My Passive Income Report [September 2012]

September is over and so is summer, unfortunately.  It was fun while it lasted. Hopefully, the cold months ahead will mean more productive times indoors…we’ll see.

From an earnings standpoint, September was actually awesome for me, as I saw a big jump over August.

Before I (or you) get excited though, it’s important to understand why earnings were unusual, and evaluate the likelihood of repeating these results in the following month.

Let’s get right to it.

A Brief Overview of September

As a CPA, September (and the first half of October) is never fun, due to the big tax deadlines on 9/15 and 10/15.   Being busier than usual with work, I was even more shocked to see the results from September.

That’s the beauty of passive income – sometimes it pays off when you have little time to pay attention to it.

The rest of the month was nothing out of the ordinary – October will be much more interesting, as I’ll be out of the country (and without internet access) for a week.

September Income Report


Another nearly no-earning month at InfoBarrel due to not having an AdSense account. As I mentioned last month, the reason I’m still talking about InfoBarrel here is that, sometime this month, I plan on setting up InfoBarrel with an AdSense account via my new business, which should allow it to start earning again.

Here’s the minor income that I was able to earn from InfoBarrel in September:

  • Chitika: $0.34
  • Amazon: $0.00
  • Total: $0.34

Even though these earnings are downright terrible, I still think you should take a look at my original plan to earn passive income with article writing if you’re just starting out trying to make money online.  While fads within the internet marketing community come and go, article writing seems to be the one mainstay that consistently works (when you put in the right effort).

Lending Club

As usual, Lending Club is one of my favorite online passive income sources, mainly because (as I’ve said before) I believe it’s my only truly passive income source.  If you are unfamiliar with Lending Club, however, you should read my original write-up.  I wrote it a long time ago, but it still applies today.

September was a nice bounce-back month after August’s decline, and as I mentioned last month, I’ve been trying out some higher risk loans (that still appear to be “good quality” based on a number of factors).

I’m now invested in 144 loans (+3 from August) and my net annualized return is 5.78% (+.10% from August).

Ever since I started promoting Lending Club 2+ years ago, I’ve received a lot of e-mails from people telling me about the success they’ve had with it.  Just this past weekend, I received an e-mail from someone telling me that, with over 100 loans invested, they currently have a 12.1% net annualized return.

I think that’s awesome, and it certainly makes me a little jealous given the performance of my investments. :)  Regardless, we’re both doing better than we would do with most other interest-bearing investments.

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 (investments can be as small as $25) and become familiar with it. As always, if you have any questions about it, I’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments (or feel free to contact me by e-mail).

Niche Sites (and a Word on Google’s Recent Algorithm Change)

Once again, another month has gone by where I’ve done nothing with my micro-niche sites.  The hot topic with SEO right now, particularly affecting niche sites, is the recent Google algorithm update that reduces the ranking benefit given to exact-match domains (“EMDs”).

There’s a lot written about it that you can find, but in short, this update primarily affects EMDs for supposedly “low quality” sites.  As of right now, it seems to have impacted more than just EMDs (such as partial-match keyword domains), and sites that are higher quality.

As usual, it’s hard to assess the impact of any Google change until “the dust settles,” but this seems to be another big blow to SEOs and others in the internet marketing industry.   Because my niche sites were already in a bad position (with the loss of AdSense), they weren’t impacted too badly by this update.

Here’s a summary of September’s niche site earnings:
  • Amazon: $30.28
  • $2.33
  • Chitika: $0.00
  • InfoLinks: $0.47
  • Commission Junction: $4.40
  • Total: $37.49 (+$10.56 from August)

Authority Sites

As you may have seen, I finally revealed all the details of my authority site this past month as part of the “authority site duel.”  This is site #2 below.

Authority Site #1 (Not Revealed)

This site’s traffic really tanked over the past couple months, as it struggled to rank anywhere in Google. Despite having 25+ pages of content, the site wasn’t even pulling in much long-tail keyword traffic.

Before Google’s recent change, I decided I wanted to move all the content over to a new domain.  For some reason, I felt like the .ME domain was working against me (compared to a .com). So instead of having the site on, it’s now going to be

Given the recent changes, I’m not sure how effective this will be, but I don’t really have anything to lose.  It’s going to take me a bit of time to slowly republish everything and build some backlinks, but it’s an experiment I’m willing to try.

Earnings – September:

  • $1.51
  • Indeed Job Board: $2.28
  • Commission Junction: $0.00
  • Total: $3.79

Authority Site #2 (Slow Carb Diet Experiments)

As I wrote about in my last post, I was ranking well for many of my target keywords – nothing too amazing, but at least within the first few pages of the search results.  After Google’s recent update, the site is nowhere to be found for these keywords (although still ranked #1 for the name of the site).

