Google announced the winner of the Adsense Story Contest today: Hometips. This is a site that features free content concerning home improvement, remodeling, repair, redecorating, and do-it-yourself projects. For example, here are tips for hanging Christmas lights.
According to the owner, Don Vandervort, the revenues generated by Google Adsense went from paying for coffee to paying for lunches to paying for all salaries, overhead, and business development. The site’s traffic is moderate–something like one million visitors a month or less if you believe Compete. I love this kind of story:
The company started in a backyard clubhouse. Don converted the bottom floor of his sons’ two-story treehouse. “Two-story” treehouse? How cool is that?
The site has a clear focus: content for homeowners. There’s nothing that I can find that smacks of “Web 2.0 social media” at all. This is just so refreshing: All you can do is find information, you don’t need to bond with any strangers.
Don added Adsense to his site by himself. He said it took twenty minutes. He probably didn’t do any market research, focus groups, or 2×2 McKinsey-esque matrix analysis.
He probably didn’t even raise a dime of venture capital. He probably didn’t even try to raise venture capital. He probably didn’t even boot PowerPoint. He certainly didn’t present at Demo or TechCrunch40.
Yes sir, there’s a lot to like about Don’s story: do what you love, focus on a niche, find a viable business model, and work for yourself.