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RAPTURE....OH RAPTURE!!!!.... Brainstorming requested.....

Posted By: MaaMaw
Wednesday, 28 September 2005, at 9:40 a.m.

Dear Kiddies,

A few days ago I mentioned a "secret project" that was secret because I didn't want to jinx myself.


(Well, not exactly... I haven't finished paying for it yet, but it's done in the sense that the deal is done so I'm not afraid of The Evil God of You Talk Too Much Too Soon swooping down and dumping a load on my head.)

My Katie (age 10) early LOVES animals, and a few months ago, her favorite website disappeared. She was devastated (she used to spend hours there learning about exotic animals; she's like a walking encyclopedia). I was sure a website that size wouldn't just evaporate, so I told her they were just having technical problems and it would be back. When it didn't come back, I contacted the owner listed in WHOIS, and to make a long story short, I bought it (ummm, I'm buying it).

The creator of the site, David Childs, passed away two years ago, and as luck would have it, his wife and his brother had been trying to find someone to take it over but were unsuccessful and eventually had to close up shop.

"ME! ME!" I shrieked.

I wanted it for two reasons...

1. For Katie -- to take over when she's old enough, if she wants to, and so the two of us can work on it together over the next several years, adding new animals and setting up the sections Dave never got to finish.

2. Never in my wildest dreams could I create a niche site like this, not if I lived to be 263 years old with all my faculties intact (and never in my wildest dreams could I have found another such site at a price I could afford from people who would accept payments).

I'M SO EXCITED I'M ABOUT TO BUST APART AT THE SEAMS (not to mention Katie, who had to be dragged to bed last night :-)


I just got the files yesterday and uploaded them last night, and the site hasn't been updated for over two years. It will take me a little time just to figure out how to work it (the code is WAY over my head), clean up some things that are acting strange, update the links, etc.

Then I'll be ready to go, and that's where I would love to have you brainstorm along with me....

Here's the site --

I need to make some money on the site (it was set up to make money from sponsors and charter memberships, as you will see, but I plan to eliminate the charter memberships as soon as I find out for sure that there weren't any charter members, and I'm not sure how valuable sponsoring a single animal page would be to anyone, although I expect I'll keep that going).

I know I can make money with Google Adsense, but I haven't decided about that for sure. I want to keep the site EXTREMELY non-commercial-looking, and I have such a negative feeling about Adsense (*MY* PROBLEM, I realize that, and I might change my mind).

Dave's dream was to create a free educational site for kids (in fact, they were trying to find a school to take over the site), and I want to stick with that.

I am planning on opening a "Zoo Giftshop" and selling T-shirts, etc., through CafePress, plus realistic stuffed animals and other zoo-related educational books and toys (I have no clue where to get any of this stuff, but I'm working on it).

I am also entertaining a fantasy that if I can build up the traffic enough (again) (it used to come up in Google's top three for tons of different searches) that I will be able to offer discount coupons for the various zoos in the Zoo Directory and get big advertisers in that department (hotels, etc.) -- but again, that's just a fantasy at this point.

Any other VERY CLASSY ideas for making money without taking away from the "free" and "educational" and "kids" atmosphere would be greatly appreciated and rewarded with an extra brownie sporting less than the usual amount of fuzzy stuff.

Also, I am toying with the idea of a place where kids can post their picture (with just a first name) along with their writing, art work, or pet (i.e., at our zoo, they have a huge display where kids show off their animal research papers, drawings about their visit to the zoo, etc.) and other interactive things for kids, beyond the wonderful kids section that's already there.

Blessum yew, Dear Kiddies...

I value your brains more than I can say, so hit me with everything you've got.



P.S. What keeps floating through my mind is that kids aren't paying customers... their parents are... so I need to spend a lot of time visiting kid-sites to figure out where their money is coming from.

AmericaZoo -- MaaMaw & Katie's New Baby

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You'll find great information in this "Read Only" Archive, but remember..... things change.
Be sure to visit the Current Message Board when you're finished here.

We're very friendly, so don't be shy... just jump right in and post your question.
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