Building a Free Download Directory Website For Selling Ad Space

drako98

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I am looking to start a website that is a free download directory for creative professionals. The site will include all types of free downloads including stock videos, photos, powerpoint templates, photoshop templates, fonts, icons, and much more.

What will be different about this website is that I will be getting all of this content from other free download websites. Also, I will not be hosting any of the free downloads on my website as this would be illegal redistribution of other people's content.

So on the page that each specific free download is on, there will be a link that directs the user to the website where the content originated and where the user can download it there for free.

Again, my website is a directory of free downloads. To actually get the free download, the user will follow a link that will direct back to the original website. So I am not redistributing any content. I am just displaying the content and providing a link back to the original website.

I wanted to know if this would cause any legal trouble?

In order to display some of these free downloads, I would need to show previews. For example, for the images, I was thinking about adding a watermark to the image, so users can’t just download the image off of my website and they would have to download it on the original creator's website. So I would actually have the image up on my site which I obtained for free and it would be watermarked so that no one could download it from my website.

Again, I am not sure if this would cause any legal issues.

I would also add watermarks to stock videos and other free downloads that would keep users from downloading the content directly off of my website.

The goal with the site is to generate a large amount of traffic and then run ads. So the business model would simply be income from ads from google adsense (and ad platforms like this) and ads from contacting marketplaces personally.

Any information that anyone had on the legality of this idea or any comments or feedback on the idea would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you and Merry Christmas everyone!
 

djbaxter

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Especially with any sort of images, I think watermarking with the source domain would be a minimum.

I think my first question would be why do you think there's a market for the sort of site you describe? There are already many well known sites which review things and link to where they can be obtained. What would be different about your site to generate the kind of traffic you want?
 

drako98

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Thanks for the reply djbaxter!

Would you think that having the images watermarked and redirecting back to the original website would be enough to avoid any legal trouble?

I have read through many of the licenses and terms of services for these free download sites and they all just say that redistribution is not permitted, which I am not doing.

The site would be different in that it would be a directory of all these types of free downloads on one website. Yes, there are many sites that review things, but they don't are usually just articles with a few pieces of free content.

My website would be a massive directory for diffeernt types of free downloads.
 

djbaxter

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Would you think that having the images watermarked and redirecting back to the original website would be enough to avoid any legal trouble?
I'm not a lawyer so I can't answer that.

The site would be different in that it would be a directory of all these types of free downloads on one website. Yes, there are many sites that review things, but they don't are usually just articles with a few pieces of free content.

My website would be a massive directory for different types of free downloads.
All I can say is that it doesn't sound like something I would use. If I want to know about a certain product, e.g., a camera, I go to sites that specialize in that niche. I wouldn't likely go to an all-in-one site. And I would want the site to have specific and authoritative reviews of the product, pros and cons, not just a listing of whether it is free and where to download it.

Indeed, if I am looking for where to download something specific, I Google it and then look for the source site.
 

djbaxter

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I should also add that I ran a free niche directory about 10 years ago when they were popular. People could list their services for free with links back to their site. I ran AdSense on the site but frankly made no real money at all. And maintaining the site to check for spam, multiple listings, and dead links took a lot of time, even though some of it was automated.

The problem is that people would list their services hoping for some link juice to enhance their Google search rankings and then never return. Virtually all of the traffic I got was from people submitting their listings. They submitted, never returned. Very few other people even bothered to visit.

Low traffic. Low interest. Low passive income. and this was a subdomain based off what was then an active and authoritative site which should have helped. It didn't. And the niche was quite specific - not a mix of unconnected topics or products or services.

Directories died a long time ago. Google doesn't like them and consumers don't like them.
 

drako98

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I should also add that I ran a free niche directory about 10 years ago when they were popular. People could list their services for free with links back to their site. I ran AdSense on the site but frankly made no real money at all. And maintaining the site to check for spam, multiple listings, and dead links took a lot of time, even though some of it was automated.
Thanks for sharing your past experience here. Yes, it does seem like directories died a long time ago as I don't see them much anymore.

As far as maintaining the website goes, I won't have users inputting anything into the website, I can have the removal of pages that have deadlinks be automatic, and can protect against spam easily.

Yeah with no real traffic ad sense would not work.

The reason I came up with this idea is that I run a directory that also has a blog, interviews, and tutorials. But most of the site is the directory and it has been successful when it comes to SEO ranking and traffic.

While there are many free download sites on the web, each one has specific content. If all the content was in one place, then users would not have to do a bunch of google searching to preview what they could download.

Also, the idea is not to just run google adsense. I would reach out to other companies for advertising as well.

I do see the concerns here for this idea, but really this all depends on three things.
1. Is this legal
2. Will people use it and find it helpful
3. How well will the website rank on google

1. Still not sure about this
2. I believe so as I run a directory website and it is successful
3. No real way of knowing this

Thanks again for your insights here djbaxter
 

VirtualGlobalPhone

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drako98 , optimism is good for business. I understand your stand that "its not necessary other man experience is same as one self". But the path to success is same make sure you stand apart from every action you take and service you give. Else you end up what djbaxter predicted.
 

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