The #1 Lesson of Blog Monetization (And Internet Business) Which Almost Everybody Gets Wrong

What you’re about to read is important. If you want to have a successful business – online or offline – then do not simply scan this article and move on in a fit of ADD. Understand it fully and apply it.

I don’t say this to float my own boat. Not at all. I say it because… it needs to be said. We need to come back to business basics. And most people in the online business world gloss over the importance of it. Here we go…

What you’re about to read is important. If you want to have a successful business – online or offline – then do not simply scan this article and move on in a fit of ADD. Understand it fully and apply it.

I don’t say this to float my own boat. Not at all. I say it because… it needs to be said. We need to come back to business basics. And most people in the online business world gloss over the importance of it. Here we go…


I want to start off this post with something that I bet a lot of you feel…

Internet marketing is a scam. It over-promises and under-delivers. And they’re just trying to extract as much money from your wallet as they possibly can.

Now… do you agree with that statement?

If you do, then you’re not alone.

The reason why is simple. People feel screwed over. They paid good money for a product and then, for one reason or the other, they didn’t experience the goal that the product was promised to deliver.

So, what we have is a situation where the equation of exchange was violated. See, people expect that when they pay out money for something, they’re going to receive something of similar or higher value back. When that condition is violated, it is only a matter of time before a revolt happens.

When you look at the internet marketing space, you see an industry rife with violated exchange conditions. People paid money and they didn’t receive similar or more value back. In many cases, they received LESS value back. And, in a world where information overload is the diet du jour, merely piling on a bunch of information doesn’t necessarily satisfy the exchange condition. The perceived value of information has dropped.

This is simple math. A very simple equation.

And when the equation of exchange doesn’t balance in the customer’s favor, they will not be happy.

Too many internet marketers operate on the idea that information alone is the value exchange. And, it used to be that way. However, in economics, there is a thing called inflation. In an inflation situation, the currency becomes less valuable. It can buy less stuff.

What we’ve experienced is inflation in the economy of information marketing. There is a gluttony of information (much like the federal gov’t keeps printing money). And it creates inflation. The result is that information isn’t as valuable as it used to be. People don’t perceive it as being as valuable.

And, because of that, it serves to offset the balance of exchange yet further. And the entire “industry” gets a bad reputation because of it.

What is Your REAL Product?

This is the question that people need to ask.

In this business, when you hear the word “product”, you think of the form of the thing you’re supposedly selling.

And, most IMers or bloggers, when they hear “you need to have a product to sell”, they immediately start thinking about ebooks, membership sites, blah blah blah.

In other words, they think in terms of the FORM of the product. And, in this business, it is usually some packaging of information.

But, is a big bunch of information REALLY your product?

Does anybody wake up in the morning and think, “You know, I really want some more INFORMATION today!”. Of course not.

So, it is time to completely re-think what it means to have a PRODUCT.

What is the OUTCOME that you want to create in the lives of others? What thing is it that, when you provide it, it will be seen by your customer as VALUABLE and WORTHY OF EXCHANGE?

For it to be a real product, it needs to be understood to be valuable – by both you and your customer. It needs to be something which you can exchange out into the world for a return of energy – usually in the form of money or goodwill.

The Danger Of Getting It Wrong

Not identifying your actual product can lead you completely astray and on a path to nowhere.

In the internet marketing world, they operated as if information was their product. But, it wasn’t. Today, their information is a commodity. Their REAL product was people who are successfully making money on the Internet. That was the REAL outcome they were promising to create. In most cases, they didn’t create it and now they’re suffering because of it. If they clearly identified their true product, they’d have run things completely differently.

But, bloggers get this wrong ALL THE TIME.

Bloggers just start writing. They focus so much on growth of readership – usually with ZERO thought about their final product. They haven’t put the slightest bit of thought into the outcome they’re trying to produce for people, and whether that is valuable and exchangeable.

Blog posts aren’t really exchangeable. There’s no way that a blog post will ever suffice an exchange equation that involves money. The only real exchange for a blog post is goodwill (in the form of comments and shares).

Bloggers who try to make money with ads have a difficult time (in most cases) because of the misalignment of what they are DOING to what they are SELLING. See, the only way you make money with ads is when people click and LEAVE YOUR WEBSITE. All your advertisers care about is their OWN sales. If your site isn’t generating them sales, they won’t pay you money because the exchange equation has been violated yet again. The valuable product of advertising is eyeballs on an advertiser’s website, whereas the blogger is operating as if eyeballs on THEIR OWN website is the most important thing. Inherent mismatch.

This is why the mainstream media is so distrusted, BTW. They say their product is to uncover the truth, but their REAL product is to create happy advertisers. Inherent mismatch.

An auto mechanic’s final product is a car which works. They know it and they operate with that understanding (in most cases). If what they were actually doing didn’t actually create that end product, the business would fail. It doesn’t matter how snazzy the shop is, if they don’t produce a functioning car, nobody will care.

