Hiding A Bitcoin Mining Botnet In The Cloud - Darknet

What can you do with unused web hosting credits?

An accelerator program I'm interested in offers hundreds of thousands of dollars of web hosting credits from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace and Softlayer. My company doesn't need that many web hosting credits, but if we get in to the program, what can we do with these so they don't go to waste? Can they be sold? Someone mentioned mining them for bitcoins, but my basic understanding seems to indicate this might not be economical. Any suggestions?
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[Table] IAmA founder of Tindie.com, 'etsy for tech', that started as question on /r/Arduino in April, led me to quit my job in Sept, and just closed $500k in funding. AMA

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Date: 2012-12-20
Link to submission (No self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
I've never understood why funded start-ups get so much money -- what do you need it for, and how (roughly) do you plan to use it? Thanks. First and foremost salaries, health insurance, basic business expenses (servers, designers, travel etc). Having worked at 4 funded startups before this, most have to raise other rounds to hire more people as the business scales and you have to hire more.
EDIT: Some think this was a "sneer" sorry if it came across that way! Realistically this lasts a year at most - 18 months. Seed round should let you fully test the concept and if the business actually can grow to a much larger scale. I'm sorry if that answer sounds like it was anything but a sincere answer.
Don't answer questions. Get on the phone and get your damned site up. You're missing a huge marketing opportunity here. Oh I'm working the phones like i'm in Glengarry Glen Ross...working on bringing it back up.
Looks like you need to invest a little more in servers. You got that right!
Good man and good luck. I suppose I'm just annoyed because I really want to check out what you've done and I really want this to succeed. It's coming back up now sorry about the down time!
I think the downtime on your site is the best response to why start-ups need money. +1.
Am I to understand this that the website is down due to reddit traffic? Because I see no tindie.com. Yep.
Looks like you need to move to the cloud. On AWS..just needed moar..
Still down for me, but here's Google's cached version of the home page. We are now back up..promise..
Please hurry. my attention span is very short! Ahhh back up! Did we make it in time?
How did you find funding? I've always been curious about how that process works. Do you just call up random venture capitalist firms, or what? Good question. My experience may have been a bit atypical, but it was all through meeting people who introduced me to more people until I met my investors. I wouldn't say 'networking' because I wasn't trying to find investors. I was just meeting people, and then it would become - "You should talk to..." I didn't have a formal pitch or slide presentation. It was all through casual conversation.
To hear what my investors thought, they both wrote blog posts on the investment.
Link to versiononeventures.com
Link to www.crashdev.com
I was just meeting people, and then it would become - "You should talk to..." I didn't have a formal pitch or slide presentation. It was all through casual conversation. That is exactly what networking is. I wasn't actively trying to connect with person X & Y. Yes it was casual networking but there wasn't a motive. I think of 'networking' as people hunting for another person with an agenda..but I could be wrong..
, Congrats! CONTEXT: I currently work in corporate sales from 9am-6pm every day, and then come home and work on my web/media start-up pipe dream from 7pm-3am or so every night. It's tiring, but I'm also excited, because I feel like I am at least moving in the right direction. QUESTION: Was there a time during the process that you led two lives? When did you know that your original job wasn't just supporting some "habit"? Thanks! I used to do sales at another startup/web company, so I know how you feel very well. The short answer is yes, definitely from June to Sept when sales were doubling month over month. I was also burning the candle at both ends.
The longer answer is that I've been working on startups for 6+ years- sales, support, developer outreach, and most recently engineering. Throughout that time frame I was picking up bits and pieces along the way. Throughout that period, I felt like I was living two lives. Working the day job, tinkering on the side, but really learning. I had ideas throughout that stretch I was working on which ultimately failed or never even got far enough to get off the ground.
The one piece of advice I'd give you or anyone interested in starting a web company, learn to code. I took a year off and taught myself. I'm no where near a great engineer but now we are two years later, I was at the point to be an engineer during the day, and build Tindie in the mornings and nights.
The benefits are vast from having a better understanding of the technology that goes into a website, the thought process around building a feature, and the fact you can build your idea, throw it out there and if people like it, great! If not, you didn't lose $x,000 hiring someone else. Twice before I've paid other people to build my ideas- both failed miserably. Learn from my mistake.
