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Andrew: Hey everyone. I’m Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious up-start. What can you learn about generating revenue online from a guy who says that he did over $2 million in online sales before he even turned 20 years old? Max Teitelbaum says, as a teenager he figured out a way to buy low and sell high in the online ad market. You’re going to learn how he did it, including the holy crap moment, when he had his first $10,000 day. You’ll also learn his advise for how you can do what he did. Today, Max is the co-founder of a site called What Runs Where, which helps customers by displaying media more intelligently and profitably for their campaigns. Max, welcome.
Max: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Andrew: Good, I’m glad you’re here too. I said over $2 million, because that’s what you told me when you said, “I’m willing to do this interview.” Over 2 million means what, 2 million and a dollar, more than that?
Max: I went in and added thing up roughly. It’s actually quite a bit higher. If I had to give a concrete number, it’s somewhere between $3.5 and $4 million, probably in the $3.6 million range.
Andrew: That’s revenue, well, we’ll get into the breakdown of revenue and expenses.
Max: That’s gross revenue.
Andrew: What you were doing was, you were buying ads online and running affiliate advertising against them. The profit was the revenue that you were making from the affiliate programs, what they were paying you every time they got a new order or lead, minus what you were paying for your ads, right.
Andrew: OK. What kind of offers were you running?
Max: Really, we ran a variety of offers. Anything from credit reports like Free Score 360; to a dating offer, like e-Harmony, helping them get new users; to something like Groupon.com, and helping them acquire new people to get into their group buying service; to less well-known stuff like niche diet products.
Andrew: What did Groupon pay per, did they pay per new customer or per new email address?
Max: They pay per sign-up, so that’s by e-mail address and it really depends because they way that this model works and the way that a lot of people, you know, do it, is Groupon has an agency of record that it buys through and then that agency distributes it to third party vendors that then distribute it to somebody like you, so it gets diluted down. I’d have to look it up, it’s somewhere between the four to five dollar range per sign up.
Andrew: So, every time you got a new potential Groupon customer to give an e-mail address to Groupon, of course register by saying their city, you’d get four to five bucks?
Max: Yes, somewhere in that range, I’m not sure of the exact commission number, I’d have to look it up but off the top of my head that sound right.
Andrew: OK, and then the mission for you, Max, is to go out there and buy ads online and do it so cheaply that you can convert at less than four bucks per person?
Max: Exactly. How do I do it better than they can do it? How do I go and buy media and then figure out how I can buy it at the most cost effective way? So, how can I get signups for a dollar and then be making three dollars per sign up. You know.
Andrew: And, where did you buy your ads? And, I’ll ask you later on in the interview why you and guys like you are able to do it better than these giants at Groupon, their bright people, they have an army of ad buyers, an army of people in general. Why were you able to outdo them? I’ll ask you that later, but for now, give me a sense of where you were buying ads. I just want the audience to get to know you and then we’ll get to know your story and the details.
Max: Absolutely. So, I mean, every, I find that every person that, you know, buys traffic online has streaming sources, they do well with. The majority of my buying was done through media buying, which is why I feel qualified to be part of WhatRunsWhere and that scene there, you know, helping to provide that service. And then the rest of it was search advertising and then contextual advertising which is advertising from tool bars, so pop ups and the like there. And user opted in fashion, but the majority of it was through text and Vander based media buying.
Andrew: That you were buying directly on other sites?
Max: Exactly, buying through networks like AdsSonar or Pulse360 or going directly to the site or buying through somebody major like Value Click or something like that.
Andrew: Got it. Alright, let’s go back in time, figure out how you got here and as I said earlier, the second portion of this interview will be your suggestions for what the person whose listening to us can do to duplicate your success. So, where do the, actually, before we even get to where the idea came from, before you got into this, you ran a few other business back when you were 15 years old. Can you give the audience a sense of what you were up to? Just to give them an understanding of where you were before you discovered this?
Max: Absolutely. My first business, my first what I like to call business was when I was 8 or 9, I had quote/unquote yard sales in my house and what this would be is I would take random, useless junk from my room and I have a brother whose younger than me, at that point was very young. And I’d sell him the stuff from my room for his allowance. And this was phenomenal until my parents found out and made me give all the money back. After that, I went through school and I was 15 and I read an article about Second Life and how people were making money on Second Life. For people that don’t know Second Life is a virtual online world. I wasn’t interested in playing the game. I don’t really care about that kind of thing, but I was like, maybe I could make some money here. At the time, gambling was illegal in the US, it still is in most places, but Second Life was a real world with a virtual currency that you could exchange for real currency. And gambling was huge, before making a ton of money there.
Andrew: Gambling on Second Life?
Max: Gambling on Second Life.
Andrew: Gambling over what? Over poker?
Max: Yeah, through regular casinos. So, people would set up virtual casinos with, you know, Black Jack, slots, all that kind of stuff and you could spend Second Life dollars to gamble there. Now, the FBI eventually came in and, you know, shut the whole thing down because they were like, hey, you actually can’t do this, but at the time there was nothing wrong with it. And, as far as we knew, it wasn’t illegal. So, I borrowed $200 from my mom, and I paid somebody to create War, Hi-Low and I went around and I sold that to casinos and I made a couple of thousand dollars doing that. And, at 15 when you make a couple of thousand dollars you’re like, this is awesome, I am the greatest kid in the world because I’m making this kind of money. And, that was sort of a catalyst into getting into the, you know, performance marketing industry or affiliate industry as some people call it. Because in Second Life there was a company from the affiliate industry that was incentivizing all the offers, so they were giving people credits in the game for filling out, you know, e-mail submits or cell phone offers, stuff like that, and they were paying pennies on the dollar. I was like, well, how can they give out all this free money? They must be making money. So, I looked into it and that’s sort of how I found my then, the industry I then got into.
Andrew: The affiliate program. I see. Now, before that, you got a job at MTV Digital?
Max: Yeah, when I was, well this is slightly after, I mean, I started to do my own stuff online. I started to promote a couple, work with a couple small affiliate programs and promote their offers and I was making a hundred dollars a day, or something, you know. I call it, I say small, for a lot of people I’m sure that’s a fair amount of money but I’ll explain more about that later. Yeah, I had, I was lucky enough to get an internship at MTV Cannon in their digital department. I knew the internet, you know, I’m part of an internet generation so I helped them with their social media strategy and their marketing strategy and I mean, there I learned that, you know, I really don’t like the corporate world. It’s not for me and there was too much, you know, waste and yeah, things took way too long to get done. So, it just really motivated me to continue to work on what I was doing because I was like, I never want to work a job like this.
Andrew: Really? You weren’t overwhelmingly excited about the fact that you’re working at MTV and because of that excitement willing to forgive the fact that they were corporate?
