The GoogleCash Opportunity...

Quite a long time after I started my research, while I was still fumbling around with web sites and html code and hosting accounts and merchant accounts and all the other dross that can clog up your energy and make you feel that it’s all "mission impossible" …  I stumbled across a digital (downloadable) eBook called GoogleCash, by  Chris Carpenter.

It sounded neat (they almost all do, unfortunately, when the experts write the sales copy!); I bought it, …
… and my view of the world was transformed.

Everything in his book was an eye-opener to me; but the essence was that he shows you, with great attention to detail, how to earn (potentially) thousands of dollars a month off the internet with …

  •  No product of your own
  •  No website of your own
  •  No customers of your own to deal with
  •  No credit card transactions to deal with, or anything similar
  •  No selling
  •  No customer service
  •  No packaging
  •  No shipping
  •  No working with vendors (well, almost none)

 … it sounded like a dream come true. And as I read the book I experienced one “Aha!” after another.

The GoogleCash approach has changed a little since then, as Google have changed some “rules,” but it remains a great opportunity. Of course, like all the Internet opportunities you have to be prepared to learn, then to make it happen … and then to learn more as you do it and ultimately master it.

There are three fundamental techniques you’ll need to understand in order to understand the GoogleCash approach.

1. Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC)
This is very simple in concept. Say you have a product or service you want to sell on the ‘Net via a website… well, one thing you need, of course, is for people to visit your website. No traffic = no sales. (Quick aside: 99.9% of people who build websites get virtually no traffic … because they did everything wrong from the very start of their whole venture. We’ll deal with this issue elsewhere; getting traffic is one of the fundamental skills, but it starts with getting the very fundamentals of Internet Marketing right.)

There are many ways to get people to visit; one of them is to place an advertisement somewhere on the 'Net where many people will see it and be interested in whatever you are advertising. That advert contains a live link to your web site. So, when your ad interests the reader, they click on that ad and get taken to your site. And now they are a candidate to buy your product or subscribe to your EZine or whatever.

The question is … how do you pay for that ad?
One option is to pay for the ad based on the number of times the ad is shown to a visitor to whatever web site is showing your ad; this is cost-per-impression (usually rates are quoted as cost per 1000 impressions). One negative about this is, a million people could see your ad, and therefore cost you money in payments to the company showing your ad on their site … but none might actually be interested enough to visit your site.

So, there is a Pay-Per-Click option. You only pay if the person who sees your ad is interested enough to take action – to click on the ad – and visit your site. At that point, the ad has done exactly what you wanted it to do, the success of the rest of the transaction is up to how good a job you’ve done with your web site. So paying per-click makes a LOT of sense.

2. The particular version of PPC advertising known as Google Adwords
How do you make sure your ad only gets shown to people who are genuinely likely to be interested in your product or service? I mean, sure, you could show your ad for fly-fishing rods on a website for steam-train enthusiasts and some might even click through out of curiosity … costing you money, of course … but the steam train enthusiasts are hardly hordes of people hungry for your product.

So ideally, you’d like your ad to be shown to people who are definitely interested in fly-fishing; better still, interested in fly-fishing rods; even better, interested in buying a fly-fishing rod.

Where do you find interested people?

One option is to place your ads on other people’s web sites that are on the topic of outdoor activities, or even better “fishing,” or better still “fly fishing.” But even so, you don’t know for sure that the readers are actually interested in buying a rod off you at the time they read your ad.

But there’s an even better option. What if your ad could be shown to someone who has explicitly told their PC (and the Internet) “I am really interested in fly-fishing rods, at this precise moment in time” ?  Or even, “I am seriously looking to buy a fly-fishing rod at this precise moment in time” ?

That’s where Google comes in. If you go to the Google search engine at and key in fly fishing rods you’ll see a few interesting things.

Understanding Google Search Results

First, the right hand side of the blue bar (on my PC, anyway) below the search box will show you that you’re looking at results 1-10 (or similar) of 2 million or more web pages that include the words “fly” and “fishing” and “rods” somewhere on the page. (For later reference, note that if you did the same search with the same phrase inside quotation marks, you’ll see only those pages where the 3 words are used exactly together as written in the quotation marks … there are only about 300,000 references now. And if you did the search using the singular “rod” instead of ‘rods” you’ll get only about 100,000. Incidentally, these differences are very important, as you'll learn if you get into this opportunity.)

