Why You Should Stay Away from the Make Money Online & Internet Marketing Niches

October 20, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

Are you looking to start an ‘internet marketing’ or ‘make money online’ blog? Stop and read this post before you proceed. Internet marketing is an extremely popular topic for many blogs, but mostly for the wrong reasons. As the owner of Winning the Web, a blog about Internet marketing strategies, I’d like to lay out the pros and cons of the industry and what you can do to build out a successful blog – whether it’s in the make ‘money online niche’ or not.

I recently described the 4 steps to find the perfect topic for your blog which are passion, style, angle, and money. You should always use this process when determining the niches you want to focus on for your sites. If you’re still serious about a blog in Internet marketing, make money online, SEO or link building, then this article series will help you to make a good decision based on your needs and desires.

I enjoy blogging here on Winning the Web and I don’t regret choosing Internet marketing as a blog topic at all. The site makes a fair bit of income from advertising deals and affiliate marketing, and above all I love the networking opportunities. I’ll describe the advantages of the Internet marketing niche in tomorrow’s post.

Today, I want to touch upon the negative implications of blogging about making money online and Internet marketing. If you’re in the space, you can’t afford to ignore this post.

Don’t be a follower

Many newbies follow big money bloggers like Shoemoney, Darren Rowse, and John Chow and learn about the insane amounts of money they are making through their sites (not realizing that many bloggers in more mainstream niches earn even more). Attempting to follow in their footsteps, they set up very similar blogs in the ‘make money online’ niche with no previous experience and little to offer the community. Unable to gain any sort of traction, they quickly give up on blogging and accuse the big money bloggers of taking advantage of them.

If this is you, you basically set yourself up for failure. Unless Internet marketing is something you are truly passionate about (and not just because you want to make some money), your blog will go nowhere. You need to have a strategy and a unique angle that sets you apart.

If you start up a blog related to making money online, you’re already at a disadvantage because you’ll be labeled as “just another copycat” until you prove otherwise. This niche isn’t for the faint of heart… just the most passionate. :)

Tough audience – Converts poorly

The audience for Internet marketing blogs is extremely tech-savvy and very advertisement-adverse, meaning that they simply do not click on ads. I tried Adsense here on Winning the Web and the clickthrough rate was over 10 times lower than on some of my other “normal” information sites. If you’re trying to make quick money on your site by selling advertising, you’ll have a very hard time with an Internet marketing blog. People in this niche already know many of the tactics and strategies you use, so they’re much less likely to buy from you or click on your ads.

A tainted reputation = less marketing opportunities

Similar to a tough audience, the Internet marketing industry has a bad reputation in many circles that limits the amount of marketing potential. For example, if you try to promote a story related to SEO on Digg, you’ll quickly get shot down and buried before your article sees the light of day.

Building links for improved search engine rankings and traffic is even more difficult because webmasters who have related sites know exactly what you’re trying to do – and are therefore reluctant to freely give out links unless you have something exceptional to offer.

Competitive disadvantage

As an Internet marketing blogger, you’re essentially giving away your valuable strategies and methods both by writing about them in articles and using them to promote your site. Because of this, you’re at a serious competitive disadvantage compared to bloggers who write about other general topics and use stealthy marketing strategies under the radar.

Furthermore, being involved with a marketing blog automatically puts you in the limelight for how you promote your sites and how much money you make. Why do you think John Chow was penalized in Google for manipulating links to improve rankings? Clearly, he was used as an example for Google to send a stern message to webmasters abusing links.

Need credentials, it’s harder to fake it

In many niches online, your credibility and authority come from the quality of your content. By writing useful articles that connect well with the audience, people will flock to you for more and help spread the word. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way in the ‘make money online’ niche. You can write great useful content, but people won’t trust you or take you seriously unless you prove your status with a $100,000 Adsense check or screenshot.

Authority status is very difficult to fake in the marketing niche, mainly because you need stats and credentials to back yourself up. Someone who writes mediocre posts but makes $40,000 per month on their blog will have a much bigger following than someone who writes amazing content but only makes $40 a month. Money talks and it’s actually a big barrier to entry for newbie bloggers who want to break through without their own personal success story.

