Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July ’11]

It’s always exciting to write these income reports each month because I don’t track my income on a daily basis – generally, I don’t have a good sense for how well I’m doing in a particular month until it ends and I write my monthly income report.  There are certain things I check on a regular basis (AdSense and Amazon to be specific), but even if those things are performing well, it doesn’t necessarily say much about my other income sources.

With that said, the surprises aren’t always pleasant.  July was a “down” month, but in many ways, I saw very positive trends.

[Read my write-up here]

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you pretty much know the deal with Lending Club. It’s a peer-to-peer lending site that I feel is my only true source of passive income (i.e. once I’m invested, I make money by doing virtually nothing).   As of the end of July, I was invested in 96 loans (+4 from June) and my net annualized return was 7.07% (+0.10% from June).

As I always point out, my current interest rate at Lending Club far exceeds that of any type of “safe” investment like money market bank accounts and CDs (certificates of deposit). It’s important to keep in mind that Lending Club loans are riskier than these other types of investments.  However, I strongly believe that the additional risk is more than compensated for by the higher rate of return.

Here’s an image from my Lending Club account summary that show my performance compared to other Lending Club investors:

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.

To me, trying something like this and investing a small portion of your money is a no brainer. You’re going to get higher returns than a bank account, and although it locks up your money for a period of time (you are generally paid back over 3 years), it’s well worth the ability to have your money earn you money, with virtually no effort on your part.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

July was a pretty stable month for Info Barrel – I didn’t write any new articles, and my earnings didn’t change much.  The nice bonus this month were the additional earnings from Amazon, which I typically haven’t seen much of from my Info Barrel articles.

As of the end of July, I have written 130 articles (+0 from last month).  Here are my July Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:

In July, I earned a total of $60.02 from my Info Barrel articles (-$3.42 from June).

July InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $60.02
  • Amazon Associates:          $14.27
  • Chitika:                                    $2.50
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $76.79 (+$11.79 from June)

If you want to add InfoBarrel to your passive income portfolio, you can sign up for it here.

Niche Site Duel

As a part of Pat Flynn’s niche site duel,  I created a niche site last September based on P90X, an extreme home fitness routine.  It’s crazy to think that I started this site over a year ago.  While it’s tempting to label it a failure, I’m still not giving up.  I had a taste of awesome rankings and earnings for a short period once, so I still hope I can one day reach that level again.  And although it’s still very minor, I’ve seen my earnings increase for the third straight month.

July Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $0.00
  • Chitika: $0.21
  • Amazon Associates:  $7.84
  • Total: $8.05 (+$3.21 from June)

Amazon Niche Site Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

Last November, I launched a challenge where I planned to create several niche sites specifically tailored for Amazon’s affiliate program (i.e. selling physical products as an affiliate of, and I’m following the lessons taught in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course.

Just as I did last month, I saw record earnings once again.  Most of this can be attributed to one of my sites that has finally taken off, but it’s a good example of why you need to be patient sometimes.

Also similar to last month, I’ve added some sites to my portfolio, and these have been mostly hands off as I am outsourcing both content and SEO.  Some of my new sites will be more AdSense focused, but I will continue to monetize with both Amazon and AdSense, with some other occasional affiliate programs.  Only time will tell if these heavily outsourced niche sites will be profitable, but I’m willing to take my chances.

For my new sites, I will be using a new Amazon plugin that I reviewed here.

Here are the stats for July:

# of Amazon niche sites: 16 (+6 from June)

Total July Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $169.00 (+$58.20 from June)

My Authority Website

As I detailed here, I’ve started an authority website that I have big plans for.  The progress is slow (I’m adding about 1 post per week so far), but the site is shaping up nicely and I’m seeing modest traffic (~50 visits in the past week).  No income yet, but I’m not in this for a quick buck – I’m planning on building a long-term asset that will one day provide massive value for not only me, but readers as well.  Stay tuned…

Misc. Affiliate Income

This was really the only negative part of my month, and there’s no real rhyme or reason to it.  Some months you just don’t earn as much. :/  Here’s the breakdown for July:

  • Adsense: $3.70
  • Amazon: $2.76
  • ClickBank: $114.40
  • Commission Junction: $227.40
  • PayDotCom: $0.00
  • Private Advertising: $35.00
  • Market Samurai: $0.00
  • Other Misc.: $101.80

Total Misc. Affiliate Earnings for July: $485.06 (-$236.36 from June)

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of June’s earnings.  Instead of summarizing it 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: $76.79
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $8.05
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $169.00
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $485.06

Grand Total for June: $738.90 (-$163.16 from June)

While it is disappointing to have a down month in earnings, it’s important to keep in my that, aside from the misc. affiliate earnings, everything else saw an increase  last month.  I continue to build niche sites and continue to add to my authority site, and I know this work will eventually pay off.

