Another week another blog post. It’s been a good week. We had some significant research done now that the backend changes have come into effect. We’ve been thinking and talking a lot about a few things, which I will get into farther down the post.
This week we released a bunch of backend research improvements. We now automatically scrape the page for a list of keywords, and display that in our tinder style cataloging tool. It’s made researching significantly faster. We still primarily rely on other sources, but if a company happens to have a couple things made in China they didn’t tell us about, which happens a lot, we can pick it up easier. In the coming weeks we will be switching back to working on the search functions, and will be making some technical changes to prepare us for making a paid version.
We did a crushing 19,000 listings this week. As we stopped our little advertisements and thought about the future, I had a bunch of time to jump in and lend a hand. That plus the backend changes allowed us to make a lot of progress. We will have a supplementary post this week, about what Made in the USA means to us where we will codify our standards for listing a product and see if anyone disagrees. We have 140,000 listings of Made in the USA products currently.
This week we had a cool post on Hug-A-Plug, a plug company that manufactures in the US, even the tools used to make their plugs is made in the USA! We also have a different style post coming, it was supposed to come last week but it was delayed, it will be released on Wednesday. There has been a lot of reflection over the company profiles, we’ve been working halfheartedly on finding a better way to do them. To be frank, the amount of readers is very low, and as we haven’t worked on making them SEO friendly, which seems futile because there is no volume, there isn’t an expectation that the traffic will increase. We do have ideas on how to make it better, but it’s not really a priority currently, we are gonna make the extension really great first.
I do miss those days where we had 2-300 visitors a day. Since we stopped the ads and I haven’t been posting much on Reddit/Twitter/Facebook we are down to 30-50 visitors a day. That’s certainly an improvement from 2 months ago, when it was 5-10, but we need a huge improvement if we are going to survive without paid ads. Honestly in our view the extension isn’t at a point where you would really recommend it to someone. So we will get it to where we think that could happen and then go back to working hard on getting visitors.
We’ve started to think a lot about monetization. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, due to having to do all this research this isn’t a hobby project, we need a way to pay people’s salaries. In the next few months we need to either have a plan for monetization with a reasonable chance of working, or we need strong organic growth. Currently I think what we will try is adding a subscriber option to see more listings. So we will allow the box to be expanded to 20+ products, and show 5-8 products to free users, and then rest to paid users. We haven’t hammered out all the details yet, so this is very much subject to change. We want to get this going asap, to get some feedback on it, we don’t want to be standing here in 5 months only having tried one thing with morale getting low. We’ll be sending out a feedback box to extension users today, to see if anyone has thoughts on it.
See you next week!