James Camp on Buying vs Building Content Sites and The Future of Search with AI!

Last updated: Jun 30, 2023

This video is about a podcast interview with James Camp, a serial entrepreneur, discussing topics such as buying vs building content sites, the future of search with AI, and various strategies for building profitable online assets.

This video by Niche Website Builders was published on Mar 21, 2023.
Video length: 54:20.

This video is an interview with James Camp, a serial entrepreneur and internet marketer, discussing the topic of buying vs building content sites and the future of search with AI.

The conversation covers various aspects of starting and growing niche websites, including tips for buying websites, the impact of AI on the industry, and strategies for staying ahead in the ever-changing digital landscape. The interview also touches on topics such as newsletters, communities, and diversifying website traffic.

Overall, the video provides valuable insights and advice for both beginners and experienced niche website builders.

  • James Camp is a serial entrepreneur and internet kid with experience in various online businesses.
  • He started blogging at a young age and has owned niche sites, DTC brands, and consulted for Fortune 500 companies.
  • James discusses the pros and cons of buying and building content sites.
  • AI has the potential to change the future of search by analyzing user behavior and providing personalized results.
  • AI is not perfect and still requires human intervention and optimization.
  • There is no clear answer to whether it's better to buy or build a website.
  • AI is changing the landscape of search and SEO, improving search results and user experience.
  • Starting from scratch allows for potential growth and control, while buying a site provides immediate revenue and traffic.
  • Consistency and persistence are key in building a successful online business.

James Camp on Buying vs Building Content Sites and The Future of Search with AI! - YouTube

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Section 1: Introduction to James Camp

  • James Camp is a serial entrepreneur and self-proclaimed internet kid.
  • He started blogging at the age of 15 and has been involved in various online businesses.
  • He has owned niche sites, DTC brands, and has done strategy consulting for Fortune 500 companies.
  • Currently, he is active on Twitter and other online platforms.
  • James has a significant following on Twitter, with over 76,000 followers.
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Section 2: Getting into Blogging and Making Money Online

  • James got into blogging at the age of 15 by Googling how to make money on the internet.
  • He started building websites on platforms like Geocities and Angel Fire.
  • James had a blog called "Gold Piece XL" where he wrote about sneakers and things he liked.
  • He would spam blogging communities and DM people to read his articles.
  • Two of his articles went viral on StumbleUpon and Digg, earning him around $30 on AdSense.
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Section 3: Buying vs Building Content Sites

  • James discusses the pros and cons of buying and building content sites.
  • Buying a content site allows you to skip the initial stages of building and start with an established site.
  • Building a content site from scratch gives you more control and the ability to customize it according to your preferences.
  • Buying a site requires due diligence to ensure its profitability and potential for growth.
  • Building a site requires time, effort, and patience to see results.
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James Camp on Buying vs Building Content Sites and The Future of Search with AI! - YouTube

Section 4: The Future of Search with AI

  • James and the host discuss the impact of AI on the future of search.
  • AI has the potential to change the way search engines rank and display content.
  • AI can analyze user behavior and preferences to provide more personalized search results.
  • However, AI is not yet perfect and still requires human intervention and optimization.
  • It is important for content creators to stay updated with AI advancements and adapt their strategies accordingly.
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Buying vs Building Content Sites

  • There is no clear-cut answer to whether it's better to buy a website or start from scratch.
  • Building a blog or authority site is relatively easy for anyone with internet savvy.
  • Link building doesn't have to be hyper strategic to be successful.
  • Starting from scratch allows for the most potential growth and control.
  • Buying a site can provide immediate revenue and traffic.
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The Future of Search with AI

  • AI is changing the landscape of search and SEO.
  • AI can analyze and understand content better than ever before.
  • AI can improve search results and user experience.
  • AI can help with keyword research and content creation.
  • AI will continue to evolve and impact the way we search and optimize websites.
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Strategies for Building Profitable Online Assets

  • Starting from scratch is a good option for those with time and patience.
  • Buying a site can be a shortcut to skipping the initial grind.
  • Buying a site is an investment in a micro business, not a quick way to make money.
  • Consider your financial situation and goals before buying a site.
  • Content sites are a great option for beginners in online business.
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Consistency and Persistence in Online Business