I’m going to assume this is a temporary setback, as I was likely receiving some ranking benefit by having the keyword “slow carb diet” in my domain.  If you’ve visited the site, you’ve seen it’s all original, high quality content.  I haven’t done any shady link building or anything else that would penalize the site, which is why I’m confident this is temporary.

Because the benefit of having a keyword in your domain is no longer a huge ranking factor, I think it’s going to be a lot more difficult for new sites to rank quickly for their target keywords.  Here’s the new recipe for ranking well:  passage of time (age), good content, natural and strong backlink profile, and good (but not overly optimized) on-site SEO.

Back to earnings – this site still isn’t monetized (although I’m starting to build an e-mail list and doing some other experiments), so the earnings are virtually non-existent right now.

Earnings – September:

  • Amazon: $0.29
  • Total: $0.29

Total Authority Site Earnings: $4.08

Other Affiliate Income

Here’s the breakdown for other affiliate income earned during September.  [Note: This income comes from other sites not discussed/listed above, including affiliate sales generated through this blog.]

  • Amazon: $0.00
  • ClickBank: $0.00
  • Commission Junction: $01.00
  • PayDotCom: $3.00
  • Private Advertising: $0.00
  • Market Samurai: $504.00
  • Other Misc.: $33.20

Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for September: $741.20

This was where the big jump occurred in September.  During the month, Market Samurai had a first-time-ever 50% off deal (it’s over now).  I basically never send out promotions to my e-mail list, but because Market Samurai is so popular and I know there are many people out there who have wanted to buy it (but haven’t because of the price), I decided to send out one e-mail about the 50% off promotion.  As you can see, this caused my commissions to spike.

Unfortunately, this is not going to be a regular monthly occurrence, so I would expect my income next month to go back to normal (barring any big successes with my authority site).

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of September’s earnings, organized by project/challenge:

Grand Total for September: $783.10 (+$433.25 from August)

Popular Blog Posts

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

1) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

2) My Passive Income Report [August 2012]

3) AdSense Account Disabled: What the Hell?!

4) How to Make $2,000 Per Month Writing for InfoBarrel

5) Finally Revealed: My New Site & The Authority Site Duel

How did your September go?  Share in the comments! And until next month, best of luck to you and your passive income projects!

If you enjoyed this income report, subscribe to the RSS feed (if you haven’t already) so that you don’t miss any future updates. Thanks so much!

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32 Responses to “My Passive Income Report [September 2012]”

  1. Nice work on Market Samurai!

    Just a clarification for my own good, when you say 25 pages of content, does that mean 25 posts, or each page has multiple posts?

    Financial Samurai recently posted… Will A Late Credit Card Payment Hurt My Credit Score?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks! 25 pages of content for me means 25 separate articles/posts.


    Cristian Stan Reply:

    OMG :)) My heart stopped a bit. I’m glad you clarified that!
    Cristian Stan recently posted… Best Oil Filled Radiator Heater Reviews 2012


  2. congrats buddy. @4.08 you may be leading the authority site duel :)
    Sunil l Expediting Wealth Creation recently posted… Building a Long Term, Profitable & Sustainable Business Online Within Your Expertise


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Sunil – hopefully that figure will be MUCH higher in the coming months.


  3. Thinking on your feet there Eric, nice going!

    Hopefully the next month for you will be better for your authority sites regarding rankings.

    I too am struggling with the ranking of my main keyword, at the moment it’s sitting right down on page 24 and I have no idea why. I’ve toned the keyword density WAY down but I’m getting no joy at the moment.

    Maybe Google takes longer to scope new sites out I’m not sure. Time certainly will tell.
    Dan recently posted… It’s the little things


    Eric G. Reply:

    This recent update seems to have left a lot of website owners in a state of confusion. Hopefully the true quality sites will still emerge and rank as they should, eventually. You never know with Google though…


    Dan Reply:

    Better news today. I seem to have been booted up to page 7, so let’s hope it’s the start of something good :)
    Dan recently posted… Lack of Effort, Equals Lack of Results


  4. Hi Eric, nice work on the Market Samurai promotion! I’d be interested to hear more about how your website rankings were affected after the EMD update. I had 2 authority sites I was working on with EMDs on both. Both disappeared from the rankings which freaked my out last weekend. On Tuesday, one of them came back to it’s original position but the other is still nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, the one that hasn’t recovered is one that was making more than $100 in Adsense. Today I’ve made .01 on it.

