Earn Money Online

All posts tagged Earn Money Online

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!).

Every month there are 673,000 searches for the term ‘make money online‘ and over a million for various combinations such as ‘earn money online‘ and ‘how to make money online‘.  Apparently there’s a lot of money to be made in this niche and there are tons of people who will sell you ebooks, CDs, DVDs and monthly subscriptions on how to make hundreds of thousands of dollars by pimping stuff online or through secret google-checks. The sad truth is that is difficult to make $100,000 a year but it is not impossible. With a little bit of effort I’ve been pulling in a little over $2,000 a month for almost a year. I wish I could devote more time to it, but with my MBA, job search and some part-time consulting (and now summer internship) I barely get any time to try new things. In fact, I barely get time to post on this blog either.

Here’s my breakdown for the 2nd quarter. I made $7,353.84 in online income I made between April 2009 through June 2009. For comparison, I made $6,760.85 in online income during the 1st quarter.

On average, I made just over $2,250 a month.  As usual, Ebay was the largest income producer.  Till date this year, I’ve made just over $5,000 from Ebay affiliate commissions and over $8,000 since I started last year. (click on the graph twice to see a larger image).

Ebay-build-a-niche-store-earnings

As you can see from the graph, the earnings (in yellow) have steadily increased each month (with a big surge before Christmas followed by a huge drop right after!). Read this post on How to make money from Ebay without selling anything if you want more information about starting your own niche sites.

One of my fellow blogtrepreneurs makes over $3,000 from his BANS sites so there is decent money to be made.  However, the few $100k/year guys I know make it from selling ebooks and other online products. From what I gather, that is the most likely way to make a real living from online marketing and sales. Towards that end, I’ve been working on a project to create and sell some online ebooks. Within the next several weeks, I divulge more information about it. Until then, all I can say is that the idea was motivated by this $7 ebook!

As I’ve mentioned in how to make money on ebay, I’ve set up several Ebay affiliate sites to generate passive income. Typically you make a percentage of the sales price which ends up in the 4-8% range. However, when buying cars, you only get a fixed price which is currently about $100-$130. But if you can sell a few cars through your site every month, it soon adds up.

Well, someone finally bought a whole car (as opposed to spare parts or accessories) through one of my sites. And not just any car – an antique 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow!

1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

Of course, $130 in affiliate commissions isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it’s the largest sales commission I’ve received from Ebay so far!  And coupled with the sale of an antique seiko watch, a few designer bags and cheap ipods, it almost pays the rent!

I just ran the totals for passive income for December and I found out that it was the 3rd most “profitable” month of 2008.  The other two were October and June.

Monthly Passive (alternative, online & dividend) Income was $3,276.07.

The total online income was $2385.20 which broke the previous record by ~$130.

Here’s the breakdown of the $3,276.07:

Online Income:$2385.2

Dividend/Alternate Income: $890.87

The largest segment was the income from Ebay which was over $900, probably due to Christmas. Over the course of 2008, I made a total of $3332.55 from the Ebay sites. Adding a storefront on this site has helped boost this income.  The store targets people who want to buy online businesses, cheap real estate and timeshares, gold coins and other income producing ventures.

In another post, I’ll list the total income for 2008 and a break-down by category.

I was so busy in May that I completely forgot to post April’s passive income summary. On the bright side, April was a been a record breaking month for me with total “passive” income amounting to $2,811.42. On the flip side, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been paying attention to my sites and May’s income will probably be lower.

If you recall, the income for March 2008 was $2, 667.18, so this is $144 jump is a 5.4% increase. However, one of my stocks is a Japanese REIT, and it paid out a quarterly dividend amounting to about $230, so the $140 increase isn’t a real increase – it’s going to disappear for May. Besides, the jump from February to March’s passive income was 11.9%, so this isn’t as good. (In case your wondering why I’ve invested in a Japanese REIT, here’s a good posts on why Japan’s real estate is a good investment.)

