$100k per month from a brand new blog? What do you think of Neil Patel’s goal?

If you missed this at QuickSprout.com, Neil Patel is planning to take a brand new blog to $100k in income per month over the course of a year. And he plans to let his readers know how he does it.


What do you think? Is it unrealistic, even for him? Will new bloggers be able to replicate it if he succeeds?

I'm a bit torn on this one. I understand the allure of experiments like this and sharing progress. I'm in the middle of something similar on the freelance front -- started earlier in March, with so far only one colleague aware of the details (to bounce ideas off of -- they're not getting involved in any way). It's fun. It's a challenge. And hopefully your readers can learn something from your process. What's not to love?

I take issue with one part of this, and that's the idea that others will be able to replicate his success. Now, let me preface this by saying I'm a big fan of Neil's. He's been behind some great brands, and even more great content. But my issue is that he already disclosed the domain of his new site, when it probably should have been kept secret until the end.

Why is this a problem?

The issue is that Neil Patel already has a significant following. And by sharing the site with them, he's going to drive his QuickSprout readers to the new site for an artificial traffic boost that no legitimately new blogger can replicate. And his goal was to make this work without leveraging his existing network. Now, he's already done that.

Someone asked him about this in the comments, and here was his response:

"I will account for those variables in the coming month when I explain my process. For a guy like me it’s hard to avoid getting natural traffic — but my goal is so loft that my current visitors won’t be as big as a help as you think. Primarily because I am attacking a new niche."

That sounds good in theory, but I'm not sure how you can really account for those variables. I also disagree that driving QuickSprout readers to the new site constitutes "natural traffic," and wish he'd have chosen to use a pen name for the project (the only way to really avoid leveraging your existing popularity). And finally, I think the "new niche" argument is irrelevant. If we were talking about some obscure niche that most internet marketers don't care about -- say, marine biology -- that might be true. But the new blog's niche is nutrition. That's a very general, consumer-oriented niche that many, if not most, people have at least some interest in. So here's bound to be overlap, and likely a lot of it.

So it's not a simple case of accounting for an uninterested group of visitors who are only there to watch you like a fish in a bowl. There's likely to be very real interest in the subject matter, along with related links and social media shares, due to that general consumer nature of the niche. And that concerns me because I think it makes it an unrealistic challenge for most bloggers who might choose to follow along or replicate his steps -- which is kind of the point.

I think it's a nice idea. But I have some big concerns about the execution from a reader's point of view. What about you? Will you follow his progress? Do you think sharing the domain name from the start was a good idea, or will it make this more difficult for others to replicate now that QuickSprout's readers will be contributing to its success in some way? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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37 thoughts on “$100k per month from a brand new blog? What do you think of Neil Patel’s goal?”

  1. Hm, I hadn’t heard about this. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he actually does accomplish his goal… but I don’t think anyone else will (unless they’re also already super famous).

    I do enjoy experiments like this, because I love learning about all the nitty-gritty details most bloggers gloss over.

    But I completely agree with you that it’d be incredibly unlikely for anyone to replicate his success. Obviously he’s going to get a TON of attention and traffic from his main blog, and there’s no way to completely account for that.

    I would almost say it seems unethical of him to say that others will be able to do the same thing by following along. Except he’s not asking anyone for money or anything. Just giving them false hope.

    The opening paragraph is laughable:

    A week ago, I wrote a blog post stating that anyone can generate $100,000 a month in income. To prove it, I told you that I’m going to create a new company and grow it from scratch without leveraging my connections.

    But he actually IS leveraging his connections. That’s not proof that anyone can do it!!! That’s proof that someone that’s already famous, skilled, and experienced can do it. Wow.

    The experiment itself is an interesting idea, but I really wish he’d been more realistic & honest about your average person’s chances of replicating his success.

  2. That’s exactly it. It’s the false hope factor that bothers me. If you’re going to use your existing reputation, just do it quietly and then share a case study later about how you reached some incredible milestone. Awesome. And people could learn something from it. But the idea that people can do what you do, for a year, and replicate your success without your name or connections just isn’t reality.

    If this was a one month experiment or something, it probably wouldn’t bother me to see newbies jump in and try something new, even if most probably wouldn’t succeed. But this is a year-long project. That’s a long time to ask people to follow along.