  • Consistency is key in building a successful online business.
  • Outlasting others and staying consistent is a war of attrition.
  • Starting from scratch requires patience and perseverance.
  • Beginners often struggle with choosing the right path in online business.
  • Content sites, along with other models like agencies and media buying, can all be successful with consistency and persistence.
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Building vs Buying Content Sites

  • Building a portfolio of content sites can be a successful path to making money online.
  • Content sites have low barriers to entry and can provide close to passive income after putting in some initial work.
  • Examples of successful content site portfolios include Red Ventures and TPG.
  • Content sites can generate 25-30% returns on investment.
  • Content sites are a sweet spot for many operators.
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The Future of Search with AI

  • AI is a hot topic in the niche site world and is unavoidable in the future.
  • AI is currently in a bubble, similar to how crypto and tech had their own bubbles.
  • Many companies claiming to be AI companies are not truly AI companies.
  • Google already uses AI algorithms in its search engine.
  • In the next 12-24 months, certain keywords may lose traffic due to AI algorithms.
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The Impact of AI on Niche Sites

  • AI may cause a seismic shift in the way people find information on the internet, but this is not expected to happen in the next 12-24 months.
  • Featured snippets have become desirable for websites as they can drive more traffic.
  • The key to success in SEO has always been creating better content.
  • Previously, exact match domains and keyword stuffing were used to manipulate search engine rankings.
  • The newest iteration of SEO involves creating high-quality, expert-driven content.
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Legal issues with AI and search engines

  • Google's biggest enemy is the US government and antitrust laws.
  • If the government sees Google monetizing and rewriting creators' content, it could lead to legal issues.
  • Getty Images is already suing people for using AI to create images.
  • AI may change the world, but it won't replace humans in the next 10 years.
  • There will still be opportunities for entrepreneurs to use AI as a tool.
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Trust and reliability of search engines

  • Users want to know who is providing the information they find on search engines.
  • Having one entity as the source of all information is problematic.
  • Not all search will disappear, as there will always be a need for reliable information.
  • Suppression of information and the source of truth are concerning issues.
  • Search engines need to address these concerns to maintain trust.
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Global talent and outsourcing

  • Access to global talent through AI translation could change the corporate structure.
  • Intellect and hard work are not limited to a specific country.
  • Americans may be culturally lazy compared to other parts of the world.
  • Outsourcing remote jobs to overseas talent may become more common.
  • AI can help overcome language barriers and improve communication with remote workers.
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Government regulation and black hat practices

  • Deep fake advertising videos raise concerns about government regulation.
  • Black hat practices in the SEO world will always exist.
  • There will always be people who break the rules and engage in illegal activities.
  • Government regulation will be necessary to address these issues.
  • Black hat practices can include illegal activities and violate terms of service.
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Buying vs Building Content Sites

  • Government regulation will likely be necessary to address issues such as fake endorsements and deep fake technology.
  • Deep fake technology used in ads is currently low quality, but high quality deep fakes could become indistinguishable from reality.
  • Regulation and consumer protection laws will likely be implemented to address these issues.
  • Buying content sites is still a viable strategy, and if the right site came along, the speaker would buy it.
  • Building email lists and communities around content sites is a priority.
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The Future of Search with AI

  • AI is not expected to have a huge impact on the speaker's business in the next 10 years.
  • The speaker is more interested in communities and creator-focused businesses.
  • Search-related risks are the biggest concern with AI for online businesses.
  • Video and podcast content are not easily replaceable by AI.
  • The speaker is interested in building a stealth startup in the online education space.
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Strategies for Building Profitable Online Assets

  • Buying the right content sites is still a priority for the speaker.
  • EMD single product review websites are no longer of interest.
  • Building communities and retention models around niche topics is important.
  • Creating compelling and interesting content for social media is a focus.
  • AI-related risks can be mitigated by focusing on community and creator-focused businesses.
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Buying vs Building Content Sites

