the secret to making money online is there is no secret

seriously, there is no secret.  it’s just critical mass.

why is upstart blogger doing so well? because he has traffic.  lots of it.  and he has minions.  far-reaching minions that sell his product for him.  it’s great, almost unheard-of, that his affiliates make 50% commission off each sale of Twitter Rocket — that puts each minion in a great position to make a lot of money fast if they’re a good salesperson.  but as much as each individual minion makes, ashley morgan makes more — because he gets the other 50% from each sale every one of his minions make.  and that’s what pisses everyone who’s not in the club off.  he’s perceived to be sitting on his ass, doing nothing, meanwhile he’s making a killing because he has people doing his selling for him.

well, i doubt he’s actually just sitting on his ass, no matter how great the hardware that his ass is encased in may be.  if he stopped blogging today, the Twitter Rocket sales would taper off and die.  the timeline for that is probably pretty long, but eventually, no one would know what Twitter Rocket was anymore, what Upstart Blogger was, and it would fade away like every other internet flash mob.  and it’s true — every one of his most bitter critics are embittered because they want to be where he is.  i include myself in this category.

i just spent the last 2 weeks working my ass off, without taking a single day off (something we vowed never to do after i left WF), to get a huge project done by its deadline for two grand.  now, granted our prices are much lower than they should be — but we’re still trying to establish ourselves in a specific niche and in so doing, can’t charge $10k for a site like this one.  yet.  hannah says she can make that in one day?  yeah, i want to be right there.  i’ll be blunt — i have very little respect for hannah as a blogger.  but i’ll give her one thing — if she’s not a fictional character (fairly unlikely), if she’s not lying (possible, but probably not the case) or exaggerating (even more possible, especially for a teenager), and she can make that kind of cash, she’s right: her a levels are kind of pointless.

(note to those of us not in the UK: a levels are half the equivalent of SAT/ACT/AP tests, and half like high school exit exams or college entrance exams — doing well on your A Levels means you are guaranteed a spot in a good school.  doing badly means you’re not, and a lot of people who do badly on their A Levels end up not going to college at all, and instead take on more remedial or manual jobs.  it’s almost like an enforced intellectual caste system where the A Level exams determine what caste you will be in.  “caste system” may be a bit harsh, but you get the idea — if you do badly on your SATs, you can still get into a pretty good school if your grades and other stuff are in place.  I got an 1150, which, while not horrible, wasn’t anywhere near what my friends in my AP English class were getting, and yet i went to a private university and a highly specialized program that let me develop my own major.  of course, the other side of the coin in the uk is that not everyone goes to college like they do here — it’s not nearly as expected, which may be related to the fact that college education — up until a few years ago — was free.  anyway, i’m getting off on a tangent — these are things i learned when i studied abroad for a semester at the university of east anglia.)

i don’t particularly credit hannah with an overabundance of brains.  it’s mostly to do with her age — i was stupid, too at 17.  at 17, i was trying to find my writing voice, and more than likely i, too, would start a verbal war over the internet with an arch-nemesis.  what hannah has is a huge following, everything else falls along the wayside.  reading her twitter stream is like watching an 8 hour infomercial, but it doesn’t matter — because she has 10,000 followers.  let’s do some math:  if 1% of her followers clicked on one of her links to Twitter Rocket and bought a copy, that would be 100 sales — $4,700.  the actual results are more like 0.1% if she’s getting 10 sales a day.  and you know what? part of the reason i am willing to believe that Twitter Rocket does what it says is because i have little respect for hannah.  because if she can do it — a young, occasionally volatile, inexperienced and untrained neophyte blogger with no formal education past high school — and make that much cash reselling it, then anyone can.  and so i’m leaning back on the Twitter Rocket side of the camp.  except…

it’s one thing to say microsoft is evil.  microsoft makes a ton of money.  they spend a ton of money on making their products so ubiquitous that they are household names.  they’ve done some potentially ruthless things to become the single most recognized name in technology (at least for a while). ask any schmoe to name a single company in IT and it’s probably 50/50 between microsoft and google.  but microsoft is also a large company, with a lot of employees.  all that cash doesn’t go into bill gates’ pockets and it never did.  and i doubt there are as many people talking about microsoft right now as twitter rocket.  now, one may say that you could look at twitter rocket affiliates as employees paid on a commission basis — a very good commission.  but twitter rocket has just crowdsourced its’ advertising.  even salespeople on commission still make hourly wages.  it’s as if, rather than spend a penny on marketing, microsoft put all that money directly into one person’s pocket (and, look it up — microsoft spends a ton of money on marketing, especially now that they are still trying to re-legitimize their name since their antitrust case in the 90s and with Windows 7) and they gave their customers to opportunity to make a bit of cash by doing all the marketing for them. the amount of cash would need to be lucrative enough to give enough incentive to enough customers to support the production and development costs of the product, but in the case of twitter rocket — there are no production costs, there are no development costs.  there is one architect and he sits on top of the food chain.  no matter how not-a-pyramid-scheme twitter rocket is, there is still, irrevocably, one guy sitting on top.  and he knows it.  and he knows that you can’t touch him.  even critique of twitter rocket could still amount to a potential sale for twitter rocket, and at the very least people are talking about twitter rocket.  the more times i say twitter rocket, the more traffic he gets for twitter rocket.  he said so himself in his letter to his critics.  it doesn’t matter what anyone says.

