Simply Seven. Seven Ways to Create a Sustainable Internet Business

Erik Schlie, Jörg Rheinboldt, Niko Waesche

Published by

Palgrave Macmillan





Reviewed by

Alan Bellinger BSc(Econ), MSc, FLPI


10 out of 10

This is the first time I’ve ever given full marks to a book I’ve reviewed - and that’s in spite of the fact that, at around £26, it’s a high price to pay. But compare that price to the costs of the mistakes that this book could help you to avoid, and it’s a highly rewarding investment.

The book tackles head-on the approach you should take to develop the business model that will enable you to create an effective internet-based business. The authors make it clear that anyone over 30 carries an enormous amount of baggage with them that will influence the way they will determine the appropriate business model.

There are, in fact, seven different models that you could apply and, by categorising each of them, identifying role models that use that particular approach and pointing out the common failings that typically inhibit their implementation, the authors have provided clarity in an area that can appear somewhat foggy. 

I’m not going to spoil it for you by listing out the seven different models here (they’re all listed at, but following the steps through and combining it with your own content expertise and market knowledge will enable you to build a business model that is right for you.

For me, one of the most critical points that the authors clarified was that this is not a one-size-fits all scenario - you’ll need to adapt it to the content, the community and market.

The critical challenge is finding the most appropriate way to monetise your internet value proposition; and that’s far more complex than a simplistic debate between free and freemium. It’s inevitable that some real creativity will be needed when you recognise that you may well be ‘competing with free’.

One the discussion that really worked for me was around what the authors referred to as the ‘5/95 per cent model’. In the conventional world, the typical rule is that ‘companies sell 95 per cent and give away 5 per cent as a loss leader.

On the internet, if a company sells just 5 per cent and gives away 95 per cent it could make a killing!’ There are two contributors to the effectiveness of the 5/95 per cent model; firstly, cloud services make deployment costs low, and secondly there is the ability to instantly reach an audience in the billions.

As a septuagenarian I’d like to think that I’m one of the thirty pluses that do get it; but I must admit that, had I not read this book, I doubt if I would have been the exception that proves the rule.

Further information: Palgrave Macmillan

April 2012