Popular Posts

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

1) Online Passive Income and Blog Update [June ’11]

2) 142+ Ways to Make Money Online

3) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

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

5) How Much is Your Time Really Worth?

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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35 Responses to “Online Passive Income and Blog Update [July ’11]”

  1. Because of your writeups, I started looking into Lending Club. However, because I’m in Texas, I get this message:

    “Residents from Texas can only invest in Lending Club Notes via our Note Trading Platform operated by FOLIOfn, member FINRA/SIPC.”

    Do you know anything about the Notes? Do you think they’re a good opportunity? Thanks for any information!


    Eric G. Reply:

    I haven’t ever invested in notes via the trading platform – essentially what that is, is a market outside of Lending Club where Lending Club users can buy and sell notes to/from other Lending Club members.

    Let’s say I originally invested in a loan that has a 3-year term, but after 1 year, I want to sell it – FOLIOfn is where I would need to do it. I can’t speak for whether or not buying notes on this platform is a good opportunity (this would need to be analyzed on a case by case basis for each note), but I imagine you could still invest for a good ROI.


    Howie Reply:

    I received that message, as well, Amy. I live in PA….so, apparently, two of the largest states are subject to this. I’ve been pretty excited about Lending Club….I’ll have to figure out how all this stuff works, now, in the morning (it’s past my bedtime EST)….hm
    Howie recently posted… Why I Disagree with Pat Flynn and Yaro Starak….and, Where Do We Go From Here?


  2. Eric, great work! I’m going to sign up for LendingClub this weekend via your affiliate link. Have been meaning to do this for a while. Seems like a true no brainer.
    PPC Ian recently posted… Google Now Displaying Six Sitelinks In Paid Search


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Ian, I appreciate it buddy. Let me know if you need any help or have any questions about it.


  3. Hey Eric,

    It’s still awesome buddy. I remember when I first reading your blog and you had the job you really didn’t like; now you do. The online income is like a constant bonus which is totally awesome. It’s not going to pay all the monthly bills but it gives you so much freedom to do what you want.

    Summer always sucks though, overall, for earnings because everyone is outside and running around. Just wait til the winter and the earnings will definitely go up :)
    Murray Lunn recently posted… Blog and Income Report: July 2011


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Murray. You’re right that the online income is a “bonus” but sometimes I don’t like looking at it that way. I almost wish I needed the income to pay the bills, because then I’d work a little bit harder at it. 😉

    I hope you’re right about earnings picking up after the summer! By the way, looking forward to some more regular content on Murlu.


  4. Hey Eric,

    I hate to admit, I’ve seen the Lending Club quite a bit on your past income reports, but I had yet to really explore it. Lately, my wife and I have been thinking alot about saving for retirement, as well as, both long and short terms investments, and this is something I want to finally get around to exploring it a bit more. (of course, I’ll use your affiliate link if we do). With about 2 weeks left before I head to Fort Hood, Texas, on over to Iraq (can’t give exact dates for obvious reasons), we are definitely looking into both safe and some higher risk opportunities like this in order to diversify a bit. I’ll let you know if I have any questions.
    Howie recently posted… Why I Disagree with Pat Flynn and Yaro Starak….and, Where Do We Go From Here?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Howie,

    It’s actually kind of interesting that I talk about Lending Club every month and no one comments about it, but then for this report, you’re the 3rd person to mention it already.

    I think Lending Club works well for diversification – I obviously wouldn’t recommend investing a LARGE portion of your portfolio there (although that advice could be applied to nearly any investment), but during a time when the market is extremely volatile, I like to think of Lending Club notes as a fairly safe medium-term investment.

    In a way, you control the risk – you get to see the person’s credit score, use of the loan, etc. before deciding whether or not to invest. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to try to answer them.


    Howie Reply:

    Thanks alot, Eric. I admit, I’ve spent the better part of yesterday and today, exploring the Lending Club. Opportunities like this, I think, can be a little intimidating for people, but, at this point in our life, this makes alot of sense for my wife and I. According to their Facebook page, they actually just secured another round of equity investment on Wednesday, per the WSJ–I don’t know much about these things, but I see that as a bit of an indicator of the brilliance of their ‘idea’ and how it seems to be really taking hold (so much, so, that people are willing to do massive injections of capital into the ‘idea’…)….

