Online Passive Income & Blog Update [December ’10]

moneyHappy New Year! Hopefully you had a pleasant holiday season.  December was a relaxing month for me, as it usually is with the holidays.  Aside from spending a lot of time with family, I spent a few days in Las Vegas, and it was nice to escape the frigid Chicago weather (even though my wallet was a bit emptier on the way home).  One thing I didn’t do in December was discuss my 2011 goals, as just about every other blogger has done.  It’ll probably come later this month once I’ve had the chance to really give it some thought.

This month wasn’t nearly as good as last month in terms of earnings, but I still feel good about it, knowing that the money was earned from very little work on my part.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

Lending Club

[Read my recent write-up here]

As usual, I begin my reports with Lending Club because it’s my only online income source that I believe is truly passive. You’ll hear 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 (that is, Lending Club) is that it really is passive.

December was a strong month for my Lending Club account, similar to the growth I saw in November.  As of the end of December, I was invested in 74 loans (+3 from November) and my net annualized return was 7.19% (+0.26% from November).  As I do each month (though I’m not sure why anymore – I think you get the idea by now), 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: (1/4/11)

As usual, my current interest rate at Lending Club far exceeds 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 (7.19% vs 8.26% shown in the first image above) and I’m doing a lot worse (7.19% vs. 9.68% in the third image) compared to all investors.  I can pretty much chalk this up to bad luck.  Over time, I expect my rate to increase and move closer to the average.

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.

Info Barrel Earnings Challenge

[Read about the challenge here]

One of the reasons I really love InfoBarrel is that even when I don’t put any effort toward it (i.e. my priorities are elsewhere), my earnings remain consistent (or they grow).  That’s one of the great things about these revenue-sharing Web 2.0 sites, but even more so with InfoBarrel, which I expect will continue to grow and make its way to the top, with the other “big players” like Hubpages and Squidoo.

As of the end of December, I have written 124 articles (+2 from last month).  Writing only two articles over the past month obviously wasn’t my plan, but I think I will be contributing more in January.

Here are my December Google AdSense statistics for Info Barrel:

In December, I earned a total of $51.87 for my Info Barrel articles (-$2.84 from November).  Considering I only added two articles, and that December is traditionally a poor Adsense month, I’m pretty happy with this.  Luckily, my Chitika earnings were up from last month.

December InfoBarrel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense:                 $51.87
  • Amazon Associates:          $0.00
  • Chitika:                                    $3.89
  • Other Affiliate Earnings:   $0.00
  • Total: $55.76  (+$0.09 from November)

If you want to add Info Barrel 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 in September based on P90X, an extreme home fitness routine.  During December, I didn’t do much with it.  I did, however, work on it a few days ago, and I’ll soon be writing my next niche site duel update to explain the changes and how the site’s search engine ranking has taken me for a wild ride recently.  I’ve already earned more this month (4 days of January) than I did in the past two months combined.

December Niche Site Duel Earnings Summary

  • Google Adsense: $2.95
  • Amazon Associates:  $0.00
  • Total: $2.95 (-$14.14 from November)

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 couple of months.  Essentially, I’m creating 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.  The goal is to create, on average, one niche site per week, and 22 in total (over 25 weeks).  You can read my original post for more detail and you can also read the update I wrote last month.

It’s been about 8 weeks since the challenge started, and here are my results thus far.  I’m trying a new table format to display the results, because the organization of data gets a lot messier as I keep adding sites :

# of Amazon niche sites: 8

November December

Amazon AdSense CPA Total Amazon AdSense CPA Total
1 46.89 5.84 18.90 71.63 2.09 0.09 2.18
2 4.10 1.19 5.29 1.00 0.02 1.02
3 0.99 2.46 2.50 5.95 28.51 10.67 2.50 41.68
4 1.12 3.58 1.50 6.20

$ 51.98 $   9.49 $ 21.40 $ 82.87 $ 32.72 $ 14.36 $   4.00 $ 51.08

Total December Amazon Niche Site Earnings: $51.08 (-$31.79 from November)

The large dip can mostly be attributed to site #1, which did very well toward the end of November, but then was sandboxed for all of December (and is still currently in the sandbox).  It’s really frustrating, but I know my backlink strategy is completely legitimate and I don’t think I’m doing anything to make Google hate me, so I assume I will eventually emerge from it and the site will start earning again.

