An Update on My Web Projects

December 9, 2008 Posted by Tyler Cruz

It’s been a very long time since I wrote a general update on my various projects and what exactly I’ve been up to. In fact, I just went through my archives and had to scroll down all the way to a post in August 2006 in order to find my last general update on my projects.

After then, it seems, I would only give updates on my projects on an individual basis (1 post per project). Therefore, I thought it might be nice to give an overall summary of the status of some of my projects and what I’ve been working on lately.

I know a lot (if not most) readers know this already, but my blog is not the only site I run. I have a few dozen sites under my belt, and while not all of these are large sites, a few of them are and require time and focus. In addition, I always have something new going on the site or in the works.

I’ll try to focus on only mentioning the projects and sites I’ve been working on lately and not mention e-mail/advertisers/etc.

TylerCruz.com

I still spend the vast majority of my working time on my blog. Who said blogging is passive income? It’s not. It takes a lot of time and work.

Surprisingly, while I spend a lot of time putting together my posts, a lot of the time is taken up by simply dealing with others. I get a lot of blog-related e-mail and I usually respond to most of them even though I don’t really have the time to or shouldn’t, but I like to help when I can.

Then there’s advertisers to deal with and setting up and running contests and competitions. There’s updating the blog’s plugins and software, maintaining up-to-date side pages, etc.

Blogging, for me anyway, takes a lot of time and remains the most time-intensive project I have going.

The Big Project

I haven’t told anyone yet, save for a few closer web entrepreneur friends who have vowed secrecy, about a new project I’ve been working on. I only started it about a couple weeks ago, and it’s rather funny how it came about.

Basically I had a friend copy one of my ideas a few weeks back and initially I was very angry, but that only lasted about 10-minutes. See, I don’t get angry easily and am a very easy-going guy so I decided to funnel that anger into something positive instead, and hence this new project was born. I don’t get angry; I don’t even get even. I get better. In many ways, the “copy” situation was good for me since I wouldn’t have started this project and was the catalyst for pushing me. I had the idea for this project for several months, but never got myself motivated enough to start it.

I’ll be unveiling the project once it goes live. I’m sure I’ll get a couple copycats once it’s finished, but by then should be quite ahead of the game that it won’t matter. That’s why I’m keeping is hush-hush for now.

For the past 20-work hours I’ve been busy working with designers to come up with a good design and structure for the site. It started off pretty bad, but we’ve evolved it to the point now where I’m starting to get excited about the project again. Once the design is finished I’ll be commissioning for it to be coded to HTML/CSS.

Once that is finished, I have a backend programming team who I’ve worked with in the past that does a good job (they did PublisherSpot) which I’ll be hiring again for this project. I suspect everything won’t be complete until February since there is a fair bit of backend programming required.

I’ve spent $2,000 on the design, and the conversion to HTML/CSS will probably cost me around $400. I’m going to guess the programming will cost around $4,000-$5,000 so in total I’m putting $7,000-$8,000 into the initial development of this project. I’ll probably spend a few thousand in marketing afterwards for the launch as well.

Wish me luck on this. It could easily flop, but it’s a great idea and business model and hasn’t been done before.

PublisherSpot

While there have been no new features added to PublisherSpot.com recently, we’ve been pretty good at adding new content at a regular rate. We added reviews of the networks AdValiant, Amped Media, Hydra Network, Entrecard, and RocketProfit in November.

That makes a total of 51 networks reviewed on the site now, with all of the relevant and important information such as payment methods, payment frequency, features, etc.

When I have more time I might consider “expanding” the site from 800×600 to 1024×768, but that isn’t cheap or easy.

PokerForums

About 5-6 weeks ago I made a few changes to PokerForums.org.

First, I appointed some members as news posters and changed the default/index page to display news instead of the forum. So far, the volunteer news posters have done a great job and I think the news has helped the site as it seems to have increased the “Active Members” count from 260ish to 305ish.

Secondly, I appointed a member as Tournament Director and he holds and runs weekly poker tournaments for the forum. In addition to scheduling them and setting them up, he also posts a report of the tournament on the newly founded News Page which gives incentive for members to participate in them.

Advertising has slowed on the site over the past year, especially during the past few months, but not horribly. Mainly a bunch of text link advertisers pulled out since the site has been a PR0 for a while, but I don’t blame them and it’s not the end of the world.

When I have more time I’d like to modernize the site better and create some custom-programmed features of the site including an integrated Tournament Ladder, but that is a big undertaking and is on the far backburner for now.

