Friday, June 27, 2008

3 Days in a Row of $300+ Earnings!

Ok, by now it must sound like a broken record... but screw it, I can't help but get a little excited. Yesterday was my third straight $300+ day. This time it wasn't even close - with one network still left to report I'm at $324.03 in ad revenue for yesterday. By the time everything is counted I expect a total of around $332.

Incredibly, I had a mini-surge on top of the 3-day surge I've been experiencing, when one of my sites suddenly got back some Google lovin', completely out of the blue. Back for about 4 months in 2007 Google decided it just loved this site and it was sending 8, 10, sometimes even 14-15 thousand visitors a day to it. And then, literally overnight, Google dropped it like a hot potato. The site was still technically in Google - you just had to look really damned hard to find it. Over the space of 24 hours I went from 12,000 visitors a day from Google to about 600. (A 95% drop in traffic, overnight, sans explanation).

It hurt like a sumbitch when that happened, but I ended up taking it in stride. First off, it wasn't a site that I particularly spent all that much time and effort on, and secondly... well, Google giveth, and Google can taketh away, right? The site would never have been a success without Google in the first place, so I ended up looking at it more as a 4-month, transient Google blessing than a 24-hour Google curse.

Anyway, that was December 2007. Traffic on the site remained in the doldrums through all of this year, until about 2 weeks ago we had one mini-spike of about 2,600 visitors from Google. It didn't last though, and within a day we were back to our normal levels of about 900-1000/day. Then comes yesterday - a Google spike of about 4,800 visitors! I checked my keywords again this morning and lo and behold, they're still showing up at #2 and #3 on Google, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this time the Google lovin' is here to stay.

Until it isn't anymore. :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Ad Surge Continues

Wow - I broke $300/day two days ago for the first time in 2008, and now it looks like yesterday I might have done the same, or at least come damn near close to it. One of my ad networks doesn't report daily figures until midday so I won't know for sure, but I generally make around $9/day with this one and right now I'm at $291.97 with all my other networks. Two days in a row! Ok, ok - not getting excited yet, I know there are up time and down times and I can't go around seeing big trends in two little data points... tempting though that may be. :-)

Oh, and another one to kill this morning for Tribal Fusion Direct:

Later Update: Yep, its official - I squeaked by the $300 mark again yesterday. Final network report just came in and the grand total was $300.06. No complaints here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Breaking through the $300/day ceiling

Bit of a milestone yesterday! My daily earnings broke through (just barely) the $300 ceiling. One of my ad networks still isn't reporting as of 9.30am EST so I don't know the exact total yet, but this was a really nice surprise. I've not broken $300 a day since the heady days of December 2007 (when ad revenues were insanely high thanks to 50-60% fills from ADSDAQ).

The revenue breakdown was roughly:

BurstMedia - 30%
ADSDAQ - 23%
TribalFusion - 19%
Adsense - 19%
Valueclick - 7%

The interesting thing is - I didn't have much of a traffic spike yesterday as far as I can tell. In terms of visitors and pageviews, it was business as usual. For whatever reason, all my adnetworks just happened to "pop" with excellent fill rates and strong CPMs. Even Adsense chipped in with the highest daily earnings of 2008.

I have single-day peaks like this every now and again, but I've learned by now not to see these as anything more than aberrations. Apart from December 2007, these big-number days generally just appear out of nowhere and then things return back to normal levels within a day or two. Its always tempting to see big increases like this as the start of a trend, but you also have to be realistic... sometimes things just click.

So far my June 2008 daily average is about $215.50, making this the first month in 2008 where I'm likely to break a $200/day average by the end of the month. Its been a steady increase most of this year (apart from February, when a server crash + short month + crappy fill rates left me with a disappointing average). Check out the results so far:

Daily Average Earnings by Month - 2008

January - $173.42/day ($5376.02 total)

February - $141.86/day ($4113.94 total)

March - $181.10/day ($5614.10 total)

April - $182.67/day ($5480.10 total)

May - $193.41/day ($5995.71 total)

June (to date) - $215.50/day ($6465.00 projected total)

Now that's a trend! :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What kind of sites do well with CPM advertising?