My four new sites created in December aren’t complete yet – I’m not done with the content, and they aren’t ranking in Google yet (or at least, not where they’ll get any traffic).

Misc. Affiliate Income

After a huge November, my miscellaneous affiliate earnings took an expected dip in December.

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 December: $573.96 (-$258.33 from November)

Income Summary

Here’s a summary of December’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: $55.76
  • Niche Site Duel (P90X site): $2.95
  • Amazon Niche Site Challenge: $51.08
  • Misc. Affiliate Income: $573.96

Grand Total for December: $682.73 (-$304.17 from November)

Well, it doesn’t look like I’m quite ready to crack the $1,000 mark yet. Let’s hope January gets me there.

Popular Posts

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

1) The Ultimate Backlink Tracker (Free Tool)

2) Blog and Passive Income Update [November ’10]

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

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

5) My Gift to You: Newbie Niche Site Month

Monthly Goals

December Goals

1) Write 10 articles for InfoBarrel – FAILED

2) Create 4 new Amazon niche sites – COMPLETED

3) Go to Las Vegas – COMPLETED

January Goals

1) Write 10 articles for InfoBarrel

2) Create 4 new Amazon niche sites

3) Transition to a new “9 to 5” job (I may explain this more later…)

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

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30 Responses to “Online Passive Income & Blog Update [December ’10]”

  1. It will be interesting to watch as your Amazon challenge progresses. I had a few sites do well last Christmas but, since I did not work on them much, they currently rank well north of 100.

    Regardless of the slight decline in your passive income, I think you did very well in December. Here’s to a great new year!
    Dustin – Passive Income recently posted… My Income Report – December 2010


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Dustin – you too! I’m looking forward to both of us making a lot of money with Amazon. :)


  2. I am sure the month of January will turn things around for you.

    I am curious about your P90X site. I think I remember reading something about how since you had “P90X” in your domain name, you weren’t eligible for their affiliate program. If you had a different domain with the same content, do you think your sales would increase? I am thinking they would since the affiliate link would direct you to a better landing page that would convert better than an Amazon one. Maybe I’m wrong with my thinking, but wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts about it.
    James M recently posted… Aboutme – The Online Business Card


    Eric G. Reply:

    You’re right that I would earn a higher commission % if I were actually able to be an affiliate of Beachbody (the company that sells P90X), however I’m not positive it would allow me to earn more overall.

    Without P90X in the domain name, I would need to do considerably more backlinking, as it’s a very competitive niche. I’ve essentially found a means to rise above the hundreds or perhaps thousands of P90X affiliates by simply choosing a good domain name.

    Assuming I could still generate the same level of traffic with a non-P90X domain name, it’s still debatable. I get a lot of clicks through my P90X Amazon link where people ultimately don’t buy P90X, but they buy something else from Amazon. Sure, the commission % is small, but it allows me to sell a lot more products than just P90X itself.

    Also, people seem to have a high level of comfort when it comes to buying things from Amazon, versus a pushy sales letter from the company that makes the product (even though it may be high-converting). Furthermore, Amazon lets you read hundreds of reviews about the product, which may be more likely to influence people to buy it.

    That’s my thinking, but it’s hard to say for sure which alternative would have a higher earning potential.

    Thanks for the comment, James!


  3. Every month that I come here and read the part about the Lending Club it makes me more and moe curiouser about it. I might give that a go this year. :)
    Dean Saliba recently posted… Top Tips for Working Away


    Eric G. Reply:

    Give it a shot and start with a small investment – it’s pretty low risk that way! :)


  4. The problem with using Lending Club’s automatic investment function is that it has the potential to pick lousy borrowers. I like carefully picking who I lend money to which would I guess totally negate your passive income goal. But, other than that….Lending Club is an awesome investment website.
    Hank recently posted… Sell Your Extra Gift Cards On GiftCardRescuecom


    Eric G. Reply:

    I definitely agree, Hank. I don’t use Lending Club’s auto-invest function, but I do set up a filter that allows me to quickly scan the loans that meet my pre-set criteria.

