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I can't get rich online and neither can you. Topics include why you won't get rich with your blog, ideas you wish you had thought of, and other Internet phenomena.

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Archive: Lucky Bastards

ReviewU Now: Retire@21

Retire at 21
I’ve been putting off doing this ReviewU until today. Why? The title of the site I’m reviewing is Retire@21 and, well, I’ve failed. I turned 22 today, and I’m definitely not financially secure enough for retirement. Oh well. According to the sidebar, I can still learn a thing or two.

Meet the man

Retire@21 is run by a 19 year-old guy who is obviously very British (just look at those double-decker buses in the header). According to the About page, Michael Dunlop has been an entrepreneur at heart since the tender age of 5. He got his big break on eBay, making several tons of money, and has since built Retire@21 to encourage other young people to make their fortunes online instead of playing Football or making out with cheerleaders under the bleachers after gym class.

Oh, who am I kidding. I can’t make the obvious ‘Internet nerds don’t have social lives’ joke here. If I had spent 2003 making money on eBay instead of playing Final Fantasy for hours on end, I wouldn’t have a site named “Can’t Get Rich”. Michael, I envy you (especially with the current Dollar to Pound exchange rate).

The site

In addition to most likely having an awesome accent, Michael has a pretty nice site to be proud of as well. The layout is fantastic, and the site itself doesn’t have a ‘bloggy’ feel to it. The front page displays recent interviews with young millionaires, has some limited content, and that’s it. In order to get to the meat of the site, you actually have to browse around (remember the net before blogs?). The top nav bar links to the site’s blog, which is updated fairly regularly (+1), the site’s forum, which shows me that the site has an established readership, and a few lists and individual articles.

Speaking of articles

I love this: Creating your first website. Sure, it’s nothing that hasn’t been said 10,000 times before (although this article puts it all in one place), but look a little deeper. Look at all of those affiliate links. It’s beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many on one page. If one person were to follow the instructions on this page, signing up for hosting, buying a template, and signing up for a few marketing vehicles, Michael would probably make somewhere around $200. This articles is great reading for total newbies, and it’s probably a great source of income for the site. Everybody wins.

What else?

Let’s see. This site seems to have a lot of interviews with people who are

  1. Rich
  2. Creative
  3. Good programmers

Basically, it’s the people that I had in mind when I created this site. I’m really not any of the above, and most people aren’t, thus this site was born. Still, it’s interesting to read one-on-one interviews with the new rich. You might even recognize a few of the names. You might also shed a silent tear over the number of kids who make more than you and can’t even drive yet.

I think I’m going to toss this article in the ‘Lucky Bastards’ category. Anyway, moving on.

The heart of the matter

Strip away all of the impressive extras and you’ll see that this site’s blog is just like any other ‘make money online’ blog. Of course, what all of those other blogs don’t have are the aforementioned ‘impressive extras’. The interviews, the walkthroughs, and the forum make this site into an impressive little community for young entrepreneurs. Inspriational, informative, and interesting. Add this one to your feed list.

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Ask and You Shall Receive

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time coming up with ideas to make money online. I keep throwing things at the wall, but nothing sticks. After a particularly fruitless session of brainstorming, I decided to say ’screw it’ and beg the Wickedfire crowd for advice.

I created a new post that basically enumerated my many failures and asked where to go from there. The first reply suggested that I not quit my day job (thanks Nickycakes). From there, I got a lot of replies telling me to not give up, keep testing, etc. Stuff like that is nice to hear but hard to implement when doing PPC (my budget is pretty tiny). Then, many replies later, I struck gold. One of the board members offered to give me a campaign he wasn’t doing much with. He sent me keyword lists, information about the niche (which is amazingly unsaturated), and told me to figure the rest out for myself. That was exactly what I was looking for. I don’t know how he found such an excellent untapped niche, but I jumped on it immediately. Two hours later I had a site up and an Adwords campaign going. I’m going to be watching it closely over the next few days.

That wasn’t the only thing I got out of that thread. I was also made aware of two affiliate networks that I hadn’t heard of before: LinkShare and ShareASale. Both of them contain a lot of offers that I haven’t seen on other networks, and I’m going to spend a lot of time over the next few days looking them over. To top it all off, I got some other valuable advice out of the thread (longtails = win, apparently).

My point for all of this is simple: Don’t be afraid to look like a newbie. Sure, you’ll probably get told to GTFO by a few of the jerks, but you might just get something valuable out of it.

Like a campaign. Jeez, I did not see that one coming. Can you believe my luck?

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Selling a Blog

The University Kid wrote an interesting post yesterday. Apparently, he was offered $6,000 for his blog, which he ended up declining. Good choice or bad, I’m not sure, but you can bet that I would have taken that offer.

I’ve never understood why somebody would want to buy a blog, especially in the ‘make money online’ niche. Blogs like that tend to attract their readers based on the personality and experience of the author. So, what happens after the original author leaves? The readers leave and the site tanks. Still, I would have taken the offer.