I've run about twenty or so web sites over the years. Some have been (financially) successful - most haven't. There's no perfect formula for knowing whether or not a certain site will be a certified money-maker when it comes to the CPM-advertising world, but in my experience there are a certain number of characteristics that certainly help.

#1. Make sure at least 85-90% of your traffic is from the United States.

This is the big daddy, obviously. As it stands right now, all the best networks cater to American advertisers and consumers. A few of them have branched out into overseas campaigns, most often the UK, Australia, Canada, etc. but in the main, if you don't have a significant majority of your traffic coming from the United States, you just won't do all that well among the major CPM networks. My most heavily-trafficked site, for example, is one of my poorest earners, because only around 55% of the traffic actually originates from the United States.

This isn't really something you can change after the fact - its mostly advice for those who are thinking of creating new sites... try to come up with subject-matter that will be most relevant to United States visitors.

#2. Pageviews, pageviews, pageviews.

The easiest way to boost your site's earnings is to take steps to increase the average number of pageviews per visit. Its a whole helluva lot easier to get visitors you already have to click two or three more pages per visit than it is to draw in whole big batches of new visitors. How, you ask? Here's some ideas:

- Separate large content pages into sub-pages. Split them into 2, 3, 4 or even 5 smaller pages, with prominent navigation that will easily allow a reader to click "Next" to continue reading the page.

- Build interactive/sticky pages that are constantly updating. Whether these are news or blog feeds, stock quotes, latest forum posts, a private-messaging system... anything that is useful to your visitors and, more importantly, anything that constantly changes, content-wise, will cause your visitors to click back again and again to see what's new.

- Add some games. Nothing keeps a visitor on your site like diversionary time-wasters. Add a high score list, or some level of competition or awards, and folks will come back again and again to compete.

#3. Optimize your site template to allow for IAB-size ad placements.

When you design your site, be sure that your general template allows for at least 2 ad positions on every page, either:

- A 728x90 Leaderboard on top and a 160x600 Skyscraper on the right or left side
- A 728x90 Leaderboard on top and a 300x250 Box ad within the content area
- A 160x600 Skyscraper on the right side and 300x250 Box ad within the content area

These three ad types (728x90, 300x250, 160x600) are currently the best-performing, so be sure that your site can fit them in. And remember to keep it tasteful! No one wants to see a site that's just a bunch of ads hastily thrown together around minimal content.

Tribal Fusion Direct - New Domains to Exclude

Found two more domains that popped up on Tribal Fusion Direct in the past few days:

I've added them both to my domain exclusion list for ad blocking. Their combined CPM for today wasn't absolutely terrible ($0.45CPM) but its still low enough that I don't want them running amongst my other high-paying Tribal Fusion campaigns (currently at around $2.02-$2.08 CPM).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Using Ad Networks vs. Selling Your Own Ads

Most folks know that if you are able to sell your own ads directly to advertisers, you’re going to be able to make a lot more money than by just running the general Ad Network ads from Burst, Tribal Fusion, Valueclick, etc. That’s absolutely true. But that doesn’t mean its worth doing.

Ok, that may sound crazy, but trust me – I speak from experience. I have sold a lot of online advertising campaigns and have made a fair amount of money in the process. About 50% of the time, its painless and worth the effort. The other 50% however, is awful, absolutely awful. Dealing directly with the advertiser means you’re directly responsible for:

- showing up-to-date statistics on their campaign impressions
- showing relevant click-through rate percentages
- tweaking the ads, uploading new versions at client’s request
- manually inserting ads either directly into your site or into a separate ad-delivery system like OpenX (aka phpAdsNew)
- starting/stopping the campaign on time
- ensuring that the customer receives the number of impressions promised
- coming up with excuses for poor click-through rates
- chasing down the customer for payments, bounced checks, failed wire transfers, etc.
- dealing with a client directly, in general – it sucks!