Circling back to your second question, you never know if you'll take off or not. I think if you have the bug, you keep trying. In that way it is a habit. Try, fail, learn and try again. Once you've made a mistake once, hopefully you won't repeat it and therefore you are further along for your next idea.
What's your favorite product on the site? Oh thats a tough one. Here are a couple..
GAMBY - an Arduino shield for gaming on an Arduino
Robot that plays Angry Birds- a robot you can program to play Angry Birds
808 Kick Drum Clone PCB- a PCB for building your own 808 kick drum
AS3935 Lightning Sensor Board- for detecting lightning
How many people run your website on a daily basis? It was just me up until October. Thats when I brought on 2 contractor friends, and last month the first hire - so max 4, most days 2 or 3 of us are hacking away.
Free advertising for what? If the site doesn't work now, chances are I won't remember to come back. Tindie is coming back up. hopefully you'll give us a second chance! Sorry about the down time!
Reddit: World's friendliest DDoS. +1.
How are you paying yourself and others who work for you? Quitting a job for something like this seems a bit scary. Yes, with the funding, we have salaries and are hiring for a Python/django dev! PM me if you are interested!
Reddit effect? Site seems to be down. ping tindie.com. Request timed out. Request timed out. Yep bringing it back up now.
Great concept idea, congratulations on the funding! Have you done any type of market research/ niche market expansionary issues that you might run into or was this an idea that you just dived right into? Thanks! and nope, I didn't do any market research. I was interested in learning about hardware hacking, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc and I felt like other people were also interested. At a high level, I just figured there are more and more people getting jazzed about making electronics, and that's why I just posted the question. I had no idea, so I asked the community and went from there. I didn't expect it to become a business at all. I just saw it as a learning experience and something to have fun with.
Are you going to offer "how-to" guides? It's a good idea. Have any more ideas on what you'd like to see?
What is your price structure going to be like? Are you going to skim off the top from sales or charge the people that post their goods? 5% of each transaction (with a minimum of $1). We only make money when a seller makes money.
Congratulations! Is $500k going to be enough? Where did you come up with the name? Thanks! Not forever.. should last 12 -18 months. Tindie came from 'indie tech' - tech indie..tindie.
I have a legitimate idea for a start-up. Do you have a good resource for helping me figure out where to start? The process? How to go about getting funding? Thanks...and congrats! Cool! Without knowing the idea/audience/your background, ultimately it will depend upon getting it built, out in the wild and iterate as people give you feedback. If you are growing and in a growing market, the investors will find you.
[Confirmed OP is who he says he is.] Marketing my own products seems to be my biggest challenge right now. Do you have any plans for marketing beyond just trying to be awesome and get in the press? Thanks Dustin! Short answer yes. Longer answer, check back in a few weeks.. :)
Did you have previous start-up knowledge before going into Tindie and in this case how did you work out ownership/equity with your investors? Also as a long punt question - do you have any experience or advice about how you divide up a company and give shares/control if there are a number of people working for free until it has a value? Equity depends on how you structure the funding. You'll want to look up startup funding on quora or some info site that can tell you more about the overall landscape. I don't. Since I started Tindie by myself, that was easy. Once you have other employees you can find breakdowns on equity by position & what stage the company is at also on Quora. Do some digging on there. You'll be blown away with the info you find (its a gold mind).
Saw someone asked this above but it wasn't answered. What resources did you use to learn to code? Thanks! Started with "learn python the hard way" progressed to Google App Engine and Django. Basically learn the basics and start building. You'll learn the gaps as you go.
How was your fundraising experience in your city? What were your investors looking for most in your company (for example traction, user acquisition, team)? And finally, do you feel that the city itself is inviting and conducive to innovation? Thanks! Fundraising was fine- but neither of my investors are in Portand (Seattle and Vancouver BC).
Investor comments directly from them: Link to versiononeventures.com
Link to www.crashdev.com
On Portland, I'd say so. Portland is great because its cheaper than the Bay, you can fly down very easily, and less startup noise than Silicon Valley. Before moving to Portland I spent 4 years in San Francisco.