Setting Your Compass In The Right Direction

If you want a business built on a solid foundation – online or offline – then what you actually DO needs to be in alignment with the real product – the real outcome – that you’re creating in the lives of others. That product needs to be of value to them – and exchangeable for money.

And then your goal should be the best delivery of that outcome that you can possibly muster.

The sale is not the product. The sale is merely an enrollment fee for you to then really deliver the outcome they just purchased.

For Blog Marketing Academy, I, of course, am a happy guy when somebody buys something from my business. Just like any business owner would be. However, my valuable product is a blogger or business owner who is experiencing higher statistics through application of blog-based marketing. Those higher statistics for THEM is my product.

And, if you look up at the logo of this site, you’ll see that signified.

And, if you’re a member of the Academy, you will see that I’m designing things such that the information is only a means to an end. And, I’m busy setting up systems so that we provide real service, real followup… because our job is to produce an outcome for you (or, more properly, help you do it). I’m making a point NOT to be one of those businesses who stop giving a crap after the money is collected.

If I stopped at the sale and operated as if collection of money was my end product, then I would fail. And people will doubt what I say and be very skeptical. And understandably so.

This is how the internet marketing world got a bad name. They mis-labeled their product, and they didn’t work to achieve it.

So, in YOUR case, sit down and create a short and pithy statement of your valuable product. What outcome are you working to create in the lives of others that is exchangeable?

If you have none at all, then you’ve got some work to do. You won’t have a business until you identify it and orient around it.

If you do have one, then a very useful exercise would be to state it in as clear a fashion as you can. It shouldn’t take a paragraph or more. Short and sweet. After all, if your product isn’t understandable by others, it won’t be valuable, either.

And lastly, if you care to share your valuable product, post it in the comments below for feedback. 🙂


If you clearly understand what I just wrote in this post, you will be lightyears ahead of the majority of people who claim to study internet marketing courses or “make money blogging” courses.

Clearly understanding your valuable real product will serve to bring clarity and orientation to much of your activity. If something you’re doing isn’t helping you achieve your product, then it is a waste of your time. If it IS making you more able to deliver your product, then pursue it with everything you’ve got.

Information overwhelm will only exist for you if you lack a compass. Online business will only seem confusing and overwhelming if you lose sight of the valuable product you’re creating for others – and is exchangeable.

One never begins a successful online business by asking, “How do I make money online?”. Instead, you should be asking, “What can I produce of value that others need or want, and how can I deliver that to them so that they will pay for it?”

There’s the real truth. And shame on those who make this seem more complicated, or don’t even guide bloggers through this. No wonder so many bloggers are broke!


  1. Hey David!
    Awesome article as usual. Thank you.
    My product is: better health, weight loss, better food choices.
    (is is too general you think?)

  2. Hi David,

    I’m new here, but this post makes for strong persuasion to stick around. We shouldn’t need reminding that business is fundamentally about exchanges, but keeping that fact in mind can help keep our practices ethical and self-sustaining. Thanks for the excellent, rigorous breakdown.

  3. I almost didn’t click through my email to read this article, but I’m so glad I did!! This is absolutely true, and definitely something most bloggers overlook. When I see the way some folks blog as a business to help folks start a business blogging, I can’t help but think of the old newspaper ad scam. “Send $20 to learn how to make $100,000!” When you send the $20, you get a piece of paper instructing you to take out ads in the paper telling folks to send you money!

    My products are content strategies and well-written content designed to turn a browsing prospect into a buying customer.

    Thanks for this post!

  4. Great post David! Always good to take things back to basics now and then to reassess where a business is going. I suppose, just like in any business, making sure that you understand the fundamentals is vital to it’s success.

    Keep up the excellent work.

  5. Fantastic Post David,
    Thank you and this is why I have joined everyone of your courses and why I am now focused on your material and guidance rather than chasing shiny IM objects of promise without delivery. My Product is more enlightened executives/individuals who have rewarding relationships, more daily joy, exciting work and great money as the by-product of owning their authenticity and passion.

  6. Excellent point. Its like someone said if the service your using is free then YOU are the product.

    People want money but they really don’t under stand the principles behind it do they?

    1. Many don’t. They think money is something derived out of luck, or something taken from others (as if the pie is only so big). But, in reality, money is just a result of providing value to the world.

  7. At the beginning, sometimes you’re exploring. You have a mission but you don’t yet always know what the reader wants or needs solved. I’ve identified my mission as that of building a subscription base in a particular niche so that I can learn more about them and grow to provide solutions.

    for now, here’s my somewhat loosely defined valuable product. I’m open to listening to your feedback. Thank you!

    Critter Wisdom is where
    struggling achievers finally find their path, end their frustration and excel
    in business and life.

    I have ideas and plans for delivering but i believe they will be greatly refined once I get some feedback first.

