My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [July '10]

moneyWow, I can’t believe how quickly July flew by.  Between July 4th festivities and my week-long fishing trip in Canada, the month felt entirely too short!

In case you haven’t been following this blog for long, I started publishing the results of my passive income experiments a few months ago.  I originally focused on only my passive income income status, but I’m going to broaden the scope of these monthly updates to include really anything related to this blog.

While I’m certainly not making enough money to quit my day job, I think people generally enjoy reading about others’ success and failure, so I’ve decided to share this information.

Let’s see what happened in July…

Lending Club

[Read my original write-up here]

In June, I began seeing an upward trend in my annual interest rate, and that trend continued into July.  Currently, I’m invested in 58 loans (+5 from June) and my net annualized return (i.e. “interest rate”) is a robust 8.14% (+0.14% from June).  Let’s see how this stacks up against CDs (certificate of deposit investments).  Due to the 3-year term of Lending Club notes, I think it makes most sense to compare Lending Club loans to CDs.  There may be a better comparison in terms of risk (like a corporation’s bond), but I’d rather compare it to something the average person is more familiar with.  I’m open to suggestions for a more appropriate comparison.

Source: Bankrate.com (8/4/10)

As expected, my current interest rate at Lending Club is significantly higher than that of any CD investments.  It’s important to keep in mind that Lending Club loans are certainly more risky than these CDs, which have virtually no risk.  However, I strongly believe that the additional risk is more than compensated for by the significantly 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 slightly better than investors who have a similar portfolio to mine (8.14% vs 8.07% shown in the first image above).  Compared to ALL investors, however, I’m still doing a bit worse (8.14% vs. 9.64% in the third image), and my rate is worse than 74% of all investors.  The 9.64% number is probably inflated, due to the likelihood that Lending Club is more heavily weighted by newer investors who haven’t experienced a “bad loan” yet.  I’ve been investing with Lending Club for almost 2 years now, and aside from one bad loan, the experience has been great.  I still think I can get my average annual return even higher.

If you’re interested in trying Lending Club, you can still sign up with this link and get a free $25 just for opening the account (no deposit needed, but you must use that link in order to get the $25).  With that money, you can test out investing in a loan (since you can invest in increments as small as $25).  I’ve gotten questions about whether Lending Club allows non-US investors – at this time, they do not.

Affiliate Income

Last month, I began sharing information about my affiliate earnings that I receive from a few different “niche sites.”  Because these earnings are relatively minor, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go into further detail about where each dollar comes from.  In case you’re unfamiliar, affiliates are basically people who sell products on behalf of other people or companies in exchange for a commission.  Becoming an affiliate is one quick way to get in on the “make money online” game, although it can be a lot of hard work to earn anything substantial.

During July, I paid very little attention to my niche sites.  In other words, I didn’t build any new sites, improve any existing sites, or work on further optimizing the sites for search engines.  As you might expect, my earnings were very consistent with last month.

Affiliate Earnings for July: $220.33 (-$2.19 from June)


Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

It’s a long journey to reach my goal of earning $2,000 per month by writing articles for Info Barrel, however I think I’m on the right track.  If you read my original challenge post, you’ll recall that my plan is to write 3 articles per day.  I’m going to make one slight change to the challenge: the start date.  It was stupid of me to start the challenge right before I left on a week-long vacation, because this would immediately put me way off my pace of 3 articles per day.  Therefore, I’ve changed the “start date” to July 18th – the day after I returned from my vacation.

So far, I’m working at a good pace.  In the 13 days of the challenge in July, I wrote 40 articles, bringing my current pace to 3.08 articles per day.  My earnings will definitely take time to grow, because it takes time for Google to index the articles and time for the articles to age and move their way up the list of search engine rankings.  For July, here are my Google Adsense statistics for Info Barrel (I covered up some non-important numbers, because I believe Google doesn’t allow you make these statistics public):

[Click image to enlarge]

I’m really pleased with these results, given the low number of articles I had and the short amount of time the articles have been published.  If you’re interested in taking this challenge along with me or just want to casually write articles for money, you can sign up here.

Upcoming Free eBook

A little over a week ago, I wrote about a free eBook that I’m planning to write about and I asked for your opinion regarding which eBook you’d like to see.  An overwhelming percentage of people (81%) preferred that I write the eBook: “My First Online Muse: The Road to Passive Income.” I haven’t started on it yet, but I just wanted to let you know that this will indeed be the eBook I plan to write.  I think it’s going to offer a lot of great insight to muse newbies (“Mubies?” Nevermind, I don’t like how that sounds.) as well as experienced entrepreneurs, looking to create a stream of passive income online.

