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Should I create this website?


#1

Hi bootstrappers,
my name is Mustafa and I would like to hear your opinion about a project of mine by answering a simple question.

Q: Do you think there is a need for a meta-platform for screencasts (like RailsCasts and GoDjango), which will offer free hosting for videos and files and takes care of payment processing for them in exchange for tiny revenue share?

Background:
I am a techie/ internet guy myself, yet didn’t dive into programming until a couple of months ago. My primary resources are official documentations and screencasts. The problem is there is no one place to find them or search them, they are all over the internet (YouTube, Vimeo, or custom software).

Another thing which i noticed is the payments, most of them have a subscription model or pay per course but sometimes you just want to know about one technology and paying for 4 subscriptions in parallel isn’t ideal if you don’t enjoy the whole program. And i think they have also some problems monetizing their content and get more customers. I can help them there considering my online marketing background.

What do you think?

PS: I apologize for my bad English.


#2

This sounds like a two-sided market, which are notoriously difficult. It’s hard to get content producers to use your service, if you don’t have many viewers. It’s hard to get interest from viewers, if you don’t have many content producers. You can’t just seed it and watch it take off. If this is your first bootstrapped project and you’re not backed with a ton of capital, I’d try something else. (Your English is great, by the way.)


#3

Thank you Corey for your answer.

I know this is a problem but I didn’t think it would be a big deal because:

  1. It’s very easy for them to upload their pre-existing videos on the platform.
  2. They can monetize videos they couldn’t monetize before.

With this in mind i thought finding viewers is as easy/ difficult as finding visitors for any informative content-based website.


#4

I agree with @coreysnipes that two-sided markets are very difficult to get up off the ground.

While it might be “very easy for them to upload their pre-existing videos”, it is still a separate task they need to accomplish, and no one has enough time in the day. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t do it.

Based on your description of the problem you’re solving for content producers, I’m wondering if you have a list of potential clients who your platform would be perfect for. If you do, I’d reach out to them directly and ask if they’d be interested in such a platform. If you get a lot of positive feedback, or, even better, someone who will pay you to build it for them, then you might be on to something.


#5

Thank you Matt for your reply and your suggestion. I’v already asked one producer what he thinks about this, still waiting for an answer. Planning on contacting the ~30 others.

There are already free and open source solutions for hosting screencasts, e.g.: https://github.com/GoDjango/godjango-site and https://github.com/ryanb/railscasts


#6

I don’t watch screencasts, but I definitely can imagine not wanting to pay separately for all the diff subscriptions.

Agree with @coreysnipes and @mattm about the difficulty of 2 sided markets.

Also, Rails/django guys might be tech savvy enough to easily set up their own, or use one of the open source solutions. So definitely contact the other 30 producers and see if they would be on board.

With that said, I know that you’d like a platform like this to use yourself (as a consumer of technical screencasts), but another industry/vertical might be a better way to start. Say…designers doing photoshop screencasts. They might not be technical enough to setup their own site, but might readily use your solution.

Just my 2 cents :slight_smile:
Not sure if that made any sense, just typed a stream of words from my phone haha.


#7

Your idea sounds a lot like what Pluralsight is already doing. And they have a lot of funding, so it will be hard to compete against them.


#8

If you’re the one providing all the infrastructure and dealing with the costs and maintenance of that, your revenue share needs to take that into account. If you’re only taking in a very modest percentage from the content producers and will need to consider monthly storage and bandwidth fees (not to mention maintenance which will cost you either time or money - or both) you will need to do massive amounts of volume in order to squeak out any respectable amount of profit.