Will AI Overviews Crush Small Publishers? Google CEO Responds…

Welcome back, everybody, to another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast, where Spencer and Jared bring you the most important headlines in the SEO space.

Spencer wastes no time this week and dives headfirst into an important video published on The Verge

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai is interviewed by Nilay Patel, and he asks him some very direct, hard-hitting questions and comments, including ones about the future of niche sites.

He also asks him directly about Google using publishers’ content for its AI answers and talks about the catastrophic loss of traffic for independent publishers.

He discusses two sites that Spencer and Jared have discussed on several occasions: Housefresh and Retrododo, and he asks him about the availability of data from AI Overviews in Google Search Console.

How does Sundar respond to Nilay’s questions? Are independent niche sites even on his radar? What do Spencer and Jared think of his answers? 

What did he say about future partnerships and potential rollbacks? What question did Jared think was especially revealing of Nilay?

Watch the Full Episode

Moving along, Spencer shares a supplemental article about Google’s Ads VP being asked about the impact of AI Search on publishers. 

How does he answer the questions? Tune in to find out.

And lastly, they discuss an article on the recent results from AI Overviews

What does it reveal? Has traffic increased or declined? How do Spencer and Jared interpret this data?

Moving on to their Shiny Object Shenanigans, Spencer talks about an experiment he’s conducting with one of his sites where he received 11k visitors from Reddit in a single day.

He shares a few strategies he used to make this happen and talks briefly about his future plans for the site.

When it’s Jared’s turn, he talks about his newsletter side hustle. He shares the stats on subscribers, Facebook page likes and cost per page like, and funds spent and earned.

He talks about how he manages new subscribers and his future plans for the newsletter.

When it comes down to their Weird Niche Sites, Spencer goes first with a site that gets 2.4 million organic visitors a month, and that’s just a portion of its traffic. 

Neal.fun is full of absurd and entertaining games which have likely gone viral, and it’s monetized with display ads.

When it’s Jared’s turn, he reveals Caffeine Informer, a DR73 site with 818 pages, a lot of helpful blog content, and organic traffic of 141k per month.

It has a caffeine calculator and a database of caffeine drinks, and is monetized with ads. One of the tools has likely gone viral, and Spencer and Jared have a good laugh playing around with it. 

And that concludes another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast. We hope you’re ready to take on the week, better informed of the latest in the SEO landscape and inspired by Spencer and Jared’s side hustles and weird niche site finds.

See you next Friday!


Spencer: Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of This Week in Niche Pursuits News. Now, we know that AI overviews were released to everyone in the U. S. last week. This week, there’s a new interview with Google CEO Sundar Pichai that he answers all the questions that we might have about AI overviews. How is it going to impact small publishers?

Um, you know, why? Are they going this route and how do they feel about that? And in fact, uh, some hard hitting questions from the verge about AI overviews in general, and a lot of very small niche publishers are actually brought up and talked about. So I think it’s very relevant for the niche pursuits audience here.

Uh, and now also, uh, siege media has some recent data, a study that they did to show how much AI overviews have impacted their clients websites. And so we’re going to share some of that data with that. Let’s go ahead and jump into the news. I’m going to go ahead and share my screen here. Uh, whenever the verge is involved, it’s always.

Appears to be a really interesting story. We’ve talked about the verge a lot. Uh, Nilay Patel actually got to sit down with Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Uh, it was, I believe at the Google IO event, um, right after he had sort of announced that, Hey, it’s AI overviews are going to everyone in the U S they’re being rolled out.

And I actually gained a lot of respect, uh, for, for Nyle here in this interview, because he had some very hard hitting questions. It honestly really good because he was like a voice for the SEO community for the niche site community. He came on and basically asked these really hard hitting questions of like, what’s going to happen to these small publishers.

Like you’re stealing their traffic, or it feels like the AI overviews are going to be stealing all this traffic. We’re not going to have time to go over everything, but we are going to talk about maybe four or five of the questions, uh, that was posed to the CEO. And I would highly encourage everyone to actually listen to the entire interview if you have not done it, because, uh, It’s kind of fun to watch the CEO of Google squirm in his chair a little bit.

And, uh, there was a little bit of squirming going on. Nihilate came out hard hitting. He basically said, Hey, um, I pulled up some of these AI overviews on my phone. Um. And some of the answers are just wrong, just wrong. Uh, and he actually handed his phone over and said, Hey, take a look at this. Right. One of them was, Hey, to fix a broken film in your camera, just kind of open the back of your, your, uh, camera, pull out the film and jiggle it a little bit.

Right. Jared, this is probably makes you cringe. Um, but, but this is the AI overview, uh, that was given. And, um, So what does the CEO say? Well, he says, Hey, we’ve consulted a bunch of experts actually about this because this, this query was included in one of the videos that they did the presenting the AI overviews and he, he sort of jumped around and said, well, in some circumstances, this could, could be right.

I just, we’re not going to go too deep into this other than I just thought it was a little bit funny. Funny that, um, he danced around this question of, Hey, how accurate are AI overviews? And is this really providing good information, right? Um, you know, the other thing as he sort of handed him his phone, um, he actually presented him with the problem of, look, here’s what the AI answer says.

And then if I just go to like the first result on Google, it’s an exact quote. You basically have swiped all of the content. This isn’t some generated, like combining 20 different, uh, sources of data and coming up with an original response. You’re just swiping the information. So we kind of called him out on that.

Uh, and basically said, you know, this isn’t, um, essentially it’s like, Hey, this could be copyright infringement. Right. Um, now, uh, He also brought up specifically, and I just want to read sort of his, uh, question here. He says, um, yesterday you announced AI overviews are coming to search. That’s an extension of what we used to call the search generative experience.