i’ve had some great feedback recently from both people who are skeptics like me, and people who use twitter rocket, and defend ashley and hannah.  by all accounts, ashley is a great guy.  my own personal experience has been that, yes, he does respond to people.  even, unimaginably, to direct messages on twitter.  and if you can make the money you paid for twitter rocket back on just 2 affiliate sales, even if you never go the infomercial route, it could be said that he’s just giving something away.  except.  he’s not.  hannah’s arch-nemesis’ most valid and resonating criticism is how much actual work do you do to make that money? granted, working for cash is the opposite of passive income, which is what ashley morgan blogs about.  but if you actually read the horrible, evil vegan‘s blog (and just overlook, for a minute, the places where she makes mistaken assumptions about how twitter rocket and the affiliate program work), you will see a recurring theme: she wants to work for her money and get paid for a job well done.  it’s not a crime, or an affront to all twitter rocket users and affiliates to want to feel like you earned the money you make.  (and, also, guys, it’s not a crime to be mistaken either.  there’s plenty of bad information on the internet, and like ashley himself says, anyone smart enough to matter will take the time to get the facts straight — so there’s really no point in flaming her…) but again, that’s the opposite of passive income.  i would love money for nothing (though i’ll pass on the “chicks for free” — i’m taken, thanks), but i’m ambitious — if i’m making money for nothing, i want it to be part of my own empire, and not be a pawn on the chessboard of someone else’s empire.

so no twitter rocket for me.

yet.

and how am i doing on that topic?  well, i updated my graph:

graph

as you can see, my twitter following has grown at a regular rate.  now, i’m one week in, and i don’t yet have 1000 followers, so i can’t claim the success rate that twitter rocket does.  and this aggravates me to no end, and again, makes me want to just shell out the $97 bucks and get a copy. (actually, at this point, i’m waiting until he does another special offer and since i’m on his brand-spanking-new newsletter, i’m assuming there will be something for his subscribers eventually.)  but what’s most interesting to me is that i slacked the last two days in trying to get this project i was working on finished and didn’t follow anyone new, just followed back new followers for @teh_s3quence.  and yet my following remained self-sustaining, getting 40 new followers each day.  that’s not bad.  they’re probably all marketers, but whatever.  because it doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is the traffic.  and tweeting your own links drives traffic to your site.  and the more followers you have, the more traffic you generate.  that’s it.  that’s the secret.  it’s really not a secret, it’s just common sense.

i’m giving the schoolbus a month.  we’ll see where i am at the end of the month, and then, maybe i’ll get my own copy of twitter rocket.

postscript: yes, i do realize there are 23 references to twitter rocket — oops, 24 — and that almost all of them links to, that’s right, twitt–er, the home page for the product.  yes, i realize this is absolutely ridiculous.  but it’s intentional.  i’m making a point about how spammy it ends up sounding when every single one of your links and posts is about one thing.  when everything is a marketing ploy, everything else loses credibility.

4 Replies to “the secret to making money online is there is no secret”

  1. Very nicely written and very entertaining stuff. Lets consider a few things to try and move this forward.

    Just because Ashley is sitting at the top of the scheme, is that wrong?

    You've said yourself that you have respect for him – and that he even, shock horror, answers his emails and his Twitter direct messages, even though he must have a mountain of them to get through. So, with that in mind, is it wrong of him to push out a product, albeit a great one (since it clearly works) using an affiliate program.

    In doing so he has expanded into audiences that he would otherwise never have reached. But, in doing so, he allows everyone to act as his sales person.

    There is a trade off there – he might get great people selling his product. But he also has a number of very volatile and young acolytes who are more than happy to go crazy in their promotional efforts.

    But that isn't his fault. He's not stupid. He knows what he is doing. And here is the main point in all of this. Ashley realizes that all traffic is good traffic. It doesn't matter whether the traffic comes from experienced bloggers and marketers, young and volatile newbies flush with new money, or critics that foam at the mouth at the thought of him being able to buy custom made yellow suede furniture and probably whatever the hell else he pleases.

