4
Feb

Give It Away For Free And Earn Big Bucks

Get your Free InformationI recently read an article in Inc Magazine  about PlentyOfFish.com owner Markus Frind who is the undisputed king of Adsense, raking in an astonishing $27,000 per day in advertising revenue of which more than $10,000 per day comes from Google Adsense. PlentyOfFish.com brings in total revenue of $10 million per year of which more than 50% of that is profit. Dude, that’s more than $5 million profit per year from 1 free dating web site. Thinking about that kind of revenue just makes my head explode.

Did you notice the word free there? That’s where the magic is today, in free. Give away something for free, get tons of users enjoying the free stuff, information, reviews, whatever you have and then monetize your site with Adense and sell other advertising to those that want to capitalize on your traffic. While Plenty Of Fish generates 1.6 billion page views per month to bring in that $27,000 per day in advertising revenue, most of us can live on a whole lot less than that. Point being, there is a huge revenue stream available on the net and all you need to do is figure out how to get into the stream.

Remember the word free? Free is one of the ways to put your boat into the stream. Master marketer Seth Godin talks about giving stuff away for free in many of his books because people flock to free. You can then sell your premium product to those people after they enjoy the free stuff. The concept is the same when it comes to advertising. Plenty Of Fish’s premium product though is advertising space that the owner sells through Google Adsense and to other companies through private deals. Why charge $15 for a premium membership on a dating site like Match.com when you can earn way more from advertising by giving away free memberships?

That’s the same concept behind what earns me a regular $1,200 to $1,500 per month from Google Adsense. While that Adsense revenue is a far cry from what Markus Frind earns, the basics are the same. What I’m giving away is free information in the form of what to look for when you visit some vacation destination, free recipes and info on nutrition, free info on affiliate marketing here on this blog and so on. That’s also why I’ve decided to get more focused on the Adsense earnings and why I’m shelling out $800 per month for someone else to write content for me.

The great part is, you can do exactly the same thing. Instead of writing a blog to tell people how to make money, when you haven’t made any yourself, concentrate on giving away some great information for free and see how much traffic you get, and then capitalize on the traffic.

To be more specific, as I’ve mentioned on the blog here before, travel is really the perfect revenue generating niche for Adsense simply because people do a lot of shopping and clicking before they decide on a vacation destination, or place to stay, car to rent, flight to take, attractions to see, and on and on. So what do you do to get into the Adsense stream? Start with your favorite vacation destination and write a page or blog post about every shop, restaurant, coffee shop, vacation rental, attraction and fun thing to do in that area. Even better, put all that info in a directory format and let people comment and give their opinions about the best ice cream shop in Death Valley or family safe attractions in Las Vegas or whatever.

This is exactly what TripAdvisor.com has done on a huge scale. They’ve written a page for just about every single vacation destination, restaurant and attraction in the world, people get to comment on all that and they sell advertising on every single page of their site. I’d like to know how much advertising revenue they bring in every month.

Just like Plenty Of Fish, you don’t need to start that big when going into travel, just start with your fav destination. People will search Google for anything and everything in that destination. Believe me I know. You should see some of the keywords that show up in Analytics for my travel sites, they’re always good for getting ideas for new pages. Again, that’s why I’m outsourcing so much content now, because I can’t possibly keep up with writing that much myself and it’s time to focus on what’s been my best sources of income.

Even if you can’t afford to outsource your content to the tune of $800 per month, start with 10 articles at $100 per month, or you can write 1 to 3 pages of content a day yourself and start building a site for whatever niche you’re interested in. Just think of the opportunities. Are you a handyman? Build a site on power tools and write about every kind of tool needed for building a house. AskTheBuilder.com makes $40,000 per month with Adsense. Go to Google trends and write a page about every hot electronic gadget that shows up on the top 100 most searched terms list if electronics are your thing. Do computer reviews. Do digital camera reviews. Write guitar reviews. Personally I’d stick with something travel related, but there are thousands of niches where people want that free info and you can take advantage of by using Adsense and other advertising opportunities.

Yes, this is pretty basic stuff, but have you seen PlentyOfFish.com (sorry he has enough links, type it in)? Pretty basic free dating site Markus has there and it makes $10 million a year. Maybe basic is the way to go. Now get busy and give something away for free.