Max: I love my boss there, that was the last boss I had, he was awesome. And it was a paid internship so I got a bit of money for it, which I can’t complain about. But, at the end of the day, we also got lots of free candy, which as a kid, awesome. But, at the end of the day, you know, there’s something more exciting about doing something for yourself. I mean, the first day that I started marketing, I got really lucky. I say that I got lucky. People refuse to believe me but the first campaign I threw up made money, which was really, really good. I mean, I spent $40 the first day and made $100, which, you know, really motivated me to keep going. And at that point, I’m like, well, I could, you know, try and continue this and go through school and then hope to come back and get a job here, you know, making something neat, or I could just go for it.
Andrew: So, you were doing this on the side, where you’d spend a few bucks and earned $100?
Max: Exactly, but even when I was working at MTV, it got the point, you know, where I was making a couple of hundred dollars in profit a day. And, you know, at that point I’m going well, you know, I’m making more money than anybody else working here, why? Why? So, I finished the internship because, you know, I’d agreed to do it and absolutely, but then after that, you know, I sort of, I finished up high school and then off to, I mean I graduated early and then off to the races.
Andrew: You said, you’ll come back later on and talk about why it was small for you but it was.
Max: It wasn’t small for me then. But thinking back on it now, it’s small.
Max: It’s just a frame of reference. It’s, I can elaborate on it now. If you, once you make a certain amount of money, I mean, we’ll talk about the first time I hit ten thousand dollars, we can talk about the first time I hit twenty-five thousand, thirty thousand dollars a day in revenue. And, at that point it stops becoming an achievement and sort of becomes, for me, it was, you know, I’m entitled to it. I’ve hit these other milestones, it’s not, and I make it sound weird or, you know, conceited or sort of arrogant but once you sort of get to a certain revenue level, and once your frame of reference switches. I remember, you know, I’d be there and I’d be like, I only make five thousand dollars today, this is a terrible, terrible day.
And then, looking back and thinking, wait, I made five thousand dollars today and I’m pissed off about that? So, you know, when it’s not, when the norm becomes making, you know, ten, twenty thousand dollars a day and then it dropped, you still may be making a ton of money but it doesn’t seem like a lot. So, for me to say I was making $100 a day, really doesn’t seem like a lot of money now. Back then, it was awesome, you know.
Andrew: You know what, I’ve talked about this, about my Bradford and Reed days, that there were months when we were doing millions a month in revenue and that felt like, yeah, that’s where I should be, in fact, I should be building a billion dollar company. And then, there was a big setback and we hit half a million in revenue and I thought, I’m such a failure. I can’t believe I’m doing so little, what happened to my life? I was going somewhere. You know, and you get in this warped place. But I can only appreciate that half a million in revenue is a lot until after I got some distance from it.
Andrew: But how did you get distance from it?
Max: How did I get distance from that? Well, I mean, I’ve only started appreciating in the, you know, past year when I saw.
Andrew: Did your sales go down before you left?
Max: A bit, because of industry, you know, changes and there were regulatory changes which you know change how everybody else advertised. Also, when I got started when I was buying media online it was recessionary times, it was 2008, and a lot of these big companies were scaling back their advertising budgets, so you could buy media a lot more cheaply than you can these days because, you know, all that money’s flooded back in. But, and there are a couple interesting things I learned there about media buying.
Like, for example, at the end of a quarter, you’re media rates will go up phenomenally because companies have all this budget left and they’ll dump it into the media and buy more up, so there’s certain things you can do there to help. You’re not going to get the same kind of revenue or inventory that you expect to. But, no, I mean, that and I just burnt out a bit. It’s a grind, at a certain point you stop learning, per se. You know what you’re going to do and it’s just getting up and doing the same thing over and over and over again. I may sound crazy, but I made enough money there that I’m good. I don’t really need to worry as much, so I’d rather build a real business which is what we’ve done with What Runs Where.
Andrew: How much money were you able to pocket at the end of this?
Max: I don’t want to comment on that.
Andrew: Over half a million dollars in the bank?
Andrew: You are. Over a million in the bank?
Max: I don’t want to comment.
Andrew: But over a half a million in the bank free and clear. Canada, the U.S., they don’t need a piece of that.
Max: Again, I mean . . .
Andrew: Don’t want to say it. OK.
Max: I shouldn’t have said yes to the first question. I really don’t want to say that.
Andrew: OK. All right. There’s no editing, but I think you left enough ambiguity around.
Max: I understand that. That’s why I’m sort of regretting it now.
Andrew: Well, I’ll tell you this. Don’t regret it and I’ll tell you why.
Max: When people ask me how I do with my business I always say one word, “I do OK.” I don’t talk about money. It’s really not anybody else’s business but mine.
Andrew: OK. All right, let’s leave it there and I’ll tell you that there’s enough ambiguity about the number that you gave us that you didn’t really reveal that much. So feel comfortable about it.
Max: I pocketed a fair amount of money.
Andrew: OK. Fair enough and we’ll keep going with the story. I’m going to come back to this issue of the grind you felt like you were just doing the same thing every day and I want to come back and feel what that’s like. Let’s continue with the narrative. So I see how you’re doing hundreds of dollars. Where did you buy ads in the early days?
Max: We were buying search ads only there. So we bought them off Yahoo and Google and arbitraged those ads and then there was sort of the A HA moment when we took a diet product and we threw it up on Facebook. I was making decent money back then, $500 a day, $700 a day, but we threw up this product on Facebook because a friend hit me up and said try it. That day I think we grossed $4,000. We made a couple thousand bucks.
Andrew: Facebook is what did it for you?
Max: Yeah Facebook ads.
Andrew: What kind of ads were you running?
Max: That was for the diet product. This was four years ago. A diet product that doesn’t exist anymore, but they were all over Facebook because Facebook ads really didn’t curate what it put on there. It was the Wild West of how you could advertise. So we threw it up there and that was like hey I could make a lot of money doing this. Before it was, “Cool I could make $100,000 a year or $200,000 a year and this will be a job, but now it was like how much can I pocket?”
Andrew: So according to Jeremy, who did the pre-interview with you, first $1,000 day cam early on when you were buying ads on Facebook. So that was a huge milestone for you guys.
Max: I was 16, almost 17. I remember going to tradeshows at 16 and getting into the show and meeting people, but then not being able to go to the parties because I’m not 21 in the states. I can drink in Canada. The drinking age here is 18, but I was 16. I couldn’t do anything. I went to the shows and I went back to my hotel room and that was about it. People were surprised I was that young.
Andrew: So the next milestone we talked about the ‘$10,000 hell yes I can’t believe I did this.’ How did you get to that?
