Year End Post

So we finished up at Elite Retreat yesterday. It was a bunch of fun and I think it went amazingly well. Today I am flying out at 6 AM, and thus am sleeping on the plane flight (twice in 4 days). I am moving into my new place today, and will be trying to be as lazy as possible for the rest of the year, so this blog may go without any new posts. As a 16 year old kid it was not uncommon for me to make $150 to $200 a day selling baseball cards on the weekend. When I think of how small that marketplace was, how naive and ignorant to business and marketing I was back then, how much I have learned about search and marketing since then, and then compare my income to the size of opportunity the web offers, it seems silly that I don't put a bit more effort into blowing up a large bank account.

Next year I intend to heavily dip into the arbitrage and affiliate markets. I want to shy away from reading so much about search and put much more effort into manipulating many many many more search results.

I also intend to create a site or two which is the equivalent of this site, but in different marketplaces. I am getting somewhat burned out on this site because I get the same things over and over again, and part of that fault is that for many, the attraction of SEO is the idea of creating value out of nothing, but most of us who are making money from SEO do so because we couple it with other knowledge, and / or work hard. The other part of the problem is that if I am not learning fast I feel I am dying, and it is hard to answer hundreds of daily emails, track the markets, go to conferences, stay in decent shape, save time to read and learn, while still launching other sites and ideas.

Some of the more annoying things that make me cringe

  • random instant messages from people I don't know who immediately try to extract value from me or pitch me outsourcing services

  • the emails that start with something like bought your book and was too lazy to read it. teach me everything about SEO.
  • emails from people who got scammed by some packaged solution provider that starts there service calls by asking the all important question how much room do you have on your credit card
  • the emails that tell me that I must be a scammer and the only way I am not is if I give the emailer my ebook for free
  • the scumbags who buy my ebook and then do a chargeback (costing me their $10 more than their order price) when it is probably easier and quicker just to ask for a refund
  • the emails that start with something like bought your ebook. have not read it. want a consult RIGHT NOW. or can I schedule my 15 minute consult for 4 am Saturday 3 weeks out so I can ask you to wake weird hours, blow you off, and then ask you to schedule it again.
  • Emails from greedy business people who expect me to give them multi million dollar rankings for a couple thousand dollars. I love telling these people exactly what I think of them.
  • the automated blog comments that mention the Holocaust
  • politicians that try to undermine free markets and free speech under the guise of saving the children (while dropping bombs on thousands of them in other countries to try to gain control of their oil supplies)
  • a government that outsources the printing of its own currency and goes in debt just to issue it (allegedly to help maintain its value) which is compelled to try to legislate religious and moral values. If you can't be trusted to maintain the value of your own currency then what other values can you be trusted to maintain?
  • prentending that wealth is created independantly of poverty and inequality
  • politicians and media companies that lie about global warming and push us to live under blind faith or a love of material things at the expense of our future
  • being shallow and materialistic
  • realizing how far away I am from my potential and how the world deserves so much better from me
  • realizing that when I see deep faults in others, it is just a reflection of my own flaws that I am unhappy with
  • when I let little things or little people get to me and control my emotions and cause me to do stupid or self destructive things

If I can tell a person what I think of them in 3 words there is no reason to type 6 emails. I will do my best to be as happy as possible, and, where necessary, be more crass and curt to people who make me cringe.

People and things that make me smile

  • Giovanna

  • thinking of California and a snow free winter
  • learning
  • laughing
  • working out
  • Radiohead and other good music
  • partnering with many great business friends
  • thinking of all the cool things people have done to help me out
  • thinking of all the cool tips and tricks friends have taught me
  • reading feedback from and meeting people who say I have helped them
  • knowing that lots of cool people read this blog and leave comments that help teach me, in spite of me typing pure drivl from time to time
Published: December 20, 2006 by Aaron Wall in aaron matthew wall


December 22, 2006 - 4:03am

Merry Christmas Aaron :P

You forgot to put HEX on your smiles list.

Enjoy your holiday break, when you get back it is time to put you back on the Program!

You missed the DottedOnline holiday party. Off the hook, as expected.

December 22, 2006 - 5:17am

Thank you for not being afraid to write what you feel regardless of what anyone thinks. It either gets harder or easier to do that as one gets more successful, and the option you choose says a lot about you. I admire your work and blog tremendously.

Eric Ward

December 22, 2006 - 7:46am

What a complete load of garbage. I never read your stuff. Didn't buy your book. Don't think you offer incredible value.