    I don’t for a second believe that he has any bad intentions with this. It just feels like something he could have done under a pen name with the same limited budget he plans (to be in a more comparable position to a newbie), and then share the results at the end. Maybe it’s the excitement of it and wanting to share the news. Or maybe he had some other reason for handling it this way. It just doesn’t make any sense to me from a planning perspective. But maybe I’m just biased because I’m fiercely protective of newbies writers of all kinds. So seeing someone give people what’s likely false hope really bothers me.

    On the other hand, I plan to keep an eye on his updates. I know I’d never do everything in his plan (you couldn’t pay me to promote my sites on Facebook for example). But I do have a site that’s been sitting for years with very little fresh content. And it’s in a great niche for monetization, plus a hobby area I’m passionate about. So maybe I’ll pick up a few ideas along the way that I can apply there. I’ve been at this long enough that I don’t expect to learn much that’s new to me, but there’s always the curiosity factor.

  3. I agree that his name and connections will help him meet his goal. If you look at Patel’s initial post you will see everyone from the leader of this country to big name corporations. Brand recognition and loyalty still play a big role in the market today. Since health and nutrition is a growing niche, he will draw in advertisers who want to attract Patel’s audience.

    I know of another popular blogger who did something similar, but she did it anonymously. She didn’t promote the blog until it started generating traffic so readers could learn from what she did.

    I’ll be interested to see how Patel does as well. I’m at the beginning stages of my blog, which targets a niche audience as well.

  4. I was a little bit surprised that he hasn’t posted another update yet. It’s been nearly a month. Perhaps there just isn’t much to share yet.

    I’m also curious if he was able to get the domain for only $100 as he’d planned. I saw one comment saying it would be impossible because that was a premium domain. I’m not sure where they got that information from. It looks like it might have been for sale on a domain broker’s site recently, but I didn’t see any mention of pricing. So maybe he got a great deal on it. I wish he’d have mentioned that when he announced the domain though.

    I will say that at least seeing this inspired me to dig into some of my own smaller blogs, some of which have been sitting as near-static sites for a while now. I was reminded of the great profit potential for one in particular when I started digging through ad stats. It’s one of my biggest passions, but it doesn’t tie in nicely to my other key sites so it’s always been on the backburner. I don’t care about it hitting some huge monthly income target like his experiment, but I know it can bring in a few thousand a month with a bit of regular attention. So I’m glad that it at least made me take a deeper look at some of those sites.

  5. Oh brother. I just took a look at the new site. Maybe I won’t keep following this experiment after all.

    1. There are already sensationalist images in posts. And I’m sorry, but you can’t be serious in a niche like nutrition if you’re catering to the BuzzFeed crowd. That gives it such a sleazy feel to me — not somewhere I’d go for health-related information.

    2. There are already more comments than a new blogger could expect to see, including some offering guest posts from writers with seemingly large sites. Totally realistic for a new blogger, right? I knew he was kidding himself when acted like his marketing audience wouldn’t help much. The site feels more like a marketing gimmick than an authoritative resource already, so they fit right in.

    3. Speaking of marketing gimmicks, I find it misleading and insulting that his opt-in boxes claim to offer “the best nutritional content” when he just admitted he has absolutely no expertise in this field. What a dangerous claim in an industry where misinformation can have dire consequences. It just adds that sleazy marketing vibe that completely kills any interest in watching his progress moving forward.

    It’s a shame. Like I said previously, I like Neil Patel and a lot of his content. But so much about this experiment just feels “wrong,” from the way he leveraged his existing audience to the way he’s already promoting the site as something it isn’t. I mean, for crying out loud, he already has his followers believing absolute bullshit with the way the content is sensationalized. His article on soda for example mentions that caramel coloring used in some sodas has compounds that have been shown to lead to cancer in animals. NO studies about it leading to cancer in humans. No information about the kind of dosing that was required to cause cancer in animals (likely FAR more than you’d ever get in soda). And there’s a commenter saying “Great post Neil. I wasn’t aware of the fact that Soda can lead to cancer as well….” Are you kidding me? I’m certainly not arguing in favor of soda (don’t drink it myself anymore). But that’s exactly the kind of fear this kind of content leads to when the focus is on sharing shocking information without going into detail. This is such a dangerous niche for someone without any real expertise to get into.