PPC Affiliate Marketing

I’m a lazy bastard and I’m not proud of it. I used to be, a couple years ago. I used to joke and poke fun of how lazy I was. But I’m not proud of that anymore. Now I just find it unfortunate. Part of me wants to blame my laziness on ADD, but I don’t have ADD. It just has to be laziness.

There is so much money to be made in PPC Affiliate Marketing and I see so many people around me making ridiculous amount of money with it. And what do I do? I just sit back counting my toes saying that “I’m too busy”, “Don’t have time for it”, or “Will get back to it soon”.

While there is some truth to that, the fact is that I’m not working 24/7. Hell, I’m not even working 5/7.

Laugh and mock if you want, but I honestly believe that I could be making $100,000+ a month from PPC affiliate marketing if I only applied myself and worked hard. The only thing that is stopping me is… me.

I guess part of the problem is that my other sites are bringing me in money and I need that money, while PPC affiliate marketing has its up and downs in the beginning. But there’s so much money to be made that I can’t let that stop me.

As far as my campaigns… I’ve still just left that ONE campaign I started like 6-7 months ago and haven’t touched it at all for about 3-4 months now. It’s making around $250-$300 profit a month.

Movie-Vault.com

Movie-Vault.com is in so badly need of reprogramming that I haven’t really touched the site feature/programming wise for literally years.

I have, though, been doing occasional updates on the site such as updating the New in Theatres and New Trailers lists as well as keeping the popular Name That Flick game up to date twice a week. But other than the occasional content update, I haven’t done anything new to the site.

I did put it up for sale a while ago but there were no interested buyers. Not for my asking price anyway. While I understand my asking price is far and above the revenue made from the site, I feel that the content and age of the site justifies it.

It makes $500/month passively and I was asking $25,000 minimum bid and reserve. While that’s a 4-year multiplier, I’m not selling a site with potential that is making $500/month passively for 1-2 year’s profit. I’d rather just sit on it and keep the free $500/month.

Maybe one day I’ll finally revamp it. I just don’t have the time these days. Here the link to the sale for the curious.

MovieForums.org

MovieForums.org has very slowly but gradually increasing in size and traffic. It now has 3,500+ members and 337 active members (members who have been active on the site in the past 30 days).

I appointed a long-time member as head moderator a few months ago, and he has really saved me a lot of time with taking care of spam and other moderating duties. He even suggests a lot of ideas for improvements to the site… never anything huge or groundbreaking – just things such as adding new smilies, removing certain elements, or adding a certain plugin. But this allows me to effectively leave the site on it’s own and let the community handle and grow itself.

I love forums. Forums only suck getting started or handling the rare “forum drama” moments (those with larger forums will know what I’m talking about).

WeightLossForums.org

This is one of my smaller, newer sites.

I hired a woman, who goes by the handle joanna on the forums, as a moderator 3 weeks ago. However, in addition to just moderating the site, I’m having her really put a lot of time into the site to help it grow, so she’s been posting everyday, making new threads and posts.

Getting a new forum started is extremely difficult as it’s a classic catch-22 scenario (how do you get members to come when there’s no content on the site?) which is why I needed her help. She’s only referred a couple people to the forum so far but told me she’s working on getting more.

For the price, she’s pretty good, although she’s slowed down the past week. Hopefully she’s not starting to get tired of it. It can be very lonely and frustrating posting all by yourself on a forum…

What do you think?

Anyhow, that’s the update on some of the stuff I’ve been working on lately. Let me know how you liked it and if you’d like to see more such “update summaries” in the future.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: December 9th, 2008 under Miscellaneous  

43 Responses to “An Update on My Web Projects”

  1. Problogineer says:

    wow, you have some great sites.. I thought this is the only site you have.

    Eager to know about your big project – no not for copying :D

  2. Gary says:

    I’ve been a subscriber since the Blogspot days, all those years ago.
    So to me, it’s been a shame to have seen the blog become so JohnChow.com-esque for the past year or two; full of paid reviews, contests and generic guest posts.

    Personally I’d like to see the site to revert back to its roots of being a personal blog, rather than being just another MMO blog as it is now.

    More updates like this cheers.

    • uGuX SEO says:

      I have to agree.

      These “update summaries” are definitely a helpful way to understand the techniques you use in marketing. I combination of personal and marketing on your blog can make your blog go much further.

  3. Chris M says:

    Sounds like things are going well on your side, I look forward to hearing about the “big project”, you must be cooking up something exciting.

    I’ve had friends copy things I’ve done before and as much as it’s incredibly annoying, it’s a nice way to spur you onto creating something new and “better”.

