Internet Marketing Success — My First Hub Page

Okay, I finally got around to creating my first Hub over at Hub Pages.

For anyone who missed my first post on it, Hub Pages, Giving Squidoo A Run For Their Money?, Hub Pages is a Squidoo like site that allows you to easily create single web pages focused on a topic. Unlike Squidoo, which uses arcane profit sharing calculations, Hub Pages just uses your Adsense, Amazon, and Ebay ids when displaying a certain percentage of the ads. So you know exactly how many impressions and clicks you’re getting.

My first hub is called How To Achieve Internet Marketing Success. It was intended as an expanded version of my post, How To Succeed In Internet Marketing, but ended up getting way too long.

So what I finally did was make the hub more of a motivation and intro for what will eventually be a large number of more detailed hubs on various Internet Marketing topics (as if I need more places to create content!) Assuming, of course, that it looks like Hub Pages is a good place to continue to create content.

Oh, and I know that it would have been a nice idea to create a hub that was on the same topic as one of my Squidoo lenses, to compare the results from both, but I couldn’t quite make myself write a hub on a topic that I’d already covered. So that experiment will have to wait until I’m feeling in the mood to repeat myself.

I’ll report back in coming months on the earnings from this hub.

Breaking Into The CPA Arena

CPA (cost per action) advertising is the way that sites like Treasure Trooper and Cash Crate make their money. They get paid when you perform whatever action they ask you to perform, and then they give you a part of what they made.

It’s been traditionally hard to break into the arena of making money through CPA advertising, because the ad networks that handle CPA ads want sites with high traffic. Typical blogs won’t get approved.

Up until now, that is.

The Multiple Stream Media Network is a relatively new CPA ad network, and so they’re more willing to take a chance on “low” traffic sites and blogs. I’ve recently been approved there on the basis of Online Opportunity’s traffic stats, which come to about 3,100 United States visitors a month (the region they’re primarily interested in).

CPA advertising is attractive, because you don’t need to get someone to actually buy anything, but rather simply fill out a form. The information required differs from ad to ad, but it’s often just filling out a name and email address. This pays anywhere from $1 to 3 per person, so can be decent money if you get the right sort of traffic.

Like any sort of advertising, test to see if your particular mix of traffic does best with CPA or CPC (such as Adsense ads).

If you have a site that’s a bit low for traffic for the established CPA networks, you might give Multiple Stream Media Network a try.

Inbox Dollars Changes Referral Bonuses

Inbox Dollars, a popular Get-Paid-To site, has changed its referral bonus scheme.

Previously, they paid you $5 when one of your referrals achieved their first payout ($30 minimum). This didn’t work out so well for a couple of reasons.

First, most people don’t bother to get to payout, even with step by step instructions. My How To Make Your First $30 At Inbox Dollars post has recruited me over 120 referrals. Only 3 of those managed to get their first payout.

Second, if you get a referral who is extremely active, and gets multiple payouts, you only got $5 for the first payout. Nothing for any other payouts.

The new referral bonus scheme is that you earn a straight 10% of what your referrals earn. So if they earn $20 but never get to a payout, you still get your $2. If they earn $200, you get $20. This is a huge improvement, and long overdue.

It still, however, falls short of what you can get at Treasure Trooper and Cash Crate. Both give you two levels of earnings, and Cash Crate gives you 20% of what your first level earns (plus a $3 bonus when they get their first $10 payout).

So this is good news for those of you with lots of referrals at Inbox Dollars (or people like me, who have a post about Inbox Dollars that still receives a lot of Google traffic). But if you’re picking a GPT program to promote, stick with Treasure Troopers or Cash Crate.

Stealth Money Maker Review

Stealth Money Maker is a site that offers a free report on how to “…earn over $100,000 per year from home”.

My first impression of the site is that it’s production values are higher than similar sites. Someone spent some money hiring a graphic designer to make it all look professional.

The free report is provided as promised, in exchange for your name and email. The report itself is equally well put together, and looks very professional. It gives, in my opinion, not enough detail to really help someone who is completely new to Internet Marketing. But the information is sound, especially if you’re willing to tackle the “trial and error” method of learning which is what we all end up doing anyway.

The money maker for the site owner comes in the back end offer. After you’ve signed up for the free report, you’re given a chance to purchase a huge collection of software and ebooks for $50. The collection is impressive for the software included alone, and is worth the $50 to get it all in one place.

The site owner, however, doesn’t make any money from the $50 you pay for the collection. No, 100% of that goes to whoever referred you to the site (me, for example, if you click the links in this post).

