Who is John Carlstrom?
And why am I talking about myself in the third person?
I’m an entrepreneur and internet marketing nerd that lives in Snohomish, WA.
I’ve never had a “real” job.
I’ve been making money on the internet in many different ways for the past 14 years.
For most of you, this is probably all you need to know about me.
But for you internet stalkers out there, well, you’re in for a real treat because I’m going to go all the way back to the year 2004 when it all began:
Here’s what GamingMatrix.net looked like, circa 2004:
I launched my first online business in 2004 using $100 of birthday money that I got for my 16th birthday.
I used that $100 to rent a Pentium 4 Windows server, and launched GamingMatrix.net where I rented out game servers to gaming clans.
This was back in the day when people actually had to use their own computer/internet connection if they wanted to host a multiplayer game.
At it’s peak, GamingMatrix.net was making $1,000 – $2,000 per month, and 16-year-old me was ecstatic!
I couldn’t believe that I could buy my own Taco Bell anytime I wanted.
Here’s what LiveWireHost.com looked like, circa 2005:
I had no business running a web hosting company, but that didn’t stop 17-year-old John.
I started a web hosting company called LiveWireHost, and the majority of my revenue came from selling $25/mo “Unlimited” web hosting reseller accounts.
Normally it’s very expensive to acquire new web hosting customers, but I saw an opportunity and used eBay listings to acquire most of my web hosting customers for dirt cheap.
I don’t remember the actual numbers, but I believe at it’s peak LiveWireHost generated a few thousand dollars per month in recurring revenue.
I even had my very own 1-800 number!
I also outsourced my tech support to India, since as I said before, had no business running a web hosting company.
Who remembers ringtones?
Right around this time, I first discovered affiliate marketing and all of it’s glory.
One of the first affiliate offers I ever promoted was a “Free Ringtones” offer.
I don’t know what numbers I was doing with affiliate marketing back in 2005, but it was definitely the year that I got started.
Here’s what ProfileMods.com looked like at it’s peak:
ProfileMods.com was my “MySpace Resource” website.
This was before Facebook, and back then everyone was looking for a way to “pimp out” their MySpace profile.
This website was my first big breakthrough, and this was the first time I generated over $100K in a single month.
At it’s peak, ProfileMods.com was getting 100,000+ unique visitors every single day.
My “secret sauce” was my Google Ad campaigns.
Over the life of ProfileMods.com, I purchased 5,201,385 clicks from Google at a cost of only 1 cent per click:
At the same time, the “Yahoo Publisher Network” launched their beta program, I applied, and I was accepted.
The Yahoo Publisher Network was similar to Adsense ads, except that Yahoo was paying as much as $3-$5 per click.
It was the perfect storm:
I was getting visitors to my website for 1 cent each from Google, while at the same time, the Yahoo Ads on my site were paying me an average of $3 every time someone clicked on an ad.
I started TheBacklinkBuilders.com after I started really getting into SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
I purchased a piece of software called XRumer that allowed anyone to create backlinks on thousands of different websites, automatically.
I sold 1,000 backlinks for $9.99, all the way up to 10,000 backlinks for $49.99.
I rented several dedicated Windows servers so I could run the software all day long, and I paid a team in the Philippines to operate the software and fulfill the orders.
It only cost me a couple of dollars to create 1,000 – 10,000 backlinks, so the margins were very high.
I used the Google Display Network to generate most of my sales.
I also reached out to the webmasters of relevant websites and purchased ad space directly from them.
SEO, Blog Networks, & Affiliate Marketing
2011 was a much simpler time when it came to SEO.
A huge blog network known as the Authority Link Network (ALN) was at it’s prime (if I recall, they had over 30,000 blogs in their network before it collapsed).
I was ranking brand new websites in a matter of days/weeks.
If Google “slapped” one of them, I’d rank a new website in it’s place.
I was ranking websites for lots of different “store name + coupon code” search terms, and making a commission every time someone used my link.
The conversion rate for coupon code searches is insanely high because people typically only search for a coupon code when they’re already in the checkout and they see the coupon code field.
To be continued… (I got bored writing about myself)