But so long as I can sustain it over $2,500 per month, I’ll be happy. Especially since I’m going to pursue my MBA full-time and I won’t be able to work.

Here’s the breakdown:

A new addition this month is the affiliate income I made from Ebay. In the past I’ve bought A LOT of gold coins on ebay. Since most of the gold coins are of a specific type, and I like to automate repetitive tasks, I used to have searches emailed to me on a regular basis. However, since I also like to try and monetize everything, I decided to set up a store to serve as both a place to aggregate my favorite searches and generate some affiliate income. Here’s my gold coin site, aptly called French Gold Coins. Check out the coins under the Recommended list – these are my favorite coins. The site is a .info site that I bought for $0.99 from GoDaddy and it was created using BANS. For a little more info, look at the 2nd half of this post. I also set up a site to aggregate news pertinent to Gold and Gold Coins, as another example of how to automate repetitive tasks.

Last month I mentioned that my Adsense revenue was dropping since I was being smart-priced. In an attempt to prevent that I modified the way Adsense shows up on the site – only search engine traffic sees Adsense now. Other traffic gets shown ADSAQ ads, which is helping compensate for Adsense’s lost revenue. February’s Adsense income was over $400 and has been dropping ever since. But I think I’ve figured out the issues and expect it to be pretty much constant at this level, or maybe slightly higher.

On the other hand, Linkworth has done really well on my sites. March’s income was almost double of February’s and as expected, April’s income was even higher. I’m very happy with their service and I strongly endorse it. It’s a good addition to Adsense, since it doesn’t conflict with their TOS (terms of service) and its always a good idea to have multiple streams of income. Incidentally, the only decent book EVER written by Robert G. Allen is Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth!. All of his other books are crap, but surprisingly, this is one of my favorites!

Text-Link-Ads is also doing moderately okay although its taking more time than Linkworth. I think you may not allowed to use both of them on the same site, so see which one works better for you. Between the two, my favorite is currently Linkworth, for the obvious reason that it’s generating more revenue for me. 😀

Amazon affiliate income has started to pick up and hopefully it will continue as I learn more about affiliate marketing and try out different techniques to boost it.

In March, I made $60 from Domain Embarking, a site that helps you earn money from parked domains. Since they only pay out quarterly, I didn’t make squat from them, but I’ve added a couple more sites and have had a couple of people sign up using the affiliate link so I expect to make a little bit more in the next cycle. I expect to make more than enough money to pay for the registration fees and my hosting for all my sites through the income generated through Domain Embarking.

Prosper is still handing out $25 signup bonuses to new lenders and that program generated $175 in April. My total proper account value is now $2995 of which $800 is cash. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to invest that amount. I have my own criteria for investing in loans and it usually narrows my universe of investment-grade loans to under 20 at any given time. Of that half will ask loans for real estate projects which I don’t do and eventually they’re only 3 borrowers who I’ll think are worthy of lending money to. Here’s a good post on How Not To Bid On Prosper.

I also made around $1,151 from some oil investments and other dividends. Some of the stocks pay over 10% in annual dividends. Two of the oil investments are paying 15-18%. The third oil investment is currently barely producing, but that seems like it will improve over the next few months and boost that portion of my income too. Also, as the price of oil stays around $100 per barrel, the monthly payout (which is typically delayed by 3 months) will increase a little bit.

I also made about $128 in interest from savings and CDs. My gut feeling is that the Federal Reserve will probably keep the interest rates steady for the rest of the summer. However, even if they do drop the rates (I don’t think we’re going to see a rate hike for a year or two) it won’t make a very significant difference in my income. And I’ll probably be spending that money while I’m in college so I don’t have any expectations from it anyway.

