Business aggregation is nothing new for corporations with investor backing. But, in the futuristic world of 2022–aggregators are now buying pieces of the internet that make passive income. The most recent example of this concept is a startup called TreasureHunter. This team will utilize their newly-secured funding to prove that digital demand aggregation is the future of online content.
Firms like TreasureHunter bring professionals together who have goals to acquire, operate, and grow content websites. Invested individuals predict that increasing digital content quality, higher “digital property” values, and growing competition on the web will pave a lucrative path forward.
How Do Blogs Generate Income?
Individuals’ trust in mainstream media is at an all-time low. Instead, the average internet explorer will find information from independent industry experts. Notably, this trend has driven the growth of entrepreneurial journalists, chefs, travel experts, and others who deliver helpful digital content. By delivering truthful content, these digital asset owners are generating revenue from display advertisements, affiliate marketing, cost-per-click deals, as well as other diversified/custom avenues.
Currently in 2022, 80% of ecommerce advertisers thrive off affiliate partnerships with content websites. As ecommerce continues to grow, there will be a continual need to stimulate sales with content. What’s more, 40% of ecommerce merchants designate affiliate programs as their top acquisition channel when it comes to sales.
Most digital asset owners started up by blogging about the activities in which they are interested in. Whether it’s cooking, sports, travel, or something different–pro-bloggers who have carved out their own space on the internet are now cashing-in on their passion project(s).
Owners of content websites can use their informative blogs to generate traffic, cultivate an audience, and monetize information. Now, corporate aggregators are stepping in to buy these digital businesses and to offer standardized processes, larger professional team(s), and (of course) bigger budgets.
“The need for high-converting traffic will increase over the next few years, as the ecommerce sector grows, and competition in ecommerce increases,” said Benjamin Schardt, TreasureHunter’s Co-Founder & Co-CEO. “We believe there is a bright future for digital demand aggregation.”
The Online Treasure Map
Instead of digging dirt or diving under the sea, treasure hunters are discovering online gold. These “gems” are content websites and blogs that bring in passive profit. For aggregators, the best “treasure finds” are niche content sites that rake in hundreds of thousands in USD every year.
What’s more, aggregators hope to act as a solution or exit strategy for individual bloggers and small teams that have reached operational limits. In order to scale, leaders at these firms enlist their large teams to dive deeper into the “gem’s” SEO plan, marketing map, content strategy, social media, website development, advertising/sales, and more. In the end, these aggregators hope to be rewarded with an impressive content site under their umbrella of assets that generates great traffic and increasing ad revenue.
The Treasure Hunt Begins
At TreasureHunter, the secret map starts with the team’s “unique method of mining data,” said the firm’s leaders. Sourcing solid leads is this firm’s first step toward uncovering “hidden treasure” on the internet.
In order to conduct due diligence and give digital assets a valuation, aggregator firms will have a dedicated M&A team. Contracts with blog owners often end with ways for asset owner to continue to grow the site with the aggregating firm. And if not, contracts allow site owners a chance to step away to new pursuits (with pockets full of cash).
Yet, firms like TreasureHunter stress that these deals aren’t all about money. Of course investors must be satisfied. However, this team in particular stresses their effort to assess and retain a website’s “DNA” post-transaction.
“We know that when we step in, the blog has already gained an organic following and invested audience. We conduct interviews with the owner to assess the content and tonality that makes the asset special,” said Schardt. “We want to keep that established base and implement our team of professionals to scale up.”
Without changing the content or “the voice” of a content site, aggregators utilize their team to jettison the purchased asset’s value. For example, TreasureHunter acquired its first blog, called reisefroh.com in June 2021. Since then, the German travel blog has undergone a substantial increase in revenue due to standardized processes around sales optimization, traffic stimulation, and content management.
“In the future, we also hope to use our network and portfolio of sites to find comparable synergies that end in mutual growth,” concluded Schardt.
Luckily for the aggregation team at TreasureHunter, many of the sites on the “map” are already profitable. Blog owners often have pain points that aggregators can mend. When digital asset owners start a blog as a side-business or passion project, it does not take long for the project to reach operational limits. So, aggregators step-in to turn a business that started as a side-hustle into a full-time project.
Time will tell if it’s all worth it, though. If aggregators like TreasureHunter are correct–the internet landscape will be changing quickly. In the future, firms like this hope to own a solid portion of “internet property” before competitive asset grabs occur.
“We have goals to grow these assets 10x in the years after acquisition, ” said Schardt, whose team is in the process of onboarding new websites. “As we look forward, we intend to acquire several assets from North America, Europe, and all around the world.”