Max: So at that point after the Facebook stuff, we started buying media. We started saying, ‘Where can we scale up to? Where do we see the maximum amount of scale?’ So we started buying media online and we started promoting a variety of offers and I was in my house. At this point I was 17, I had graduated from high school. I was 17 and a half at that point. I graduated in January, when I was 17, but graduated from high school, just out of high school and I remember just looking at my stats that day and seeing I made $11,000 gross that day or something. I was in the third floor of my house in my office and it was an awesome moment. That happiness only lasted for half an hour, 45 minutes and then it was just back to how can I make more because that element of absolute greed where you say, ‘I love money, I just want more of it.’
Andrew: It’s also a fun challenge. I don’t end a video game after 1,000 points and say hey you know what I’m done. I think, well how do I get 2,000 points? How do I continue to see what the next level is and the next level after that?
Max: This is the best video game in the world because you have real life consequences to how well you do.
Andrew: So I heard that you were maxing out your credit cards?
Max: Yeah. So the way that we paid for most of the strap. There were two ways. One’s a bank wire because for a lot of media agencies you send them money through a pre-pay or they extend you credit terms and then you pay it through a bank wire. But for a lot of self-service platforms like AOL AdSonar, Pulse 360, Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, all that kind of stuff, they bill a credit card.
Now, if you’re bringing in 20,000-plus a day, you’re spending. And when you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, you’re paying off that card a couple times a day, because they’re charging it a couple times a day. Because you don’t want that traffic to turn off. If they try to bill your credit and it fails, they’re not going to send you any more traffic.
So there’s a point where I had a rep at my bank’s foreign exchange desk, who does, we paid some in Canadian, some in US, and we’d be trading so much money back and forth that we had a dedicated rep at that foreign exchange desk, just to make sure that we got the best rate possible from our bank.
Andrew: So you were trading how many times in one day? What was the maximum, not the maximum, the most you ever had to pay off your credit card in one day, most times?
Max: Most days? I don’t know, five, six times.
Andrew: So five, six times you’d use your card, and then you’d wire more money to pay off the card and use it again?
Max: I’d [??] call my bank immediately, because I was in Canada at that point, and the US card isn’t an immediate transaction; you have to call. So I called the bank, they’d pay off the card, and then I’d call them back an hour later, and be like, I need it paid off again. I need it paid off again.
Andrew: How many miles did you have at the end of all this?
Max: There’s a small problem there, and I’ve read so many complaint letters. Canadian-U.S. dollar, our Canadian-U.S. dollar card at the time didn’t have miles on it.
Max: Our Canadian business card did. So I had quite a few Canadian miles from that. But I mean, I’m probably missing a couple million dollars’ worth of US miles.
Andrew: Well . . .
Max: That should have. And if you want to tell my bank to get those for me, I mean, you could have a percent of them for sure, but . . .
Andrew: See, if actually you’d sent them letters saying, hey, give me back my miles.
Max: No, [??] I’ve gone in and met with my business advisor there multiple times, I’ve sent the corporate, the company letters. There are other in Canada that do, but we weren’t banking with that bank at the time, and the bank that we were using, TD, they don’t have a business U.S. dollar card. So it was a personal US dollar card, and they don’t give miles for that.
Andrew: I see. We should explain this whole Canada-U.S. thing. You’ve got a Canadian flag behind you just because the lighting happened to be better in front of the Canadian flag for Skype, but you also have a Mexican flag and an American flag. So what’s the deal here? Where are you right now, and what’s your background?
Max: I’m in Montreal, Canada right now. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts. I’m a dual citizen, so I have the luxury of living in Canada, gaining that free health care which is really nice, but I also use part of a U.S. company, WhatRunsWhere, and that company is based in San Diego, so I spend a fair amount of time down there as well. And I’m very proud of both countries that I’m from.
And the Mexican flag is because my roommate is Mexican, so we figured we’d put a flag representing each of us up on the wall. But yeah, I’m [??]. No matter how much people will think you have a roommate, jeez, it’s, I mean no matter how much money I make, I’m sure that’s something we can talk about. I mean, I’ve wasted a bunch of money.
Andrew: On what?
Max: Not unnecessary things! But just when you’re making that much money, and gain that perspective now when you’re making that much money, you’re going, how can I scale up? Not, how can I save money?
So I spent an extra $1,000 a month I didn’t need to on servers. I probably could have optimized my other servers, and not needed to upgrade. I wouldn’t worry about staying at the most expensive hotel when I went on a business trip, because you know, you want to keep up appearances. You wouldn’t worry about a really expensive meal, or anything like that. And I’m very, very frugal in nature, but you just don’t worry about that kind of stuff when you’re like, this money is never going to end up always making this much money. So it’s not really as big a deal.
And now I still, we do phenomenally with what runs where, but I still, when I go to a trade show, I try to stay at once of the cheaper hotels that I can. Or if I have family or friends there, I’ll stay with them.
Andrew: That’s what I mean, Max. It seems like you had some kind of a setback. Most people don’t have this realization, and don’t have this willingness to scale back, unless there’s this setback that makes them realize, wait, I’m human.
Max: No. I mean, as I said, I burnt out really, really hard. I’ve been doing it for four years, and out of two of those it was 18 hours a day, wake up, work on campaigns, not leave my house, go to bed. I put on a little bit of weight, which I worked off after, I lost 40 pounds a couple summers ago.
Andrew: 40 pounds?
Max: I was, I’m skinny now, but when you’re sitting at a desk all day, and you’re just eating and working and eating and working, you don’t really move throughout the day, because you’re like, how can I make more money? It’s completely different. There wasn’t a real setback. I just remember days and days where I woke up and being, I hate what I’m doing now. I made enough money. I don’t need to worry about money in the traditional sense anymore, the same way that people need worry about money. How can I pay my rent? How can I pay my grocery bills? I don’t need to worry about that. Now, what do I want to do? The answer isn’t wake up and do that. It may seem crazy, but I had an employee working for me and I gave him [??] and I shut down the rest of the business. In a month-and-a-half I started working at whatrunswhere.com. That was sort of the setback. The waking up and going, when did it become not fun and when did it go to hating what I do.
Andrew: Continuing on with the story. You did you your $10,000 day. We heard about the hell-yeah moment and the need to keep paying off your credit cards to keep that going. Then you went another level up. What was another level up beyond $10,000 a day? What was the highest?
Max: We, I say we now, because at that point a friend of mine and I started working together.
Max: Why? Because he was a good friend of mine. He lived close to me. He was in the same industry. We shared Intel back and forth all the time. Where we were buying. How we could do it more profitably. It made both of us more money. We were both doing really well, why not combine our resources. We can scale down our cost base a bit. It was making more money so we started working together for a couple months. I can’t say how much money we made together, but we made a lot of money together.
Andrew: What kind of expenses were you able to cut down by working together with one other person?
Max: Server costs, is a big one, design costs, costs for accountants, costs for lawyers. We had two lawyers on staff to make sure that what we were doing was compliant, or as compliant as possible.
Andrew: I’m sorry, go ahead. I want to dig into the combination.
