Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June ’11]

June was a great month overall – it appears my “productive” feeling from May actually paid off, although I’m sure the best is yet to come.  Certain areas of my income saw record numbers, while others have declined slightly.  Overall, I think I’m headed in the right direction.

As always, I write these reports to show you that someone who has a full time job and spends a relatively small amount of time outside of work on his online income activities can still achieve a steadily growing stream of passive income.

[Read my write-up here]

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you pretty much know the drill with Lending Club. It’s a peer-to-peer lending site that I feel is my only true source of passive income (i.e. once I’m invested, I make money by doing virtually nothing).   As of the end of June, I was invested in 92 loans (+2 from May) and my net annualized return was 6.97% (-0.41% from May).

I’ve determined that the primary reason my returns have declined over the past couple of months is because I’ve been investing in less risky loans over the past several months compared to when I originally started with Lending Club.  I used to invest in a lot of high return loans (10-12%), but since then have added a lot of loans in the 5-7% range.

As I always point out, my current interest rate at Lending Club far exceeds that of any type of “safe” investment like money market bank accounts and CDs (certificates of deposit). It’s important to keep in mind that Lending Club loans are riskier than these other types of investments.  However, I strongly believe that the additional risk is more than compensated for by the higher rate of return.

Here’s a visual from Lending Club that I think will highlight for you exactly how great this source of passive income is:

To me, this is astonishing. For investors with 800+ loans (i.e. you can’t say it’s a “small sample size”), the vast majority have seen returns of 6%+.  No one of those investors has actually lost money (i.e. 100% of the returns have been positive).

Here’s an image from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:

If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can sign up with this link and get a free account.  If you’re unsure whether this type of investing is right for you, you can deposit a small amount (loans can go as small as $25) and become familiar with it.

To me, trying something like this and investing a small portion of your money is a no brainer. You’re going to get higher returns than a bank account, and although it locks up your money for a period of time (you are generally paid back over 3 years), it’s well worth the ability to have your money earn you money, with virtually no effort on your part.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

Ironically, after finally writing articles for the first time in 6 months, my earnings decreased.  It just goes to show you that earnings can and will be volatile regardless of what you do.  All you can do is continue to work hard, add content, diversify, and the earnings will come.

As of the end of June, I have written 130 articles (+2 from last month).  Here are my June Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:

In June, I earned a total of $63.44 from my Info Barrel articles (-$21.83 from May).

June InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $63.44
  • Amazon Associates:          $0.00
  • Chitika:                                    $1.56
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $65.00 (-$24.90 from May)

If you want to add InfoBarrel to your passive income portfolio, you can sign up for it here.

Niche Site Duel

As a part of Pat Flynn’s niche site duel,  I created a niche site last September based on P90X, an extreme home fitness routine.  I feel like a broken record when I say this, but yes, I’m still struggling to rank this site.  As you may have seen, I wrote a post attempting to analyze what the issue with this site might be.   The good news is, my earnings have now increased for a second straight month – the bad news is, they’re still embarrassingly small.

June Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $0.93
  • Chitika: $0.00
  • Amazon Associates:  $3.91
  • Total: $4.84 (+$2.59 from May)

Amazon Niche Site Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

In November, I launched a challenge where I’m creating several niche sites specifically tailored for Amazon’s affiliate program (i.e. selling physical products as an affiliate of, and I’m following the lessons taught in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course.  You can read my original post for more detail and you can also read the update I wrote in December.

This is one area that I’m excited about for June, because I saw record earnings since I began this “challenge” nearly 9 months ago (wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long).  Yes, earnings growth has been slow, but I’m feeling more and more confident that I’m on the right track.

In addition, I’ve started creating more sites to add to this portfolio, and I’m outsourcing all of the content creation and SEO.  Some of my new sites will be more AdSense focused, but I will continue to monetize with both Amazon and AdSense, with some other occasional affiliate programs.

For my new sites, I will be using a new Amazon plugin that I reviewed here.

Here are the stats for June:

# of Amazon niche sites: 10 (+2 from May)

Total June Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $110.80 (+$82.89 from May)

My Authority Website

As I detailed here, I’ve started an authority website that I have big plans for.  I’m taking the process very slow and steady, but I’m making progress and foresee good things in the near future.

