5 Strategies to Make Money Online and the People Who Use Them

Lately I’ve been thinking about the different strategies individuals use to make money purely online. By individuals I mean someone working alone (or maybe with a partner) who hasn’t gotten any funding, typically works from home and has no desire to build up a large company with employees. These strategies are also purely online, so selling items on EBay isn’t included since it involves physical goods. Here are the different strategies I have come up with.

  1. Content Site Publishing. Building websites and writing blogs. Usually this involves make money from a combination of CPC networks like AdSense, affiliate programs and direct ad sales. Another monetization strategy for content sites is subscriptions. Often this starts by building a site for fun and then realizing that the site can be monetized. Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) is a good example of someone who uses this strategy with CPC networks. Jeremy Schoemaker (Shoemoney) is someone who has had success with subscription sites. John Chow is someone who has done well with direct sales and affiliate programs. I also put myself in this category with CPC and affiliate programs.
  2. Paid Search Marketing. The goal here run massive PPC campaigns on networks like AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing to drive traffic to landing pages. Affiliate programs are used almost exclusively for this strategy. Amit Mehta is a well known PPC Marketer.
  3. Email List Marketing. Some online marketers build up huge email lists and then sell informational products (i.e. ebooks) through messages to the email lists. Almost any AdSense “Guru” uses this strategy. Examples are Joel Comm (AdSense Secrets Revealed) and Mike Filsaime (Butterfly Marketing)
  4. Arbitrage. The strategy here is to but PPC traffic for relatively cheap and then send the traffic to sites that have a ads with good CPC on them. I can’t point to examples of people who use this strategy as they tend fly under the radar.
  5. MFA Spammers. MFA is Made For AdSense. The idea here is to make pages having little content, or creating content by scraping other sites. You then place CPC ads on the page and drive traffic to them. Since there is little content on the site, people end up clicking the ads. This strategy is getting harder to do since Google has been cracking down on these types of sites. Again, most people who use this strategy aren’t willing to admit it because it is seen as unethical.

Of course many people use more than one of these strategies to varying degrees of success.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Which strategies do you use? Am I missing any major strategies?


  1. Chandra Dev Said,

    May 1, 2008 @ 7:05 am

    However, for arbitrage with Google- be careful, I lost my account.

  2. Toivo Lainevool Said,

    May 1, 2008 @ 8:53 am

    I don’t think arbitrage itself is bad in Google’s eyes. I think it’s arbitrage combined with a low quality site. Google has started several times that using online advertising to drive traffic to your site is fine – as long as it meets Google Quality Guidelines.

  3. Free Affiliate Said,

    September 4, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

    Thanks for the info on MFA Spammers.

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