What this tells you is, the bad news … this is a market with a LOT of competition … at least, superficially! And the good news … there are likely to be a LOT of people interested. Now, I say “likely” … because it may NOT be true. So a bit later we’re going to learn about a couple of tools to tell us whether or not this really IS of interest.

The next thing you’ll see looking down the page on the left side, are the search results – each with a sort of heading (for example “Fly fishing equipment - fly-fishing tackle, fly fishing rods, fly ...”) that is a link to the page in question, followed usually by a line or two of description, followed by the URL or web address of the page. The very first one or two are likely to be in a shaded area, not quite the same format, and labeled “sponsored links.” These are pay-per-click ads. They are at the top of the list NOT because they are the most relevant, but because the advertiser offered Google the most bucks.

Then you get the main results … and the results at the “top” of the 2 million are those that best satisfy Google’s own particular formula for being the most relevant, or valuable, to the person searching for that exact combination of words. There are people who make 6- and possibly even 7-figure incomes simply by being very good at knowing how to get a top 30 listing … because being in the top 30 pretty much guarantees your web site will get a good flow of traffic for a popular search term. And again, “no traffic” equals ”no sales.” So companies are often willing to pay “Search Engine Optimization” experts (SEO) a great deal of money to help them ensure their sites are highly-ranked for certain search terms.

But what we’re most interested in is the sponsored ads at the top of the search list, and the list of advertisements on the right of your screen. These are called Google Adwords, and every one is a pay-per-click advert.

So for example – and I’m NOT advocating you do this – if you clicked on the top ad on the right, the business or individual that placed that ad will probably be dinged for somewhere in the region of $0.75 to $1.50; and that money will go into Google’s coffers.

The next ad down … they are in that position because they didn’t offer Google quite as much money per-click as the one above them, or because they don’t get quite as many people clicking on their ad as the first ad does, or both  – Google have their own magic little formula to decide the rankings, and they don’t share the detail … just the principle.

At the bottom of the column you’ll see a link to “more sponsored links” and if you click that, and the same again, you’ll probably see that there are 20+ ads in total being displayed. (It varies from time to time, of course; even, from minute to minute - when someone places a new Ad, it's displayed in seconds; and when someone's daily budget is consumed, their ad is immediately taken out of the pool.)

Alternatively, if you went to the bottom of the Results page, and clicked on “Next,” you’ll be taken to the next 10 search results or whatever you have Google set up for … and on the right will be the 8 next-best Google Adwords. Ditto the next Search results page … then as you go into the 4th and 5th Search results page Google simply rotates the same Adwords.

Can you see the beauty of this for everyone concerned?

  • For a searcher … they are being shown ads that are specifically related to what they are searching for. And they don’t have to visit the site unless they are interested.
  • For the advertising company (perhaps you, soon!) the ad is being shown ONLY to someone who has searched, this very second, for a closely-related topic.
  • For Google … they are being paid to place a few words on a page that they would in any case have shown to the searcher. And, they get paid a LOT per year for doing this! Hundreds of millions of dollars, and growing.

The other thing of beauty is … you, Mr or Mrs or Ms Average, could go into Google, apply for a Google Adwords account, and receive approval, with very little effort. Then, once you know how, you could place an Adwords advert to be shown to everyone searching for “fly fishing rods” or “how to remove stains from cotton” or “kites” or whatever. And, assuming that people were indeed searching for the search term you indicated, you could have traffic coming to your web site within seconds of placing the ad!

This is INCREDIBLY powerful.

  • You place the ad.
  • If you wrote an effective ad, … you get traffic to the site you specify in the ad.
  • And, if the website is designed properly … “you get traffic” = “you get money.”
  • And, if the campaign is designed properly … the money you get is greater than the money you spend on the ads that generate that traffic.

And Google have made things very close to risk-free … if you are prepared to learn the rules.

For example, let’s say you find a likely product and want to advertise it but you don’t want to spend a fortune learning whether it’s a winner or not … you can literally tell Google that your maximum budget is $5 a day, for example. So, let’s say you are paying Google $0.05 a click … Google will show your product to a maximum 100 people a day.  3000 people a month, if you want it to keep running. And, you can cut the ads off at ANY time. So for example, if you’d driven 300 people to a web page that is designed to sell a product, and there hasn’t been a single product sold … you’re only $15 out of pocket (assuming the $0.05 bid which, by the way, is the minimum) and have a strong case to say, either get better qualified traffic or improve the web site’s sales copy or drop the product and look for a different product to promote!

