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"Effective Online Advertising"

List Moderator: Adam Audette

February 18, 2000 Digest #773

"The shyness of success"
~Rod Aries

From: Rod Aries
Subject: The shyness of success

Allan Gardyne wrote,

Many people who are struggling to make money from affiliate 
programs find it hard to believe that some people have actually 
figured out how to earn decent money with affiliate programs. So I 
like interviewing some of the successful ones... However, I've 
found that the REALLY successful affiliates - the cream of the 
cream - tend to be rather shy...<


I am not sure if 'shy' is the correct word to use, or strategy to 
take. Now don't get me wrong, companies have to 'toot their own 
horn,' but they do not have to give away the blueprints to their 

My partner and I control over 500 web sites and we have spent 
thousands and thousands of hours, over the last five years, 
creating highly successful web sites for our clients and for 
ourselves. We have clients producing $100,000 per day, net, from 
their sites. In four days, we just produced a flower site that had 
15,000 visitors in its first two weeks. But as far as disclosing 
the names of those site, it just doesn't make any sense.

All of this is know-how and expertise to make a revenue producing 
site, and then to simply invite someone over to a SPECIFIC site and 
say "Come on in," just doesn't make any sense.

I have experimented, tweaked, read, studied, tested, guessed, got 
lucky, organized and discovered many 'secrets' and try to 
incorporate these into each site we compose. We have a staff of ten 
and spend hours training individuals just on a single facet of 
internet marketing or web site design, so that is all they do - 
become an expert in a specific aspect. So I can understand why 
successful owners want to be shy about giving out information on a 
SPECIFIC site. It seems to be smart business to protect your unique 
skills and ability.

Some of the lessons learned are evident, and can be shared, such as:

- Revenue creation: Design for show, content for dough.

- Link strategy: They check in, but they don't check out.

- Creating high traffic: Niche, niche, niche.

- R&D: The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your 
sources. - Albert Einstein

- Hit counters: Never use them: if your counter is low, they scare 
away your customers; if your counter is high, they attract your 

Other findings such as spatial keyword analysis, reverse 
engineering algorithms and domain/title/content correlations are 
really proprietary in nature and are what separate companies that 
produce a high amount of traffic from sites that are just on the net.

So, where does that leave me? Well, I went pretty thoroughly over 
the HTML code, examined the affiliate plans that he 
uses (he probably spent hours of time to find which were the most 
reputable and best performing), determined who is linking to his 
site, when his site was constructed, analyzed the last date his 
main page was edited, determined what other web sites he owns, 
reviewed his keyword strategy, investigated competitive domain 
names that still might be available... and then proceeded to do the 
same about the affiliate sites. In a matter of 20 minutes, I have a 
template of what has taken someone months to discover, create and 

Finally, I noticed an interesting dichotomy that has occurred in 
your post: The owner of has a reason to be shy and 
guarded - it his business and his 'trade secrets.' Yet, most 
understandably, you have a reason to want to share his success with 
the world, because that is your business, as you offer affiliate 
plans. While your goals are the same - the success of your 
business; the information you each need to disclose, is opposite as 
to what is in each of your best interests.

Moral of the story: While you have to be a bit boisterous about 
your strengths, you need to maintain a 'shyness of success' by not 
naming too many specific sites so you can be easily reversed 
engineered. (Of course, cloaking all your source code prevents 
prying eyes...)

At your service,

Rod Aries

915 Neptune Encinitas, CA 92024
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