  6. I’m sad to say this has gotten even worse. Here’s his recent update:


    So, first, the domain changed. But rather than taking the opportunity to keep it secret this time, he went ahead and shared the new one too. And he’s still trying to claim that his promotion on QS isn’t a big deal. It is. As I pointed out before, it doesn’t matter if people in the nutrition space don’t know him. What matters is that his existing readers know him. And there is going to be a lot of natural overlap between those readers and a very general consumer niche like nutrition.

    He was supposedly going to spend around $100 on a domain name (at least I think that’s what he said originally). Instead he spent closer to $2k. Your typical new blogger isn’t likely to have the money to replicate this.

    He was using unpaid interns to create his content (how many new bloggers are honestly in a position to recruit unpaid interns?). I could swear he said he would be writing it. And now he has to fix some of that content because it wasn’t up to his standards. (That’s why professional bloggers get paid folks.) Now he has a nutritionist handling the content for revenue share — again, not a deal your typical new blogger would be in a position to work out. He’s able to do that by leveraging an existing relationship and his past track record (things that, again, I thought he wasn’t going to do).

    It sounds like plenty of people have called him out for “cheating” because of things like these. And instead of listening to the audience he’s supposedly doing this to benefit, he’s staying on the same course. That seems like a waste of a year to me. Don’t get me wrong. I won’t be surprised if he hits his $100k target. But he’ll be doing it because he’s Neil Patel, while passing it off as “teachable.” But much of what he’s doing isn’t teachable, and newer bloggers aren’t going to be able to replicate it. So it’s great for him. But as I worried before, it’s runs the risk of setting some seriously flawed expectations among the newer bloggers who follow his story for a year, hoping to do something similar. And those are the only people involved in this that I personally care about.

    I wish he would have given them a more realistic target and taken on the project more realistically in their shoes. Or maybe I just wish I hadn’t checked the QS blog again to see if there were updates.

  7. Hmm. I’ll check the next update and see who this nutritionist is. However, I still think he’s cheating – otherwise how could he have picked up so many FB fans in such a short time. Sigh. 🙁

  8. I think he used paid Facebook advertising in addition to any earned attention. Not bad if the budget’s low enough that a typical owner of a new blog could replicate it I suppose. But when you start adding up the costs and connections he’s used even this early in the game, I think we’re well beyond that point.

  9. The follow-up is worse, Jenn. The title is facetious – it would be better had he relaunched the blog and anonymized the results if he wanted to talk about it. His name is already associated with it. https://web.archive.org/web/20181118071511/https://www.quicksprout.com/2015/05/11/how-im-going-to-achieve-the-100k-a-month-challenge-without-using-my-name/

  10. He just doesn’t seem to get it. The problem is much less about his name being on the site itself, and more about the site name being associated with his name on his other properties. That’s how he’s leveraging his existing connections and community in way that amounts to “cheating.” And he’s too far gone at this point. He can’t take it back without moving to a third domain.

    It just wasn’t planned out very well. I don’t get the impression that he’s intentionally trying to mislead his QS readers. But even if unintentional, that’s still the end result when he’s essentially saying “hey, watch me do this awesome thing so maybe you can learn from my example and do it too.”

    But hey, I guess there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Even this early in the game he couldn’t make it work according to the original plan. He had to spend much more than he originally said he would, he didn’t take on his own content creation like he said he would, and he’s already had to leverage his existing connections. So while I’m sure plenty of people will still be interested to see if he reaches his goal or not, hopefully they also see that the steps he took aren’t on a path most new bloggers can, or would, take.

    Nothing about what he’s doing will prove that “anyone can generate $100,000 a month in income” from a blog. He’s simply showing that he can. I just wish the initial buzz about the project wasn’t so misleading.

  11. You know, the more I read the updates, the more this whole thing bugs me. Here’s pretty much what I’m getting out of his last update that you shared Sharon:

    Creating a high income blog takes time.