So, once again, we get into the question of Active Income vs. Passive Income. Online advertising can indeed by Passive Income, but when you have to deal with all of the above on a regular basis, it is no longer Passive Income. Its work, and its taking hours out of your day.

Yes, privately-sold advertising can be lucrative, but it can also be a dreaded time-sink. This is why I generally don’t do it, and when I do offer private ads, I do so at a rate at least five times what I would otherwise get using just the run-of-the-mill ad networks. If I can make that much more money, then it becomes worth the added trouble. Otherwise, its not Passive Income, and I’m not interested.

So, as you may have guessed, the vast, vast majority of my ad inventory goes to the Ad Networks. These include BurstMedia, TribalFusion, Valueclick Media, Casale Media, ADSDAQ, Google Adsense and others. I’ll go over each of these ad networks individually in future posts, but on the whole, I like them all – but for different reasons. When it comes down to it though, once you’ve got yourself a relationship with a bunch of reliable ad networks, you’re ready to make true-blue Passive Income. With an ad network you:

- don’t need to deal directly with advertisers
- get paid automatically, on the same day every month usually, and often via direct deposit
- don’t need to worry about stats or delivery

Yes, the CPMs are way lower, and sometimes the fill-rates are terrible and parts of your inventory go unsold, and they all take a cut of your earnings… but trust me, these ad networks are a Passive Income goldmine. They do all the hard work for you, and you collect a check at the end of every month.

What’s better than that?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tribal Fusion Direct - Domain Exclusion List

I tried for years to get my sites accepted to the Tribal Fusion network. Literally, years. I was rejected time and time again, and the more rejections I got, the more I wanted in. I'd heard so many great things about the Tribal Fusion network that it became something of an obsession. Finally after my umpteenth rejection, I raised a fuss about it, called Publisher support, sent some emails, and after a long and drawn-out conversation - wouldn't you know it - they accepted me!

Never underestimate the power of persistence.

Anyway, the victory was bittersweet, because after only a few weeks on the network I began to realize that the Tribal Fusion hype was, well, just that. My numbers were ok, and it was nice to have this additional revenue stream coming in each day, but it was far from the quality and quantity of ads I'd anticipated. For a while I just let Tribal Fusion sit there at the end of my ad-chains, until lo-and-behold, I discovered a primary reason behind the poor performance: Tribal Fusion Direct.

What is Tribal Fusion Direct? It is basically a completely separate subset of ads that Tribal Fusion can run on your site, without ever actually letting you know their individual CPM rates. Worse still, Tribal Fusion Direct campaigns will actually ignore the "Minimum CPM" floor amount that you set in your publisher preferences (which currently bottoms out at $0.60CPM). Worse even still, you can't opt-out of Tribal Fusion Direct! So thousands of your hard-earned ad impressions can be (and often are) eaten up by these bottom-of-the-barrel campaigns, dragging down your overall CPM rate and throwing your daily earnings into the dumper.

While you can't actually see CPM rates for individual Tribal Fusion Direct campaigns, you are shown a summary in your Reports >> Campaign area which will show you the overall performance for all Tribal Fusion Direct campaigns currently running on your site. Don't see it? Scroll allllllllll the way down to the bottom - its dropped in as a line-item at the very end under "Tribal Fusion Direct". Oftentimes you'll see the overall TF Direct CPM rate at 40, 30, 20 cents... sometimes even as low as 10 or 12 cents. Maybe that's good enough for some folks, but not for me.

So, how can you avoid the black hole that is Tribal Fusion Direct?

