Google, YouTube, and Amazon: How People are Constantly Making Money from All 3 Forces of the Trifecta of the Modern Day Tower of Babel

Allow me to introduce you to the underworld of the Internet, where people earn passive incomes, thanks to the rest of the world constantly searching for answers on Google, products on Amazon, and education and entertainment on YouTube. These are the 3 forces that help sustain the modern day Tower of Babel.

I think of it as the perfect relationship between creators and consumers.

While it might make us uncomfortable to admit it, these 3 search engines combined serve as a man-made, all-knowing, instantly accessible, god-like entity with instant answers that people can literally see right there on the screen.

No praying required, no real faith involved here. Just type a few words and immediately become more enlightened.

It’s like we’re climbing the stairs to the top of the Tower of Babel, like finding our own way to Heaven; or at least to a more convenient version of life. But hey, if that thought really makes you feel bad; that in theory, we’re all participating in the the modern day Tower of Babel, just promise to never use Google, YouTube, or Amazon again.

Do you want to instantly know how to predict if a young man is going to go bald? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to know what the best yet affordable espresso machine is on the market? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to instantly know how to be cured of dyshidrotic eczema without depending on prescriptions from a doctor? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Okay, so maybe you personally aren’t currently looking for answers to these questions. That’s okay. Because somebody else is. All the time. And I am getting a piece of the pie.

How so? This is a glimpse at the way it works.

Having an SEO rich website, for people to stumble upon while searching something on Google:

I own the equivalent of real estate here on the Internet. I have this blog you’re reading now, which has been around since May 2009, which contains over 2400 different articles, all of which contain a minimum of 300 words each. This serves as my dragnet to “capture” a decent portion of a great number of things people might be searching at any giving moment on the Internet. Every second of every day.

Because of this, and other secret reasons, my blog (this website) has good SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Therefore, companies realize this when they themselves search for certain keywords (which I carefully implanted here on my website). They obviously want their product featured on easy-to-find platforms like mine, so they reach out to me; offering a free product and/or payment in exchange for being featured here on my “real estate”.

Having a YouTube channel with a decent amount of subscribers:

I have come to the realization that most people don’t realize YouTubers actually make money every time someone clicks on an ad that shows before a YouTuber’s video. With over 2,000 videos, and each one averaging at least 4 minutes long, I have a steady stream of newcomers landing on my YouTube channel each day.

The more who subscribe, the more views I get, the more money I make. From there, I make videos to coincide with certain blog topics that I write about here on my blog. That way, I can use both my blog and YouTube channel in connection with one another; potentially bringing my audiences together.

Having an Amazon Affiliate account to earn a commission from any items sold, from links I plant on my website and YouTube videos:

Fathom this truth… anytime you click on a link that takes you to Amazon and you end up buying anything, the person who put that link there gets a portion of that sale. The link you clicked may have been for a children’s booster car seat, but after clicking the link, you may have wandered off and instead, ended up buying organic vegan Ramen noodles. 

It doesn’t matter. Amazon rewards people like me who have popular enough platforms to usher people over to Amazon and buy a product.

So obviously, in each of my most popular blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as most of my newest ones, there is at least one link to an Amazon product; as I capitalize on the fact I have a decent sized blog, with an accompanying YouTube channel.

Now knowing this about me, do you think differently of this family friendly daddy blogger?

Am I a sneaky guy who preys on unassuming people who are casually searching things on the Internet?

Or am I just another business-minded creative personality who understands how the system works; that consumers are constantly searching for answers and that I might as well be the one with some of those answers. I have just enough answers to get more than a thousand people to stumble upon my website and YouTube channel each day.

So the next time you Google something random end up on someone’s website, think, “I’m improving their power and presence on the Internet.”

The next time you need to learn something by watching a YouTube video and click on the ad that shows before it, think, “I just made that person a fraction of a penny.”

And the next time you click on a link on a website than transports you to Amazon and you buy something, think, “Somebody somewhere is getting a percentage of this sale.”

You now understand the basics of the business model of the modern day Tower of Babel.