What you’re also offered, as an add on to the collection, is the opportunity to refer people to the website. You pay an additional $27.75 (or something like that) for the right to get 100% of what other people spend on the collection.

So the site owner makes $27.75 per affiliate who joins. That isn’t too bad, since his entire setup is automatic, requiring no action on his part. He does process email questions about the collection, so he’s earning his money.

It’s worth it to sign up for the free report, and then clicking to get your affiliate site (you won’t be asked to pay yet), just to see the way the owner lays out all the terms and conditions. He leaves nothing to chance, and answers every question you might have about the collection and the affiliate site.

The entire site screams “professional”, and that’s really what a prospective Internet Marketer should get out of it. Study the copy…it may not be the best sales copy in the world, as the owner claims, but it is good. And the site itself is up front and transparent about how everything is going to work. And the high production values continue throughout, making it all pleasant to navigate and work with.

By the time you pay your money, you know exactly what will happen, and there are no surprises. If only every product site were like that!

Note that while the free ebook was short on details, if you purchase the affiliate site, you get access to a ton of training material the owner has written, covering topics like traffic exchanges, link cloaking, classified ads, PPC, and more. He includes advertising copy, banners, etc. Basically everything you need to market the site to others.

Click here for the site.

P.S. If you purchase the collection and use Firefox, get the Download Them All plugin. Start it going when you go to bed, and by morning the entire collection will be on your hard drive.

January’s Neglected Niche Site Update

There are still a couple of days left to go as I write this, but I figured I’d go ahead with this update.

In November, the niche site I’d put up over the summer and then completely neglected made a bit over $11, up from $1.63 in October and $.12 in September. In December, the site made a bit over $21, proving me wrong in saying that November’s earnings were the cap.

In January, the site proved me wrong once again, earning over $35. There was a flurry of traffic in the mid to late part of the month, probably from the site peeking into the first page of Google for the primary keyword, and starting to rank well for associated long-tail keywords (e.g. product names).

I still think that the site is limited in earnings by a couple of important factors I neglected back in the summer when I created the site.

First, the main keyword traffic is minimal. The flurry of mid-month traffic in January was close to the limit of what I can expect out of the main keyword.

Second, the amount earned per click on Adwords ads is fairly low. If I were doing a site these days, I’d discard this niche and look for one that paid $1 or more per click, which would have nearly tripled my earnings.

So, while the site has paid for itself, and has earned enough in the last month to offset some membership fees I have as part of other Internet Marketing efforts, I wouldn’t call it an unqualified success.

I know more now about proper keyword research than I did then. I also, unfortunately, don’t have time to put together another one (I’m concentrating on adding content to a couple of quality niche sites) to see what happens with better research.

Anyone have any niche site success stories?

Big Dog Heavy Hitters’ Co-op Program

I promised a review of the co-op advertising program that was mentioned in the Big Dog Heavy Hitters free report, so here are some initial results.

The basic idea behind the co-op is that you contribute to the advertising costs, along with any other members who want to participate in a particular advertising effort, and Rick Katz, the author of the free report mentioned above, personally places advertising, both paid and free, to recruit leads.

Every co-op member gets a share of the leads. It’s part of your job to welcome them and encourage them to consider joining the co-op (Rick has a nice email you can customize for this). You also get to soft-sell them an opportunity of your own, and of course follow up with them later.

Every member also gets a share of the membership fees generated by all this advertising. So you’re getting leads, and also earning back the cost of the advertising from new memberships in the co-op.

Normally, when I see programs like this, I’m skeptical. After all, I’ve reviewed a lot of programs that promise easy money, but they’re generally thinly disguised systems to make money for the founder.

The early results of Rick’s co-op are promising, though. I paid for a one-year membership, and that included a single share in the co-op. In a bit under two weeks, I’ve earned around 75% of that back. If I’d known earlier that the program would actually produce results, I’d have sprung for the lifetime membership, which includes two shares in the co-op.

Rick seems to know his marketing, and is doing great at getting people to his free report, which then feeds into the co-op. So if you’re looking for leads who are interesting in making money online, and want to recoup the cost of getting those leads, definitely look into Rick’s co-op.

To get started with it, download his free report here.

The Role Of Free Money Sites In Making Money Online

Regular readers will know that I’ve tested various free money sites.

Most people who want to quit a day job tend to look down on these sorts of sites. It’s understandable, after all you don’t make much at them. Generally 1 to 2 cents per ad you view, and the really good sites have at most 20 to 30 ads a day. Say $15 to $20 a month for a really good site.