But hold on … didn’t I say you didn’t need a web site? Or even a product?

3. The concept of Affiliate Marketing.
Now, my nearest and dearest are in universal agreement that I’m not always the brightest light on the Christmas Tree but I still consider myself to be reasonably well informed; yet I had been entirely unaware of the amazing world of Affiliate Marketing until I read this download-able eBook, GoogleCash.

Once I was aware of it, the concept led me along many more avenues. Affiliate Marketing has a thousand different shapes and flavors, and GoogleCash is just one of them; and it's actually far from being the biggest in terms of dollar potential. However, most of the others require some form of web site … and I deal with these on the Affiliate Marketing page.

But let’s just get clear on the Affiliate Marketing concept. It’s quite simple.

There are tens or hundreds of thousands of people wanting to sell their products on the Internet. I mean, people who already have websites promoting their products. At the same time, the last statistics I saw showed that there are almost a billion people using the Internet. No-one – not even Microsoft – has what it takes to reach all of their potential buyers directly.

So, in addition to their own marketing efforts many of these merchants look for other people who will find potential buyers for the merchant’s products in return for a commission every time one is sold. Remember, they are actually looking for YOU! And look at the situation:

  • THE MERCHANT owns the product.
  • THE MERCHANT develops the website.
  • THE MERCHANT handles the credit cards, or cheques, or purchase orders, or faxed orders, or phoned-in orders.
  • THE MERCHANT handles the manufacture and stocking and packaging and shipping if it’s a “physical” product or else they handle the downloads if it’s a digital product (software, or an eBook).
  • THE MERCHANT handles issues with unhappy customers, or complaints, or questions, or returns … etc.

All you do, as the Affiliate, is send appropriate traffic to THEIR web site. Where “appropriate” means, people who are interested in their product, with the means to pay and the willingness to buy if they find what they want.

There is a simple technique for a merchant to recognize whether the “lead” came from you. So, if the traffic you send to the site actually buys something … the merchant knows the lead came from you, and pays you a commission.

How big a commission? Well, it depends. On downloadable, digital products … often as much as 50%, sometimes even 60%, of products that typically sell for $30 to $150. On physical products … more commonly 5% to 15% or even 20%. Rarely, 30% or more.

Now, 15% of a home-gym selling for $1000 is not to be sniffed at, of course; $150 is a nice piece of change. Whereas 10% of a product selling for $50 may not seem much … unless you’re selling 10 a day. Or 100 a day. Or more. Then it, too, is a nice piece of change.

How do they pay you? Often, it’s your choice. They can transfer the funds into your bank account. Or mail you a cheque, for example.

How do you find these merchants? There are many ways. The GoogleCash e-Book walks you through some of these techniques in great detail, literally step-by-step. For example, the eBook tells you where there are entire web sites devoted to helping these merchants find people like you! Where you can go, and look for a list of merchants selling products you are interested in promoting; and, you can find at a glance how much commission they’ll pay you, and even what level of success their Affiliates are having selling their products. It's almost unbelievable. But believe it!

How do you get the traffic to visit their site? Via Google Adwords, of course! (There are other ways, of course, which I deal with in the Affiliate Marketing and e-mail Marketing sections of this site.)

OK, now the foundation is laid.
In its simplest form, here’s how the GoogleCash opportunity works.

Step 1: Using any or all of a series of different techniques, you find a product or a type of product that meets certain criteria, such as:

  • There are merchants offering Affiliate deals with decent terms (GoogleCash shows you how; there’s a whole chapter devoted to finding and choosing lucrative Affiliate programs).

  • There is a large enough volume of  interested people searching for these products on the Internet. Again GoogleCash shows you how to do this; but you can always visit my section on Wordtracker and Overture in the Tools of the Trade section.

  • The people searching are actually willing to spend money. GoogleCash shows you how to check this, but you can always do a bit of pre-reading here with my introduction to the Overture tools in the Tools of the Trade section.

Step 2: You  contact the merchant and apply for Affiliate statusGoogleCash includes a chapter on how to do this.

This can take as little as 30 seconds, it’s usually entirely automated, and you’ll often have their e-mail approving your account and giving you the unique information you need before you’ve had time to close your web browser after submitting the application!

