Blog and Passive Income Update [November ’10]

I’m really sad to see November come to an end, but hopefully December and the following months will be even better.  I had a lot going on in November – I relaunched my blog, started a new passive income challenge,  and developed a simple tool to help myself and others keep track of a very powerful backlinking strategy (thanks to everyone for all of your overwhelmingly positive feedback so far!).

Anyway, it’s time to get down to business and see how November’s passive income turned out.  As I mentioned in a prior post, this was my best month yet!

Lending Club

[Read my recent write-up here]

As usual, I begin my reports with Lending Club because it’s the only thing I do that I believe is truly passive. You’ll the phrase “passive income” thrown around a lot on this blog and many others, but generally there is still substantial up front work involved (which is totally fine and expected).  The nice thing about this income source is that it really is passive.

November continued a solid, upward trend for my Lending Club account, with a decent rise in overall performance.  As of the end of November, I was invested in 71 loans (+3 from October) and my net annualized return was 6.93% (+0.26% from October).  As I do each month, let’s see how this rate compares to CDs (certificates of deposit).  Due to the 3-year term of most Lending Club notes, I think it makes most sense to compare Lending Club loans to CDs.

Source: (12/1/10)

As usual, my current interest rate at Lending Club is higher than that of any CD investment.  It’s important to keep in mind that Lending Club loans are riskier than these CDs, which have virtually no risk.  However, I strongly believe that the additional risk is more than compensated for by the higher rate of return.  Here are some other images from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:

I’m currently performing worse than investors who have a similar portfolio to mine (6.93% vs 8.05% shown in the first image above).  Compared to ALL investors, however, I’m doing a lot worse (6.93% vs. 9.67% in the third image), and my rate is worse than 77% of all investors.  I’ve been investing with Lending Club for about 2 years now and overall, I would say the experience has been great.

If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can sign up with this link and get a free account.  If you’re unsure whether this type of investing is right for you, you can deposit a small amount (loans can go as small as $25) and become familiar with it.

Keep in mind, Lending Club is currently only open to U.S. residents.  Below are alternatives to Lending Club for those outside of the US – please note, I have not done business with these sites, but they were mentioned to me as alternatives to Lending Club.  Check them out at your own risk.

  • Community Lend (Canada)
    • UPDATE – A note from James in the comments: “Just a quick note about the Community Lend site that is for Canadian users. There are requirements to join the site, and they are a bit high. You need to be an Accredited Investor (there are a lot of different terms here, but the one that applies to the general public is having an income of over $200,000 or a family income of over $300,000, or assets over $1 million), and it is limited to specific provinces (BC, Ontario, Quebec).”  Thanks James for pointing that out!
  • Zopa (UK)

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

I’ve come to terms with the fact that the Info Barrel challenge is not one of my top priorities.  As I keep saying, however, I see massive potential with this site, and will continue to add to my collection of articles each month, even though it may not be at the rigorous pace I initially planned.

As of the end of November, I have written 122 articles (+11 from last month).  I was happy with publishing 11 articles in November after only writing 5 last month.  The awesome part of it all is – I saw a huge spike in my Google AdSense earnings!

Here are my November Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel :

In November, I earned a total of $54.71 for my Info Barrel articles, more than double what I earned last month (+$31.94 from October)!  The crazy thing is, I have hardly done any backlinking for my articles, so this just goes to show you the power of articles (and websites in general) aging, especially on a site that is growing in authority like Info Barrel.

November InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $54.71
  • Amazon Associates:          $0.00
  • Chitika:                                    $0.96
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $55.67  (+$31.03 from October)

If you want to get in on this, you can sign up for Info Barrel here.

Niche Site Duel

As a part of Pat Flynn’s niche site duel,  I created a niche site in September based on P90X, an extreme home fitness routine.  During November, I neglected to do much work on this site (i.e. I didn’t add much content or backlinks).  Fortunately, the beauty of passive income is that you make money even when you don’t do any work!

November Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $1.31
  • Amazon Associates:  $15.78
  • Total: $17.09 (-0.77 from October)

Amazon Niche Site Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

In November, I launched a new challenge that has been my primary focus over the past few weeks.  Essentially, I’m going to be creating several niche sites specifically tailored for Amazon’s affiliate program, and I’m following the lessons taught in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course.  The goal is to create, on average, one niche site per week, and 22 total (in 25 weeks).  You can read my original post for more detail.

It’s been about 3 weeks since the challenge started, and here are my results thus far:

# of Amazon niche sites: 4

Earnings as of 11/30/10:

  • Niche Site #1
    • Amazon Associates: $46.89
    • AdSense: $5.84
    • CPA: $18.90
    • Total: $71.63
  • Niche Site #2
    • Amazon Associates: $4.10
    • AdSense: $1.19
    • CPA: $0.00
    • Total: $5.39
  • Niche Site #3
    • Amazon Associates: $0.99
    • AdSense: $2.46
    • CPA: $2.50
    • Total: $5.95
  • Niche Site #4
    • Amazon Associates: $0.00
    • AdSense: $0.00
    • CPA: $0.00
    • Total: $0.00

Total November Amazon Niche Site Challenge Earnings: $82.87

I feel pretty good about those earnings considering I’m only 3 weeks into the challenge, and one of the sites (#4) isn’t even ranking in Google yet.

I know you’re going to want to know more detail than what I’ve provided here, but because this is an income report, I’m going withhold it for now.  You’ll need to be a little bit patient. :)  I will be writing an Amazon niche site challenge update post in the near future to go into more detail about these sites and how the monetization is working.

Affiliate Income

My miscellaneous affiliate earnings improved quite a bit in November, which I was very surprised to see.

Consistent with previous months, I’m not going to provide detail on where these earnings come from, mainly because I’m not planning on publicizing the niche sites that are included here.  I will say that these niche sites are monetized primarily with Clickbank products.  The below income amount also includes income from affiliate links within this blog.

Affiliate Earnings for November: $832.29 (+$497.07 from October)

Income Summary

I haven’t done a summary in the past, but because I have a lot of projects in the mix now, it’s probably difficult to see the overall picture unless  you pull out a calculator and do the math yourself.  Rather than summarize by source (i.e. AdSense, Amazon, etc.), I’m going to summarize by project/challenge, which I think makes a bit more sense.

  • InfoBarrel Earnings Challenge: $55.67
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $17.09
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $82.87
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $832.29

Grand Total for November: $987.92

So close to $1,000, but not quite there! Part of me feels like this month’s income was a bit of a fluke (my Clickbank products don’t generally do so well), but we’ll see how December goes.  

Popular Posts

These were my top 5 most popular blog posts in November based on number of views:

1) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

2) How I’m Going to Add $20k/Year to My Passive Income Portfolio

3) My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [October ’10]

4) Niche Site Duel – Update #6: A Rank, Earnings, and Traffic Roller Coaster

5) Niche Site Duel – Update #1: Tackling A Super Competitive Niche

Monthly Goals

One of these months, I’m going to complete them all…

November Goals

1) Write 10 articles for InfoBarrel – COMPLETED

2) Post a new challenge on the blog  – COMPLETED

3) Write one guest post – FAILED

December is probably going to involve a lot of relaxing, with the holidays.  With that in mind, here are my goals for this month:

December Goals

1) Write 10 articles for InfoBarrel

2) Create 4 new Amazon niche sites

3) Go to Las Vegas next week

Until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income experiments!

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with the buttons below or on the side. Also (if you haven’t already), subscribe to the RSS feed so that you don’t miss any future updates. Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge

Subscribe to my awesome newsletter and receive The Ultimate Backlink Tracker for free! (Don't worry, I'll respect your privacy.)

  1. Hi Eric,
    I think you are doing a good job. Keep the spirit up. I wanted to know how you are finding yourself with the Niche Profit Course? I am thinking of purchasing the corse.
    Fede recently posted… 7 Top free wordpress website themes


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Fede. I’m really liking the Niche Profit Course so far – once you go through it, I think you pick up on the concepts quickly. Also, like I said in my original review, I think one of the best parts about the course is the free theme that comes with it, designed specifically for Amazon niche sites. I’ve used it on all of mine so far and it seems to be working well.