I have some minimal expenses for domains and hosting. I pay about $119.40 for annual hosting on Dream Host. I had several periods of downtime last month and they did credit my account with an extra month. I like that they have one click installation for wordpress, php forum software, mysql databases and other stuff. I’ve used GoDaddy in the past and I didn’t like their interface at all, although I have heard it has improved. Dream Host is a lot easier to use in my opinion. If you use coupon code “PassiveIncome” you’ll get $19.40 off the annual fee or you can use “Dividends” to get free domain registration. I also pay around $60 for domain registrations which I usually register with 1 and 1. At $6.99, they’re pretty cheap. However I did go and register a bunch of domains for 99 cents so next year I’ll probably be paying close to $175. On a monthly basis, these costs will work out to roughly $25 (or they will once the domains go full price). GoDaddy currently has a promotion – .com domain transfers for only $6.99 and .info domains for only 99 cents.

As you can see, I have multiple streams of both online & offline income. My online income is generated from 10 different companies. The other income is produced from the dividends of about 10 different stocks and 3 oil investments. Having diversity is very important. Periodically, one of them will taper off (like adsense did), and not being too concentrated in it prevents your passive income totally disappearing.

Having any sort side income that sufficiently large to allow you to pay the rent and put food on the top is a great stress reliever. It also provides you F*** YOU money, in case you don’t see eye-to-eye with your boss or you feel that your job is sucking the life out of you! For stubborn and opinionated people, having F-U money is awesome!

I hope I’ve inspired all of you to try and boost your passive income or maybe add new sources to increase your current income streams.

Please let me know how you’re all doing.

I’ve been lumping in my online income with my passive income, but it isn’t really passive. It may not be very strenuous and it gives me geographic flexibility and I don’t have to show up for work every day, but there is some effort involved. Unfortunately I’m not as clever as Courtney Tuttle, who says he has a site that makes $3,500/month with no ongoing maintance. (If you’d like to buy an existing site that generates income, check out the online businesses for sale on my business & investment store). I’ve just had some limited success with Domain Parking, buts that the extent of my truly passive online income.

Simply put, my online income isn’t really passive. It’s a lot more passive than the website and seo consulting work I do by a huge margin, but its not as passive as dividneds or royalty checks.

So what are the best ways to earn really Passive Income?

1. High Dividend Stocks
There are a lot of stocks that paying quarterly or yearly dividends. Over time, the power of compounding (with a little help from inflation) can substantially increase the value of your dividends. My mother bought the Indian subsidiary of Unilever (Ticker: UL) called Hindustan Lever about 20 years ago. She’s being reinvesting most of her dividends and today her annual dividends are larger than the value of the original stock purchase. American Capital Strategies (ticker: ACAS) has been growing its dividends approximately 10% every year. According to The Dividend Investor,

If we invested $100,000 in ACAS on December 31, 1997 we would have bought 6906 shares. Your first quarterly check would have been $1,726.50 in March 1998. If you kept reinvesting the dividends though instead of spending them, your quarterly dividend payment would have risen to $17,095 by December 2007. For a period of 10 years, the quarterly dividend has increased by 300 %. If you reinvested it though, your quarterly dividend income would have increased by 890%.

Yes, reinvesting the dividends in companies that have historically kept increasing their dividends is key. Even though you might get only 2.5% return today, eventually with the increase in stock price and rise in dividends, your annual return should be greater than 12%. This concept is very well explained in Prof. Jeremy Siegel’s excellent book, The Future for Investors, which I highly recommend.

2. Oil & Gas Royalties

While there is a lot of fraud and speculation in direct oil drilling programs, they can be very, very lucrative for investors. Charlie Munger invested about a $1,000 in such an oil drilling program in the 60s and he’s estimated that its paid out over $500,000 in royalty payments since then. Apparently it still pays out $2,000 a month. Of course, most people NEVER see these sort of returns, but for the average person, investing in Canadian Oil & Gas Royalty Funds (or Income Trusts) is the next best thing. I’ve invested quite a bit of money into both the direct oil wells and the Canadian Income Trusts (or Canroys) and the overall result has been pretty positive in both (which is in excess of 12%).

3. Royalties on Books and Patents

Royalties on Books and Intellectual Property Rights can be even more lucrative. However writing a best-selling book or creating a something thats worth patenting can extremely time consuming and expensive. For most authors and inventors, its a labor of love – something that they would pursue even if there was no monetary reward to it. But many ebook writers who sell get-rich-quick books about “making money online” are getting very wealthy. Most of these books are garbage and the only people getting rich are their authors and resellers. Not a very ethical way to make money.