    He complained that finding a domain for $100 was taking too much time and that’s why he spent significantly more. He also apparently couldn’t make the time to write his early blog content (something most novice bloggers will have to do). If this was his first blog, it might be understandable. But he’s run how many now? He knew there would be time involved.

    I just can’t figure out why he committed to putting that time in if he wasn’t going to do it. The “anyone can do it” approach was about him blogging in an unfamiliar niche to show others can too. But he isn’t doing that. He’s showing what an actual subject matter expert can do with a blog if they have a professional marketer with a solid budget behind them. Big difference.

    Edit: Or maybe there are two things to learn here, the other being “have a strategy before starting your blog.” This was one of the topics I covered in the podcast episode going up tomorrow. You don’t just jump in and come up with a plan later — not if you want the best chance of reaching your goals. Yet he admitted that with an income-specific project he doesn’t even have a monetization plan in place. That seems like a sloppy example to set.

  12. It can’t really be an unbiased test, can it? If we know already where to look, how many people will be checking in regularly to see how it’s going?

    It would have been smarter to say “I’m going to do this” but not share the link. Better yet, say nothing.

  13. Exactly Lori. He keeps trying to claim that his existing audience isn’t relevant to nutrition, or that they wouldn’t have a real interest in it, so it isn’t a problem. That’s utter nonsense, and I can’t believe for a moment that he doesn’t know that. Nutrition is a very general niche. There is nothing about that niche that says you can’t also be into internet marketing. As long as this project is running, of course they’re going to be interested in that site!

    Everyone is bound to have some interest in some aspect of nutrition. For that reason alone it’s a terrible example to use when you’re claiming people can replicate these figures in any niche. A narrower niche would have been a far better choice to prove that point.

  14. Hi Jennifer,

    I agree with everything that you’ve said. I absolutely love Neil Patel but like you, I wish he’d done this ‘experiment’ under a pseudonym and kept the URL a secret. To my mind, that’s the only way to get a true reflection of what most ‘normal’ bloggers face on their journey.

    I feel the same way about Pat Flynn. I followed his ‘niche’ website ideas for a while until the penny dropped and I realized that he has a built-in audience of millions. I think when you’e in that situation – it’s pretty hard to fail. I just checked out Pat’s last earning report for April and he earned an eye-watering $37.500.00 in Bluehost affiliate sales alone! The little tracker in the top left of the income page shows that he earned $123,853.51 last month.

    What I really admire about both Neil and Pat is their honesty and transparency and that’s why I was disappointed that Neil didn’t cloak his identity and URL from the get go. Someone as smart as him has to know that, just like Pat, he has a breathlessly waiting audience of fans (me included 🙂 ) who will follow every step he takes.

    But when you see the income brackets that these guys are on – I think it demonstrates that they are the exception, rather than the rule.

    We all go through desperate times when we’re chasing the next big idea and it’s very tempting to think that you’ve finally found the goose that lays the golden egg.

    For ordinary folk like myself and like many others, it takes dedication, a lot of hard work and a determination that is hard to sustain at times.

    I will continue to follow Neil’s progress but from the monthly reports, I think he may be starting to struggle a bit already.

  15. Exactly. They are exceptions. And that’s why it’s so disappointing to see people like them tell writers of any kind that they can basically copy their system for similar success. It just doesn’t work that way.

    I’ve run a number of very profitable blogs and other websites over the years. And while I’m nowhere near earning six figures every month, even I can tell you that once you have a successful site, it’s significantly easier to launch another. You have a better grasp on certain things than someone new. And if sites are even mildly related, they can work together to increase traffic, and therefore income, for both. It’s why link wheels are such an issue for Google (where you have one main site as a hub, and several smaller related sites as spokes on a wheel, all linking back to the base site). It’s much easier than it should be to manipulate rankings. And that’s not even accounting for a truly high traffic site like the ones these guys run.

    I’ll admit it. If Neil is struggling already, I’m happy to hear that. It’s not that I want him to struggle personally, but that I think it’s healthier for those following to him to see that and know that this isn’t just a walk in the park. Besides, the last time I checked his progress, very little seemed to be going according to plan. He’d already spent more than he said he would on a domain (and had to re-brand). Plus he already proved that, no, you can’t just start a blog in any old niche and make a crap-ton of money on your own. Sometimes you really do need to bring in experts because you aren’t qualified or won’t have the time (both in this case from what it sounded like — and something most new bloggers couldn’t afford to do).

