Provo Labs‘ business model is becoming more clear. We will be acquiring a huge amount of content (text, images, audio and video) in selected vertical markets. (First two examples: ldsmedia.com and worldhistory.com).
Then we will offer free access to some important subset of this content (to attract visitors) and paid access to the premium content which we license from our content partners. And of course we will do all kinds of internet marketing: SEM, SEO, affiliate, email, viral.
We will also enable our users to contribute content, tag it, rate it, share it and otherwise add value to what we are offering, thus increasing the value of what we provide.
Finally, and this is the important step that has only become clear in the last two weeks, we will be offering online courses or classes in the vertical markets. We are looking for experts in entrepreneurship, stock market investing, family history, gardening, photography, blogging, and other subjects, who can teach our online courses.
When I was at MyFamily.com in 2000-2001 we knew a RIF was coming. I had the best admin in the world, but I knew her job might be affected but the upcoming cuts. In fact, I felt the entire MyFamily.com division of the company might be shut down. Some of the executives were trying to pull the plug on the entire “free family websites” strategy.
So we had about 30 days to turn my assistant from a “cost center” into a “profit center.” The idea I came up with was for her to find experts in genealogy who could teach an online family history course using the MyFamily.com web site technology as the elearning platform.
Within a month she had found some instructors and launched some successful classes. I think she generated $14,000 in the first month. But alas, she and the rest of the MyFamily business unit were still cut.
The company went on to deliver hundreds of online genealogy classes using the private family web site technology to deliver them. They continue to offer them today.
So Provo Labs will follow a similar path. It is a good way to generate revenue by combining content and community.
But, what we don’t have yet is an e-learning platform that will work well for us.
So, please, dear reader, let me know if you’ve ever taken a wonderful online class, and who you took it from. Or if you know of a great e-learning platform (Phil is looking at one open source project that starts with a k- I think) where we could plug in our content/search engine, our expert, and our community, and start generating revenue and a whole lotta learning.
Note: I am no longer a director or employee of MyFamily.com. I left management in February 2002. My opinions are purely my own fantasies and in no way reflect any reality of what is going on there. (I’ve been asked to write disclaimers whenever I blog about MyFamily.com)