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How I made a million in 3 months.
markus007




msg:1364599
 4:25 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Lots of hard work, and a billion+ pageviews :)

I am without a doubt the top individual adsense publisher in terms of pageviews. Me talking about how I did it won't help you, but here is what i found you need to be successful in adsense.

1. Get a database of IP's so you know where your traffic is coming from. Then create channels for each country. Its not uncommon to see US traffic with a CPM of $5.00 and a CDN traffic at 20 cents and vice versa. If you have access to the hints option, give different hints based on IP. ie if your page is about 401k plans, that won't get you anything outside of the USA.

2. You have to create sites that will bring in repeat traffic. If you think you will get rich off SEO think again. If you create a Free jobs site you could net 30 million + a year if you got big. Club listings site, free religious personals etc would all be big money makers. Look for established markets and offer a service for free and support it with adsense.

3. Have your users create content and lots of it. User reviews of night clubs, Resorts, golf courses etc. Build your site around your users and make them part of your site, don't build your site for consumption.

4. Do not enter markets with a lot of competition monitized via adsense. Try and undercut paid content markets by offering a free service, or better yet create your own market.

5. Keep your site dead simple, it has to load fast and have no more then 2 ads and 1 or 2 pictures other then your logo. Do not confuse your user, give them what they want and give it to them fast.

6. Troll around various forums and if people are not talking about your market, there is a good chance you will make money.

 

activeco




msg:1364839
 4:30 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

...can the introduction of a system to greatly increase the number of Adsense units available also expand the market in similar proportions?

I hope not. Lonely people was always a huge "market".

kassius




msg:1364840
 6:42 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Its all about setting up a site where PEOPLE can hangout if you can setup a site where it loads fast and the signup page is not a mile long then you one step there but dont forget he made a million in 3 months but his site was online for years just look at myspace then take a look at tagworld.

Tagworld thinking adding extra features and nicer look it will be as big as myspace.But the users still make there pages look crap lol.

The difference form myspace and tagworld is:

Myspace: signups from word of mouth
Tagworld: signups from affiliate program and ads on other sites.

If you thinking of going into the dating or myspace market go niche, the deeper the niche the better long term.

i am setting up a site like myspace but with a twist ; )

swong688




msg:1364841
 11:45 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am impressed with what Markus007 was able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time with relatively very little resources. Another example is the folks over at Birthday Alarm who have done something just as impressive (relatively low investment, high return).

voices




msg:1364842
 1:02 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Marcus has done a great job, but copycats usually fail. Just look at the million dollar pixel site, tons of failed copycat sites.

With traffic more targeted to make a purchase of some type, less traffic would be needed. There is more than one way to skin a cat as they say.

Coming up with an original idea, or a different spin on an existing idea is the way to make money. That is the big secret to what Marcus did, he did something different.

Richard Overvold




msg:1364843
 1:13 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Even on a bigger scale, look at all the failed copycatted ebay sites.

wyweb




msg:1364844
 6:53 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

About 5 years ago I thought about doing the same thing, building the sort of site Markus has. It seemed like a lot of work and a lot of effort on my part to get sign-ups going and the database filled out. I figured I'd have to spend quite a bit of money in order to promote and offer a free service that wasn't likely to return much until I could get big enough to generate interest in third party advertising, if in fact that ever happened at all. It was a big if. In the end I felt I'd be lucky to break even and that my time would be better spent on developing sites that were proven revenue generators.

I can't help but read his post and imagine what if. Of course I doubt I would have done nearly as well as he has but that thought just won't go away, especially the thought of what I'd do with all that money.

Adsense has changed the face of the internet in more ways than one. Ideas that you might have discarded in the past because you just couldn't see how they'd generate any worthwhile income now need to be given a second look... or a third...

Man oh man...

Good one Markus.

twist




msg:1364845
 8:34 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

After using that new Adwords keyword tool [webmasterworld.com] it makes me wonder whats going to happen to markus's industry.

He tells us he spent a decent chunk of change in adwords to get his site going. Back then, his advertising dollar in that market probably stretched pretty far. After this thread and the slashdot publicity, I can see hundreds of new websites appear in his industry. Many of these new copycat websites (being created by unoriginal people) will probably copy his idea of spending a big chunk of change on advertising also. This could drive up that market dramatically. People will have to pay top dollar for their adword campaigns in that market. This would translate into markus making more money per click than ever.

This is all just a theory, but if I see markus starting a new thread saying how he made a million dollars with adsense in one month, I wont be surprised.