Max: We did really, really well together. We broke $30,000 a day. We got close to $40,000 a day at some points. That was pretty much the highest. To clarify, there are much bigger fish out there than me that made a lot more money than I did. I had friends that were making a ton more than me, but I’m happy with what I made.
Andrew: They all discovered this business the same time and the same way that you did?
Max: No. I can’t speak for other people, but when I came in the industry was very young. It’s still a young industry. It’s still shaping and it’s still evolving. There aren’t major players firmly established. Some of the people we thought were major players in this industry are going through changes and financial troubles. It’s still changing so back then it was really easy to get into that industry. A lot of people came in and there was a lot of hype. A lot of people didn’t have jobs so they were looking for other ways to make money. They still don’t so there’s still a huge number of people looking to come online.
The industry, I don’t want to say recession proof, but was recession resistant, because it’s so versatile. You can change what you are promoting. If people don’t have jobs, you can promote offers through job finders, how to help you find your job. You can promote offers for debt-reduction, debt-consolidation, foreclosures, stuff like that. Tailors itself to the type of market that is out there.
Andrew: Let me talk, for a moment, about the numbers and the validity of the numbers. I said in the intro, generating revenue from a guy who says he did over $2 million in sales before he turned 20. I don’t know myself, so I said, you say that’s what the number is. That was intentional in the intro. Even though I don’t know your numbers, I’ve had interviews like this in the past, and everything I’ve seen about your story holds true with the other interviews that I’ve done. I remember when I posted an interview about Rob Rawson. People started screaming saying Rob Rawson could never have made this much money doing affiliate sales and essentially what you did. Then Mike Colella jumped and he said, “Everything about this sounds like my experience.” Mike Colella and I have known each other for a while. Rob Rawson, then sent me his financial papers to say, look, this is it. You can see that the money is there. Ilya Lichtenstein, who is in a similar business as you, he . . .
Max: He’s a good friend of ours.
Andrew: He is? The guy from Mix Rank.
Max: Yeah. I talk to him all the time.
Andrew: You do. I got to come back and ask you about Mix Rank. I’m going to write that down. Anyway, he was in the same place, and I have mutual friends with him so I was able to get confirmation about his numbers.
Max: I have nothing to hide. After this interview I would be happy to privately show you whatever you want to see.
Andrew: Do a screen cast?
Andrew: For one-on-one without the audience looking?
Max: Yeah, exactly.
Max: You can verify it or anything like that.
Andrew: All right, and I’ll keep it all quiet. So let’s continue then, so you’re hitting 30, you’re breaking 30. You’re doing really, really well and you’re saying at that moment you had, according to your pre-interview, you had a set back. Campaign died and you lost, do you remember how much?
Max: Oh no, that was different. That was while we were buying. We were trying to figure out how we could buy more media. This is when I first started [??], we were doing well on text based media buys with AdSonar and those kinds of things, and we were making $8-9 thousand/day.
I said maybe I could do a direct site maybe on [??]. It seems like a big established site and their rates seem pretty cheap when I contacted them. Maybe their audience will fit well with a lose weight product because their interested in sports, or a muscle building product. I tested a bunch of stuff. We gave them $5,000 for the buy, and we lost $4,800 of that $5,000. It was just the worst buy in.
There were a couple reasons why. The first was that I didn’t read the insertion order properly. Usually you get a big legal document. I’m not a lawyer and I’m so guilty of not reading the terms and conditions. I just signed the thing. So they had to spend the full $5,000. When we had spent $1,500, we went to them and were like, ‘can we have our money back?’ and they were like, ‘no, we have to spend it.’
At that point we were like OK, we lost like $1,475 so far out of $1,500, and we have to spend the rest of this? This is terrible. That pisses you off a lot. There are always campaigns though. Nothing you can make can win all the time.
Andrew: Right. Now I want to dig into the infrastructure and I want to understand what made a campaign work and what didn’t, and what you learned about making campaigns work. Why don’t we start with that?
Max: OK. Sure.
Andrew: What worked about the campaigns?
Max: What worked about the campaigns? At that time, media was cheaper. The restrictions on what people let onto their platforms was much more relaxed. They were much more affiliate friendly because people hadn’t really abused and violated their trust yet. They hadn’t started to cloak stuff over.
Andrew: You weren’t just grabbing the official logo banner from an affiliate and running it on Facebook and other sites. You were getting creative. Talk to me about the way that you promoted.
Max: You have to make your own ads. We made our own banners, we made our own stuff. We made our own bearings that we sent directly to the site, or we’d use a landing page, where we’d buy a couple kits and then create a review site and use that on search, for example.
Andrew: Take me through that for a second. What was the offer that you would have created a landing page that looked like a review site for?
Max: I’ll just give you something generic, not necessarily something. Let’s say that you have three different dating sites: Match.com, Eharmony.com, and True.com. You go through and you do research on those sites, something brief, you’re not an expert on it but you create a ranking of them and you give their characteristics and you create datingreviews.com.
Then you promote that under your own “Dating Reviews: see what sites the best” and you promote that out and then people go there and click on those and will be like, ‘OK, this is the dating site I want to sign up on based on this review.’ That’s how you really increase your conversions.
With your own landing page, you can split your test stuff. You can test to see which [??] got action like click here, sign up now, what works best? In terms of the banners or the ads, what works best? There are some really interesting things I learned about people and online marketing through that. You have to test every single little bit of it.
I remember we made an offer page with an advertiser. We were bringing up an affiliate then. It was not doing too well. It was breaking even. We added in a quick thing between the point where they submit information and the point where they check their credit card that says, “checking to see if you qualify.” We check their verification details and then verify that there’s space for you, and that tripled our conversion rate.
Andrew: Wait. Walk me through this. Explain it again because I want to ask some questions about how this work.
Max: The user would come to the advertiser’s website and they’d fill in their basic contact information: name, email, phone number and then they’d go to the credit card page and they’d pay for the service. It was doing OK, we were breaking even. Then we went to the advertiser and said, “Why don’t you try doing this?” And what they put is they put in a quick little loading screen between there where it said checking to verify preventions and checking to see if there is space or something very similar to that. I’d have to look up the exact words, and that psychologically made the user think. And then on the other page it’s like, congratulations, you qualified. Of course, they qualified if they put it in valid contact info. Otherwise, they won’t qualify.
That made the user think they’re special. It made the user think that they need to sign up, it’s an important type of thing. It really skyrocketed conversions.
Andrew: So, that’s what I wanted to understand fully. I’ve seen this work for others, and I’d just love to find a small group of people to explore this together, to talk about these kinds of tactics because they work, and they remind me a lot of Oren Klaff’s push-pull, the way that he talked to people in negotiations. He doesn’t just say, “Hey, you’ve got the deal if you want it.” He says, “Well, let me see if I have room for you. Let me see if I want to do business with you.”
