Community V Self Interest (Confessions of a solo ad seller)

In my book. Postcards From Hell, I mention that the one place (aside from my immediate family) that I really felt that I belonged to was my Aussie Rules football team. I felt at home until one day I turned my back for reasons that are not important here.

Field hockey

I’ve longed for that feeling of acceptance and mutual obligation ever since. I tried forming rock bands. I ended up being involved with a community field hockey club, but that feeling of belonging was never there. I was never really on the same page as my bandmates – too much ego from all parties and I was never a hockey player and as such, I never felt accepted.

I’ve been looking for that acceptance all my life.

I’ve just finished listening to a recording of Thursday Night Live by the CTP guys. They spent the entire forty or so minutes talking about the importance of community and investing in people. In a sense, they’ve gone totally rogue and are flipping the script, on the whole, Make Money On-Line business model. They are thinking long term and have no desire to sell you electronic junk. It is a breath of fresh air but it is also quite confronting for me.

The anonymity and safety of numbers and statistics.

Photo by Timur Saglambilek from Pexels

One of the most challenging aspects of online marketing is to keep it real. It is way too easy to get lost in numbers and statistics. Once you start seeing everything in terms of numbers, ratios, conversions and upsells, you tend to forget that there are real people behind those numbers.

When the lines became blurred for me, I drifted into solo ad selling.

It was easy money. I had not one, but two responsive lists. Firstly, I started to fatten those lists by doing some ad swaps with other marketers. Pretty soon I was drawn into selling clicks. That was the beginning of the end. I don’t have the temperament to be a solo ad seller, but the money was good.

Nothing is ever what it seems.

The easiest way to destroy your business is to take it for granted. By selling solo ads, I was doing just that. For years, I’d be warning against various fly by night programs and methods. Suddenly my subscribers were getting emails from me promoting the very essence of what I had been warning against. That’s no way to run a railroad. It didn’t take long for the lists to become stale and I spent considerable time locked in a death spiral of refreshing my list with ads bought from other solo ad sellers.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

It was Internet Marketing suicide pure and simple.

There were other things going on around me at the time, which sort of mitigated my behaviour, but I take full responsibility for trashing my business. What is worse, is that I betrayed the trust of my subscribers. There was a program around then that was the ultimate exercise in self-interest. It was a brash, in your face variation on the same old three-card trick that shysters have been pulling for decades. I stipulated in my ad agreements that that program was not to be promoted. It snuck through. Some of my subscribers bought into that crap. That was the final straw. I sold off what remaining assets I had and moved on.

It took a long time to realise why I hurt so badly

I’ve mentioned previously that I consider myself something of an outsider. My business connection was almost exclusively maintained through my subscriber list and my blog postings. For years, I’d prided myself on the connections that I’d developed. Then, I threw that all away.

Not for the first time in my life, I found myself calling myself an idiot. I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly why, but I knew I’d shot myself in the foot.

Today, I heard one of the CTP guys verbalise what I’d known for the past 6 years or so.

A business is nothing without people. I’ve always known that. I used to curse my employer for treating people like numbers and yet. I’d done the exact same thing.

Key takeaways

Believe in yourself.

Find your tribe.


Invest in people.

That’s what I’m doing on Hive. See you there.


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