My New Year's resolution is to be different to everyone else and get noticed - thought I'd start early!

All the best to you and yours Aaron and keep up the great work, whether with this blog or your own stuff.



December 22, 2006 - 2:33pm


I have been searching your site for contact info, but cannot seem to find it. :(

Would it be possible to send you an email?


December 22, 2006 - 6:35pm

Congrats on a good year and thanks for the hard work.

Shawn Walters
December 23, 2006 - 12:31am

Sounds like u need a break :-)

But, I do agree, you are much too talented to concentrate mainly on SEO book. I wish you the best of luck on your move and I know if you applied yourself you'd be a fat cat with a palace in Bev Hills :)

December 23, 2006 - 7:20am

Have some great time off Aaron! This years highlight out of SES New York and Pub Con Vegas a month ago was meeting you at Pub Con. Keep up the awesome blog and don't stop the political rantings every once in a while!

December 23, 2006 - 8:34am

Happy holidays Aaron, and thanks for all the great reading and inspiration this year. You've made SEO interesting, challenging and fun.

Please don't stop updating SEOBook entirely.



December 23, 2006 - 10:18am

Thank you thank you thank you!
I was pleased to read your blog day after day and see the progress you are doing professionaly (and more important personally) . You helped me a lot with my baby names site just rethinking about the concept and ideas that lead search. I find the cognitive psychology area to be extremly important for the future of the business.

December 23, 2006 - 10:23am

I agree...the SEOBook is too good to be forgotten...keep up the great work :)

derek edwards
December 23, 2006 - 2:00pm

good work as ever, Aaron. If you're struggling for a topic for week one 2007, a list of book recommendations would be great!

Steven Jackson
December 23, 2006 - 4:33pm

It's good to see you admitting to your sometimes complete jackass comments to people. Hopefully in 2007 you'll have a fresh start and quit being such a pain in people's asses with your sometimes extremely rude "jr high" comments.

December 23, 2006 - 4:33pm

Happy holidays Aaron. I hope to hit that coast sometime before the end of summer. Hope you have a great new year. Just wash away 2006 and leave it behind. ;-)

December 23, 2006 - 6:20pm

Aaron, Thank You! Elite Retreat was fantastic, it was so good to meet you. I'm still collecting my thoughts - you gave me so many ideas, just from listening to your examples, things look different to me now. :-) Enjoy being lazy, you've earned it! Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2006 - 7:31pm

I appreciate your work and effort, and can sympathize with your getting hammered by people all the time.

December 23, 2006 - 7:52pm

You rock Aaron.

December 24, 2006 - 5:15am

Look forward to more 'drivl' for the year ahead. :)

You've certainly provided a cornerstone for many of us in terms of intellectual fodder in this ever evolving realm.

If you feel burned out on seobook, I'd like to suggest you shave off a post or two a week. But don't let it lapse as it's some of the best reading on the subject. Especially how you (and a couple others) make a conscious effort to tie business and marketing together with SEO. Happy Holidays.

December 24, 2006 - 6:09am

I think you should quit...throw in the've done your part...your the what you feel.

Just kidding man I love your blog but if you aren't happy you need to find something that makes you happy

December 24, 2006 - 8:05am

Happy holidays Aaron. Your SEO Book was great man.

December 24, 2006 - 10:24am

Great round up of this year. What you wrote reflects pretty much my plans for next year. I will focus more on putting my knowledge into action and cut down on the consulting side.

Another thing is that some of my projects will get an offline part. While affiliate sales are great, selling real products is the way to go for me.

I guess that's one of the great things of many people here who read this blog. Most of us are pretty free to do what we like to do and that's what makes the future so exciting.

I can also recommend the book "Balancing work & life" from Bill Butterworth for all you fellow workaholics out there. It kinda saved me from burning out.

All the best for 2007. I'm really curious how everyone will be in one year.

December 25, 2006 - 12:34am

This is a great post Aaron. Shows you are not just some marketing fiend sitting pretty in your castel.

In general I think blogs are absolute nonsense, where people go to spot drivel, but the number of comments you get show you have really got something going here.

Keep up the good work and enjoy your rest.