Add in a few more really good sites, and get some referrals to them, and you’re probably looking at $100 a month. Definitely not enough to quit the day job on.

What’s missing in this equation is perspective.

Learning enough skills to be able to quit your day job and live from your online income is going to take time. See my post on How To Succeed In Internet Marketing for more details on the process. In the meantime, what do you do?

Let’s assume that you’ve got the right mindset, you understand that learning to make money online is going to take time, and you’re willing to put that time into investing skills. You’ll still have some online bills to pay during the process. Web hosting, ad tracking services, keyword research, etc.

All that can add up, starting anywhere from $25 a month for an all-inclusive site like SBI!, to as much as $50 a month or more if you get separate web hosting, ad tracking, autoresponders, etc.

Did the light bulb go off yet?

The proper use of various free money sites is not to replace your day job, but to allow you to bootstrap your other Internet Marketing efforts. While you’re learning how to get referrals to free money programs, you’re not only building skills, but you’re building an income stream that can pay for your entry into more serious Internet Marketing, such as building a quality niche site, or paying to have a product developed that you can sell.

You could pay for that effort with your own money, but how long will it take? Will your savings hold out? Building an online income stream using free money sites lets you have as much time as you need to learn Internet Marketing.

Some keys to doing this:

Pick only quality free money sites

Too many sites out there are scams, and won’t pay. Stick with sites that are known to pay out, and have a decent number of ads each day. I use Marketing Pond as a filter for free money sites. Marketing Pond only features quality sites that pay out, and you’ll have the added bonus that by promoting Marketing Pond you gain referrals in multiple free money sites at once.

Upgrade only when you can earn back the cost quickly

Free money sites make upgrades sound attractive, because they make money from them. You have to look, though, at the amount you’ll make extra per ad view, combined with the number of ads they generally have per day, to see how long it’ll take you to earn back the cost of the upgrade. If you have referrals, you can also figure in the amount extra you’ll make for each referral.

Some sites’ upgrade programs would take longer to earn back than the year that you’ll get as a premium member. Other sites offer lifetime upgrades that would take two years or more to earn back. Never assume a free money site will be around in two years…that’s an eternity for such sites.

The only site I recommend an instant upgrade at is ClixSense.

The ClixSense upgrade is $10 for 1 year, but you’ll earn it back within a month or two. You’ll immediately get access to about $5 worth of premium only ads, and then another 10 or so a day after that.

Most other sites’ upgrades don’t make sense until you already have a decent amount of referrals, and by that point you’ll probably be putting more effort into other Internet Marketing activities.

Never purchase referrals!

The free money sites often sell members who have signed up directly at the site, and don’t already have a sponsor. These members almost never earn back the cost of purchasing them. The same goes for guaranteed signups.

Remember that your goal is to make enough money to pay for other Internet Marketing costs, not to spend money you won’t get back.

So, if you’re just starting out in Internet Marketing but are in it for the long haul, start by marketing something like Marketing Pond. You’ll learn basic skills you’ll need later on, and won’t be leaking money out of your savings.

Eventually you’ll be able to pay for the more sophisticated tools you’ll need for other Internet Marketing efforts.

Wealth Toolbox Review

Okay, so this isn’t much of a review, because there isn’t much to review.

WealthToolbox.com is a site that claims you can “Join, Earn, and Learn”.

You join for free, and as a bonus they deposit $100 into your account. They invest that money (that they gave you) and you earn from the results. They also pay you $20 per referral, down 5 levels. So they’re paying out a total of $200 per member.

The learning portion comes from this line, “In time, we’ll create and give our members access to audio, video and web tutorials”.

Those tutorials do not currently exist. In fact, as far as I can tell, there are exactly five pages on their website (the main page, the terms and conditions, the privacy policy, the member account balance page, and the member referral page).

Reading their terms and conditions shows that after 24 months, you’ll be paid the balance of your account via PayPal.

This yells “SCAM!” so loudly that it’s deafening. A lot can happen in 24 months Internet time, let alone the fact that, officially, no money is going into the system.

Checking the whois report shows that the domain name was initially registered on February 27, 2001. The Wayback Machine doesn’t bring up anything, as the website specifically blocks their spider via robots.txt.

I’m sure that many sites have valid reasons for blocking the Waback Machine’s archiving of their content. But at 3 public pages, this site doesn’t seem to have cause. Makes me wonder what they’re hiding about the history of the site.