There isn’t much for me to report as of right now – I’m slowly adding content and I am seeing a little bit of organic trickle traffic (0-5 visitors/day), but no earnings to speak of yet.

Misc. Affiliate Income

My miscellaneous affiliate income saw an increase once again.  Here’s the breakdown for June:

  • Adsense: $2.89
  • Amazon: $0.00
  • ClickBank: $324.48
  • Commission Junction: $151.00
  • PayDotCom: $0.00
  • Private Advertising: $35.00
  • Market Samurai: $0.00
  • Other Misc.: $208.05

Total Affiliate Earnings for June: $721.42 (+$35.85 from May)

Although I did write a “product promotion” post this month (for the EasyAzon plugin), you might be interested to know that it only accounted for $75.33 of my Clickbank earnings.

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of June’s earnings.  Instead of summarizing it by source (i.e. AdSense, Amazon, etc.), I’m going to summarize by project/challenge, which I think makes a bit more sense.

  • InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge: $65.00
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $4.84
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $110.80
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $721.42

Grand Total for June: $902.06 (+$96.43 from May)

Although I still haven’t broken $1,000, I definitely can’t complain about another month of increasing earnings!

Popular Posts

These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in June based on number of views:

1) Online Passive Income and Blog Update [May '11]

2) How Efficiently Do You Build Amazon Niche Sites?

3) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

4) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

5) How to Make $2,000 Per Month Writing for InfoBarrel

Until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income projects!

If you enjoyed this income report, subscribe to the RSS feed (if you haven’t already) so that you don’t miss any future updates. Thanks so much!

March April
Amazon AdSense CPA Total Amazon AdSense CPA Total
1 25.00 5.60 30.60 - 0.02 - 0.02
2 2.89 2.97 5.86 6.05 2.20 - 8.25
3 13.83 0.68 14.51 - 0.75 1.25 2.00
4 15.56 9.06 24.62 18.09 3.64 - 21.73
5 1.23 0.47 1.70 - 1.94 - 1.94
6 0.21 1.37 1.58 - 3.07 - 3.07
7 - - - - - - -
8 - - - - - - -
$ 58.72 $ 20.15 $ - $ 78.87 $ 24.14 $ 11.62 $ 1.25 $ 37.01


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Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June '11]

Related posts:

  1. Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July '11]
  2. Online Passive Income & Blog Update [December '10]
  3. Online Passive Income & Blog Update [March '11]

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Newbie Niche Site Month #2: The Results

As of yesterday, the second Newbie Niche Site Month was over.  I sent out over 40 domains over the course of the past month or so, and hopefully many of you were able to take advantage of it.  Even if you did nothing with the domain ideas, hopefully it sparked some ideas in your mind of product-based niche sites that you can build.

I know people spend a lot of time talking about niche sites online, but as I’ve pointed out before, there may be some of you who have never created one before and don’t know the first thing about where to start.  That’s perfectly okay.  The one thing that people rarely do is hand you actual ideas and URLs for you to run with, but that’s what I’ve done here.  Now, I know it would be better to teach you how to find domains rather than just give them to you, but all of that information is readily available through a simple Google search (and I wrote an article on it awhile back).

As I did last time, I wanted to recap exactly what Newbie Niche Site Month consisted of for those who didn’t receive the e-mails (and yes, I’ll list out all of the domains I sent out).

This is basically what Newbie Niche Site Month was:

  • Each week, for 4 weeks, I shared with those on my newsletter list, a list of exact keyword domains.  Having an exact match keyword domain is extremely powerful when it comes to ranking for that keyword in Google’s search engine results.
  • The reason I targeted this special series toward “newbies” is because these keywords generally receive 1,000-2,000 exact searches per month.  This is still plenty of traffic to create a profitable niche site, but those of you who are already experienced may have your sights set a bit higher.
  • All of these URLs were related to products (specifically, products that can be found on, consistent with the Amazon niche site challenge I’ve undertaken.  I know it’s been awhile, but I’m finally seeing some nice results with my Amazon sites, which I will be sharing in my next income report.

Here Are The Domains!