    If you do decide to purchase it, feel free to ask me any questions about it!


  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blog and Passive Income Update [November '10] | My 4 Hour Workweek --

  3. The updates are always inspirational, Eric!

    Do you find that you are doing “too” many things at once?

    If you focus on one or two, you can maximize potential?


    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s a great question, and it’s one I often ask myself. I think in many cases, you can maximize your output by focusing on only one or two tasks. However, that’s only true if you ignore all other factors. A big one for me is not getting bored and also enjoying what I do.

    In order for that to happen, I sometimes jump around between projects. While this isn’t optimal from a productivity standpoint, I believe it makes the overall work more interesting and enjoyable for me. I’m willing to sacrifice a little bit of potential in order to further enjoy what I do. :)


    Christina Crowe Reply:

    I’m completely with you Eric!


  4. Hey Eric,

    Congrats on a great month! a grand in online income (rounding up:-) is awesome.

    I really like all the detail you share, I’m obsessed with tracking stats for my own business, and it’s great to see your numbers.

    I’ll have to check out Lending Club, haven’t heard of them up to now.


    – Devin
    Devin Elder recently posted… Monthly Income Report – November 2010


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Devin! I’m also obsessed with stats and tracking data – I could easily kill several hours playing with numbers and analyzing them (perhaps that’s why I’m a CPA?).

    Lending Club really is great – I have nothing but good things to say about my experience investing there.


  5. Awesome progress Eric! That’s quite a bit of money you earned from Amazon, especially during a 3 week time frame. Can’t wait to see what this month brings!

    By the way, what does CPA stand for under your niche site earnings? For the life of me, I couldn’t figure it out. =/

    Loving your backlink tracker tool!



    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Christina! I’m going to go into more detail about my Amazon projects in a separate post, because I think it’s important that people understand how and why certain sites had strong or weak earnings, and why it may fluctuate a bit more in December.

    CPA is a confusing acronym, especially on this blog, because two meanings of it apply to what I do.

    1) I’m a CPA by profession – Certified Public Accountant.

    2) For my niche sites, when I refer to CPA, it means “cost per action.” There are various CPA networks that allow you to post offers where you get paid when someone does something (i.e. completes an action). In some cases, you’ll get paid just for getting someone to submit an e-mail address or a ZIP code.

    For example, one of my niche sites links to an offer to “Enter to win a free [product name]!” Whenever someone fills out that form (it’s a simple 2 field form – name & e-mail address), I get paid $1.50.

    I’ll explain this a bit more in an upcoming Amazon niche site challenge post, but great question.


    Murlu Reply:

    Oh nice, didn’t know you were doing CPA offer, Eric.

    Tried to sign up with NeverBlue but got denied :/ – care to share any others that may be worthwhile?
    Murlu recently posted… How To Easily Build Your First Email List


    Eric G. Reply:

    Yeah, I just started mixing in CPA offers and have seen some pretty positive results in a short period of time.

    I’m exclusively using Elite Clicks Media right now – they seem to have a nice variety of offers and probably don’t require much to be accepted (I don’t think I provided them with anything too persuasive).

    Christina Crowe Reply:

    Oh nice! Thanks for the detailed reply.

    Very interesting. This is the first time I’ve heard of CPA in the cost per action sense.

    Definitely something I’ll look into. :)

    Christina Crowe recently posted… eHow Experiment 06- Analyzing Keywords and Tracking Results


    Eric G. Reply:

    I’d highly recommend checking it out – feel free to drop me an e-mail if you need any help with it.

  6. Last month I said you would be hitting that $1000 mark in no time at all and a month later you are about $13 short of hitting the msrk.

    This month will be the one, no problem.

    I also like how you include goals in your report, I might have to steal, erm I mean borrow, that for when I do my reports. :)
    Dean Saliba recently posted… Adding Your Own Logo To The WordPress Login Page


    Eric G. Reply:

    You were right on with that prediction – I’m not too optimistic about December, however, mainly because I won’t have much time to dedicate to my niche sites (and in particular, backlinking) due to vacation, holidays, etc.

    Feel free to steal the goals idea!