Sorry if you've answered this already or don't want to for privacy reasons, but what's your background? What college (if any), degree, or job did you have before working in startups? I ask as a college student interested in working with startups after graduation. Political Science degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Account Executive at Yelp.
All around sales at Redbeacon.
(took year off to learn to code)
Developer Advocate at SimpleGeo.
How long do you think it will be before your site is back up? Apparently reddit has once again broke a site. Back up!
Bro, do your servers even lift? They were hurting for sure.
Did the popularity of this AMA break your servers? Yes, yes it did.
How did you teach yourself to code and build a website? What resources did you use? 'Learn Python the hard way' was a start. From there worked on building a site on Google App Engine, progressing to Django. Really it was a lot of trial and error. The key things were a few friends to ask questions & stackoverflow.
Have you looked into using bitcoins as a payment method? Yes. Because of we process payments and distribute funds to sellers it would be a bit tricky right now. Trying to not add more complexity than we need to right now..
Congrats! From the Crash Dev blog post, you received 11,000 visitors to your website in the first day? How did that manage to happen? I find that very impressive!! Please share your secret juice. I seeded the userbase & products on the site before it was even launched.
Set up a landing page to let people reserve their username.
Once they've registered, let people submit products for when you launch.
Once you have enough products and the site is built, launch.
Post on Hacker News/ Reddit/ forums and get initial buzz.
Thats about it!
What on EC2? can't you just spin up more boxes? I'm new to it, so that's why I'm interested. Yep its what we did after digging into it to make sure it wasn't something else. 4 XL servers.
Awesome idea! where does the name come from? also, what was your job before this? Thanks David! 'Tech indie' tindie ... I was a web engineer at another growing startup.
Congratulations! How did you make the jump on quitting your daytime job? I'm in the same situation now, trying to get my product into an MVP state, and have already done some analysis on that jump off of the W-2 bandwagon. What would you suggest doing? What were the guidelines you were searching for? When did you KNOW it was right to quit? Congratulations again! Thanks! I knew it was the right time when for the 2nd month in a row sales were growing at 100%. A bit of a risk but at that point I figured if it were going to grow bigger, I had to give it more TLC.
As a fairy, I know how he feels. The Speech. ABC.
I wouldnt mind taking a gamble on your company, do you have an IPO? or any public shares for sale? Thanks, unfortunately we are a private company. Maybe one day..
So instead of just asking about how we killed the site.. Since it's dealing with tech stuff do think you'll have any issues with people and patents? for example, someone buys someone elses thing repackages it and sells it as their own. We haven't had that issue yet. Most of the stuff has been open hardware which ignores the patent war..(thankfully)
Would you rather fight one Onnen-sized Lucky or 100 Lucky-sized Onnens? One Onnen-sized Lucky. Link to i1028.photobucket.com
Off topic, I think your site is getting hosed. Can't connect. I fear for the slag that used to be your network switch. lol. What type of categories are you offering on there? Back up! As far as categories, anything from Audio (synths) to plant monitors. Really a wide range.
You guys sell a robot that plays angry birds? Why do I want it so badly? Hmm good question, but it is super popular (as it's currently sold out)..but we can let you know when they are back in stock!
Link to webcache.googleusercontent.com Google Cache version if anyone wants to see the site before he gets his hosting sorted out. Thanks tbends for the help. We are back up!
Did you start this AMA knowing that we would have friendly-DDOSed your site? Nope, had I known we'd have planned a bit more :)
I cant currently view the site, so I'm not sure what tindie.com looks like... but regardless, what's the monetization strategy you've outlined for investors? I'm especially interested as the topic of the site seems to be "indie" and "open source", yet making $ in these areas can be tricky. Thx. Try now..
As far the revenue, tindie gets 5% of each transaction through the site - from there it becomes a question of scale and # of transactions. The makers are actually the ones who decide if their product is open or not. If they end up making and trying to sell their products, we are a great option.
Emile.
My friend is wanting to start an etsy for free trade items made all over the world. Any suggestions? Set up a landing page to let people register.
Once they've registered, let people submit products for when you launch.
Once you have enough products and the site is built, launch.
That's a start!
I still don't understand what your startup is - what's your product? also, i can't get to your site to find any additional info either. This shit should be clear as crystal if you're trying to get exposure. We are a marketplace for people to buy & sell electronics/tech that they make. The site is back up if you'd like to see. We don't have a 'product' but are the marketplace where makers can buy & sell their goods.
