Since I was in college I’ve always enjoyed starting small online businesses. Somewhere along the way I created palm r e p o r t . com
This is a website that allows users to upload images of their palms (either photographed or scanned) and have a professional palm reader look over them. The palm reader then sends you back an mp3 audio file with the reading.
What’s funny is I don’t particularly believe in palm reading…so how did this get started?
1.) Someone one day looked at my palm and jokingly said, “You have a small money line.”
2.) Trying to disprove them, I Googled it. I noticed there were many websites on palm lines, but none of them were very professional at all.
3.) I know a lot of people still get their palms read all the time, but I noticed the places attempting to read palms over the internet required ink prints of the palms to be physically sent to an address.
4.) DING! Idea!
A little extra research on Google, Overture and some other keyword counters revealed the demand for online palm reading was high, but very underserved. It makes sense: Most people who do palm reading aren’t the most computer saavy people. Look up programming websites and you’ll find tons of professionally done sites, but palm reading websites…the opposite.
So I went ahead and built an eCommerce site suited for Palm R e p o r t with the help of a Romanian developing team I frequently use, and Palm R e p o r t was ready. The best part of Palm R e p o r t is that it was designed to sell palm readings, so the backend is very helpful for it:
The system allows customers to upload their palm pictures directly to the website database for easy viewing. This eliminates the need for emailing pictures back & forth etc. The front page of Palm R e p o r t has a very helpful Flash banner which describes the whole process very quickly and easily:
Once the site was done, someone would have to perform the palm readings, so knowing absolutely nothing about palm reading I decided to educate myself. I bought 3 different books from Amazon.com for a total of $38 and learned that actual palm reading had some pseudo-science to it. There were measurements to take, angles to analyze and lines to count. This wasn’t “scientific” but “pseudo-science.” I could work with this, however the sheer volume of information to be learned was more than I anticipated, so it was obvious I’d have to find someone who already knows it.
This was the most fun part. I vaguely recalled seeing those “Palm Reading Psychic” places on the side of the road. I always used to think, “Ha! What a load of crap those are.” I was very right.
I noticed there was one of those psychic place by my apartment at the time. Deciding to do a little “research” I went and got my palm read. I swear it was exactly what I thought of a stereotypical pyschic readers office. Cheesy beaded curtains and an Eastern European looking lady with a shiny cloth around her head.
She sat me down, I explained I wanted the lines on my palm read, she said it would cost $20. The readings starts, and I kid you not this is how it went:
- Psychic puts a fake, plastic crystal in my palm (which effectively blocks all the palm lines from sight). She then holds my palm like she’s receiving signals out of it.
- She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and waits…..
- All of a sudden her eyes open REALLY wide and she starts speaking in a loud voice like she’s possessed. Says, “You have lots of concerrrrnnnsss…..”
- I struggle not to fall over and laugh.
- She says, “You go out of the way for your friends, but when you need help, they are nowhere to be found….”
- She says, “You’ve had a financial worry in the last year…..”
- She says, “You’ve had an argument with a family member in the last two years….”
- Says some other generic BS and I leave.
I knew this would be somewhat of a rip off…but seriously, THIS MUCH? I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I went to three more places. I was disappointed to find each place pulled almost the exact same routine. I would even specifically say I wanted ONLY my palms read, and they would proceed with the same routine. One lady told me I had a curse and that she could remove it….for $200. How convenient. The palm readers all looked the same too: Eastern European, gypsy-looking women.
So anyways, I spent some time posting Craigslist ads looking for palm readers with little luck, but then I randomly came across a list of “Hand Analysts” and noticed one right here in Austin. I met up with her, immediately noticed she was much more professional than the side-of-the-road gypsies, she liked the idea of Palm R e p o r t and we were in business. It was a relatively easy sell since I already had Palm R e p o r t .com up and fully running.
This lady did palm readings based on methods outlined by Aristotle and others. What I liked was that she didn’t tell the “future” like the other palm readers. Her approach was more psychologist-like than palm reader. This was good, because I didn’t want to be involved with someone who was blatantly misleading people like the side-of-the-road people.
I set the palm reader up with an open-source recording program on her computer called Audacity and a headset microphone for hands-free recording of the readings. This way she could look at the hands on her computer and record the reading. I would then upload the hands & reading to a page for the customer once the reading was done.
On a live version, the customer would be able to download the .mp3 file.
So Palm R e p o r t was launched and started making orders, but two years later I really have no interest in running this business any longer. I haven’t updated it in who-knows-when, but the site has garnered a lot of great SEO traffic over that time. This is what keeps orders coming in.
The site gets between 100 and 200 unique visits per day, and hundreds of quality search results landing at the site per month. You can see the stats here:
(UPDATE: stats removed)
I decided to post Palm R e p o r t for sale on the SitePoint forums, much like I did before with the Facebook Site and Resumite.
You can view the auction here. (UPDATE: auction removed)
With the sale you don’t get the palm readers personality (Kianna Smith), so it must be re-branded. So the new owner will get the custom built system and corresponding WordPress blog template for the Buy It Now price of $4,000.
I always thought this business could blow up really big because of the demand for the service and the lack of competition, unfortunately this was never a passionate thing for me. It was unfortunate because once properly established, this business can rake in orders day after day with relatively little work compared to other sites. In an effort to start concentrating on a core group of things, I must let Palm R e p o r t go. However if it doesn’t sell for an acceptable price, I’ll still keep it since it still makes money.
No one has a done a good job at branding themselves as an expert palm reader online, so this is a great opportunity. Much like Erin Pavlina has created a brand for herself doing intuitive readings….I’m not really sure what they entail, but they cost $195 for 30 minutes and she’s book up for weeks at a time.
Anyhow, it was interesting to see this business start then grow. Now it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves to a new owner!
Update September 2016: You can read more about if palm reading is real or fake here. It also includes more details about how PalmReport was started!