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2
Feb

January 2009 Affiliate Earnings Report

Time for another affiliate earnings report and unfortunately income is down for January by a fairly significant amount. One of the reasons for this was an $800 expense for content outsourcing that doesn’t have any direct earnings payback for the current month it was spent in. Unlike spending that much for advertising that has an immediate direct payoff, it’s likely to be 3 months or so until that $800 starts to earn back some revenue.

With PPC when you stop spending, you stop earning. But I’ve decided to outsource much of my content writing and build up some of the most profitable or highest earning potential sites that will take some time to see a return. The content being created now however, should pay off for many months or years to come. I’m looking at having a much higher and more solid Adsense income of some $3,000 to $4,000 per month and resurrecting my best BANS site that has in the past earned up to $1,000 per month. This BANS site has huge potential and is especially relevant to what’s going on in the economy right now. It’s too valuable an internet property to not give it the best effort to get it back to bringing in more revenue.

Total revenue was $3,630.12 and expenses were $1,543.26 giving a net earnings of $2,086.86. You may notice earnings for Amazon listed below. This has normally been classified under “Other Affiliate Income” because earnings were minimal, however this past month was over $250 for Amazon which is pretty significant since between my wife and I it took over 1 year to earn our first $100 through the big A, but I’ve found a way to earn some decent extra cash through PPC and I’ll probably blog about it in a future post.

January 2009 breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,376.02
Commission Junction – $52.70
EPN – eBay – $401.92
Meal Planner Ebook – $68.00
TripAdvisor – $137.74
Clickbank – $161.87
Private Advertising – $140.00
AzoogleAds – $412.75
Amazon.com – $259.60
Neverblue – $433.10
Other Affiliate Programs – $186.42
 
Total Revenue- $3,630.12
 
Total expenses – $1,543.26
 
Total Income – $2,086.86

Yes, income is down a bit from the highs of last September and October’s average of $5,000 per month, but sometimes you have to take a step backwards to ultimately move forward. More outsourcing is in the works for this month as well and eventually it all should pay off in a big time way.

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23
Sep

Following The Rules, Or Taking Advantage Of Them?

 Sign In A Rest Stop

What about the rules, how closely should we follow them? The slaps, algorithm changes, TOS updates and constant policy changes we’re supposed to comply with as affiliates can be a bit overwhelming at times. And we know that the mother of all rules changes is the almighty (they just think they are) Google. If you don’t comply with Google, you essentially don’t get to play the game…that is unless you look at the rules a different way.

My financial advisor told me some time back that our politician friends running the show (if you want to call it that) in DC just go about their business continuing to complicate the tax code and then people like him read it and figure out ways to get around it. It’s just a game that’s been played ever since the wicked lawmakers have inhabited the halls of Congress and state capitals. My financial advisor’s job is to look at the complicated mess and figure out a way to save us money. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to Uncle Sam when they don’t have to.

I’m beginning to learn that rather than freak out about what Google throws my way, it’s a whole lot better to just absorb it and figure out how to use it best to my advantage or what to do to get around it. One thing I’ve learned to get around lately is the big freakout about lading page quality. The only thing Google wants there is your landing page to reflect what’s in your ad and they only look at your destination url. As long as your top level destination url matches your top level display url (even when it goes through a tracking link) and there aren’t any quality problems, you are good to go. You can then set your individual keyword url to whatever you want.

You can use this to your advantage if you direct link to offers and are having a hard time getting a good quality score, don’t put in your affiliate link as the destination url, use the top level url of your offer and then use your affiliate link with a tracking code as your keyword url. This works on both Google’s search and content network. Now put on your thinking caps and brainstorm on ways you can really take advantage of this little trick and you’ll never have to worry about quality score again.

Just as a warning here though, I’m not in any way condoning purposely breaking the rules or the law. If you violate Google’s terms, you will get nailed and if you break the tax laws, you may go to jail. There is a big difference in taking advantage of what’s in the rules vs walking over them and crossing the line. If you do Adsense, there are ways to optimize your ad placements so you earn the most possible, then there are idiots who ask their friends to click on their ads and can’t figure out why they get banned.