    Ashley understands that the more attention he gets, the better. Period.

    As for Hannah Solo. Lets' get real here. Although her name is obviously fictional I doubt that she is a complete fabrication. I've emailed her a few times and she responds. I've messaged her on Twitter and she responds. I've noticed open exchanges where she closes sales simply by jumping into a Twitter rocket conversation and saying words to the effect of "well, it works for me, look, I've got over 14,000 followers".

    She does that because it works. Otherwise how has she got 14,000 followers? It's a hard thing to argue with.

    That's the important thing to remember – whatever you say about her – she has got 14,000 plus followers and that amount is rising by over 1,000 a week! If you check her out on Twitter counter it clearly documents her rocket like progress.

    By the end of the year she will have a massive amount of followers and the ability to move masses of traffic. How she behaves when she has 100,000 followers (which won't be very long!) will really show her true colors.

    One more thing. You say your followers are growing. Have you considered that your traffic might be going up to your blog because of your Twitter Rocket keyword density?

    And that is another reason why Ashley doesn't need to get involved with comments on other peoples blogs – he knows that whenever people mention Twitter Rocket, they get a traffic boost. And what does that do? It makes them mention it even more. And who benefits from all of that. Ashley does.

    You have to hand it to him. I bet his traffic is rocketing skyward. The test for him is whether or not he can maintain the publicity and keep growing to the point where he hits critical mass. Unless he's already there, which is very, very possible.

    1. nope. it's not wrong to be king of the hill. and being king means you have to fend off potshots and critics. he's obviously smart, has a good thing going, and some good ideas that work. i do realize that a big part of my traffic bump to this site has to do with talking about twitter rocket — and that was somewhat intentional, at least insofar as i was writing about something that i knew other people were interested in. so far i'm still not a blog superstar. which i guess means i need to talk about twitter rocket some more…

  2. Very nicely written and very entertaining stuff. Lets consider a few things to try and move this forward.

    Just because Ashley is sitting at the top of the scheme, is that wrong?

    You've said yourself that you have respect for him – and that he even, shock horror, answers his emails and his Twitter direct messages, even though he must have a mountain of them to get through. So, with that in mind, is it wrong of him to push out a product, albeit a great one (since it clearly works) using an affiliate program.

    In doing so he has expanded into audiences that he would otherwise never have reached. But, in doing so, he allows everyone to act as his sales person.

    There is a trade off there – he might get great people selling his product. But he also has a number of very volatile and young acolytes who are more than happy to go crazy in their promotional efforts.

    But that isn't his fault. He's not stupid. He knows what he is doing. And here is the main point in all of this. Ashley realizes that all traffic is good traffic. It doesn't matter whether the traffic comes from experienced bloggers and marketers, young and volatile newbies flush with new money, or critics that foam at the mouth at the thought of him being able to buy custom made yellow suede furniture and probably whatever the hell else he pleases.

    Ashley understands that the more attention he gets, the better. Period.

    As for Hannah Solo. Lets' get real here. Although her name is obviously fictional I doubt that she is a complete fabrication. I've emailed her a few times and she responds. I've messaged her on Twitter and she responds. I've noticed open exchanges where she closes sales simply by jumping into a Twitter rocket conversation and saying words to the effect of "well, it works for me, look, I've got over 14,000 followers".

    She does that because it works. Otherwise how has she got 14,000 followers? It's a hard thing to argue with.

    That's the important thing to remember – whatever you say about her – she has got 14,000 plus followers and that amount is rising by over 1,000 a week! If you check her out on Twitter counter it clearly documents her rocket like progress.

    By the end of the year she will have a massive amount of followers and the ability to move masses of traffic. How she behaves when she has 100,000 followers (which won't be very long!) will really show her true colors.

    One more thing. You say your followers are growing. Have you considered that your traffic might be going up to your blog because of your Twitter Rocket keyword density?

    And that is another reason why Ashley doesn't need to get involved with comments on other peoples blogs – he knows that whenever people mention Twitter Rocket, they get a traffic boost. And what does that do? It makes them mention it even more. And who benefits from all of that. Ashley does.

    You have to hand it to him. I bet his traffic is rocketing skyward. The test for him is whether or not he can maintain the publicity and keep growing to the point where he hits critical mass. Unless he's already there, which is very, very possible.

    1. nope. it's not wrong to be king of the hill. and being king means you have to fend off potshots and critics. he's obviously smart, has a good thing going, and some good ideas that work. i do realize that a big part of my traffic bump to this site has to do with talking about twitter rocket — and that was somewhat intentional, at least insofar as i was writing about something that i knew other people were interested in. so far i'm still not a blog superstar. which i guess means i need to talk about twitter rocket some more…

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