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Make Money Online: Documenting 10 Years of Failure

By John Ward / March 20, 2015 / 65 Comments
This is the history of my experience trying to make money online over the past 10 years or so. This is by far the longest post I've ever personally written and it's more of an autobiography than a blog post....
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IBM Watson Explorer

By John Ward / April 6, 2015 / 1 Comment
I'm going to talk a little bit about IBM Watson Explorer (WEX). A few people have contacted me about what I do at my day job as a Watson Explorer Consultant. Since this is my personal site I don't usually...
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I Made an Automated Pancakeswap Prediction Bot

By John Ward / October 14, 2022 / 0 Comments
A few weeks ago I got the idea to try to automatically bid on Pancakeswap's Prediction game. So I decided to try to build a Pancakeswap Prediction bot to take on the task. I did this just to learn about...

My 2022 Recap and 2023 Plans

By John Ward / January 13, 2023 / 0 Comments
I haven't been posting to my blog that often, but I wanted to recap 2022 and lay out some of my plans for 2023. Overall, 2022 was a pretty good year for me, and I made some progress on business...
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Watson Explorer vs Elasticsearch for Enterprise Search

By John Ward / May 12, 2020 / 0 Comments
Are you interested in IBM Watson Explorer vs Elasticsearch? Recently, I had to do some comparisons between IBM Watson Explorer and Elasticsearch for a project. I spent some time going through the features of both platforms and found some interesting...
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What is IBM Watson

By John Ward / July 24, 2020 / 0 Comments
There is a lot of confusion about what exactly IBM Watson is? I'm going to try to clear that up a little bit in this blog post. I'll go into the history of IBM Watson and what IBM is doing...

One AdSense Change Dramatically Increased My Earnings…

By John Ward / March 9, 2015 / 12 Comments
... and I have no idea what it is. I used to blog actively on my tutorial site, TeamTutorials. In it's prime the site would see over 100k page views per month. Even in the prime the site barely met...

Are Products the Road to Prosperity?

By John Ward / May 13, 2015 / 1 Comment
A few weeks ago a wrote a somewhat popular post about my past experiences trying to make money online. I went through the ups and downs of working as an affiliate promoting other people's products. At the conclusion of the...

What’s the Future of XRP

By John Ward / September 20, 2021 / 0 Comments
The XRP token was a fast-growing cryptocurrency until the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the parent company, Ripple,  back in December of 2020. This left many people scrambling to dump their XRP holdings and several...
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IBM Watson Explorer Connector List

By John Ward / March 4, 2020 / 0 Comments
IBM Watson Explorer Foundational Components include many out-of-box connectors for various types of data sources including web, filesystems, shares, databases and content management systems. This allows Watson Explorer (WEX) to be a very versatile tool for ingesting and indexing from...

Building Real Assets on the Web

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog.

I feel like that’s about how I start every post. Today I read a great post by Nathan Barry called The Billion Dollar Blog. It’s basically about a bunch of different people turning huge blog following into real businesses. It got me thinking, so I wanted to post an update about what I’ve been up to.

Where I’ve Been

If you’re reading this blog, then you probably got here from my post about my years of affiliate marketing and online ad buying. During that time I generated a lot of revenue building other people’s products and brands. I did get a nice commission cut but I didn’t have the foresight to build something of value for myself.

I didn’t create any lasting relationships with these customers. I just forwarded them on to other brands that would make the initial sale, pay me my commissions, and then continue to sell these people other products and things. I was happy to make my cut, but I missed out on a great opportunity to build something of value that could keep bringing me revenue.

Like that post says, business dried up for me. I don’t really do much paid traffic anymore. Every now and then I test out some affiliate offers for a little bit of extra income but don’t have much luck anymore.

On top of that, I wrote a post about my battles with mental illness. I suffer from Bi-Polar I disorder along with severe anxiety and depression. While I’m doing pretty well with my medications, the anxiety still gets me every now and then. I really hate when I post something online, like Reddit or Facebook, and get either straight up dicks commenting or just very confrontational people. It makes me super anxious to post anything, even to this blog. Plus I’m extremely tired all the time, so it’s hard to work on things after my normal workday. Plus I have a family to take care of, etc.

Enough with all the depressing stuff. I was told that people don’t want to hear about that. So I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing lately.

Using Affiliate Marketing to Build a Real Asset

I have all this history of being successful with affiliate marketing, even though I called it 10 years of failure. I wanted to take that skillset + my web development skills and try to build something that can actually be considered an asset. I want a website that I can keep making money from monthly, and maybe even eventually sell.

I’ve started a tech blog in the past and made pennies. It took a large amount of work and effort to make tutorial posts, and the ad revenue paid almost nothing. I learned a lot from the experience though. If I could go back I would probably try to turn it into some paid courses or eBooks. I’m moving on from that venture though.

So I stumbled upon this site called Niche Pursuits. Spencer there talked a lot about Amazon based affiliate sites and even shared some great case studies. So I thought maybe I would take a look at that. I also saw some affiliate style sites selling for real, decent money on Empire Flippers and Flippa.

Playing the Long Game

So I decided I wanted to focus on creating a web asset that could build over time and maybe even become an actual business. I started two Amazon affiliate sites. Instead of going after paid traffic, I’m trying to build a following using Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I started these two sites at the beginning of the year. I create a lot of posts, all written by myself. I target keywords with low competition, as my sites are not going to rank for some of the high competition keywords being so new. I use a tool called Long Tail Pro to do my keyword research at the moment.

Yuge Profits!

I’m really kidding here. I’m not making huge profits at the moment. I brought in about $500 in Amazon commission so far in 2020. As I said, I’m playing the long game here. The goal is to continue to write posts, grow traffic, and send that traffic to affiliate offers.

Now I have my own sites with my own traffic. I’m capturing email leads and sending offers to people. Site #1 is making much more revenue per 1000 views (RPM) than the other at $104 RPM. Site #2 is seeing something like $12 RPM. However, I don’t see any real way to scale site #1, so I’m focusing on growing site #2’s traffic.

I’ve seen 22,845 visitors this year to site #2. I got hit early on in my journey with Amazon lowering affiliate commission. Then there was a Google algorithm update a few weeks ago that knocked a lot of my keywords out of the top 100 rankings. It’s a small set back for now. I’m going to continue posting to site #2 and hope that my traffic bounces back.

I bought a domain name for a 3rd site, but I have to decide if I want to try building it now or focusing on site #2. I think I will give site #2 priority for at least the rest of this year and see how things go.

My ultimate goal here is to build enough traffic to my affiliate site that I can build and sell my own products to this audience. I think that is where the real value is.


So that is what I’m up to now. I’m still working a full time job that pays very well, but I always find myself wanted to have my own business. I will continue to work on this as a side project and maybe one day one of these sites will blow up and I’ll be able to work on something I like full time.

In the future I may post more about how to actually get these types of sites up and running, the plugins I use, the tools I use for keyword research and SEO, etc. That’s if there is any interest in this type of stuff from my audience.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been working on.

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John Ward

I've been in working in the tech space since about 2004. I've spent time working with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Advertising technology.