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Readers’ Expectations 5: Hemp George, Mexican Mollies, and Fat Babies with Mullets

What would provoke anyone to visit Scenic Route Snapshots, out of the millions of websites out there?  I like knowing the answer to the question, just as you do.  Here is the fifth installment of phrases that people typed into Google and other search engines to find this site:

“fat babies eating”- I thought it was safe to assume that most babies are fat anyways.  Is this from a hopeful parent wanting their baby to grow up to be a professional competitive eater?  That Japanese guy wins every year, but 2nd place isn’t a bad goal to aim for.  Good luck on that.  Mazel tov. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeru_Kobayashi

“van gogh starry night for kids”- Yes, because Van Gogh’s original painting of Starry Night contained a lot of nudity and violence, but the new Disney-endorsed version is safe for the whole family.

“What does being a Rubik’s Cube in a dream mean?”- One of two things.  A) You are feeling manipulated by the people in your life- like they are trying to “figure you out”.  2) It’s not a dream at all.  You’re currently on an LSD trip.

“hemp George”- Yes, President George Washington was indeed a hemp farmer.  But “Hemp George” sounds like a totally different guy altogether.  But hey, when you can’t track down Hemp George, there’s the next best thing- Sativa Steve.

“mullet baby ugly”- I thought all babies are beautiful.  And besides, a mullet doesn’t automatically make someone ugly.  Flashback to the ‘80’s, prime examples: MacGyver and Bono.

“singleness a gift I do not want”- This one is funny not because the searcher typed in something weird to find me, but because I happened to title that post exactly in the terminology he or she was thinking.  Takes one to know one: Singleness; The Gift No One Really Wants

“male mexican mollies mustache”– Definitely one of the most random searches ever to get to my website.  Mollies are a type of fish that unlike Catfish, do not have any physical features that resemble a mustache.  The four words “male”, “Mexican”, “mollies”, and “mustache” have nothing to do with each other.  And strangest of all, whoever searched that did so 7 times that day.

So that means 7 hits on my counter happened because someone searched something extremely random, not once, twice, or even thrice, but 7 times.  I am picturing a mustachioed Mexican man eating fish, and he’s very, very happy about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollies

Being Excessive and Eventually Finding Common Ground: My First 40,000 Hits on WordPress

Thanks for 40,000 hits.

In my 313 posts on Scenic Route Snapshots, I’ve covered so many random topics along the way that if you type into my search box on the right side of the screen (“Curious? Type any word in the box…) the first off-the-wall word that comes to mind, you are quite likely to pull up at least one entry.  Try it right now if you’d like.  Go ahead, I’ll still be here.

Here are a few examples to try: John Candy, 1977, duckbill platypus, moped, or Ohio.

It all goes back to #9 of The Code: Write an excessive number of posts every month. They won’t all be awesome, but it’s often the ones that I predict won’t really connect with readers that are the ones that really do.  The more I write, the better I’ll be, and the better I’ll know how to connect to readers.”

Perhaps the greatest example of this theory occurred this week: WordPress hand-selected  The Korean Sauna Experience: Friendship, Friendship as a feature story on their “Freshly Pressed” homepage ( wordpress.com/).  Accordingly, my daily traffic has benefited:  The first day I was featured I got 1,748 hits and the second day 1,646.  (Last week’s daily average was 584.)

The funny thing about this is- of the hundreds of posts of written in the past five years, that particular one in my opinion, is definitely not one of my best.  At 1500 words, it’s over twice the length of most things I write.  It’s seems a bit of a bore to me- though I have to keep in mind that it’s an event that I experienced six years ago, so it’s no longer that exciting to me.  But for someone hearing it for the first time, I could see how it could have a different effect.

The point being, I simply lazily posted a familiar story on my website- just another brick in the wall.  But it caught the eye of the right person and found favor with them, which has increased reader subscriptions and daily hits.  In part, because I post an excessive amout of my writings.

I’m way too scatter-brained to come up with a smart theme like http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/, which is creative, yet focused.  Maybe I’m just a conditioned channel-changer, a product of the 1980’s.  Getting exhausted by having to think about the same concept for everything I write about.  So I just write about whatever comes to mind, which by default, ends up being about one of the following things: My Categories: Nostalgia, People, Storytelling, Spirituality, Writing, and Recaps.

