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Paperboy waits for the cycle to turn

IN a small home office just off King Street in Perth there’s a man busy on a paper round, delivering about 5,000 different publications to homes and offices around the globe.

paperboy.com, a site developed by Ian Duckworth in Perth is a site with links to over 5,000 different online newspapers throughout the world.

Attracting more than 250,000 hits a month, the success of paperboy.com has led to the development of magazineboy, a sister site with links to online magazines.

What began in 1997 as a hobby for Mr Duckworth has grown into a profitable business, although the tech stock crash has eroded the advertising revenue.

Mr Duckworth, however, is upbeat about the future.

“I’ve been building it (paperboy) for the last four or five years and really making a living from it for the last two years,” he said.

Mr Duckworth said the site grew out of his own collection of bookmarks for online newspaper. The site gained rapid notoriety, aided to no small degree by reviews in both local and national newspapers.

In a good month the site generated revenue of up to $10,000, based on lucrative online advertising deals from US clients.

“It’s (advertising revenue) sort of up and down. Six months ago I was doing quite well and eventually I hope it will bounce back,” Mr Duckworth said.

“I’m on the verge of delivering a members’ section to try to get subscribers’ revenue. Relying on advertising is a thing of the past … you’ll never make much from advertising alone,” Mr Duckworth said.

“Most of my audience is in the US, almost 75 per cent, so it’s not like a regional business.”

Mr Duckworth is confident the innovative players in the new technologies game will survive the fallout and emerge even stronger.

Even if things do get tougher, he can always just get back on his bike and sew up another deal with Lonely Planet, having previously co-authored two cycling guides for the Lonely Planet series.

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