    It bugs me a bit that he’d launch a site in a niche that could really affect people’s health when he’s admittedly only in it to prove he can make money in any niche he tried. I don’t like seeing marketers and SEO people try to overrun true authority sources, especially in niches where that authority really matters. So, if anything, what an experiment like this could show is how much work Google still has to do to differentiate true authority from mere popularity.

  16. what an experiment like this could show is how much work Google still has to do to differentiate true authority from mere popularity

    That’s a very good point Jennifer.

    Google claim to be focussing on quality content and authority. However, if it truly is going to be a level playing field (which I doubt) then those websites and blogs who know their subject inside out (and have visitors who are genuinely interested in the quality info that’s on offer) should be rewarded with significantly higher rankings.

    I guess it will take some time to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    What’s the old adage..?

    It’s not what you know but who you know

    Ooooh, I never used to be so cynical 🙂

  17. LOL A few years at this game could do that to anyone. Even though I come from a background in PR and marketing, I have very little love for your typical “internet marketer.” They destroy nearly everything they touch. I’m particularly bitter because they tend to take legitimate and well-established PR practices, re-label them as something “marketing” related, and then spam the heck out of them to the point that Google tends to act and penalize them.

    Online press releases are a good example. So is guest posting (adapted from an old school PR tactic with trade publications). They’ve even spun good old authoritative publication into “content marketing” (again, just old school good public relations), and they’re spamming just about any outlet they can if it means traffic, links, and money in the short-term. Blog posts, guest posts, e-books, videos — if it’s a type of content with any value in respectable hands, you can bet they’re all over it in droves, slowly running it into the ground.

    I saw one such marketer recently say that “content” is basically dead, and it’s all about “resources” now. Um, welcome to forever ago. Those of us who actually understand these things have been saying that for a very long time. But most internet marketers don’t care until they’ve put a new name or spin on it so they can pretend it’s bright, shiny, and new (and take all the credit for coming up with the brilliant idea). How long before they start calling it “resource marketing” or something equally asinine? But wait. If they do, remember you heard it here first!

    I think I have you beat on the cynic front. 😉

  18. So basically, it’s re-name, re-brand, re-sell…rinse and repeat. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂

    I think I’m getting the hang of it now!

    Maybe you should copyright the term “resource marketing” asap. Imagine the royalties!

  19. That sure does sound like it, doesn’t it? I’d much rather see people build something from the ground up. Buying an old domain because it already has backlinks and some traffic seems like a strange way to run an experiment like this if you really want people to be able to replicate it. No two “used” domains are going to have the same benefits. They also carry the risk of bad link profiles. And while Neil knows how to check into that, a lot of new bloggers who might want to copy what he’s doing wouldn’t understand that. The whole situation read as “weird” from the start. Oh well. Maybe the next experiment of this kind will turn out better.

  20. I can’t believe I let myself do this, but I read his latest update. I couldn’t sleep last night, picked up my tablet, and pulled up posts on Feedly. Once on QS, I made the mistake of looking at other recent posts and couldn’t resist seeing how this experiment was going. Here’s the post:


    Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly be more disappointed, this post dug an even deeper hole. Here are the takeaways that rubbed me the wrong way (this time):

    1. Maybe this is just me reading something into the wording, but I didn’t like Neil’s comment about “trying to get” his partner (the actual subject matter expert and content creator for the blog) to write 2 posts per day. I feel like he’s relying too heavily on this guy already in what was supposed to be an experiment showing what other bloggers could realistically do on their own. Something about the tone just made it sound like he’s putting too much pressure on this guy, and if I remember correctly from earlier posts, the guy’s not being paid outright (but maybe I’m wrong). There was just a controlling vibe to it that felt entirely inappropriate.

    2. In the comments he was asked a couple of times about money. And I think the questions are fair given that information has been light on that front, and this is supposed to be something others can follow along with and replicate. He seems to put off those questions (like what it cost to get the 100k Facebook likes he previously mentioned, because at least some of that relied on paid advertisements). The experiment is already a failure if it’s supposed to show that “anyone” can do this in any niche. Obviously anyone with thousands to burn is going to have an easier time building a blogging business (or any other type of business). That’s fine and all, but it’s not the way this was promoted early on to drum up interest.