Um, I would describe the reactions to that news from the people who make websites as fundamentally apocalyptic. The CEO of the news media Alliance said to CNN, this will be catastrophic to our traffic. Another media CEO forwarded me a newsletter and headline was, this is a death blow to publishers. We were expecting that kind of response.

He says, were you expecting that kind of. Response to rolling out AI overviews in search. Um, and again, he’s sort of, uh, presents this as, Hey, search has always been evolving. We moved, moved from, you know, search always being on a desktop to now mobile and, uh, mobile is essentially gotten rid of the 10 blue links.

We’ve got lots of things going on. Things are always evolving, right? Um, and he tries to say that empirically what we are seeing throughout the years is that human curiosity is boundless and that when you kind of get an AI overview, you’re going to want to dig deeper. And he gives this, um, he says that, hey, people are going to be searching more because we have these AR overviews is just going to be a jumping off spot and then they’re going to dig deeper.

Uh, he does not really. Do much to assuage the fears that, Hey, this could be catastrophic. To small publishers. All right. And then this next question that he asked here really kind of got to the heart of the matter here, where he talked about Google zero, that’s his own phrase that Nyle uses to think about what if traffic from Google actually goes to zero, you know, what do I do then things could get catastrophic and I love, love, love this question.

Uh, because we’ve talked about two of the sites that are brought up multiple times here on the podcast. Um, he brings up, he basically says, Hey, the traffic coming to like some very small publishers, independent publishers, niche websites, like we know them have gone essentially to zero recently with the helpful content update now with AI overviews, like this could, this is just catastrophic.

Uh, and he brings up two sites, house fresh that we’ve talked about multiple times and retro Dodo. Um, that he was actually on the podcast and did an interview and he’s been very open that his traffic has indeed. It’s been catastrophic to his business. You might have to close down, um, because of this. And so what does the CEO of Google say in response to sites that have been hit?

Right? Like these changes have hit. Small publishers really hard. Well, he, he basically says, Hey, it’s hard to pull out individual examples. You know, he tries to look at the trends overall that are happening on Google. And of course he parlays this into, Hey, I think users of Google are still happy. And the trends that I’m seeing is that we’re still sending more and more traffic, uh, to websites.

So basically his comment about these individual circumstances. Is kind of like a no comment. Um, I don’t know, Jared, what did you think of sort of this question and his response to that? 

Jared: You know, anytime you take a situation that’s happening in real time in the last couple months and your answer refers immediately to historical references of the past decade, which is up on the screen right now, you can tell you’re not answering the question.

This goes back to what we talked about last week, where Danny Sullivan comes out and says, Hey, you know, I’m actually actively taking this feedback to the people at Google and they are going to actively look into it. If they are, it hasn’t made its way up to the CEO, but this is not some sort of isolated incident as he would imply.

It’s not like, um, Nyle went out and found two publishers who have dropped their representative of the entire small publisher ecosystem. And whether he didn’t understand that. Which you could argue this entire interview he might be so tone deaf because of where he sits versus where we sit that maybe he doesn’t even understand what’s happening or if it’s because he’s ignoring it.

The point Nyle brought up is this is representative of the entire small publisher industry and he just chose to ignore it as though it’s an isolated incident, right? 

Spencer: Uh, exactly. And, um, you know, he, I don’t remember where it was, but basically, you know, it, oh yeah, and the same question. I just love the way he phrases this.

He says, I mean, is that the right outcome for all of this? That the people who care so much about video games or air purifies or whatever it might be, um, that they started websites and made the content for the webs are the ones getting hurt the most in the platform shift. Um, you know, Kind of that.

That’s the whole issue here is that the people that are truly actually passionate about the thing, the niche thing that people are searching for, they’re the ones that are getting hit the most. It’s not the big news publishers. It’s not the New York Times and the reddits and the chorus. And, you know, it’s not these big websites that are getting hit.

It’s a small independent publishers. Um, right. And, um, And so, yeah, it’s just, I don’t know, I could talk about this a lot, but he basically says this ecosystem, there needs to be a trade off here. There needs to be some give and some take. If you want content to train your AI on, or to be able to index and you stop sending traffic to the independent publishers, the people that are passionate about, About creating that content.

Like there’s going to be no content in the future. There’s no incentive for them to do that. 

Jared: Right. He actually, to your point, countered that he said, I feel it’s the opposite of anything. I feel like AI overviews give people more incentive to produce content. Um, he’s again, though, once again, referencing something about 10 years ago when they made the shift from, to mobile, you know, and talked about how that was supposed to be the end of the internet.

He has a point. But it’s not a point that’s applicable to this. 

Spencer: And it’s really hard to hear. Uh, but you know what? I’m going to try and take a positive spin. I’m going to drink just a tiny, I’m going to sip his Kool Aid just, just a bit. Not, I’m not taking the full, you know, jug just yet, but I’m going to allow myself to take just a small sip and, and say, you know what?

Maybe. Maybe he’s, maybe he’s right. Maybe he is, maybe his words are true that he is aware and cognizant and truly thinking about small publishers and how can they continue to reward them? How can they have this symbiotic relationship of give and take? And he does bring that up saying that we do want to continue to provide this.

We think about this, we talk about this, we plan for this. Right. And we’re going to look at some 

Jared: data that would suggest that maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe he’s onto something. Maybe. You know, it reminds me of a, to your Kool Aid, I’ll say this, it reminds me of the quote from Henry Ford. If I’d given people what they wanted, I would have given them a faster horse.

Spencer: Right. Yeah, 

Jared: we, you know, the only Kool Aid I can drink today is to say, boy, I hope he is the Henry Ford of internet search going forward, because that’s the only thing I can, I can speak for this. It doesn’t feel like he’s on the same wavelength as the rest of us. 