  7. Hey Eric,

    Always nice to read your income updates. It seems to be comming together nicely.

    Do have a question though: I can understand that you don’t want to name your affiliate sites, but I’m curious about the number of sites generate that income. Is it 1, 2, 10, 25?
    René recently posted… ldtips- RT @healthhabits- Need some motivation to exercise – diet – http-dldbz-rJN3 – motivation health fitness willsmith


    Eric G. Reply:

    For my misc. affiliate income, it comes from primarily 5 websites (not equally, of course).

    Rene, I see you’ve been active on Twitter for quite some time now – do you have any plans to create a blog?


    René Reply:

    There are plans but still figuring/carving out my niche, which has all to do with my personal interests (strong believer in that you have to be passionate about something in order for it to work well). My tweets have gone from personal development in general to more fitness/health in particular and seem to be going towards primal eating/living since that works out well for me.


  8. Hey Eric,
    Awesome job this month! Glad to see all the work is finally paying off. Only a few more months of growth like this until you can quit your job and live off it!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Brett, I appreciate it. I hope you’re right!


  9. Eric – I’m very impressed with your Amazon challenge results so far. Amazon is something I’ve been really wanting to do better with and am making slow progress with. I’m looking forward to your detailed post that you hinted at. :) Congrats on *almost* getting to $1K. :)
    Brian recently posted… InfoBarrel Review – How Info Barrel Works And Why It’s Worth Your Time


    Eric G. Reply:

    The detailed post should give a bit of a deeper look into why one site earned a lot more than others, and I’ll also go into more detail about how they’re monetized. It won’t be until after I’m back from my vacation, unfortunately. :)

    Thanks for the comment, Brian.


  10. Hello Eric!

    Great job with infobarrel! I am starting to get active in the forums, and people are so helpful there. I’ve earned $0.56 in the last seven days, and have a goal to get to 50 articles by the end of this weekend. Hahahaha–wish me luck:).


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Amanda! Yeah, I love the InfoBarrel forum – people there are very friendly and helpful.

    Even $0.56 is exciting – I remember getting excited over my first click that was only $0.14. With 50 articles, you’ll definitely see those earnings rise. They will keep rising as your articles age, so keep up the good work!


  11. Hi Eric. I love your #3 goal for December hehe. I wish you a very happy and relaxed holiday season. This is my first visit to your site and I am really motivated to start on the passive income track to hopefully some day reach the $1,000/mo mark.
    I guess “starting” is the first step right? Unfortunately, I usually find myself lost and left only with the good intention. I will have to change that soon! Hey, it will be a great goal for the new year.
    Anyway, nice to meet you Eric,

    Take care in Las Vegas!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Elias, I appreciate it. That #3 goal is definitely my favorite for December. :)

    “Starting” is not only the first step, but perhaps the most important. I find it much better to not think about the giant task ahead of you (e.g. earning $1k/month). Take it one step at a time – get those first 10 visitors to your site. Get that first AdSense ad click of $0.30. It all adds up and gets better with time.

    Best of luck to you!


  12. Very cool, Erik! It’s great to see all of these working out for you.

    Looking forward to seeing more about your Amazon niche sites; those are what I’m most interested in. It’s great to see them working out for you!
    Tristan recently posted… 68 Blogging Tips from Confucius FREE eBook Plus a Bonus!


    Eric G. Reply:

    The Amazon sites are my top focus, so you can expect to see more from me in the future. I have a very nice treat in store for my newsletter subscribers coming up in the next month or so, that will cater to people who are just starting out with Amazon sites (ideally, people who are having trouble even figuring out which domain to buy).

    Thanks for the comment!


  13. Just a quick note about the Community Lend site that is for Canadian users. There are requirements to join the site, and they are a bit high. You need to be an Accredited Investor (there are a lot of different terms here, but the one that applies to the general public is having an income of over $200,000 or a family income of over $300,000, or assets over $1 million), and it is limited to specific provinces (BC, Ontario, Quebec).
    From looking at Lending Club, it doesn’t appear to be as restrictive.

