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Webmaster Earns $10 Million Per Year in One Hour Per Day
Inc. Magazine article - note WebmasterWorld reference

 10:57 pm on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

You've probably heard of Markus Frind before (known around these parts as markus007 [webmasterworld.com]) but his story somehow seems more 'real' when he's featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine!

And the Money Comes Rolling In [inc.com] Markus Frind works one hour a day and brings in $10 million a year. How does he do it? He keeps things simple.

Shout out to WebmasterWorld on Page 5.

[in 2006] he returned to one of his old Internet hangouts, a forum called WebmasterWorld, and posted a brief how-to guide entitled "How I Made a Million in Three Months." [webmasterworld.com]

Fast forward a couple of years.

He looks down at his desk. There's a $180,000 order waiting for his signature ... you tend to attract advertisers' attention when you are serving up 1.6 billion webpages each month.

Still impressive, congrats Markus!



 2:18 am on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good article, long, but good article. I like how they brought up shoemoneys doubt. I wonder how much after did he post his check for $132,000 heeh


 3:42 am on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nice article. Good job and congrats Markus!


 4:51 am on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, congrats. I was thinking "lucky guy" but there was no luck involved in his success. Good work Markus, hopefully you'll pop into to WebmasterWorld again for a visit... ;-)


 6:54 am on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Markus007 is the guy behind plentyoffish! OK, now I know who he is. That's one of those one in a million success stories you can't help be inspired by.


 4:53 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Definitely inspiring httpwebwitch. Heck, just earning a fraction of what he earns would make a guy 'rich'.


 6:02 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

He let me in on a basic philosophy that I still use today when doing "pet" sites.

Give people what they want.
Give it to them better then the other guy.
Give it to them free.

Do that well and you could have a massive success as well.


 6:13 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Very inspiring indeed! I just finished reading the complete 2006 thread that Markus started, took 3 cups of coffee.

Need some time now to let those 336 posts with great nuggets of information gel a bit and see how to make "it" work in my field...


 7:33 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

$10,000,000 per year at 1 hour per day? I'd work 16 hours a day, if I were him...and retire after 2 years. :o)


 8:50 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Cue for posts from hopefuls expecting to make that by sticking a few affilate and adsense ads on a blank page.

Well not on www but there are other boards that people with that little internet savvy seem to inhabit.


 9:46 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

The moral of the story is really exactly what Markus007 said. Create something that people want. Make it free. Get millions of visitors. Add a teaspoon of advertising and stir.

PlentyOfFish is not remarkable. It's not pretty, and it's not innovative. It is not even a better dating site than its competitors. It's not a lot of things.

PlentyOfFish doesn't even earn a tiny fraction of the revenue that its closest competitors do - if PlentyOfFish was a corporate flagship site, it would be considered a big failure.

The big difference is, POF is a one-man show produced with miniscule overhead and minimal effort, and all that revenue goes into one pocket - his.

Was markus007 "lucky"? He found that gap and jumped into it, did it well enough, and did it first. If you call it luck, it's because it's the kind of luck we all imagine we could achieve, which is why the PlentyOfFish story makes the aspiring web entrepreneur salivate.

I suggest reading Gladwell's new book: "Outliers", and think about the success of Markus007 in that context. What made it possible for him to achieve his success? What were the outlying factors that put him in the right time and place with exactly the right skillset, domestic situation, education, opportunities, and connections? Is it really a formula that can be repeated, or is it a side-effect of a particularly fortunate series of events?


 10:39 am on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Amazing story, what Markus has achieved does inspire me.

This might interest some of you, call it my mission statement.

I came here tonight because I'm scared to death of Google's "nofollow" and wanted to do some digging around to let the feelings pass. I own several sites and one web directory (of which none of my own sites are in) and I'm having nightmares of being labeled a "bad neighborhood" by a cranky human behind his 4th cup of coffee on a Friday night when he'd rather be home. (It's a crazy feeling)

I've managed to avoid bankruptcy in these tough times but I lost my home to foreclosure last year when my full time job cut back to part time. I now rely on the income I earn as a webmaster to supplement my income and to make ends meet for my family, there aren't many jobs in my field right now. I'm 100% pro white hat only like most everyone here but still I worry.

I've SEO'd the snot out of all my sites, linked absolutely none of them together and tonight I was debating adding nofollow to every link in my directory to be safe. It doesn't accept reciprocals, all additions are moderated by me and STILL I feel this way. Needing the meager income I make online drives me to want to protect it.

How much do I need it? Enough to accept paid review requests while adding the word "/the" to my robots.txt file and then starting every review page uri with that word (and not telling the person paying me unless they ask). I need every dollar, who doesn't, but the power Google weilds over me often feels too big. Chill? yeah right, can't be done when I play with my little girl between articles, I owe her everything she deserves.

Then I read a success story on webmasterworld and I remember that nofollow is for links I can't vouch for because I didn't add them myself or check them out in advance. My fear of a human making a judgment call against me is still a possibility but NO... I'm not adding nofollow to the several hundred sites I've hand picked. For that, tonight, I thank you Markus. I can't afford to have even ONE site go down in rank right now (you can count them on your fingers, I don't have dozens or hundreds like some).

That article has inspired me, I'm writing all of this so I don't forget it, there is hope at the end of the tunnel not only for me and my family but for every webmaster. Now I hope this "mission statement" doesn't come back to haunt me, ugh- submit.


 11:58 am on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Congrats markus007, inspirational :)


 12:41 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

I suggest reading Gladwell's new book: "Outliers", and think about the success of Markus007 in that context.