Spencer: Right. You know, so, so we don’t know the full answer.

He is saying, and others within Google are saying that, hey, these AI overviews are actually going to be sending more clicks. And more traffic to websites because for, for a variety of reasons, but it’s leading to over all more search volume and they’re finding, um, more clicks. And maybe, I don’t know, this may be the last question that I bring up.

There was several other good ones, but I’ve got a couple of good ones. Okay, I’ll let you bring up your others. But the one other one was just data around. Hey, you’re saying I overuse are providing more traffic. Are you ever going to open this up in Google Search Console? Is this going to be a new data point that we as web publisher can see?

Hey, this many clicks came from AI overviews versus organic search. And he basically says, you know. Hey, I’m not in the weeds on this. You need to, you know, um, maybe talk to the search team. And he, he rattles off a bunch of things and gives no clarifying response. 

Jared: Well, it’s interesting. That was one of the things I wanted to bring up.

He, he acknowledged in the actual interview, if you go listen to it, Almost a reticence to giving us any sort of information in Google search console. And it was one of the few things I felt like he actually spent a lot of time touching on. And he spoke, he spoke like the more data we give, the more people are encouraged to kind of game the system.

Um, and, and Nyle leaned into that a bit to be fair, which I thought was fine by him. Um, and it would seem to suggest we’re not going to get any information on or clarity on Search Console versus, uh, in Search Console on AI overview, uh, clicks versus regular, uh, Blue Link organic clicks. He didn’t say that.

He also said, I deflect to the search team, they’ll be the ones who figure it out. But he did hint at the fact that they’re onto the fact that the more data they give publishers, the more that they perceivably use it for the wrong purposes because they don’t want people to optimize for anything. 

Spencer: That’s right.

That was very interesting. And he did bring that up of, yeah, you give all this data and then you get, um, people with, you know, darker purposes, right. The spammers and other people that are just truly trying to gain the system. And so I can appreciate that, right? Like if you just sort of say, Hey, here’s the algorithm have at it.

There, there’s a line somewhere. I, I don’t think the line is crossed if you say, Hey, this many searches came from AI overviews, um, but Google being Google, they’re, they’re quite tight, you know, with their, their data and what they let everybody see. So, so we’ll see what happens there. Um, any other questions within this interview that you wanted to bring up Jared specifically?

It’s an. An amazing interview. I highly recommend everybody listen to it. 

Jared: A couple of points. I’m looking off camera. I’ve got a dual setup today, even though we won’t get into why, but let’s just say I’m looking off camera to look at my other screen. Um, he mentioned, um, more partnerships like the one they have with Reddit are still to come.

And so he basically said, Hey, expect that to continue. 

Spencer: Yeah. 

Jared: Whew. Ah, that’s all of our content getting chucked up, uh, for them to, to rip off. Um, he, he mentioned at one point. I don’t know if you heard this, Spencer. I went back and looked in the article, the word rollback is not used once, but he mentioned the word rollback and said specifically, if something isn’t working, we will roll it back.

Spencer: Hmm. 

Jared: I don’t 

Spencer: know if you heard that. 

Jared: I don’t remember that. 

Spencer: I mean, I listened to the whole thing, but I, 

Jared: I should have written the timestamp down. I thought it might be in this. Here’s my one thing I wanted to throw to you and see what you say. Um, I loved what Nyle said about, he framed this question for, for, for Sundar.

And he said, Hey, how did it make you feel on a personal level when open AI was caught stealing, Or using YouTube comment to train their algorithm. And he kind of danced a bit and he said, no, I wonder how you feel. Don’t give me the PC answer. And he said, I felt very much taken advantage of. And I immediately flipped that and said, do you think that that is how publishers feel when you are training your algorithm on their content?

Spencer: Yeah. And 

Jared: he did not have a good answer. 

Spencer: That was a phenomenal question. Right? And, and he does try to say, I think it’s right here, you know, I can understand how emotional a transformation this is. Right? Um, you know, part of the reason we saw Google I O working. Anyways, he goes on to say, hey, we’ve been working on generations of, uh, um, you know, new products and we’re evolving and training and there’s going to be pain along the way, is kind of what he says.

But, At the end of the day, it provides more tools and resources and supposedly should be a brighter future. 

Jared: I’ll ask you this as we close out on this topic, Spencer, he references so many different times with so many different examples. The one I wrote down is he continues to look back to the past with examples.

And one of the ones he mentioned was CGI and films. And how did that make, Producers of movies feel and he likens that to what’s happening right now. Do you think those analogies looking backwards are applicable or not? Do you think those are fair analogies and that we as publishers who are angry are just stuck stopping progress and we are at a line in how we feel because we’re just stuck in our old ways.

Do you think those analogies are fair or accurate and that’s the case? Are they. Not related to what we’re talking about now. 

Spencer: I don’t think they’re extremely accurate analogies, um, personally. Right. Because, uh, CGI, for example, in films is helping the movie maker, you know, save time and costs and energy, and they still get to put out great films.

It’s impressive. Hopefully improving their product, right? That, uh, people are still coming to the movies and actually buying tickets, right? The difference here is AI is replacing the movie maker right now and AI just makes the movie and people still buy the tickets, but the movie maker and the creator are no longer in that equation.

Right. And so it’s a whole different ball game when you talk about removing the actual creator of the end product, which in our case is bloggers. And so I think he missed the mark a little bit. And of course, that’s, you know, that’s what he’s going to do is, uh, he doesn’t want to look like Google is crushing the small player.

