This is going to be a bit of a rambling post but I thought it was time enough to bring everything up to date in a mind dump sort of way so here goes.
Life is good, very good in fact. Moving away from finding angles, margins and “exploits” for making money from the internet was the best decision I could have made when Google made it almost impossible to carry on as I was. The various Google algorithm updates started in 2012 killed affiliate marketing for the majority, yeah there are a few left that play high stakes poker, spending huge amounts of money on paid traffic for a 5-10% margin but I mean for the average man on the street Google killed things. Even those people out there that you THINK are super affiliates, they’re not really. The ones that prosper survive by pushing information frauducts knowing fine well that it’s only a matter of time before the authorities catch up with them. The time when you could out rank a genuine product supplier with a few tricks and a couple of dodgy backlinks and take a commission has gone. Trust me, pre 2012 that’s what my entire game was about! The other mega affiliates have bailed and resorted to filling their once “super cool” blogs about how they’ve made millions with affiliate marketing up with Adsense adverts…whilst still chucking in the odd bullshit product on the off chance they snag a sucker(not mentioning anybody whose name may rhyme with Poo).
From my perspective I’m more than happy with where work has landed me, I spend 90% of my work time developing what I want to develop. In the last year it includes games for Android, iOS and Windows Phone mobile platforms (including a completely solo project called Asteroid Run). They make money on an on-going basis without the worry of Google having a brain fart! In the last week I had my first Alexa skill published, of course there is no money in Alexa but the actual experience was very satisfying, it’s also opened up a few doors with other businesses interested. At various other times I’ve written a couple of REST JSON API’s, come up with a Twitter integration that has allowed me add 200-500 extra genuine followers a month and fully automated my most profitable website, adding something in the region of 30,000 lines of code consuming 7 different APIs and bringing right back to life in terms of rankings. Right this minute I’m taking a break from a couple of cross platform mobile applications that should be released before Christmas, not to mention a football game due out early next year. Yes I still update a couple of active websites but these days it’s only when I’m in the mood and I definitely don’t consider it a part of my work, no more article grinding. The money that pays me comes from PPC mobile adverts and commissions from related businesses that are tied to my software, not my web pages. I can use my software to drive traffic to my web pages if needs be. I’m not going to pretend that my earnings now are as good as they were in 2010 BUT the peaks and troughs are gone, worrying about Google is gone. Since I started on this route and got the initial collapse in earnings out of the way I’ve seen steady 10-15% growth year on year.
Overall there is still a load of money to be made via the internet, it just means creating something of value! Shortly before Tyler Cruz went silent I left a ranty comment on his blog explaining this point. If you’re not happy running your own business creating value then there is absolutely no shame in working for somebody else. If you come from a similar affiliate marketing background then I can guarantee your skills will be hugely valuable to other “real” businesses. The basics of what we used to to do position content is all the push many businesses need for them to see great returns. Yes certain affiliate things still work, for example you can still make a bit of money using my 7Search technique (bloody hell I can’t believe I wrote that 7 years ago!!), but at the end of the day it’s not going to pay all your bills and there is a good chance that any really profitable offer you find will be unavailable as soon as you start really cashing in. Creating products and services for a real web business is where it is at. Haven’t got the skills? The internet affords us an almost unlimited supply of learning material, it has never been as simple or cheap to be educated. Once you have your product or service then SEO has never been easier for real businesses to rank and get free traffic. The thin affiliates are gone, people can’t chuck up a 5 minute WordPress website and out rank you. Get your Google business listing, get your verified SSL certificate, update on a regular basis, be active on the social networks, keep your basic on-the-page factors good, you 100% will get free traffic in all but the most competitive markets. I’m going to leave you on that point, it’s one I can’t over emphasise enough, real businesses rank, it’s what Google always wanted, it’s what for the most part they have achieved. The days of the website affiliate are over.