    It probably takes me a total of 3-5 minutes to read a loan description and invest $25 into it. Because this time spent is so minor, I still consider it virtually 100% passive.


  5. I love reading these updates, it’s so inspiring to follow your success. I bet January will be huge with the traffic increase you’ll see! Best of luck hitting $1k.
    Andrew Walton recently posted… Burning the Blogger’s Bible – Why I Defy Conventional Wisdom


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Andrew!


  6. Eric, this was really motivating. I’m so happy for you! $1k can’t be too far behind. :)

    I’m sorry you’ve been having sandbox trouble. Hopefully Google clears your site soon so that it can continue earning money. I’m pretty sure January will be a lot better for you – since there won’t be any major holidays to cause your earnings to dip.

    Overall, you’re making massive progress – $1k is just around the corner waiting. :)

    Best of luck this month, and looking forward to your 2011 post!

    Christina Crowe recently posted… 6 Questions- 6 Answers – Happy New Year!


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Christina! It’s very exciting to be close to the $1k mark. I know it’s not a lot of money, but it’s somewhere I never expected to be. :)


  7. Hi Eric, I have never been to a site that is more honest and transparent as yours. Thanks for sharing with us all and I am cheering you on to your 1K Mark. Keep up the good work.

    God bless


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Adrian, I appreciate it. :)


  8. This is the first time I’ve wandered onto your site Eric, and I think I may come back again and again 😉

    Thanks for being so transparent and personal with us, I think everyone appreciates the bravery and effort you put in.

    Best of luck with your upcoming goals :-)
    Stuart recently posted… Don’t Fear Failure


    Eric G. Reply:

    Glad to have you here as a reader, Stuart. Hopefully there will be some great things to come in 2011. Thanks for the comment!


  9. Nice work Eric! You are a real inspiration for me. You’re killing it in the misc. affiliate income department.
    Mike Moyer recently posted… How I’m Going to Build My Internet Empire


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike! By the way, I was just browsing your blog and I REALLY like that infographic you posted last week. Did you make that yourself?


    Eric G. Reply:

    Nevermind, saw the note at the bottom saying that you created it yourself. Awesome plan you have there, and I like the way you presented it.


  10. Keep up the good work, Eric! :) The army training I’m doing right now has seriously limited my ability to visit blogs, and comment, but I try to stop in every now and then.

    Definitely looking forward to seeing how everything progresses. Good stuff man,



    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Howie, I really appreciate it. :) Also nice to see you getting your blog more active again.

    (Sorry for the delayed approval/reply – somehow this comment got caught up in my spam filter.)


  11. Well, the only way you can go is up, unless something seriously goes wrong with your blog, and i doubt that will happen.
    Just reading over your report i see so many new things i need to try out; thanks for this!


    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem, Peter. Things are definitely looking up, so let’s hope the trend continues – looks like your blog is doing really well too!


  12. A niche market is a very small and specific market to aim a product at eg. Mothers buy nappies, vegetarians buy tofu, gothic teenagers buy Nine Inch Nail cds.
    This is apposed to a mass market, which is aimed at everyone, such as McDonalds and Coca Cola, which most people consume


    Eric G. Reply:

    Yep, very true. :)


  13. Congratulations on your online success, I gotta admit it – you made a great job with your businesses, you sure are an good online entrepreneur. You hardly worked the whole year for the money and then you got to Las Vegas and lost them ? I sure hope not :))

    Thanks for the article, made me think more about being an online entrepreneur. Cheers!
    Latief recently posted… Zubrin For Dogs Review


    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Latief! Best of luck to you in your online entrepreneur goals!


    Latief Reply:

    Thanks too, I wish you the same, my friend.
    Latief recently posted… Frontline Top Spot For Dogs And Cats Review


  14. Congrats on your progress so far. But i would like to ask you how you get to manage a lot blogs ( your niche blogs)? do you really a lot of blogs to make HUGE income online? Just wondering!
    Emmanuel Uduezue recently posted… Hot trends for Wed 24 Aug 13 18



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