I mean, that’s a B bad, uh, PR move. Um, but again, Tell I’ve been around long enough as a publisher that I, I can genuinely say in 2010, um, I thought the world of, of blogging was over as we know it. Um, and SEO, like I’ve gone through many iterations, but this does feel a little bit different, uh, because of, you know, AI and everything involved.

Um, so we’ll give it a little bit of time to see what the data says. Right? Um, and I guess that kind of brings us to our next. 

Jared: And I was going to say, I’ll transition by saying one final thing on this and then we can transition because I agree with everything you’re saying. It’s interesting because I think the final point I’ll make about this article that I think you are also saying because we’ve talked about it.

Previously in the podcast is we’re rolling both AI overviews and the helpful content update into one big problem And I just wonder if he’s only addressing AI overviews and thinking that AI overviews won’t hurt the publisher But he hasn’t failed He’s failed to look at a lot of the things that we’re talking about here is also being tied to the HCU 

Spencer: Excellent point.

And he, he probably honestly, and his CEO position is unaware. It is even 

Jared: connected. You know what AI overviews, which we’ll see in a second is helping the small publisher, but really what we’re talking about is no cohesively as Google helping the small publisher. 

Spencer: Yes. Exactly. So, um, a lot of big questions, definitely, um, check that out.

Sort of supplemental article here that, um, I’ll just basically share the outline here is that the Google Ads VP dodges the questions on AI search and its impact to publishers, right? Um, basically he was asked, hey, users want to know, How many clicks are people getting from these AI overviews? How much traffic are small publishers, um, getting?

And, um, he basically gives, okay, yeah, here’s his quote. Uh, no stats to share at the moment. So, so that’s the big news is that, um, you know, they’re, they’re not sharing data specifically about. AI overviews and how many clicks and where those clicks are coming. Are they actually sending more traffic or less traffic, uh, to websites?

And so, um, anyways, that’s, that’s kind of the headline. I don’t know if you have anything to add to that. Um, specifically, it 

Jared: looks like, uh, him and the CEO have been hanging out with the same publicist inside of Google because 

Spencer: exactly they were well coached. Yeah. 

Jared: They were well coached. Yes. Don’t don’t provide a lot of value.

Spencer: Yeah. Okay. Uh, but I will share one news item that is perhaps, um, positive. Um, but, but inconclusive, right? Um, so there was a study done by siege media, uh, AI overviews, SEO impact report with new data. And so this was just published just a few days ago by Ross Hudgens, the founder of siege media. I won’t go through all of it, but there’s just a couple of, uh, interesting stats and graphics that he basically showed.

The impact, and this is the overall impact, um, they look across 43 different websites, different publishers, and you know, of their clients that they have access to their data and they basically looked at, okay, how many clicks and impressions are websites getting before AI overviews came out and now it’s, you know, been about a week, how much clicks and impressions are they getting?

Are we getting after, right? Uh, and so he actually, if you look at the percent change before and after, believe it or not, uh, total traffic increased by 4. 43 percent since AI overviews have come across. Have come out total impressions up by about 2%. Average click through rate is up by about 3 percent and then he breaks it down by sub categories.

The SAS industry, the FinTech industry, B2B e commerce. And I think that’s all three. Um, right. Uh, so his very early data actually does show that there’s been an increase in total traffic to websites. Before versus after now, the caveat here that I will give two big points that were brought up on Twitter as people were chatting about this study is a one AI overviews have not necessarily rolled out to everyone yet in the U S um, that’s still a work in progress.

Uh, number two is that some algorithms have happened during this data set, you know, May 8th to May 18th, there have been fluctuations that people believe are algorithmic updates. Uh, and then the third one, actually, third point is we don’t see measured, um, what percentage of the overall queries were actually, uh.

AI overviews, right? Like we, we really don’t know out of all this data, how many of these queries actually triggered an AI overview. So that’d be a little bit more interesting data. So I’d, I’d call it very inconclusive, but still positive outlook, at least at this point, 

Jared: such a small sample size. I mean, you’re looking at.

Right. Single date, like five, eight to five 11. That’s what four days, you know, five 15 to five 18. I think given piggybacking off of the limited amount of data that we have so far, like none, um, from Google search console and perhaps into the future, going to get very little from Google search console, given that, uh, I think that, you know, we’re going to have to be okay with these types of studies for the.

Interim period and looking at them and trying to at least be open minded about it. And um, you know, I think you’re right Anything positive is a surprise but a welcome surprise 

Spencer: Yeah, and you know just the one other thing that I will say Um since ai overviews have been released. I have not heard An outcry, or I have at least not seen lots and lots of screenshots of websites, traffic tanking, right?

Like a lot of times when you have algorithms, you know, the first week or two, you see, oh my goodness, my traffic is down 20%, 30%, uh, or more like with the helpful content update. We have not seen that at least in the last week. So the early signs of AI overviews, I, again, in my limited view, I have not seen a mass outcry with small publishers.

So I would call that a good sign, uh, overall at this point. 

Jared: Yeah. I mean, it feels like AI overviews releasing was just an extension of what’s already been out for a year, which is SGE. So it feels like. We can look at the impacts on a broader scale. I’m not saying that’s what we should do because we don’t know what the rollout of AI overviews looks like in comparison to the state that SGE was in at the time.

There hasn’t been anybody complained about anything yet. So very positive signs. Yeah. I 

Spencer: mean, yeah. I mean there’s been lots of people complaining about AI overviews, right? The, you know, are they valid? Are they garbage? You know, but, um, haven’t seen super negative traffic stats yet. So let’s hope we could do a case.


Jared: The whole podcast on the inaccuracies people are seeing with AI overviews on where they’re getting the data. Sometimes from, uh, sometimes from pages that are not even in the top 100 results for that keyword query. Uh, it’s, it’s, it’s fascinating, but you’re right. Totally different podcast. 

