I am a Novice at IM, I just started in January. I started off the route that im sure many of us do. I read the forum for about a month and read so many posts that said that the only way to become good at IM is to actually act, so I did. I didn't feel comfortable enough yet to do the whole "sha-bang" on my own yet so I ordered a few websites threw 2 different Micro Niche services on here, ordering 6 sites total. In all honesty looking back at things now, all this really did was help me realize ways not to exceed! Truth be told I invested about $250 on these 6 sites, not including hosting or backlink services that I purchased. The articles were written by foreigners(certain articles cant even be understood fully), the layouts were extremely basic CTR pages, honestly they were pretty much exactly what Google is trying to stop. I didn't know any better at the time, so I couldn't complain about them. I did as both Micro Niche Builders told me to, and ordered backlinks for the sites and got a few of them to actually rank. StatCounter showed users coming to my site (On average 30 a day) but little or no clicks. I believe I made $5 via adsense my first month after ranking those sites, which made me assume that the keywords were bad. I chalked it up to experience and moved on. My next step was to purchase a keyword from someone selling keywords, I thought by doing so I know my keyword would be good and it would just be up to me to get the site itself right. I didn't feel totally comfortable doing the keyword research on my own yet, so I thought this would be the next step in my learning process. I grabbed the domain, built the site, but this time I could not get the site to rank. During all of this time, I was still reading and learning everyday, so I decided to take what I learned to at least attempt to check my keywords in Google Keyword Tool, Traffic Travis, and Market Samurai. Upon doing so this new keyword seemed easier than some of the other sites I ranked. I used a small private blog network (that wasn't hit when the others were), social bookmarks, and web 2.0s to rank these sites. So post penguin this was a safe and supposedly effective way to rank easy ranking sites, it almost seemed as if maybe this domain was penalized previously or something. Frustrated, and now owning 7 sites and still profiting nothing, I began searching for answers. I ended up friending someone on BHW who I thought was a sincere person really trying to help me out. He offered to sell me a .com MNS that he claimed he was making $50+ a month with to help get me moving in the right direction. Still not fully knowing the ropes I gladly made the purchase, not knowing at the time that a domain with a brandname in it was a no-no. Even though I didn't encounter any problems with the domain name yet, the site is not making any earnings at all. Now that i understand more, I realized that looking at the site AS A CUSTOMER there are no Adsense links on this page that a user would even be remotely interested in clicking. Its a "Medicine Side Effects" site, so there are no amazon products to try to sell on it either. The site gets approx 30 unique views a day, and has only earned maybe $5 in 2 months. My next step as I learned more was to go back and look threw each of my sites and decide which ones I thought may be salvageable, and add more articles and do a total rehaul of the sites. Try to make them more user friendly to help with the bounce rate. Get them custom headers, add a you tube video..... I picked out 2 sites that were both products and seemed like buyer keywords. 1 of the sites, I couldn't get to rank, while the other was ranking on the first page, so I focused on that one. The site I decided to focus on was seasonal, a pest product... So there were not very many adsense ads that actually pertained to the site, but I assumed it would get much better as it got warmer outside. I got the site up to about 70 unique views a day, and began to slowly implement a few amazon products onto it. They were very cheap products, so not much commission, but any income is better than what I was currently doing. Last month was my best month so far earnings wise, which was about 90% from this site. I made about $13 from adsense, and about $8 from amazon. Things are starting to look good for me! I am starting to see some form of income, I begin to feel great about myself! I've finally made it! Now I just need to do what I did with this site, to more sites and my earnings will start to climb! I came across Jan Roos method of building Amazon sites, it seems awesome! So I do my research and build my first site! Meanwhile, while I see my Amazon site start to honeymoon, and starting to build up more and more unique viewers every day, Penguin hits! Penguin killed my site that was doing well for me! I went from about 70 unique views a day, down to 20! About half the pages that were ranking on that site are now no where to be found! Instead of getting down on this, I thought ok thats fine, I still have my Amazon site! Slowly I see my other site start to regain what it lost from Penguin! I got back to 30-40 uniques a day, and many of the pages that dissapeared were slowly coming back. This is great!!! About a week and a half later, total tragedy hits! I wake up in the morning and check my rankings, sadly enough, but as I expected the honeymoon period of my Amazon site has ended, practually all of the pages dropped out of the top 100, and I had no unique views for the day yet. I thought to myself though, ok this was expected, I still have my other site that is slowly climbing back up from the "Penguin Massacre" it endured. I log in to statcounter to see how I am doing on the day, when I realize that I have NO VIEWS on that site! I go back to Rank Tracker to try to figure out what was going on, has Penguin hit twice!?!?!? 12 of the 15 pages on the site have dropped out of the top 100! The 3 pages still in the top 100 have dropped down to the 60s and lower... I am trying so hard to get my foot in the door of IM. I lost my job due to a layoff back in January, and have yet to find another job, so I have been putting a lot of focus into IM since I have all of this free time, although I feel that every time I begin to get going with IM something forces me to start all over again! I am not the type of person to give up, I want to make IM my future! I want to be able to be my own boss, and give my family the lifestyle they deserve, as guys like Jan Roos have been able to! I do need some sort of guidance though. Is there a way I can save my site that Penguin demolished, or is it now damaged goods? I'm afraid to even try to backlink my new Amazon site, as I am afraid that even if I do backlink to to conform to what needs to be done according to Penguin, eventually another update will come out to kill that site also... I've started a 2nd Amazon site, hoping to make a few sales during the honeymoon period while I try to figure out what to do about my other sites as far as backlinking goes, but obviously building a site every week and trying to make it off the honeymoon period isn't the way to go. Any suggestions pointing me in the right direction would be a great help!