    3. Now he’s talking about white label product sales through Amazon. We’re beyond the point of this actually being blogging income if he goes that route. Yes, a blog can be an effective marketing tool to promote other business ventures. But that’s very different than a blog as a business model of its own — how this experiment was portrayed. Big difference between wanting to make money blogging versus wanting to get into Amazon product sales and happening to use a blog to promote that effort.

    4. I was extremely concerned when he said “I am planning on leveraging the NutritionSecrets community to help drive reviews.” He means on Amazon. And his goal is 400-500 reviews. Now, I know we have a lot of authors here at AIW, so I’m assuming most of you can see the potential issue. You cannot leverage a blog community to write reviews for products unless they’ve actually used them. And as authors can tell you, Amazon has been cracking down on reviews pretty hard lately. I got the “shill” vibe from the way he phrased that. I hope I’m wrong, but I honestly can’t see how he’d get that many legitimate reviews from actual users of a product by simply “leveraging the blog community.” Given that he’s talking about health supplements, not only do you have to be concerned about Amazon terms of service violations, but also federal rules related to these kinds of products.

    5. He also mentions e-books. And I had to respond to his post about this issue. The way his comments come across in the post, it sounds like he plans to find high-selling ebooks on Clickbank and give them away for free on his own site. Obviously, that would be illegal without the original author’s or owner’s permission. In the comments he was asked about this and clarified. But what he said is equally problematic: “So if you sold a SEO ebook and everyone paid for it and loved it, I would then take that ebook, create a better version, and release it for free.” Ummm, no. As I pointed out in his comments, that’s the very definition of a derivative work. And it’s a copyright violation, just like stealing and distributing the original ebook outright. For someone whose business is so heavily tied to content creation, I find it alarming that he would say something like this. I hope he simply failed to communicate his actual plan and didn’t mean he plans to rip off and rewrite others’ ebooks.

    Here’s the thing though. Even if he has decent intentions, he’s doing a piss-poor job of communicating this process and his plans to a group of readers who were basically told they should be able to follow along and replicate what he’s doing. Some of the things he’s telling people to do (whether he means for them to be taken that way or not) are illegal. In other cases, they might violate the TOS of important services his readers actually need — putting their accounts at risk (such as by manipulating Amazon reviews and ratings).

    I still get the impression Neil’s a nice guy (so much so that I almost feel guilty for criticizing him here, and I never feel guilty about calling out BS when it puts fellow writers — especially new ones — at riskk). He also comes across as a smart guy for that matter. But this whole experiment seems disastrous from an instructional standpoint. He’s coming across as willfully ignorant about some pretty important issues.

    I feel like somewhere along the line he forgot that he has a responsibility to his readers. If he’s telling them this information was supposed to be actionable, then it damn well better be accurate and complete. This post alone could put his readers at risk if they act on just the words he’s put in front of them.

    I see a lot of promises (again) for more information in later posts. But that’s not sufficient. If you know people are trying to follow along with your process, you need to give them all of the information they need to do that. Otherwise, you keep quiet until you’ve finished your experiment and then you explain what you did (rather than publicly contemplating your next move). You share what worked and what didn’t. And you document things much more carefully than he’s done so far.

    So yeah. No surprise I guess, but I’m incredibly disappointed — both in his latest update and in myself for bothering to read it.

  21. Same here. Nice guy and all, but he’s been so sloppy and irresponsible with this that any professional respect for him is heading down the drain. There comes a point where you admit things aren’t going according to plan and you stop. He could salvage this by rethinking it and starting over in a better way, or he could admit what went wrong and use it as a learning experience (both for him and his readers). No reason he couldn’t keep the project going for income’s sake. But he’s well past the point of publicly documenting it having any real benefit for his readers. Sure, it’s nice to see how he does it. But stop pretending you’re teaching newer folks to follow in your footsteps.

  22. I’m just not getting it, and probably for the same reasons you guys aren’t.

    First, how can it be an unbiased experiment if anyone who reads his blog knows about it?

