Over the years on this blog I’ve talked about how I’ve made money here and there. I’ve tried a lot of things, some successful but most of them not. Because of this, I want to address the topic of making money online because it’s a major industry, lots of people talk about it, but you need to understand how insecure it can be.
This is what happens when you don’t keep up on things. I’d almost missed that Google had put through another Panda update in October. The first time they did something like that most of my blogs took a tumble, but overall it wasn’t all that bad. However, this time it’s taken direct aim at my biggest money making site.
by Richard Elzey via Flickr
I’ve talked about my site Medical Billing Answers before. It’s been generating close to $300 a month in Adsense revenue, and with the other money I’ve been earning from other sites, which isn’t much, I’d been feeling pretty good. I want it to be higher but I figured that time would help push it along.
In early October it’s earnings were right on pace and I went on to start dealing with other things. With a week to go in the month I went to look again and noticed that things had dropped off sharply, and that I might not even make $200 for the month. I did, but barely. Not only that, but I ended up not getting paid my September money, which was greatly irksome.
On that front Google did eventually send out a notice to everyone talking about their glitch and saying that most of us would get that money and our October money at the same time in November; I’m still holding my breath on that one. However, almost halfway through the month and I’ve barely passed the halfway point towards $100; what the hey?
This is the part I don’t understand. My site on medical billing issues was doing very well, and suddenly, after what I believe is its third alteration, Panda decides it has no real authority after all? And just like that it affects my income that drastically? Is that fair?
Actually, it has nothing to do with fair I suppose, but reality. I haven’t added much new to that site in about 3 months, and maybe that’s the issue with Panda; no new activity, it stops sending people your way. These days everything seems to be about activity, kind of like the topic I touched upon when I wrote about blogging frequency. I mean, while traffic on my medical billing site has fallen 32% over the last month, traffic on this site has increased 7%, on my business blog it’s up 9%, and my finance blog is also up 8%. These are sites that I’ve kept up consistently new content. The oddity is my SEO blog, which is showing a decrease of 13%, even though I have a new post every 3 days there.
I’m irked that my income stream has been interrupted, yet I also think there’s something that I should have been able to do to keep it coming in. Do I start another blog? Ugh! Nope, that’s not going to happen. I guess I just have to try to make sure to add something new there at least once a month to see if that helps get its steam back. It does prove the overall need to diversify income streams, even online. Still, I’m not happy about it overall.
There’s a young woman (I’m assuming she’s young) that’s been asking me a lot of questions lately about different affiliate programs. I’ve realized that other than the couple that have irritated me lately I haven’t really written about many of them in a long time. I figured that over the next few posts I would talk about some of the affiliate programs I’m a part of and how they do for me; I hear a voice saying “finally he’s talking about making money online”.
I’m going to start by talking about the affiliate program that’s done the best for me, that being Google Adsense. It’s what they call a PPC (pay-per-click) program, which of course means if people click on the ad then you make money. And the more niched you are the more money you can possibly make if you pick the right niche.
My Adsense income has been steadily going up month after month, albeit slowly. If everything holds steady I will break $300 this month for the first time ever. Man, that’s been a long time coming, and I’m happy about it. The truth is that I make most of the money on one site, my medical billing information site, and since all the content is geared towards medical billing issues, it’s will niched because those folks pay well for clicks.
My second best paying affiliate program is Infolinks, and once again I make most of my cash from it on that same medical billing site. I’m averaging close to $40 a month from Infolinks, which is pretty amazing because the first couple of years I had it I didn’t make $40. Actually, both of these affiliate programs have proven that if you can get a site with even moderate consistent traffic you can do well, because that site doesn’t get the kind of traffic this site gets.
Another affiliate program I have that I’ve made almost no money from is Kontera. It’s like Infolinks, but for some reason when I had it on two of my other sites it generated nothing. At one point I did some split testing on my medical billing site with it and Infolinks, and Infolinks won hands down; wish I could tell you why.
