- Make Easy Money on YouTube, Guaranteed

Remember seeing all those ads about making easy money with AdSense? Pretty soon those hucksters will be displaying ads on how to make easy money on YouTube, based in part on this NYT article about how a couple YouTube video creators are making $20,000 a month. As Cory Williams said "I didn’t start it to make money, but what a lovely surprise."

When evaluating such "opportunities" one must remember that there are mathematical outliers on every large social network. Generally it is a fools game to chase such a position, because many who are at the top accidentally ended up in the position (see above quote), and your odds of being 1 in 1,000,000 are precisely 1 in 1,000,000.

Many more people chasing that "opportunity" will only pollute the medium and force their relevancy algorithms to show less diversity, making it even harder to get noticed in a noisy market. Google encourages cut throat competition to create diversity, and then filters out the bottom 95% to 99% to maintain quality. Pet rocks may be fun (for a while), but nobody wants to be a pet rock ;)

The NYT article mentions that one of the two people they profiled openly admitted to using product placement in his videos to generate half of his income. Google believes that buying/renting links that get your site placed well in the search results is evil, but it also believes that selling links by the click and unmarked product placements in videos are fine business strategies.

Published: December 12, 2008 by Aaron Wall in videos


December 12, 2008 - 4:06am

I sometimes cry and sometimes laugh when I read those one-page
"system that makes 30 000$ a month while you eat chips and watch tv".

How can people be that naive. Thats strange

Who would share a "system" that generates 30 000 dollars a month on autopilot for 50 bucks and create huge competition.
for himself. Oh wait, people who buy this make me sad. I am sad now


December 12, 2008 - 10:15am

Unfortunately i see good sensible people fall prey to this.....i see this all over DP and these days some so called guru is launching this money-making affiliate marketing strategies for $ 2K right in DNForum. I recently received stomperNET videos free from a friend and came to know people r paying $800 per month for this program. Then i calculated the resources in terms of time n energy that would be spend on learning those spamming techniques. (thats all i know about stomperNET, if it is incorrect do correct me) .I have a lot of respect for Dan Thies but its more of spamming i was told whereever i made a sincere attempt to know more abt it. N Finally i figured out it wasnt worth that much of an effort to watch hours of videos and digest a ton of info n then feel duped. Even if it worked for sometime n then google starts filtering it still its not time well spent. Instead i would use that much of time n energy in getting few genuine links that would make the time more fruitful.

December 12, 2008 - 2:49pm

Get rich quick schemes fail, no matter where they occur. It is a shame that the Internet makes it easier than ever to believe you have a chance at this pie in the sky. And as Aaron points out, it is people who are chasing the opportunity that pollute the medium, just like it is in most things. The Internet just makes it easier to try less and still believe you have a chance.
But the bottom line is, you don't get something for nothing, at least not for long. Never have, never will.

December 12, 2008 - 3:11pm

I had an interesting thing happen to me last Saturday. My wife has a toystore in a small out of the way town in the Thumb of Michigan. She was marching in the Christmas parade, so I was manning the store. While I was standing behind the counter a young man came in and wanted to chat. He told me he was in town to sell trinkets to the people watching the parade, but his real job was as a Search Engine Optimization expert. I am sure my eyebrows jumped three inches.

I said, "So you're an SEO?" He seemed to be surprised in his turn that I knew the acronym. I told him I had a couple of websites. He then told me he had been working diligently at his trade for a month. Then he asked me my method of getting traffic. I said, "I just try to create good content and get recognized by a few other quality websites." He responded: "I never heard of that kind of SEO before!" He looked at me a bit distainfully and went back out on the street to sell his wares.

I laughed rather nervously to myself when he left. I wondered vaguely what kind of scam had sucked him in. Yet he seemed a bit of a huckster himself. It reminded me of the old story about the stock-jobber in 1929 who, when given advice on a stock by a shoe-shine boy, decided it was time to get out of the market and saved himself a fortune. When street hucksters start giving advice on black hat techniques, it may be time to forsake them altogether.

Not sure what in your article made me think of this story except that it seems like everyone is trying to get in on the act.

December 12, 2008 - 6:06pm

There are many more people selling SEO than there are knowing how to do SEO :)

Just yesterday some wanker email spammed me multiple times about my website not ranking in search engines and that his team is one of the few ethical white hat SEO firms that is SEMPO approved...complete with poorly done obvious Indian writing.

So off target to send that message to me. I thought about going back and forth with them, but just realized that they are more representative of how most people experience the market than the experience of people who read this site. No wonder the SEO label is so tarnished.

December 12, 2008 - 5:22pm

Let's face it. We all want to win the lottery. Mega Millions is up to 207 million tonight, and someone will probably win it. That means 207 million tickets were purchased, mostly by people who can't afford them most. I've seen people in the 7-11 driving a 1970's pickup truck dropping $250 on lottery tickets. (but hey, maybe that's a stereotype - that guy could be rich for all I know)

These systems are designed to prey on these people. Heck, I've even bought a few of these types of things. Because ya know, after the 100th pitch, you actually start to believe that some of this MUST WORK, at least a little bit.

