As I shut down AdSense
[webmasterworld.com] as a revenue stream I am reminded just how serendipitous the path from back when to the beginning of wow...
Twenty-two years ago I semi-retired from a B&M business due to retail burn out; should have sold out two years prior, it would have been far far far better for my emotional and mental health. Semi-retirement as I thought it might be fun to see what I could do with my programming and database hobbies.
As they say timing is everything. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Danni Ashe of Danni's Hard Drive fame who was then driving not only the online p*rn industry but a huge portion of the web (think YouTube scale bandwidth dominance) for it was her success that brought competitors looking for DB solutions. And introduced me to accessibility, affiliate marketing, optimisation in all sorts of flavours, streaming video... Yes, web p*rn in the 90s raised all ships!
My personal website was, to put it mildly, garish: chrome yellow background, black and purple text, animated gifs, links of interest in combo boxes... yes, I have no design couth. Looking back I can't understand why I got any business... probably thank goodness for WOM.
Off to college for official computer science credentials and to fill in knowledge, skill gaps. Final year team project built a network analyser (I designed and built the interactive help) that was way ahead of it's time, still better than most. Strange but true: none of us thought of marketing it whether freeware, shareware, or proprietary. In March our team went off to a tech hiring fair where I received 5-solid programming job offers. Six weeks later they all evaporated - companies went from hiring to laying off, even out of business. In the end only one of us still had a viable offer. In retrospect a good thing as I hadn't been an employee in over two decades...
On the side I'd been developing a virtual online mall; one started at a directory kiosk to go direct or one could free roam, on entering a shop with shopkeeper avatar and products on shelf that could be selected, viewed, rotated, info received, added to cart... sort of Second Life-ish but 1999-2000 rather than 2003 and far more eCom much less social. Local/regional businesses that 'got' the web had or were developing their own sites, most simply thought it cute but silly. So the prototype got shelved. In retrospect a good thing as it would have required building a business with employees and I was still in burnout recovery.
Fortunately, also on the side, I developed a CMS and a NL content combinator that provided the foundation for building my own sites for profit. The idea being that I'd take a niche, build a number of specialised evergreen info sites that would drive traffic to a central hub eCom site. With affiliate marketing covering costs of buildout until the eCom site could be justified. And, eventually, add direct ad sales to supplement the aff stream.
And then came AdSense.
No need for an eCom hub site for revenue. Ad/aff and info sites FTW!
A convoluted fortunate fun 6-years that set up the next 16 and counting.
Life is weird.