I see your site features a robot that plays Angry Birds. How have you used this machine for personal internet stardom and set record shattering high scores? I haven't actually used it - I do know the dev that made it and have seen it live in person. It does work.
Awesome site, just found and joined it due to this AMA. I was wondering if you could possibly add a feature similar to Etsy's where you can heart items and save them? Either way keep it up! Edit: Also a view all items option in subcategories would be amazing as well. Yep we can. Interesting story - we had wishlists on the site before a redesign, removed them in the redesign, and no one has noticed... We are working on a new solution in the future so stay tuned!
Emilepetrone: We launched a simulated diamond jewelry site called Link to diamonius.co and it's doing well, but since we are self funded via family we don't have the cash flow to do big ad campaigns. Any advice on how to get funding that is bigger than something like Kickstarter could provide? The trick for your business is growing so fast the investors come to you. As far as ad campaigns, maybe try cheaper more creative options that drive traffic your way?
When do you expect to breakeven? Good question, won't say the time but we definitely plan on being profitable. We do generate revenue unlike most tech startups so we are well on our way.
While I understand its nice for privacy and security why does the entire site redirect to https? Wouldn't it be less load on the servers to only use it when needed. Yes, you are right.
Why doesn't your website work? Because too many people were hitting the site, melting out servers- but we are back up now :)
How much equity did you have to give up for the 500K? Unfortunately the question I'm refraining from answering..sorry about that!
Is this similar to www.makeprojects.com ? I haven't been able to visit your site to check it out :/ Check now... not really, more of a marketplace than tutorials site.
A section for amateur radio on the front page would be welcome. I've posted links to you on some of the sites I frequent. Thanks! Adding that category now. Once there are 3 products in the category, it will show up in the side bar.
Link to tindie.com
Why would anyone need a robot that plays angry birds? The other thing is you can use it for mobile app testing. Program it to run through a suite of tests..
Sounds like a neat website, can I have something from your desk? Hmm maybe what are you looking for?
Why can't I get on your website from my phone? Good question, the site was down for a bit, but should be running fine now.
of all, congrats! How old are you (serious question - I am just curious)? And you should get your site back up (as I'm sure you know). I'd love to take a look! How about now?
Now? You're still 27. Maybe 28, but I somehow doubt it. May 7, 1985.
You are at step 3 of 100 steps... You're now indebted to others and are obligated to make this a profitable venture - are you stressed yet? You should be... Yes.
Your servers are crashing because of Reddit. Is this a good or bad thing? Good thing...definitely good problem.
Hi there, me and my friend are trying to find an idea for a website service but quite frankly they are all taken and we have no inspiration at the moment. What would be advice for getting inspiration for this type of thing? Hmm just mess around. Building things. I didn't plan on making Tindie a company, it just happened that people liked it. The more you tinker and launch new ideas, the higher your chance for success.
How do you process payments and how do you pay sellers ? We handle payments through paypal, and disburse the sellers' funds via Paypal at the end of the month. So the $ stays within Paypal and we just transfer it, taking out the Tindie fee.
Why don't you use stripe ? We started with Stripe. Ultimately we could get lower fees with Paypal and international customers were asking for Paypal because they didn't have a credit card. But Stripe has done a great job -best documentation award definitely goes to them.
I've got an idea for a company, I've already worked out a business plan and parts of a marketing plan. I'm not really sure where where to start looking for VC. What would you recommend my next steps should be? Sure thing - start building the business, getting traction and growing. If you can show signs of serious growth, the investors will find you.
Could one use this site to sell a used CO2 laser? I'm thinking of selling mine, but I'm not sure yet...Not sure if this site is for products MADE by such things, or if one could sell the laser there too. Sure thing. Just mark it as Resale, and it will show up in our Resale section. We are focused on maker made, but do except other products...
I sent you a PM about offering to help bring your site up, I have the expertise, and the offer still stands. I just looked at the Google cached version, and it looks really cool and interesting. Ah thanks! I haven't had a chance to look through my PMs but fortunately we got it up. Will reply after going through a few more comments..