Requires a lot more branding and trust

The truth is that a make money online blog requires a lot more trust and branding in order to gain exposure than most other blogs. Would you trust just anyone to provide you tips on how to run your business? Of course not. In the same way, most people wanting to learn Internet marketing flock to the best – which is why branding is so important to gain exposure. People don’t necessarily want articles on how to make money, they want relationships with knowledgeable mentors who will guide them to success.

If you’re not willing to put in the effort to build a brand and develop relationships with your readers, don’t even think about blogging about Internet marketing.

Small market dominated by a few big players

A ‘make money online’ blog can be extremely profitable – there’s no question about it. However, what you may not know is that the market is actually pretty small with a few big players making most of the money. If you’re thinking about starting a new blog, you have to consider the competition levels. An Internet marketing blog faces fierce competition from the best marketers with the most cutting-edge strategies.

By now, I’m sure you’re deathly afraid of the ‘make money online’ niche and wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot stick. But before you completely decide against it, wait until my next post when I describe to you the benefits and advantages of running a blog in Internet marketing. Subscribe to the Winning the Web RSS feed so you don’t miss out.

What do you think so far? What do you like/dislike about the ‘make money online’ niche?

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Comments

40 Responses to “Why You Should Stay Away from the Make Money Online & Internet Marketing Niches”

Joel Drapper on October 20th, 2008

Too late. I am already in the internet marketing niche. But it is what I enjoy writing, and learning about and that is how it is going to be.

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Hey Joel, I’m with you and I’m glad to hear that you’re following your passion above all. I just wrote a post about why you should embrace the MMO niche for your blog. I’m sure you’ll like that one a lot more than this one. Let me know what you think.

 
 
Lanie on October 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I do not agree with the ” It A’int Worth It” mentality. I write about this and I am doing just fine. Nothing on the John Chow level but making a steady profit.

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

It’s important to know that the points I outlined in this post are myths – meaning that they’re what a lot of people perceive but they may not necessarily be true. If you’re doing well in the niche, then you know what’s best for you and your interests. Cheers.

 
 
Ovidiu - LayoutGarden.com on October 21st, 2008

The fact is that making money online niche is crowded, way too much, but you must agree you can always find your piece in this world of internet marketing. Just don’t jump to the “make money” part, you can indeed find another angle to it.

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

The beauty of the Internet marketing niche is that there are countless strategies and methods that will enable you to take a unique angle. Copying John Chow may not be the best action, but if you do something new and fresh you can easily gain a following quickly. What you once thought was crowded may be ripe for the picking. Good luck!

 
 
fromtheold on October 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Brilliant post. When i started blogging I also used to blog about making money etc. As soon as I focused on other things I really started to make money. Blogging about making money will not make you money unless you focus on those that are uninformed and unless you have other niche blogs. But having a plain old make money online blog is not going to do it. Might work for a selected few but for the effort you have to put in its not worth it when you can easily make money by blogging about other things.

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Thanks fromtheold. You bring up a lot of good points that agree with what I wrote in the article. Blogging about making money isn’t the best course of action unless you have a unique angle and are passionate about the topic. I’m glad that you found better topics for yourself. Maybe when you’re successful in other niches you can come back to tell your story to the Internet marketing world. :)

 
 
Tyler Banfield on October 21st, 2008

I always find it amusing when people want to make lots of money like Shoemoney from “blogging.” If they would actually read what he writes, he has stated countless times that his blog only accounts for a fraction of his income, and the majority of the money he makes comes from building actual online businesses (like Auction Ads).

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Good point Tyler. Blogging by itself, although profitable, is probably one of the worst ways to make money online. It’s just that bloggers get the most attention because they publicly blog about their income. Blogs are a great platform to increase exposure for other projects – but by themselves are weak in terms of monetization.

 
 
Tyler Cruz on October 21st, 2008

Nice post. I agree most with “Need credentials, it’s harder to fake it”.