    I know this is technically a higher risk opportunity, however, it really seems like the risk is really quite low compared to comparable opportunities–I REALLY like the idea that they seem to go over and beyond in trying to minimize the amount of loan defaults–I think it’s really telling that they actually REJECTED like $8,000,000,000 (yes, billion…wow) in loan applications last year. I’ve been reading your past posts, and, at least for a few months, I’ll be adopting a similar strategy…..focusing moreso on (A) and (B) grade loans, at least until I get more of a ‘feel’ for the system.
    Howie recently posted… Why I Disagree with Pat Flynn and Yaro Starak….and, Where Do We Go From Here?


  5. Even though you say that you are a littl disappointed with this month’s earnings, the good news is that a nice proportion of it is completely passive.

    I would be interested to hear why you think your Nich Duel site has not be as successful as you had hoped. It seemed like a good niche idea. Is it an issue of ranking or too much competition?

    I wish you good luck for the month of August.

    Tiptopcat :)
    Tiptopcat recently posted… Earnings For July 2011


    Eric G. Reply:

    It is nice that the income is mostly passive, which is my #1 goal regardless of how much I make (that is, to have passive income). I’m not sure why my Niche Site Duel site hasn’t been as successful. I tried to analyze it here, but it was still somewhat inconclusive. The issue is definitely with ranking the site, and I’m sure a large part of that difficulty is with the competition. The fitness niche in general is super competitive, and P90X is a very popular affiliate product. Those two facts combined makes it difficult to succeed in such a niche, but I’m not giving up yet.

    Thanks for the comment!


  6. Hi Eric,

    I just check many peoples passive income. And you are on good level. Looks like you niche site dual is sandboxed.

    I suggest you to invest all you infobarrels income into new ventures. Because i lost almost all my hubpages earning. I guess making content for others is no permanent solution to earn money.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi Rahul,

    I agree, it appears my niche site is sandboxed, and it’s been that way for several months now. I’ve added more content and backlinks, but nothing seems to have done the trick yet. We’ll see.

    As for my InfoBarrel income, yes, I do re-invest it into other projects. At this point, all new projects are 100% financed by my online earnings, so it’s nice that I never have to dip into my savings/regular income to build new sites.

    There is always a risk with writing content for someone else’s site, but you’ll find that there’s some kind of risk involved no matter what you do. That’s why it’s so important to diversify.


    Rahul Reply:

    I took bog risk on my niche sites. They are getting good in serp and i am doing lot better in kw research now.

    I like to diversify but i dont have good experience on amazon. You did lot better in one amazon niche site. Did you notice any major changes in ranking and traffic. Also, What kind of web promotion you did? My amazon income comes from only hubs.


  7. Eric,

    On top of the great efforts that the Lending Club seems to put into doing extensive credit reviews and analysis (AND, just generally being somewhat strict with borrowers, as evidenced by the billions of dollars worth in loan application denials….I’m wondering…is there also an element of crowdsourcing/social proof involved here that could actually lower the risk even further? For instance, what if you see funding filling up for a loan very quickly…whether high or low risk….do you think that could also be a bit more of an indicator as to the ‘risk’ of the loan/borrower itself? (I’m just thinking allowed here…but, if I can actually SEE other people quickly jumping into fund a loan, in droves, that may be a bit of an indicator that it might not be as risky as I may think).
    Howie recently posted… Why I Disagree with Pat Flynn and Yaro Starak….and, Where Do We Go From Here?


    Eric G. Reply:

    I think you’re onto something, Howie. I find myself more likely to invest in a loan if I see lots of other people investing. Part of it is because I want to invest in loans that will be fully funded.

    Sometimes if a loan reaches its funding deadline and it hasn’t received enough funding, the amounts invested are returned to the investors (although certain loans will still go through without full funding). It’s kind of annoying sometimes, because then you have idle cash that still needs to be invested.

    Therefore, I like investing in loans that are almost fully funded so that I know the loan will go through. That’s not to say I won’t invest in a new loan with little funding, but it’s something I consider.

    Also, and I’m not sure if you knew this, but with any loans, potential investors can ask whatever questions they want (intent of the loan, what the person does for a living, etc.) so you can often get some more information that’ll help you make a good investment decision.


  8. Hey Eric,

    Another great write up. I’ts annoying to see that the lending club is not available here (Australia).

    You CJ stuff is going well! Nice!
    I have tried to do more Clickbank stuff but it seems to be very hard to convert for some reason. Perhaps people aren’t that sold on ebooks. I have to have a closer look with CJ.

    The infobarrel seems to be very “easy” steady income too..

    When is your next update about your authority website?

