Functioning Inside Other Ecosystems

Lots of people who want to start businesses seem to want to become billion dollar ones and, hey, that’s understandable. Huge is sexy. But what about something else, something which I think is a big deal but not talked about that often. Starting a business inside another business. Think Facebook apps.

This isn’t the way to a billion dollar business, but it does work and can probably get you out of a day job. If you’re good at it, taking advantage of existing infrastructures with massive traffic (Facebook, iTunes, eBay, etc.) is the way to ensure maximum visibility. Because these sites will be popular until pretty much the end of time (or for our purposes, long enough), you’ll never run out of users as long as you understand the trends.

Let’s take an example. I don’t know this for sure, but I bet you there’s whole businesses out there on eBay that make their profit off holiday goodies like Easter chocolate, Christmas cookies, etc. etc. They know the increased searches that people make, and they know that people are searching all over eBay for deals anyway, so the eyeballs just take care of themselves. They just need to focus on copywriting, price-level competition, etc.

We could say the same thing for iPhone apps. HUGE market. Doesn’t building a currency-exchange application sound easier than building a separate website for the same process and competing with Not only that, but the iPhone app market is new, so it’s easier to compete.

In a way, this is what Mahalo does too. They capture random search engine visitors through creating as many pages about popular topics as possible, and making them more authoritative then many others. By grabbing onto topics just as they become popular, they ensure a decent amount of traffic for each page, making sure it’s easier to make each page profitable, and hopefully sending that traffic along to other pages on the site through good .

Likewise, Alltop. There’s traffic coming in from a lot of places but Guy himself has said that a lot of it comes from his Twitter page. Good for him! He’s figured out a way to take advantage of existing traffic streams and make them work for him.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s a ton of ways to do this. There’s so much existing infrastructure everywhere that leveraging any of them can probably create a small home business for someone. Got an idea? Feel free to share.





3 responses to “Functioning Inside Other Ecosystems”

  1. Joe Mescher Avatar

    I came across your well written article via the Twitter ‘ecosystem’ courteousy of Chris Brogan.

  2. Matt Randall Avatar

    Very interesting post Julien.

    I am currently researching virtual business environments/ecosystems and online economies.

    Quite rightly businesses should definitely take advantage of functioning within an excellent business ecosystem.

    The likes of Facebook, eBay, iTunes are like giant virtual cities, they have ready built populations ready to consume and it is the job of businesses to open up shop within those cities and start getting in a steady stream of profits.

    It is quite funny because that is exactly how Second Life was supposed to function, but people are not yet ready for 3D virtual environments. The web is still relatively young if you look at the big picture of time, the greater populous is just about coming to terms with standard Text and Image E-Commerce.

    What I’m looking forward to seeing in the near future is if people can generate business largely within the Twitter environment.

    I guarantee there will be those who capable of closing deals just using a Twitter stream.

  3. Matt Randall Avatar

    Good interesting post, I did make a longer comment, but when I hit submit it appeared to eat it and it didn’t appear on here.

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