Things have been hopping over here at Stirling Corp HQ. So much so that we have been a bit slow to keep you updated on all the exciting happenings.
As is the case with most businesses, the pandemic and lockdowns had a negative impact on Stirling Corp’s bottom line. One of our major lines was thumb drives and cards for customers in shops to download ebooks. With so many store closures, and the move to online, that division, which was slowly becoming obsolete, disappeared overnight.
This put a huge dent in revenues.
Another major source of revenue has been Google Adsense. We have seen a steady drop in Adsense revenue over the past 3 years. This has been a combination of changes at Google and recommended partners, who said they could increase our Adsense revenue but could not.
This is a major focus for us as it is crucial revenue. We have installed Google Ad Manager and are seeing some revenue stability. The site receives almost 1.5 million visits or page views a month. This is significant, and we are in discussions with a new Ad Display Network that pays per impression, not per click. (Think: ‘a penny a view times 1.5 million views’)
After testing, we will know if the site can produce a new revenue stream that is not dependent upon visitors doing anything other than browsing the site.
In many ways, we have been like the family that buys an older house. They start renovating and discover things like the plumbing leaks and end up with lots of projects that were unexpected.
In today’s online world, updating the site's programs is very important. In the case of free-ebooks.net, this had not been done. So most of last year was spent identifying areas to improve, and this year we have been focused on implementing those improvements.
In our review, we discovered we could cut the cost of our servers by $2000 a month when we moved them to Amazon. Similarly, our email system costs have dropped by $2000 a month by restructuring it and sliding it all over to Amazon.
We use Zendesk for Customer Support. We had 2 Customer Support people working on Zendesk. Upon review, we found that 97% of tickets were the same issue, and Zendesk could automate the responses. Any other issues could be covered in a couple of hours a month. So far, Scott and I have been handling them ourselves. This saved $2000 a month in wages.We have been able to ‘Tag’ members based on what they download from Free eBooks. This means we are building focused, niche lists to which we can send targeted emails to. Before we basically sent our emails to our entire list with no idea if they had any interest in our mailing.
For example, we have 130,000 people on our Romance list. We can email those people a romance novel sold on Amazon and make a small commission. If we time it right and Black Friday sales are on, those buyers will likely buy something else, and our commissions will increase.
As you can imagine, this greatly expands the opportunities for Affiliate commissions and Joint Ventures.Speaking of Joint Ventures, we are working on a number of them right now. One partner has monthly promotions of “Bundles”. They put together 20+ ebooks, courses, software, coaching programs, etc, and sell it for $67. We will be putting together niche emails for most of their bundles. Topics include Author coaching, Women’s Self Help, Crypto, Real Estate, Business, Self Help.
They have affiliates who receive $50,000 per promotion. They are very excited to work with us and see the potential Free eBooks has.Before, we would be wasting a lot of resources to email on these topics as we couldn’t segment our list properly. Now we have significant sub-lists that we can now email to these promotions.We started a Live Stream a year ago aimed at authors. Sadly, it did not get the traction we wanted. We are producing a new live stream focusing on Investing - Crypto, Forex, Future, real estate, and general finance.
By doing this, we have made valuable Joint Ventures with co-hosts, and it has attracted more opportunities to connect with authors and get their free content converted into an ebook for publishing on free ebooks.
We have two purposes:
1) To connect readers with new authors
2) To connect authors with readers
And, of course, grow the business to the point where we can reward our long-suffering investors with a return on their investment. Something that we noticed was not a priority before Stirling bought Free eBooks.
Like you, we were promised a lot. Nothing came of it. Now we are doing our best to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so to speak.
We are more confident now moving forward than at any time in the past 3 years.
We have built a strong foundation from which Stirling can grow.
Neither our President, Scott Paton, nor myself, your CEO, have taken a salary this year. In fact, we have sunk our own money into keeping Stirling afloat during the past two years. That speaks to our commitment to Stirling and to you, our valued investors.
We have paid off all the debt (over $200,000) that arose from the buyout of Free eBook’s assets. So our commitment to Paradise Publishers is fulfilled.
Should you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected].
All the best,
CEO, Stirling Corp.