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Hi, I'm Marius from monbot.co


#1

Hi Guys,
I wanted to introduce myself to you. I’m Marius, 24, from Bonn, Germany.

I actually have another background than most of you since I’m a med student by day and I’m working as a freelancing web developer from time to time on the side. But I’m also pretty much into tech in general. I just love it :slight_smile:

With my freelancing I encountered a problem that none of the existing apps solved for me particularly well. One time I got a pretty nasty phone call by one of my former clients. He told me that his shared hosting provider contacted them and put their website on hold because it got hacked and it was sending spam. That’s the thing with wordpress sites that are not really well protected and updated regularly (I didn’t have any maintenance contract with him but that’s a whole other story).

The nasty part of it was that I didn’t noticed it myself but the client had to call me.

The idea for https://www.monbot.co/ was born. First it was a simple python script I hosted on a VPS of my own but I realized that maybe more people have the same problem then me and are also not satisfied with the existing solutions. So I converted it into a SaaS. It didn’t took that long and now I have a starting point and I want to develop it with maybe a few clients.

Currently I’m trying to get it off the ground. I deployed the first version last monday or so and now I want to find my first few customers. My end goal is to have a nice little business and earn some money on the site and learn a ton of new things.

So I would be really glad if I could get your feedback and maybe some strategies you used to used to find your first customers. I really love to hear what you think.

Cheers

Marius


#2

Sorry to be a naysayer but…

You’re solving a real problem, which is good.

This problem has been solved a million times before, which is very bad.

In software business, marketing is at least 50% of success and SEO is the primary channel of getting customers. You’re 15 years behind every other tool that does site monitoring.

You need to either do something unique in that space (I don’t think that’s possible given how many people attack this space) or have dramatically better/cheaper product (you don’t have that) or have a really good idea for cheaper customer lead generation (you don’t have that or else you wouldn’t be asking here).

In terms of concrete feedback.

  1. 15 minutes is very long. 1 min is what your competition does

  2. There has to be a way to test functionality without creating an account.

Redesign the main page to allow entering website/keyword to monitor right away you do the check and say “site is working!” and only after that you put “Create account” button. Make visitors invest a little bit of time for better conversion rate.


#3

Hey Krzysztof,
don’t worry about being the naysayer. If I want to hear how good my idea is, I’ll ask my parents :wink:

And you are talking about a point that concerns me the most too. And I talked about it with some people that are in a similar position and they all said that you are going to find your niche over time.

But you got a valid point and maybe the idea won’t go too far. But I didn’t spend that much time on it yet and it was a great learning experience so far and I’m sure it still will be.

Again thank you for your feedback. I’ll try the tip with the test functionality.


#4

That sounds like you did review the existing solutions. What wasn’t good about them?

I mean, you do know about Pingdom and 100500 other monitoring SaaS apps (some are even free), right?

I dunno… One good strategy would be to walk away?


#5

Remote monitoring of web sites is a niche in itself. It is minuscule comparing to the overall system monitoring field. And because it is so small, you cannot really niche it down more. There are only upsell options - SMS, tests from multiple locations, etc.

That is a good reason. But building a product that is not a dead-end is even better learning experience - you’d learn more things.


#6

Is it my quirk or negative emotions in the main marketing message should be avoided? (Same for too positive words, by the way, it hurts readability by 27%.) It’s not the first time I see a landing that states that something sucks right in my face, in a huge font.

The first issue is that it’s not guaranteed that I have the same emotion towards the “sucking” process. So as a reader I’m having a pushback because you are trying to impose your emotional state on me.

The second issue is that I want to know what your product can do for me, it’s my goal on your site. I already have a problem and it doesn’t need to be re-stated.


#7

Good job on shipping something!

I use http://uptimerobot.com for 1 minute checks and 50 monitors for $5/month and a bunch of other features. Your target audience is savvy and they will look at your competitors, which will force you to compete on features or price. For $5/month, you need a lot of clients to make it a viable business, even if your goal is to just cover your living expenses. Getting paying customers in a competitive space as a bootstrapper is extremely hard, unless you are solving a real pain that your competition is unaware of or is simply not interested in solving.

Also, consider that your system needs to be extremely reliable and high availability is expected, which doesn’t make it a good candidate for a passive income business, if that’s what you are going for.

I hope this helps!


#8

First of all thank you all for your opinions.

I will implement the “preview” on the landing page.

You talked about many things that I’m also concerned about. And to find a niche with this product will be very hard if not impossible. That’s a point I see too.

But I think on the other hand that you also don’t really get my SaaS because the copy is not precise enough. I think of it more as a service like https://visualping.io/ for website owners that are not that tech savvy. Like people who are able to build a “brochure wordpress site” with a page builder. The term “for hackers…” was misleading and was more a fill in until I figure out something more precise.

Currently I’m thinking about abandoning this idea or trying to tweak it somehow. I’m not really sure that this idea is a total dead-end. I think unmaintained wordpress installations are a problem that is not well solved yet. Yes there are services like wpcurve.com but they are not really automated and quite expensive.

But I think there are much much easier first SaaS projects with much more defined and underserved niches. I got some ideas but the products are much more blurry right now for me.


#9

Well, you could make this exclusive for WordPress sites. Build a plugin people can install, make it free for one check every two hours and create packages for 15min/1min.

This is a niche within a niche. You probably won’t cover your expenses, but if you don’t want to abandon your idea, go for it.


#10

Alas, it is not a niche within niche.

Niche is when the folks inside of the niche get more value from the product and the product is specialized for the niche special requirements, and probably won’t work outside of the niche.

Now, any web monitoring tools can equally well monitor WP sites, no specialization is required.

Providing a way to create a monitoring account from within WP is not a niche, because it makes for more work (installing a plugin) than just create an account on the monitoring site.

Monitoring a site just being up is a dead-end. That VisualPing that @rasmus1610 referenced is a better try - it allows to monitor for change of an element - be it a price for a product or a system status. This is a niche, but somewhat esoteric, as I cannot imagine many people actively monitor pages like that.

Maybe, but the problem here is not the lack of tools for monitoring, but the lack of owner attention/knowledge to add monitoring. No point to create yet another monitoring tool if the owners will not use any monitoring at all.


#11

that’s actually a well thought answer and outlines why I shouln’t pursue this idea any further. Thank you for this feedback. :slight_smile:


#12

How is installing a plugin more work than creating an account? That’s two clicks.


#13

You still need to create an account on the monitoring site AND install the plugin.

It probably can be worked around by plugin generating dummy credentials for the monitoring site, but then it is harder to use say mobile app for that monitoring site, because the creds are not created by you, and you’d have to consult the plugin settings to see them… all in all, more confusion, while you could have just created an account on the monitoring site and be done with it. No gain in having a plugin, as I see it.


#14

One gain I can think off - marketing.

You get a listing in Wordpress app store and some less tech savy users may not understand that it doesn’t need to be a plugin and look elsewhere.

(This still wouldn’t be a business plan I would personally want to peruse though)