Do Pre-made Stores or Pre-made Online Merchant Websites Have Any Value?

Question: I recently purchased a website at as a store to sell's products and was wondering if the site had any value, and how I could do SEO on the site if I couldn't change the content?

Answer: Many companies sell the right to resell their products online, but most of them that require you to use their domain or subdomain for your stores are probably selling junk. Truth be told, I have got similar questions from other people who told me that customer support at some of these firms charged for site customization, and even started off many question sequences with how much room is left on your credit card.

The idea of paying for the ability to sell someone else's stuff online is a bit absurd. Amazon, eBay, Google, Yahoo! and thousands of other sites all have affiliate programs. Some of the better opportunities with product catalogs also have fairly open API programs that make it easy to integrate their data into your site.

There are many problems with trying to market a site that you can not touch

  • if you can't change a site then it is hard to create something remarkable that people would want to link at or share with friends

  • if someone's marketing is so closed off that they don't even allow you to change anything then their marketing is probably missing out on many other great feedback points as well
  • if you can't change a site then it is hard to get past duplicate content filters (good search engines will only want to rank 1 of these subdomains for any query which means that the rest of the affiliates are out of luck)
  • It is important to build up your own doman name if you are serious about building something of value. If you are stuck on someone else's subdomain, then if they ever dislike you or if their business fails so does yours.

Ideas and pieces of software are recycled all the time. This site uses Apache, MySQL, and MovableType on the back end, but the front end design is unique and these words are things I typed. There is nothing wrong with using pieces, but if someone wants you to use their entire system then they are probably going to hold you back from your full potential.

People buy packaged solutions for the same reason they buy diet pills and exercise programs that work while they sleep:

Why do you think there are so many diet pill, fitness equipment, workout 10 minutes a day, crap commercials selling billions of dollars worth of solutions that don't work? The reason is people want to believe they work, they are unwilling to do the things actually required to successfully loose weight and be in shape (diet AND excersize regularly at least 30mins a day)

So instead, they buy the marketing because they'd rather lie to themselves and believe a pill / fancy ab equipment and 10 minutes will work.

Instead of starting from some boxed in, closed off opportunity someone else offers you, I think you would be better off to start with something you are interested in and go from there. It costs under $200 a year to register a domain name, host it, install Wordpress and start writing. And if $200 is more than you have then allows you to custom map a Blogger blog to a URL of your choice for only $10.

Published: March 12, 2007 by Aaron Wall in Q & A


March 13, 2007 - 7:01pm

As an affiliate manager for a dozen brands I will not accept a website from a sub-domain. Nor will I accept a website that does not have an email address from the website domain.

It is just a waste of time to accept template sites as they do not convert. Yes, the affiliate may buy a few products or get their family to but I end up cleaning out those sites after a year or two in the program.

March 13, 2007 - 10:16pm

Absolutely agree, that‘s not the way.

In best case the site will be good optimized for search engines and will have a gut level of usability, but how many people like you are hanging on the domain?.

I have already seen many of them and I don’t know any that was really successful for user.

I think more important that to have your own site with Wordpress or some CMS, is to be clear what you wish to reach, which are you objectives and if you really have enough knowledge to do it on the web.

To get knowledge to do something interesting, efficient and wit quality is not trivial and/or quick. If you haven’t a good base, the best you can do is to learn a lot and look for a gut partner. The SEO Book is a good begin.

Like always, sorry for my spanglish

March 14, 2007 - 12:02am

Aaron I think you hit the nail on the head with the comparison to diet pills. People want to believe they can get something for nothing and some will always choose whatever seems like the easiest option without ever thinking of the value it may give.

Spending a little more upfront (whether in time or money) will usually result in much less spend over the long haul.

March 14, 2007 - 5:00pm

$200 a year? C'mon, it's way less than that. $5.99 for a .com domain with 1&1. $4.95/month for a basic reseller site hosting up to 50 domains with ResellerZoom. WordPress install is simple and free. Let's see, that's 4.95*12 + 5.99 = $65.39 for a year's worth of blogging.

The hard part, the thing that takes all the time and effort, is the blogging...

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