Spencer: So, um, we’ll keep talking about this topic.

Um, you know, I feel like we’ve been talking about AI and SEO and changes, um, for the past year. We’re going to keep doing it. So keep coming back every week for more. So having said that we are going to shift into now our shiny object. Shenanigans, uh, a couple of side projects that we each have going on.

And, uh, you know, I recently shared some stuff on Twitter, uh, and I’ve been talking about Reddit over the last, I don’t know, two or three weeks here, right here on the podcast, kind of given some updates, I didn’t think I was going to talk about it again this week, but had a huge spike in traffic. And I’m like, all right, I got to talk about it again.

So, uh, let me just share my screen because I just had a screenshot of. Uh, my traffic recently coming from Reddit. Um, so, uh, as you can see from this screenshot, I had a day where I had 11, 000 visitors coming to my website from reddit huge spike, right? I think last week when I talked, um, here on the podcast and I shared an update, I was sort of saying, Hey, I’ve gotten 10, 000 visitors in the last.

I think you’re 

Jared: 12. Yeah. 12, 000 for the month, if I remember correctly, 12, 

Spencer: 000 for the month, something like that. Yeah. And I was, you know, kind of excited about it. Well, I just hit that in one day. Um, so 11, 000, uh, on, you know, the 19th of May, and then it was like 5, 000 visitors the next day. Right. And it’s now kind of come back down to reality.

They kind of, you know, the article popped and read it, uh, did really well. Um, and, uh, Yeah. So, so the website now, you know, it’s like 36, 000 over the month, but we’re starting to have a little bit better hit rate. If you look at this graph, you can see that we’ve had now four or five days. That have kind of popped on Reddit.

That’s where most of these spikes are coming from. And so I feel like we’re starting to learn a little bit better what we can do. Um, at least get some incremental success. I wouldn’t say it’s consistent, right? You kind of get one article do well, and then you wait a week and have another one do well. But it’s super exciting, super intriguing.

Um, I’ll simply just say that it kind of comes down to figuring out what subreddits you can post in. That will, you know, allow you to post links that won’t just, you know, ban you or, or block you. Um, and then also making sure you have a seasoned Reddit account so that, uh, if you’re a brand new user of Reddit and never posted anything at all, and you come on and try and post a link to your own website, like that’s, that’s gone.

Even if you find the right subreddit, you need to be posting links and sharing things and commenting and being helpful in lots of different ways. Uh, subreddits and kind of building up the, the karma, uh, of that reddit account before you can start trying posting things to your own website. So, um, that’s kind of my, my quick update.

Uh, I’m encouraged with what I’m seeing. 

Jared: Is this last week we talked about you starting your own subreddit versus commenting inside of another subreddit where you’re posting things? Is this pop, was this on your own subreddit that you started or was this still continuing in the same vein of the last few weeks where you’re posting in other people’s reddits, their subreddits?

Spencer: Yeah, yeah, this is still posting on other people’s subreddits. Um, that’s really where the traction is and it makes sense, right? If you find the right subreddit, it’s got a million, you know, subscribers or whatever. Um, and so. It’s going to have a lot more visibility than your own subreddit. So I’m still seeing the most gains from that.

But as I mentioned before, or last week that. Long term building up our own subreddit. And if we can get some traction there and some followers there, then hopefully that becomes more consistent because we can control that. We can post more links. And if we end up with 50, 000 followers of our own subreddit, right.

That gets really, really interesting. 

Jared: Yeah. You can draw your own channel. Well, now you have, I see right there in the upper left, 36, 000. New users. It looks like a 30 day view. So where are we at with ad with ads getting approved for this? 

Spencer: You know, um, I have applied to journey by media vine. Uh, and I think they’re just really backlogged.

Cause I got an email about two weeks ago saying, Hey, we’re still aware of you, but we’re working on approving sites. Other words, I’m still not approved for that. So no, no update. Dang it. Okay. Yeah. Well, you’re getting a quote where you don’t need 

Jared: to be in journey. 

Spencer: Hey, that’d be even better. I just go straight to Mediavine.

Jared: Just go straight to Mediavine. You get one more of those days and you have a something around 50, 000 for the last month. 

Spencer: Yeah. And maybe the last thing I will share here is, uh, on, you know, somebody commented, Ken Savage, um, is, Hey. Um, he says, I get a couple of posts a month on the homepage of Reddit, typically send between 120, 000 and 200, 000 visitors within 36 hours works well on other sites.

Like, uh, I am, I don’t know how to say the Imgur to the image URL, you know? Uh, so Ken is somebody who’s like, okay, maybe, maybe we need to have a chat about that. Um, I, I know Ken and he definitely is good at Reddit. So other people are seeing success, uh, on Reddit as well. So I’m going to keep going down this rabbit hole.

Jared: Love it. It’s nice to have what I would call positive Reddit news for publishers these days. That’s right. That’s right. Good job. Well done. Well done. Yeah, 

Spencer: thank you. 

Jared: Well, we’re, uh, one month in on my little side hustle newsletter project. Uh, I thought I’d share one month recap, um, and, uh, catch people up, um, It’s the 23rd.

So I might try to influencer next week, but we’ll, we’ll stick with the newsletter this week. You know, I started two newsletters. I’m really spending most of my time on the second newsletter. And so I’ll talk about that. There’s only so much time to talk about stuff here. So we’ll just focus on that second newsletter, about a month old.

Just shy, uh, literally like 10 subs shy of a thousand subscribers for the newsletter, the first month, um, about 2, 800 Facebook page likes. So we created a Facebook page for this as well. There’s a website, um, but a Facebook page so far I’ve spent 907 and 71 cents. And that’s spread out to get page likes and new leads with most of it going to new leads.