Hunter




msg:1364846
 9:35 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Many of these new copycat websites...will have to pay top dollar for their adword campaigns in that market. This would translate into markus making more money per click than ever.

hehe...to the victor go the spoils...poetic justice etc...

activeco




msg:1364847
 9:40 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is all just a theory, but if I see markus starting a new thread saying how he made a million dollars with adsense in one month, I wont be surprised.

I expect him dramaticaly climbing the SE's.
And he was playing completely clean, white hat.
This is the most clever thread I have seen in years.

TheDonster




msg:1364848
 12:41 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

And when he makes that million per month, I think he joins the Lear Jet Club: payment by private jet instead of UPS :)
But seriously, Markus saw the potential, used his ability and talent and succeeded. I applaud him not only for his success but more importantly for sharing it here on this board. I'm not so sure too many would share their success the way he has here which makes us all realize it only takes a great idea!

afterburner




msg:1364849
 12:53 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

the sky is the limit if you put your mind to good use

jomaxx




msg:1364850
 1:12 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Toldan, about 2 weeks ago you approvingly held up an example that sounds exactly like Markus' site as an inspirational model to be followed. Now you are repeatedly heaping scorn on the whole thing and implying he's a liar. What changed? Are you even aware this is the same person?

[webmasterworld.com ]

markus007




msg:1364851
 3:32 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Lots of speculation about what will happen, all i will say is in competitive industries only the paranoid survive. It is like playing chess, and you always have to think 5-20 moves ahead.

What ever new projects people decide to do there are important things to take into consideration.

1. Do things that leverage your skills, if you are a good writer and love writing WRITE!. If you are a good programmer, do something where programming is a barrier to entry. If you are an amateur and you go against people who are experts you are either going to lose, or spend most of your time learning.

2. If you build a team, the strength of your team will be based on your weakest team member. If you have 10 programmers, the resulting program will run as fast and effiently as the worst coder made it. This is because all the code runs together. If you have a brillaint marketer but a bad coder you won't go anywhere. If you have a great site but no marketer you will not go anywhere.

What i find amazing is everyone knows these things, but very few follow them. But the most imporant thing to remember is you have to be realistic about your skills/abilities, pick only the fights you can win or change the rules so they are played on your terms. It is no coincidence that very successful/rich people always say that one of the most important things they learned on the way to being successful was to know what thier limits where.

lazy_guy




msg:1364852
 7:27 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

No Toldan, this thread SHOULDN'T be locked.

If you don't care for the thread... don't click on it.

It really is that simple.

celgins




msg:1364853
 7:40 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is no coincidence that very successful/rich people always say that one of the most important things they learned on the way to being successful was to know what thier limits where.

Very true. This is exactly why folks shouldn't start sites based strictly on keywords they know nothing about.

europeforvisitors




msg:1364854
 7:42 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Do things that leverage your skills, if you are a good writer and love writing WRITE!. If you are a good programmer, do something where programming is a barrier to entry. If you are an amateur and you go against people who are experts you are either going to lose, or spend most of your time learning.

That's the best piece of advice in this thread, and it would be worth memorizing whether or not Markus had earned a million in 3 months.

peterweaver




msg:1364855
 10:53 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

My apologies in advance for a long post, but I've spent a good deal of the last 24 hours reading and thinking over this thread, as well as the related tech thread, offsite interview, and Markus' own site - - and frankly, in the process of writing it, I've started to doubt his veracity. I'm sincerely hoping I'm wrong, which is why I'm putting the whole thing here, in the hopes that Markus or the WW community can set me straight.

==================

Congratulations on a very impressive accomplishment, Markus. I always admire people with smarts and hustle, and you appear to have both in spades.

However - I have to be honest and add that there are a number of things in your story that set off my BS detector. Not the numbers, but the specific mechanics of your situation.

I'm primarily a business guy, not a tech guy, so I approach it from that perspective:

1) If you've solved the technical hurdles you state that you have in the tech thread, why haven't you patented, packaged, and sold that technology? It obviously has much wider applicability than running a single dating site, and while the income you've stated you're making from the existing site is impressive, it pales in comparison to what you could make from licensing the underlying tech.

2) If you're as successful as you state, Why take the substantial risk of decloaking now? You're obviously gunning for maximum attention with a thread on WW titled "how I made a million in 3 months" and the follow-on interview. You explained quite well the competitive advantages of remaining in relative obscurity. Obviously you've chosen to abandon that strategy now, though, so my immediate question is why? I can only think of two possible (legitimate) reasons.

a) Drive new traffic to your site. However I think you also stated that the influx you got from being slashdotted/dugg/etc. was fairly trivial compared to your existing organic growth - - so assuming you're being truthful that doesn't make much sense as a motivation.

b) You want to sell the site, and are looking to generate offers. However as others have pointed out, there are a few significant potential risks you've introduced to your business model by going public.