Sometimes I find myself thinking that even if you earn 10% of what they describe on the tin it wouldn't be bad.. The only site that I really make money with is one that I work at mostly every day... It's not hard, but there IS a lot to do.

December 12, 2008 - 6:03pm

Sometimes I find myself thinking that even if you earn 10% of what they describe on the tin it wouldn't be bad.

That is part of the comparison the scammers want people to make. They did $x and I probably won't do $x, but gosh even if I did 5% of that wow... :)

December 12, 2008 - 7:00pm

When you said 'outliers' it reminded me of Malcom's new book, which I've been wanting to read. Now just need to find the time. :)

Anyway, just like you said, there are outliers in every market and every industry. On the net, for every one outlier, there are a million+ who try to capitalize on that person's success...they sell "dreams." They make it sound like the goal is attainable if 'you just follow my system'

In the blogging world, we have the perez hilton's, and the icanhazblahblah's, which attract a bunch of attention, breeding a bunch of "me too's."

We can all still dream big dreams, hoping that one day we'll be making $100k plus from our youtube videos, but I think it boils down to passion vs. money. The scammers chase those that are after the money. The money chasers don't last. They jump in, try it, it doesn't work, they jump out. The passion chasers don't care if it doesn't work.

December 12, 2008 - 7:29pm

The passion chasers don't care if it doesn't work.

Which is why they are willing to stick it out long enough to create something that works. It also makes their works feel less corupted...which helps them spread faster.

Google chased marketshare before chasing the money, and they did ok. But most hucksters won't promote that angle because it requires too much capital AND the greedy dreamers don't want to wait 5 years to get to the break even point.

December 30, 2008 - 6:40pm

@Farhan713 - no, we don't teach spam. If you want to know more about what we really do, I am easy to reach. :D

BTW that link you posted goes 404.

December 31, 2008 - 4:01pm

hi Dan,
thanx for correcting me n i apologise for bringing stompernet in the wrong light. Will surely go through ur videos. Thanx for pointing out the link error, below is the rectified one. Added you on twitter. Cya there.

take care n Happy New Year :)


December 31, 2008 - 5:52pm

Farhan, it's very understandable.

StomperNet's background is a "bit" spammmy - one of the founders' sites was apparently the most reciprocally-linked site on their entire web at one point, but none of us believes in teaching "black hat" because none of us believes that it is as effective as best practices SEO.

I mean... you know... they asked *me* to do the SEO course. We've got an unrepentant social media spammer on the faculty in Howie "Black Hat Is Back" Schwartz, but inside the community, he teaches market research and business strategy. If he tries to talk about SEO we mock him ruthlessly and tell him to get back on his meds.

@Aaron, I don't think anyone at Google would call paid links "evil," it's just one of many forms of manipulation that they have to deal with. Their position on this has been clear for many years. If they simply allowed you to buy (or rent) a position on the SERP, they'd be halfway to proving Alan Perkins right.

January 1, 2009 - 4:20am

They do allow you to rent a position on the SERP...AdWords.

Consider how Google promotes their own ad blend to German advertisers:

INT [interviewer]: “Why do the results on top have a yellow background, did you notice?”
TP [tester]: “I didn’t notice this.”
INT: “What does it mean?”
TP: “It definitely means they’re the most relevant.”

January 2, 2009 - 10:31pm

Aaron, I can see that you're not going to give this up.

Which of the following should they do to make you happy?
1) Not sell paid advertising
2) Not have organic listings at all
3) Allow simple-minded SEOs to buy their way into organic listings with paid links

January 2, 2009 - 11:19pm

None of those. :) Some of these would work though!

4.) Realize that link = vote was broke the day they became popular. Find (and use) other useful quality metrics to lower their reliance on links.

5.) Admit that deceptive public relations whoring is no better than link buying.

6.) Realize that corporations are no better than passionate enthusiasts (and are likely on average worse). Brand is not how the only way to "sort out the cesspool," as Eric Schmidt described it.

7.) Be more even-handed in their policing of the web (as a black/white overt example: why shouldn't my affiliate program pass PageRank when Google allows some of my larger clients to do it? ... and yes Google knows they do, and even says it is an accepted legitimate practice at SEO conferences! ... it is just not legitimate when it is my site. Nice to know!)

8.) Spend a bit more money policing their AdWords ads before trying to police the rest of the web. I just searched Google for "married" and got this lovely ad in first position

Looking For An Affair?
Meet Married Women Looking For
Romance And More Excitement.

Good going Google! They talk about who you link to affecting your reputation. What about who they link to? Sheesh.

January 7, 2009 - 7:21pm

If you think you can find a better algo than what they're using, well... the market is still waiting for a competitor to appear.

on #7... that one is just plain stupid, because using a 301 redirect at the end of the chain is the only way to defend yourself against Google's mishandling of 302 redirects. The only difference was that you told people about the SEO implications. The "algorithm for determining intent" is still broken.

on #8... Why else would you search for "married," Aaron? Looks very relevant to me.

April 15, 2009 - 12:00pm

My wife wrote that she was happily married in Gmail and they showed here the infidelity ads.

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