How To Avoid Internet Marketing Mistakes. Learn From My 7 Failures…

Throughout my 7 years in the online marketing world, I have come across more failures than successes, but the success stories I have yielded far more. However, most blogs nowadays which talk about online marketing and how to make money through it only post success stories and through my experience most of them are lying about it. 

But that’s a whole other story. In this post, I’d like to share my failures that I have come across in my 7 year journey through the crazy world of affiliate marketing. The point being is that I want people who read this post to not go through the same mistakes I did. So I highly recommend reading this page very carefully.

I have noted what my lessons were for each mistake. I promise if you read this, you’ll be much more set to success in online marketing. 

My History Of Failures In Online Marketing & How To Avoid My Mistakes…


1. My 1st mistake: Trying to make money through paid online surveys. 

I was a college freshman at the time, looking to make ends meet and not wanting to settle for a 9-5 job. Sitting in a computer lab one day, I was searching the web for opportunities to do something online for money and stumbled onto a promise that I could get paid $1000’s for just answering surveys.

Though I was skeptical, because I was completely new and dare I say desperate for money, I joined the site which promised this, plucked down $60 and hoped it would yield great results.

What happened? Most of it was nonsense. The surveys you did only paid you percentages of PENNIES. And the only ones which did pay good money (I received requests to do surveys for $200), were in real life where I would have to take some sort of product or participate with some sort of focus group. And this happened once every 2 months. Needless to say this site did not meet my expectations, not even close.

What I learned from this mistake: If a product seems to good to be true it usually is. This was my first major lessons in online marketing. Don’t let promises of fast money lure you in. 99.9% of the time it’s a scam. 

My 2nd mistake: Trying to learn to make money through a program called $7 secrets.

Same background: sitting in a computer lab and looking at ways to make money online, but this one was different. It was only $7 and showed me how someone who made $1,000’s in 1 week by promoting an e-book. I purchased the book, read it and it was quite incredible. 

In short, you were taught to create an e-book on any subject you loved (Mine was health & fitness at the time) and through the programs site creator be able to put it up there and sell it through a system which funneled traffic to a main website. In other words, I’d make the book and put it up for sale on the high visited website. 

I wrote up a 90 page e-book on health & fitness. I put my heart into it. I can’t even remember how many days and weeks I spent typing it up and making sure everything was safe, effective and good for the customer. It was a hell of a book. I gave it to a few professors to read and they loved it. 

With their green light and everything else prepared, I put the e-book on sale. The result? 1 sale. 1 measly sale for nearly $30. All my hard work down the drain and me thinking about quitting internet marketing altogether. 

What I learned from this mistake: Don’t put all your eggs into 1 basket. In this example, I chose to try and put all my effort into creating an e-book and trusting a company to help me sell it through their site. This didn’t work and I only had myself to blame. 

I did however have good people helping through that program and one person recommended a marketing method called “Bum marketing” which would later lead me to join a membership website called “Wealthy Affliate”. And thus begins my 3rd mistake, but this time it isn’t what you think…

My 3rd mistake: Not taking full advantage of a internet marketing school called Wealthy Affiliate when I first joined.

This place was and still is the only source for learning internet marketing. At the time (2007), I knew nothing about it, but upon joining I read a few tutorials and without finishing the training, went off to make my first successful project. The result? I made nothing. 

What I learned from this mistake: I had to finish the training at Wealthy Affiliate. I did and this FINALLY led me to my first successful projects in internet marketing. It was from there that other VERY profitable success stories would stem from. 

My 4th mistake: Depending too much on paid traffic because of my past success (6+ figures).

As my experience in internet marketing increased, I was making more and more each month. I reached about $2,000 a month at one point through a steady pace using article marketing and free methods of making money online. Until I stumbled onto a hot topic which was gaining momentum with people. 

It was called the 17 day diet and it was quickly becoming the #1 diet in the U.S. I had no time to make a blog or article market this diet, so I made a 1 page website, put an ad up on Bing promoting it, but recommending an affiliate product which paid me $26.30-$38.06 which was VERY similar to the 17 day diet, but superior (which was my sales angle). 

The result? This project would yield nearly $200,000 in revenue over the course of 1 year (2011) and well into 2012. I was happy. VERY happy. Here is the full case study. This opened up my eyes to the wonders of internet marketing, but as I later found out this wouldn’t last forever.

What I learned from this mistake: I should have utilized the popularity of the diet and did SEO while I had the chance. I could have easily made $1 million, no joke. That’s how popular this diet was. But through my method (Paid traffic), everything was easy and automated and I felt no need to do anything else. BIG mistake and money left on the table.

My 5th mistake: Hoping a slowly failing campaign would return me to riches. 

This is actually part of my 4th mistake because it also has to do with the 17 day diet. The popularity of the diet began to die out in early 2012. People weren’t looking for it anymore and slowly my profits diminished. 

But I kept living in the wonder years, still believing the good days would return instead of getting my butt to work and working on other projects. Eventually my ad which made incredible profits at one point was now making me lose money, yet I blindly held onto the belief I would get back if I stayed with it.

This led me to losing $1,000’s for no real reason whatsoever. I would also make this mistake with another market I would later find that year.

What I learned from this mistake: Learn to let go. If the project isn’t working, make changes. If the changes don’t work, move on to something else, no matter what your history is. This project was my most successful one in my 7 years of online marketing and I developed a sentimental feeling towards it. It was hard to let go, but eventually the money ran out and I had no choice but to do that. Had I done that earlier, I would have saved $1,000’s. Not to mention the need to get to work on other projects!

