The Three Things You Need to Succeed Online...

are market timing, passion, and a unique data source. If you have none of those you are screwed. Of course you can get by well with only one of them for a long time, but the more of them you have the more sustainable your business model will be.

Published: May 16, 2007 by Aaron Wall in internet


May 16, 2007 - 1:44am


I disagree with timing to some extent. You see, you might be the first to market (online). But many smart OLM marketers will kill you if you have no knowledge of what it takes to survive online. Being first to market is not a long lasting proposition when it comes to the online market place. Truly the first thing (characteristic) you might need is a few (business) smarts!

--I talk to clients everyday that have none--

May 16, 2007 - 1:47am

Hi Jordan
True, but look at many of the search engine submission companies STILL ranking at the top of the search results, offering no real value in the current marketplace (and search marketing is a saturated market full of marketers).

Many people do well primarily based on market timing.

May 16, 2007 - 2:37am

The "search engine submission companies" that are selling these no value propositions are very, very smart business and marketing individuals. They fully understand the marketplace. Most people (consumers) have no clue what it takes to survive online thus they provide these no value added products. All the time they are capitalizing on the individuals that would have not purchased legitimate SEO or OLM due to lack of knowledge, lack of funds (for real SEO work) or a list of other reasons. You might be able to able to use these comments against me on this post " Why the Mainstream Media is Still Important ". However this is less about timing and more about market understanding. These companies have adapted to the market realizing that so many uninformed online business owners exist and they are finding ways to capitalize on them.

It is unfortunate because they devalue the true OLM or even SEO folks. But these companies existence is less dependent on the fact that they have been around for a long time and more so a factor of market understanding. Not to mention some of these companies haven’t really been around for that long. They just know what they are doing.

I guess that is my point of view with lousy SEM providers and there things (characteristic) of success online.

May 16, 2007 - 2:46am

Of course, execution needs to be pretty good to be able to take advantage of the three. But it may come from passion, of course. You can always learn SEO and marketing, but not passion :)

May 16, 2007 - 3:03am


Could you define what you mean by "unique data source?"

May 16, 2007 - 3:14am

Naveteq is used by most of the major mapping services.

Reuters has unique financial data.

The NBA has licensing deals. So do record labels. etc etc etc

Keith Miller
May 16, 2007 - 3:33am

I would definitely agree with passion. Timing is definitely important and you will reap huge short term benefits. A unique data source might already come from your passionate perspective and insight.

May 16, 2007 - 3:44am

Sweet, I have all three. I will succeed! I like it.

May 16, 2007 - 6:52am

The biggest thing I've found is make sure your business isn't 100% based upon factors out of your control.

This goes for any site that relies totally on adsense, or all those mashup sites who use free APIS. If those APIs go away, so does your site.

If 100% of your traffic comes from Google, that's another problem too.

It's when you put all your eggs in one basket that you fail.

Why Me?
May 16, 2007 - 7:35am

I don't understand is this you all have to write? Two words and you get all these contents you must generate content I really don't think you even deserve to be indexed...

The world would be different if all the content indexed was real.

Sorry I think I...
May 16, 2007 - 7:38am

Sorry I forgot to mention Seen your PPC ads too many times to know you actually payed any money for them you must have a google grant bigger than the dow jones

May 16, 2007 - 3:49pm

I'm not quite sure what you mean by uniquer data source, either. If we're talking about an individual is the unique data source their (unique) ideas/creativity?

In marketing jargon a competitive advantage, that can't be duplicated (quickly) in other words?

Or am I totally missing something?

Eric Itzkowitz
May 16, 2007 - 7:10pm


Aaron didn't say you need to be first (maybe implied it?). He said "market timing."

Market timing could mean, first, second, or even twentieth. It only matters who was where when this thing called "the right time" occurred.

Further, you'd be a amongst the business elite, if you could consistently identify the right market timing.

Just wanted to chime in!


May 16, 2007 - 8:19pm


I agree market timing is not limited to first to market however:
Wouldn't it take some level of business smarts or even market understanding to consistently identify the right market timing? If so... then I would suggest that to be among the business elite you would have some business savvy (intelligence) or alot of luck:)

May 16, 2007 - 8:30pm

Just my thoughts.

Success online, that itself is not exactly define, did you mean to make as much money as possible in the shortest time or you looking for long term, even so how long we speaking here? what is long and short?