More than likely, these domains have all been registered, but I’m showing you them here just in case you missed out on the e-mails and are curious what kinds of domains I researched and sent out.  Keep in mind, all I did was research the availability of each domain and search traffic of each keyword.  I’m leaving it up to you to take it the rest of the way and properly research the competition, etc.

  1. ChildrensCrocs .org – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  2. cheapdesignerdresses .net – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  3. cheapdesignerdresses .org – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  4. halogenovenreviews .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  5. catenclosuresforoutdoors .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  6. multimeterreviews .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  7. multimeterreviews .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  8. halogenconvectionoven .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  9. halogenconvectionoven .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  10. scootergrips .org – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  11. scooterrazor .net – 1,000 exact  monthly searches
  12. scooterrazor .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  13. castironfirepit .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  14. openfacehelmet .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  15. helmetsforsale .net – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  16. helmetsforsale .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  17. brisketslowcooker .net – 2,400 exact monthly searches
  18. brisketslowcooker .org – 2,400 exact monthly searches
  19. slowcookerbrisket .net – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  20. slowcookerbrisket .org - 1,900 exact monthly searches
  21. scooter250cc .com – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  22. scooter250cc .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  23. scooter250cc .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  24. snowmobilehelmet .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  25. carbonfibermotorcyclehelmets .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  26. hardplastickiddiepool .net - 1,600 exact monthly searches
  27. poolgamesforkids .net – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  28. poolgamesforkids .org - 1,600 exact monthly searches
  29. poolinflatables .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  30. 2personcardgames .com – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  31. 2personcardgames .net – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  32. 2personcardgames .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  33. oneplayercardgames .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  34. oneplayercardgames .org - 1,000 exact monthly searches
  35. hummingbirddepthfinder .net – 1,600 exact monthly searches
  36. filterwaterbottle .com – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  37. filterwaterbottle .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  38. camelbackwaterbottle .org – 1,300 exact monthly searches
  39. 8mantent .net - 1,600 exact monthly searches
  40. duvetcoversking .org – 1,900 exact monthly searches
  41. twinduvetcover .net – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  42. twinduvetcover .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  43. comparedishwashers .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches
  44. germanknives .org - 1,300 exact monthly searches
  45. victorianchairs .org – 1,000 exact monthly searches

Some Random Closing Notes

  • Although it did take me awhile to research all of these keywords and domains, it hardly takes any time at all to find one.  You can do it without spending a dime – find your ideas by browsing and use Google’s Keyword Tool to find out about the keyword’s traffic.  Use your preferred domain registrar or a site like Domain Whiz (free) to check a domain’s availability.
  • Before you actually develop a site, I definitely recommend doing a bit of research on your keyword’s competition.  You can do this by evaluating the sites on page 1 of Google, but I prefer to use Market Samurai to help with that (free trial).
  • There are still thousands of unregistered domains out there with lots of income potential, just waiting for you to find them.  I said it last time I wrote a recap post, and I’ll say it again:  Every day, profitable domains are invented.  Every time a new product is released, you could potentially create a review site based around that product.  Keyword searches are always evolving, so therefore, good domain availability is too.

What do you think?  Let me know what you thought about this e-mail series, if you were one of the people who followed it.  Thanks!


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Newbie Niche Site Month #2: The Results

Related posts:

  1. Let’s Recap Newbie Niche Site Month (And Answer Some Questions)
  2. My Gift to You: Newbie Niche Site Month
  3. Let’s Do It Again: Newbie Niche Site Month #2

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Niche Site Duel – Update #8: Where the !*?# is My Site in Google?

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an official niche site duel update (although I track my progress monthly in my income reports), and there’s a good reason for that: My site has acted much like a ship that has sunk to the bottom of the ocean – it’s still there, but it’s not going anywhere.

Foolishly or not (it’s debatable), I’ve still continued to work on the site periodically.  What was once a promising niche site has now become a rehab project.  I expected the ups and downs early in the site’s life due to your standard Google dance, or whatever you want to call it, however I never expected that 9  months later I would still be trying to get the site in motion.

Anyway, let’s do some analysis…

A Look at the Past

Before I begin to try and analyze what’s wrong with my site, I first want to take a look at where the site has been in its 9 months of existence.  There was a time (albeit a very short time) where the site showed a lot of promise.  As you may recall, after a few months of the site’s existence, I switched my targeted keyword from “P90X review” (9,900 exact searches per month) to “P90X reviews” (60,500 exact searches per month).