    Awesome results, though. Perhaps a reason why your affiliate sales were higher is because of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and more people are looking to buy right now? I am sure you will reach $1200+ in December with people gearing up for Christmas.
    James M recently posted… A Passionate Voice- Response to Tristan


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey James – thanks for the note about Community Lend. I’ll update my post to include that information.

    I do think the holiday season is a big reason my earnings increased significantly. I wish I had the entire month of December to work on my sites, because I know it’s a prime time to earn from them. Unfortunately, with a vacation and the holidays around the corner, my online project work is going to be very slow this month.


  14. Wow, nice income!
    I made my report too although I just got like almost $500 on my first month, you got almost twice! Cheers man! Hope 2011 will be a great year for our incomes and us!
    Keep up the good work!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Fernando – $500 isn’t bad at all! Definitely something to be proud of.

    Here’s to a big year for us in 2011!


  15. Good month. I haven’t really been counting Lending Club as a part of my blogging or passive income as I’ve been considering it really a financial investment, much like my stocks. However, I very much do like the company and their services. They get me very good returns.
    Richard recently posted… Innovative Blog Spotlight- Youngprepro


    Eric G. Reply:

    Glad to hear you’ve had good experiences with Lending Club. You’re right that it’s very similar to stock investments.

    I think the only reason I include it here is because it is still a passive income stream for me, and I think it’s good for others to learn about it. :)


  16. Eric, I like your honesty in this post, for showing us where your money comes from. Passive income is a dream which most people would love to have, and yet there’s so many more who don’t know how to get it.

    By posting these income reports, you’re showing us how it can be done, a pathway to our dreams. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this is truly appreciated. Thanks Eric :-)


    Eric G. Reply:

    I really appreciate that comment, Stuart. It’s exactly why I write these reports, so I’m happy to see that you and others are getting something out of it.


  17. I need you to think about something really long and hard, because I think it’s costing you quite a bit of money…

    You need to follow through with things from start to finish. You seem to get excited and riled up about something, and then a month or two later you move on to the next thing, RIGHT WHEN YOU”RE ON THE CUSP OF MAKING MONEY.

    Buddy, I just feel bad for you, honestly. It seems like you put in a great deal of work initially with all of these things, and then you just let them fall apart at the tail end because you don’t want to create backlinks, or you don’t want to do this last extra thing, or you’ve found something else to be excited about.

    I’m actually most impressed that you’ve been able to build any kind of income with the way you bounce around, so congrats! But look: you could have made so much more by just sticking with one thing and following it through.

    So good luck, I really do wish you the best, and I hope this problem isn’t hindering you in other parts of your life.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Rocky, I appreciate the honesty. I actually think that this is a really good comment (because I suspect there are others who also feel this way). It’s so good, in fact, that I’m going to reply to it with a blog post. :)


  18. Excellent job.

    I agree that Lending Club and others like them are a great place to put your money for the increased return, but IMO it’s not passive.

    You have to look at the loans you want to invest in, etc, and “sweat the small stuff”, eg. is this loan going bad, etc.

    Wouldn’t that money be better served investing in another site, perhaps promoting another Clickbank product, etc.

    Overall, $1000 is a nice number, you know you can make an income online, and that this is just the beginning.

    Infobarrel is looking real good, I hate writing articles, and is big weakness, but this looks like a no-brainer.
    Joe from WordPress Cloner recently posted… How to Move A Blog


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Joe,

    I see what you’re saying with Lending Club, but I think I look at it differently.

    For me, Lending Club is as passive as it gets. Finding a loan to invest in takes a few minutes at most (which is less time than people spend researching stocks or purchasing real estate – both generally passive income activities). From there, I basically “set it and forget it.” I only need to revisit my account when I want to invest in new loans.

    While I agree that the money could possibly get a greater return by promoting a Clickbank product, creating a Clickbank product website takes far more time and energy, even if you outsource most of the process.

    Also, it’s not necessarily about getting the maximum return. Diversification is also very important to me, which is why I like having Lending Club as a piece (albeit a small one) of my portfolio.

    Thanks for the comment!


  19. Those are not bad numbers, and it’s just going to get better if you keep going.
    Some would say those are great numbers, but then where’s the motivation to do better? :)
    Martin recently posted… Understanding CDL Tickets