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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.

Don't kid yourself...

You want to get rich with your blog? Maybe you think Adsense will let you retire? Sorry, it's not going to happen.

Archive: Not Making Money

Project Wonderful Results

This post is a followup to this post.

Well, the numbers are in, and I can’t say I’m surprised:

Impressions: 3,106 (2,003 unique).

Clicks: 40 (36 unique).

Leads: 0 (0…yeah).

That’s right, I made $0 with my little 125×125 free iPod add. It wasn’t a total waste though. I did find that:

  1. You can get thousands of free impressions and dozens of free clicks with project wonderful.
  2. 125×125 ads aren’t very descriptive or eye-catching.
  3. People may not be as stupid as I thought (doubtful though).

Next on my experiment list: Paying for ad space. I’m going to pick a site that accepts skyscraper banners, gets over 100,000 hits per day, and costs in the $5-$10 per day range. That, combined with a site-appropriate ad, should produce some results. We’ll see.

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Adwords Nuances

As I’ve mentioned a few dozen times, I’m actively promoting Advaliant’s green tea offer (in hopes of winning their contest).  Right now I’m using Adwords for everything.  Over the past couple of days, I’ve noticed a few interesting things about Adwords, and I guess I’ll share them with you.

1.) Oops, I’ve got a great Quality Score

I’m bidding fairly high on my keywords, just so I can get them to rank on the first page of search results.  Yesterday, I noticed that my QS went from ‘Ok’ to ‘Great’ for a couple of my top keywords, and my ad went from ranks 6-8 to ranks 1-3.   I’m guessing this happened because my CTR is huge.  Anyway, my conversion percentage went in the toilet.  Why?

2.) People are idiots and Google encourages them

You’ve probably noticed that, sometimes, Google puts the first three sponsored ads directly over the search results.  While this is great for increasing your CTR, it will also increase the number of junk clicks you’re getting.  People expect to see ads in the sidebar, not the search results list. If your landing page is obviously a sales pitch, and they’re looking for information about something (for example, green tea), they’re going to click your ad, be disappointed, and leave.  As such…

3.) Ranks 1-3 suck.  Aim for #4.

It’s not all bad.  Thanks to my great QS, I’ve been able to reduce my max CPC.  Thus, I’m saving money, and (in theory) I’m reducing junk clicks.

I remember reading somewhere that reducing your max CPC too quickly will result in Google doing bad things to your ad rankings.  I’m taking it slow with my campaign, so hopefully it won’t get swept off the front page.

Anyway, that’s just something to keep in mind when you’re running a new Adwords campaign.  Hope someone else can benefit from it.

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Project Wonderful - Giving it a Try

A long time ago, I offered three free 125×125 ad spots on my sidebar. I updated them manually on a weekly basis, and eventually got rid of them because they were too much of a hassle. Well, I’ve found a new way to offer those spots again, and I just might make a few bucks with it too.

What it it?

A friend of mine introduced me to an interesting ad network: Project Wonderful. They use what they call an ‘infinite auction’ system to accept and place ads. It’s pretty simple how it works: Let’s say I have a 125×125 ad spot available on my site. One of my readers decides they’d like to place their ad there, so they bid $0/day on that spot for one week. As long as nobody bids higher than them, they get that spot all week. Hooray for free ad space.

But how do you make money?

Well, let’s say that two days into that ad being shown, another reader decides that he wants that spot. He’s willing to pay $0.25 per day for the ad, and bids accordingly. Since he’s now the high bidder, he immediately gets control of the ad spot. After 12 hours, the first reader decides that he’s willing to pay for that spot, and bids $1 per day. He gets control of the ad space, and since my other reader only had the spot for 12 hours, it only costs him $0.12 (or half a day at $0.25 per day). If that doesn’t make any sense to you, take a look at their graphical tutorial. It’s an interesting system, and since you’re paying for the time it’s showing (instead of clicks or impressions), it seems to be pretty much fraud-proof.

Oh yeah, they pay via paypal, and the minimum payout is $10. Not bad.

Is it effective?

Prices seem pretty cheap right now. After playing with the search options for a bit, I found a few sites that get tens of thousands of hits per day costing as low as $0.50 per day. Not bad if you want a little exposure (they’re not just limited to 125×125 ad spots either. You can have skyscraper ads, leaderboard ads, etc).

I’m jumping on board

I have no idea why this service hasn’t caught on in the “make money online” blogging niche yet. It seems like most of the big advertisers so far are webcomics. Oh well, I’ve submitted this site for approval, so you should expect to see a few ads pop up in the sidebar within the next week.

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You Can’t Get Rich With UberCamp

Paul, of Uberaffiliate.com, announced a new service yesterday: UberCamp. What is UberCamp? It’s an invite-only forum where you can interact with affiliate marketing experts…for a price. Nickycakes was quick to point out everything wrong with the idea, and I’m going to have to side with Nick on this one: UberCamp just sounds like a bad idea.

Buy why Geoff, why?