Sometimes the merchants ask you for a website, presumably so that in theory they could go and check out that you know what you are doing. Most of the time this is meaningless, demanded by merchants who don’t understand the GoogleCash approach and believe you must have a web site in order to promote their products, and they don’t check anyway. In fact, Chris Carpenter (the GoogleCash author) gives you an immediate way to overcome this obstacle; I don't want to mention it publicly but it does the trick, most times. In reality, though, this is a non-issue most of the time. If a merchant rejects you on this basis, you can often e-mail the Affiliate Manager and explain what you’re doing (using Adwords directly), and receive approval.

Just as an aside; when I hit this problem, it did block me from a couple of the merchants I wanted to work with. Sometimes I then went to their less-rigorous competitors; but eventually I built a simple website, of the right type (Affiliate Marketing) and that was the end of the issue.

Step 3: You do some keyword research, in order to know what are the best search terms to place your Adword ads for.

This is probably where you have the most to learn.

For example, to keep going with the fly fishing example, if you place an ad to be shown only when someone searches for "Sage fly fishing rods," and you happen to sell Sage fly fishing rods … there’s a decent chance the searcher is interested in buying one, wouldn’t you agree? So, providing the numbers work out, I’d probably be comfortable spending the 75 cents or whatever to get the searcher to come to my site by clicking on the ad. Let’s say 100 people do just that … I’ve therefore spent $75 generating 100 visitors. Now, since these are people who are truly interested – enough to have even done some research and know the exact brand they’re interested in – it might be that 2,3,4, even 5 of the 100 actually buy something. And I’d probably make much more than the $75 I spent, from these sales.

Whereas if I decided to show my ad to anyone who keyed in the term “fishing” I might get all sorts of tire kickers visiting my site, costing me $75 per hundred visitors, yet barely one in 1000 might actually buy anything. Bad deal.

Now, there's more to it than simply this. You also have to work out how much you're willing to pay, for which keywords. Until you know what money you can make from a merchant's site, you have to be cautious; you want to pay as little as possible per click; so you need to know the keywords that are relevant to the topic, but where few others are advertising, so you can get your ad placed with a minimum cost-per-click. You can do this the long way, or the quick way; the quick way means investing in a tool or tools to help you. I talk much more about this in the section of this site called Tools of the Trade, and the Fundamental Skills section. You have a lot of choice of keyword research and analysis tools; but there are some freebies, and of the paid ones some are head and shoulders more useful than others, so don't waste your money until you've learned a little more.

Be aware, however, keyword research is a critical skill that applies to almost every Internet Marketing opportunity. In my opinion, it's an area where the right tool pays off massively in terms of the value of good information, and the value of time saved.

So, keyword research is important. It’s the second longest Chapter in the GoogleCash manual (the longest is the chapter where the author walks you through examples of profitable campaigns), and justifiably so.

Step 4: Write the ads. Now, take a look at the Adwords on the right hand side of a Google search. They are all small, very few words, exactly the same format, and that means you have to make every word count. So, predictably … there’s a chapter in the book devoted to this, too.

If this interests you at all, you'll find some of the ad-writing issues fascinating. A single word change in a headline can make a huge difference to your click-through rates. Switching line 2 of an ad with line 3 can cause a similar change. Or, worsen things. And the truth is, no-one can predict it! While there are some rules of good copy, and of good Adwords copy, the ONLY way to know for sure whether one ad is better than the other is to test them against each other. And what do you know ... Google will help you do that, too.

Step 5: Set-up a campaign. This means open-up a Google Adwords account, and decide on all the elements of your advertising campaign – which ads for which search terms, maximum budgets, and so on. I hate to be boring, but again … the eBook and the videos that come with it walk you through all this. It's picky work; Google seems to make it a lot more complex than it needs to be, and in fact there's a new piece of software just launched that is being bought by experienced Adwords marketers simply because it makes the whole task as easy as Google should have made it in the beginning. If you get "into" Adwords, you should check the tool out; it's called Adwords Dominator. It makes Adwords easier, and saves time; and, it provides some analyses you just can't get from Google.

Beyond Step 5: track results, then refine your campaign to squeeze the maximum profit out of it; and, if the campaign is a winner, look for other ways to bring traffic to the web site! Adwords is only one of many ways to get traffic. But it’s a great starting point, and it may be all you need.

