$3,202.52 in Online Income For July 09

Summer is flying by really quickly. It seems like I just wrote about my $7,353 in Q2 online income and now its time for another update! July has been a stellar month and I managed to pull in just over $3,200 in online income.

As usual, Ebay was my biggest earner with nearly 33% of the online income. I’m glad I’m not dependant on only one source for the majority of my income, especially since I found out that one of my friends got booted from the Ebay Partner Network (EPN). While the real reason is a mystery, I can only guess it was one of the following:

  1. He wasn’t promoting related products on his blog. This tells the EPN that you’re not a serious affiliate marketeer and that you don’t know how to internet traffic conversion works.
  2. Some of the other sites were thin-sites. A site with no content and just affiliate links to products doesn’t usually rank well in the search engines and as a result gets no traffic. This also indicates that you’re a novice.

Ebay is facing problems increasing their revenues. They desperately need people to market their products for them. However, they don’t want people to sign up for the affiliate program and use it subsidise their own purchases.  If you make it seem like your internet marketing skills are non-existent there’s a pretty high likelyhood of their rejecting you. But you do have 60 days to try out BANS and get a refund if you don’t like it. If you don’t like BANS you can try this other Ebay plugin for wordpress that is pretty decent.

For more information read  my 1,000 word guide on how to make money from BANS

Anyway, here’s the monthly breakdown for July’s online income:

Direct Ads were a huge portion of the income as well. But this number goes up every July! Check out last July’s online income numbers. This July, the online portion is almost 40% higher while my dividend income is 40%! Speaking of dividends, I need to write a post about that!

My “other affiliate” is pretty low. It’ll probably be higher next month since I won’t be working and can devote more time to it. Lets see how that works out.

In the past year I’ve experimented a lot on different sites and I’ve found that Ebay’s affiliate program is pretty easy to implement. I’m also experimenting on new things, many of which just don’t work so I scrap them and move on. One of the things I did try a while ago was automated blogging. You create a site that pulls content from other sites and you put adsense around it. Not only did I get little traffic, the site was de-indexed from google and adsense blacklisted the site. Essentially I was warned that my adsense account might be shut down if I continued such blatant theft of content! While I don’t make much money from Adsense, it’s still $1000+ a year.

Anyway, let me know how you guys are doing and what seems to be working for you (or not!).

Passive Income For October 2008: A New Record!

I’ve been busy with Business School and it’s been an insanely hectic month. Forget about writing posts, I haven’t even had much time to sleep!

I just ran the totals for passive income for October and I found out I’ve broken my previous record for monthly passive income that I set in June.

Monthly Passive (alternative, online & dividend) Income was $3,454.99.

The total online income was $2160.67 which is lower than my record by ~$95. However, my investment in a Japanese REIT paid a quarterly dividend that pushed up my dividend income over the usual $1000/month to a total of $1259.18.

Here’s the breakdown of the $3,454.99:

Online Income:$2160.67

Dividend/Alternate Income: $1259.18

  • ING Savings Account: $111.18
  • Direct Oil Drilling Investment: $397.53
  • Dividends from Canroys: ~$412 (after tax deducted at source)
  • Other Dividends: $338.47
  • The affiliate income from Ebay was almost $650 last month. Year to date, I’ve made $2,220 from my Ebay sites. Adding storefront on this site has also helped my income.  The store targets people who want to buy online businesses, cheap real estate and timeshares, gold coins and other income producing ventures. I recently added a go-kart for sale page.

    Some of the other ebay affiliate sites are .info sites that I bought .info domains for $0.99 from GoDaddy and created them using BANS software, which automatically pulls the relevant content from Ebay. They’re all hosted on Dreamhost, for which I pay under $119.40/year for unlimited domains, 500GB of bandwidth and some couple of TB of data. Dreamhost is currently running a special, where you get four times the usual disk-space and bandwidth! Also if you prepay for 5 years you get $150 off.  They’re currently running a special where you get unlimited bandwidth and disk space at no extra cost for the next 11 years. Use code PassiveIncome to get $19.40 off your hosting or Dividends to get a free domain registration.

    Note: Setting up BANS on Dreamhost requires a little bit of tweaking. If you’re not very familiar with setting up websites then I strongly suggest using HostGator for your hosting. They cost about the same and have pretty good compatibility with the BANS software. But don’t ask me for support!