*AdSense termination

*Advertisers pulling ads (since ALL of your ads appear to be for competitive sites)

*Volunteers demanding pay. (while you stated here that "99% is done by the site AI" you go out of your way to thank your volunteer moderators on your site, so I have to assume that their contribution is non-trivial.)

While the odds of any one of these risks actually becoming a problem might be minimal, with a setup as fabulously successful as yours,why take the chance?

Assuming _zero_ growth from here forward, with the numbers you claim, minimum purchase offers for a site like yours should start in the 8-10 million dollar range. The universe of potential qualified buyers then becomes a relatively small pool that can be reached without needing to decloak.

Furthermore, you've made a site which would be hugely attractive to many of these potential buyers (based on the numbers you provide) substantially _less_ attractive by introducing these risk factors. So you're risking killing the golden goose, regardless of your long-term monetization strategy.

In writing this out, I've now come to the conclusion that your site is probably less financially successful than you state, and that this decision to "go public" is really just a (really well conceived) viral marketing/SEO ploy. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, because I really want to believe your story, and you seem to be well regarded on this site - - so I hope you'll consider replying to my questions above.

Regards,
Peter

elguapo




msg:1364856
 11:05 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

As I observed, after going through all the congratulations and skepticisms how Marcus made a million in three months, I would like to add my comment that I do not find in Marcus' thread that he made a million "dollars" in three months. I have gone over his statement over and over again but he only says that he is Google's pet as far as page views are concerned. I cannot find any line that says million "dollars".

So, to me, I will only believe that he generates a billion page views as he declares but for dollars. he did not say anything about it.

Hunter




msg:1364857
 11:09 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting first post peter, welcome to WebmasterWorld :)
I've enjoyed everything about this thread (except for some non-diplomatic, jealousy flavored posts) and I hope that it continues to stimulate more thought for all of us.

joftech




msg:1364858
 11:23 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I really don't belief the 3 months a million story until i happened to get to Markus's site.

That feat is achieveable for a site of that magnitude.

This could be a marketing stunt but at the same time it's a way of boasting people's morale.

Heartlander




msg:1364859
 11:29 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Peter brings up a great point regarding the viral marketing aspect.
After reading about Markus' success here, I did in fact request and publish an interview with him on my blog- as many others have begun to do since this has become a hot topic on the internet. One even went so far as to use the word "Exclusive", which I found somewhat amusing.

There must be more to it in the long run, as this kind of spike typically lasts for only a short while and another success story will take its place.

It is still intriguing!

Khensu




msg:1364860
 11:58 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have been silently observing this thread.

I agree with Peter.

You have to ask yourself one question?

True or not why did Markus start the thread? To give away technology?

Is he telling the truth or fabrication? It dosen't matter, it is the effect he is getting with the discussion(s). (here and in other places)

There in lies the genius of it all.

If any one didn't catch this fron another thread.

Marketing potentential free crotch rendezvous (genius with a stroke of genius).

Bottom line, if he hasn't made the $1,000,000 is now on his way towards it. (my 2 cents)

BillyS




msg:1364861
 12:05 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)


Do things that leverage your skills, if you are a good writer and love writing WRITE!. If you are a good programmer, do something where programming is a barrier to entry. If you are an amateur and you go against people who are experts you are either going to lose, or spend most of your time learning.

That's the best piece of advice in this thread, and it would be worth memorizing whether or not Markus had earned a million in 3 months.

I find myself agreeing with EFV for some reason :)

joftech




msg:1364862
 12:38 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

What Markus has used for his topic title is another classic proof that he knows what he's doing (playing with human nature).

This topic has managed to be the hottest simply because people think they will ready a step-by-step article on how he built his empire.

Deep down we all want to make millions too.

activeco




msg:1364863
 1:29 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'll try to give you my view about his motives.
In essence, his basic business philosophy is: give something for free and you should get something back (well, in some markets).
That's exactly what he did here; he provided a simple blueprint of his success in a fair way and wrapped it into a post with the bombastic heading, revealing his huge income.
I can't see anything wrong with this.

What he has been expecting back (IMO)?

As you could see his weak spot is search engine ranking.
Improving his rankings in such lucrative niche, would mean a huge (further) boost for his business.
A link from an article is more worth than a link from a simple directory.
Links from high profile sites' articles, in this case are worth fortune.

