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Thread: So your internet business has gone into the crapper...

  1. #1
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    So your internet business has gone into the crapper...

    Don't feel bad, you're in good company.

    The purpose of this post isn't to moan about the loss of the "good old days." Nor is it another "Doom and Gloom" post that has become so prevalent. It is to compare where we've been, and connect the dots in what the future may hold and how to prepare for it. I don't have any answers. I wish I did. I was lucky in the sense that when the times were good I diversified into offline businesses.

    What I'm noticing around the web is that even large, viable, web businesses are going down. Ones that I would have thought were immune to the vagaries of the Internet Gods. These are just random observations. I have no way of knowing if the conclusions are valid. But if it looks like a duck...

    Case in point, Market Samurai: With 100's of thousands of satisfied customers, a huge list, very few competitors and sitting at the top of the internet marketing software heap, are now resorting to shrill email marketing, bargain basement tactics, and oozing desperation.

    Case in point #2: Paul Smithson at Intellimon, the creator of "XsitePro" software and excellent internet marketing training courses. He's going out of business and selling everything at fire sale prices. He says it is for "health reasons" and maybe it is, or it could be his company has the poor health.

    Case in Point #3" Jimmy D. Brown: Another successful internet Giant. One of the good guys. He's selling off his entire library of material as PLR's.

    I could go on and on, but you get the point. Even the old guard is getting out of the business or is gone. All the "old" money has moved on. The internet "window of opportunity" came and went.

    My point is, these were companies that made a name for themselves, were well financed, and did everything "right." In the case of Market Samurai, they were in the fore front of internet marketing. Jimmy D. Brown hob-nobbed with Carleton and Kern (and lived to tell the tale) Other internet marketing greats have simply disappeared, or are silent. The market is now filled with people regurgitating useless tactics of yesteryear, or resorting to carnival barker tactics. No new strategies are being put forward, at least not like it was back in the day. The internet has always been filled with hustlers and scam artists. But even then there were people who were publishing tactics that really worked. Now no one is. Why?

    Google is definately responsible for no less than a revolution. Even large, established "relevant" companies are being pushed aside. Heads have rolled. In fact, everyone except a certain anointed few are all being driven off the internet. The internet that we built our businesses on is gone. No one is really sure what has taken its place, what the ground rules are, or if there are any. What Google has done systematically is force all the smaller players off the field. There is still hope marketing locally via the internet if you have a bricks and mortar store. But that is about it.

    SEO is pointless. Banner ads and PPC still have some life left in them, but it is a completely different game. Play only if you have big bucks and can do market saturation. Ditto email marketing. Free traffic generation methods have dried up, except the most labor intensive ones, and even then deliver a fraction of the traffic necessary to sustain a business. Facebook and social media, you say? Give me a break. Have you noticed that freebie seekers now make up the biggest demographic most of us get to our websites? Have you noticed that even you get them on your list, gain their trust, promote responsibly, you rarely get a decent conversion. The "buyers" have gone. The internet has only gotten bigger. There are more buyers than ever before. The introduction of Smart phones and buying from them has added even more buyers. People are more comfortable buying online than ever before.

    So where have they gone? Amazon certainly. In fact, the only players left are the giants. Google has leveled the playing field all right. It bulldozed the smaller players right out of the game. But the internet for small business is dead and truly gone. It doesn't look like it is coming back.

    So what's next? The only thing left at this point is hitching your wagon to one of the major players and hoping for some crumbs to come your way. Amazon will sell your products for you. Other major players will also bring you under their umbrella, if you play by their rules and give them a hefty cut of the action. Example: What happened to eBooks? You used to be able to search and come up with loads of privately published ebooks on just about any subject. Now, they have disappeared and you have Amazon and Kindle instead.

    The only thing that I have found that works is local marketing. It is more like what the internet used to be. Traditional (Offline) marketing is becoming more affordable now that all the marketing dollars are going online. Also offline, this same thing happened as well. The vast majority of sales were consolidated into the hands of a few. (Think Wal-Mart) driving all the local businesses under. But local business found ways to survive and thrive in the cracks. One way was to excel in ways that large businesses can't. Wal-Mart might be able to offer low prices and a huge selection, but they suck at customer service and individualized attention. I was able to build an offline business that catered to two things.

    What we need to do is pioneer new ways of marketing, taking advantage of the weaknesses inherent to the Amazon model.