    If you want more info on how to generate passive income from sites, look at the 2nd half of this post (look for the section on Niche Sites). I also recommend  the secret cash plan ebook. It’s a primer on the different methods to create online income. It has a very good section on finding niche market segments. It only costs $20 and it has a money back guarantee.

    For more info on the other online sources of income, check out my previous passive income updates.

    But while my passive income is up, my stock portofolio has been almost decimated. While it’s actually update 20%+ from the lows of last month, its down 50% for the year. Luckily I barely have any leverage, otherwise the account would have been wiped out!

Online Income and Passive Dividend Income Update for September

I made $2,884.13 in online & passive income for the month of September, 2008. After the somewhat lackluster income over summer, this was a welcome increase.

Here’s the breakdown:

The affiliate income from Ebay has been growing steadily. It’s more than doubled from August and the total revenue for this year is $1847.67. I think that’s a pretty good return for a little bit of effort (most of which took place in May). In July I added a storefront on this website which focuses on business, cheap real estate, gold coins and other income producing ventures. I recently added a Ferrari and Sports-car for sale page. I don’t expect to sell any Ferraris’ or Lamborghinis’ but I sure enjoy looking at them!

Some of the other ebay affiliate sites are .info sites that I bought .info domains for $0.99 from GoDaddy and created them using BANS software, which automatically pulls the relevant content from Ebay. They’re all hosted on Dreamhost, for which I pay $110/year for unlimited domains. Dreamhost is currently running a special, where you get four times the usual disk-space and bandwidth! Also if you prepay for 5 years you get $150 off.  Use one of the promo codes below at Dreamhost:


Note: Setting up BANS on Dreamhost requires a little bit of tweaking. If you’re not very familiar with setting up websites then I strongly suggest using HostGator for your hosting. They cost about the same and have pretty good compatibility with the BANS software.

For a little more info on how to generate passive income from sites, look at the 2nd half of this post (look for the section on Niche Sites).

For more info on the other online sources of income, check out my previous passive income updates.

Last month was a massacre for my oil and gold stocks. One of them, Tortoise Energy (TYY) was trading under $6/share for a brief period and yielding 36%!. Unfortunately, I missed the buying window and it’s now trading over $15 again. TYY is an American MLP (Master Lease Partnership); dividends are counted as return of principle making them tax-free!

Anyway, its time to wind up this post. I have 3 midterms next week.

How To Make Money On Ebay Without Actually Selling Anything

As of July 20th 2009, I’ve received over $8,500 so far from Ebay. But the beauty is I didn’t actually sell anything. That’s right, Ebay sent me the money for referring buyers to their site. Since several of my fellow bloggers have asked me how to go about making money from ebay, I’ve put together this short how-to article that I hope will help you.

How Does the Ebay Affiliate Program (EPN) Work?

Back in April I built several niche sites to that specifically targeted to specific niches like gold coins, iphones and ipod batteries. Several weeks ago, I also added an “investment store” on this site that sells cheap timeshares, real estate and income-producing websites.

Ebay pays a commission based on the final sales price of the item. It usually varies between 5-10%. For items like cars and real estate, there is a flat fee which is over $100! I just received $175 from the sale of a $4,000 rental property in Ohio and another $135 from the sale of a used car. And it wasn’t any old used car, someone sold a rolls royce on ebay!

Additionally, if someone signs up as a new user, Ebay pays up to $35 (although its typically only $25). It also gives up to 75% (although 50% is more usual) of it commissions to affiliates who refer buyers. You can get more affiliate information here.

How Do You Create A Niche Site?

The toughest part of creating a niche site is identifying the niche. Ideally, you want a well-searched for niche that doesn’t have a lot of competition. For example, “discount designer doo-dahs” is a niche. But is it a good one? Good luck figuring that out on your own. However, there are a lot of tools to help you do this. Some people recommend Keyword Elite and I have it and use it. But there are several other tools, some of which require a one-time fee and others that charge a monthly subscription to use. If you already have one and are seeing good results with it, then it should be sufficient.