I don’t have an ETA on the eBook yet, but those who are subscribed to my newsletter will be the first to know about it once it’s complete.

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

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21 Responses to “My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [July '10]”

  1. Great post! I’m addicted to passive income reports to I appreciate seeing yours. I look forward to following your progress.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Julie! I also love reading these (on other people’s blogs), so I know what you mean. :)

    [Reply]

    Dean Saliba Reply:

    Me too, maybe it is just a case of us being nosey? :P

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Haha, probably. I also think it’s really motivating. If someone else can do it, why can’t you? That’s my approach.

  2. Eric,

    For a little a while now, there has been alot of uncertainty and mystery when it comes to the broader Web 2.0 revenue sharing industry. Even though these sites are among the highest ranked, and most trafficked, sites in the world, even the leading site, eHow, never even revealed how much it ACTUALLY paid writers.

    After many months of deeply analyzing website’s TOS (Terms of Service), while there were some sites that revealed their revenue share, other sites had is either safeguarded, or shrouded in so much complexity that it made it nearly impossible to under HOW exactly it worked, outside of spending an entire afternoon digging for the information and asking other people. Needless to say, without targeting one particular company, there has been a HUGE amount of secrecy when it comes to this industry.

    One of the major reasons why I’ve been such a huge fan of Info Barrel, is because I essentially saw promotion of their site as a bit of a personal conquest to gain more exposure to a site and management that did things the RIGHT way: with complete transparency, and responsive ownership, that respond to feedback expeditiously, and are paving the way for a new breed of revenue sharing website.

    Their growth reflects these trends towards greater responsiveness and transparency.

    One MAJOR thing that, unfortunately, is very difficult to prove right now, because of the lag in authority and pagerank, is just how much the earnings of the leading contributors on Info Barrel will earn in relation to the leading contributors on, say, eHow, Squidoo or HubPages. I can guess and hypothesize all day long, but, the truth of the matter is that, for all we know, a site like eHow, under such a veil of secrecy COULD have only given writers 30-50% reveneue share on their ads.

    They only thing I really have to go by, in proving this, is the fact that one of my friends, Jason (jcmayer777 on Info Barrel), is already earning near $1,000 a month there, and this is WHILE it is a PR4 website, with significantly less search engine authority. I can deduce all day long…and, even fling a few accusations as to what could ‘possibly’ be the inconsistent application of revenue share dependent on the influence of certain writers…

    The truth is….and, I’ll make a blanket statement here…..that NOT being transparent about revenue share inherently lends to so many horrible, unthinkable possibilities that ‘could be’ manipulated to benefit the company and their bottom line. Does the company need to make more money? Under the veil of secrecy, they can easily adjust a revenue share with a click of a button, and few would really know, except for a minor variance in their earnings, over a mass userbase of 100,000+ people.

    Of course, we would all like to think and believe that companies act in our best interest all the time, but, that is not always the case. I am not pin-pointing any one company, because there are several that engage in this low level of transparency.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    One of these days, Howie, your fingers are going to fall off from typing so much. ;)

    I agree with everything you said – it’s crazy to think that people are already having good success with a PR4 site (Jason being a good example). If eHow writers earned a lot WITHOUT good revenue sharing, it’s incredible to think about what IB writers will be earning when they inevitably get to that level.

    I’ve never seen such support from a website’s community like I do at IB – everyone is extremely friendly, helpful, and optimistic. While good content (and lots of it) go a long way to making a site popular, you really can’t overlook the power of a strong community. I think that alone will boost IB’s popularity much sooner than people think. In other words, I don’t think people need to wait around for Google to “bless” IB with a higher page rank. Now is the time to get in, if you’re planning on getting in at all.

    [Reply]

  3. Eric,

    As a person interested in various revenue streams, I appreciate your openness in regards to income updates. It really helps show us that although money is out there to be made, it’s not easy nor an overnight success.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Torrey. You’re absolutely right – it’s not easy, however I think if you work hard at it, you’ll find success eventually. Patience is the key!

    [Reply]

  4. Hey Eric,

    Quick question – Have you noticed your Info Barrel backlinks being picked up?

    I’ve only written a few articles so far (6 in total), but I haven’t seen any of my signature links (or in article links for that matter) picked up in Market Samurai.