So if you’re wondering, I’ve fluctuated between, uh, Three and like eight cents a page. Like we’re at 2, 800 page likes. And so far, if you look at the whole collective month, so since I started averaging 4. 7 cents per page, like, so it’s really fluctuated a lot. It’s gone up to like six, seven cents. It’s gone down to three cents.

Um, haven’t paid a ton more attention to it. So, but it’s about 4. 7 cents on aggregate. Um, and then if you also were to back out that money, uh, I’m paying 81 cents per new lead.

I have been playing this week with video ads. And so the combined effects of using video for Facebook ads, regular text for Facebook ads, um, all of that for leads, all of that combined seems to slowly be incrementally moving the cost down. Um, it’s like without going into great detail, you can get cheaper leads, If you want to expand your demographics, you can get cheaper leads if you want to expand how you’re pitching them, but then you’ve got to see if they’re actually going to be very engaged.

So if everybody listening, it’s not just about how much you pay per lead. It’s about getting subscribers who care about the content you’re publishing, because in the day, the goal is to get people engaged, get them over to your website, get them buying products, get them spending monies, um, or, or at least clicking on pages.

So you get ad revenue and all that sort of stuff. Um, not making much money off of it yet, but, uh, Um, you know, in the coming months, I said, once I had a thousand subscribers, I was going to start working on a paid product that people could buy and put that in the email drip funnel. Um, and, uh, obviously, uh, sending emails to try to get people over to the website where we have wrapped it on there.

So, but really very early days when it comes to earning money. So I would say I’m earning like maybe 15 or 20 so far. I don’t know. I mean, I haven’t kept track to be honest with you. Right. It hasn’t made a big debt because most of the subscribers of those have come the last week or two. 

Spencer: Yep, just trying to scale the business right now, trying to get more subscribers.

Um, that makes sense. So are you, um, still emailing, uh, the list though, like once a week, or do you have a schedule in particular that you follow? 

Jared: Yeah, we’re ramping it up. So it’s an autoresponder sequence. So we can, we started off doing it a couple of days a week, but as we’ve been able to add more content, I talked a couple of weeks about how many.

Kind of emails we had had built out. We’re starting to kind of increase the frequency. So, um, just go back to the autoresponder sequence and kind of change the frequency a bit. That can get a little squirrely. Won’t go into all the details, but if someone’s halfway through it and you start adjusting the timeframe, so it’s.

It’s not exactly just press a button, but we’ve been increasing frequency as we’ve gotten more content prepped into the funnel. 

Spencer: Yep. Cool. Oh, that’s good. Um, I love it. No, that’s exciting to see. I mean, people can start doing the math on their own head. That’s what I do. It’s like, okay, 86 cents or 87 cents a subscriber, right?

And you’ve got a thousand subscribers up to this point. You know, how can you snowball this? And once you get a paid product, then the math gets really fun. So you can start looking at conversion rate and seeing, okay, how many people actually buy this thing and, uh, kind of what’s the whole funnel, what’s the profitability of, The whole business overall.

Jared: I mean, in the true vein of side hustle, like people need to understand when I talk about, I have, you know, just shy of 3000 page likes, uh, I’m spending 3 a day to drive page likes. Like I’m not spending, this is not a big enterprise operation here. You’re not raising outside funding. Just no, this is ridiculous.

When you think about how little I’m spending, for 3000 page likes, but I think you’re right. After a month. 900 in, you can kind of start to see a bit of a road map for it, and you can start to play around with economies of scale a bit. Numbers change as you spend more numbers changes. You spend less, but at least you can start to get a bit of a road map in your mind for where you want it to go.

Spencer: Yeah, very cool. No, that’s great. Um, I love the updates. I assume everybody listening enjoys the updates as well. Um, it’s one of those things like going from that zero to one, from like nothing to something. It’s always the most exciting phase of a business, at least for me anyways. Um, so cool. 

Jared: Well, it’s the same as the, as the influence that we talked about a lot last year, which is, um, A lot of us listening, very used to SEO a month into an SEO focused project.

We would not be having these sorts of numbers. 

And so it’s such 

Jared: a, such a cool hit to look, Oh, I started this one month ago. And you know, thousand subscribers, um, 3000 followers on, on, on Facebook. It’s, it’s, those are better results. You typically will see out of the gate with SEO. So. 

Spencer: Yeah, uh, absolutely. So very cool.

Well, good. Um, I have scoured the web. Jared scoured the web. Let me tell you, I looked all over high and low and I found us a weird niche site that I’m going to share. Um, actually I just, yeah, you found this. Uh, I confess. I just went to my spreadsheet, pulled up my list and uh, Pulled off one that somebody had shared with me.

Um, So, We should admit it, we should admit 


Spencer: Yeah, no, I’m coming clean. But, uh, this is a website, believe it or not, that has 2. 4 million organic visitors a month. Wow. So it’s got a nice, SEO, you know, um, you know, traffic source, but it’s bigger than that. It gets 16 million visitors a month or more when you include all sources.

So actually organic search is this very small portion of its overall, um, traffic. So this website is. neil.fun. Neil, do fun. That’s it. Uh, Neil, do fun. And, uh, so this is started by a guy, his name is Neil, um, Al, I believe. And he just has like, I don’t know, 20, uh, just sort of fun little web-based games is mostly what it is here.

Um, I only looked at a couple of them because honestly it is kind of fun and you could go in here and you could spend hours, um, doing this. So a lot of these, I imagine, have tended to go kind of viral. People just enjoy this. But if you go to this infinite craft, this took me a while to figure out. Oh, you can see, uh, what I’ve done.