Even though I’ve linked to my own articles on the last two affiliates, if you don’t go check those out I’ll tell you that these are those affiliate programs where you go to a page and you see these double lined words every once in a while, and if you hover over them you’ll see a pop-up window like conversation bubbles in comic strips.
There’s the start; stick around for the next round of affiliates.
Well, September turns out to be my first month, although not quite how I ever thought it would pan out. It was my best month ever with Adsense, made a couple of sales I hadn’t expected, and I find that I like seeing the money coming in like this; I want more!
So, without further ado, how did I make my money in September online?
Just to get it out of the way, for those of you who saw my post on Google picking on me, I made 14 cents on this blog from them in September; not a big loss.
The selling of one of my websites was interesting, I must say. It came out of the blue (not saying which one it was for now) and I almost just deleted the email. Then I thought about it and realized I just wasn’t going to ever have the time to do it justice, so I let it go. It took about 2 weeks to finally get the transaction done, mainly because he needed someone to help him with setting up the new site, and of course we didn’t know each other so the level of trust had to be overcome. But we got it done. Website flipping won’t be something I do on a regular basis, but I have one more site that I might try to build up some and eventually sell it; we’ll see.
Most of that Adsense money and all of the Infolinks money came from one site in particular, which has turned out to be a gold mine for me. It does prove in a way that you can make some pretty good money on niche sites. The GAN sale came from one of my newsletters. The other two… actually, one came from my finance blog that I forgot I even had one of their ads on, and I have no idea where the other one came from. And the CJ payment came from someone buying a year of hosting from 1&1 through me; neat!
And that’s that. Now to go back into the cave on this type of reporting until it happens again; I hope it’s not another 2 1/2 years before it happens. 🙂
It seems that I’ve had to become practiced in the art of filing DMCA notices against people who are stealing my content. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it was created to protect online content. Of course it wasn’t for those of us who blog specifically, but what you’ll find is that most hosting companies won’t do anything about a complaint of yours unless you put it into a specific form which is laid out in the Act.
I have seen where some other sites recommend going after a person through the pocket book, aka filing one with Google to get their Adsense accounts removed. However, even doing that the content stays on the site. I’d rather it not be there at all.
There’s a step by step process of information you need to file with the host. The best way I know how to figure out who the host might be is to go to GoDaddy, put the name of the domain in the name search, then when it comes up saying someone already has it there’s this link that will let you go find out who the person is. Look to the nameservers near the bottom and that will tell you. I did find there was one strange one, “domaincontrol.com”, and it turns out that means the account is hosted on GoDaddy’s servers; interesting. There’s always the possibility that someone has paid to remove most of that information, but I believe the nameservers are always there; I’ll have to confirm that.
Before you go right into the DMCA notice, you should send at least one email to the offender to give them a chance to do the right thing. I hate to say this, but so far I’ve only had one person willing to do the right thing before I had to take the next step; shame. So here you go, the steps as listed in the law, and an explanation if needed.
(i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
This is where you put your name.
(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
This is where you put your original link that the material was stolen from.
(iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
This is where you put the link where your stolen material is showing.
(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
This is all your contact information, including address and phone number and I also add the link to my domain name. One host sent me something back saying they had to have the ability to call me, which is why I know you have to add your phone number.
(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
This is where you basically write an oath of some kind saying that you know it’s your material that someone stole. Here’s what I have for mine: “Not only do I have a good faith belief, I know it is stolen content from my site, as I was the author of the post and am the owner of the blog it was taken from.”
(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
This is where you write an oath of, well, honesty that you are who you say you are and fully take notice that you’re reporting someone stealing your content. Here’s mine once again: “I affirm that this statement is accurate to the best of my ability, and the proof is that all the other content on the site is stolen and scraped as well. Since I’m the complaining party, I am authorized to act on my own behalf.”
And there you go. That’s all you need, and you can send that to the contact information you find on the host’s site. Now, the same people who made me put a phone number on it also said they only accepted DMCA notices via fax; weasels. Luckily, there are a number of online sites that will let you send a free fax as long as it’s not longer than 2 pages.