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This product niche is so much underrated & here is why 🤓

hey guys!
while looking for which side product to build for myself, I accidentally opened an area that just blew my mind with it potential!
It's RaaS (research-as-a-service), or list-based products, or just info products. Yes, this area isn't new for most of people - in this post I just want to share the introduction (how/why I got this idea) + the reasons why I think this niche is underrated

THE INTRODUCTION:
The idea to make it came from the goal to build my first side product. Since I'm not a pro developer, I preferred a nocode solution for it. This is something that helps you start easier/faster, but what somehow limits your idea at the same time.

Once you have stack, you need an idea. It's hard to find something meaningful to build if you are haven't started yet, so I created a list of ideas that should be interesting to build. One of them was building a product like Newsletter Spy which helps you collect information.

After researching more about this product, I realised that its creator (Jakob Greenfeld) has a bunch of more similar products which are not just lists - but a lot more. This led me to an idea to build a collection of similar (Airtable+Gumroad - based) products to get inspired for myself + to inspire others. It's in beta, so if you want to see it -> just let me know (not sure if I can leave a self-promo links here).

THE REASONS WHY IT'S UNDERRATED:

  1. RaaS products are technologically simple
    You can build your first one with Carrd+Airtable easily. All the value is inside information, not the website. You don't need to spend so much time on the 'shape' of it, design and development - because all you need to start is already out there!

  2. RaaS can help your main business a lot!
    No matter what you do, you can build a list of something to help promote it.
    eg, If you run SEO agency, you can make a list of SEO hacks or SEO recommendations or a checklist of steps or something like that. I'm sure it can work for any other industry/niche.
    You can promote your services, newsletter, twitter profile, etc.
    Some big companies do their mini-raas as well, eg: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/seo-glossary-by-serpstat

  3. Good RaaS idea can grow into something bigger
    I was inspired by opportunities.so by Jakob Greenfeld again - it's not just list, but a whole service for getting reports/insights/value in one particular area.
    This means, you can start with list - but go further and turn it into something bigger.

  4. RaaS are great for beginners
    If I haven't built a product myself yet, it's hard to start. Getting 'the proper' idea seems hard, every potential niche seems already busy, development is expensive, etc. There is million of reasons why building products is hard, and lists/collections solve most of them easily.
    You just pick the 'least terrible' idea, start working on it and see whether it may work or not further, iterating it if needed.

  5. RaaS are great for portfolio
    As a product manager myself, I find it hard to prove my skills. If you are designer or developer, having portfolio seems straightforward & doable. For PM or marketing specialist it's harder to prove this on someone else' projects. Basically, you need your own one to showcase it -> and RaaS can be the perfect solution for it!

  6. You can build RaaS empire if you like researching
    I was surprised to see that there a product like ProfitableInsider.com, which is literally a RaaS empire! These guys launch new reports in different niches, saving hours of work for other entrepreneurs/businesses who want to start building in that area.
    Once you build your first RaaS, you may want to build the next one and more after, improving your idea/approach, switching the vertical, etc.

  7. Niches for RaaS are unlimited
    You can easily get inspired to build something, seeing how others did it.
    For example, there is a collection of 250+ Nocode tools. If you love nocode, you can easily build another collection of:

  • 100+ nocode tools for indie hackers
  • 100+ design nocode tools
  • 100+ free nocode tools
  • 100+ free nocode tools for marketers
    and so on.
    There is so much information out there you can collect & present to your customer as a product!
  1. Product angle/Distribution matters a lot in RaaS
    Besides the obvious fact that you need to do a proper research, RaaS seem good to me because they teach you how to frame/distribute/market your product as well.
    For eg, you can just make a 'list of 100 nocode tools for builders', or you can also make a 'list of 100 tools to easily launch your first startup'. Same thing with marketing and distribution - there are 1000s ways to approach it, to go through this experience, learn and improve it later. Needless to say how precious it is for any product manager/marketer/developer (no matter if their product fails or not)!

I'm sure there are a lot more reasons why RaaS are huge! Maybe we'll be able to find some of them in comments 😉
Hope you guys enjoyed reading this post - I'd be happy to discuss more RaaS opportunities!

ps
Also if you want to learn more, here are some RaaS-related threads here on IH:
https://www.indiehackers.com/post/maybe-you-should-be-doing-research-as-a-service-instead-of-saas-85751cc5c7
https://www.indiehackers.com/post/raas-research-as-a-service-model-95cdccb3c6
https://www.indiehackers.com/post/research-as-a-service-products-572c11c373

Thank you!