    1. Hey Carmelo,

      It is too vague. Too big. In order to be able to actually do it, you’re going to need to get more specific on what you’re producing and for whom. Plus, it reads more like a mission statement than a product.

      For example, there are a TON of ways to “excel in business and life”. So, let’s narrow that down. Alot.

      1. Hey David,

        Thanks for that. I understand. At this early stage my mindset is still in the mission statement arena rather than the product development stage. Your admonition is to get me thinking about actually providing solutions that effect change for a specific client / client niche. I need to leap forward and assume I’m ready to lead and teach. How about:

        Critter Wisdom’s “Expert Dependency Cure” stops your endless spending on bogus solutions and turns your primary talent into a profitable business.

        1. Definitely a lot better. 🙂 Although, its hard to help you pin something down with knowing more about what your site is. Critter Wisdom makes me think its about pets or something. 🙂

          1. Hahahaha … I can see the confusion there. You know, I thought that clicking on my name/avatar would take you to my site for a quick look-see. Bad assumption, I see it doesn’t do that on your site here! htttp:// is for struggling achievers and I’ve taken a unique angle (using critters/Nature) to connect them with their Inner Wisdom.

            One visit to the site and people know. (I’ve had a lot of great feedback on the name/angle.) I will be offering my programs directly to subscribers to the site. So that should solve that part. Or, I can say:

            Carmelo Bryan’s “Expert Dependency Cure” stops your endless spending on bogus solutions and turns your primary talent into a profitable business.

            I appreciate your candidness and time, thank you!

    2. Hey Carmelo. I agree with David. The “value” you’re seeming to offer people in your statement(s) are a bit vague and very general. I think it would be advantageous for you to first take like half a day and really hammer out your Point of View (POV). Having defined for yourself your point of view will help you know which people in this niche you will relate to.

      Take David, for example. Clearly his point of view is that there’s a lot of crap blogging and marketing courses (and gurus) out there who don’t teach real principles in business. Because his POV is so clear, those of us who have been through the many “make money blogging courses” and learn that tactics alone aren’t the solution, we gravitate to him because he’s speaking our language.

      Having that POV also aids you in properly formatting a tagline. That tagline should also in some way attempt to tell people what you stand for.

      So get your POV very clear and figure out what you want to stand for in that niche and then what you’ll probably find is that you will be alienating many people who you “might” attract, but capturing exactly who you need to net.

      @David Risley – Great article bro. I do have to agree with Carmelo, though. I just noticed that when I click on people’s names it doesn’t take me to their site and worse yet, once I clicked it it changed the comment area and only displayed a bunch of posts from that user. It then took me a little figuring out to figure how to get back to the comments area. Do you have something against the simplicity of regular WordPress comments? Sorry, it’s just that every time I see Disqus or Intense debate my hairs stick up a little. (coming back to add this comment… I just hit post and it’s telling me to log in but I don’t see a link….sigh)

  8. David, I love everything about this post!

    I tend to believe that a proper transaction runs something along the lines of, “I buy your product description; then you deliver access to a goal I couldn’t reach easily without help.” I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Now I’m off to share this with *everybody*…

  9. Hi David,

    couldn’t agree more with you that internet marketing is a scam…marketing on the internet is common sense, but internet marketing ? My “product” is: I show business owners how to attract more customers and create more revenue by targeted marketing on the internet.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care and see you tomorrow afternoon at the workshop !


    1. Nice.

      One tip, though:
      Your stated product is a verb. You “show” people. To phrase it so that it is a real product, a real outcome for people, I would say your product is customers, or more revenue. Or, you could even work it further by identifying what the real outcome of achieving those things will mean for your target customer.

      In other words, be concrete about it.

      A product is a thing, not an action.

  10. That’s the rub, isn’t it? I can write blog posts no problem, answer comments and questions, bs with the best of them but a product…focusing on the wrong thing certainly won’t get you anywhere. Thanks for the revelation. I can always count on you to tell it like it is.

  11. Hey David, I agree on the core issue. And it brings up a really good and valid discussion. However, I believe in the correct definition of a product it’s something you have control over. A stat is something that has to be based on what YOU do, not what someone else does. You can’t control what others do. What they do is THEIR stat. What YOU do, what you teach, how you organize it, how you present it, that is YOUR stat and under your control. i can’t force customer to attend coaching calls or do assignments. I often buy magic tricks at my local magic shop because I’m an amateur magician. I also often never actually perform them for various reasons. That isn’t a ding on the stat of magic shop owner. His stat is effective secrets sold.

    1. Absolutely.

      In the case of Blog Marketing Academy, we’re going to be keeping track of things like completions, # of submitted answer forms, etc. These are measurements of people actually going through the material. Then, another section will be tracking # of testimonials and successes.

      And, while I can’t make a person show up for a coaching call, it is still my stat if they do.

Leave a Reply