Now, some final words on this opportunity.

First, be aware that while the simplest approach, described above, can be nicely profitable, you can do much more with the technique.

For example, veteran marketers will tell you that you’d make a lot more money if, instead of driving traffic directly to a merchant’s web site, you first had the visitor go to a 1-page web site of your own (called a “landing page”) where you’d try to persuade the visitor to give you their e-mail address before you passed them along to the merchant’s site. (Typically you offer them a bribe of some kind … for example, a free download of a valuable report … in return for their address and the right to e-mail them.)

Reality is that you’d get fewer immediate sales by doing this … but by having a list of people you knew were interested in (for example) fly-fishing you could send e-mails to these people perhaps once or twice a month, telling them about other products or special deals. And whenever they clicked on the link in your e-mail, and ended up buying something from the merchant … you’d make commission.

So you’d ultimately make much more money from this approach.

Any veteran marketer would trade one, two even more immediate sales for a valid e-mail address of someone interested in that topic. But of course, even with automation, it’s definitely more work to capture names and set-up a bribe and set-up autoresponders and a download page and manage a list etc.

You should also be aware that many experts in Internet Marketing, especially those who specialize in the Adwords skills, look down on the GoogleCash opportunity; I’ve heard it called “bit slinging” and “ad brokering.” My response is, … who gives a (insert dirty word) what they think? This is a legitimate and potentially very lucrative technique to make money by advertising someone else’s product in such a way that the buyer gets what they want, the advertiser (you) gets what they want, the advertising medium (Google) gets what they want and the merchant gets what they want.

Why is it looked down upon by the adword snobs? (a term I use tongue-in-cheek; some of these critics are actually very, very good with Adwords, and they have a lot of my money from the books they’ve sold me.) It seems … because the classic GoogleCash approach isn’t “adding value” by either having an in-between web site between the Adwords ad and the merchant’s site, or collecting names for future marketing. And while I agree that the former certainly makes the Googlacash opportunity much more accessible, and the latter is just plain good marketing, choosing NOT to do these is still the simplest, most elegant choice of all.

I have found myself at a loose end in a hotel room on a business trip, with 20 minutes before dinner, skimming the ‘Net, seen an interesting opportunity, conducted a few minutes research, put the first test ads into play within 10 minutes, and come back from dinner to find I’d just paid for that dinner (including wine!) in the 90 minutes I was away. And knowing I now had the basis for a nice added stream of income if I took that opportunity and put some brain power into it.

If you remember, one of the introductory points for the GoogleCash approach was that you don't need a web site. While that is still true, you should be aware of some changes in the way the game is played.

I first became involved in GoogleCash-type opportunities in 2004. In 2005, Google changed the rules, and one consequence is that there genuinely are many more cash-generating opportunities if you are prepared to build a 1-page web site, called a “landing page.” Then, when you set-up the Adwords ad you simply have the Ad send people to this 1-page landing page instead of directly to the merchant's web site. Then, on your landing page, you take the chance to "pre-sell" visitors ... just a few lines, or even a para or two, perhaps a personal endorsement. Then you encourage them to click on a link to the merchant site. (Your choice whether you also try to collect their name and e-mail address first.)

To put this in perspective, what I do is have a domain name and web site on one of my hosting accounts just for adwords landing pages. Something like, (not really that name!). I can set up a new landing page on this site, typically, in just a few minutes. If after a few hundred clicks the opportunity is a winner or even borderline, I will then create a sub-domain that mentions the keyword, something like Creating a sub-domain just takes a few seconds, but this can boost the click-through rate of an Adwords ad significantly. By the way, this is why I insist on using a web host that offers unlimited sub-domains, or at least a heck of a lot of them.

If you aren't prepared to do this, you can still do extremely well ... but you'll find there are some opportunities you can't take advantage of. And that's a shame, for want of a little bit of web site know-how. In fact, you can find free or inexpensive “Landing Page generators” that create a simple, effective landing page in seconds without you knowing a word of html code or owning an html editor.

While many people cursed Google for making the rules change, I'm delighted; if you’re prepared to learn how to create landing pages, it gives you a huge advantage over the lazy majority who aren’t. By the way, Chris Carpenter updated the GoogleCash manual in 2005 (he also added about 50 pages to it) so it fully reflects the current Google rules.

Good luck. I hope you get as much pleasure (and profit) from GoogleCash as I do.