A Brief History of Making Lots of Money Online

A Brief History of Making Lots of Money Online

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna plays Castleville


Back in Black, AC/DC


Old School

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.

New School

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
Cat’s eyes
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.

Find them.

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.

Stan Faryna
2 April 2011
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna


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 DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial 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.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission via Facebook. Or tweet me up me on Twitter.

5 Responses to A Brief History of Making Lots of Money Online

  1. Four Sides says:

    I always wonder what the longterm effects of the new Gold Rush will be on our society. There are more and more young people looking to make money by working from home, doing affiliate marketing, and so forth. As that trend grows, will there be anyone left to do the more important work of social workers, hospital workers, city planners, etc?

    The other thing that bothers me is that everyone making money online tries to sell their techniques in some way, but they end up repeating what others are saying everywhere else or contradicting what they said before. There are only so many real ways to make money online. And like always, what works for one will not always work for the rest. People are gamblers though and willing to spend a buck for a change at making more.

    Eventually, we’re going to morph into the people from a book like Brave New World or movies THX-1138 and The Island – living in isolated communities with no real desire to do anything more about ourselves and our world.

  2. adrianklein says:

    “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.”

    Powerful analysis.

  3. […] A Brief History of Making Lots of Money Online […]

  4. highballsport says:

    Oh yeah… 🙂 There’s TONS of products/ebooks/blogs teaching you how to make money online – and what they teach you is to teach others…

    What’s even funnier is that there are some big blogs who sell such courses. Enough with that already I’d say!

    We’re living the era of power equalizer – the big are loosing out in favor of small. The distribution of attention and revenue is being spread more and more towards small, upcoming ventures/bloggers/individuals. And this is being done through community building and collaboration.

    The question are:

    Is this a new state of affairs that’s gonna stay long or is just another fad?

    Will the internet be heavily regulated by governments and corporations? (see China)

    Will we be free forever to build stuff on the web and to say literally anything? Or will they sell to us the idea of “security against terrorism” and shut it down?

    PS – 9/11 was Fabricated so is the Death of Osama Bin Laden (maybe he’s dead but he’s nor responsible for 9/11)

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Constantin: Several Wall Street delusions are out of juice. The one that says every business that can leverage a scaling to national and international proportions should and must leverage growth in the interest of market value. Borders bookstores is a fine example. Mom and Pop stores are coming back. They should have at least 20 years before the think gets broken again. UNLESS the UN comes out soon with it’s anticipated fiat currency of Global Credits.

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