The Real Cost of Multiple Websites producing Passive Income

About 3 years ago, when I was starting my online business full time,  I attended one of Mark Anastasi‘s webinars.
There were lots of great speakers who were even better salesmen.

Mark Vurnum gave a presentation explaining that he had over 6000 websites each bringing in up to $5 a day from passive automated income. This income figure got talked down to $2 per site a day then $1 per site per day after I spent £2000 = about $4000 at that time to purchase his system, tools and training.

The basic idea was to purchase batches of 5 domains in niches selected using the tools provided then use auto-created-content to keep each wordpress blog updated to get and keep the sites ranked and earn money from Adsense.

Teething trouble with the tools was a constant problem for many others using this system but my technical expertise allowed me to overcome these issues. I was able to set up 5 or 10 new blogs a day until I had about 450 when things started going badly wrong.
Traffic to sites was building up (but income was still dripping in cents at a time rather than $) when the automatic content creation tool crashed.
Mark quickly produced an updated version of the tool – but this needed to be reinstalled manually on every site.
Even flat out it took me an average of 15 minutes per site to update – making 112 hours or over 3 weeks of hard slogging boring repetitive ‘WORK’

Unfortunately the new tool didn’t cure the problem and stopped working within a month – which was extremely frustrating.


  • $4000 for system, tools and training
  • $3000 for domains
  • 600 hours hard work setting up and maintaining the sites ($6000 at minimum wage)

Income: Less than $100

Then the system simply died – until a year later Mark offered an updated automated income system.
Never one to give up I purchased another 20 new domains but the new system failed to produce any traffic or income making another $200 loss for domain names.

Moving on I paid $1000 to purchase Greg Jacobs WP Mage system for creating auto-content for blogs.
These were much more professional tools that seemed to promise better results.
Greg suggested purchasing separate shared hosting accounts for each 20 domains used.
In total I purchased another 100 domains monetized using Adsense, Amazon and Commission Junction.

Results started to look promising and I estimate that my costs were being repaid from income within about 2 months.
This also produced significant enough results to allow meaningful split testing.
My biggest earner was as an affiiliate for through commission junction.

Then disaster. The very month my income started reaching $200 a day, I received a spam email from Trade Doubler saying great news – they were taking over the affiliate account of from Commission Junction.
For me this was terrible news. It meant editing the affiliate links in over 50 websites containing tens of thousands of pages.
To make matters worse, Trade Doublers terms meant payments were made to affiliates an extra month later.

I received no prior notice from Commission Junction that they had lost the account – their view was that they simply provided a market place and anybody could join or leave whenever they pleased. didn’t bother to notify affiliates either – a sorry state of affairs.
It was lucky I found Trade Doublers’ email amongst my spam – probably there because they suddenly mailed thousands of affiliate account owners they had never contacted before.

Almost two years on, I had to smile when an email from Trade Doublers arrived last week advising they would be losing their account with from the middle of this month.
That just shows, what goes around comes around!
Don’t expect things to improve – just change how you do business yourself.

Back to a couple of years ago when at the same time, several servers where my accounts WP Mage sites were hosted got hacked and the sites shut down for over a month.
Traffic and income from 60 sites never recovered.
A little later, Greg Jacobs had his servers hacked and needed to rebuild all of his sites and tools.
To this day, I have been unable to use his most useful tool providing detailed statistics for domain names.

All in all an enormous shock that forced me to re-evaluate what I was trying to do online.
The biggest problem was attempting to work with systems that were totally outside my control.

Since my foray into micro-niches, I have been on webinars with guru’s I trust suggesting that income per site is typically closer to $0.22 per site per day than $1

This means about $80 income per year at a cost of about $15 for a domain and hosting – assuming you avoid falling foul of Google.
At 10 minutes per week mainting each site, this works out at $7.80 for each hour worked – hardly enough to support the dream life painted by most guru’s selling online products.

What did I decide to do?
Well, for almost 2 years now I have been creating software products for internet marketers – aids to automate real online work that I actually use myself almost daily.
Now I have products that I own suitable for affiliates to market to help automate my income.

I have also drastically reduced the number of domains down to about 50 and duplicated key files and documents on more than one hosting account.
For example, I use a dummy add-on domain that contains all of my links to Aweber thank you pages, affiliate forwarding links and other key files. Nameservers need to be changed to each hosting account one at a time to initially set up the add-on domains, but then it’s very easy to FTP upload and save all the files on multiple servers.

Any problem with one hosting account going down means I remain in control being able to change the location of every link and file by simply changing the nameservers to a working hosting account.

In summary, I have found working with micro-niches to produce ‘automated’ income to be a mugs game – always at the mercy of others – especially Google.

Instead it’s far more productive to create your own products of value – something most guru’s spend most of their time working on.

Every thing I do is with the aim of keeping me in control of my business instead of being at the mercy of other able to destroy it on a whim.

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