Don’t worry about the rules, adapt and take advantage of them. Oh, I was looking for my wife when we stopped at a rest stop, so I climbed up on the planter wall.

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3
Sep

August 2008 Affiliate Earnings Report

I’m not the accountant in our family. Crunching numbers for hours at a time makes me loony, but I do love to figure out affiliate earnings every month because it gives me a legitimate excuse to be obsessive about checking stats, which I usually have a bad habit of doing way too much.

I was hoping to get to $5,000 in earnings this month, but actually had a slight drop. This month was a good example of why you should keep your affiliate business diversified. Revenue shifted quite a bit from some solid earners into newer and unexpected income streams. While earnings from the eBay Partner Network were down by about $400 and revenue from my top BANS store was down by nearly $600, other affiliate streams almost replaced it. Earnings from Azoogle, Clickbank and Market Leverage were up and after advertising expenses, profit was around $500 from these three. I also earned a nice $282.51 from Site Build It which I rarely ever promote.

Pay per click advertising between Facebook ads and Adwords showed the most promise this month as a spend of $1,115.11 (this is what I can specifically track)  created revenue of $1,609.90, realizing a profit of $494.79. It’s now a matter of weeding out the losers and attempting to tweak and ramp up the winners.

Total revenue did come in at over $5,000 this month, but costs were at an all time high. Everything breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,415.24
Commission Junction – $110.37
EPN – eBay – $719.19
Meal Planner Ebook – $102.00
TripAdvisor – $177.03
Clickbank – $266.83
Private Advertising – $175.00
AzoogleAds – $1,152.85
Microsoft – $200.00
Pepperjam  – $49.70
Market Leverage – $252.85
Other Affiliate Programs – $405.46

Total Revenue – $5,026.52

Total expenses – $1,208.46

Total Income – $3,818.06

The goal for September is to reach $5,000 in earnings even though this month is traditionally very slow and we’ll be on a nice beach vacation for a week. Hopefully we can avoid the 3 storms churning up the Atlantic ocean as I write this. Our last vacation was rained out, so it would be nice to get a break from that.

Remember, keep your earnings streams diversified to avoid getting crushed when that big stream turns into a tiny creek and your income suffers significantly because it’s the only thing you have going.

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4
Aug

July 2008 Affiliate Income Report – A New Record

Another affiliate income report is due and July turned out to my best month in affiliate earnings so far, topping last month by 24% which was also a record month. Fortunately I haven’t been slowed down at all by the summer slump many affiliates experience.

Two of the biggest increases in July came from a new record in AdSense earnings, beating the previous best month by $200 and earnings from the eBay affiliate program for the first time crossed the $1,000 per month barrier thanks to Build A Niche Store. Earnings were also good from Pepperjam Network, Market Leverage and AzoogleAds.

Expenses were a bit higher than usual this past month due to experimenting with PPC and having some success. I hope to scale that up a bit this month. Total income for July 2008 came in at $4,312.31 and breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,694.94
Commission Junction – $35.94
EPN – eBay – $1,196.73
Meal Planner Ebook – $85.00
TripAdvisor – $216.63
Clickbank – $88.08
Private Advertising – $140.00
AzoogleAds – $182.20
Microsoft – $300.00
Pepperjam – $278.09
Market Leverage – $219.50
Other Affiliate Programs – $302.77
 
Total Revenue – $4,739.88
 
Total expenses – $427.57
 
Total Income – $4,312.31

Three things I’ll be working on this month to hopefully increase the income again will be paid advertising through Facebook Ads, Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing, getting more incoming links to my travel sites and continued work on my Build A Niche Stores. A single BANS store produced more than $800 in revenue this month and I’d like to get that store over the $1,000 barrier.

I’ve also started working on a store mash-up that can bring in content from eBay, YouTube, any RSS feeds, ClickBank, Amazon, Overstock and more that could be pretty lucrative. I’ll be explaining more about that coming up in a few more weeks.

With another 24% increase in August that would put things over the $5,000 per month mark which is a fairly significant milestone in earnings. I’ll be taking a week off this month and a week off in September for a birthday and anniversary so it will be hard to keep up the steady pace of seeming non stop work for the next couple of months. Hopefully there are enough things in place to keep the income on auto pilot while the work pace slows down until mid Sept.

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