Internet Marketing “Slaps”

The old adage “don’t put your eggs all in one basket” applies to many areas of life, and Internet Marketing is no exception.

Internet Marketers (IMers) have a variety of potential income streams, and a variety of SEO strategies available to them. If an IMer is relying too heavily on just one strategy or income source, small changes that are outside of their control can have devastating consequences.

The term “slap” is used when a third-party makes a change in something that has a negative impact on an IMer. For example, there is the phenomenon known as the “Google slap”.

Years ago there was a rush of IMers using a strategy involving an income stream from Google’s ad program. The program is called AdSense, and the strategy was called “arbitrage”. The strategy essentially worked by buying pay-per-click advertising for keywords that were cheap, and point them to the IMer’s site, which was covered up with ads for similar, related keywords that paid big money per click.

The folks at Google are pretty smart. They saw what was going on, and realized that they were losing money (and advertisers were unhappy) because low-quality traffic was being “tricked” into high cost ads. So, Google made several changes. They changed the way keywords were bid to make it tougher to grab “cheap” keywords. And they took the quality of the landing page into account. The upshot was that people who relied on this tactic saw their income stream dry up quickly.

eBay marketers also received a huge slap. When eBay changed their policy about delivering digital products, some companies (who had previously sold millions of dollars of product per year) went out of business altogether. eBay decided that the headache of dealing with duplicate/copyrighted e-books was too much. So, they shut down digital delivery. Folks with honest digital businesses (like selling website templates), who relied entirely upon eBay for their marketing and product delivery, had a really hard time. Oh…and eBay only gave about 2 weeks notice of the change.

There are other examples, from Scribd, to “nofollow” tags, where strategies or income streams that once worked well have disappeared. A smart Internet Marketer knows that one has to diversify, both strategies and income sources. There are too many factors that are outside of the IMer’s control which can have huge impact on their business, so they must be smart about putting their eggs in many baskets.

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