4. Rental Income on Properties Bought at the Bottom of a Real Estate Cycle.

If you bought rental buy and hold property in California, Nevada, Arizona or Florida during 2005 and 2007, my heart goes out to you. A lot of smart people got suckered into buying at the top of the market and are paying for it. However, if you buy correctly, preferably at the bottom of a real estate cycle, real estate can provide excellent passive income and fantastic tax advantages as well. According to Charlie Munger at the 2008 Wesco Financial Annual Shareholder meeting, “most real estate investors don’t pay any income tax, except once every 20 years or so“. Bought correctly (that is based on value, not speculation), rental properties can provide a steady stream of cashflow that is somewhat inflation-indexed. I say somewhat, because in the short-term anything can happen, but over a long period of time, real estate is going to match the rate of inflation.

5. Investing In Timber

Similar to Canroys, there are companies that grow trees specifically for timber and pay pretty decent dividends. There are also direct tree-planting programs where you can invest a minimum of $5,000 and own a portion of a timber operation. The company does all the work for you and supposedly cuts you a check once a year after a specific time interval. The endowment funds of Harvard and Yale have apparently been investing in timber for several years now with great returns.

6. Domain Parking (or Embarking)

There are many people who buy and hold hundreds of domains (I know a guy who owns 750). They either park them with Sedo or another domain-parking service. These services stick relevant (and sometimes not-so-relevant) ads on your site. The idea is that if someone comes to the site through browser type-in traffic and clicks on an ad, you get paid a portion of this ad revenue. I had hosted several sites with Sedo and made a whopping 2 cents per month. I’ve recently been trying out a new service called Domain Embarking that is working pretty well for me.

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.

Finally I’m getting some traction with my passive income! After all, that’s what this blog is all about. The total for March 2008 is $2, 667.18, and I’m ecstatic to have broken the $2,500 per month barrier. If I can sustain it at $2,500 per month, thats $30,000 per year. While I’m not living in luxury, it’s definitely a great safety net to have. This represents a 11.9% jump from February’s passive income and it has been growing at a steady clip for quite a while now. Hopefully, I shouldn’t have a problem maintaining it.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Online Income: $1645.30
  • Savings Accounts: $133.10
  • Real Estate Trust Deed: $0
  • Direct Oil Drilling Investment: $270
  • Dividends from Canroys: $517.71
  • Other Dividends: $113.38

The adsense revenue dropped from last month. It looks like I was smart-priced. Every other day my revenue would drop to a third of the regular amount, despite getting more traffic. Very strange, but if it keeps up, I expect April’s adsense revenue to drop even lower. I’ve rearranged some of the ads and substituted Adsdaq to try and compensate for this loss of revenue. Adsdaq is similar to adsense except that you state your eCPM (cost per 1000 impressions) price. If they can find an advertiser at that price, they’ll display their ads, else they’ll display an alternative ad code, which in my case is adsense.

On the other hand, Linkworth has done really well on my sites. March’s income was almost double of February’s and I expect April’s income to be atleast $150 higher. I’m very happy with their service and I strongly endorse it. It took a while to start getting income, but it looks like a winner so far.

Text-Link-Ads is also doing moderately okay although its taking more time than Linkworth. Note that you’re not allowed to use both of them on the same site, so see which one works better for you. Between the two, my favorite is currently Linkworth.

Amazon affiliate income has started to pick up and hopefully it will continue as I learn more about affiliate marketing and try out different techniques to boost it.

Surprizingly, I found out that I had earned ~$60 from Domain Embarking, a site that helps you earn money from parked domains. I had a few sites that were parked with Sedo.com. In over 2 years, I make about 24 cents with Sedo, but with Domain Embarking, now I’m making some money atleast. To be fair, the $60 was earnings for the year till date, so it could have been only $20 for March. I’ll find out how it does in April to get a better idea. Regardless, its still a whole lot better than the $0.01 per month I was making with Sedo.