  4. Chris M says:

    @Gary – I do agree to an extent. Firstly, we need to remember that Tyler needs to pay the bills. But then again, it’s the more personal marketing blog posts which got the following going, so let’s hope that we see more from here on :)

  5. BusinessX says:

    Things like your PPC campaign and the MovieVault are exciting as they are relatively passive. Setting a number of them up, and just doing a bit of maintenance, letting the passive income come in. Wonder if that is why in PPC you do not hear about long-term campaigns. The big money is quick money. Work it hard using say the election. Now the election is over, so you have to come up with the next new thing. Instead, what if one tried finding more timeless campaigns, that they could be set and let go? The money would be less but if it was steady and net positive, it would be easier to set a number of those up rather than building and launching whole new sites.

  6. Sohail says:

    Some of ur projects have capability to do more for you. Just wondering how are you making 500$/mon from movies vault? how do you monetize this site?

  7. singlesnet says:

    Hey tyler,

    can you give us an update on how publisherspot is doing?

    • Dan says:

      I agree. I’d like to know after all you’ve invested in it if you have any real return on investment yet.

      • Tyler Cruz says:

        It’s making a consistent $600/month from advertising + whatever the referrals are bringing in. It’s hard to calculate the latter since most referral programs don’t let you do subid tracking.

        So far I haven’t made back my investment on it, but give it a year and it should be in the black. A year is a long time, yes, but after that it’s all profit…

  8. The best way I found to motivate my self was I set goals. My first goal was to be making $100 a day and then $500 a day and I have shattered that by now, I think it’s completely stupid but it works.

  9. Blog Expert says:

    You are a machine. I do not know where you get all the time to do this. It still amazes me! Keep up all the good work.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      No, you’re WRONG. I’m NOT a machine. I’m lazy and need more energy. I also need to automate things better and stop being such a damned perfectionist…

      It really angers me because as I wrote in the post, I could and should be making a lot in affiliate marketing if I stopped making excuses :)

  10. Tom says:

    I don’t run any forums, but you mention that you pay your moderators.

    Not that I want to know how much – but more on how did you decide or come to an agreement with the moderators on compensation.

    Did you decide on a set $/month or % of revenue – which would entice them to build the community.

    Tom

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      There’s no way in hell I’d ever give revshare! I’m paying her just a flat fee per month… $40. It will vary depending on the topic of the forum and how active it is.

  11. BlogAngry says:

    This is great piece of work.

  12. Karl Hadwen says:

    The work you are doing is great, The new project sounds exciting, That’s to say your spending around $10,000 on just getting it up. Hope it goes well.

    Any bloggers or people who own websites who are looking for a free link, have a look at my personal blog (pr3) http://www.genxor.com – It’s close to free link friday! Yes a free text link ad, all you have to do is comment a post on my blog and subscribe to my RSS. For a free link!

  13. Brad says:

    If you truely want to be successful in PPC,

    Than you’ll have to get yourself invested in it..

    Put $5000 prepaid-cash into a ppc account.

    That’ll will get your ass in gear!

    -brad

  14. Becky says:

    I think you (and everyone else) need to try to re-examine your use of words “lazy” and “motivated”… Both of these are symptoms of a behavior, emotion, or feeling and can not happen exclusively by themselves…. For example, cold sores are a symptom of a herpes virus. A cold sore can not happen without a specific herpes virus. Furthermore, these two emotions are usually on the same emotional spectrum. What I mean by this is you can not be “lazy” with out knowing what it is like to be “motivated”, and you cannot be “motivated” with knowing what it is like to be “lazy”…. Same thing with “happy” and “sad”…. Thus, by being “lazy” you know it is very possible for you to be “motivated.” In saying that you motivation CAN NOT SIMPLY BE AN ACT OF WILL… … If it is just willed, it’ll only be temporary. The same reason crash diets don’t work. Willing yourself to changing a behavior only lasts as long as the adrenal and excitement lasts (usually not long). For permanent change you’ll have to figure out the cause that results in the symptom of laziness (easier said then done)…. What is the cause in your life that produces the symptom of “lazy”?

    Knowing all this will help you to go in the direction you want, but maybe it is ok to accept where you are??? Usually the things we put off are things we are not that passionate about. My guess is that if affiliate marketing was a good restaurant with good food you WOULD NOT be putting it off ?!??! Maybe you’re just not that into it….

    Was that to deep for all you bloggers?

    You are kind hearted, levelheaded person. What will making 100k a month get you that you don’t already have? More “stuff” and less time doing all the other things you love probably….

    Anyways, when I grow up I want to Tyler Cruz… I am excited to hear more about what you have up your sleeve.

    Rebecca :)

  15. Becky says:

    “be” …. I left out the word “be” up there…. “when I grow up I want to *BE* Tyler Cruz”… Grrrrr I need a proof reader!!!