Simple, pure and clean.

Of course, he was surely aware of possible drawbacks, but I think the only real risk would be some big player switching to his model, highly unlikely.

Six to eight weeks from now I expect him on the first page of major engines for great keywords.

[edited by: activeco at 1:35 am (utc) on Mar. 27, 2006]

markus007




msg:1364864
 1:31 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a well written response from a competitor fishing for information. :)

For the last few months i've had calls from many calls VC's saying take our cash or we fund your competitors. I'm showing up in the top 50 sites in the USA and Canada on some ranking systems. Even though I blocked comscore and alexa the other ranking systems still carry huge weight. I do have competitors, though i'm a good 6 times bigger then all of them combined. These established competitors are have been seeking or have gotten between 5 and 10 million each in funding. To everyone in my industry I haven't been under the radar for a while, and am the number 1 threat now.

In short staying in obscurity with the general public and giving up my first mover advantage would be the dumbest business decision I could make.

Poeple who read these forums are still thinking in terms of 1 person business fighting the 800 pound gorillas. I'm a 1 person company that has become a 800 pound gorilla and that makes it a whole different ball game.

OptiRex




msg:1364865
 1:38 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

The doomsayers have arrived in force...!

Is it any wonder that successful people are reluctant to post their success or to give advice or assistance when some come along and try to blow holes, or assume they have some kind of other pecuniary plan up their sleeve?

The fact is that most people who make seriously big money and fast is through a combination of circumstances:

Ability/luck/knowledge/timing

Why people have to try and find suspicious circumstances concerning Markus is beyond me. At the start of this post so few actually knew which sector he had profited from HOWEVER almost ALL of you wanted to know pretty damned quick!

Now what do you do?

You try and pick holes in his site design, his business methods, anything you can latch on to which makes you feel better simply because YOU did not do it.

I tell you now, do not expect anyone else to post "How they made a good living from Adsense" since they quite simply do not need the grief.

Oh...before I forget, I won USD 20 million on the lottery today. Is that ok with everyone?

bhopkins




msg:1364866
 1:48 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I actually have found this thread quite inspirational, expescially since his forums software is built a version of the Asp.Net forums and I'm fairly itimate with that software.

Markus, is this a base insatallation of the forums or did you need to twaek them. I'm sure the dating part is custom built and I'm wondering if you built it as an extension onto the forums or if you just coded that part all new and just added in some of the forums code?

I'm also wondering what kind of hardware you have, I'm guessing this is probably at least a dedicated server with maybe two one for the site and one for the SQL Server?

I spent a good bit of time on the site today and I noticed a lot of users rate the forum as the draw for the site at least that is what they say they come back for. I've often thought this would be a good way to have a successful forum, build a site with content that draws a crowd and thne add a forum to keep them interested. Outstanding and you have given me a idea of how to get a site idea I've had off the ground.

Bruce

FourDegreez




msg:1364867
 2:20 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm also wondering what kind of hardware you have, I'm guessing this is probably at least a dedicated server with maybe two one for the site and one for the SQL Server?

See [webmasterworld.com ]

Jane_Doe




msg:1364868
 6:51 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why people have to try and find suspicious circumstances concerning Markus is beyond me.

Some would call it critical thinking. Peterweaver's post brings up many valid questions.

Richard Overvold




msg:1364869
 11:08 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)


I'll try to give you my view about his motives.
In essence, his basic business philosophy is: give something for free and you should get something back (well, in some markets).
That's exactly what he did here; he provided a simple blueprint of his success in a fair way and wrapped it into a post with the bombastic heading, revealing his huge income.
I can't see anything wrong with this.
What he has been expecting back (IMO)?

As you could see his weak spot is search engine ranking.
Improving his rankings in such lucrative niche, would mean a huge (further) boost for his business.
A link from an article is more worth than a link from a simple directory.
Links from high profile sites' articles, in this case are worth fortune.

Simple, pure and clean.

Of course, he was surely aware of possible drawbacks, but I think the only real risk would be some big player switching to his model, highly unlikely.

Six to eight weeks from now I expect him on the first page of major engines for great keywords.

How do you figure he's going to rank for great keywords in 6 to 8 week? Unless he's ranking for www.his-url.com, or "markus's site", or "million dollar site" or stuff like that, he's not going to do much.

PR sharing is about all he's going to get out of this post. iMo

I don't say this to take away from his accomplishments. :)

This 336 message thread spans 12 pages: < < 336 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 > >
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