Prosper is still handing out $25 signup bonuses to new lenders. When lenders who sign up through my link and fund their account, I get $25 too. That’s how I made the $175 in referral fees. I also made around $30-$35 last month in prosper loans but since they usually issue a statement around the 5th of the month, i’ll exclude that income. I usually get around $180-200 every month from the loans, of which 70% is return of principle. Calculating it manually is just too tedious.

I also made around $1,000 from my other investments and dividends. Some of the stocks pay over 10% in annual dividends. Two of the oil investments are paying 15-18%. The third oil investment is currently barely producing, but that seems like it will improve over the next few months and boost that portion of my income too. Also, as the price of oil stays around $100 per barrel, the monthly payout (which is typically delayed by 3 months) will increase a little bit.

The Federal Reserve will probably continue to keep dropping interest rates so my savings interest will probably keep dropping. Luckily its a small portion of my income so the $6 drop from last month isn’t very significant.

While I made this income, I also had some expenses that I should disclose as well.  I pay about $119.40 for annual hosting on Dream Host. It’s awesome and I strongly recommend it. They have one click install for wordpress, php forum software, mysql databases and other stuff. I’ve used GoDaddy in the past and I didn’t like their interface at all. Dream Host is a lot easier to use in my opinion. If you use coupon code “PassiveIncome” you’ll get $19.40 off the annual fee or you can use “Dividends” to get free domain registration. I also pay around $40 for domain registrations which I usually register with 1 and 1. At $6.99, they’re pretty cheap. On a monthly basis, these costs work out to less than $14.

I’ve also signed up with an automated article submission tool called Jetspinner that lets you create multiple unique versions of the same article for submission to article directories. This is a great method to created targeted backlinks to your site.  Jetspinner is free but its sister product Jetsubmitter costs $17 per month and automates the account creation and article submission to 500+ directories.

I also spend between $300-500 a year on financial articles, books, magazines and newsletters which works out to about $20-40 per month. So in all, my expenses are about $60 on average per month.

Having a side income that sufficiently large to allow you to pay the rent and put food on the top is a great stress reliever. As you can see, I have multiple streams of diverse income. If one of them drops off (like maybe adsense), my passive income doesn’t just totally disappear.

I hope I’ve inspired all of you to try and boost your passive income or maybe add new sources to increase your current income streams. Let me know how you’re all doing.

I’ve finally broken the $2,000/month in passive income! Passive income for February 2008 was $2,383.55. Not bad considering I wasn’t even in the country!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Online Income: $$1399.29
  • Savings Accounts: $138.43
  • Real Estate Trust Deed: $0
  • Direct Oil Drilling Investment: $277
  • Dividends from Canroys: $509.11
  • Other Dividends: $59.72

As usual, I ignored any income from Prosper loans. I did however include the $100 in referrals fees. If you’ve been thinking of lending or borrowing money on Prosper, now is a good time to do it. They’re still offering a $25 incentive to new members.

Canadian government takes its 15% tax on the dividends from Canroys, so the income is after-tax. You get a tax credit for this amount in the US so there’s no double taxation.

I’m also getting affiliate referral income from Linkworth.com. For every person that signs up, they give 5% of the income they earn for life! The $200 that I got in February was actually the income I earned in January. For February, I’ve actually earned $410.98, of which most of it is referrral income. But since I won’t get paid until March, I’m going to count that next month. Linkworth will probably be the largest income stream next month. Its a great way to boost your site’s revenue.

The Kontera income dropped 44% from last month. I haven’t spent much time analyzing that so I’m not sure what happend. Overall traffic is up so I’d expect the kontera revenue to also increase, but the opposite occurred. I guess it is correlated with the type of posts. I’ve seen that posts related to gold do very well for PayPerClick advertising.