However these three thing, market timing, passion and unique data source are actually quite important but not the only factor.

Aaron has placed them under need rather than want, I would assume what Aaron is attempting to tell us is that these three things will give us the competitive edge if we learn how to implement them wisely into our business model.

Market timing itself, is a tricky thing, how do you determine when the time is right? What are the tools for that, and and information that one need to decide, "Now is the time to act"? The truth of the matter is that we have to go about our daily business situation making decision, whether to change or stay the same, or to do something more. The key here is to equip ourselves in finding out when to move on the market. From of the methods I would suggest is to make comparison to what is existing in the market and make an offer that is unique, which better enhance people's life or solve an existing problem, that has not been solved.

Note: Being first here have their power in positioning, the real question here is first in what? You might not be the first person to come up with the idea, but you are the first person to do ________ to the idea.

** Think Positioning, Think Position What? **

As for passion, I can't say I know what passion is, but what I believe it can do is that it can keep you up until late into the night and make you want to get up early just for that very thing you are passionate about. In your tone and voice, your enthusiasm will spread, and it can be an infectious thing. When you are passionate about something, it also didn't matter if you were payed for it. You did not need the money factor to decide if you were going to do it, You decided you are going to do it because you just love it and have a passion for it. You have already made a firm decision to follow through. The chances are you will succeed, because you will make more attempts compared with you without the passion. (it isn't easy to compare with others, there is just so many issues one can bring into the topic, and things can really get out of context here, although it can be helpful, yet to what extent?)

Yes I can hear some of you going, how about the market, do they care, is it in their best interest? is there a potential market in the first place, well that is another issue all together. Let's assume yes for sake of discussion.

Unique data source, I would assume (I may be wrong, yes red flags up), Aaron is suggesting that we have information that are unique themselves in nature, (yet many of those good information will get copied around, not sure how practical this move will be) That is why he pointed to the source, even if the unique information moves around, you have an "unlimited" (depending on source) --> if it's creativity who knows the limit, einstein would agree knowledge has its limit while imagination is limitless.<-- Therefore with the source, you can continue to produce content that no other people have, and you will have the advantage to use the information to your advantage "first". (yes others will use it eventually if they find a way to utilize it, but if it's yours, you may just have more control over it and may just be able to control the flow)

I'm sorry I said too much,


May 16, 2007 - 9:07pm

How could there be a better market timing than being (one of) the first, when it comes to search?

If you spot a huge trend offline, it'll become a new market online. The sites you'll have to compete with won't be old and won't have had plenty of time to get links. Also the links they got weren't easy to get just because they were in the market when links were easier to obtain.

If you're the first to make a website in a new/not yet explored market, that is growing, people will find your site (through search + forum talk) and will link to you. Being the first to the market gives you the best chances to become 'the resource'.

How could there be any better market timing when it comes to SEO? This isn't the stock market and we can't buy put options on the SERPS, right?;-)

William Rock
May 16, 2007 - 9:28pm

Wow, I had to chime in on this topic since it seems to be a hot topic.

Aaron has a good point, in Marketing it is about getting the word out and it does follow similar guidelines within each industry.

And You must have Key Elements for a Marketing Plan to work.

The internet is always evolving and in today’s age we have seen a ton of rearranging with the search engines from how they filter out the useless content, and handle duplicate content to many other filters.

It does not matter what industry you are in, the concept still exists.

"Find the Need and Sell the Product or Service"

If I am selling a blue widget and you are selling a blue widget how do I compete with you offline? I find a week point in your sales pitch or find a better way to present it to the customer right? Well is that not the same concept with online customers with more technology driven involvement?

Depending upon the specific industry I am in will depend on what my daily activities such as what podcasts I listen to or what blogs I read.

I will normally be aware of new industry advancements, recalls, upgrades, hot topics, awards and other elements that can effect my business.I would then prepare helpful topics around those areas to help inform my clients.

I think what Aaron was trying to say was just that many people in the business today believe that if they build a website they will get rich quick. Most of these types of thinkers are not going to succeed on the internet because once the site is up they do no more work to the site and people want more information than people think.

These companies can be huge offline and never leave the ground online. One thing they need to do is be just as aggressive online as they are offline to be successful.

