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What are some of the most interesting business models you've come across for aggregator apps?

We're building an aggregator in a sector that's fairly grassroots. There's money flowing, but people are reluctant to pay or offer up a cut without proof of traction and that it will help them in their businesses (naturally). I know aggregator apps are a dime a dozen and many fail on account of having a unsustainable business model.

I'd be curious to hear from this community about aggregator apps that you've encountered that have had very unique business models. Yelp, as a super obvious example, aggregates local businesses and functions mostly as a ad company (sales-aggressive model - I read somewhere that over 1/3 of their staff are sales).

Thoughts? I have about a million ideas, but would love to hear of some unique examples you may have encountered.

Thanks all!

3 Replies

Frederic Moreau
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Frederic Moreau Advisor
Agile Business Transformer
Hi Medina,

The main friction you create when you aggregate data this way is about displaying results in a meaningful way to your users and your clients. So the first "natural" revenue generation stream is to monetize ranking the way Yelp, Google and other aggregators do. There are many ways to do this. Is this the main path to revenue generation for you? Well it certainly depends on your vertical and the services behind; but most of the time it is #1.

However, before you can monetize ranking and key word search you need to prove your clients that you can generate a good return to them. This is the #1 issue with aggregator apps - you need to get a lot of traffic and user engagements before your revenues become significant. So you might consider other options to start with. Listen to your users and to your clients to figure out what and how.

Does this help?
Stephen Campbell, PMP
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Project Management Professional
Curious what you're aggregating (but I guess that would spill the beans). I'm also working on a bit of an aggregator, but the end result (best use) will be a tailored solution of several strung-together options. That's what we're primarily monetizing. A customized This+That+This approach. Ranking is no-doubt powerful, but it's a bit binary in my honest opinion. Tailoring the results will allow you to provide next-level value while bringing you a more profitable return. The trouble is patience and testing. You have to do a LOT of testing. And of course proofing of your idea/concept - which I'm going to assume you're doing. :-)

Cheers,
Stephen
Dirk de Kok
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Dirk de Kok Advisor
Founder and CTO Mobtest
Aggregators are hard, I know because I have done one.

The only 2 that I use sometimes are Flipboard and Nuzzel. Flipboard is the only one around long enough to do monetization. They do this via ads, in particular advertorials and magazines they co publish with other publications.

The problem with monetization is that you are probably aggregating data that users can see already for free somewhere else, so wouldn't be inclined to want to pay for. Also, the sources you are aggregating data from at some point will want their piece of the pie, or shut you off (Twitter clients?). That makes it risky.
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