Why I would sell

If I was offered $6,000, there’s no way I would turn that down as long as the site met the following conditions:

  • Making less than $600 per month. From what I understand, the rule of thumb when selling is that a website is worth ten times its monthly income. Right now this site makes $0/month. You can probably guess what I’d do.
  • Less than 1,000 RSS readers. Lots of readers equals lots of potential monetization. Right now I’m sitting at 75, so I won’t have to think about this one too hard.
  • Fairly new. TUK is around 4 months old. I can understand why a 5 year old site would have some sentimental value, but a 4 month old site? It wouldn’t be hard to start over. Go register theuniversitydude.com and start posting.

What I would do with the money

  • Create a new blog. This would only cost around $10 (for the domain registration). I’d take a different approach to the niche and use a different theme, but otherwise the site would be very similar. Who knows, my readers might come back.
  • Brag. First post on my new blog? “Hi, welcome to Geoff’s new blog. I just sold my old one for $6,000. Here’s a picture of the check. Boo ya.”
  • PPC. I would take that money and kick my affiliate marketing campaigns into high gear. I would outsource the design of landing pages, pay people to write the sales pitch (until I could do it reasonably well myself), and generally scale the hell out of everything. The money I spent would be doubled easily.
  • Niche website flipping. Create a site, write or rewrite 25-30 articles, monetize it a bit, SEO, wait a few months, sell it. Repeat.
  • Buy a new TV. Seriously. My current TV’s picture is all faded. A man needs a good TV.

Not going to happen anytime soon

TUK has around 28 times as many backlinks as this site does, so there’s no way I’m going to be offered $6,000 for this site any time soon. Not that I’m actively trying to sell this site anyway.

Oh well, you’ll have to put up with my wit and charm until then.

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An Excellent Opportunity

You’re all familiar with Wickedfire, right? Well, if you’re not, it’s basically a forum filled with people who know, or want to know, a lot about affiliate marketing. It’s a great place to learn things. I browse it once every few days to read up on new techniques and to find ideas that will make me money.

Friday night, I was reading in their newbie section, and I happened to chance upon an interesting thread. Some of the big important people of the forum decided to hold a case study where they’d see if they could teach 15 newbies how to successfully make money online. Seeing as how I’m not so good at that, I decided to apply. Well guess what?

Yup, I’m in. I’m one of their fifteen guinea pigs. Starting on Wednesday, I’m going to be learning from some of the best in the industry, and words can’t really describe how excited I am. I might actually make money online.

My mentor guy told me that we’d be shooting for $200 profit by the end of the month, but that’s just a baseline. He thinks that $200 is too low, so we’re going to aim higher. Fine by me. I just can’t stress enough how thrilled I am to be given the opportunity to learn directly from the big shots. It’s definitely the best opportunity I’ve had in a long time.

I’m going to be investing a lot of time in this project for the foreseeable future, but I’ll still be updating here every day. If something interesting happens, I’ll let you guys know. If I fall flat on my face, well, it would fit the theme of this site. Oh yeah, one other thing. Jason has inspired me to write an ebook. He writes his for profit, which I can appreciate, but mine will be free to read, distribute, etc. Basically, I’m going to write, in pretty specific detail, how I made over $100 overnight with one (hours old) website using email/zip submits. Don’t know what those are? Well, you should read my book. I’ll put it up in my free stuff section when it’s done.

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YouTube Checklist

Lots of people try to get famous via YouTube. Few succeed. If for some reason you think you have what it takes, and you really want to post your video, please peruse this handy checklist:

  1. Your content must be unique and interesting
  2. Your video must be well-made (no cheap webcams please)
  3. Your video can’t be a video game review (it’s been done to death)
  4. Nobody wants to listen to you whine and complain about your life (WARNING: This video contains coarse language and severely low levels of intelligence)
  5. If you’re going to make a series of videos, wait until you have three or four posted to actually call it a series

Even if your video meets these criteria, you’d be smart to run it past a few of your friends first. If they give you a thumbs up, go ahead and post it, but don’t be surprised when nobody notices it. If you want it to go viral, it had better be shocking, really weird, awesome, or all three. Submit it to Digg and hope for the best.

If you’re really, really lucky, someone will make a parody of your video. This is the best thing that can possibly happen to you, because it means your video is worth imitating. Get enough parody videos and you can make a website dedicated to them. Remember the Star Wars Kid? This site is dedicated to that video and all of the parodies that surfaced, and if you go there you might notice more than a few advertisements on the page. Someone got lucky off of all that media buzz and probably made a nice sum of cash.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot of ways to monetize a YouTube video. Tay Zonday’s gig with Dr. Pepper was rumored to have made him $50,000, but that’s a very unique situation. At best, a viral video will get your name out there for future use.

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