100,000 Dollars from Google
You've got to see this check from Google for over $100,000. Is it mine? Nope. Do you think I'd be sitting here writing a blog entry if it was!? I'd be too busy doing nothing somewhere sunny.
The first thing you'll probably ask is, "Is this real?" I'm guessing so. Then you'll want to know if you can make this much too. Possible, but unlikely. Every industry has its stars and the owner of ShoeMoney is SEM's superstar. And finally you'll ask, "Can you at least tell me how does it?" Not really. If I knew all the details, I'd be in that sunny place I mentioned earlier.
However, what I have inferred from some research is that it isn't all about SEO. What he's doing is a form of arbitrage. First he'll build a site around a particular topic. He'll then set this site up to show advertising such as AdSense from Google. He'll also make sure that the ads are more interesting than the site's actual content. This will increase the chance that a user will click an ad rather than take any other action. Finally, he'll find gaps in Google's AdWords program where he can buy low-cost ads to direct users to his site. The key is that the ads he pays for cost less than the revenue he gets from the ads he displays on his site. And the more he spends, the more he'll make. Genius, no?
Is he breaking any rules? None. Will search engines stop this kind of behavior. Probably not. He's making them money after all. Should advertisers be upset? Not sure about this one. I guess it depends on whether the users clicking the ads are actually converting. If they are, then the advertisers shouldn't have any problems.
But similar to investing in the stock market, I don't think you can do what he does while holding down a full time job. You'd need to spend your days searching, research, and testing to develop a feel for what will work. You'd also need a nice chunk of money to get start since you'll likely make some mistakes when you start off. And, I also think the gaps that can be exploited will slowly disappear as more and more people play this game.