  16. Hi Tyler, thanks for not mentioning my name above. However, I’m ok publicly admitting that I’m the unoriginal bastard that copied your Affiliate Marketing Challenge idea over at my Blog and I apologize for how that played out.

    I honestly didn’t think it would upset you, but after our email exchanges I know why it did and it’s totally understandable. Although it was too late to make changes once the contest was launched, I’m making some changes for the next round to give my contest a more unique and separate feel from yours.

    I’m not trying to justify what I did by saying the following, but I think that as your Blog continues to grow in popularity and as you evolve into a leader in the marketplace, you should probably anticipate that more and more people are going to be watching what you do and modeling your success.

    I think it’s very smart of you to channel your energy into new projects and to anticipate that anything that you do could be copied because that’s just how things evolve in the business world. In fact, entrepreneurs who don’t model other successful entrepreneurs often go out of business.

    That’s why I always study successful Internet Entrepreneurs like you, John Chow, Steve Pavlina, Yaro Starak, Darren Rowse, etc. and model the things that work. In fact, I could pretty much say that all of my Blogging strategies are modeled in part or in whole from the people mentioned above.

    -Paul

  17. Andrei Buiu says:

    Well, I don’t thing you are lazy and you have a very nice portfolio of sites I might add. I’m trying so hard to detach myself from the offline world and I really enjoyed reading about all your online projects and ways of making money online.

  18. MLDina says:

    Uh oh, what tricks does Tyler have up his sleeve? I definitely think working on your affiliate marketing is a good plan. Especially considering your affiliate marketing challenges. You have to set the example!

  19. james says:

    cant wait to see your next project

  20. iusefirefox says:

    I can’t wait to see your new project. From the sounds of it it should be a real winner.

  21. Pheak Tol says:

    From reading all this, it sounds like you’re one busy man.

  22. Seems like Forums is your thing, Tyler :) Maybe you could share some more tips with me. Hopefully you can shoot me an e-mail with your AIM/MSN, so we can keep in touch.

    -Mike

    p.s. That news post I wrote for the contest, just think of it as a shoutout for you then :)

  23. Mirror says:

    Dang, that’s a load of work!

    Loved hearing about what you’re up to away from your main blog.

  24. Picasso says:

    You have lots of working going on. I totally agree with you on this quote

    “I don’t get angry; I don’t even get even. I get better”

    That’s exactly what I do, best of luck.

  25. Mike Collins says:

    Hey Tyler, I definitely enjoy reading posts like this so keep them coming. Its good to see how you branch off and expand your revenue streams.

  26. James Cue says:

    This post really goes to show how much of an advantage it it so have some technical skills in the avenue you are working in. For example, you are spending about $8,000 out of your pocket before you even have a proof-of-concept let alone any revenue.

    A competitor could do the same for nothing. Especially in these economics time, it is important for companies to keep costs low.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I have technical skills… but not the level of quality that I want. Also, my time is much better spent doing more administrative tasks than designing or programming.

      Sure, if I did have advanced programming and designing skills I could have made the entire site myself, but in the long run it would have cost me more than $8,000 in time that was lost doing other things… do you know what I mean?

      As a very bad example, it’d be equated to bill gates mowing his own lawn. Sure, he could do that and theortically ‘save’ $50, but in those 2 hours mowing his lawn he could have made a lot more by hiring somebody else to mow his lawn and then working his normal job…

  27. Mega Champ says:

    Nice projects, and its very rare that webmaster’s share their projects with readers. Good to atleast someone is sharing his work.

  28. diggalive says:

    dam man, thanks a lot for sharing your sites with us. You put a lot of work into them, I can tell, and it looks like it is paying off. Your blog is deffinetely one of my top motivators. Please check mine out when you get a second. Thanks for keeping it real! :)

  29. Publisherspot was pretty darn cool, had a few companies I hadn’t ever heard of which was good.

    I hope your new project goes well, although I’m sure it will, all your other programs seem to be doing well.

  30. Seems like you have a lot going on. I feel ya on the affiliate marketing (with networks), I have been being lazy about that too. It’s why I put off signing up for you competition recently. But I am doing some testing and this fits perfectly with some other business ideas I am testing out too.

  31. [...] 2008 Posted by Tyler Cruz Paid Advertisement A week-and-a-half ago I made a post titled An Update on My Web Projects which many readers were happy to read. It had been so long since I had made such a simple post [...]

  32. Looks like a lot much happening man..all the best. Im subscribed already.

  33. hey man…look at all those projects. I wouldn’t call you lazy. now I”M lazy…i’ve gone 2 sites that make me some money, and i don’t even post on them anymore because i’m lazy….

PeerFly

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