So what I can’t accomplish by being clever enough to come up with one solid money-making idea, I plan to make up for in my excessiveness- by typically publishing an average of 28 posts every month, basically one per day.  (Usually I don’t post anything on the weekends, but at least 2 or 3 every weekday, averaging about to about one a day.)

I guess when it comes down to it, I’ve set a secret goal to publish more posts than anyone I know that has a website.  So far, I’ve been successful at meeting that goal.  Doing my best to slowly take over a corner of the Internet, so that whatever noun a person types into Google, they will easily find their way to me.

So in my Spumoniness, I am able to reach out to several demographics of people.  And my hope is that in the end, I won’t be just a gimmick or a fad that people eventually forget about as I fade away into obscurity.  I want to be here in the background of your life, writing the coming-of-age literary soundtrack.

Other posts of this “10,000 Hits” series:

Being Down to Earth, Yet Never Really Touching the Ground (posted April 11, 2010)

Being Original, Yet Never Really Breaking New Ground (posted May 18, 2010)

Being Engaging, Yet Never Really Standing on Dangerous Ground (posted on June 10, 2010)

The Modern Day Tower of Babel, Perhaps (The Internet and Online Social Networks)

If twenty years ago someone had tried to describe to us what the Internet was and how drastically it would change our lives, we would be as lost someone trying to watch LOST for the first time starting with Season 4. In 1993, Time magazine did a cover story about predictions of future technology involving the way people would share information. Vaguely, they were seeing a glimpse of the World Wide Web. But the way they presented it was more like a form of cable TV that would have at least 500 channels.

Instead, a year later in 1994 my 8th grade science teacher Bill Martin showed our class this weird way he could use the classroom phone line and his computer to talk to other scientists across the country, instantly. That was my introduction to the Internet. Three years later, the Internet became less of a weird thing that I could only observe from a distance, as some of my friends with Internet let me aimlessly wander through thousands of websites at their house. By 2000, I had my own hotmail account and my own daily access to the Internet.

But even ten years ago, the Internet was much more primal. For casual users like me, all I really did was catch up with distant family and friends through e-mail and use MSN’s search to look at websites that had trivia about the ‘80’s. And I didn’t know any better; I thought it was awesome.

Now in 2010, life on the Internet is completely different. More concise. When I need a good picture, I’ve got Google Images. When I need knowledge on any subject, I’ve got Wikipedia. When I need a video clip, I’ve got YouTube. And to keep in daily contact with family, friends, and people I had one class with in college and barely remember, there is facebook. Those four websites ARE the Internet to me.

The building of the Tower of Babel has for some reason always interested me: After Noah and his immediate family survived the world-wide flood, and waited almost a year inside the ark for the water to recede from the land, they were told by God to “fill the Earth” and for the first time ever, to kill and eat animals (the first ten generations of people were vegetarians). In other words, move to a new land and have large families to repopulate the world (Genesis 9).

Instead, within a few hundred years most of these people were still living in the same area they started in. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Then, in an act that reminds me of myself as a 10 year-old boy dragging a rake through a giant ant bed, God decided to “confuse” the language of the people (Genesis 11). From there, it appears to me that the people of each of the same language regrouped and moved to a new land, eventually forming new countries, as God originally wanted to them to do.

Several thousands of years later, mankind has successfully filled the Earth. We now have almost 7,000 different languages, while English is arguably the most universal. But with the capabilities and practicality of the Internet, we have formed an abstract, intangible form of the Tower of Babel. Technically. Sort of. Maybe. It’s at least got me thinking.

Every time I’ve seen any sort of worldwide system of anything in the Bible, it’s always been a bad thing. When mankind finds a way to harness too much knowledge and/or power, God doesn’t like it- as people tend to depend more on each other and themselves. From Adam and Eve’s eyes being opened to the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis, to the end of the world involving the mysterious “mark of the beast” (some sort of universal personal ID providing a way for people to pay for goods and services) in Revelation.

Then again, what better way for the fortunate to bless the less fortunate then by using the communication of the Internet to give and set up help for the needy.

Maybe I’m the stoic eccentric man holding the sign with the phrase “THE END IS NEAR”. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence. But I still love technology.

Readers’ Expectations 4: False Witness Memories, Jon Lovitz in Drag, and That Urban Legend About Women on Adrenaline

It’s been over a month since the last time I took a few minutes to share the most absurd Google searches that people used to find my website (Readers’ Expectations 3 on May 7th).  Now that enough bizarre key words have washed up, it’s time to check them out.

