I Thought I was Going to Be a Millionaire, Then All I Could Do was Throw Up
On November 15, 2003 my websites received combined traffic of 195,000 visitors, when I woke up the next day my websites had 4 visitors all day. I was a victim of the infamous Florida Update. Here's my story.
I started affiliate marketing in the mid-1990s, by 2003 I had a network of websites that got over 100,00 visitors each day. I thought I was brilliant and going to be a millionaire. I could hardy wait for the Christmas shopping season.
Back in its early days, Google would update its algorithm each month. We would all watch the Google servers around the world. When they started to show different results, we knew the algorithm was changing. Because the data on the servers danced around during the update, this was known as the Google Dance.
I had always done well after each Google Dance, so I wasn't worried. I expected to make my first million dollars on the Internet that December slept with a smile on my face. Little did I know that Google had taken aim at my affiliate sites. They probably deserved it. They were thin datafeed sites and were overly optimized. I had purchased lots of backlinks. Everyone was doing it, why shouldn't I.
As I watched my numbers, I couldn't help but throw up in my office wastebasket. Luckily there was money in the bank, so I had time to remake my empire. But how? Experts said affiliate marketing was dead. I can tell you 11 years later that's not the case. It is definitely different.
I survived by deleting all of my 1,000 websites. Then starting over. I made each site unique and filled it with original content. I watched what Google liked and didn't like. Today I am successful, but I am still not a millionaire. Damn.