You guys are doing it online, and I want to learn more about it. And so, what you said is there’s just the standard application, a submit button and then an acceptance. That’s the way it usually was, but by putting that intermediate step that said, “Wait, we’re checking to see if there’s space. Oh yes, we have a few numbers. Slots are available..” That increased.
Max: Can I seriously say a few. It depends what you’re doing. It depends what you actually do because that could be deceptive. Normally you’d have to check with a lawyer about that. But be able to say: You qualified. Your information checks out, and yes, we have space for you. Congratulations. Hurry because it might not be here when you’re next here and it creates a) urgency and b) exclusivity.
Andrew: Right. All right. You also said that you have servers, and the reason that you said you have servers, as I understand it, is you weren’t just buying ads and sending the traffic directly to the advertisers. You said. . .
Max: I also have tracking applications. We use Prosper 202 which was built by a friend of our, Wes Muller, who’s still in the business. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him.
Andrew: I think we’re supposed to interview him. I don’t know if I ever got . . . He said yes, and then he couldn’t. I’ll check it out.
Max: He’s a great guy. He’s not involved with that brand anymore. It’s just a great product, and they’re good at what they do. And that came in and revolutionized it because before that everyone was paying a ton of money for traffic and software, what key words were working and everything like that.
There was no standard. When they came in, there offered something for free and it was self-hosted. So, you hosted this and you were able to track, and you could get complete analytics on what we were doing well and what wasn’t. That took up a lot of bandwidth. I had one [?] and we were paying $700 a month or something for just a big dedicated server, just to handle the traffic. Now, the rest of it was a paid server and all that kind of stuff, because especially if you’re serving [?] you post a lot of it on Amazon or Cloud or like [?] or something like that.
But, you still have to host something on your server. If you serve a couple million pop-ups a day or a couple hundred thousand pop-ups an hour. You have to have something that’s bullet-proof to resist to drain down your server because it’s not like, say, Mixergy gets a ton of traffic. Then your server drops down. It sucks, but you guys aren’t spending money for that traffic, you may have gone onto Digg or something.
If our server goes down, every single person that comes to it, we’re paying for all that traffic, and it’s going to go absolutely nowhere. So, it’s flushing money down the toilet.
Andrew: Yeah, I can see how painful that would be and how you would make sure that you’re bullet-proof. Tell me more. Tell me other tactics that you learned, kind of like the one where you were appraising the offer that you sold, the one that we’re checking, give us a moment.
Max: Yeah, a couple of other things. For [?], ugly works.
Andrew: Ugly works.
Max: When we started reading about it . . .
Andrew: Give me an example. I’d love to. When we started media buying, we saw stock raising. We saw what all the brands were doing. We needed something really flashy, something really clean. When I made something in Paint, as a joke and sent it over to the guys, we just threw it up as a test, and it quadrupled the conversion rate of anything else. After that, I think we made every banner in Paint.
The good example, that’s plentyoffish.com, If you look up their banners, I mean . . . I’ll send you some of them after because I can look them up quickly with what went where in our advertiser search. And if you look at it, it all looks like it’s made in Paint, just texted in a smiley face or something like that. Ugly words, visitors are so used to seeing the flashy banners and ads.
If it disguises itself as something other than an ad, if it’s just text and it looks like it blends into the website that you’re advertising on you have the higher rate because users trust it more, and they’re more open to receiving instead of I’m not going to show myself off. So, that really, really helped.
Andrew: What else? So, ugly works, ads that look like they’re part of an element on the site. What else?
Max: The rest of it is sort of standard, here’s how you market something. We found a lot of direct site buys that we can buy cheaply that work phenomenally for what we were promoting. So we would go and find niche websites and we would negotiate month long buys with that webmaster. We may pay them a couple hundred bucks a month, which is more than they would make from AdSense. We’d make a couple thousand dollars that month from our advertising on that site. So going there and not being afraid to send out tons of emails. Another tip, I’m not sure if you want to talk about this now, in terms of how to start media buying.
Andrew: Yeah let’s go right into the tips now.
Andrew: So hit me.
Max: So when I started media buying when I started banner media buying, not text, because AdSonar and Pulse and all that good stuff is a self serve platform. It’s really easy to use. You go in and select the site you want to target. You write your ads. You write your page. Click go. You spend money. You optimize it by cutting out what’s not working. Keep testing new stuff and you’ll eventually find something that works. It’s that simple. Banner media buys are sort of a more closed world and that’s one of the goals of What Runs Where is to open it up, but when I got into that world I had no clue what I was doing. I went to a couple media buy gurus, they’re like, “It’s going to cost you $5,000 to $10,000 to start a buy with us.”
I was like, well I don’t want to put that kind of money down and not know if it’s going to work and it sounds like I’m just going to get fleeced and my money’s going to be gone. So I discovered this site called AdBuyer.com which is still around, they’re great. They were sold to some other company now, but they’re still the same service. What they do is they resell traffic from Right Media, which is Yahoo’s media buying exchange and they take different network’s traffic and they give you the remnant inventory. So what they can’t sell. So you can bid in one place for $500, if you’re starting with $500 you can start bidding on all these different networks. So we use this as a platform to test different offers and test to see what worked. We saw through there that certain networks were jump, absolute jump traffic. Nothing ever worked there, so we started to exclude those and then we started to see certain networks started to send conversions on different offers. So it’s remnant traffic, it’s what they have left.
As soon as we saw if it was close what we needed to buy at or anything like that, then we’d go directly and we’d go to that network and we’d get rid of it on AdBuyer and we’d go to them and say, ‘It’s working here on AdBuyer, we want to do a buy with you.’ Through that we managed to find some buys where we had offers that were paying us $40. A conversion we were buying for $9, $10, $13, so we were making phenomenal margins.
Andrew: That goes directly to the site that was running the ad?
Max: That was ad network.
Andrew: What’s that, sorry?
Max: The ad network has a stable of websites that they represent and fill inventory for and whatever they weren’t filling they were sending to AdBuyer. But this way, going to them directly, you cut out the AdBuyer and you cut out their little fee and you work directly with their team there. We also went directly to websites and that’s different. We had our own adserver from a third party and we just bough advertisements directly there. We’d see referrers leak through and that’s another thing using the tracking software. We’d see the ad network was sending us traffic from X, Y, and Z that they had placements on and we’d just, again, circumvent that layer as well. Take out their fee and just go directly to that site and take over their inventory as well.
Andrew: I see.
Max: It’s all about how can you cut out the middleman.
Andrew: You know what, they mentioned that Ilya Lichtenstein came on here to do a course. That’s exactly what he taught. He said where you really get the best, the best profits and the longer term relationships and the most consistent flow of traffic is by cutting out the middleman. And he showed here’s how to figure out where the biggest traffic is coming to you from. How to go around the middle man and just buy directly from the website. How to pitch the site on buying an ad. He walked us through the whole process in the Mixergy course.
