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Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Money Machine

This post has been edited after getting some comments from Jawad Farid on Oil Insights.

The Money Machine is a hypothetical machine that churns out money for you even when you are asleep. Google's ads supported search engine empire is an example. Your investment in a fixed deposit certificate could be another.

I want to build such a machine for myself---not because there is a never ending lust for money but because such a machine can let you take bold decisions in life; for example, it can empower you to work for love and not for money in your 9-6 routine.

So, what can be the possible options?

One is, of course, adsense OR any other ad brokerage system, if you can weave out interesting content on the web. Please note that there is difference in earning money by writing articles for someone and earning money by publishing something. The former is directly proportional to the effort you are putting in. The later is "scalable"---you can grow from 100 dollars to a million dollars without requiring proportional workforce.

An example is freepaisa.com, a news site for branchless banking. A quick search on who.is tells that the domain is registered by one Kaiser Shahzad, living at Malir Halt, Karachi. The domain is hosted on godaddy.com. Another quick search on linkedin for Kaiser Shahzad tells that the guy has some background on Branchless banking and is somehow associated to Fundamo. The Alexa rank of freepaisa.com is 6,422,215. There was only 1 site linking in but as soon as I post this article, there will be two, and this will impact the search engine ranking of freepaisa.com. So, the basic model is to register a domain; put in some content and get ads from Google.

How much money would this guy be making? I've no idea. In fact, in such models, nobody seems to have a precise answer. But I can give you another example.

Jawad Farid recently registered oil-price.net. If you take a look at the site, there is hardly anything appreciable from a web-designing point of view. I can say that the content on this site isn't very informative either (I might be wrong here as I have no background on petroleum or oil pricing).

Jawad Farid recently registered http://oilinsights.net and he has been providing updates on his Alchemya blog. By now, he has started making a few dollars every month. Of course, the path wasn't as simple as stated in here.

So, you go the idea? You find a topic that interests you (having an interest is important because you have to "generate content" for your website); register a domain---make sure that you use Google Insights for Search to come up with the most sought after keywords---your domain must have the targetted keyword; publish content, and make sure that you use Google Analytics to understand what is popular in your site and what couldn't gain significant momentum. To get your site listed properly on The Search Engine, you must submit your sitemap via Google Webmaster Central to Google. And finally, you must build links to your sites---in other terms, work on SEO. Once you cross all stages, you should start building a community around your website---i.e., make the visitors come again and again---and add some CPM ads apart from CPC ones.

How much money can be made in such a model? As I said earlier, nobody has the right answer. But people have left their day time jobs when this model has worked for them. Here is a list of Indian bloggers with their "estimated" adsense revenue.

While the answer is not accurately given anywhere but one thing is sure, Google Adsense is the most revenue generating for publishers, followed by Chitika. And also for sure, the amount of money generated is directly related to the traffic you have. So, just to understand how adsense works, I am temporarily adding "ads" to this blog. It's not meant to generate money but to understand the mechanics of the same.

to be continued...


  1. Anonymous3:02 PM

    I am also interested in "AdSense" like revenue model.


  2. Hi Sarfaraz...the key is to start doing it...it's the way to go for people with a few years of work experience who are shaky when it comes to taking risk related to starting their own business/ doing freelancing, etc.

  3. Dear Jay

    A quick correction. The site that I registered and run is http://oilinsights.net . The oil-price.net domain is someone completely different but with a much more effective approach. A slightly more decent design that I have been experimenting on the side is http://oil-price.riskreviews.net/, somewhat of a stealth project being used to fine tune the core sites.

    On the project adsense side, 3 months into it we are doing about 3,000 unique visitors a month and about 10,000 page views a month with an average dollar revenue of just under 3 dollars a month for the last two months. I will try and do a more detailed posts with more lessons learnt later this week so that you can avoid some of the more painful mistakes that I have made.

    So far the money machine has been a myth. Its hard work and I enjoy doing it, but the net impact has been a big hole in my wallet.

  4. Thanks for stopping by Jawad; it's somewhat of an honor on getting feedback on this blog which almost always updated in a haste due to the limited time I have.

    I'll make the corrections and update the post.

    One quick comment on Oil Insights is that you need to experiment with "ad placement." Move them towards the top. There is something called "channels" in adsense, which I believe you might be aware of.

  5. Thank you Jay for the updates. Appreciate the reference as well as the change of opinion (:)) on the usefulness of the site. I did two posts today inspired by our your post and our discussion. I hope you find them useful.

    Also thank you for the suggestion on placement. I have played with it on the Desi blog and will do the same on the oilinsights blog.

  6. The freepaisa.com is just copying 'relevant' stuff from other sources and pasting in his blog. Atleast he is citing the sources which most of us forget :)
    A better model in my opinion is to run a forum where users come and discuss 'things'. I have seen loads of traffic on gaming, development, or general audio/video discussion forums.
    Even better,,, start a torrent portal.. and see your revenue grow :)
    What do you say mate?

  7. or something like:
    where people post deals which they spot while doing their shopping. So effectively the sys admin is just running the website and the audience is attracted automatically. I myself check this website atleast 3-4 times a day.

  8. Yes, forums are nice. The best thing is that there is off-the-shelf open source forum software available; you just need hosting. But the real challenge is building a community---it's very tough unless you are a freak!