You wouldn’t work 300 low paying jobs to make a living, would you?

A lot of people looking to get into SEO and making money online pretty quickly stumble across the strategy of building out a ton of small Made For Adsense (MFA) sites to try and make a couple of bucks a day each. Their theory is rather than build out 1 or 2 sites and tackle just a few different, challenging niches in order to get traffic, they’re going to instead target a ton of low competition keywords and go for the easy money.

There’s a variety of reasons why this is a very short sighted mentality and the truth of the matter is the majority of people who want to follow this strategy end up failing miserably. As the title of this post says, if you want to become rich, you don’t go out and get 10 part time jobs, you get one good, high paying, high quality job. That same philosophy translates over directly to building out internet properties.

Just Look At The Numbers

When you start looking at the costs involved with building out 300+ mini sites, it becomes plainly clear that it’s an epic waste of time to pursue as a means for earning a living.

Let’s assume you can get domains for an even $10 each. So, 300 sites is immediately going to set you back $3000. Off to a terrible start.

Next, you’d be an idiot to run a network of this size off of a single IP/hosting account, for all kinds of reasons. First, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket in terms of potential technology failures with server crashes, hackers, etc. Second, having 300 shitty MFA sites on the same IP is the equivalent of driving to Mountain View and walking on to Google’s Campus wearing a shirt that say’s “Dumbass” on it with an arrow pointing up. Yes, Google is very busy crawling the universe, but IP addresses are definitely something they take into account when scanning sites. If you establish a pattern of producing thin, terrible little content sites, and run them all on the same IP, there literally is no reason to ask if you will get slapped. It’s simply a matter of when you will get slapped.

So, having said that, you need IP’s and hosting accounts. Now, you could potentially get yourself a good sized VPS and keep requesting IPs for $2-3 bucks a month, but at some point, it’s going to start getting a little suspicious. Additionally, let’s say you did go out and get 300 IPs at $2/month each…that’s $600/month in IPs + your hosting account (probably $100 for 300 sites). That’s $8400 a year to host a ton of shitty sites. Yay.

So now we’re up to $11400 a year in costs, and we haven’t even built a site yet.

Cheap content can be acquired at a penny a word, average article length of 400 words, average MFA site size of 5 articles, that’s $20 a site for content. Multiply that and you have a $6000 content bill.

Now, unless you’re able to rank sites with pixie dust and prayer, you’re going to need links. Sure, there are tools that can help this, but you’re looking at a pretty tall pile of work. Good luck running Senuke on 300 sites. Let’s say you do $25 of link building per site, which is practically nothing: $7500 of links.
(Also, note that links aren’t a one time deal…you need to be constantly investing)

Total costs to get start and run an average quality MFA network of 300 sites: $24,900. So much fail.

In A Perfect World

So let’s say you do invest the cash and get yourself 300 sites. You need to monetize, and the easiest methods are: Adsense, Amazon, and Ebay, simply because you can embed some code and go.

300 shitty sites is a terrible thing to link together with a single Adsense account, and there’s a good chance you’re going to get your account shut down soon. Amazon and Ebay are admittedly OK options, but definitely not what they were a few years ago.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to average $0.50 – $1.00/day/site. So that’s $150-300/day. Let’s just assume it averages out to about $200 a day. At that income level, you’re looking at $73,000 a year in revenue. Doesn’t look too bad at all really.

Then you subtract out hosting costs and link building costs, which drops the income down to about $60,000 a year. Then factor in about 30% taxes getting taken out, and you’re looking at $42,000 in income a year. Blah.

Also, no one seems to value their time appropriately anymore. I’d rather spend my time shoving a spoon in my eye than crank out site after shitty site about stupid topics in order to make maybe $200 a year per site from it. I know that I am expensive; I know a lot of shit and my hourly rate is high. I try to think about that when it comes to what I spend my time doing. If I find myself fiddling with a WordPress install for more than 5 minutes I rage. You should too.

This Still Looks Pretty Appealing To Me, Why Are You Complaining?

Here’s the thing. The risks of running a business on a foundation of shitty low income sites is that there are so many ways for your network to get destroyed by a Google slap along with your hopes and dreams. Imagine waking up one day to find out your Adsense account got shut down. Or your sites all got deindexed. What do you do then? You have no argument, you can’t fight back, and you’re left with a bunch of shitty sites that aren’t worth the money you invested in them.

Also, anyone looking to truly build a business knows that you don’t build one on a foundation of shitty content and link spam spread out across a network of low quality sites. That doesn’t work in any line of business. It’s not a long term strategy at all.

Finally, these types of ventures are far too reliant on a single traffic source, organic SEO based traffic. Building a business that relies entirely on traffic garnered from ranking high on Google is absolutely idiotic. You have no control over what they can do to your sites and network, it’s just too risky to put so much time and effort into something like that.

Fine…What’s A Better Plan Then?

If you were really going to plop down $25,000 on a site network, think about what you could do with that same amount of money if you focused on 2 or 3 high quality sites. First of all, if you pick topics you are genuinely interested in, you can just hold on to the money and write everything yourself, pumping out good content while decreasing your costs. You could of course also hire writers, and with $25k, you could pick up someone full time at $2500 a month to write you a ton of great content to feed your sites, while you focus on promotion.