December 26, 2006 - 4:15am

Hi Aaron,
Happy holidays. Your seo book is not just a book about seo but it taught me how to approach an online business as whole. Taught me a lot about how to approach people, selling services,etc. It saves money from spending it to unwanted things like seo softwares. Thanks and again wish you happy holidays. :)

December 29, 2006 - 12:52am

Hi Aaron,

It was great seeing you in San Antonio for the Elite Retreat. It was a really cool event. You rock. Thanks for all the great advice !


December 20, 2006 - 12:53pm

Have a great time over the holidays and thanks for a year of insightful commentary and great ideas!

December 20, 2006 - 2:18pm

Just wanted to say thanks and have a great holiday. I bought and read your book finally this year and the result has been some great rankings that I am monetizing. The next step for me is also arbitration and affiliates so I look forward to reading about your work next year. Do you know of an SEOBook equivalent for these markets?

December 20, 2006 - 2:24pm

Have a great holiday break Aaron. I hope you'll come back in the new year feeling refreshed, and better about continuing this site, it's one of the better ones out there on the topic.

December 20, 2006 - 2:25pm

Brilliant post as usual.

Your roundup of scumsters is totally spot on.

Have a great relaxing time over the holidays and I look forward to your ramblings next year.


December 20, 2006 - 2:41pm

It was a great year for me on the business front, but as something enters your life, something has to give. Unfortunately there aren't 50 hours in a day!

One comment Aaron - you are much better at SEO than you are at pitching an argument about what's going on in Iraq ;-) That sounded like a cookie cutout from an extreme left-wing talk radio show host. But, I get to pitch my thoughts back, right? It's only fair. Let's have a level headed approach about this. This is the Cliff's Notes version - leaving out the conspiracy theories:

1) Early 90's: Saddam invaded Kuwait to gain control of their oil resources - obviously to gain the associated revenues.

2) The US went to Kuwait and forced Saddam out

3) We are 100% positive that Iraq did in fact have a weapons program at that time - he was brought up on charges of various war crimes that dealt directly with his use of WMDs.

4) No ties implied, but as a result of our boots on Middle East sacred ground, some guy named Osama gets a little miffed. He has tremendous backing in the region, and begins a series of attacks on the US that span a couple decades.

5) So, we now have two pretty large figures unhappy with the US. One is the head of a somewhat structured organization that has a legitimate revenue stream (Saddam, Iraq, oil). One is a freelancer gaining popularity and spreading the Anti-American hate like wildfire.

What if.... is the question I pose.

Our goals in Iraq were not clear to many Americans. I would actually love to take a poll of Americans asking where they get their news from, and how they formed their opinion about the war in Iraq. Most would say the news, followed by a buddy who got it from the news, or a friend who read it in the NY Times. Our left-wing media is really the one to blame for the lack of clarity with regards to our mission in Iraq. Seriously, turn on the TV tonight and watch Katie (picking up where Dan left off) rant yet again about what we are doing wrong, but God forbid she share anything positive.

In closing, I'll be the first to admit we didn't have a strong plan for the aftermath of our initial attacks on Saddam. We cut through their troops like a hot knife through butter, then kinda looked at each other like "what next?" However, I do believe we have done what is in the best interest of this planet. Had we NOT gone in... remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? Maybe we should consider everything that could have happened had we not gone into Iraq back in the 90's. We would be in a world of hurt and pain...

December 20, 2006 - 2:51pm


FYI, you may already know this, but for those that don't....

One thing to do with clients in the service industry is to classify them (think of a line with one end being the best client you could ever work with and on the other end your nightmare client...i.e. the guy setting an appointment at 4:00AM).

If a client falls into an unacceptable area on your line then fire that client immediately, because those clients will drain you and impact your attitude which brings a negative impact on the clients/people you enjoy working with.

Take it lazy for awhile!

December 20, 2006 - 2:52pm

cross posting allen (i'll let the pair of you argue that one out yourselves!)

Well done for another year, yet another happy reader of the book, seems there are quite a few of us!

December 20, 2006 - 3:59pm

Hi Aaron,

Enjoy.....savor....and enjoy some more, Aaron!! (without any guilt that you should be "doing something").

December 20, 2006 - 4:09pm

Kelvin - yeah, that topic is probably better suited for another time and place, but what the heck. But I would have to say anything mentioned or posted is fair game for a bit of side chatter. He can certainly wipe out my post, but then the bullet point has to come out as well haha...

Aaron knows that I think he is a great asset to the SEO community - I can tell I'm not the only one that has his blog as one of my daily bookmarks ;-)

I think one of my NY resolutions should be to strengthen my own blog and presence in this community! Wish I could afford to attend all the great off-line events but with 10-month old twins, that is pretty hard to do!


