Million Dollar Experiment – First Dollar Earned

Well, that didn’t take long. Yesterday as I was typing up the Million Dollar Experiment (which I just posted this morning), I decided to try adding some Chitika eMiniMalls ads to the bottom of the sidebar. I just signed up with this ad service after hearing other bloggers speak highly of it — some bloggers say it generates even more revenue for them than Google Adsense, sometimes double or triple. Chitika displays ads for various products that you can buy online with a creative tabbed interface. You can see those ads right now on the sidebar on each page of this site (right below the Google ads).

Since this isn’t a product or technology related site, the Chitika ads might not do as well here as they do on gadget sites, but they do seem to display some personal development products like motivational posters and relaxation machines, so who knows?

Anyway, with respect to the experiment, when I checked my Chitika stats today I found I already earned a whopping $0.98. So there’s my first dollar from a new revenue stream. Plus it only took me a few minutes to implement it. With some tweaking and optimization, it might even become significant. The $0.98 was from just a fraction of a day of showing the ads.

One $ down, $999,999 to go. 🙂

My main concern with the Chitika ads would be that they cannibalize revenue from the Google ads, so I’d just be shifting revenue from one source to another. I’m not sure whether I’ll formally count the Chitika stream towards the Million Dollar Experiment, but I think I’ll go ahead and do so, since from what others report it has the potential to generate extra revenue by generating clicks from people looking for products as opposed to information. Most of the Google ads seem to be for information sites.

I’ve also received several new inquiries today that could lead to some new revenue sources. In particular, a number of individual advertisers have contacted me about buying ads on certain pages of this site. I can’t see that any of these would produce anywhere near $1 million, but it’s a start. I know some people don’t want this site to be full of ads, but the ad revenue makes it easier for me to pump out a lot of content and give it away for free. I also like that the ads are at least relevant to the content and can make people aware of even more personal development material. Sometimes the ads make me laugh as well, like the ones that tell me I can “buy spirituality on eBay.”

By the way, if you want to add Chitika ads to your own web site or blog, I say give it a try. It might flop, but it could do well. It only takes minutes to setup an account and generate the code, so the risk is negligible. Chitika pays you monthly via Paypal (or check) 60% of whatever they earn from the advertisers. Plus you can combine Chitika ads with Adsense ads on the same pages, as long as you display the Chitika ads in non-contextual mode. You basically just provide some keywords, so the ads will still be semi-targeted. This is especially great if you have a themed site or blog with consistent content on a particular topic.

In other news I learned today that this blog now has a Google page rank of 7, so it recently moved up from a rank of 6. I’ve been seeing search traffic to the blog increase dramatically over the past few months. Last month it received traffic from over 14,000 different search terms. Also, this blog’s Technorati rank increased from #420 to #393 over the past few days, so now it’s crept into the top 400 (out of 20.5 million blogs). I’d love to see this blog reach the top 100. I’d say it definitely has a shot.

It’s funny that when I started this personal development site in October 2004, I used to get frequent emails from people who knew me from the computer gaming industry telling me it was a stupid idea and that I had nothing new to offer and that I was making a big mistake and should stick with doing games. It was like being excommunicated, as if I’d committed a grave sin by abandoning the gaming industry. I think it especially offended certain people that I chose to blog about personal development instead of game development. I just ignored those emails though, since they had nothing to do with me — they were all about the other person’s attachments to a false sense of who I was. I don’t get emails like that anymore though.

I often say to people that when you make a big change in your life, it takes the rest of the world about two years to catch up with your new self image, including family and friends. If this Million Dollar Experiment succeeds, I imagine there will be some people in my life who have a really hard time accepting it. Imagine how the people around you would react if you had a million extra dollars you didn’t even need. I already see a bit of that reaction with my abundance of time freedom. The whole concept of abundance tends to rub scarcity-minded people the wrong way, as if it’s a threat to their sense of security.

I personally believe this experiment will succeed. I already feel a certain sense of energy about it after focusing my intention to kick it off.