300 shitty Adsense sites are not an asset. A site with hundreds of pages of content, traffic coming in from a variety of sources, and a legitimate purpose and income is a true asset. Promote your site on social networks, via guest posts and articles, SEO, and anything else you can think of.

Build an email list. For the love of god, build an email list. You basically have income on tap with a list, and Google can’t flip your world upside down when you have a list.

Sell your own products on your own sites. Write guides and create products and software and sell them to your visitors. Everything you do like this is an asset, and is something that can pay off for a much longer time than a $0.50 per day site about yellow toasters.

The Truth of it All

There’s probably only a handful of people in the world who make decent money on MFA networks. There are, however, a ton of people who have focused on a couple of great quality sites and have built up true assets that make them real, good money.

The issue is that the 300 sites sounds way easier than building 2 or 3 sites in competitive niches. People are scared of hard keywords and authority sites, even though they’ve never tried to compete themselves. Long tails are your friend, start writing a ton of content and get yourself the long tail traffic and you’ll rank in time.

Short term mentalities are not a good use of your time. Building a quality site should be a 1-2 year project.

You should invest your time into projects you are proud of. 300 MFA sites are not something to be proud of at all. A big money earning site is absolutely something to be proud of.

Build Assets.

10 Comments

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for spreading this misinformation! I need fewer competitors against my hundreds of adsense farms… This ought to help out quite a bit!

    • haha…it might come off as misinformation but it’s definitely something I strongly believe…you might be one of the guys I do mention in there though that has found out the right formula and built a solid revenue stream from a network, but my main point is that it’s definitely the exception and not the rule. I’d much rather be spending my time on a few really great sites than a bunch of mediocre ones.

      • I guess I see what you mean, not everyone is cut out for this life, as they don’t value the same things in life in general.

        I for one would never ever value any kind of job or work done there if it didn’t come from me. (Such as working for a boss.) That’s just me, so I chose a ‘career’ where I make a site whenever I want about whatever I want, on my schedule, that pays me residually for years afterwards.

        I used to feel sorry for anyone who didn’t do it this way, but I know better now that more people need some sense of security.

        I can see how making something of high quality, even like a authority site, allows you to feel that security. If that’s your thing, more power too you. You’ll leave more free domains for me to snatch up. 🙂

        I get enough Quantity to make up for the lack of (perceived) quality.

        Now about all the MFA-quality bashing you’ve done here today, It’s hard to know where to start to show you how off the mark you are. I have more domains than your example above and I don’t spend ANYWHERE near those numbers. A could of Shared reseller accounts at hostgator holds the bulk of my domains!

        I get domains a lot cheaper than that example too. They can be had for as little as $7 when you have bought enough from some places.

        Furthermore, If a domain doesn’t even pay for itself after a year, you drop it, plain and simple. (Or sell it on flippa for a few bucks more.) Over time this is just like natural selection in that your domains are _all_ moneymakers. $.50 averages are a faint memory.

        The most expensive thing is indeed content, but I haven’t paid for that for a long time either, since “shitty” content is becoming so much smarter and profitable in recent times. Seems there is a new wordpress plugin out every single day to make some new type of content. This does, of course, cause a huge learning curve to making that look good enough to convert traffic into your adsense or other monetizers though.

        If it looks like the crappy sites you are talking about above, people simply hit the back button. (In most niches.)

        The skill of making it look realistic is not something to be mastered quickly, and I feel that’s the main reason people fail at this particular of ‘career.’ They’ve been sold some guru’s ‘easy button’ formula and in the end it takes a few skills to make it all work afterall.

        Finally, all the time you are worried about wasting on things like wordpress installs and other crap is easily automated. I don’t even remember what going through a wordpress install entails. I have a bot to do that crap for me. Then another bot does content, and yet another promotes the blog for me, and so on…

        Food for thought. It’s not that hard for those who stick with it through the learning curve.

        • Luke, all great points. I appreciate the effort you put into your comment, definitely thorough and a great counter to what I presented here. I’d love to chat more about this, but I assume the email you used to comment wasn’t real? If interested, ping me through my contact form really quick and we can work on connecting up.

          Thanks!

  2. Instrumentalist

    December 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    dchuck this was definitely a fun read, but I will say that I think you are exaggerating the actual costs to make a network like this. You are definitely knowledgeable, but perhaps creating a blog farm is not your forte. These days it’s too damn easy with the use of a few good purchasable WordPress plugins to have a self-sustaining, money making website up in no time.

  3. What’s wrong with making $5-$100 a month 1,000 times over?

    (And why would you bother trying to make a living off one or two sites instead?)

    I mean, the argument for auto-blogs is essentially, “It’s easy,” but the risk is that Google has the “business” model in their cross-hairs, if only for self-preservation.

    WP Robot and the like are living on borrowed time, Google needs to constantly tweak the algo for exactly these sames sites…

    So I dunno. Guess I’ll stick with the fewer sites, make a living model. I still have yet to see an argument for auto-blogging that didn’t make me cringe.

    On a site-per-site basis, auto-blogs can’t compete with an actual, quality site that makes thousands a month on its own.

    Well done article – even though the numbers may not reflect what others are spending, I can’t fathom chintzy sites as a steady business model.

    History is rife with epic fails that didn’t change their business model – but those lessons aren’t learned easily.

    Best of luck to you auto-sploggers. Hope I’m wrong for your sakes.

  4. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any solutions to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  5. Appreciate the recommendation! Let me try it out.; )!!!

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