A couple of nights ago, I got myself hooked by “cleavage” pimping the Jeff Paul Internet Millions again, something I talked about before when I was talking about my scam meter.

Okay, I’m admitting the cleavage drew me in initially; after all, it was almost 3AM. However, once you get watching, if you’re one of us folks whose already been online for a little while, you recognize the “big lie.” After all, we might believe that one in a million is making $30,000 plus a month with their website; maybe even one in every 100,000. But this guy’s got people who are saying that they not only make that much a month, some of them were saying they’re making that much a week.

Though we’re in a tough economy, the truth of the matter is that as the internet really started to grow, many people saw it as the dream they were looking for. I mean,who wouldn’t want to work 4 hours a day and make millions? And the internet is replete with buyers; why wouldn’t they but from me, right?

I, at least, can truthfully say that my initial foray onto the internet wasn’t for riches. It was for business, and advertising, and I had high hopes that it would help me launch my business to greater heights. But I never considered trying to make money online, for real, until 2006, when I purchased my Services and Stuff site. That it’s been less than what one might term “fruitful giving” isn’t the point; the point is that I bought into the dream. But I wonder if the dream is fraudulent.

Well, let’s think about this one for a minute. Last month I made more than $100 for the first time. If I could continue doing that I’d be making more than $1,000 a year online. Yeah, it’s chump change, but it’s something. Could I call it passive? Some of it is now, but I do go back and perform maintenance. I have to change ads because some of the advertisers end their relationships. I may average 4 hours a week maintaining my sites, but spend more time writing my blog posts and other articles to help drive traffic to my sites and blogs so that I have the opportunity to make more money online. No, I’d have to say there’s nothing passive about it.

Are marketplace sites still valid? I ask that because a few days ago, I had a guy share one with me that his friend said wasn’t generating any funds at all, and the guy had pinned his hopes on it. The site has no page rank, and no Alexa rank. It wasn’t optimized at all. Yet, I wondered, even if it were optimized would it serve his purpose. Do we, the buying public, like sites that look like templates, which means they look pretty much like what everyone else is doing, or do we want to see at least an attempt at doing something different, something that looks like a person rather than like a corporation? In general, would a site like this make you more apt to buy than a site like this? By the way, this second one is my wife’s site, so I warn now before you say anything negative about it. 🙂 Or, are we used to sites that look like template sites, but aren’t, like Zappos?

Now, here’s a guy who had a dream and made it happen. Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. I’ve bought shoes from him, and still do, because no one sells my favorite shoe in town anymore. Tony Hsieh hit the dream; then again, he had money already, having sold another company to Microsoft for over $260 million, so he could afford to wait and see if the dream took off. Yet, it was still creative, and I don’t begrudge anyone for being creative and figuring out that next step.

But, once again, it wasn’t done only working 4 hours a day, and it’s certainly not only 4 hours a day now. To his credit, Tony works right in the same area as his employees; no fancy office, no separate cubicle, right there next to the people taking the phone calls.

So, this proves that it can be done. But it’s going to take more than Jeff Paul or any specialty templates. It’s going to take more than just popping up Adsense or Chitika or any of the other affiliate programs we have (I have lots; just look around). It’s going to take time, it’s going to take dedication, and it’s going to take some thought energy and equity. Are we up to the challenge?

Laptops at Buy.com!