    What are some of you doing now in terms of internet marketing that is generating results that work?
    Last edited by dsieg58; 21 November 2014 at 11:30 am.

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  3. #2
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Here is "sort of" what I'm talking about.

    This is currently being used by stock photography sites like iPhoto, shutterstock, etc. But if you go looking for at Google images, you see many of the good ones are "watermarked," i.e. if you find the perfect picture, chances are, most people will follow the link and buy it. They used, not the search results, but an offshoot of Google to create their own marketing channel.

    It could also work for others as well. My books show up under my keywords. Of course, people searching for info are unlikely to use Google images, so it is not much use to me.

    IMHO, we need to find unexplored, but viable cracks in the existing online marketing system that could be used and/or exploited. Ideally, a number of such cracks that a marketing plan can be built around.

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    If you want to start a movement -
    I've said it before, I will try to be concise this time:



    Around 2006-2007 a group of website owners in the US (somewhere in NC ithink) brought a suit against Google, claiming that G was favouring large sites and they couldn't get a look in.
    G lost the case, and the judge ordered them to do something to help the little guy. After that came the minisite boom.

    People were able to get started into web biz for a while, but unfortunately there were lots of rubbish sites created at the same time. Glow-in-the-dark autofeed sites for link strategy etc. were cluttering up the search results. That was a consequence of link building being a viable strategy, but it was also easier to get those sites started after G gave small sites a "welcome boost".


    G developed a strategy to get rid of a lot of the rubbish sites. They regarded killing off a lot of small evergreen sites as collateral damage. They also changed their T&C in the interests of "uniformity" - actually a ploy to allow them to consolidate information from any source and allow them to build up profiles on web users, and G users evading T&C restrictions in particular.


    So now we are back to the 2006 situation where G is favouring the large sites and not giving the small guy a chance. Somebody needs to get together a group of small site owners and start another lawsuit - and it has to happen in the US if G is going to take notice of it.


    Incidentally, G's turnover is in the same region as the GDP of Croatia. Inside G they used to talk about the Google Nation, but they're trying to get away from that image. I might mention that a large component of the GDP of Croatia derives from manufacturing most of the handguns sold in the US.


    G doesn't like guns - but the way they are playing the game, guns are redundant technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsieg58
    IMHO, we need to find unexplored, but viable cracks in the existing online marketing system that could be used and/or exploited. Ideally, a number of such cracks that a marketing plan can be built around.
    Cracks are always filled. If not filled by the cause of the crack, then made irrelevant when widely discovered. Trying to game the existing system is futile and a source of frustration. I would never trust my income and future to trying to find hacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by crabfoot
    So now we are back to the 2006 situation where G is favouring the large sites and not giving the small guy a chance. Somebody needs to get together a group of small site owners and start another lawsuit - and it has to happen in the US if G is going to take notice of it.
    Aarghh - Screw G SERPs. Go buy traffic. G, Bing, FB, etc. are resources for paid traffic. Advertise, Promote. Test and adapt. Positive expectancy sales based on PPC traffic is a stable solution. Don't try and game the system, just use the one that's available.

    If you're running an Amazon affiliate site selling twigs, the twigs sell for $100, and Amazon pays you 8% for each sale, how many clicks do you need to buy and what do you need to pay per click for the traffic cost to be less than the $8 earned? You run a store selling guitars that cost $150 and net profit is $75? How much money can you pay for advertising to bring visitors and still be profitable (taking into account your time and overhead) based on conversions achieved?

    SEO is the road to failure, but keyword targeting is still an art form. Once your split testing to sales pages yields positive results for profits, where your cost of advertising (to bring traffic) is less than you earn from the visitors, the only question that remains is: How much traffic can I buy? Don't complain about being a small guy, play the same game as the big guys. Your overhead is lower, so you're always going to win.

    P.S. I did buy Paul's Smithson's paulsmithson.com/closingdownsale deal a couple days ago
    Last edited by KenW3; 21 November 2014 at 3:20 pm.

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  8. #5
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    People were able to get started into web biz for a while, but unfortunately there were lots of rubbish sites created at the same time. Glow-in-the-dark autofeed sites for link strategy etc.
    This is a consequence of any new business platform. Remember infomercials? Completely predictable and Google, being the brain of the online universe, should have been able to see it coming. Any first year business 101 student could've.