“how to photograph the Hollywood sign”- Well, first you get a camera.  Then you go to Hollywood and stand in front of the sign.  Press the correct button on the camera.  Bam.  You’re done.

“false witness memories”- Is it easy or is it difficult to remember memories that don’t exist?

“Jon Lovitz in drag”- That’s the ticket!

“women defecating”- I don’t know which is worse: The fact that some sick guy out there wants to see a woman doing “#2” or that somehow what I’ve written about something that in some jumbled sense, comes out similar to what he was looking for.

“brian winkles fort payne”- Brian Winkles was one of my best friends growing up.  I’ve referenced him a few times in my writings.  Either he Googled his own name or… looks like somebody’s got a secret admirer… woo-ooo…

“nick shell sugar”- I feel proud of that fact my discovery that consuming one tablespoon of sugar is equal to smoking one cigarette is becoming a world renown, sought after article: healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?  Oh, and… That’s “Doctor” Nick Shell to you…

This is the best you're gonna find, Mister.

“a pickle driving car”- Yeah, that’s cool.  A lot of people out there are looking to learn about that these days.  Also popular, “a pickle directing traffic”.

 

“women on adrenaline urban legend”- Did you know that one time, there were these women, and they got all hyped on adrenaline, and oh boy,  you’ll never believe what happened…

“famous painting”- Oh… That famous painting…  Yeah! I love that famous painting!  It’s hanging up on my wall.  Interesting, sounds like we’ve got a lot in common- you and me.  And the famous painting.

Being Original, Yet Never Really Breaking New Ground: My First 20,000 Hits on WordPress

Thanks for 20,000 hits.

It seems like only six weeks ago that I was thanking my readers for this site getting its 10,000th hit in Being Down to Earth, Yet Never Really Touching the GroundWait, wait a minute… It was.

That was on April 11th.    How did that happen?  Why did it take seven months to get the first 10,000 hits (September 2009 to April 2010) but only five and a half weeks to get 10,000 more (April 2010 to May 2010)?

Here is a reflection/tutorial for anyone wanting to know more about how to obtain and build a readership and following by using a WordPress website, based on what it took for me to get my first 20,000 hits.

Just like the first million dollars are the most difficult for a multimillionaire to make, so is the case with getting any new form of art off the ground and flying.  It’s the snowball effect.  I have now posted over 250 of my writings on this site alone.

Each month that passes, that’s another 20 to 40 new posts to add to the library to be recycled.  On any given day during any given hour, there are more people reading my older stuff than my new stuff.  Then the new stuff becomes the old stuff and is read by newcomers.

Something almost magical happened back in February.  Suddenly, people started subscribing (getting all my new posts through e-mail); on top of that, the number of hits that month quadrupled from the month before and have been steadily increasing since then.  So really, after that fifth month of this site’s active existence, things exploded.

On December 30, 2009, I went to www.godaddy.com and paid 10 bucks for the domain name www.scenicroutesnapshots.com.  Yes, it’s too long of a name.  And when I tell people audibly, they often don’t understand what I’m saying.  But it’s a name I believe in because it best represents what I write about (Dr. Deja Vu: The Scenic Route).  And really, once a person goes to the site once, they can easily go back to it again.  Besides, people don’t end up on my site because I told someone about my site, they go to my site because of Google searches, facebook links, and cough-cough-Twitter-cough cough.

Another huge part of it is this- I accidently found a niche.  I half-heartedly decided to start doing a recap of The Bachelor when the Jake Pavelka season premiered in January, not realizing that people actually cared about it.  But they do.  Very much so!  Much of the quadruple increase from January to February has to do with my Bachelor recaps.

So aside from the snowball effect, and aside from finding an unlikely niche, what else has helped readership growth?  I want to know, not just for myself, but also to help other fellow writer friends.

I believe in something I call “learned talent.”  Which may be a phrase I just made up.  Basically, I learn from other people’s talent mixed with my own trial and error.  It’s the writer’s initiative to become better through regular practice and a willingness to cater to readers while still staying true to self.  And that concept is something that is often given as advice from the judges on American Idol to the contestants as they make it past the Top 10. Be you, but also stick with what you know works and what other people will like.