    Second, how does it figure that two guys working on this (and spending money on it) can compare to any other writer trying to eke it out on his/her own?

    Third, why the push to get Amazon reviews? How is that a representation of reality or anything other than skewing the numbers?

    Fourth, where are the earnings?

    Yep, I don’t get it. I don’t understand what this experiment is about. It’s certainly not about what he says. I suspect it’s a marketing ploy to improve his brand. I predict both a book and a course out of this.

  23. I’d be totally cool with a book and course based on this if it worked out. What I’m not cool with is the “follow along while I do it” approach where he hyped it up as one thing and is now doing something very different. That’s extremely misleading to newer bloggers or those who bought into the initial hype because of his existing reputation. And that’s what pisses me off. I’ll always be defensive of newer writers, including bloggers who are more interested in the internet marketing side of things (the group he seems to be targeting). They get screwed over by enough low-lifes already. They don’t need otherwise respectable folks like Neil jerking them around too. It just goes to show, you shouldn’t blindly follow anyone else — even if they’re a long-labeled “authority.”

  24. Question authority — you’re so right.

    I’m just going to come out and say why it bugs me, and I may be completely wrong. To me, not knowing Neil well at all, the experiment feels contrived — a marketing ploy to boost his sales. Again, I could be wrong and probably am, but it felt from the start to be a marketing campaign more than an actual experiment.

    I take your word for it that he’s a stand-up guy. I don’t read his blog much, so I don’t really know him. But if I’m getting that impression, I wonder how many other people new to him get that same impression. Might not bode well for his brand.

  25. I think you’re absolutely right. I’ve followed him long enough to already have a certain image of him. And it’s upsetting to me to see him do something like this. I can’t imagine how he comes across to a reasonably-informed new reader. The whole thing seems designed to appeal to the most desperate newbies — those who legitimately think they’ll go from nothing to $100k per month by starting a blog. I don’t know if they’ll pick up on the same warning signs, especially if they come in later during the year-long process and weren’t around to see the initial plan and updates. But for those, like you, who do? It’s probably not the kind of image he was hoping to create.

  26. If the whole idea is that it’s meant to show that anybody can do this, I think I’d be more interested in following along if he was coaching a complete unknown with no following to build a blog that made $4k a month, because that’s a livable income that you could raise a family on almost anywhere in the world. $100k is such an over the top figure that I have no idea how it was arrived at.

    At the same time I’m a bit tired of web marketing instructional materials always touting that anyone can do it. You used to always read that on sales letters for cheesy Clickbank products. It makes sense as an objection handling tool in a sales letter, but when you follow along with the stories of successful entrepreneurs and marketers, they pretty much all involve that person leveraging their own unique skills, contacts and experience born from their professional background or their hobbies and interests. Which makes sense really, the best things that any of us can do are the things that others can’t.

  27. Exactly. Watching a true newbie do something, or somehow putting himself in a similar position, could have been really interesting. This? Not so much. And you’re right. People have a better chance when they learn to leverage their own skills, talents, and experience rather than trying to copy someone else’s career wholesale. They might have come into a niche or industry at a great time. They might have been the first at something. Or they might just be more talented than you when it comes to working on particular project types. But you’ll be better at other things. Looking at what others have done can be great. But only if you know how to separate the strategy from the tactics. You don’t want to follow their tactics outright. But instead, you want to learn to apply their basic strategies to specialties or circumstances that make more sense for your own position.

  28. Is his stuff all this gimmicky or is some of it worthwhile? I’ve been aware of his name for some time but never really checked his stuff out.

  29. That’s a tough call for me. I think most marketing-oriented bloggers are far too gimmicky, and they often have a pretty limited understanding of marketing overall (focusing on the gimmicky side because that’s all they know). This case is no different. You’ll find good content in the archives. But you’ll also find a lot of hype and obvious linkbait. I think this “experiment” is by far the worst of it though. And I wouldn’t avoid all of his material because of it. But if something gives that hyped up vibe, I ignore it completely at this point.

  30. I tend to agree about much of marketing being gimmicky these days. It works, but I tend to think the brand weakens whenever the gimmicks stop working. Better to present solid, useful content that connects with your audience on a more personal level, I think.


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