    I agree with you that it is still early on in the EMD update and hopefully the ‘quality’ sites will recover.
    Harlan Yee recently posted… Cheap LED Camera Light for Canon 7D and DSLR Video


    Financial Samurai Reply:

    Hi Harlan – Don’t authority sites by definition not get affect or hurt by such updates? Google loves authority sites rich incontent. Do you mind clarifying?


    Financial Samurai recently posted… Learning From The World’s Happiest People


    Harlan Yee Reply:

    Hi Sam, I guess I believe my sites are authority sites because my aim is to provide the best information about a niche with new posts being added continually. I write all my own articles and create my own videos for these 2 sites.

    Site 1 has 42 posts
    Site 2 has 14 posts

    They’re pretty much like the site Eric has in his Authority Site Challenge. However, I have done very little backlinking on my sites but I do believe that the EMDs on both of these sites has had a negative effect in Google. The lack of backlinking also has a negative effect. Site 1 is back in it’s normal position 4 days after the update. I will wait a few weeks with site 2 before I start making any changes just to see if it will come back on it’s own.

    I looked at your site and I’d say yours is definitely an authority site with very thorough articles.

    Hope I was able to answer your question!


    Financial Samurai Reply:

    Hi Harlan,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Perhaps the word “Authority” is relative then?

    The more I see what Google is doing, and the more I hang out w/ my Google buddies (I live in SF), the more I realize everything levels itself out. No amount of tweaking will provide a sustainable top position for long if the content cannot compete.

    Temporary wins are good, and during this window, it’s probably best to take advantage as much as possible fore it closes.

    Financial Samurai recently posted… Learning From The World’s Happiest People

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Harlan. After the EMD update (which supposedly included another update to “Panda”), my “main” authority site (Slow Carb Diet Experiments) disappeared from the rankings for most of the keywords I was previously ranking for. Ironically, the only keyword I still have a top ranking for is the exact-match keyword for my domain (“Slow Carb Diet Experiments”). All the other keywords I was ranking for, however, with the phrase “slow carb” or “slow carb diet” in them are all gone now.

    It looks like the benefit I was getting by having the keyword in the domain is now gone, so it’s probably a matter of building links and adding more content now.

    Hopefully everything will recover soon…


  5. I like the way you described it as as a temporary setback, I think you’re doing really well, I’m a newbie so hope one dsay I’ll be up thesre where you are!!
    Agree with you too that now the summer hols arae over and we will be stuck indoors more, there will be more work done!!!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Fern!


  6. Eric, you mind sharing your thoughts on SEO and niche sites on
    Sam recently posted… Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) A Waste Of Time?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Sure, Sam…how do I go about contributing?


    Financial Samurai Reply:

    Just by reading the post and leaving a comment with your thoughts on, like I have here.

    Financial Samurai recently posted… When A Severance Package Is Not A Severance Package


    Eric G. Reply:

    Okay, just left a comment – looks like it might be held for moderation.

  7. WOW way to go! I’m sure it takes a lot of hard work to be able to generate that much per month!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike!


  8. Congrats Eric on the great earnings! Looks like you are moving in the right direction. Hopefully I can see a jump in my profits in upcoming months as well.

    Just got to keep at it and hope Google doesn’t crush our websites anymore! Darn algorithm updates :).
    James recently posted… 7 Ways To Find Keywords For Your Niche Authority Site


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks a lot James – let’s hope Google goes easy on us from this point forward! Unfortunately, I think the burden is on us now to only create quality sites that aren’t affected by further algorithm changes.


  9. How many email subscribers do you have?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Currently I have a little over 5,000.


  10. Hey Eric,

    Good to see that you’ve doubled your income from last month!. That’s totally awesome-sauce! Congrats on the results buddy.
    Rasmus @ RetireMyAss recently posted… 3 Skills to Learn if You Want to Start a Lifestyle Business


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks a lot Rasmus – I hope to see it continue!


  11. With over 5,000 email subscribers you could really monetize your list on a monthly basis. One product promotion a month would be alright, and you could eventually create your own product to promote.


  12. Great earnings Eric, you are doing really well with affiliate marketing. How do you actually promote your affiliate products ?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks! I promote my affiliate products in various ways, but the best way to do it is by explaining to someone how you use it and how it benefits you. People are much more likely to purchase something through your affiliate link if you can offer personal experience and guidance with the product/service.


  13. You should also state your monthly expenses so we can get a better picture of your profit.


    Eric G. Reply:

    It’s definitely a good idea – I may do it at some point in the future once I can properly organize that information (which is ironic, considering I’m a CPA).


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