Put simply, Paul’s fledgling forum is Wickedfire with a monthly fee. For $99, $199, or $5,000 a month, you get all of the following:

1. Interact with experts

Paul listed three experts that will be present on the forum (himself and two others). While it’s nice to be able to get answers from people who know what they’re doing, you have to wonder how much time they’re going to be devoting to the project. If the forum has 100 members, and each one asks only one question every day (which is unlikely, considering this forum will mainly appeal to newbies), can you really expect three people to spit out 100 well-written, informative responses?

On the other hand, Wickedfire has plenty of experts, most of whom will answer your questions and even help you out on AIM or over email, provided you ask good questions.

2. Case studies

Paul promises regular case studies, where the experts walk you through different techniques and teach you how to work in the industry.

That’s great and all, but I got into Wickedfire’s last case study just by asking nicely. I learned a ton of useful information, met plenty of intelligent people with great ideas, and I didn’t have to pay a dime.

3. 1-on-1 time with Paul

For $5,000 a month, you can work with the master. You get a direct line to Paul, and he’ll teach you all he knows, critique your ideas, etc.

$5,000 a month. $60,000 a year. That’s one hefty consultant’s fee. Paul had better be sitting on some amazing secrets to ask that much. It really makes me wonder though: How much time can he devote to private mentoring? I mean, he’s got all of the other forum members to feed information to, and then he’s got his own campaigns to run. There’s only so many hours in the day, so I’m wondering how he’ll manage to fit it all in.

I guess I should also mention that there are four experts on my AIM contact list that I can hit up with questions any time I want. They’re just as knowledgeable as Paul, and I’m not paying them anything. I guess if you don’t want to take the time to establish a good network of contacts, and just want to go straight to the info, then maybe Paul’s $5k/month deal is right for you.

4. Paul shares his campaigns

He must have a lot of good campaigns if he’s promising to share his keyword lists, landing pages, etc. I expect something like this will happen:

  1. Paul fully discloses a campaign.
  2. 2% of his readers learn the underlying principles and techniques.
  3. 98% of his readers copy it outright.
  4. Market floods, driving up advertising costs.
  5. Readers blow their budgets for little return on investment.
  6. Everybody marvels at how Paul managed to get such a good CPC beforehand.
  7. Paul’s reputation among his fans increases.

Works out pretty well for Paul.

I’m being harsh

I know, I know. Some of the ideas behind UberCamp do have some merit: For starters, by charging a monthly fee, he’s limiting the number of people who can see his secret info, resulting in less market saturation. That’s a good idea in theory, but I have a feeling that a lot of those secrets are either (A) available someplace else or (B) going to end up on a member’s blog (it’s not like I don’t pull ideas from Wickefire all the time). I guess being invite-only is a decent idea, as it keeps out the morons, but I can’t see him getting many members that way:

“Hey dude, come join this forum. I’ll vouch for you, and it’s only $200 a month!”

“How about YOU join and pay, and then you teach me the secrets you learned.”

“Good idea, I hadn’t though about it that way.”

All in all, UberCamp just sounds like Wickedfire with fewer idiots and a monthly fee. I know you have to spend money to make money, but in this day and age, most information can be found for free. Personally, I wouldn’t go anywhere near UberCamp.

As always, I will always be the first to admit when I’m wrong.  If any of you guys choose to use Paul’s new service, and it works out well for you, let me know (not holding my breath).

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It’s Stimulus Time

So, I got my economic stimulus check yesterday. While my fellow countrymen will no doubt spend their checks on safe investments, such as lottery tickets and Louis Vuitton handbags, it’s up to us crazy Internet people to take bold risks and waste our money on frivolous things. Here’s a quick list of what your $300 will get you online (if you’re one of those people who got $600, just multiply by two. You can do that, right?):

30 domain names from Google

Buy some decent domain names, setup some autoblogs/real blogs/ebay niche stores/whatever. Avoid-excessive-amounts-of-dashes and try to come up with something that’ll be popular in 3-6 months.

3,000 clicks from SocialMedia

Expected return on investment: $1-$2.

450ish clicks on Facebook

Expected return on investment: $10-$20

15 guaranteed reviews from me

Buy them for your friends and family.

3 copies of BANS or 6 copies of PHPBay Pro

I don’t know why you’d want multiple copies, but you can use them to start building an ebay niche store empire.

A few ebooks

I guarantee that with this method, you’ll be making over $300 A MINUTE. Absolutely ZERO experience required and it only takes minutes 37 seconds to learn! Just send $97.95 to my paypal account to get started!

A few sites submitted to hundreds of PR3+ directories

Sometimes, it can be worth it to pay someone to do manual directory submissions for you. I use this guy from Wickedfire to do mine for me. At $35 for 400 directories, you can have him do 8 sites and still have money left over for a lot of Jones soda.

5 custom landing pages

This guy makes them. They’re gorgeous.

Ok, enough plugs. Take a look on Wickedfire’s buy/sell/trade board, and you’ll see tons of services ranging from stumbleupon submissions to article writing services. Use your $300 wisely and invest in your online future.

A note for confused non-US residents: I’m talking about this.

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