    Somebody needs to get together a group of small site owners and start another lawsuit - and it has to happen in the US if G is going to take notice of it.
    We've got a few lawyers on EP. But as far as US lawsuits go,
    • Rule number one, you need someone with deep pockets to sue. (Check)
    • You need multiple instances of law breaking, and provable evidence of each one. (Possible)
    • You need deep pockets yourself if you're going to go after someone with deep pockets. (I think we're finally getting to the rub of this discussion)
    • You need a attorney with the cajones who can do a whole lot more than just talk, and willing to take on a giant. (Few and far in between in my experience)

    A more satisfying conclusion, without the money crippling side-effects, would be to beat them at their own game. Expose chinks in their armor and deliver a crippling blow there. Amazon did it to traditional publishing. Found their weak spot and gutted them with it. Google has competitors, and each one would be more than happy to take Google's place. A few (Yahoo/Bing) may even have the deep pockets it would take to unthrone the King. But none of us do.

    It might work, but such a course of action isn't realistic for the average internet nobody. (Like me)

    Think back in the days BEFORE Google. In 2000 there were no internet marketing models to follow. No one had a plan. No one knew what worked. There weren't even any books on the subject when I started. Do you know what was available? The Warrior Forum. (Seriously. This was long before its present incarnation) Everyone got together and threw spaghetti at the wall, and internet marketing was born by the few strands that stuck. By openly exploring and expressing ideas, everyone benefited.

    Sound familiar yet?

    As far as starting a movement goes, I thought that was what this forum was for. You guys want to reinvent this forum, and make it relevant again. The reason buying and selling websites in no longer relevant is because no one is buying websites! The reason no one is buying websites is because no one can compete on the internet anymore. Small businesses are leaving in droves. The reason no one can compete is because no one, except the giants, has a viable model of marketing and making money that small business can use. Want to bet it was purposely created that way?

    Find their weakness, find a way around it, find a way to exploit the weakness. Build our own marketing plans. Keep them in the premium lounge if you want. It could be an entire forum unto itself.

    Trying to game the existing system is futile and a source of frustration. I would never trust my income and future to trying to find hacks.
    I'm not advocating "gaming the system" I'm advocating reinventing the game.

    Don't complain about being a small guy, play the same game as the big guys. Your overhead is lower, so you're always going to win.
    No one is complaining. In fact, in the first sentence was "The purpose of this post isn't to moan about the loss of the "good old days." Nor is it another "Doom and Gloom" post that has become so prevalent. It is to compare where we've been, and connect the dots in what the future may hold and how to prepare for it." That's not complaining. If you want to pick up the orts and leavings of Amazon, have at it. No one is stopping you. In fact, no one cares. Play the game in any way that benefits you. I think it's great. I've also found moderate success with Amazon, and spending big bucks on ad buys and PPC. So I guess that means there is no reason to look for, or design, or think outside the box? No reason to try anything different? I (respectfully) disagree.
    Last edited by dsieg58; 21 November 2014 at 3:58 pm.

  9. #6
    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    Whereas I cannot deny that Ken's strategy of keyword research + paying for advertising will work, I still don't like it because it is working within the system as established by G and YahBing.



    I don't see much value in G or YahBing searches, which are focused on entertainment values rather than useful problem-solving. I do prefer YahBing results as being somewhat more relevant to each enquiry, but I don't think that

    is a major factor in this discussion.



    I will mention that G spends over 10 billion dollars each year to make sure that it is the preferred search engine on your computer. That it got where it is by buying out all the other major search engines, apart from YahBing, without showing a profit for years.


    What I resent, more than anything, is that G and YahBing have a practical monopoly situation that is propped up by G's spending on maintaining it's position. G spends, YahBing gives an alternative with much the same choices but a different name, and lives on the appreciable market share it gets.

    If anything, YahBing have become parasites on G, by presenting an alternative that is not a real alternative, but not shelling out to maintain the status quo.

     

    Ken said "
    Don't try and game the system, just use the one that's available."

     

    David said "I'm not advocating "gaming the system" I'm advocating reinventing the game."


    I have to say that G won the game a long time ago. Now we have to work within their system.


    I have a couple of strategies I have not used yet, that I think will make money. But whatever you do these days, it is very difficult to make money without directly or indirectly giving a slice to those search engines, however small that slice is.