Max: Exactly. Ilya’s really good at what he does and he’s a great guy.
Andrew: You know what I wasn’t even sure how to bring up his name. Ilya’s a competitor with Mix Rank, right?
Max: Sort of. I’ll give a quick overview of what runs where just to give a bit of background. So what we do is media buying intelligence. We crawl around the web. We record advertisements and we allow you to search through them to see what any advertiser’s doing online or through any media buy and how they’re buying it. You can do keyword searches and see all relevant results or dive across the web and what people are doing. What MixRank.com does is they do Google display network only.
Andrew: I see.
Max: So they pick only small sub-niche, which we cover as well, but they really got in-depth with one small thing and worked on “This is what we want to do.” They came out of Y Combinator and with that funding, those advisors, and we had been working on it for much longer as well. We have been working on this for the past two years, and we have a lot more historical data, but we are friends. I know other people that are two biggest people in a small industry within the affiliate space, that are still best friends. We talk all the time, and we share. It is a more startup feel–sort of that Silicon Valley feel–where even though we are competing, we both want to see each other do well.
We are not direct competitors, though. They do not offer any data on media bias–banner media bias–across the web. Where we crawl the whole web, they only focus on the average network, which is one of about thirty-five or forty different networks that we cover.
Andrew: I see, so the idea is, let’s suppose that there was a Mixergy competitor out there who was buying a ton of ads. If I wanted to buy ads, I would be stupid to not say, “Where is he buying ads?”
Max: You could do a couple of things. You could search “entrepreneur interview” or something, and you would have a result with every single advertisement that mentioned that keyword or has that keyword on the page, so you could look it up by keyword. You could type in-
Andrew: You see, so I do not even need to know who my competitor is.
Andrew: I just go to WhatRuns.com, your site, and I type in the keyword.
Andrew: Oh right, WhatRunsWhere.com.
Andrew: Then I see, I just type in-
Max: You would sign up. We released a dollar trial. I mean, we are a paid service.
Max: We are very good at what we do, but you could also, if you knew who they were, you could in their URL into an advertiser quick search, and you could see all the different ads they are using, sites they are buying on, and all the different networks they are buying through, and how long they have been buying on, and how frequently we have seen it appear.
Max: Also, all of the other domains that they own, so you can see the A to Z. You can also track that person. We have a feature where you can enter in their URL and we will alert you every time we find a new text or banner ad for them, so you can sort of keep an eye on them, and you can watch whenever they are on.
Andrew: On my competitor, to see where they are buying ads, and get alerts whenever they buy an ad.
Max: Exactly, or for compliance, if you guys are buying ads and you have affiliates buying ads for you, and you want to make sure your affiliates are being compliant, you can keep an eye on your own domain, because a lot of people got into hot water because they had affiliates really breaking the rules and claiming false stuff.
They had a weight loss product, and they had an affiliate go up there and say, “You can lose 200 pounds in 10 days with this product,” and that is not OK, and that is against legal claims, and they can get into trouble because their affiliate was saying that, so we strive to do something there.
I would recommend us, but also using MixRank. More data is never a bad thing. That is another thing that I have learned.
Andrew: All right. You also say that we should consider using a site called SiteScout.com.
Andrew: What do we do there?
Max: What SiteScout.com does, that is the other side, and I wish that they existed when I first started buying them. When I first started buying them, they were an ad server only, and they have become an RTB, which is a real time buying platform.
Max: This allows you to buy inventory. They partner with AdBrite, Google, Rubicon and a couple other places, and basically, they take their inventory and they allow you to bid on specific sites the same way as you would go into a direct site buy, so you can bid on–I want to advertise on Mixergy–so you would bid in the same way you bid for Google AdWords, to media buy on that website, through their platform, and they show how many impressions were available, how many of those impressions you actually won with your bid, and then your ad shows up there.
If you do not want to negotiate direct buys with advertisers, say you do not have the time or you are not going to get a response, or they just will not respond to you, you can go and buy them there, or if you want to use it as a betting pot, the same way as I use AdBuyer to bid up networks, you can use SiteScout to bet up websites before you go direct to them. You can test it there. They take a very small margin, but if you do not want that margin, you can test it there and make sure it is working, and then you can go to direct and say, “I want your inventory, and I already know it is going to work there, because I am already advertising there.”
Andrew: There is another site that you are recommending: XA.net.
Max: Yes. I was asked to provide a couple of different media buying sources, networks that I found were good, and we work with a couple of them that we found a couple of years ago that provide phenomenal returns on investment for us, in terms of their support staff is good and the inventory they have is good. XA.net, which used to be called CPMatic, and AdTegrity.com was also really good. ValueClick did OK for us.
On the other side, there were a bunch of websites that did terribly for us. ReduxMedia was one of them.
Andrew: I am sorry. What does XA.net do?
Max: XA.net has a Facebook bidding platform now. [??]. There are media buying networks so you can go in and you can give them money and say, you know, I want you to buy this for me and they’ll help, they’ll optimize it for you, and you know, it’s a network buy so you go in and they distribute it to their networking sites.
Andrew: OK. So, I also have a note here about how you bought animated, you tested animated cartoons on your site for skin care?
Max: That was not on the site, I mean, but one of the first things we did with WhatRunsWhere when it was being developed is we bought, you know, I bought through it, because we wanted to make sure.
Andrew: Sorry, let’s give the web, you know what actually, hang on a sec, let’s give our connection a chance to catch up. I’m going to shut down these pages. I’ve been looking at them in the background and I think their stealing bandwidth from our conversation, so there. All the pages are now shut down. Tell me about the cartoon that you tested.
Max: Yeah, so when we were first building WhatRunsWhere, you know, I was tested, I was building campaigns with it to make sure performance record could make money. And then it was usual for grants and agencies as well to see what was out there. So, we took the data from in there and built a campaign for a skin care product and we, one thing that I really preach about on WhatRunsWhere and how to use, you know, a lot of people go in and say, you know, you’re just facilitating people ripping other people’s stuff off and just copying them and if you’re good at what you do, you make it so people can’t copy.
You set up barriers to entry, you have a direct advertiser relationship, you walk down to the direct site and buy so no one else can buy, you sign a contract there. You start buying first and you have historical placements. You know, that other people can’t get to in the same type of way. So, that doesn’t necessarily work, but what I say is, you know, spot similarities and spot, you know, trends. What’s working, not do all these different ads, what do all these different placements have in common. Maybe demographically, in terms of elements in the ad. So we were looking through skin care ads and we saw that a lot of people were testing, you know, animated banners, you know.
It would be a quick little animation that would change, you know, show how the product helped or something like that. Or, you know, if it was a diet product the belly would go from fat to skinny. You know, it’s not flash driven, it’s just animated gif. We were like, a lot of people are doing this, why don’t we test this, we’re using, you know, spun that common thread. We tested it and that really, really helped our bottom line as well. And, you know, there are numerous examples of where, you know, where I’ve used WhatRunsWhere to help make more money when I was still growing, so we’d be buying something and we’d be doing OK, but then we’d go look at what other people were doing and we’d, you know, take inspiration from what they’re doing.
