Bone of the Month Club

By | February 26, 2010

Many of my blog postings are stories about sites that I created. This one is about a site I wanted to start, but never did: . I registered the domain in 2003 and the the concept was to create a site where people could buy their pet a luxurious gift, which would a gourmet dog bone delivered by mail to them each month for a year. Each month a different type of bone would be mailed to the dog. In addition to pet owners buying this gift for their pet, it would also be a great Christmas gift for friends and family to give to the owner/pet.

The good thing about the dog bone business is that they are cheap to buy and are easy to purchase. Just to get started, I could buy them from local pet stores at the retail price, and not have to worry about setting up a wholesale account or carrying much inventory. It would not be hard to create a computer program to track the customers and figure out what needs to be shipped when, and the website part would be pretty simple since there would only be mainly one item for sale (a 1 year club membership). I would have the user choose small, medium, or large sized bones, depending on how big their dog is.

The problem is that I just don’t think there is enough profit to be made from it. The bones only cost a few dollars each, but the shipping each month would cost $5-$10 (some bones are heavy). If for example the combined cost of the bone and shipping is $10, that means my wholesale cost for a 1 year membership would be $120 (12 months x $10 each month). Then there are the labor costs of preparing and mailing each order, and the ecommerce costs (at least 5% for merchant fees and fraud). On top of all of that there is the cost of obtaining customers, like through advertising in Google. The ad cost would probably be at least $10 per order, making my total costs around $150 per order. I can’t imagine people would pay more than $99, or even $49, for a gift like this for a pet, so I don’t see any way for it to work. Maybe if I sold a 3 month plan instead it could be at a price people would pay, but having it only for 3 months does not sound like a very exciting product.

Every Christmas when I see all the gift products advertised, the idea pops back into my head, but for now it is not something I am going to pursue.

13 thoughts on “Bone of the Month Club

  1. Patrick

    Please don’t be mad.

    But for the very reasons you cited above, I think this biz idea should be filed under:

    Bonehead Idea of the

    Just kidding, sort of. 🙂

    1. admin

      It is possible that somebody who has more pet supplies experience might be able to make something out of my idea/domain. In general I try to create automated entertainment type sites, not ecommerce sites that involve shipping, inventory, and customer service, so this is not really my type of business.

    2. admin

      My posting was kind of an autopsy of an idea. The idea is dead, but people still find the info surrounding it interesting.

  2. Dan

    It’s not a bad idea. I’ve seen vendors at flee markets that sell all types of chewables, from rawhide to cookie type of bones. Some dogs go through two bones per month. The only issue I see here is shipping cost, but you may be able to keep the cost down with snail mail.

  3. Daniel Lambert

    Interesting idea Eric. BTW could you get your developer to add social bookmark buttons to each post so I can easily share them on Twitter.

  4. t

    Shipping costs alone makes it a bad idea, as well as other factors….bone of the month could be a dog calendar , A dog with a different theme or whatever each month,.Calendars are Cheap to make, Design, and Shipping costs would be exceptionally low. Better Yet Here is what you do, Have users upload their photos of their pets and select different themes, even add text to the page, narration , pet talking , etc. .. With their purchase of the calendar they get a widget with an online version of their pet calendar they can share online at the same time free advertising for you.

    1. admin

      That is a good idea for a business, I am just not sure it is a good use of the domain name.

  5. t

    I think you should put up a post asking people to pick a domain you have and what their ideas of what to do with it. You have names with potential that would need little work i feel to make good money. Least of all it would be interesting reading.

    You never know some people may choose a domain that relates to their industry, which you may benefit from their expertise, connections, etc. for their domain pick/idea.

  6. t

    Kool, you should also add the social bookmarks sharing options to your content pages on dumb and other sites, I think people would be more apt to share jokes, games, and pictures.

  7. Barb (of the Month)

    Not a bonehead idea at all! There are several companies that have “bone of the month” clubs. It’s probably only profitable at high volume — when you can negotiate special shipping and have a mostly automated system behind the scenes. However, you may be surprised what pet lovers will pay to give a unique gift to their pooch.

    Actually, almost all “of the month” clubs are overpriced. However, people are willing to pay a premium for the novelty and the variety.


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