Looking for any work from home low wage workers? ;-) Not yet!
I love this place! I would love to order more but the budget of a student is limited. Have you considered reaching out to specific people (i.e. Joseph Prusa) to sell specific things they've made in an American market? Thanks! I have, just a matter of time. I met Prusa at the Open Hardware Summit..thanks for the reminder!
how much did you keep for $500k? Assuming you are asking about equity, i'll leave that question unanswered..sorry about that!
Hey Emile, I hope you're still answering questions. You and I have actually spoken over email a few times. I want you to know I appreciate the advice you gave me and the fact you didn't tell me to goto hell :). I've been planning on working on a community marketplace similar to tindie but in a vastly different space. How did you solve the chicken and the egg problem with tindie? Yep still here, just working my way through. Good question..still figuring that out.
Any room for parallax propeller chip? Sure thing, reselling it? We have a new resale section just for that.
Hey, I am currently a student studying Computer Science and a friend and I have been trying to work on creating a E-Commerce Website as well. Although we aren't new to coding, we are somewhat new to coding larger scale software on the web. We have been using Python within the context of the Django framework, but I am curious if in your experience you have heard of any better frameworks or alternative methods to produce an e-commerce site like yours? Check out Cartridge. Depending upon your idea, it may be perfect.
Why wouldn't ya call it etsy for techie? Hmm I dont know..never thought of it.. hmm.
What did you name your boat? Unfortunately no boat or car..
Link to webcache.googleusercontent.com. Should be running fine now..
Did reddit just Friendly DDos'd your site? Yep!
Where are you hosting? Amazon, Heroku, Rackspace? heroku ps:scale web=10 worker=5 AWS.
The site is down. Maybe the start up funds should go to servers? :p. +1.
Can I have like 2k?? It'd help out a lot. Sorry mate, maybe next time?
A bear hug that kills you with a smile. Link to files-cdn.formspring.me
that is why we cant have nice things around here =[ Its ok.. fail and learn.. we now know what to do for next time :)
The good ole' Reddit DDOS. I'll check back later. Sorry about that! It's coming back up now.
And we are back!
... Its gone. And we are back!
Invest in amazon's cloud :) 4 XL's on EC2.
Lol he is the web host. They're probably using Amazon Web Services or some other cloud setup. The OP himself would be responsible for putting in load balancers & ensuring that the site scales with traffic. At the same time, it's a great lesson learned, occasional failure is a good thing :) Yep AWS, and lesson was definitely learned.
That exact thought goes through my head each time a site gets nuked. I'll be a good and bookmark it, maybe Santa will swap me out of the naughty list. Fuck coal. Thanks Willmus! We are live now, also do not want you to get coal.
I wonder how many of us won't. It's kind of poor planning making a big marketing move like this and not notifying your web host that you're expecting a big surge of traffic. In hindsight, you are right. I wasn't expecting it to actually get much traffic. But lesson learned - and we won't make this mistake next time.
Looks like 502 of their gateways are bad. Might take a while to replace them all. Yeah it did, but we are back up!
Oh sorry guys, i was sitting on ctrl F5. I thought so! +1.
Aand it's back. +1.
It's called free advertising. *OHHH You meant the site is ACTUALLY down... nevermind then. I'll still go back, not really that big of a deal, sites go down all the time Thanks! Yeah wasn't expecting it, but we are back up!
Great, now he's gone. Nope I'm here. Edited my answer to add more context.
WE ALL WANT TO HUG YOUR WEBSITE. Link to 25.media.tumblr.com
I've now seen that comment about 8 times in this thread already. It is very, very appreciated.
The friendliest ddos. +1.
The good ol' reddit DDoS. I can't connect to it either. Just try back in a little while. :) Back up!
I just had the same problem :( Sorry about that! Back up, promise!
That reddit hug! Link to 25.media.tumblr.com
$500k won't last you very long at all. Staff costs alone will burn through that in a matter of a few months, and there's all manner of setup costs and overheads on top of that. $500k isn't supposed to last years - realistically one year to 18 months.
Ah yeah, love me some strongbad. Link to homestarrunner.com. My high school chemistry teacher introduced me to strongbad. best class in high school.
Last updated: 2012-12-25 02:33 UTC
This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
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