I'm Dave and I found these forums while doing some research on monetising websites - the good old "make money online" search phrase Looks like a great place to get advice and chew the fat with other people trying to build online income while avoiding the "gurus". I live on the south coast of england with my girlfriend of 8 years and our two children ( 3 and 2 )
I'm a game programmer by trade but had to give it up due to stress related ill health - too much crunching to meet stupid deadlines put me in hospital for a while & I was put on incapacity benefit which has been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it's given me an opportunity to get back to writing code for the sheer joy of it and spend some time interacting with amateur game programmers. On the other it's difficult to see how to move from benefit dependence to creating an income doing the things I really like to do - the whole idea of going back to a situation where my time is dictated by someone else's business goals fills me with dread.
I've been working with GPL software related to game programming and managed to accidentally build a well respected and popular brand in that area. My main website brings in around 3 or 400 visitors a day but I really haven't done much in the way of monetisation - most of the income there comes from donations and kachingle with the odd affiliate sale when I feel comfortable promoting something. I'd like to do more with the affiliate side and perhaps set up a related web store with drop shipped products but I worry quite a lot about alienating the users I interact with on a daily basis in the site forum and related IRC channels. I have a personal blog where I write about programming and technology I find interesting but that's been sadly neglected for a year or so - that still brings in 30 or 40 visitors a day so I should probably get back to blogging more often. Unfortunately I'm my own worst critic and I have several posts still sitting in drafts because I wasn't that happy with how they were going.
Like many others I found the MMO Guru niche and spent some time around that - I did a little website programming for some interesting characters ( setting up wordpress with forum integration and customising of traffic exchange scripts) but after a while I just felt like I needed a shower after talking to some of them about their "business" model. The whole thing seems really incestuous and based around an artificial marketplace that really adds no value to the world.
My basic plan now is to look at revenue generation with the websites I have now and hopefully move through "permitted work" on to working tax credit and eventually build things up to the point where I'm no longer on benefits. Ideally I'd like the income side to be relatively passive so I can concentrate on things I find interesting without stressing too much about numbers and/or deadlines - does anyone here have much experience with dropshipping or fulfilment services?
I currently have 22 domains, some of which have been developed, others I had some ideas for but never really found the motivation to put content on. A couple I've thought about trying to build some traffic for and eventually selling them on but kind of lost the motivation when google killed my adsense account. I think their click fraud monitor may have been triggered by some website visitors trying to be "helpful" by clicking a bunch of ads ( a couple of people who use my software admitted to exactly that) but I didn't get anywhere with the appeal and the income it was bringing in at the time wasn't really worth the hassle of trying to break through the automated responses. Bizarrely I've been invited to sign up for adsense recently through webmaster tools/google analytics but I really don't know if it's worth trying again since they say you get banned for life & I really don't want to suffer the disappointment of being banned again when it comes time to pay out. It was several years ago and I've since moved house a couple of times but I'm pretty sure they could identify me without too much sweat.
This intro is getting a bit long though so I'll stop for now, looking forward to interacting here and hopefully I can manage to make a contribution.