  • The speaker has spent the last year focused on content sites, buying and selling them.
  • He believes that high-quality websites built by passionate hobbyists are valuable.
  • Retention tools like newsletters and online communities are important for building a community around a niche.
  • He emphasizes the need to mitigate risk from relying solely on search traffic.
  • He suggests diversifying traffic sources by utilizing Facebook groups, subreddits, and other platforms.
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The Future of Search with AI

  • The speaker mentions the importance of building social channels and email lists for content sites.
  • He discusses a strategy of acquiring an Instagram page with a large following and using it to drive traffic to a content site.
  • He suggests running ads against the Instagram audience and building an email subscriber list through retargeting ads.
  • He believes that building a media company with social channels, email lists, and communities is a more sustainable approach.
  • He emphasizes the need to adapt and pivot in the face of changes in AI, Google, and other platforms.
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Creating a Paid Membership Community

  • The speaker discusses the transition from a free Facebook group or community to a paid membership.
  • He emphasizes the importance of offering unique value in the niche, such as expert insight or opinion.
  • He mentions the possibility of offering paid newsletters or deep dive interviews with experts as part of a paid membership.
  • He suggests considering the niche and what type of value can be provided to justify a paid membership.
  • He mentions the example of a sports niche where betting picks may not be the best direction for a paid community.
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Building a Little Media Company

  • The speaker discusses the shift from viewing niche sites as singular verticals to building a media company.
  • He mentions the importance of social channels, email lists, and communities for a media company.
  • He suggests that building a media company makes it easier to adapt and stay alive regardless of changes in AI or search platforms.
  • He mentions his own experience with paid communities and the challenges of managing them compared to letting things run.
  • He emphasizes the need to think about building a media company in order to mitigate risk and increase sustainability.
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Monetizing a Community

  • Sports betting in the United States is predicted to be the next big opportunity for monetization.
  • Building a community around a niche topic can lead to sponsorship opportunities.
  • Programmatic display advertising may not be as profitable as other monetization methods.
  • It is important to choose the right niche for building a paid community.
  • Having a niche site that ranks in Google only serves as a connector between a searcher and an affiliate product.
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Building a Paid Community

  • Building a paid community provides more brand loyalty and repeat customers compared to affiliate marketing.
  • Having exclusive content for the paid community is crucial.
  • The education space offers a huge opportunity for paid communities.
  • Paid communities can lead to strong upsell opportunities.
  • Scaling a paid community depends on the individual's goals and preferences.
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Monetizing a Niche Website

  • For solopreneurs, making $400,000 a year from a niche website can be a significant achievement.
  • Having a large number of subscribers paying a monthly fee can generate substantial income.
  • Adding additional services, such as one-on-one help, can further increase revenue.
  • Scaling a niche website may require outsourcing or hiring additional help.
  • Finding a balance between time freedom and income is key for solopreneurs.
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Retargeting and Growing an Email List

  • Retargeting visitors and Instagram subscribers can help grow an email list.
  • Offering a lead magnet or valuable content as part of the retargeting strategy can incentivize people to join the email list.
  • Retargeting strategies should be adapted to the ever-changing digital landscape.
  • It is important to stay updated on the latest trends and techniques in retargeting and growing an email list.
  • Experimentation and testing are crucial to finding the most effective retargeting methods.
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Section 1: Using IG for retargeting

  • Engagers in the trailing 90 days on an Instagram account are more likely to sign up for something.
  • Retargeting on IG is an easy route for acquiring customers.
  • Google retargeting using GDN for newsletter sign-ups is not the lowest cost acquisition model.
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Section 2: AI and lead magnets

  • Creating unique lead magnets for each page can significantly improve conversion rates.
  • AI can be used to easily create multiple lead magnets for different pages.
  • Having bespoke lead magnets for each page can result in massive segmented lists.
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Section 3: Challenges with API integration

  • API changes between platforms can cause issues with lead magnet sign-ups.
  • API issues can lead to frustration and the need to make adjustments.
  • It is important to be willing to pivot and put in the work to overcome challenges.
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Section 4: Online businesses require effort and adaptability