  1. 4

    Max, I think you just launched a RaaS for all the available RaaSes 😉

    RaaS has been on my radar ever since @jakobgreenfeld's Lagstack. I need to brush up my scraping skills and I think RaaS fits as a low stake project to do it.

    Product angle/Distribution matters a lot in RaaS

    💯 this! With RaaS you can niche down on both research and users. For example, I love how @RealNathanLatka compiled all the freely available data of SaaS companies in his interviews into a database that he sells to VCs.

    1. 4

      thanks!
      you are right, I love how Nathan approached it as well!!

      may I ask about scraping - which stack do you use for that?
      for my current project I did it manually, but for the next planned one I use python scripts (my another hobby) - seems to work fine, but requires time setting it/solving potential issues, etc. sometimes it takes really long.

      1. 4

        which stack do you use for that?

        I use JavaScript, but the rest of the stack is project dependent. For example, using a headless browser when scraping 20000 URLs with 6 seconds average response time time and 2 CPUs would take take 16 hours!

        I like following the checklist outlined in this article: The Guide To Ethical Scraping Of Dynamic Websites With Node.js And Puppeteer.

        I'm also looking into paying for some no code solutions to not care about proxies.

        1. 2

          True, I usually leave pc scraping for night

          Thanks for sharing this!

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing, looks cool!
      May I ask, how did you come up with idea?
      And also how much time does it take for you to research those? (Eg, per idea or per letter on average)?

      1. 2

        My background is in eCom and has done a lot of product research for my stores.

        From that background, I understand the value of understanding the market and serving existing needs.

        My first ever SaaS is https://super-ali.com

        We created Super-Ali because I was facing problems in finding untapped products.

        I joined Indie Hacker because of Super-Ali but started spending more time here because I liked the culture.

        Then I saw that most of the indie hackers are just trying to come up with the idea instead of researching the market.

        Every market has its own set of problems and if you will solve that problem, you have a winner on your hand.

        I launched CEI following the same framework.

        Problem: I saw that a lot of indie hackers try to come up with an idea without doing market research and are failing because of that.

        Solution: I started a newsletter where I spend more than 14 hours per week analyzing different markets and share 3 ideas that the market is already asking for.

        This framework gives you a hungry audience waiting for your solution so you just need to build the solution and serve them.

        It takes me around 2 hours a day to look for new ideas in all kinds of markets and then takes around 3 hours to filter, write and publish the weekly issue.

        1. 2

          wow, thank you very much for such a detailed response!

          I think you realised a great point that usually IHs are building ideas without spotting the problems. to me it sounds like a great idea for a separate post here you could publish, which I'm pretty sure would be useful for others & can resonate a lot.

          I also really like the validation of the ideas in your list. because it brings much more sense to these ideas & brings them value in this way

  2. 2

    Great post! My product paytable.io is a purpose built membership platform that lets you sell access, add auth, user logins & payments to gate your curated content, may help here to!

    1. 1

      love the idea, it's like a tool for building RaaSes in a more straightforward way!

      although I'm curious, how do you plan competing with Gumroad? I've seen somewhere that leading user to Gum may increase conversion rates into purchase thanks to the trust it has (compared to selling straight off the landing page). What do you think?

      1. 2

        Thanks Max! Yep exactly - I just posted my journey getting the product to market here too - https://www.indiehackers.com/post/an-honest-account-of-getting-my-membership-platform-to-150mrr-why-i-repositioned-and-rebuilt-my-product-twice-to-get-out-of-zero-club-f1ef53efac.

        We don't really compete with Gumroad - we're like the add-on to gumroad that all info product or RaaS based products who currently sell via gumroad need!

        Essentially gumroad doesn't offer any type of area to embed / add auth & login to gate the content, and that's where Paytable comes in.

        You can still sell with Gumroad, use their payment buttons on your landing page etc, but then post purchase experience is as follows:

        User purchases on Gumroad >> User account created at Paytable >> Access granted for user to view product X securely either at Paytable or embedded into your site.

        Thanks! Any questions or if you want to try it out, its totally free up-to your 1st $100 rev.

        • Joel
        1. 1

          Thanks, sounds cool! Now I got it

          Interesting to try once I'll launch a paid product 🤓

          1. 2

            Sure thing :)

            You can also create free, subscribe-with-email only products using Paytable, so essentially create an awesome resource list, offer it for free to increase traffic then build up a user base to up-sell later on!

            Paytable.io/discover for inspiration form our community.