Its a bit of a pain, but the only real way to avoid serving these garbage ads is to block every Tribal Fusion Direct campaign by domain name. (Yes, I know, this is ridiculous - it would be incredibly easy for Tribal Fusion to create a "TF Direct" category and then let you just opt out of that category, but alas that's not to be). So generally what I do every few days is:

1. Log in to Tribal Fusion
2. Go to Reports >> Campaigns and then click on the "Buy Type" header to order the table data between "Market" campaigns and "Tribal Fusion Direct" campaigns.
3. Open every campaign listed as "Tribal Fusion Direct" under Buy Type, and note down the ad-blocking domain for that campaign. Put them all in a list, one domain per line.
4. Once you have a complete list of domains, click your domain name in the left-hand nav bar area to get to your "Market, Manage, Reports" area.
5. Click the "Manage" tab
6. Click the "Ad Blocking" tab
7. Select "Block By Domain" in the pull down and paste your list of domains into the textarea box, then click Submit.

After a few hours, any ads from these domains will no longer display on your Tribal Fusion account. You will definitely notice an increase (often quite large) in your overall CPM rates the very next day.

Ok, so that's a pain, right? Well here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to give you a full list of all domains I am currently blocking in order to avoid the Tribal Fusion Direct black hole. Feel free to copy and paste it directly into your own Ad Blocking area. I'll keep my Tribal Fusion Direct Exclusion List updated and you can stop by any time to pick up the latest blacklisted domains.

Tribal Fusion Direct - Domain Exclusion List
Updated: June 26, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

CPM, CPC, CPA – Which are the Real Money Makers?

There are three basic types of online ad, in terms of revenue:

CPM – Cost Per Thousand Impressions
You serve 10,000 impressions of an ad at a rate of $5 CPM, and you’ve made $50.

CPC – Cost Per Click
You serve 10,000 impressions of an ad at a rate of $5 CPC, and its clicked on five times, and you’ve made $25.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition
You serve 10,000 impressions of an ad at a rate of $5 CPA, and its clicked on five times, and one person signs up for an account on the advertiser’s landing page. You’ve made $5.

Notice the progression. The CPM ad required just one step – ad delivery – before you made money. The CPC ad required two steps – ad delivery, plus customer click – before you made money. The CPA was worst of all – not only did you have to deliver the ad, and not only did the customer have to click on it, but they had to complete an action after all that before you’d see a single red-cent.

Now, this is where a lot of folks will say I’m crazy. There are oodles – OODLES I say – of web entrepreneurs out there who claim to make tens of thousands of dollars a month from affiliate marketing (essentially, CPA ads). They say that its all about testing each opportunity and then going full-speed with those that work best for your niche. They say that once you’ve found those 2 or 3 CPA campaigns that convert well for your sites, that the money just flows in.

That may be true for them, but its never – NEVER – been true for me. Not once in thirteen years of online advertising have I ever made significant money from a CPA ad campaign. Unless you’re in a very specific niche that just happens to be a haven for CPA campaigns (ring tones, for example), CPA’s are a pipe dream. I don’t bother with them. Ever.

CPC’s are a bit of a grey area for me. For years I avoided CPC ads – that is, until Google came around and completely turned the CPC business on its head through relevant, contextual advertising. The only CPC ads I run are Google Adsense, because they have an enormous reach and because their ads are always contextually relevant to my audience. Because of that, my visitors click the ads, and I make money. Not boatloads, by any means, but on certain sites and in certain niches, Google Adsense adds a significant percentage to my daily numbers.

Needless to say, any CPC campaigns that are not contextually targeted – ignore them. No one will click on them, and you’ll serve 5 million impressions and pull in about twelve bucks for your troubles. Not worth it.

CPM ads. These are my bread and butter. I love CPMs. On many of my sites I will run CPMs and ONLY CPMs. They’re constant, they’re steady, and you always know what you’re going to get. This is the workhorse of my little mini-economy. I’ll generally run anything that’s over $0.50 CPM on my sites, though I regularly have campaigns that pay upwards of $7.50 or more CPM. The overall numbers seem small compared to the mini-fortunes that some CPC/CPA networks will “promise” you, but unlike those pie-in-the-sky offers, CPMs pay out every time.