Um, let’s see if I can Oh, okay. Eh, whatever. So you start with just water, fire, wind. and earth But what you do is you start dropping them on top of each other if you put earth and water together you get a plant If you put wind and fire together you get smoke. Well, what if you put smoke and a plant together?

You get incense and then you can bring earth back out. Well, what if you put incense and earth together, you get a plant. Oh, it took me backwards. Uh, and you just start, you know, doing dandelion and fire, you get ash, right? Well, if you get ash and water together, you get a puddle and you can, you start creating new objects as you can see, I’ve created a pig, a car, and like, you just spend hours, right?

Like, so if you, if you put a pig and a puddle together. You get mud. Of course. Did you get a car and mud together? Yeah. You get a rally monster truck rally, right? So if you get a rally and a train together you get the subway anyways So you can just you know play until your heart’s content. I will point out there is a display ad here Uh at the bottom, so that’s how it’s making some money.

Uh, what was the other one? Can you go to my favorite one? What’s your absurd the absurd trolley problems? Okay, I did not test this one out. Oh the trolley problem. 

Yeah Come on, let’s put you in the spot. What are you gonna psychology class? I played this for about five minutes. I thought this for three minutes.

By the way, it just keeps going 

Spencer: You gotta pull the lever, right? 


Spencer: And that’s my only choice. 77 73 percent of people agree with you. 27 percent of people disagree. Uh, I I don’t like this game. Now you have the choice between four or five. And if I do nothing, it’s gonna hit the Oh, four people. Spencer.

Surely there’s another answer to this game. Um, I don’t know. Your life savings. Oh no. Oh, Jared, we don’t do it, do we? Oh, what do we do? You have to pull the lever. Is it really? Oh my goodness. 

You just killed five people. Yes, you did. Just to save some money. Oh boy. 

Spencer: So there’s lots of fun games on here. There was one other that I, that I, Was it Internet Artifacts?

No, that wasn’t it. Anyways, it doesn’t matter. I went down the rabbit hole with another one. I don’t remember which one it was. Um, and, uh, so, a lot of fun. But that’s, I mean, that’s basically it. There’s, like, nothing else. It’s just the homepage with all the games. I guess you can subscribe to his email newsletter.

Right. If there’s something new posted, um, I don’t know how much money he’s making, but like I said, I can at least share this tab here and show that similar where similar web shows that it is getting at least 16 million visitors a month. It shows that actually in March and February, it was getting 27 or 28 million visitors, uh, per month with a lot of that coming from direct.

And then the other portion of that is coming from organic. And if we go to a trust. You know, you can see that, Hey, there’s like all this traffic. It looks like it just went through the roof here. I guess March core update. I mean, that’s kind of brief. Yeah. It looks like the March core update is when this happened and it was, um, infinite craft the game that I was playing is what’s getting most of the traffic.

At least, you know, the, the, the largest page, uh, on the website. So, 

Jared: and it’s the one that just spiked like crazy. If you look at that change right there. 

Spencer: Yeah. Um, and it’s, um, right. It’s fascinating. So it’s, uh, again, it’s just one of those things that, hey, if you could just come up with a fun little web based game, um, or several of them, they have the chance to go viral and get millions of visitors a month.

So, um, that might be something that would be fun to do as a little niche pursuits challenge sometime. It’s like, hey, who can create a little web based widget or game? And with, 

Jared: with AI these days, you can be even less of a programmer and still create stuff like this, uh, at scale. Although he’s done a very good job.

The UI is very, Very slick and and obviously it’s it’s fast. It loads quickly. There’s a lot of good things about this, but how fun of a site You think that I would want to monetize more, you know You got that home page and all he’s got up there to make money is buy me some coffee, you know 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly.

And uh, so there’s all kind of fun games on here. I just drew a circle At 90 accuracy. 

Jared: I uh, I don’t know you very well spencer, but i’ve got a feeling That this is something that you could lose yourself in for a couple hours. 

Spencer: I may just, you know, take the rest of the week off. Uh, I may be busy on Neil. fun.

Jared: This episode never goes live. We’ll know it’s because you forgot because you were playing some of these games. 

Spencer: That’s right. 

Jared: That’s right. 

Spencer: All right. So there you go. Hopefully, uh, provided some ideas for people. Jared, what do you got? 

Jared: All right. Well, this week I am, um, as you can tell by the crazy art in the background here, I’m not in my office.

Trying to run my business while doing a bunch of other stuff this week. And, um, uh, I, I, I thought a perfect niche site would be caffeineinformer. com. Hmm. It’s about all things caffeine. I’ve had some coffee this week to, uh, to keep, to keep burning the midnight oil as, as, as they say. Um, And, uh, it’s a very interesting site though.

I thought it was super cool. So it’s everything caffeine and it really is. Everything explores reviews and equip yourself with tools to fine tune your caffeine intake. So a couple of things about it. Um, this is not your fly by night startup site. It’s a DR 70. Uh, so we’ll get into some of the, uh, some of the, the age refs numbers here in a little bit.

It’s got a bunch of pages, 818 pages, and it’s got a lot of helpful blog content. So, um, this does have a ton of content. If you’re wondering, is this a content site? I’m not sure I’d say it’s a content site, but look, you’re kind of scrolling through, you kind of went by it really quickly there, like some of the really cool things it has.

So it’s got a caffeine calculator. So you can determine your max amount of any. Um, uh, you can kind of type in a drink and you can put in your weight and it tells you how much you can have before you’ll die. Um, basically, uh, on a little bit more, uh, relatable, it’s got a database of. caffeine drinks. And so if you go and you look at this database, you can kind of tell like, Hey, 7 Eleven brewed coffee has, um, 280 milligrams of, of caffeine, whereas a 7 Eleven specific energy shot has 260, uh, and A& W cream soda has zero.

