Zen19 - 40million in 10,000 Hours

It was time to go big.

I've always hated SEO; it provides no indication of whats working and whats not working, at-least not in a timely manner. Its constrictive and forces you to buy into the degenerate hive mind of Google. Buying traffic on the other hand - this provides instant results which can be measured, tested, optimized, and profited from.

A key problem with buying traffic from reputable sources is that your super optimized and somewhat shady landers will not get approved. You certainly can't incentivize users to complete actions and make purchases. You will also tend to build up a nasty digital footprint of complaints - and occasionally get the 'internet warrior' [fat neckbeard/catlady in mommys basement] who attempts to locate your hosting and get you shut down.

This can be overcome by fragmenting your interactions with end users. Stage one is a 100% legit site built for capturing name/email address, you can validate at this point. Stage one will also provide you with the broad 'niche' for that user - are they looking for a house to rent, a job, a car to buy, disability information etc etc when they stumbled into our web. You can then use this email to build up a profile across subsequent stage two site interactions... whats their address, their income level, do they have insurance, a car, whats their credit, their education, their experience levels. Each site interaction asked a new related question to build a better picture. All of this is mapped back into a master database.

Stage two sites also contained 'payloads' - we start pushing users to complete sales/offers and because these sites are unrelated to our stage one sites, we can be quite forceful about this.

Some of the older BHW users will be nodding and suspecting that the initial traffic was classifieds. Ask yourself though, what about ALL the sites other than classifieds, can you advertise directly there? During these glory days we were able to squirt adverts over xml apis into a large variety of sites that for the most part never showed up on the IM map. You also might consider, just what exactly is behind all those 'free iphone' email submits.

Over the course of 2 years we gathered around 2.6million users all from the US alone. It cost us around 20c per user captured and on average we earned $1 per user in our system. We probably could have earned much much more - but hubris set in, mistakes were made, and the landscape of IM was changing once again.

More on that in my next post...
I also agree that any project I step into needs to be scalable. I've made that mistake already.

And still waiting for your next part of the story!
So to all those wondering - no i did not make 40million in profits and retire to IM glory in Valhalla with the titans Harr0, T0mmy, Bleemz, and the one true god Pofecker.

The years were interesting though, and now that a long time has passed - its appropriate to share what went on during this heady time, before moving onto what I'm up to these days.

This is a journal - I write it mainly to remind myself of mistakes, where I went wrong, and also to trigger some previous ideas that I had shelved along the way. I wont be revealing explicit methods and for the most part am unlikely to respond to questions where the reader can already figure out the answers for themselves.

To catch up to the present day we need to look at a few key phases that I went through on my IM journey. Each one of these will be written as a posts in chronological order before moving on to the present day. A rough outline includes:

  1. The black arts and the fall of the darkside - the late stage days of backhat IM where it was still possible to approach and exceed 10k days in an ethically dubious but not yet illegal manner.
  2. Playing by the rules - the long and boring path to profit working within the fetid and soul destroying ecosystem of facetard and gulag.
  3. The ladder - learning to replace third party advertisers, traffic sources, and the filthy leeches who all steal a % of the profit you generate.
  4. The FUCK google paradox - diving back under the veil and leveraging these disgusting marxists while avoiding their shady and abusive practices.

From there onward into the freedom phase.

Welcome back to the forum!

You didn't make 40 million but inspired me to do it :) After 5 years and 8 months I am quite close to the goal. If you are in EU, PM your address, will DHL you a box of Belgian beer ;)
Welcome back to the forum!

You didn't make 40 million but inspired me to do it :) After 5 years and 8 months I am quite close to the goal. If you are in EU, PM your address, will DHL you a box of Belgian beer ;)

If you are close to 40M Zen doesnt need to be in EU lol. With that amount of money you can DHL a box of Belgian beer to the moon ...
I have read this thread before and passionately following every word of ZEN because it makes me motivated.

Welcome back!
Awesome story. Now I know the reason why I can't have too much damn money lol. Or why a lot of people can't have too much of it.
Why did i just find this now?

Zen19 it's good to see you're still alive and well. Awaiting the rest of your posts :D

Still hope to catch a beer with you some day at the sea near the big rock :)
Damn...dude left us hanging again lol
I'm ready for Season 3. Let's goooo lol
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