The Economics of The Big Word Project

May 13th, 2008

I just came across an article on Wired that lead me to ‘The Big Word Project‘ – which has been created by fellow Northern Ireland-ers. Keen to explore – I dived in.

Basically – you buy a word in the English dictionary and pay $1 for each letter in that word. The word, on the big word project’s website, then has a permanent link to any website/page of your choice.

I flicked through the site, nicely designed, and blog for a while and then started to think…. Isn’t this a massive case of text-link-ads?

Text-Link-Ads is about buying a text link on someones website. When someone clicks on the link – you are taken to your website. Sweet. Prices vary depending on the popularity of the site you advertise on.

The Big Word Project seems very little different. You buy a word which links to your website.

The value of buying a word that links to your website needs a little thought :

  1. How much does the word cost
  2. How many visitors will click through to my website
  3. What additional benefits will I get from buying

How much does the word cost

The cost of the word is simple. Count up the number of letters in your word and that is how many dollars it will cost.

How many visitors will click through to my website

This question has a positive and negative aspect. Since the site is so new and the self proclaimed ‘Viral Guy’ , co-owner, is pushing all the right buttons to publicise it – you can be guaranteed some early traffic as website owners scramble to pick up the shoddy remains of the English dictionary (after all the good words are gone).

The problem comes when the initial clamour of interest wanes – the novelty wears off and site traffic deminishes – that your investment seems short lived.

What additional benefits will I get from buying

The pagerank and link text are key here. You talk about money on your site and a page with good pagerank links to you with the keyword ‘money’ and you are quids in. Google will like you a little more.


Buy a word, link it to your site and watch the traffic flow in – but it will mostly be novelty and short lived traffic.

The fact that most companies have names and not English dictionary words causes concern for me. I would want my word to be ‘McNicholl’ – but its not a word in the dictionary so its not allowed.

Google hammered blogs not so long ago for their irrelevant links – which posed to similarity to the content of the site that they were linking from. Bloggers the world over cried and called the end to Text-Link Ads as a revenue model. Their Pageranks crumbled. So how will ‘The Big Word Project’ give you good pagerank when Google wont pass the Pagerank love through to your site?

One way the guys over at ‘The Big Word Project’ could help out would be to have an individual page for each word that is text customizable by the person buying the word. That way they could make it seem a lot more relevant and the Pagerank would be passed through.

Fair play to the guys for the idea as it seems to be bringing in the money. It’s the simplest ideas that pay the biggest dividends.

Categories: Ads, General, SEO

One Response to “The Economics of The Big Word Project”

  1. Peter says:

    I have found a similar kind of site but with a better design:

"Thought leadership is how winners are differentiated in business."