pricing? Please?
thank you for answering, your mentions tracker program must be working. I understand that blog traffic trumped your price guide, and you love it, and it brings in more money but did you ever think of your user/customer? it seems as though just from this thread and the tweet that was linked (amongst myself) there are a number of users that saw tremendous value in what you do. ever thought of turning the price guide into some sort of UGC engine powered by the people and moderated by a thin staff?
One of the competitive advantages the company I work for has is that it dogfoods its own software, which for some odd reason is a bit rare in its space -- we don't just think we know the problems our customers face, we're suffering them every day.
Somewhat relatedly, the managers I respect the most are the ones who continue to hammer out software themselves -- they don't just think they know the problems that software development faces, they're suffering them every day.
In both cases, it shows.
As such, I'm curious how you're planning to keep a healthy business helping other companies if you're not keeping your skills sharp on your own forge. I ask this in the nicest way possible. :)
I find the worst managers are those who try to pretend they are still developers. Managing is a full-time job, you need to be available for your team to interrupt; if you're writing code you're not. And since you will be interrupted, you can't pair-program or do anything that someone else is going to depend on.