When I run across something like this, I try to imagine myself as the founder. How could I possibly get money out of this site, given that they provide the money into your account and (supposedly) invest it.

There’s this phrase in their terms and conditions:

Account payout is dependent upon you maintaining an active account and abiding by the Terms of Service and membership requirements.

The Terms of Service are on the site, but nowhere is there to be found membership requirements.

So here’s how I would work it. Provide some basic page that allows a member to track how much money is in their account. Send out regular emails telling members how much money they’ve gained or lost based on investments I’d made. I wouldn’t bother with the investments, the point is to gradually increase the amount in their account until they have a vested interest in getting the payout.

Then the “membership requirements” would kick in. They’d need to buy something through an affiliate link, or join a site, or do some other action that would financially benefit me. And I’d keep it up, making them do these things on a regular basis, for the entire 24 months until even the most strong-willed among them would give up in disgust (thus forfeiting their payout).

And if someone somehow managed to get to payout? The chances are good they’d have spent enough money along the way to let me honor it. Or I’d find some fine print in the unwritten membership requirements and weasel out of paying them.

At least, that’s how I would do it if I were unprincipled and unethical. Is that what this site plans?

I don’t know, but I’ll keep you posted.

Hub Pages, Giving Squidoo A Run For Their Money?

I just ran across Hub Pages the other day.

Hub Pages is a Squidoo like site, where you can create web pages about pretty much any topic, and earn a share of the advertising and affiliate revenue generated by the page.

The tools seem comparable, and make creating your page and embedding photos and videos quite easy. What distinguishes Hub Pages from Squidoo is the transparency of the accounting.

At Squidoo, all revenue goes to Squidoo and at the end of the month you learn how much each of your lenses earned. What goes into the calculation is a bit mysterious, but it’s definitely related to your lens’ traffic and page rank, and lots of other things.

At Hub Pages, you enter your Adsense id, your Amazon ID, your Ebay ID, and your Google Analytics tracking ID into your profile area. 60% of the page impressions generated by your page use your IDs. So you get tracking of those impressions through the various affiliate programs, and any income is paid to you directly by those programs. Hub Pages never sees your money.

I’m a big fan of Squidoo, but the transparency in Hub Pages is incredibly attractive. Being able to log into my Adsense account and see how many impressions and clicks I’ve gotten through my pages is very nice. Earnings should also tend to be higher, on average, with the 60/40 split.

Another great feature of Hub Pages is that you can create a link to one of the pages created by someone else, and when you drive traffic to that link you also earn a percentage of the ad impressions generated by that page for a while. So you can get impressions just by driving traffic to other people’s pages! This alone fosters a sense of community assistance. When other people can get paid to drive traffic to your pages, you won’t be the only one promoting them.

I haven’t yet created a hub over at Hub Pages, but will do so soon. I’ll add Hub Pages to my monthly income reports, along with Squidoo and Yuwie.

Click here for the Hub Pages tour.

Squidoo and Yuwie Earnings Update

It’s that time of the month when both Squidoo and Yuwie show the earnings for December.

Earnings at Yuwie were $3.77 down from $4.36 the in November. The main reason for the decline is that my own personal usage of Yuwie plummeted during December. I had a four week break between semesters, and spent very little of it on the computer. The computer time I did get was spent writing posts for this blog. The amount earned per 1,000 page views also dropped 3 cents, which contributed to the overall drop.

Earnings at Squidoo were $13.43, up from $8.93 in the previous period. My two highest rated lenses earned $6.23 each, and the rest of the amount is from the remaining lenses. The amount earned per lens has increased steadily for months, nearly doubling for the highest rated lenses. And this with my lens maintenance being at about the same level as my Yuwie activity, so all my lenses dropped in the rankings considerably.

It’s interesting to compare the two sites.

Squidoo is a way to write web pages that are then monetized in various ways, and you share in the earnings. Yuwie is a social networking site that shares ad revenue with you.

Squidoo can clearly outperform Yuwie in terms of earnings. Each of my two highest rated lenses at Squidoo earned more than I did in the entire month at Yuwie. And Yuwie earnings depend on getting referrals, while Squidoo earnings depend only on your ability to write quality lenses.

The other site of that argument is that literally anyone can generate page views at Yuwie. After all, it’s just web surfing and socializing. If you can point and click, you can earn something at Yuwie. Squidoo, on the other hand, requires you to write quality content. Junk gets rated low, and makes nothing. Out of nearly 30 lenses I’ve written, only two earn more than a few cents each month.

Both are opportunities to make money online free. Which is right for you?