Market Timing = Finding the proper time to put something in someone’s face doesn’t mean they will buy it, but it gives them an answer to a need.

Passion - If someone came to me and told me about their new product but did not express their excitement then why would I want it or need it.

Unique Data Source = Unique Content is makes yourself stand out more because everyone sounds the same these days. Most of your online stores take the easy road and copy exactly from the manufacture. I don't know about you but if I am looking for a product to buy online I want to be told all about it with reviews specs and product photos. Another great data source is getting your vendors to update you on what the new and upcoming products so you can prepare your business to answer that need to your clients.

It is still all about MARKETING no matter what the acronym it is SEO, SEM, OLM, Etc.

You still need to provide "VALUE" to your customers at the same time make it visible to search engines to find and clearly be able to distribute it.

Remember that your customers are always #1 and you will aways win.

May 17, 2007 - 3:50am

I still think, that when it comes to SEO and the SERPS, no timing is better than early entry.

Does anybody know an exception, where early entry isn't the best possible timing for SEO?

May 17, 2007 - 8:04am

While early entry is an advantage, it isn't necessarily the best market timing.

A good example of successful market timing is Google themselves. They were far from the first but they came in with a great product at the perfect time (when AltaVista and Excite were getting spammed to death) to generate buzz.

An interesting example of this is going on in US politics at the moment. Both Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson have been holding back on their campaigns, looking for the right time to enter the race. There is a chance that the earliest entrants will appear 'worn' a few months down the road. Whether the tactic works or not for either of them will be interesting to see.

Ultimately, as in the offline world its about the right product/service/message at the right time. Buzz is progressively going to be the key to SEO as it can overcome the advantage of the firstcomers in Google rankings by generating massive links.

Eric Itzkowitz
May 17, 2007 - 9:00am


I agree with you as well! Yeah, you've definitely got to have some savvy, intelligence, and foresight. You've also got to have the balls to go with a gut feeling and definitely some luck! (:

If you asked Jerry, Sergey, Larry, Bill, or Steve if they knew they were in the right place at the right time, I wonder what they would say? (:

May 17, 2007 - 5:53pm

Thanks mblair. I like the example of Google for a perfect marketing timing not being early entry.

I think wordtracker's move to put out a free version of their kw tool, when overture's service was having problems, was similar (though obviously not as successful lol).

However, I think even if Google is a search engine, this example is more related to offline-marketing/offline market-timing as search engines probably don't acquire most of their new users by being found on competing search engines.

And on Google having the oldest domain and the oldest links and links from a time where links were obtained more easily (assuming it will continue to get harder, the more internet savy the world becomes) is always an advantage - 'all else being equal'..dont you have to love this silly phrase?hehe

Anyways, I think Google's market timing was really perfect for the given time frame (where search existed already).

But then again, if there had been no search engine, at all and Google had been the first search engine wouldn't this market timing have been even a moment where there was no competition at all?

Unfortunately I dont know what search engine was the first one and how it went for them? But all else being equal (technology), I bet entering the market without any competition might have been even better for Google than entering it when their competition was having problems.

Sue Melin
May 17, 2007 - 6:02pm

I have read over all of the posts, and it seems that there is truth to most of them ;
It seems that each situation is different...someone who invests in stock may play one market till it falls, and then move onto something else. Other people diversify completely from day one; they don't want any "dead" time in the cash flow game.

I think that people who gather email addressess to sell as leads might fall into the situation of only needing the timing factor. Of course, this might not been seen as a business by some, but I guess it could be.
As far as positioning goes, I think the internet can be compared to the stock market. Some people only deal in blue-chip stocks (like "Kraft", or some other well known brand), and some people buy alot of "bottom feeder" stocks, and more of them.
I think that site's like this one are examples of having a good solid nest egg. Aaron's site will always be around
because he has positioned himself as having *the* Seo
Bible of the Millineum, he has a loyal readership, and (probably due to his passion), he stays current in his field.
Unless you are building your business around a site that is full of fresh, relevelant content, you will need to have several eggs in the basket.
I guess it all depends on what you are comfortable with

May 17, 2007 - 6:05pm

I just realized, I forgot, that maybe this timing was indeed better for Google than early entry would have been, as there was already a big market/demand for search! Wow..very insightful..please forgive my myopia Im still new to marketing ;).

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