The majority of “make money online” blogs are actually written by people who aren’t making anything online, or if they are, it is minimal ($500/month).

Almost all of the top bloggers in this niche were already successful in making money online before starting their blog…

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Thanks Tyler, I agree. That’s where “don’t be a follower” comes into play. If you’re truly passionate about Internet marketing, you’ll have your own ideas you can utilize to generate income. Having that experience and proof is what attracts people to follow your blog.

 
digga live on October 29th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great point!

 
 
MLRebecca on October 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I agree with you in that there is money to be earned in other niche areas. I usually veer on the side of blogging about something that interests you–something that enables you to write tons of content–but that is different from other blogs out there. If you’re one out of a thousand MMO blogs, how will your blog stand out from the crowd? It seems that although MMO can be a very lucrative niche, it’s also a very difficult niche. I believe you can be an Internet marketer, but run a blog about a mainstream niche topic. Great post, Gyutae!

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Hey Rebecca, you’re totally right about “blogging about something that interests you”. Too many times I see people running towards topics that make the most money, but that they have no interest in whatsoever. In the long run, it’s interesting content that will bring in traffic and money.

 
 
Yan Shall Blog on October 22nd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

All of the articles that focus on the “why not”, this is the best that I have read in a long time. This is the one niche that I shy away for the very reason that I don’t have a good screenshot of my adsense check or a decent amount of paypal (4 figures) to justify it. Perhaps, when I pick up some photoshop skill, I might reconsider it again.

Awesome article. Look forward to what you have to say about the “why should”…..

Yan

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Thanks for the compliments Yan! Haha, you’d be surprised at the number of people who fake their stats and income using Photoshop… People you consider “gurus” may actually be making less than you! The “why should” article is now up. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Yan Shall Blog on October 23rd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

… People you consider “gurus” may actually be making less than you!

That’s pretty motivating…but it’s a good one. Now I’m off to see the flip perspective of MMO..

Yan

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JR @ Verizon Ringtones on October 22nd, 2008

Great points, and a great post. Often times you run across those “jump on the bandwagon” blogs and it is so obvious and transparent. I agree with you about being very passionate as a recipe for blog success, and not only just for IM blogs but all blog topics.
Thanks

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Thanks JR! Yeah I find some of the me-too blogs pretty disturbing. Can’t they at least add their own thoughts and style into it rather than blatantly copying someone else? Like you said, passion is probably the key recipe in selecting a topic. If you end up with Internet marketing, then you’d better really test yourself to see if it’s something you’re genuinely interested in.

 
 
wisdom on October 22nd, 2008

Good post, useful for people starting out. There is still money to be made in the niche though.

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

There is a TON of money to be made in the Internet marketing and making money online niche – but only for the right people. If you’re just getting started and looking for a blog topic, you probably don’t want to venture into it so soon.

 
 
Clog Money on October 22nd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I disagree, if making money on-line it was you’re passionate about then go for it! Whether you have made it or not just make it personal to you, oh and I wouldn’t fake it in any niche, people who lie always get caught!

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Hey Alan, as I mentioned before passion is the key determinant. If it’s there then by all means go for the make money online niche. Sure you don’t have to be an expert but in most cases it certainly helps.

For example, Caroline Middlebrook is an IMer who isn’t a guru but has gathered a large following just by being transparent with her readers and showing them her latest projects. Honesty is definitely a good thing.

 
 
Genuine Aussie on October 22nd, 2008

Great post. I just barely started, so your post almost scared me away. But there are so many scams, I figure I’ll blog about what I have learned that works. It might take awhile, but I think I’ll get a following.

Gyutae Park on October 22nd, 2008

Haha, I didn’t mean to scare you away… just give you the facts. My post on why you should embrace the Internet marketing niche might be more encouraging for you. Check it out.

There are a ton of scams out there that falsely claim Internet riches. If you can filter the good from the bad, that alone can get you noticed. Good luck!

 
 
Zurpit on October 24th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

This is a very informative post for people trying to pick a niche, it sucks to see that the internet marketing niches don’t make money

Gyutae Park on October 26th, 2008

Internet marketing niches do in fact make money – but only for the right people. Too many newbies jump in following the “gurus” thinking that they can do the same without any experience whatsoever.