            1. 2

              Amazing! Btw just got recommendation to use paytable for managing airtable access on Twitter as well 🤓

  3. 2

    Yea, I am a client of ProfitableInsider.com. bought their reports. The problem is mostly one time, after that, there is nothing more for them to offer me.

    1. 1

      may I ask you - what was your use case for buying them?
      also were you satisfied with it initially?
      would you be happy to pay subscription for getting the upadtes into your list?

      1. 2

        Was doing research on what to build for my next project.

        In my case, it is a one-time payment, I will not pay for subscription.

  4. 2

    It's really great that people are starting to take RaaS seriously now, and it's a great side project to start with for most!

    If it helps, I started GrowthHunt.co using Airtable with Notion+Super, took me less than an hour to get everything setup, though the curated information took much longer (100+ hours).

    Nvertheless, I would strongly recommend anyone who wanted to start a side project to go with RaaS.

    1. 1

      Yun, since my product is in the beta, I'm looking for people who can give feedback on it.

      Since you are a more experienced RaaS creator, I'd be really happy to hear your thoughts. may I share a link with you to get feedback on it?
      Thanks!

      1. 2

        No problem at all, I would be happy to help!

        You can drop me an email at [email protected]

        1. 1

          done yesterday! thanks!

    2. 1

      Thank you, will be happy to add GrowthHunt to my collection! 🤓
      You are totally right!

  5. 1

    Yes, I also launched pre-orders for Newsletter Kit and made 5 pre-orders in 24 hour

    1. 1

      Mind sharing more about the launch/tips how to get preorders? Also how did you come with idea?

      Thanks, will be glad to add Newsletter Kit into my RaaS list as well!

  6. 1

    I'll looked at ProfitableInsider and all their "Buy this report" links are 404 (example: https://gumroad.com/l/'profitable-chrome-extensions-database). Not exactly confidence inspiring. Another player in this area is MicroSaasIdeas who apparently stopped publishing reports like 6 weeks ago.

    1. 1

      for sure, there products in the niche that are abandoned/not exist anymore. when compelling my free list of RaaS'es (there are 70+ products there now), I met lots of them too. So I tried to include only the ones that are relevant and up-to-date.

      I think the reason for them being abandoned /aside from not finding market fit, of course/ is the pricing model of single-time-purchase (or even free distribution). If they had recurring revenue stream, they could grow.

      As for ProfitableInsider, I think the reason is they changed url: https://profitableinsider.gumroad.com/l/profitable-chrome-extensions-database
      it's also on my list, they have a bunch of reports
      https://profitableinsider.gumroad.com/

      Will take a look at MicroSaasIdeas and if it's interesting -> will add into my list also. Thanks for bringing it here!

      By the way, if you are interested to check what's inside my RaaS list and provide a feedback, I'll be happy to share the link (twitter/email whichever works best).
      Thank you!

      1. 2

        I think it will be difficult for those services to constantly release valuable information; publishing on a weekly basis doesn't seem sustainable - they all kinda address the same product categories (no code stuff, chrome / airtable / notion extensions etc.)

        1. 1

          Particularly for this niche (eg, list of profitable chrome extension)- yes. For sure it looks like a single-time research.

          But take for example:

          For example, instead of '50 profitable chrome extensions' you can have it as 'top extensions of the week/month' and so on.

          It's the question of framing the info inside a research rather 🙂

          1. 2

            The Shopify example kind of illustrates my point: You're supposed to pay $29/month for an app database and daily (!) updates. No doubt, Shopify has a lively ecosystem but then it's very mature and are there really so much more new opportunities?

            1. 1

              you're right, but it's the question of value probably.
              eg, if I'm a shopify app developer, I'll hardly need to check it every day. Maybe I'll check it once in 2-3 weeks to compare the trends, maybe analyse competition, etc. In this case I'll need to have my database up-to-date at any point of time that I'll check it. And since we talk about the B2B tool, it probably makes a lot of sense to pay just $29 - the output kind of justifies the cost.

              So, if you ask me - if there are enough ecosystems with new opportunities for regular (daily/weekly) updates + if the value from those updates can justify the price -> I'd say yes!

              think about any platform for creators: Etsy, Gumroad, OnlyFans, Ko-fi, and so on. Think about 'evergreen' topics, like landing pages design, product research, development, marketing & growth, hiring & job search. I'm sure if you combine the right value and suggest it for a price that justifies -> it will take off!

              Of course it's just a theory, but I'm going to start proving it with my projects too, step by step. And the more products like this we'll have - the better RaaS ecosystem will be in the future

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