Particularly in writing, “learned talent” has a lot to do with the writer’s “voice”.  The tone, the choice of words, the subject matter, the level of professional distance.  I am not as talented as any legendary writer I could name in this sentence.  But just like an actor can change their accent or demeanor for a role, so can a writer “tweak” their own writer’s voice.

Because I believe, like a Rubik’s Cube, (The Truth and Irony about Solving a Rubik’s Cube) it’s all about figuring out the formula and acting on it, I am under the educated impression that what I lack in talent, I can make up for in simply learning how to write in a voice that leads with confidence and optimism and what I call “business-casual professionalism”.

A lot of this comes down to Rule #7 of my Writing Code:

“Write about weird stuff but make it seem normal. Or write about normal stuff and make it seem weird.”

My current literary role model is Michael Chabon, whom through his series in Details magazine, I learned better how to get in touch with my nostalgic side and hopefully make it seem interesting; not too technical or too abstract.  A happy medium that invites the reader to connect to the same train of thought.  In one of his newer books that I recently began reading, called Maps and Legends, he reiterates my #7 Rule:

“Let’s cultivate an unflagging reading as storytellers to retell the same stories with endless embellishment… The key, as in baroque music, is repetition with variation.”

Retell the same stories with endless embellishment:  Be original yet never really break new ground.  The familiar with the fresh.

Repetition with variation:  Take a subconsciously familiar thought and then put a new spin of originality on it.  So that readers feel a sense of comfort (the old familiar thought) along with newness (the author’s personality and his or her unique perspective).

And really, isn’t that really what’s for sale here anyway?  The writer’s personality?

Facts are only so important.  So is a plot.  But ultimately a story or an article is only as entertaining as the person telling it.  And a lot of the reasons we think a writer is “good” is because we relate to them, in some uncertain invisible ways.

Whether that writer reminds us of our own self and the way we naturally think, or they remind us of one of our friends, or ultimately our alter-ego, Tyler Durden (the man who the nameless protagonist of Fight Club imagines himself to be friends with), there is some reason we feel connected.

Of course, just like doctors and lawyers refer to their work as their practice, I too recognize that this site is and always will be a work in progress.  This is me paying my dues.  Learning as I go.  With an end in sight.  Or maybe I should say a new beginning in sight…

Below are the reader stats for this site.  This shows hits per month.  September 2009 is when I exclusively began writing for this site.

Months and Years

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2009 5 21 2 76 550 552 465 532 2,203
2010 628 2,508 3,357 6,072

Readers’ Expectations 3: Mexican Mustaches, Arabian Snails, and W.W.J.D? (What Would Jesus Drive)

Friday is typically my slowest day: Less people come to my site on Friday than any other day of the week.  So for the average 168 who do show up on any given Friday, the most hard-core and devoted readers of scenicroutesnapshots.com, I love to share my most off-the-wall Google searches.  Here’s how random Internet searchers found my site this week:

“Mexican mustaches”– This was a popular search on Wednesday, which was Cinquo de Mayo.  Many people out there just wanted to get in the Cinquo de Mayo spirit by reading about Mexican mustaches.  I can’t argue with that…

“will Earl Hickey ever shave his mustache?”– I hate to be bearer of bad news, but the last episode of the NBC sitcom My Name is Earl aired a year ago.  The show was cancelled.  So I think it’s safe to say actor Jason Lee has shaved by now.  Sorry.

“cartoon spoon of sugar”–  Uh, yes, because cartoon spoons of sugar are so much sweeter going down… You’re… weird.

“الحلزون”– When I Googled this, it took me to the Wikipedia entry for “snail”.  This script is Arabian.  It also took me to the link below, which is for some kind of art contest taking place in the country of Syria: http://www.syriacartoon.com/index.htm

“cannabis and me”– I like this.  I really do.  It makes me think of either an afterschool special or an 80’s movie about a kid and his weird alien friend.

“show me, don’t waste”– The new “green” state slogan for Missouri.

“in the temptation of Jesus, Jesus drives”– Man, I don’t know what Bible you’re reading, but when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days, he sure didn’t simply drive off to Italy in a Toyota Camry.