If you’re new to online advertising and not sure what type is right for you, I’d say, stick with CPMs for the most part, and do some small-scale experimentation with Google Adsense. All other CPC/CPA campaigns are essentially – in my point of view – a waste of time. Unless you’re in a really particular niche that is known for CPAs, its just not worth the effort.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Self-Sustaining Web Sites – Passive Income with Minimal Maintenance

In a previous post I explained why I thought blogging was a time-sink and an awful way to make money online, and I said that my goal was to build 100% self-sustaining web sites that can run on their own without needed constant updates and maintenance. Well, that’s all good and well, but what exactly is a self-sustaining web site?

First, we have to look at what makes a visitor come back again and again to a site. Its one word. Value. If you offer something of value to a visitor – information, amusement or entertainment, a social atmosphere, or a useful tool – they will come back to your site time and time again.

In my time, I’ve built informational/content sites, game sites, blog sites, forum sites and e-commerce stores. I’ve had the least amount of success with e-commerce, and generally-speaking, I’m done with it – I don’t see myself ever fiddling with that again. Selling products online to me isn’t Passive Income – every sale is work you have to do. Work to get the product, wrap the product, ship the product, process payment, process returns, deal with defects and shipping problems, etc. Who needs the hassle? So for me, e-commerce sites are out.

Blog sites, like I mentioned earlier, aren’t that much better. Having to write 1-2 original posts a day is work, plain and simple, and its not Passive Income. (There is a work-around for this, however, but I’ll talk about this a little later).

Informational sites are great, but only if you have enough original and insightful content to completely corner the market on a specific niche. I’ve been able to do this only once with an informational site, and it wasn’t easy. In fact, the amount of hard work it took to get there more or less precludes me from every trying this again. So while I do currently make Passive Income from my informational site, if you consider the thousands of hours I spent over more than twelve years to compile all that information, it starts to look more and more like Active Income. And that’s a no-no.

Forum sites… now we’re getting somewhere. A forum is a community of people communicating with one another, whether you’re around or not. What could be more perfect? The site gains more and more original content each day, with every new post and every new member, and each visitor gets value out of the site not only from the content within but from the sense of community and partial-ownership that each forum member feels when participating in the conversation. To me, a successful forum is just like a snowball… keep the forum running fast and bug-free, make sure you’ve got a couple of hard-working and even-minded moderators manning it, and its essentially a set-it-and-forget-it cash machine.

But for me, the most successful sites I’ve even made have been game sites. Obviously, not everyone can do this – you need to be able to do at least medium to high-level programming in order to pull it off (or, you can hire someone to do it for you). But if you can put together a game site where players can register accounts and compete against other players for high scores, and if its well-designed and fun to play, you’re in the zone, mister. Competitive game sites are great for Passive Income because once you create the games, they’re essentially done – you don’t need to tweak them or update them, or really do anything. Folks will come and play, and those who register to compete will get their competitive juices flowing and return again and again to make sure their scores are on the Hall of Fame.

For me, forum/community sites and game sites have been the single biggest earners for me. Not only that, but they’re completely, 100% self-sustaining. All I need to do is keep an eye on the server and make sure things are running fast and smoothly for everyone. I’ll go for days, sometimes even weeks at a time without doing any significant work on a site – if you program them well, you’ll almost never have to.

And that’s the key. Because there are only so many hours in the day, you’ve got severe limitations on how much Active Income you can make in a lifetime. But if you’ve got multiple streams of Passive Income coming in every day, with minimal or no work on your part, there’s practically no limit on what you can pull in every month.

So before you start your next web site, ask yourself – is this going to be self-sustainable? And if not, how can you make it so?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Blogging is Awful for Making Money Online - Unless...

Ok, so I said previously that blogging was a time-sink, that it wasn’t self-sustainable and that you’d be hard-pressed to make a fortune in actual Passive Income from it. All of that is true.

With one exception.

