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My thoughts on the big 3 – Shoemoney, ProBlogger and Chow

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First off I want to say that I’m very new to the area of making money online via passive income streams. I’ve been in the field of web development over the course of 8 years, and my primary source of income is designing web applications for clients. So I’m not new with the web… just the enterprise of affiliate marketing and professional blogging.

When I started, I stared with Google AdSense on a community site resource web site I stared in 2000. Earnings were incredibly meager, approximately $5 – $15 per month. Nothing to get excited about, but as the months went by and my education of this field grew, earnings have been steadily increasing. My sites have grown, and I’ve joined multiple networks to help understand what pays for me, and what is not working so hot. Now, I’m breaking the $1000 per month threshold. Still nothing to get too excited about, but I’m seeing trends, and I’m starting to understand the ‘game’.

Through the course of learning about this field, I’ve discovered ShoeMoney.com, ProBlogger.net and JohnChow.com. To me these, are the sites to hit on a daily basis. They all offer various techniques and tips to help grow your business. Being a web developer and network/systems admin as well, I can relate to the hacking world, and how they break down characters. Black hats, grey hats and white hats. White hats are ‘good’, grey bounce around a bit and their ‘good’ behaviour can often be lumped in with the bad.. or blackhat.

When I look at the ‘big 3’. I seem them broken down into these groups.

ProBlogger.net – Darren Rowse. Talk about a Whitehat. I really enjoy his dedication to blogging and offering quality, thoughtful content for his readers. I really enjoy the fact that he avoids bragging and showing off, yet still gives the solid impression that he knows his business and knows it well. My only complaint about him is that he promotes the thought that ‘anyone’ can succeed at blogging, which is true, but succeeding at monetizing the blog and making a solid return takes a ton of work, beyond writing quality content. I like the inspiration, but he should give those warning flags of failure, and failure not due to content, but lack of effort, lack of imagination and lack of skill. The big 3 have skills to pay the bills, and do so!

I also want to say I really enjoy Darren’s video blog. You really get to see the person behind the site, and get a feel of what he’s about. I don’t know him, never met him, but I would like to. He seems like a very genuine guy.

Next, I would label ShoeMoney.net – Jeremy Schoemaker as a grey hat. I’ve read his blog every day of 2007, and I’m sure he would agree on being a greyhat. I believe he likes to test to the edge and see what happens. If there is a problem with TOS or policy, then he would fall back to compliance, but the ‘edge’ realm is a good place to make some untapped dollars, and being first is a good place to be.. but often risky. Since he pulls some incredible weight with affiliates, they’ll give him some wiggle room vs just banning him right away, so that’s a definitely an advantage.. and he’s wise to take it. I also like the fact that he promotes multiple sources of revenue. He’s most famous for the Google check, but I enjoy hearing about PPC campaigns, direct banners and creative web applications (ie: AuctionAds) that he can build and sell.

He’s what my dad would call and idea-guy, but he’s more than that. Since he has a solid background in programming and UNIX administration, he has the ability to test interesting ideas. More skills in my opinion is equal to more money. He’s now at the point where he has a programmer (dillsmack), and that just adds more to the strong base skill set. What I take away from ShoeMoney are the items ‘between the lines’. Obviously, he doesn’t draw a blue print for you to succeed, but rather that foundation you need to have to succeed. I really appreciate the topics of ‘Just doing it’ and ‘testing’. That’s truly the secret in my opinion. Try new things see if it works, see if it doesn’t work and learn how to make it better.

Just as ProBlogger, Shoemoney has a radio show that I enjoy as well. This is a great place to pull some tips since it’s unedited and live, and things can just ‘come out’ that might be very valuable if you’re listening. I would love to meet Shoemoney some day as well

Lastly, and I hate to call John Chow, of JohnChow.com, a ‘blackhat’, but under his own addmition at NetZero last week, he referred to himself as ‘evil’. Of course he’s not ‘evil’, but he likes to push the lines past the edge, and that pays for him as well. He recently got hammered by Google, and his site ranks low for John Chow, but that’s okay. He made some lemons into lemonade by getting rid of low paying AdSense blocks and selling high priced ad space.

Luckily, he’s at that position to make those adjustements. I enjoyed his talk on NetZero about not limiting yourself to one revenue stream (as all of you should already know).. but saying that you shouldn’t rely on one source of traffic (ie: Google). This wasn’t as obvious to me, but I took it to heart. Just like generating new revenue streams, it’s important to figure out other opportunities to bring in traffic (ie: paid traffic, social networking sites and other various search engies).

I really enjoy how he discloses his revenue and what works and what didn’t. His lumps can save me and you time depending on what you’re doing. I just started reading Chow that last few months, but I really dig what he has to say.

If you’re thinking about getting into affiliate marketing and monetizing your web sites, I would start with these blogs. Read read read, watch, listen, read, read and read some more. They’re designed to help develop your own plan and techniques.

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