    All the best,

    Ralph recently posted… 10 Clickback iPhone Apps Reviewed


    Eric G. Reply:

    CJ is nice because there are a lot of well-known products and services you can promote.

    As for my next authority website update…it’ll probably come when I feel like I have a decent amount of information to report. :) Maybe later this month, we’ll see.


  9. Eric,

    Any idea if Lending Club is open to International residents? What kind of tax reporting do they do? Curious if an offshore company can invest its funds through the Lending Club and roll pile the cash until earnings are repatriated back?
    Sunil from The Extra Money Blog recently posted… The Perfect Recipe to a Healthy Financial Life


    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi Sunil – I don’t believe Lending Club is open to international residents. As for tax reporting, they will issue a 1099 for interest earned over $50 I believe.


  10. I always enjoy seeing your monthly updates because you do such a good job breaking down each source and outlining next month’s plan of attack. Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing!
    Master Dayton recently posted… Freelance Writing Advice: Jumping at Opportunity


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Master Dayton, and I always appreciate your comments!


  11. You seem to be doing pretty well, i always enjoy your detailed reports, few people take the time to make these for their readers.
    Amit recently posted… Forklift Operator Salary


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Amit, I enjoy writing these as well. :)


  12. I never even thought of doing something like LendingClub. It totally makes sense. How reliable is when it comes to people paying you back?
    John recently posted… Cloud Blogging Review – Is it Worth It?


  13. Ok, I really got to check Lending Club. Can I earn anything if I’ll start investing, let’s say, 100 bucks?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Think of it like investing in a CD or other interest-bearing investment. Right now I earn on average around 7% return on my investment (which is very solid in my opinion), so on $100, I would expect you’d earn around $7-9 in a year. It’s 100% passive, which is nice, but your interest earned will be directly proportional to the amount you invest.


  14. Interesting to see which methods seem to be working the best. I’m still to see any money at all from my Amazon Affiliate membership!
    Richard recently posted… Artificial Grass


    Eric G. Reply:

    My Amazon sites took time to really become profitable – the real key is having a lot of traffic, since conversion rates tend to be low. Keep at it though, and the earnings will come.


  15. Due to your write-ups I have taken the plunge and have started trying to generate an income by writing articles and posting them to sites like InfoBarrel. Last month I made about $5, better than the month before when it was about $0.10. :)
    Dean Saliba recently posted… July 2011 Blog Income Report


  16. I would like to say that have you thought about working out what money you make vs the time it took to get it.

    Maybe if you see that you’re actually spending an hour to get $1 then you should cut that, and spend an hour doing something that makes you more…

    You’re obviously trying a lot of routes.

    Also – Your whole point is to create passive income. I don’t see how writing articles and posting them is passive. As articles get moved into oblivion, you’re going to need to do more, and more.


    James Reply:

    I’m not being a dick – Although I know it may sound like.

    I’m really interested in Passive Income! Really enjoying reading articles on your site.


    Eric G. Reply:

    Almost all forms of passive income will require some initial work. Even investing requires you to first earn the money that you’re going to invest, which presumably requires a level of work.

    The reason article writing is a good source of passive income is that you can do the up-front work, yet continue to earn money indefinitely, without necessarily needing to do additional work.

    The longevity of your articles will depend on how competitive their target keywords are – the more competitive, the more likely your articles will die off sooner. I have articles that I’ve created several backlinks for, yet they still don’t rank, and others where I have done virtually no SEO work, yet I’m on page 1 of Google for a target keyword.

    This is going to be true with everything – niche sites, blogs, etc. Even if you own rental property, which is a great source of passive income, there will still be administrative and maintenance work required to keep the property rented.


    James Reply:

    Hmm.. I suppose!

    Have you ever thought about creating a business and automating it. As you I am interested in Passive Income.

    I’m also really interested in Product Design and constantly fustrated with bad design when I come across it. I find myself saying. “Who on earth designed this, and who decided it was a good idea”.

    I’m looking in to possible solutions of making a certain product, the best (Without being overkill) And make sure that I don’t get greedy and charge a lot of money for the product. Hoping it to be manufactured in such places as China and having a selling place such as can be really effected.

    Amazon as you probably well know allow you to send them your products in and store them in a warehouse until someone buys it, and they they do all the shipping etc.

    I have a feeling all this can be automated. And I believe I can design a product that is good enough to good quality, low cost for customers.

    Of course, there is going to be administrative problems along the way, and throughout the process. But maybe for times when I just want to relax, take a vacation, what ever, a virtual assistant can take care of these.

    With this, I believe that I can create enough passive income to be beneficial, or worth it!


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