You can create a successful blog site, and never have to post a thing. Remember, blogging is a huge phenomenon, and there are thousands of new bloggers coming online every day. Why not set up a blog site where you invite others to blog on a shared topic? Set up the blog for them, tailor it to the blogger’s preferences to make sure they’re happy, and then let them loose! You host it, you make the ad money, and your bloggers work diligently to add fresh new content every day.

Impossible, you say? Not at all. You just need to find a way to make it worth their while. Whether this means some sort of revenue-share (I frown on this, just because the accounting is often nightmarish) or some more creative means of compensation… maybe you set them up with a snazzy, professionally-designed blog, tailored precisely to their tastes. Or maybe you give them some kind of freebies – a nice email address on a cool domain for instance. Or you can do what I did on one of my sites – I sent each blogger free products to review, and they posted a new blog entry every few days, with a review of each product. These products don’t even need to be “physical” things – you can send them digital ebooks to review, or get them trial accounts into other web sites… be creative! As long as the blogger is getting something of value from the experience, they will be happy and productive, and you’ll keep getting free, daily content for your site.

Blogging on your own = bad idea.

Setting up a blog site and having a dozen other people blog for your site = brilliant.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why Blogging is an Awful Way to Make Money Online

Following on my “Why You Will Never Be John Chow” post, I thought I’d touch a little on why I believe blogging is an absolutely horrible way to make money online. First though, let’s talk a little about the difference between Active Income and Passive Income. (These are my own personal definitions, by the way – others use these terms in different contexts, so don’t get them confused).

To me, Active Income is money that you make as a direct result of X-amount of work. Some examples would be:

- salary from a 9-5 job
- hourly wages from contract work on the side
- $20 you get for mowing your neighbor’s lawn
- selling a $50 product and earning $15 in profit

Passive Income, on the other hand, is money that you make without having to lift a finger… money that comes in 24x7, day or night, weekends and holidays included. These include:

- interest earned on a savings account or money market fund
- money from online advertising on your web sites
- recurring revenue from online subscriptions
My goal, with all of my web sites, is to make all, or nearly all, my money from Passive Income. And, so far, that’s generally what I do. About 95% of my monthly revenue comes from online advertising spread across my various web sites. I get paid every time an ad is viewed or clicked, and I serve hundreds of thousands of ad views every single day. Whether I’m at my desk working or if I’m sleeping or eating or on holiday, or doing whatever, I’m earning money, 24x7. I don’t have to lift a finger to earn that money.

Ok, ok… so you want to make the vast majority of your money with Passive Income. Fine. So why is blogging so awful?

Well, in my view, maintaining a money-making blog just isn’t Passive Income. All of my web sites are 100% self-sustaining. Traffic comes in whether I update them once a day or once a month. I specifically chose to build web sites with this in mind.

A blog, on the other hand, is a huge… a HUGE… time-sink. If you don’t update your blog every day, or at least every other day, it will be considered stale and visitors generally won’t return to your site again and again. So its an enormous time commitment to have to write at least 1-2 posts a day. And unless you’re a fairly skilled writer, its damned hard to write that much and still keep things fresh without just rehashing the same ideas again and again.

So for me, blogging isn’t Passive Income – even if you do get your money from online advertising. Its not quite Active Income either – since the work you do isn’t tied directly to the money you make - but its something in between. (Yes, I realize the irony of me blogging about making money online, and bad-mouthing the practice all at the same time… but then again, I don’t make my money from blogging.)

Personally, I would much rather build a self-sustaining web site and update it once every few weeks – if even that – and just let the ad money roll in. What kind of web sites are self-sustainable? I’ll cover that in another post. :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why You Will Never Be John Chow

There’s no way I can run a “Make Money Online” blog without referencing the big-daddy of this little subculture of get-rich-quick – John Chow. For those who don’t know him, he’s a 40-something web-entrepreneur based out of Vancouver, Canada, and he shares his “tips and tricks” on his blog at Truth be told, I check his blog at least once a day, though its actually rare that he shares anything truly insightful about making money online. Most of his posts are either about restaurants he’s eaten at, or boastful videos or pictures of himself at various blogger conferences, or reviews of uninteresting sites that have paid him $500 to be featured on his blog… in fact, lately, at least half, if not more, of the posts on his site aren’t even written by him, but rather by “guest bloggers” who submit content for him to post.

