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Making Money on the Internet – A Christian Success Story
Keep it small…stay focussed…avoid the temptation to grow too fast or too big. These seem to be some of the lessons for turning an internet business into a success.
Sure, some big-name sites have struck it rich. But they’re vastly out-numbered by the ambitious dot-coms who burned cash with such scorching abandon that they ended up self-incinerating. Even the Christian community has been shaken by some high-profile insolvencies.
Could it be that a little Australian website start-up, operating out of a church basement, is showing the way?
It is LiturgyHelp.com, which is projecting annual cashflow of A$10 million (about US$5.5 million) within three years.
LiturgyHelp.com has become the world’s first company to secure the rights to publish online many of the official texts of the Catholic Church, for use by church groups.
In its own words:
LiturgyHelp.com is an internet-based subscription service providing quick and easy access to the official liturgical resources of the Catholic Church. You can access these resources from any computer with an internet connection, with no need to install any software. The material is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A subscription provides you with all the prayers and readings for any particular day, including all the alternatives and options, in one easy-to-use, online resource.
The service also includes additional resources such as homily notes, music suggestions, bulletin masters and liturgy planning guides.
LiturgyHelp.com is tiny. It was established in Hobart, capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania, by a team led by Father Michael Tate. In a former life, Father Tate was an Australian senator and cabinet minister.
The team has overcome many obstacles, including opposition from the US Bishops Conference, which did not want to see the materials online. Support from the Vatican has been crucial to the venture’s success.
Just one problem. The site is growing. Fast. The Vatican has given permission for the team to put online the original Latin texts. LiturgyHelp.com is also moving into the publication of music and of texts from other church organisations.
And…uh, oh…the team is very, very ambitious. As Father Tate told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Well, I often say we are going to be the Yahoo, certainly, of the Catholic publishing world, perhaps of the religious houses of any denomination or even the great world religions.
This is the beginning of something quite extraordinary.
Let us hope that it is the beginning, and not the end.