Next up is a company I called "Tammico" based on my then girlfriend (I think she was the devil) "Tammy" and my name "Jerrico" = Tammico... ironically she hated anything to do with the internet and business and giving over half the name to her name didn't convince her to relax!
When I was looking for an angle to start a business I was hard pressed to come up with ideas. I turned to eBay. During that period I discovered a concept called a compilation information CD. I did a search for "make money online" and "online business" and ran across a bunch of spam. It wasn't until 3 days later that I discovered the compilation CD concept.
This was essentially started like an internet time capsule of fascinating information. It was like the best of the internet conceptualized into e-Books and compiled into a CD and marketed in thousands of ways.
Essentially the first CD I bought had everything from how to pick locks to how to write e-Books to how Kentucky Fried Chicken (now called KFC) makes their coleslaw and what 13 herbs and spices are in the world famous chicken!
There were over 40 folders in this CD. It was a lot like a Wizzley account only people would write the information down and add it to the compilation, instead of it being self contained into a Wizzle, for example, it was a bunch of loose files with an html index to help you navigate it. It was a site in a folder basically- just like things are found online.
The CD came with full resale rights so people kept buying them and deleting things that were outdated and adding new data. I was utterly fascinated by this concept and decided to buy the CD (it was 8.00 + 3.00 shipping and came on a burned CD) to resell. While I waited for it to come in the mail I took the ad I bought it from and rewrote it (I just needed the information of what was on the CD I didn't want to copy the ad). My ad was much better :)
I came to learn that my site building skills were actually pretty decent. I taught myself the previous year but never really used the skill set. I created an ad for eBay and posted it for sale BEFORE I got my copy in the mail.
I didn't expect any sales to come in right away but they did, within an hour of posting the ad!(had the CD I received been crap, I'd of gone out and found a bunch more and consolidated them. That's precisely what I did next)!
I sold 3 copies.
When the CD came it was everything the ad said it was and more. I quickly burned 3 copies and shipped them off (after checking the CD of course). My customers gave me glowing reviews. I got the idea from an infomercial called "making money now by Brad Richdale" where he said, sell it then create it to create motivation, in this case I already purchased the rights to resell it so why wait?
This began a career (and opened my eyes to a whole new world (queue lion king song) where by I paid only for eBay ad space (posting a page) and sold the CD for 5.99 (to compete) + shipping. I sold an average of 10 a week at that point and decided to up my game. It was easy money and incredible...
The CD itself contained folders of information but nothing was compiled specifically into an eBook/PDF format which I didn't much like as a customer or for my customers. I took the information I thought was spectacular and recompiled it into eBooks, I was left with 3/4 of the CD blank- which for most wasn't a big deal but I liked to deliver.
I realized there were several dozen versions of this concept circulating on eBay and most resellers were lazy and just resold the same CD verbatim. I wanted to brand it and upgrade it so my product was the best. I bought up every CD available and came to find most of them had 80% the same crap, by crap I mean "padding" of old outdated files and information that was useless, badly written and the like. Things I'd removed from the original CD I purchased. This was the beginning of a cancer that would consume the concept and kill the ability to continue to sell it, but we're not there yet so let's back up again...
What I ended up with was 22 CD's that I condensed and compiled into eBooks and this filled the 700 Meg CD, well 650 Megs of data, I allocated the other 40 megs (leaving 20 megs overhead so the CD didn't error out) into an introduction animation that also doubled as a CD table of contents.
I too, in the spirit of maintaining the concept's liberated format (re-sellable) made mine re-sellable at first but eventually when I put in 100x the work to format it and build it, created a branded CD called "Tammico Presents: The Info-Matrix". I later built the perfect version of this CD after a years work and dubbed it "The Fascinatrix", but eBay squashed the concept before I could bring it to market.
A year later I was making enough money to quit waiting tables and sit at home burning CD's most of the day and shipping. I loved it!
eBay started to raise their fees and it got to the point where there were dead periods that wiped me out and busy periods that balanced it out, but due to the competition out there I had to step up how many ads I had to buy (@ 4.00 + percentage of the sale) to maintain those numbers.
I came to realize that I needed to expand my business and lower my overhead and started hire eBay power sellers to sell my CD for me. It was a sweet deal, I built the ad, updated it, kept maintaining the CD/product (it took constant updating to keep "fresh"). While other sellers were getting negative feedback about their CD's I was getting glowing feedback about it's value and "different" appeal.
I also had an average of 150 ads running all the time so nobody else's ads were visible unless you scrolled past most of mine! That really upset them, but hey, all's fair in business. I paid the price to run those ads (and I wasn't rich!) so I deserved the glory- besides most of those CD's were just bought and sold, no changes, nothing- rip off.
I hired 5 independent contractors essentially and they would pay for ads, and I'd provide the HTML content, images, everything they needed. When they sold a CD they'd send me 5.00 a sale and kept the lions share (including shipping). My sales jumped to 20-40 CD's a week and the only work I had to do (although alot of work it was it was fun) was create the jewel cases (from scratch to jewl artwork shrinkwrap, CD burning etc...) I was the only one who had a retail CD the others were amaturish and mostly crap.
I had become the manufacture and drop shipper and they paid all the advertizing costs. I ended up with the most ads in my category and wiped my competition out. The beauty was instead of paying myself for 150 ads to run (lot of money) my distributors paid all those fees and paid me the 5.00 like a franchise fee. Technically they were franchisees. That put hundreds of dollars back in my pocket and profit was through the roof!
I got angry emails (from my competition) about flooding the site with my ads but hey, this was just business, it's not my fault they couldn't afford to put up more ads :). To me I was cleaning up the realm- most of my competition were selling recycled crap and people were tired of getting the same CD from different people just rebranding the cover and their ads - Mine, was unique and powerful- technologically advanced. It auto-loaded and had flair- not a CD full of loose files in folders with ambiguous names and junk padding.