So, we, you know, you’d see that other people were testing something that was maybe really innovative that you hadn’t thought of and you’d incorporate that into your ad. So, you know, if you were advertising a penny auction site like Quibids.com or, you know, anything like that where you know a reverse auction site and they were really, really big about a year ago, within in the forums marketing community, you know, you’d see what kind of products were hot, what kind of products people were really pushing out, was it, you know, was it the iPad, was it that you could win an iPad or was it that we were saying you could win a TV by advertising with this site. I mean, my, we even saw one person say you could win a year’s supply of diapers winning this site.
Well, that’s obviously not true, but, you know, where there are actual examples, which one should you be testing, which one’s are a lot of people testing? And by, you know, keeping an eye on what other people are doing and spotting trends there, you know, you can see what direction you should be going and you can also see how you can buy better than anybody…You’re sound just cut out. I can’t.
Andrew: There we go, so why is it, then that you guys can do better than Groupon? And the other companies? Why can’t they out buy you?
Max: It’s not necessarily that we can do better, but it’s a reach thing. They may have a marketing department, right? And they may be able to buy but they probably rely on an agency or a third party and, you know, why have one person buying for me when I can, you know, pay on performance so I can only pay for a sign up and I only have to monitor lead quality. I don’t have to worry about, you know, buying the ads and taking all that risk. I’m paying for a sign up and I can have, you know, a ton of people promoting my stuff for me and if they don’t succeed, I don’t care, I’m not paying anymore.
So, it’s not saying that we can buy better, but they have to do something reasonable to give people a chance to succeed and it gives them that additional reach. So, instead of covering, you know, 60% of the web with their advertisements, they can cover, you know, 85% of the web with help from other people.
Andrew: So, but couldn’t they just expand the reach on their own? Here’s what I see.
Max: They could, they could, but they’d have to spend more money, you know, they’d have to put up more money and it would be a different type of buying. You know, they would take off.
Andrew: See what I was wondering is why wouldn’t they just hire someone to do what affiliates do, but here’s the understanding that I have from this space, this isn’t an accusation, here’s, it’s an appreciation. Here’s what I understand. I’m seeing how rabid you are about figuring out which ads worked. How rabid you are about increasing convergence. How obsessed you are with this space that you’re willing to talk to people about it endlessly and focus on it endlessly. Groupon can only hire so many people who are motivated and I can’t imagine that any of them are going to be as motivated as you are.
Max: If I’m good enough to make money on it by myself, than I’m good enough to make, you know, a couple of hundred thousand bucks a day, why would I work for Groupon doing that?
Max: It makes no sense to me. And at the other point, I worked sixteen, you know, seventeen to eighteen hours a day for you know weeks and weeks on end, where Groupon, you know if you’re working for Groupon, they’ll have you come in at 9 and they’ll have you leave at 5 or 6, and, you know, I don’t take weekends for three years. The only vacations I took were going to trade shows, that was my vacation, going to see people and you know go to trade shows and work more. But, you know, well I’d go fishing once a year, but that’s my vacation.
Andrew: Also, some affiliates can push the boundaries than a company could, than a company could itself.
Max: Yeah, some companies will turn a blind eye to what affiliates are doing because, you know, if an affiliates doing something a bit sketchier, per se, or a bit more risqu?©, it may not be illegal, it may be completely legal and it may be OK, but it’s more risqu?© than the company wants itself, you know, associated with if a press article came out that was like the CMO approved this coming out, versus, you know, this came out and they can be like, oh, that was an affiliate of ours, you know we’ve revised our guideline.
Andrew: Right, right. So, can someone whose listening to you right now do what you did?
Max: Right now, it’s harder. It’s harder to get started. There’s a lot more money coming into the online advertising space, so, you know, what we see through WhatRunsWhere is a lot of people, you know, a couple of years ago what we were seeing when we were starting to build the thing was a lot of the ads were affiliate based ads. A lot of the ads were, you know, we were doing large affiliate buys. Now it’s all a lot, a lot of brand ads and affiliate ads are, you know, a minority on Vander base. On tech base, it’s still, you know, there’s a lot of heavy affiliate ads. But, yeah, you know, it’s still possible to do and there’s still being that make a ton of money doing it. They don’t want me to say that, but you know, there’s still people making a ton of money on it.
But it’s starting to consolidate, people, the big guys are getting bigger and there’s a lot of people climbing onto the bottom, you know, trying to scrape out a living and the problem with that is they just drive up the cost for everybody else. They don’t know what they’re doing and they’ll come in and they’ll bid like five times too high and, you know, lose a ton of money but in the meantime it drives up everybody else’s costs. And then frauds becoming an ever increasing issue from, you know, foreign countries and there people sign up and they just send fraud leads and that’s caused a lot of networks a lot of money and grief. And then, you know, advertisers not paying as well. You know, a lot of people, their stiffing, there’s a lot of what I want to call white collar crime that goes on in that kind of industry, where somebody will be like, well, you sent me like $5,000 in leads, I’m not paying you, you have to chase that person around.
I’m lucky, I’m one of the exceptions. I’ve worked with a ton of direct advertisers and I’ve always been paid on everything. There have been a couple of times where it’s come close and, you know, you have to call friends and you have to call a lawyer and send them a message. I mean, I had to call one guys accountant. I had to take one guy by the shoulders at a trade show and bring him to an ATM and he paid me in cash. But, I mean, when somebody owes you money and you see them at a trade show, or you know, their out at a club and their buying bottles, you know, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paying you first.
Andrew: Well said. All right, let me ask you one other question, but first I want to tell people where they can sign up for Mixergy premium. Mixergy premium is where online entrepreneurs come to teach. We show their computer screen, they walk us step by step through how they do what they do well and how you can do it too. I gave you the example of Elia from Mix Rank who came on to talk about how to find the right place to buy ads, how to buy ads directly from those sites, how to negotiate, he even gave like a copy of the e-mail and a copy of the spreadsheet that you use to keep track of your results. I mean, everything A to Z, I make sure that we do it. So, we did that.
We also have a Facebook course if you want to buy ads on Facebook, you see that. If you want to buy, if you just want to build up your Fandom on Facebook and then sell to them later, we’ve got a course on that too. It’s all at Mixergy.com/premium and Bonnie Faye, whose the founder of Elan Media, whose been tremendous at introducing me to guests here, I’ve got a quote from her that she recently e-mailed me, she said, Andrew, I loved 90% of the course that I’ve taken. Which actually, now I’m wondering how do I get her to love 100%, what are the other 10 that didn’t do well, but, I’ll take 90%. I’ve loved 90% of the courses I’ve taken, the course on Facebook was so helpful that it easily trumped the course that is currently selling for $997, and she even linked me to it. So, I’ve seen this over and over again, we should probably raise our prices. Until we do, go to Mixergy.com/premium and learn directly from the entrepreneurs and I make sure to hold them accountable so that we teach you exactly what you need. All right.