The niche sites aggregate the RSS feeds from Ebay for related products and display them. Luckily, I didn’t have to do the programming. In fact, creating the site is the easiest part of the whole process. I just bought the BANS (Build-A-Niche-Site) software that does everything for me. It did cost $97 but considering that I’ve made over $8,000 from ebay so far (as of July 2009), I’d say it was a pretty good investment.

Several people have told me that they were rejected or they had accounts and got banned. While its not widely understood why a lot of people have been rejected, its not too difficult to understand. If you submit thin-sites to the EPN there is a higher likelyhood of getting rejected. (A thin site is a site with no content, just affiliate links).  Always submit your flagship blog to EPN. If you’re using BANS on another store (as this blog does) make sure you’re selling related products. Note that this blogs’ store doesn’t anything that I don’t have at least 10 posts on. (Of course, I have 800 posts so finding a related product is pretty easy!). But if you’re blogging about cooking and trying to sell bicycle parts, it just doesn’t make sense. Effectively, you’ve conveyed to the EPN team your complete lack of experience in online marketing and understanding of how online traffic conversion works. Once you’ve been approved, then you can start multiple sites on different products. But make sure each site is targeted towards a specific product and make sure you understand the marketing part (which I’ve discussed below).

So make sure you have relevant content. How do you create relevant content? Either you write it, you pay someone to write it, or you use a tool to aggregate other people’s tweets or posts. Make sure you don’t just outright steal content – that will not only result in bad karma, you will also get flagged by the search engines for duplicate content!  One tool I’ve seen been used on sites that Google has not banned (de-indexed) is WPanswers.  It’s only $29.99 and comes with a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. I just bought it and I’ll let you know if I see any adverse effects from it.

Buying A Cheap Domain With Cheap Hosting

I also had to pay for domain names, but Godaddy had a 99 cent sale on domains so that wasn’t much of a cost. I also use 1 & 1 for domain name registration because they sometimes have specials. I usually go with whichever is cheaper, although 1&1 does offer free domain privacy for which Godaddy charges an extra $9.99 a year. However, Godaddy’s interface is significantly easier to use and their customer service is pretty stellar, so there’s some definite value in that, especially if you’re new to the online world. ( Also,  .org sites are usually much cheaper at 1&1 than Godaddy and may have better street cred than .info sites. )

I also use my own hosting. I like Dreamhost a lot and highly recommend it. It’s incredibly easy to install and update the sites. I’ve been using them for 4 years and they also have an affiliate program which pays out 100% of the first years hosting (sometimes 175%!) for new referrals. (Use code “PassiveIncome” for a decent discount). For $120/year you get 1 free domain registration and unlimited hosting. HostGator is another well-respected hosting company and many people with BANS sites use them too. Their affiliate program is also supposed to be excellent, but I wouldn’t know!

Marketing Your Niche Site

The most important part about making money online is the online marketing of your newly created sites. If you’re like most newbies and you build several sites thinking that you’ll automatically get traffic, you’ll be very disappointed. You need to understand how to create content that attracts search engine traffic (also called organic traffic). Again, Keyword Elite will help you with this. Its a pretty good tool and the videos on the landing page are worth a watch if you don’t know anything about harnessing the power of internet traffic. Another key factor that is often overlooked is building back-links to your site. I have personally gone to hundreds of blogs and left real, relevant comments on them with links back to my site. Some of them are nofollow links, but I don’t think it really matters. I believe all links matter, its just that nofollow and links from low-quality sites matter less than than links from a top quality site.  However, a cool way to get a lot of social media love is through a Social Bookmarking Automation Tool.  I highly, highly recommend this tool and it is in fact the one I use the most often. Most of my sites rank very well on various search engines for certain keywords and I get excellent organic traffic. As you can see from the Ebay affiliate sales figures, the conversion rates are pretty high.

Here’s another tool I highly recommend. I tells you what keywords you rank for and what your position is in the search engines. Its incredibly useful, especially when you see someone new bump you from your spot on Google. You can use this (along with some other tools) to see if its a fluke or they’re actually planning to take over your position!

If you’re still floundering, you need a guide with step by step instructions. The 9 Step Make Money Online Guide is an excellent resource written by the creators of BANS software. You should definitely read it if you’re new or if you have sites that aren’t generating much income.

Here are my earnings below:


As you can see from the image, the traffic (in blue) and the earnings (in yellow) have been increasing over the past year. As I’ve becoming more focused in my selection of keywords and as my search engine rankings have improved, the conversion of the traffic has gotten a lot better too.