    I’m wondering if perhaps I need to cross the 10 article mark for them to become do-follow… or perhaps I just need to be more patient (I wrote most of the articles about a week ago),

    dinesh

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Dinesh, good question. I think it takes time for Yahoo Site Explorer (which is what Market Samurai uses) to pick up on backlinks. I believe links in all of your articles will be picked up, even if you haven’t crossed the 10 article mark yet. One thing I’ve noticed with creating backlinks in general is that sometimes they won’t be picked up by Yahoo at all, and yet they will still affect your search engine ranking on Google. Even if you never saw backlinks appear in Yahoo, I would still feel pretty confident that they are affecting your search engine rankings.

    Here’s a thread from Market Samurai’s website where someone explains a similar problem: http://www.noblesamurai.com/forum/topic/my-high-pr-backlinks-not-showing-up-in-pr-analysis

    As an aside, I believe that even if a link is no-follow (vs. do-follow), it still counts as a backlink – however, it doesn’t not pass any “page rank juice” to the site it’s linked to. Hope that helps!

    [Reply]

    dinesh Reply:

    good points. yeah I’ll wait a bit and see what happens. most of the other links we’ve gotten do show up in market samurai though (via yahoo), which is why it’s strange that these aren’t.

    probably just takes a few days,

    dinesh

    [Reply]

    dinesh Reply:

    Quick follow-up here – I’ve noticed at least 1 of my Infobarrel links got picked up by market samurai / yahoo. It was also a link that I left in the signature box (not even in the main article), so good to see that happened.

    I’m more excited about the SEO potential in Infobarrel than the passive income, so this definitely means I’ll be writing more articles.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Cool, thanks for the follow-up, Dinesh. That’s great to see that you’re finally seeing backlinks showing up. The great thing is that, although IB is only PR4 right now, most people expect that to climb before long. That’ll make it a pretty powerful place to build backlinks AND earn a bit of passive income.

  5. I use a UK website which I think is similar to Lender Club called Zopa – could be of interest to UK based readers!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the heads up, Bristolboy. I’ll have to look into that one.

    [Reply]

  6. Hey Eric,

    I see you’re working on an E-Book…Do you have a cover design for it? If so, let me turn it into a 3-D Ebook cover for you…I’d like to build my “E-Book Cover” profile so it would be cool to turn your cover into 3D if you’d like…

    Here’s an example of one I just did: http://bit.ly/ctKyyh

    Good luck with everything brotha!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Rob – Sure, I might consider that. I’ll send you an e-mail when I get to that point. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  7. Great to see that things are going well for you with Info Barrel Eric! I love writing for the site, and I definitely see huge future potential. I cannot agree more with Howie, the transparency of the site is awesome, and the earnings potential is unmatched!

    I’m kicking myself because work and other things are keeping my writing pace low. When I return to finish my degree in the fall I’m going to set aside a time slot each day for “Info Barrel Class”. That should help me increase my rate to 2-3 articles each week day.

    I currently have about 40 articles published as well, hoping to hit 250 by the end of the year. My main goal is to hit 1,000 articles on Info Barrel over the next 2 years, while focusing on improving my SEO and keyword tactics. Then I’ll emphasize backlinking etc. to improve rank and searchability.

    As the site gains authority, I have no doubt that I’ll be able to do less and less, while earning more and more! You are right – getting in now is essential for great success at IB!

    Thanks for sharing your monthly updates. This is definitely a great source of motivation for those of us interested in the same end goals. You’re on my list of bookmarked blogs already!

    Best regards,

    Keith

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Keith, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really wish I knew about sites like Info Barrel back when I was in school – with all of the down time, I could’ve written a ton of articles. 2-3 articles per day should definitely be doable. Unfortunately, it only gets harder to find time for this sort of thing once you’re out of school (that is, if you have a “normal job”). I think 1,000 articles is an excellent 2 year goal, and I have no doubt that you’ll be earning a decent amount of passive income each month once you get to that point (and probably sooner).

    [Reply]

  8. Hey Eric,

    I’m going to be traveling until Sept 7 and won’t be able to keep up with the IB challenge until I return. Still not totally on board with the SEO thing but my understanding is improving even if I haven’t seen the results. (can’t complain for 2-3 weeks worth of work so far!) Thought I’d fill you in, as I promised to keep you updated on my progress here and I haven’t actually disappeared.

    Good luck to you and the rest of the IB guys out there!

    Andrew

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Andrew!

    Good to see you haven’t disappeared. No problem on not being able to keep up with the challenge while you’re gone – just pick up where you left off once you return, and you’ll be on your way. If you need help with any article SEO questions, please feel free to reach out me via my “Contact” page. Have fun on your vacation!

    [Reply]

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