Max: I want to add to that, I mean, that’s definitely something you should do. I mean, I wish something like that was around when I got started, you know, I got through by trial and error, you know, just like getting burned by, you know, lose money there, make money here, you know, just trial and error. If there were, if these people weren’t coming out in the same way that they did now, so, I mean if there’s, like that kind of resource is phenomenal and people should definitely take advantage of it.
Andrew: I appreciate that, thanks. Coming from you I think it means a lot more than even coming from me, since I’m the creator. Alright, so Max, before I send people to your website to try searching for their competitors and their keywords at WhatRunsWhere.com, I don’t think that most people that are listening to this aren’t looking to do exactly what you did. They’re coming into this looking for ideas to then bring back to the Ad buys that their doing or the media strategy that they have for growing their business. But, if there’s someone who says, hey, you know what, a hundred, two hundred a day is a nice start for me, I want to do that. Where would you send them first to get on the way to doing a hundred, two hundred, then maybe they’ll have that holy crap moment and do ten thousand a day.
Max: I mean, there are a lot of free resources. They’re not in the most nice places in the world. There’s, you know, WickedFire.com, which I don’t say is not nice just cause I love the guys there, but, you know, they take advantage of new people, you know, they send you to certain websites that may like lock-up your browsers, all in good fun. But, you know, do stuff like that. You know, there are private training forums that are around, there’s StackThatMoney.com, there’s IAmGrowing.com and, you know, there’s PPVPlaybook.com and you know, all sorts of training forums out there now where people have gone for more guru.
Andrew: Where should they get their offers? If they wanted to start browsing for offers?
Max: Sure, where would they get their offers? I would go and I would sign up to, there are a couple of networks that I love. And, I mean, I’m really biased here, you know, because I know the founders of these networks and, you know, obviously these are networks that I made money with, I mean, there’s AKMG.com, which is Advertising Kings Media Group.com. There’s Ads4Dough.com, Epic Media Group, Above All offers, there’s a ton of small networks.
Andrew: OK, so go to those networks, look for the offers, where should they place their first ads?
Max: You know, where would they place their first ads? It depends what they want to do, you know, they could buy surge traffics, or they could go to Yahoo and sign up for MSN and they could sign up for MSN search and, you know, they could read up on how to do that. And there’s a ton of documentation on, you know, how to do that and they could just optimize. And, you know, that’s how I got started, reading that, so that’s how I recommend other people get started because of the risk. I mean, I wrote a post on BlueHatCO.com, which I can send you as well, which you can republish wherever, it’s you know, how to get started media mind $500, and it includes, you know, an A to Z guide.
Andrew: You wrote that?
Max: I did.
Andrew: OK. Let’s do it, do you have it on your website, no, you have it on BlueHat.
Max: Yeah. I do, I have it on mine, but I’ll send it over to you, you can publish it on Mixergy, or whatever. Or we can put it there.
Andrew: In fact, let’s put it in the comments, so that it comes from you and people will hopefully link back over to your website when they get it.
Max: Sure. And then, you know, so there’s that kind of stuff. There’s all sorts of, you know, there’s courses on starting Facebook advertisement. It really depends what you want, or what you feel you’ll do best with. I mean, I know certain people that have never trusted media buying in their life and made more money than I did in just advertising through Facebook, and they kill it. Media buying just isn’t their thing. For me, it just clicks with me, I mean I get it, it makes sense.
Max: You know, but even there, there are certain platforms that don’t make sense. I’m great at buying on AdsSonar, Pulse360 just doesn’t make sense to me, there are tons of people that make a lot of money on Pulse360 and can’t make money on AdsSonar. So, you know, it’s really individual. But, what I’d say is, you know, the reason why 99% of people don’t make money is they don’t want to try it. They won’t take that first dive. And by the first dive, I don’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars, I mean, you’re not willing to put in that time, you know, or put in those couple of hours a night, you want to work four hours a day and make a hundred thousand dollars a month. It’s not like that, it’s a grind, you have to put in a lot of time and a lot of effort and then it’ll pay off.
Andrew: Well said. Alright, so, WhatRunsWhere.com, check it out. It’s what, a buck if they want to spy on their competitors?
Max: Correct, we $229 a month, you know, we’re not a cheap service per se, we’re inexpensive for the data we provide. But, we do have a seven day trial for a dollar, so you pay a dollar, you get full access for seven days and if you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel, there’s no obligation at all.
Andrew: OK, all right, check it out. I think it’s worth seeing where your competitors advertise and spying on them and where, just to get a sense of, you know what I would do? One of the first things that I do is type in Noah Kagan’s site. I love that guy. I think he’s one of the . . . You’re smiling. He’s a clever marketer, right?
Max: I know Noah. Noah and I have talked before.
Andrew: What have you guys talked about?
Max: Just his project with App Sumo.
Andrew: App Sumo is one of the smartest marketers out there. I would just type in App Sumo just to get a sense of what he’s advertising.
Max: They don’t do much.
Andrew: They do a ton of Facebook ads.
Max: They do a ton of Facebook ads. We don’t cover Facebook ads. There’s a bunch of terms and conditions problems with covering Facebook ads or any Facebook ad scraper you see they’re technically breaking Facebook’s terms and conditions. And then if Facebook found out, they’ll send them a C&D and then a lawsuit if they did it.
Yeah, they do a ton of Facebook ads. They’re really, really smart. They don’t really do that much other ads.
Andrew: I thought they were, OK.
Andrew: So, who should I spy on? If I want to learn from someone who is the best at this, a hustler?
Max: There are a ton of different things that you can look at. One of the things that I love to look at is Groupon.com. They have 4,000 unique placements for Groupon and X thousand different advertisements and flash banners and text ads. And see how they launch new variations and keep their banners fresh to stop burn-out. And then, there’s all sorts of niche websites that are really, really interesting advertising.
It can go from something really boring like how BMW does its advertising which, in my mind, there’s bad advertising. It’s pretty boring to something where you may look at what an affiliate does, a facial IQ quiz. You may see “are these images real or fake” banners that hundreds of people are using and seeing all the interesting ways that they are trying to get your attention within the browser from those banners.
You can track all these advertisers, so you can say, I’m interested in seeing every time Groupon launches a new ad. It will give you the ability to track the ad every time and see every time they launch an ad so you can keep an eye on them and what innovative stuff that they’re doing.
Andrew: All right. WhatRunsWhere.com. Thank you for doing the interview.
Max: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Andrew: Bye. Thank you all for watching.