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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Yes, I also agree, Ken's strategies will work. I use them myself. They have a place in the marketing toolbox. But I don't think they are the end all, be all, of internet marketing. IMHO they are simply the only ones left. I think they can co-exist along with others yet to be developed, and should be developed. Google has certainly won the game, but that doesn't mean you can't play inside the system and still win. Like the example above with Google images. There is nothing wrong with watermarking your images, and I'm sure it leads to sales. That's not "gaming" the system. That's using the tools available to you to your advantage which is what marketing and business are all about.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Good OP, crabfoot. Yes, the "passive income" route isn't what it used to be but, of course, there are many opportunities online if you want to run a business (rather than make some "hands free" easy money).

    So methods relying on banner ads, free Google traffic etc., may not work as well, but other avenues have opened up. When I started there was no AliBaba so you couldn't easily source and buy cheap products from across the world (whether to sell online or offline). There was no crowdfunding so you couldn't raise lots of capital for your great idea. There were no apps you could give away for free with built in up-sells, and no marketplace for them where you could easily reach millions of people. There was no cheap route to publishing and reaching a large audience. There was no eBay giving access to large chunks of the adult population in the UK allowing everyone - from housewives making jewellery and craft items to kids selling toys they no longer use - to be able to sell online without the hassle of having a fully fledged shopping cart and card processing facilities.

    That's before we get to talking about social networking and the ability to focus on specific interest groups to sell station furniture to train aficionados or cow tags to farmers. There's also the ability to identify and target local groups (just local parents, or just local Christians). Attitude changes have also helped. People don't see internet dating as nerdy any more, and most people are quite happy to buy things online (which in the early days just didn't happen). All of these present opportunities. They are just very different to the setup and forget model which, to be honest, was too easy a money making opportunity to last forever.

    So, yes, the Googles and Amazons and Apples have messed some things up big time, but their very existence and the way they operate open up opportunities elsewhere. Some of these involve working with these big boys and giving them a cut, but there must be opportunities to cover areas these companies can't cover because of their big size, clunky decision making processes, tax domicile, public visibility or other disadvantage they carry.
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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    Here is an interesting article on the subject. I was going to use this as the basis of a blog post but what the heck, it's the weekend and I don't feel like doing an analysis of it.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technolog...internet-dream
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    @Clinton: Yes, these things are all true. The internet in one sense has opened up more avenues in just about everything you want to name. Things have gotten easier and at the same time, other things have gotten harder.

    I would however, like to go back to the orginal intent of this thread, which wasn't about how things have changed, or what doesn't work, before it gets hopelessly sidetracked.

    The OP's intent was about what we can do today as internet marketers to take advantage of all the various ways open to us, how to expand on the marketing work of the past, new directions we can try, instead of just sticking with the mold Google and others have created for us. I'm sure Google and Amazon are very happy if small businesses just keep to PPC and Amazon fulfillment and/or advertising. I'm asking for us to put our collective heads together and come up with new ways. The same way we came up with the old ways, in the old days.

    Case in point: SMS. I read this book today, The Complete Guide To Mobile Marketing Success For Business Owners (free as of right now) which was an excellent, concise, overview of SMS marketing. Nothing revolutionary but a good overview of something I'm not doing enough of in my B&M business. Because it does work.

    Then I started thinking about how it could be applied to online business. It is really just a variation of email marketing. If say, an online business switched focus from collecting email addresses to collecting cell phone numbers, it might be viable.

    Now I can hear everyone now. "People will never give out their cell phone numbers, they don't want even give out email addresses anymore," and yada, yada, yada. True enough. Which means there has to be a reason more powerful to part with the number than keeping it private. Therein lies the online marketers challenge. But this is a method that Google, or Amazon doesn't control. (Yet) I could even see websites going totally mobile and using the existing formats as secondary. Right now, I see a 'window of opportunity' before it gets saturated and becomes useless.

    But this is an example what I'm talking about and hoping this thread will produce. Other methods of marketing. Using existing marketing methods in different ways. Ideally, coming up with an entire toolbox, or arsenal of "out of the box" marketing methods which can benefit us.

    If we want to get this forum viable again, let's talk about things that matter to website owners, that have immediate application in the real world of today. Instead of talking about the pitfalls of buying websites, lets talk about ways of making money with the websites we've all already bought. We all know what the problems are, lets focus on solutions.

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