Around the world, there are businesses that utilize all types of aggregator models. While large corporations like Procter & Gamble own a long list of consumer goods product brands, aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes collect movie reviews, aggregators like Zillow combine real estate listings, and aggregators like Thrasio bring together small entities who sell on Amazon. It’s safe to say that business aggregation isn’t going anywhere.
Most recently, a startup called TreasureHunter announced the firm’s position as a digital demand aggregator. TreasureHunter is a company which represents a new business model within the aggregator market. Earlier this year, the startup closed a USD 8 million funding round. Furthermore, the firm has amassed a team of professionals who will work to acquire, operate, and grow content websites. Industry leaders predict an increase in quality internet content, growing “digital property” values, and heightened competition online–characteristics of the internet’s future that will bolster this new aggregator business model, said company leaders.
How Blogs Generate Passive Profit
For the average consumer, trust in mainstream media has hit an all-time low. Instead, viewers seek information from thought leaders who are skilled within a niche industry. This movement is exemplified by the growth of entrepreneurs who are also journalists, chefs, travel junkies, etc. These website owners use their first-hand experience(s) to deliver helpful content for information seekers across the globe.
After creating and delivering this content, digital asset owners generate revenue from display advertisements, affiliate marketing, cost-per-click deals, and more. Many asset owners founded their website by simply doing the activities that they are passionate about. Whether it’s cooking, sports, or travel–entrepreneurs who have created their own space on the internet are now cashing-in on their passion project.
Owners of content websites use these informative blogs to generate traffic, cultivate an audience, and monetize information. When it comes to aggregation, businesses offer standardized processes, larger teams, and 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.”
Currently in 2022, 80% of ecommerce advertisers make money off affiliate partnerships with content websites. As ecommerce continues to thrive, there will be a steady need to use digital content to influence sales. What’s more, 40% of ecommerce merchants designate affiliate programs as their top sales acquisition channel.
The Futuristic Online Treasure Hunt
Treasure is being hunted on the internet, rather than over the seven seas. Modern day treasure hunters are looking for “hidden gems” in the form of content websites and blogs which bring in passive income. The most valuable blogs will deliver helpful content to an individual niche while also raking in hundreds of thousands in USD each year.
Many sites are run by individual bloggers or small teams. In order to scale up, leaders at aggregator firms enlist their large teams of SEO practitioners, marketing mavens, content writers, social media experts, website developers, salespeople, and advertising professionals. Aggregators like TreasureHunter invest in websites and creative teams–hoping that these efforts are rewarded with greater traffic and higher advertising income.
The Aggregator’s Process
At TreasureHunter, the treasure map starts with the team’s proprietary method of mining data, said company leaders. Sourcing these leads is the firm’s first step toward uncovering “hidden treasure” virtually.
Aggregators implement their M&A team to dig in and perform a due diligence effort in order to assign a valuation to the discovered digital assets. When it comes time to make a purchase from a website owner, the deals allow blog owners to join the aggregation team to help grow the site. If not, the owner may choose to step away post-transaction. No matter how the deals end, this team stresses their calculated effort to assess and retain a website’s “DNA”, according to TreasureHunter.media.
“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 much of the content, aggregators assert that their versatile team is able to grow a digital asset’s value almost immediately. In June 2021, TreasureHunter’s team acquired their first website and brand, called reisefroh.com. Since then, this German travel blog has undergone a substantial growth 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,” explained Schardt.
Luckily for aggregator firms, a lot of the sites along the “treasure map” are already profitable. What’s more, content website owners often possess pain points that aggregators can help to fix. If site owners create a blog as a side-business or passion project, it does not take long for the project to reach operational limits. Aggregator teams are able to step-in and turn a business that started as a side-gig into a full-time project using their team of professionals.
“We have goals to grow these assets 10x in the years after acquisition, ” concluded Schardt whose team is in the process of onboarding new websites. “As we look forward, we intend to acquire several assets across North America, Europe, and all around the world.”