How I Stumbled into the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Place that is the Internet Marketing Industry
Almost overnight, everything changed…
Sure, I had been working on tiny websites and managing blogs since 2005 as a way to earn some extra money to help pay for my new house. But my real career was as an IT computer support technician at a high-end law firm in my hometown.
But when 2008 rolled around and the economy crashed everything in my life changed. I was kicked to the curb like millions of others (and no – I don’t think the dreadlocks or the tropical shirt had anything to do with me getting the boot?)
I was left without a regular paying job and was living off my skimpy unemployment checks trying to to support a mortgage geared for better times.
This was when I got my first real taste of the dark and confusing world of professional internet marketing. You see, I hired myself out as a freelance ‘SEO article writer’ or ‘ghostwriter’ to various website publishers and bloggers, to make end meet.
How I Became an Article Writing ‘Ho’
Once a upon a time there was a thing called “SEO Copywriting”. During the heyday of “article marketing” or the “Bum Marketing” craze, TONS and TONS of SEO agencies and internet marketers wanted to hire folks to churn out 1,000’s of articles.
See companies like Demand Media, Inc., which is “an American content and social media company that operates online brands such as eHow, LiveStrong and Cracked”, purchased thousands of SEO articles/videos from low-paid freelancers to use on its network of websites to attract advertisers, like Google’s AdSense.
In fact Demand was one of the largest buyers of articles and videos on the Internet. In it’s hey-day Demand produced (bought) as many as “4,000 videos and articles every day“. This is HUGE since at that time the average Google AdSense marketer usually had only 20 or so articles (or pages) on any one site!
To be successful online then all you had to do is write some half-ass articles for the product you were promoting, heavily sprinkle in the hot keywords then post online or stuff in some links that pointed to an affiliate company landing page.
While I never worked for Demand (although several people I know did) during the next six months, I still wrote over 500+ SEO articles (enough material for 25 niche websites), plus worked a couple of for-hire blog writing gigs (I wrote about motorcycles and mineral mining in Colorado).
I developed and wrote a 12-month e-learning course for a membership site along with a 200 page training manual for starting a stock photography business,
I also wrote 50 pieces series on winning at roulette and poker, not to mention several how-to pieces on curing/dealing with baby colic plus online sales copy to sell used construction equipment in Vegas and golf condos in South Carolina.
I wrote ‘travel’ pieces on scuba diving, hiking and trekking to the Everest base camp (all from the comfort and security of my living room – thank you!)
Basically I was a SEO copywriting whore (hence the ‘HO).
If you wanted articles – I would write them. But I still had some morals – I tried to stay away from pills, porn and stock “investments” (i.e. no diet/fitness supplements, adult entertainment sites or ‘financial” sites designed to outright defraud people).
However due to the anonymous nature of the freelance job boards, I ended up working for everyone from honest, hard-working small business owners to liars (never paid me), borderline con artists (sold expensive but very glitchy software) and other slightly shady dealers.
I got writing projects from every continent in the world except for parts of Asia, South America and the Antarctica (probably because there are no internet marketers there).
And if I had any doubts left as to the shady nature of online marketing, they were permanently vaporized from my brain, when I was finally hired as a ‘website manager’ for a local affiliate marketing company (which operated over 256 websites.)
During the nearly 2 years that I worked at the hellhole known as the ‘Digital Dungeon’, I learned a lot about the different online marketing techniques, tactics & shady tricks.
I also discovered there were several different business models that successfully used the internet for marketing – and that “Internet Marketing” (or affiliate marketing) was the most well known but not the most profitable (especially for a small business).
Some of the things I learned were very good, most were so-so and others were so smarmy and bad that they made my skin crawl. Nothing illegal, since the boss man was ‘terrified’ of being arrested.
Yet at lunch one day, we all discussed what we were to do if we “saw” suspicious SUVs driving around the neighborhood.
Still the boss was embroiled in constant legal battles (with pissed ex-partners and crappy affiliate companies) the whole time I worked there.
So I guess his paranoia about going to jail was justifiable.
However, one of the most important things I discovered from all my online experiences there is that small business people were being actively targeted (i.e. primed to be screwed over) by many of the “famous” internet marketing “gurus”.
Big Internet Marketing Gurus are Targeting Small Business Owners
Everyone from gurus, to best-selling authors and ad agency consultants, to well-known pundits and professional bloggers – all have hidden agendas that can leave the little guys (like you and me) twisting in the wind.
Almost all of these agendas center on them pushing a specific point of view or a particular sales tactic, technique or software. They may talk big about social media or having to have a high-end blog in order to be successful online.
You need to understand that these experts want to sell you something: a high-end internet marketing course or more books (in order to get the bestseller list and get more speaking and corporate consulting gigs).
Or they want add you as a big-ticket client to their busy ad agency or web design business. They aren’t all that interested in helping you build your business.
And it is no secret that a lot of these folks like my former boss are constantly battling lawsuits, bad reputations along with fines for fraud and jail time. If you want to learn more check out “Scamworld”
So you might notice that I have a bad taste leftover from dealing the Internet Marketing industry.
But I have an agenda too…
I have always hated seeing bully boys take advantage of other people. Ever since I got knocked down into a blackberry patch, while walking home from school because I pushed this H-U-G-E bully away from a smaller kid, I have stood up for the underdogs – us little guys.
Once I recognized that more than a few so-called internet goo-roos and other marketing industry professionals were acting like greedy pigs out to help themselves at the expense of the small business owner or entrepreneur, it just pissed me off.
So I have set out to teach other small business people how to create powerful and profitable websites – without being screwed over. On this blog I will show you how to create an online marketing plan that really works – a plan that helps you build business blogs that actually make money for you.
I truly believe all small businesses need good solid customer-focused websites – not some 3rd party freebie site or some social media crap that is making others money but a REAL web presence that they own and can control.
A website that will give them the best possible chance to grow your company and become more successful than you ever thought possible from such a small investment.
I admit I’m not a web programming prodigy, or a bestselling author seeking a speaking gig or an internet marketing goo-roo teaching you to strike it rich online.
I’m just an over-educated (2 college degrees), former blue-collar working stiff; who accidentally stumbled into the shady world of online marketing and survived it.
And I have taken what I learned and put it to good use. Now I use my hard-won skills (and knowledge) to help other small people succeed online.
Today, I work solely with budget-conscious, hard-nosed local business owners – people who run REAL stores and restaurants. I either produce sales or cash-money results for them or I don’t get paid. Period.
Life is very simple in my world. No theory, no hype, no BS – just proven formulas that work. Let me rephrase that…Had to Work.
So this is what I have found:
I have taken the very best marketing strategies that I have discovered , researched, tested and perfected them, then condensed them down into a series of practical website marketing services that will work for almost any small business.