While it took some initial effort to set up the stores and market them online, I haven’t done anything for at over 6 weeks. Making nearly $1,000/month from several sites that don’t require much effort is really cool. Finally some residual income that’s really passive! So don’t give up! It might take a few months to see any fruits of your labor but it will be well worth it!

I’ll post my monthly passive income update sometime this week.

Passive Income Update For August 2008

Finally got some time to add up all the passive income for the month of August. While June was a record breaking month with over $3,300 in passive income, July and August have been pretty lackluster in comparison. July’s income was $2,115.61 and August’s total was hardly any better with $2,134.57.

Maybe I can use the same excuse that government statistians use when talking about the economy and blame on seasonal variations! But the fact is that revenue dropped due to 2 main reasons. I pre-sold annual advertising in June that rightly should have been ammortized over the year (according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Also, since I was busy with my move to Los Angeles, I didn’t really have time to look for advertisers or respond in a timely fashion to those that contacted me.

But the good news is that traffic to the site didn’t drop off, and apart from direct advertisers, revenue that was dependent on traffic remained almost constant. And of course, my dividend income was pretty stable despite the recent large drop in equity prices and the strengthening dollar which caused a 5-8% drop in the value of my foreign dividends.

Here’s the breakdown:

A reader emailed me a few days ago asking what’s the best way to start generating online income. I told him to start blogging about something he was passionate about. That way, he’d be able to keep up his motivation during the initial few months when he probably wouldn’t be making any money. Once he had written a few dozen articles or posts, he should start seeing some search engine traffic. If you’re in a highly competitive niche, you’ll need to make sure you have a lot of other sites linking back to you. Do a search for creating a back-link campaign to find out how to do this.

Once you see search engine traffic you should include ads in your site.  I include ads from Comission Junction, Adsense, Linkworth, Text-Link-Ads, ADSDAQ and Kontera. While individually they aren’t significant amounts, the income is consistent and together it all ads up.

Amazon affiliate income has dropped a lot since the beginning of this year. Not sure if this is seasonal since there are more sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’ve finally gotten around to adding an affiliate link prominently on the site and I expect this to have a positive effect. How much of a positive effect remains to be seen.

The affiliate income from Ebay has been growing steadily. It’s up nearly 7-fold in the past 5 months. Last month I added a storefront on this website which focuses on business, cheap real estate, gold coins and other income producing ventures and this has already started producing referrals. Some of the other sites are .info sites that I bought for $0.99 from GoDaddy and they were created using BANS. For a little more info on how to generate passive income from sites, look at the 2nd half of this post (look for the section on Niche Sites).

RevResponse did well last month, partly due to a $50 bonus. They basically provide free publications and white papers on various topics ranging from finance and banking to search engine optimization and car detailing. Check out the Free Financial Magazines link. Bloggers might also want to check out the Sales & Marketing articles too. Mature programmers might remember a famous programming magazine called Dr. Dobb’s Journal. Well, it’s available for free too. And the best part is I get paid for providing my readers with free useful information! Yes, you can  money selling magazines! (well, technically you’re giving them away).

A lot of oil and gold stocks have been beaten down recently. My portfolio of Canroys wasn’t spared either, but I’m not going to panic and sell them right now. I’m getting a decent amount of dividends each month and I’m happy to keep on holding them for a while. We’ve seen some pretty bizzare events in the financial markets lately and I’m sure not going to panic after everyone else already has (the time to panic is before everyone else!).

Anyway, its time to wind up this post. I have the last 6 hours of Math camp tomorrow! It’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be!

Time To Buy Online Retailers?

Online retailers have been fairing better than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. One school of thought is that affluent buyers make up a bigger portion of online buyers and they fare better during recessions, which means online retailers are likely to do better.

Another line of reasoning suggests that there is a perception among buyers that there are better deals online than in stores. So its the bargain hunting, not the higher incomes that is driving people to shop online. I think there’s some truth to this.

Last week, I needed to replace the battery on my motorola KRZR cellphone. The battery was no longer holding charge and had developed a slight bulge in the middle as well. I went to the Verizon store and they told me I was out of luck, and would have to buy a new battery for $40 plus tax.