December 20, 2006 - 4:13pm

Political debates are always the best!

Fyi, you don't know me but we've exchanged emails before but thats about it. I credit your ebook for providing me a foundation, and much more importantly, an ever increasing appetite to learn as much about SEO as possible. So kudos to you for that.

Its funny how we always see more negative than positive in life when you sit down and create a list such as this, but on the bright side I think its a sign of simply wanting to improve yourself, work, and life in general (and not get bored too!).

Enjoyed the blog this year, can't wait to see whats up your sleave for '07.

December 20, 2006 - 4:30pm

Aaron, see (read) you next year... have a nice time whatever you will be doing...

December 20, 2006 - 4:42pm

Happy Holidays Aaron...thanks for a great year! Looking forward to your return.

December 20, 2006 - 5:02pm


Take it easy and get some rest; I know exactly what one of the markets you should try to get into with you new geographic location...hint, it is easier to ship now and the aggregation of the data is poor -- all you'd need is some smart writing, some creative distribution deals, and BANG. From there, it plays upon some of the points of interest you wanted to exploit for '07.

It was cool hanging out with you for a few days; I'll chat with you next month dude.


December 20, 2006 - 5:28pm

Happy Holidays :)

Thank you for your support to the "SEO community"... It helps me a lot!

December 20, 2006 - 5:43pm

Aaron, you deserve a nice long break. You know I'll be doing the same and ready to come back for more next year. :)

December 20, 2006 - 6:11pm

I loved the list. I appreciated the discussion of important topics that aren't related to SEO. You made some really good points and you should consider creating another site where you can write more widely about these ideas.

December 20, 2006 - 6:21pm


Glad to hear that it has been a year of more ups than downs. You've certainly developed your following and created your own voice in the industry.

I share your thoughts on learning, in fact, it is one of a few of the reasons I entered into web design and SEO... in both cases, you are constantly learning, and to quote a wise teacher from way back in high school, "the more you learn, the less you know." It becomes addictive, the ever pursuit to learn and try to understand more.

Like me, I think you also share the enjoyment of helping and educating others, spreading that knowledge.

An idea worth considering, of course it may or may not be any easier or better than everything you are doing today, but one that might still deliver the mix of doing, learning, teaching, and keeping the income flowing, while also possibly freeing up some time.....

The idea would be to continue to partner with people on projects, but a different twist... more of a mentoring approach. Consider it the difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish... you've already gone through much of the trial and error and could help jump start the process. So you select the people to work with, coaching through the system, perhaps one on one and/or group approach, but rather than the typical $XXK approach, you provide the mentoring and coaching, they provide the the labor, domain name, etc., and a contract is drawn up based on splitting the profits for a determined period of time.

This gives you ongoing income, the ability to continue to learn and teach, the ability to get involved in projects, and talk about great PR! After all, this industry (web as a whole) is overflowing with "gurus" charging thousands to teach you how to make it big, some maybe rightly so and others maybe this years model of snakeoil salesmen, but few if any who step up and say they are so sure in what they are teaching that they'll only take a percentage of the profits. Consider this the SEObook on steroids!

You would of course have to make sure that, like any mentoring situation, that the fit is right, and there would no doubt be a little more time and effort on the front end, but ongoing would be less and less.

Anyway, best wishes for the holidays and all of next year's ventures!

December 20, 2006 - 6:42pm

Welcome to California, Aaron.

December 20, 2006 - 6:43pm

I've read most of your entries in '06, I was even fortunate enough to see and meet you at last years pubcon.

Thank you for providing consistent quality content, although we disagree politically, I still think your talent and importance to this industry show for themselves.


December 20, 2006 - 6:44pm

I've read most of your entries in '06, I was even fortunate enough to see and meet you at last years pubcon.

Thank you for providing consistent quality content, although we disagree politically, I still think your talent and importance to this industry speak volumes.


December 20, 2006 - 7:06pm

Hey Aaron,

Very nice list, you got quite a few nods from me on many of those points. I think next year for all us SEO folks is going to be one hell of a year since all the SE's have a new pot of quarterly funding to throw into their sandboxes.

p.s. remember, come January 20th 2008 some of those things on your list might disappear (fingers crossed)

December 20, 2006 - 7:13pm

Have a great holiday Aaron and seasons greetings in advance

December 20, 2006 - 7:43pm

Don't bother with arbitrage or affiliate marketing...there's no money in either one.