  • Building and running content sites is similar to running small businesses.
  • Results can vary, with some sites not performing well and others experiencing significant growth.
  • Online businesses offer the opportunity to pivot and adapt to changes more easily than brick and mortar businesses.
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Buying vs Building Content Sites

  • The speaker shares their experience of buying a website for $7.5k that is now worth over $50k.
  • They emphasize the potential for growth and profitability in content sites.
  • They mention the advantage of being able to work on the website and create content while waiting, such as during a car service.
  • They give an example of buying a website for $11k and experiencing fluctuations in rankings, but still achieving a good return on investment.
  • They highlight the financial benefits of buying a content site, with the potential for a 30% cash on cash return.
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The Future of Search with AI

  • The speaker mentions the possibility of AI language learning models answering search queries in the future.
  • They discuss the zero-sum nature of search, where losing rankings means someone else gains them.
  • They explain that algorithm updates can have both positive and negative effects on rankings.
  • They emphasize the importance of creating great content that aligns with Google's guidelines to increase the chances of positive ranking outcomes.
  • They address the fear of Google updates and highlight the importance of following guidelines and providing valuable content.
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Starting in a Saturated Market

  • The speaker believes that saturation is generally false and advises against being overly cautious about entering saturated markets.
  • They caution against entering highly competitive niches, such as medical or specific gambling terms.
  • They acknowledge that these niches can be profitable but also challenging to rank in.
  • They suggest being careful with money and lifestyle choices when entering certain niches.
  • They mention that the most money can be found in tough niches, but they come with greater challenges.
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Opportunity in Niche Markets

  • Oversaturation is a false belief, there is always opportunity in niche markets.
  • Even in major niches, there are still opportunities to find long-tail and obscure niches.
  • For example, the finance niche had opportunities in pot stocks when it was new and not widely covered.
  • There are broad overarching mega niches that may be difficult to compete in for beginners.
  • However, there are always opportunities to tap into latent demand and find existing audiences.
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Tapping into Existing Communities

  • Your audience has already gathered somewhere on the internet, such as in Facebook groups, subreddits, or niche site Twitter.
  • By becoming a useful part of these communities, you can drive traffic to your website.
  • Share interesting and useful content for free to create value in the community.
  • Don't spam communities with self-promotion, but instead be an active participant and offer value.
  • Being part of the community and creating great content will make people more receptive to your promotions.
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Finding Opportunities in Smaller Markets

  • Instead of competing in massive markets, look for smaller markets within the niche.
  • For example, instead of targeting Premier League players, focus on smaller markets like soccer in Ghana.
  • There are threads of smaller markets that you can easily dominate.
  • Don't compete against behemoths in the industry, find alternative platforms like YouTube or TikTok to gain an advantage.
  • There are always ways to approach a niche and find opportunities beyond traditional SEO and Google traffic.
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Diversifying with YouTube and Other Platforms

  • YouTube and other social media platforms offer alternative ways to grow an online business.
  • Leveraging YouTube can help diversify traffic sources and reach a wider audience.
  • Consider using platforms like TikTok or YouTube to drive traffic to your niche site.
  • Don't limit your online business to just a website and SEO, explore other avenues for growth.
  • YouTube can also provide face-to-face interactions and build a personal brand.
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Buying vs Building Content Sites

  • Barrier to entry is higher when buying content sites.
  • In the buy side advisory space for online businesses under $20 million, there are only a few players.
  • Competitive advantage can be gained by doing what competitors are not willing to do.
  • Success in organic social media requires being comfortable with cringy content.
  • Buying an online business can potentially put someone in a better situation than a 9-to-5 job.
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The Future of Search with AI

  • Having a niche site or large social media following means dealing with negative comments and criticism.
  • Statistically, there will be people who are angry, sad, hurt, or upset in any audience.
  • Handling negativity and criticism is a necessary part of building an online presence.
  • Success in content creation often comes from embracing cringy content and being comfortable with it.
  • James Camp can be found on Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and nanoflips.com.

Watch the video on YouTube:
James Camp on Buying vs Building Content Sites and The Future of Search with AI! - YouTube

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