Instead, I bought a cellphone battery online for only $6.41 delivered! I had to wait 2 days, but I got a whopping 85% discount!!!

For some reasons, retailers think that replacement batteries should cost 40-50% of the cost of a new electronic item. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes doing the research and wait 2-3 days, then you can usually save at least 60% of the cost. Now whether your time is worth that 60% in savings is another question.

Incidentally, that battery link goes to a niche store I built initially to buy cheap iPod batteries, which cost a ridiculous $79 plus tax at the local Apple store. I bought my battery replacement kit for $20 online instead!

But getting back to my main point, I think that with inflation eroding the purchasing power of the average American, more people will turn to online shopping. And with gas prices being so high, people are more likely to limit they’re driving to the mall.

So there are two lessons to learn here.

1. If you own stocks of retail stores, ditch them and buy online retailers instead.

2. Look online for bargains.

Maybe it’s time to look at Amazon’s stock (AMZN)?

Earn Passive Income From Domains

Is it possible to earn passive income for domains? Absolutely!  It isn’t rocket science but it does involve a little bit of work. Here are the simple steps:

1. Buy a cheap domain name.

2. Decide how you’re going to monetize it. Either through ads on a niche site, affiliate sales, or domain parking.

3. Get up and actually do the work.

Buying Cheap Domains

GoDaddy currently has a great promotion on .info domains. They’re currently selling for only $0.99 instead of the usual $9 dollars. That’s about 90% off the regular price, and I spent the past several days getting about 15 domains that I think I might be able to monetize in some form or the other.

People might feel more comfortable or might more easily remember .com domains, but if you’re targeting search engine traffic it probably shouldn’t matter very much. A lot of the domains have dashes in them (example Sterling-Silver-Rings.info, but again, for visitors coming from a search engine it shouldn’t matter too much.

I also got a few domains that I think are pretty cool like Discount Ipod.info, Discount Seiko Watches.info and Cheap iPod Batteries.info.A good domain name has highly relevant keywords in it. How do you find these relevant keywords? Try using a search tool like Keyword Elite. It’ll save you a ton of time in research.

Niche Sites

The most common way of profiting from a niche site, is creating a lot of content around a keyword or an idea and putting ads around it.  If you can create a lot of unique content around a topic and attract a lot of visitors, you should be able to easily monetize it through Google Adsense or Text-Link-Ads or LinkWorth.

One way I’m thinking of profiting from them is through building a niche store (BANS). I already have an account with Dreamhost and I can host unlimited domains with them without any extra cost. You either set up an Amazon store or an Ebay store and make referral income off the sales. That’s a great way to produce residual income if you can make it work.

If you’re facing problems installing the BANS software on Dreamhost, check out this guide: How To install BANS on Dreamhost.

These are both great ways to produce residual passive income from a few hours of work. It might take a few months ramp up, but they should both add to my passive income.

If you’d like to buy a revenue generating website check out my business and investment store.

Update: September 18th 2008

Looks like my ebay-affiliate stores should pull in over $500 this month! The income has been going up every single month, while the effort has almost dropped off! That’s a pretty nice residual income stream.

However, if you’re too lazy to create content, then you might want to consider domain parking.

Affiliate Sales

This is by far the most profitable strategy and also the most work! You figure out how to drive traffic to  a site and how to get people to part with their money either by buying a 3rd-party product or something you’ve developed yourself.  I know guys who make over $100,000 a year doing this. It isn’t exactly passive but the hourly rate is insanely high if you know what you’re doing. I know of one guy who makes the equivalent ofi $5,000 an hour from his affiliate sites.

Here’s an example of an affiliate site that sells a very interesting product. Its a system that teaches to make money selling stuff! Here’s an example of a site that sells a product they developed themsleves.

Domain Parking

Another way I’m thinking of monetizing them is through Domain Parking. Many companies offer domain parking, including Sedo, GoDaddy and even Google. However, what they usually do is just put up ad links on your site. Unless people are directly typing in the address of your site into the browser you are unlikely to see any traffic or revenue.

A better way is to use a company like Why Park? They will automatically generate content for your sites and update it on a regular basis. The resulting site with fresh content is much more likely to get indexed in the search engines and get organic traffic (that’s traffic from search engines) and thus you are more likely to actually see some revenue.