But all that said, you can’t argue with results. As of April 2008 John Chow claims to be making roughly $30,000 a month just from his blog alone. By any measurement, that’s impressive. (And that number seems to grow with every passing month…)

This guy obviously knows his stuff when it comes to monetizing a web site. The problem is, he’s championing a business model that very few, if any, other bloggers will actually ever be able to pull off. John Chow is a phenomenon – he’s practically an Internet meme. In my view, he’s like that UK kid who put up the Million Dollar Homepage. Was it a brilliant idea? No. It’s a dumb idea that, by sheer dumb luck and a little hard work, just happened to succeed. There are now thousands and thousands of Million Dollar Homepage knockoffs polluting the Internet, and I’ve yet to hear of a single one pulling in significant money. It was a one-off.

Just like John Chow is a one-off. There are thousands of wanna-be copies, but none have (and none will) achieve the same level of success that he has.

John Chow doesn’t make insane money off his blog because he’s a marketing genius. He makes insane money off his blog because he’s convinced others that’s he’s a marketing genius. If you read his posts – and if you haven’t already swallowed the kool-aid – you’ll see that he offers very little by way of original insight. But that doesn’t matter. He’s got a captive audience full of middle-class schmos who think they’re going to strike it rich just by following his advice, and that’s a goldmine for predatory advertisers. Just look at the folks who advertise on his blog – “Make $93,128 a week on Adsense!” or “Beach Bum makes $231,982 with his laptop!” Its all just empty promises, foisted on a readership that is eager to earn money but too caught up in the frenzy to realize that its all a house of cards.

I don’t hold anything against John Chow – he’s making oodles of money, and as far as I can tell he pumps a fair percentage of it into charity concerns – but I do get worried when I see so many folks eagerly swallowing whatever they’re told by so-called make-money-online gurus. I have a much bigger problem with the advertisers he allows on his site who promise insanely huge returns for little or no initial investment. Like I tell everyone… if someone were really making $100k a month from their get-rich-quick “system,” why on earth would they want to share their secret with any schmuck off the street for a measly $14.99?

Think about it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

About Me

I’ve worked in the internet/tech-business since 1996, but always for someone else. Working in online startups has been fun, and I can’t say I didn’t learn a lot, but there’s nothing as rewarding and as exciting as working for yourself, on projects of your choosing.

I’ve owned and operated more than two dozen different web sites over the years. Most died within 6 months. A rare few, however, have been moderately successful. This blog is where I share my trials and triumphs in the management and monetization of those successful web sites. I will share my best, time-proved methods for generating online revenue, and hopefully learn a couple of new tricks along the way.

Unlike many other “make money online” blogs, I’m not going to fill your pretty little heads with inflated numbers and insanely-high expectations. The reality is, no one makes $95,718 a month as a “beach bum.” No one pulls in 7-figure salaries just by dropping a few adsense codes into a moderately-trafficked web site. Anyone who promises you this is a scam-artist, plain and simple. (Ask yourself, “If they’re really making $100k a month… why are they trying to sell me an eBook for fifteen bucks?”)

My reality, as of early 2008, is this:

- I’m thirty years old
- I’m married, with no kids
- I have a full-time, salaried job in the Internet industry
- I manage 4 medium-sized web sites, and a handful of smaller ones, in my spare time
- I make roughly $4,000-$5,000 per month from online advertising on these sites

My goal is to increase that monthly revenue by a factor of 3, so that I’m consistently pulling in $12,000 - $15,000 a month via mostly Passive Income. Can I do it? You’ll just have to keep reading. ;-)