Daring Fireball
BLOG POST · November 9th, 2020

$200k in sales from a $6k advertisement.

Daringfireball.net is extraordinarily good value for advertising dollars.

Key results

Metric Count
Time period Aug 17,2020 - Aug 24,2020
Visitors 7,200
Emails 45
Video calls 30
Units sold 10
Unit price $20,000
Total revenue from DF $200,000


Wifi Dabba masterplan

  • Build cheap broadband distribution technology.
  • Prove the tech works by connecting 1M people in one city.
  • Deploy across 1,000 cities in India

Our goal at Wifi Dabba is to lower the cost of broadband access in India. We use lasers instead of underground fiber as our core network and commodity components to dramatically lower the cost of deploying a broadband network. We've been running a beta network in Bengaluru, India for the last 9 months serving thousands of live customers. We're now ready to deploy a city wide network and provide cheap internet access to a million people.

The product

A core tenet of the Wifi Dabba network is distributed ownership. We believe that ownership of the internet should be in the hands of as many people as possible. If the cost of broadband tech drops, then more people can help pay for the cost of the network. And if you're one of the people paying for the distribution, we believe you should get revenue in return.

We've divided the city of Bengaluru into 100 regions called PoPs. Anyone can buy a region and get a share in the revenue from those subscribers.

The Wifi Dabba franchise model:

  • $20,000 to purchase a 4sqkm. PoP.
  • Minimum guaranteed revenue Paid quarterly with a 6 year rev share agreement.
  • Fully managed service Be an absentee landlord

The goal - Sell 100 PoPs

We've sold 40 as of the time of writing this.
Wifi Dabba is insanely lucky for the amount of public support we have as a company. We regularly get phone calls, emails and even people dropping by our office just to tell us they like our service. Over the last 3 years we've received dozens of emails from people requesting franchises or other types of partnerships. We're incredibly humbled and thankful for this support on a daily basis.

Our marketing thesis

We believe there is a large group of people that care about the future of the internet and would be willing to put their money where their mouths are. As long as the price and the level of risk involved is reasonable. Our gut told us that this group would most likely be people that have seen success in the technology business as engineers, operators and entreprenuers.

Social media vs. Advertising

We've had our heads down over the last three years building and testing our network stack. Publicity or notariety has never been high on our list. We've begun ramping up our social media efforts but it was clear that to kickstart our outreach, we had to do a little bit of advertising.

Daringfireball.net

DF Readers

Daringfireball.net is a great blog authored by John Gruber who is also the creator of Markdown. DF was a natural choice for us as we've been readers of the blog for a long while and we knew from experience that DF readers would fit our target market rather well. Given the high quality of John's writing and insights into the industry, we felt that there would be a large pool of senior tech veterans that would be interested in Wifi Dabba among DF's audience.

The sponsorship cost us $6,500 and ran for the week starting Aug 17, 2020 and we got:

  • A display ad in the sidebar on every page of the site, all week long.
  • A post from the sponsor in the RSS feed at the start of the week. Us, the sponsor, got to address Daring Fireball’s most dedicated readers directly.
  • At the end of the week, John also posts an item thanking and linking to the feed sponsor.

Stats about DF readership

  • Typical weekday web page views: 80,000–100,000.
  • Estimated monthly web page views: 2.5 million.
  • Estimated Daring Fireball RSS feed subscribers: Over 200,000.
  • Twitter followers on the @daringfireball account: Over 92,000.

Creatives

We created two variants of our message. Designed in bold colours to stand out against DF's dark theme. These creatives rotated randomly. We decided to focus on the technology because of the nature of the audience and hoped that the website did a good job of explaining the product.

Buy internet POP

Expected flow of visitors from DF

Click Ad -> Browse site -> Setup a call

We expected visitors to click on the ad in DF and land on our homepage. Once on our site, we hoped that visitors would check out our videos as well as browse through a few pages. If they liked what they saw, we had a prominent buy button on the front page which led to a page to setup a video call.

It's worth noting here that we knew going in that a large percentage of DF's audience would be using Ad-blockers. Nothing wrong with that, we use ad-blockers ourselves.

Furthermore, we made a deliberate choice to add a high friction call to action and contact process. In order to purchase a PoP, a visitor would be directed to a calendar managed by calendly that would help them setup a call with someone from our team at a convenient time.

Setup Call

The reason for this is that we knew DF would deliver a few hundred visitors a day to our site. We're a small team and our core focus is deploying the network, not necessarily sales and our goal is to sell the PoPs to people that are really excited a lot about our idea and show a high level of interest. The $20,000 price point of our product + the high friction of the contact process + users that are OK with ads = A high signal to noise ratio from DF visitors. We'd love to hear any feedback on what you think about this.

Who bought the PoPs ?

Our thesis turned out to be pretty spot on. Senior engineers from Google, Apple and a host of other technology companies purchased the PoPs. The actual sales process turned out to be fairly quick and straight forward. Most of the people that purchased the PoPs did so within a period of 48 hours of having the call.

Learn more about Wifi Dabba