 
 
Mr Javo on October 25th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I think that you could start a blog about this niche but just only if you have a big different idea in mind. Offering something that Darren or Chow cannot provide you could be a good way to be remarkable and be successful, getting the trust of your readers.

Mike Huang on October 26th, 2008

I would say no matter how different your idea is, the chances are someone already wrote about it. It’s simply too hard to stay in this “money making niche” and the main thing I believe that would actually make it successful (if you become a blogger now) is if you really do have proof of making tons of money.

You wouldn’t believe how many bloggers just write about money making when they never tried it. lol.

-Mike

Gyutae Park on October 26th, 2008

I agree with your statement somewhat. The Internet marketing niche is extremely saturated and it’s getting harder to think of new angles. However, I wouldn’t say that it is impossible. If you serve a particular market and are good at it, there’s still a lot of room for you to succeed. It definitely helps to have proof though.

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Gyutae Park on October 26th, 2008

I really like that idea. It’s going to be very hard to compete with people with huge audiences like John Chow and Darren Rowse – who are very good at what they do. It’s better to start small and then slowly expand your blog once you gain exposure.

Mr Javo on October 26th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

That’s right Gyutae! It is not impossible to be involved in this niche but it could be very hard to be successful when you are competing with people like Chow or Darren.

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Moon Loh on October 26th, 2008

Hi Gyutae,
Really attracted by your post of “why should stay away..”. You have very good points here. And in order to have followers in this niche, the screenshots of earning is always more convincing. People always want to see how much you earn from internet marketing before they really believe you and follow you. Of course there are exceptional cases too. I personally feel that passion and up to date information in IM is very essential if focus on this niche. The knowledge also very important and I always believe education and correct system would make a person stronger.

Gyutae Park on October 28th, 2008

Hey Moon,
The screen shots of earnings certainly do help – it’s usually what people want to see before they completely trust someone’s strategies. But at the same time, Internet marketing is very difficult to fake. If you’ve never made money online before, it’ll probably show in the quality of your blog posts.

 
 
Zak Show on October 28th, 2008

That’s correct, but unfortunatly there is nothing that I can do. When I started blogging I tried hard to keep myself away from the ” make money online ” and the ” webmastering ” topic, but without conscience I found myself writing about that! To be honest I make more with my arcade site than my mmo/rambling blog.

I have many websites in different niches, I make more money trough each one of them than my blog that I work hard for it :)

LIFe!

Gyutae Park on October 28th, 2008

Hey Zak,
The fact that you naturally gravitate towards writing about webmastering and making money online may mean that you actually enjoy it. If that’s the case, then there’s no reason why you should run away. Here’s my post on why you should embrace the Internet marketing niche: http://www.winningtheweb.com/embrace-internet-marketing-niche.php

You can eventually use your experiences in your other sites to grow your MMO blog. Good luck!

 
 
digga live on October 29th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

This is definate debatable subject, as I write my comment, with my “money making blog” as my signiture, but saying that, you deffinetly should not start out by one of these, but if your into the game, then you can find something to post about,and find the right niche to target that don’t already have blogs. And the proof part I could dissagree with too. Prove you have traffic to your blog, and you will get advertisers. If affiliate marketing isn’t making money on your blog, switch it up. There are too many ways to make money, and you can get confused, but put your own twist to it, and like john Chow says, be pationate about your subject, and you’ll succeed. On mine, I am not claiming to be any guru, but providing a community/envoronment for users to post there questions and comments on anything happening in the ppc news. New techniques are added everyday to make money, don’t give away your secrets, but you can give an idea, and let them come up with the rest. There’s millions of blogs out there, believe me, your post is not going to spark commpetition unless you post your specific niche. Anyway, my site goes live Friday, so check it out, and I am here to prove you wrong on this article, because I believe if you get good traffic, and a community started, you can indeed make money in this niche. Check this out After Friday, and see what I mean: diggalive.com

 
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