So it’s got, I mean, thousands of, of, of drinks here. So if you’re kind of just wanting to get the, the, the raw facts, um, it’s, uh, let me look at my notes here. I’m looking off, off camera here. Uh, if you want, so it’s monetized by ads, it’s, it’s ads everywhere. So I didn’t see, he quotes or says there’s a lot of review content, right?

And there is a lot of review content. So he’s like reviewing various, uh, energy drinks and stuff. I didn’t really see any, Affiliate links. I don’t know how you get an affiliate link for, you know, Ben and Jerry’s coffee, ice cream there, as you can see on the screen. Uh, so it looks like it’s just an ad, an ad play.

Um, uh, if you go to go to the about page, if you can find it there, uh, talk about a robust about page, if you’re looking for how to build out an about page, this, um, I don’t know if this is the founder, but they have a feature at the bottom there. Their editor is Ted Kallemeier and a lot of sophisticated things, uh, clearly a medical expert of some sorts, but he is our caffeine expert.

Prior to this, he spent 12 years as a biology and health educator for the public school system. He’s a certified sports nutrition coach. Um, but anyways, the fun thing about this, so you can click on it’s right up above there. We’ll Death by Caffeine Calculator, and this is by far the most popular page, which you can see, and you had this up earlier.

So, this is the page of theirs that’s gone semi viral. And, you know, you can kind of play around with this, and it’s a little scary. I mean, they put a medical professional behind it. I don’t know. Do you think this is real? I, 

Spencer: I don’t know, like what, what’s your drink of choice or which one should we test out?

Jared: Let’s do coffee. Um, if you type in coffee, you’ll get, oh, and it, 

Spencer: oh, okay. Yeah. See, so you can take Americana coffee. That’s a good one. There we go. Uh, well, let’s, you know, let’s put, um, we’re not going to put our actual weight. I’m going to just, you know, we’ll put one 75. Your maximum is 2. 6 cups per day.

That’s the safe maximum. And then the lethal dose is 77. 6 cups of Americano coffee is a lethal dose. Wow. Can you imagine someone on 77 Americanos in one day? They’re good up to 76, but 77, it’s lights out. 76, you’ll be just shy of dying. 

Jared: Yeah. Wow. Um. That’s a lot of coffee. So, pretty, pretty heavy ads, although.

I mean, not, not, not more than, not more than normal. I call it a heavy ad density, but not to the point where it’s, um, terrible. 

But beyond 

Jared: that, you know, um, a H refs estimates them at a hundred and 41, 000 organic traffic per month. Yeah. Um, so for a site about caffeine, that’s not bad. 

Spencer: No, it’s not bad. And it, I mean, it seems like at least over the last year, their, their traffic has, uh, you know, done relatively well.

Um, And, um, yeah, it continues to, like you said, 141, 000 organic searches, uh, a month with, uh, let’s see what it’s like their top keyword here. Caffeine calculator. There you go. Um, not surprised. 

Jared: It got me thinking about this concept of, you know, as, again, as people listening or watching or thinking about this, like the idea of caffeine isn’t really a topical, like an area you can become a topical or topically authoritative on, but it’s this topic that does get discussed a lot and it’s this weird segment of the internet where you can kind of do a website on something where you don’t have to, Really have topical authority on it, but it’s a it’s a commonly searched and thought about sort of topic It’s it’s it’s an interesting collection like you can be an expert on hiking and that’s a common topic But this is one of those weird things that people have a lot of questions about Want to know a lot about a lot of data studies on it But you don’t really need to be a topically authoritative expert on it, 

Spencer: right?

Yeah, exactly You know, there’s a lot of different angles that you can come at, you know, whether it be the lifestyle or the specific drink or something fun like a caffeine calculator, right? 

Jared: This could 

Spencer: be a 

Jared: good meme 

Spencer: site. A lot of memes could be presented here too, I feel like, down the road. That’s true.

That is absolutely true. Um, This is kind of a fun one. Interesting. I like, I like the use of combining a content site with like a utility site, you know, like a calculator, um, or something. And it feels like if you can marry those two concepts where um, your site does something or calculate something or, you know, they, they, Do something on your website, um, to interact with it a little bit more.

Plus you have the content that probably is what helped led to a lot of the thought, the authority, um, of this website itself. Right. You said it’s like a DR 73. Yeah. Yep. Is what you said. 

Jared: Yep. Yeah. DR 73. So. And, and another programmatic play, you know, data sets that are clear, I think required by federal law to be published.

Like you got to publish how much caffeine is in a drink, um, you know, so this is taking advantage of legally mandated, I would imagine, uh, um, uh, data sets. 

Spencer: Well, there you go. Another, uh, good find Jared, um, a weird niche site. Indeed. It, it feels like, uh, no matter how many weeks we do this, we tend to find another couple of weird niche sites.

So hopefully people enjoyed those very much, 

Jared: but I can’t say that. Uh, I can’t say I was thinking about having 77. Americanos. I was just more thinking about having my second Americano. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe just go dragging a bit this week, but I feel a little more secure. Maybe I’ll have that second Americano this week while I’m a little more tired than normal.

Spencer: There you go. Treat yourself. It seems like I’ll be okay. Seems 

Jared: like 

Spencer: you’ll make it through. Um, well that’s a wrap for us. Thank you everybody so much for listening to the podcast. Hopefully you enjoyed the news and everything else, uh, that we shared here. And, uh, Jared, will we see you at your regular, you know, your regular digs next week?


Jared: to normal next week. But I will tell you, I got another one of these in my future. So, uh, again, in a couple of weeks, 

Spencer: we’ll be ready for it. 

Jared: All right. Thank you everybody for listening. I appreciate your time. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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