A Brief History of Making Lots of Money Online
by Stan Faryna
Back in Black, AC/DC
Back in 95 (1995), there was an excitement about the internet that bubbled and foamed like an uncorked bottle of fine champagne. Online entrepreneurs (netpreneurs) were aiming for million dollar exits. Those were fast times. It was a race and no one knew anything for sure – not even Harvard MBAs and McKinseyites who tried their luck at prophesy and online savvy.
Enthusiasm, hubris and dream substituted for a complete lack of insight and caution.
Not unlike what people are doing now, we were putting our dreams and ideas out there. Some of us even had traffic. I had 100,000+ unique visitors per month with an average of 10 pages viewed per visitor. But I couldn’t monetize that traffic. Nor could others. Online advertising, as we know it now, would take five years to start thinking about how it would capture the online potential.
By 97, the gold rush and fervor was over. Most of us who tried were spent. Silver casings were piled around us like towering ant hills. And that’s a lot of silver bullets. Ironically, there’s still werewolves out there, today.
Two years without much sleep, one too many near misses, and all the other hardships of online start-up (sans VCs) had worn us down. Some would turn to more practical applications of their hard won insights. Web design and software development, for example. Myself, included.
The stock market corrections of 2000 and the popping of the Internet bubble postponed some. But five years later, 100 million dollar exits were hot. Unfortunately, the effort and resources to get there was out of reach for most. Even that didn’t stop people, organizations and brands from trying.
For personal and corporate brands, online strategy has become crucial to success and competitive advantage. Just as John Hagel and Artur Armstrong predicted in their 1997 book, Net Gain. The race, however, was not always won by the swift or those that brought creative capital. The winners, instead, were community builders.
And, today, the women aren’t talking about Michelangelo. As they come and go. They’re talking about 1 Billion dollar exits, baby. But that’s another song. A love song.
For those who really want to know, it’s a reference to T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
This song is about opportunity. It’s about power to the people. It’s about how opportunity is back in black.
Social technologies, blogging, the web 2.0 buzz, and the rise of giants such as Facebook and Twitter have stirred it up again. And everybody’s singing:
I got nine lives
Usin’ every one of them and running wild
Everyday people are seeing opportunities to do something online. Almost anything. This time it’s really about power to the people. It’s about communities. It’s about connecting, sharing and collaborating within trusted and open communities.
This time around, the expectations aren’t about big pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Most people just want to pay the bills, get by, and, yeah, share.
Some may be grossly mistaken that they can figure out how to make money without any kind of work and sweat. But there’s even more people out there willing to go sleepless and ragged, figuring it out. Or, at least, trying.
Cause I’m back on the track
And I’m leadin’ the pack
Nobody’s gonna get me on another rap
So look at me now
I’m just makin’ my play
Don’t try to push your luck, just get out of my way
It’s fast times again. But this time, there’s insight and wisdom out there. There’s people who know things.
Listen to them.
Pay for wisdom.
P.S. You won’t make any money by trying to sell the secret to making money online to other people who will try to sell the secret to making money online to someone else.
2 April 2011
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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