My 6th mistake: Depending solely on backlinks to make my sites work.

Because paid campaigns were failing for me, I moved into SEO (natural listings) which would cost me pretty much nothing but yield greater potential profits. I discovered a website called “Bring The Fresh” which taught SEO like Wealthy Affiliate. 

I decided to join it because it was recommended by someone I trusted and at the time I joined it, the place was truly great. It had great information on how to make money online using alternative methods. They were also taught at Wealthy Affiliate, but Bring the Fresh adopted more of a “fast approach” to things. 

They offered backlink packages to help people with online marketing. At the time backlinks were a good way to get your site to rank high on search engines. Bring the Fresh would send tons of links to your site, thereby giving search engines the impression your site was important and they would then rank it high which would get a lot of traffic and thus sales.

I used a few of their packages on 3 sites and saw success in only 1. But then 2013 came around and Google made changes to their ranking system. By this time backlinking would be in the past and if you engaged in these manipulative tactics, your site would be de-ranked or even blacklisted.

That’s exactly what happened to one of my sites which had success. The other 2 which I used backlinks on? With 1 nothing the site remained low in the search engine ranking so I received no rankings. 

The other site? NOTHING changed either, but the irony is that the work I had done on this site previously yielded the same results as when I used the backlink package on. Thus I spent all that money for nothing. 

What I learned from this mistake: Don’t depend on ANYONE to make your website work. You hold the key to success and you should never use backlinks or any sort of shady tactics to make your website stand out. Eventually you will get caught. Stick to the natural listings. 

I also learned to listen to Wealthy Affiliate as they warned me about these things prior to me using them. Well better later than never…

But Here’s My 7th & biggest mistake I ever made in online marketing: Not taking FULL advantage of proper training at Wealthy Affiliate.

I mentioned that I joined this site in 2007 and throughout the years as the internet changed, so did online marketing as did the ways to make money through it. For all those years, Wealthy Affiliate stood the test of time and kept up with these changes and informed their members on how to continually be successful in this business.

I only went through the full training once back in 2008. But as the years passed and the internet changed, the same tactics I once learned didn’t work and I didn’t bother to access the new updated training, thinking the old ways still applied. 

This wasn’t my only mistake. I never listened to them when it came to the backlink story. I should have.

What I learned from this mistake: If you want to make it in the world of online marketing, you ABSOLUTELY need proper guidance. Without it, you will make the same mistakes I did, if not more and they may even end up costing you a lot more than they did me, without even an ounce of success. With proper guidance you will avoid these pitfalls. You will still encounter mistakes, but much less of them.

So where do you get proper guidance? The same place I learned it from: Wealthy Affiliate. They’ve been right with everything they recommended me from the moment I joined and I owe all of my success stories to them. My mistakes were made because I didn’t take their advice when they gave it, nor did I take advantage of the training they offered. Had I done that, I would have made a ton more money.

So what’s my advice to you?WA

Learn from my mistakes! Get proper guidance from Wealthy Affiliate. It is the only place I recommend to learn online marketing. And they are free to join. They will help you avoid the same mistakes I made as well as SO many other newcomers to the world of online marketing do. Why? Because they’ve been through this. They know what works and they’ll show you exactly how it’s done. Learn more about Wealthy Affiliate here.

Do you have a story of a major mistake you made in online marketing, be it buying a scam product or not doing something right? Please share it below in the comments section!


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  1. Fred Chong

    I made most of the mistakes you made and agreed with Kyle that sometime we really have to let go the “stone”. We all learnt from mistakes. Very inspiring post, thank you for sharing and best wishes to your success.

  2. Laura

    Great information! Very interesting…I also tried the survey thing..and it didn’t work for me either. Great to see you’re back at WA…they do offer such up-to-date training.

  3. Chip Paulson

    Wow! You’ve make just about all the mistakes at this point, smooth sailing from here on out lol! Hope you don’t mind me learning from your mistakes. I used to spend literally all day trying to make natural backlinks. What a nightmare that was! I really do think that the modern ranking system is just awesome though. All you have to focus on it making great content. What could be simpler?!

    • Vitaliy

      No problem Chip 🙂 I did write up this post to help others avoid my mistakes (and there are many…) so no worries. I do agree this time Google’s ranking system is better than ever. Real helpful content brings you success and your visitors happiness! A win-win!

  4. Kyle

    Sometime it is easy to focus too much on a failing campaign…and really to try to make something work, in particular if we invested so much time and energy into it.

    There have been many instances along my journey to success where I have had to simply “drop” stuff that I have worked very hard on it. That is a very important trait that we need to learn.

    You can’t suck money out of a stone sometimes and you have to be willing to part ways with your hard work and ideas sometimes in order to move onto bigger and better things.

    Excellent advice here Vitaliy, and I would definitely agree with #7!

    • Vitaliy

      i liked the stone analogy you used Kyle. It certainly resonates with me. But you’re right away developing a trait where you can drop things off along the way to success if it isn’t working for you. It’s certainly hard but as time goes on and experience grows, this process will become easier.

      I found it VERY difficult to part ways with the 17 day diet campaign. After all it was my biggest success so throwing it away felt as though I was throwing away a piece of the good life. But the writing was on the wall: It stopped working and I needed to drop it. We need to live in the present and not the past.

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