It's the American dream of starting a multinational from the garage.

Why do other websites need hundreds of IT staff etc? I look back to companies I've worked for and these things soon get out of control once you've started hiring. No-one wants to take risks and everyone wants to build an empire, so a website that could have been developed by four guys in a few months soon becomes a multi-billion pound IT project. Soon everything starts getting really complex with Ajax this and Web 2.0 that.

I agree that pof is an outlier because most people want to make things too complicated.


 12:43 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

"I don't listen to the users," he says. "The people who suggest things are the vocal minority who have stupid ideas that only apply to their little niches."

Well, that's a DPOV.


 1:38 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Lagonda, Even though that statement can sound quite ignorant, seems like Markus got it spot on in giving users what they need, not what they want.


 2:06 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

He does make a good point about not listening to every user-submitted change request. You can drive you self nuts trying to please everyone, but in the end you will realize you cannot.

he people who suggest things are the vocal minority who have stupid ideas that only apply to their little niches

I think his comment is a bit extreme (and not very professional). I agree with his point, but I bet even Markus reads user suggestions and some of those suggestions make it into his next set up updates.

The point should really be that you need to take user suggestions with a grain of salt, and really evaluate whether they add value to the entire community or just a small subset.


 3:56 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Congrats! Canadians represent!

I remember reading that thread a few years back about making a million in 3 months, there were some people who did not believe you.

Raise your hand now if you still think he was stretching the truth ... anyone?


 4:55 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Considering the traffic that is not an unbelievable amount of money. I don't see why everyone is so skeptical. Besides, the remarkable part is not the amount of money he makes... it's the amount of profit that it is because of his incomparable server architecture.



 9:50 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Stupidity like this (having a public article like this) is a great why to alert yourself to the IRS or CRA. Good job Markus. Not wise.


 9:56 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

That link was a very interesting read. I'm surprised on how little hardware handles that many visitors.


 10:14 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Webmaster Earns $10 Million Per Year in One Hour Per Day".

Slightly misleading headline if you read the article. This guy devoted several years of his life totally to developing his site. Even to the extent of studying how people interact socially when he was out having a meal or drink.

No, the opposite of the headline is true. This guy devoted all his awake and sleeping time to his website. Maybe now he is relaxing a bit, but the article is so obviously aimed at presenting us with the idea that any old idiot can spend an hour a day on the internet and earn a fortune.

The article is looking to appeal to people who believe that 1 hour a day can earn you $10 mill a year. Yeah! Forget all the basic facts of life, forget all the principles of the majority of rich people, come take it for free.


 10:26 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Compworld, why do you say that?


 10:33 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just brings more attention to your tax return. Not sure about Canada, but the IRS in the US does investigate things like this. I congratulate Markus on the work he's done, no question. But, attention like this can be costly.


 11:54 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's no reason at all to question his numbers. My little site gets 1/1000th of what his site does in visitors and page views. I have some advertisers, one of whom pays $1000 a month to be on my site. $1000x1000=$1,000,000.

All the more reason to get more traffic to my site, and think of a site that could get even more traffic.


 11:58 pm on Jan 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

I love the way the original thread filled up with people who were sceptical, who didn't believe, who basically thought they knew better than someone making 5000 times what they were making.

and, yes, history repeats itself in this thread too. Gotta love it....


 12:15 am on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Raise your hand now if you still think he was stretching the truth ... anyone?

I always take anyone's self proclaimed, unaudited earnings with a grain of salt. Earnings and traffic are one thing, independently audited, net profits after expenses are another.

Plus, some of the stuff he has said in the past just seems, well fishy. :)

(See peterweaver's comment in the previously mentioned thread about licensing the underlying technology instead of using it on a single dating site.)


 3:05 am on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not sure about Canada, but the IRS in the US does investigate things like this.

I agree with Compworld, however...

Google knows more about us than the IRS does...



 5:44 am on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know a guy who had a very popular widget site. He boasted about 700K uniques per month, unbelievable growth numbers, etc. He sold the site, the new owner added Quantcast. Turns out it's only getting 400K uniques. Well, well, well. Now I tend to take boastful claims with a grain of salt ;-)


 7:20 am on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

"I don't listen to the users," he says. "The people who suggest things are the vocal minority who have stupid ideas that only apply to their little niches."

Hard to watch every word you say when you are with a reporter for 2 days straight. We were talking about why i didn't add chat, more forum features etc etc. I mentioned how i'd done most of those things and got super rabid users. Many of these features helped 1% of the site and made the other 99% like the site less. To top it all off at the time i'd gotten about 20 police requests a month and after removing things like chat it went to 2. The time has long gone where i make a change and everyones happy. Now thousands of people yell at me for changing a single color, or moving a link let alone adding new features.

Stupidity like this (having a public article like this) is a great why to alert yourself to the IRS or CRA. Good job Markus. Not wise.

What are they going to do? Its not like we don't get audited like every single other web company in canada. Pay no gst and you get flagged no matter what. The today show when all is said and done was the equivalent of about $15 million in free advertising, i hardly call that stupid.

Raise your hand now if you still think he was stretching the truth ... anyone?

I've noticed one thing over the years, there are 2 kinds of people. (I'm taking 2 extremes here)

1. The first kind thinks no one is more successful than themselves and they tend to want everything handed to them on a silver platter. They don't really want to work.

2. The other extreme is people who take stuff at face value and than try and recreate it or try to understand every little detail and they constantly test everything in sight. These are the kind of people i've found running extremely successful businesses.

Forums like webmasterworld are certainly interesting as you have a lot of Type 2's data mining type 1's for ideas. :)

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