For awhile, I ranked near the bottom of page 1 for “P90X review” and saw 15-20 visits per day (traffic image reposted below).

When I switched the domain to and targeted the new keyword, I was expecting a big change.  Eventually, I saw the change come into effect – Here’s a snapshot I posted back in January:

For a few days, I ranked within the top 5-6 spots on Google.  The traffic was outstanding, and I saw that the earning potential of the site could be $1,000+ per month.  Of course, as the image above shows, the site’s ranking fell off the charts, and I’ve once again been left in the dust.  Although the site continues to receive a little traffic each day from various long-tail keywords and some Bing/Yahoo searches, the results are insignificant.

Where It’s at Today

It almost goes without saying – I’m not ranking well for any of my target keywords.  Let’s see what Market Samurai shows…

As you can see, however, it’s not like I’m deindexed or anything.  Just ranking very poorly.  Because all we care about is ranking on page 1 of Google, here’s how my site compares to the page 1 sites for my prime keyword target “P90X reviews”:

[Click to enlarge]

I’ll analyze this in more detail below.

Why Has My Site Fallen Off the Face of the Earth?

Obviously, I don’t know why exactly I’ve had issues with ranking, and if I was really motivated, I’m sure I could pay someone to do a more professional analysis.  To me, this niche site was supposed to be a learning experience (which it has been), so I’m fine with slowly figuring things out on my own instead of paying someone to do it for me.

1) The .ME domain

This could be one potential aspect of this niche site that’s working against me.  The jury is still out on the effectiveness of exact match domains for domains that are not .com/.net/.org.  Based on random anecdotal evidence that I’ve read, it seems to make sense that a .ME domain isn’t going to have the same impact as a .com domain, however I still believe I get some “credit” for having an exact match domain.  There’s no way I would’ve ever ranked in the top 5 for a few days, when I did (6 months ago) if the domain name didn’t carry some weight.

2) The backlinking process

Backlinks probably play the most significant part in SEO, so it would make sense for this to be part of the reason my site is nowhere to be found.  Overall, my backlinking has been completely “white hat” with a mix of article marketing, Web 2.0 links, forum profiles, and blog comments.  I’ve done my best to follow Pat Flynn’s “backlink strategy that works” by tracking it with my own tool, the Ultimate Backlink Tracker.

Market Samurai (in the image above) shows 255 backlinks to the domain, and 78 to the actual home page, however I know there are many backlinks that aren’t showing up there.  It would be difficult to argue that I created too many backlinks or created them too quickly, because I built them naturally.  I did outsource some of the backlinking (creating forum profiles), but it wasn’t a large portion of the overall backlink profile.

3) The quantity and/or uniqueness of content

This one is easy to answer.  The content is 100% unique (and all written by me – nothing outsourced here), and the quantity should be sufficient.  Market Samurai shows that Google has indexed 50 pages for the site.  Definitely not a “thin” site.

4) The competition

Given the fact that I’m targeting a keyword that receives over 60,000 exact searches per month, competition figures to be significant.  This is probably one of the more valid reasons why I’m not ranking on page 1, however it does not explain why I’m not on any of the first 10 pages for my primary keyword.  Even just looking at page 1, there are a couple sites I think I could feasibly outrank.

What Do You Think?

What’s the deal here?  In the first few months, I assumed my ranking disappeared as a result of the dreaded Google “sandbox,” however that is supposed to be a temporary filter.  It’s been over 6 months now, and I’ve continued to build some content and backlinks, but the site is still buried deep within Google’s search results.

If my site was somehow “slapped” (who comes up with these internet slang terms anyway?), I don’t think I’d still be receiving traffic from random long-tail keywords and still be very clearly indexed.  Also, there’d really be no legitimate reason for Google to something like that.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think…


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Niche Site Duel – Update #8: Where the !*?# is My Site in Google?

Related posts:

  1. Niche Site Duel – Update #7: A New Approach & A Wild Ride With Google
  2. Niche Site Duel – Update #3: Earnings, Rank, and Traffic Update
  3. Niche Site Duel – Update #1: Tackling A Super Competitive Niche

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