As I mentioned last month, my real estate trust deed has defaulted. Luckily, the oil drilling programs have started to kick-in and have almost replaced that income.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the results. Hopefully, I’ll be able to break the $3,000/month barrier pretty soon.

Until recently, domainers used to park domains with nothing but ads on them. They tried to get traffic from mis-spelt URLs or people who’d directly type a URL in the location bar. There wasn’t any content to attract the search engines, so unless they were paying to direct traffic to their site, the number of eyeballs was pretty low. However, if they did a good job of providing relevant links, the user was likely to click on them, if nothing else then atleast to get away from their site. I had several sites parked with Sedo.com and so far I’ve made $0.24 over a 2 year period! Pretty lousy way to park domains.

However, a site called Domain Embarking is trying to revolutionize the way domains are parked. Instead of putting up a site with nothing but ads, they’ve come upon an automated way to ad relevant content to your site.

Through their user-friendly dashboard, you can add your Domains (which may be registered elsewhere) and fill out 3 fields regarding keywords you’d like to target and the title. There’s a useful tool that tells you what the top searched keywords are for that title so you can modify your title to include them. There’s also a preview tool so you know what your site will look like beforehand.

Their content-generating tool automatically generates several pages worth of content for you with news clips, photos, a paragraph from wikipedia and ads from Google. Quite an innovative idea. Apparently search engines index these sites and visitors have been reported to bookmark them.

So compared to the old “spam sites” created by companies like Sedo, you get actual sites that people enjoy visiting. And if you’d like to spend more than the 60 seconds it takes to fill out the keyword and title details, you can go in advanced options and tweak some more fields and maybe add a paragraph of your own text.

Even their revenue share model is quite interesting. They keep 50% of the ad revenue and the members get the other 50%. Members earn Premiere Shares, which entitle you to a certain % of the profits. You get additional shares for each site you “embark” with them. According to their site, 1 Premiere Share entitled members to $15.11 during the last quarterly distribution. You also get Premiere Shares for referring new clients and their since service is free so you might as well get cracking!

They also provide web hosting and domain registration plans, but I prefer cheaper alternatives like 1and1.com for domain registering and Dreamhost for hosting (Use code DIVIDENDS and get free domain registration at Dreamhost).

As soon as I heard about Domain Embarking, I had to try it out. Opening an account took 1 minute and then I added my domain Cosmetic Forums, a site that I wanted to develop into a forum on plastic surgery but I’ve never had the time. Parked at Sedo, it was generating $0, it had no traffic and wasn’t even indexed. If you see the image, you’ll understand why. Lots of irrelevant ads.

Site Parked At Sedo

However, the new and improved Embarked version looks much better. There’s some static content (below the fold and thus not visible in the image below) and some dynamic images and videos that change every time you refresh the page. At the top of the page there are links to News and other pages. Click through and check it out. Its still not perfect, but considering it took only a 1 minute to create, its a thousand times better than the Sedo-parked page was.

Site Parked With Domain Embark

Now I’m satisfied with the results, I’ll be porting all my sites over to Domain Embark. Even if they don’t generate any traffic, they’ll get indexed and that will at least increase their resale value.

There is also another domain parking service called WhyPark? They charge a one time fee of $99.95 and similar to Domain Embarking, they also creates content-rich websites automatically. However, I haven’t tried it so I can’t really recommend how it works or whether its better than Domain Embarking.

Check out the investment and business store if you’d like to buy turnkey websites on various topics like real estate, cars, health, etc.

UPDATE : As of April 1st 2008, I’ve earned $60 this year, or around $20 per month. Compared to Sedo.com’s average of 1 cent per month, this is a much better result! Now that I’m making money, I can now declare that Domain Embarking’s free domain parking service is a better alternative to Sedo’s domain parking and probably even GoDaddy’s low cost domain parking. GoDaddy’s CashParking service has 2 packages ranging between $3.50 and $9.99 per month. Godaddy’s service cost is negligible for people who do domain parking in bulk quantities, but it doesn’t provide the automated text generation and so I don’t think there’s anyway to develop any sort of indexing.