Enjoy the warm weather in California. :-)

December 20, 2006 - 7:45pm

Oops, I should've previewed my comment before posting it... the first sentence was supposed to be surrounded by a <shifty eyes> tag.

Kim (cre8pc)
December 20, 2006 - 7:46pm

I look forward to reading about whatever you do next year. You've earned the rest time. Please enjoy :)

December 20, 2006 - 7:53pm

Keeping on the theme of things that make you smile...

I hope you got a kick out of some of the crazy antics from Monday night. I know I was laughing pretty hard.


The conference was extremely helpful. But moreso than that, think back to the days you and a guy named "Arizona Web Design" used to chat here and there on SEO Guy’s forum. Your posts and direct advice helped build me to the point that I could easily afford to be at the conference you just created.

And finally- The ideas you shared at that conference are going to also help make me better at business, and the fact you had the conference at all helped me make a few good friends who will undoubtedly help me in my personal career and my life.

Kudos Aaron. Give yourself more credit for helping more people than you might even realize, and sometimes in deeper ways than you think.

December 20, 2006 - 8:39pm

"prentending that wealth is created independantly of poverty and inequality"

Perhaps Aaron should put his money where his keyboard is. He should give some money to charities, because by writing his ebook and profiting African children became much poorer.

December 20, 2006 - 8:41pm

Sounds like a dating page. :)

BUT in all seriousness take care, a break from all this could do you well Aaron in the New Year.

December 20, 2006 - 9:41pm

Thanks for continuing to write that "usefull drivl" that for some reason always continues to teach me. Even when it is something I've read a few times before there is always a new light when I read your posts on the subject. My wife and I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday.

December 20, 2006 - 9:58pm

Thank you Aaron, for:

The Book
The insight
The advice
The respect to answer a "dumb head" like me
The tips (Yeah!!!)
The truth
The forum
The tools
The tricks

Thank you.

December 20, 2006 - 11:22pm


Thank you for the tremendous amount of good work you put into this blog during 2006. The consistently good content is appreciated.

Sophie Wegat
December 20, 2006 - 11:42pm

Have a happy and safe Christmas Aaron. Hope the move goes well.

December 21, 2006 - 3:07am

Right on, Mr. Wall!

I could go through your archives and find enough information to help me for the next few years... so, thank you for that!

Happy Holidays!

December 21, 2006 - 4:01am

To Aaron and All...

Merry Christmas!!!

December 21, 2006 - 4:02am

holy shit there are some long winded people that post comments on your blog

December 21, 2006 - 4:37am

Happy holidays :)

December 21, 2006 - 4:42am

If getting away from seo is what will make you happy then get away. I will be sad to see you go, but glad that someone is following their heart and making the world a much more grooyvy place. Take care.

December 21, 2006 - 6:09am

SEO is full of scumbags. No wait... every industry is full of scumbags.

Just wanna say thanks for giving so much of your time to the industry at no cost through this blog and all the other stuff you do, in spite of the fact that the scumbags will take whatever they can and still send you crappy emails.

Hope father Christmas brings you lots of jars of peanut butter ;-)

December 21, 2006 - 6:49am

Aaron, please keep up the great work. I hope the Elite Retreat was good enough to repeat.

Thank you!

December 21, 2006 - 8:20am

I've enjoyed reading your blog, now that you've built such a reputation, have fun making even more money. Manipulating search results is fun, especially if you enjoy producing content and networking.

Have you thought about working more with mixed media? I find video to a be both profitable and a lot of fun. I plan on adding regular video segments to both my blogs (business and personal) in addition to potentially doing some work with flash interaction (while keeping search / users in mind).

Free Templates
December 21, 2006 - 9:35am

Your blog is great, Aaron Wall. Captivating. Love reading it.

Im happy for your life. It seems so happy lolx. Im not saying that mine is not good, maybe lesser.

However lets not start comparing life. Lets look forward to a new year!


December 22, 2006 - 12:59am

Merry Christmas! I look forward to more entertaining and informative posts in the new year! Nice work!

December 22, 2006 - 3:57am

Every single reader of this blog can't thank you enough. You've given infinite amounts of knowledge that's more valuable than money. You've changed the lives of a few, and the attitudes of many.

Sit back, relax, you've done more than enough this year. Stop thinking about work so much, do something for yourself and your girlfriend :)

Thank you.

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