How to Exploit Bad News

Posted by

I love bad news.

Why? If done right, you can get lots and lots of cheap traffic.

But I admit, I rarely advise this because trends die.Then you end up chasing the next trend… then the next.. and you will eventually get burned out.

Of course, it would be a lie if I said that I don’t chase trends – because sometimes I do.

But when i do, I don’t go after things that the marketers talk about because by then, the exploit is almost always over. (Another reason why you should stop listening to marketing “gurus”… except me and ShoeMoney of course).

I look for trends that I can see for myself.

Here are some ideas

1) Look for disasters

In 2002, there was a huge thing in Asia with SARS, a.k.a. severe acute respiratory syndrome.

People were freaking out, buying these “N-95 masks” (95 stands for 95% filtration rate) and wearing them like there’s no tomorrow.

Imagine, a couple hundreds million people buying these masks at $2-3 a piece every day for 3 months.

That’s a LOT of money.

My friend and I were given this hot tip in 2002/2003’ish. A buyer from China wired us $1m in escrow to get the masks for under $1.25 a piece. Our job was to export as much as possible for under that price.

Make the story short, we didn’t fill anywhere near the quota they wanted, and even got scammed by bunch of Canadians claiming they had half a million pieces they can unload to us.

It turned out they were nothing but flimsy pieces of paper with a piece of glue.

The point is.. when there’s fear, there’s often money to be made. The smartest marketer I’ve seen exploit this was a guy who bought bunch of cheap masks, bandages, ointments, etc. for under $5 and sell them online as “anti-SARS kits” for $50.

Right now, there’s the missing Malaysian airline thing going on.

I am not saying this is right or wrong, or whether or not you should use it, but the whole world is DRAWN to it.

Why not take advantage of it?

Sell insurance of some sort? Here’s your chance.

Sell personal tracking device / private investigation service or product? Ta-da!

Yes, things can backfire and you might piss off some people.

But so what? So stop caring what people think.

2) Look for controvery & posts that have lots of angry (or emotional) comments

Bill Gates recently said that Snowden is no hero for leaking sensitive government information that showed US agencies were doing some pretty nasty stuff

Of course, a flurry of comments were made about how Microsoft gave up information about their users when government demanded them.

This would be a perfect time for companies that provide anonymity like VPN to come in and say “hey use us, and you’ll never have to worry, especially because you pay us in bitcoin!” (Or something like that).

So many possible software ideas here: personal firewalls, cookie clearers, password rotation & management, etc etc.

Right now, there’s a fury going on over Russia & Ukraine army stance over Crimea.

Why? Over oil pipelines.

First, expect oil price to go crazy…. so if you trade oil, this is probably a good thing (sucks for rest of us).

Second, this is perfect because the Russian military is like 20 times bigger than the Ukrainian army. Ever hear of David vs. Goliath? You can use that angle here.

Here are some crazy ideas

  • Dating: “Date a Russian Hottie with an AK-47″ / “Date a Hot Eastern European Refugee” (sorry, that was lame)
  • Finance: “How to Protect Yourself for a Shocking Gas Price Hike Thanks to Putin – Download this eBook” squeeze page
  • Health: “How the Ukrainian Military used XYZ work out videos and fought back against the Russian Goliath”
  • Games: “Angry Birds – Crimea Freedom Fighter Version”

If you’re an affiliate promoting these offers, there are so many creative ways to use these trends because you can move quick (these trends WILL die so you have to move very quick.. as in hours).


Luckily, with tools, most of this stuff is easy to spot.

Here are some:
– General News  (Google, Yahoo, Twitter)
– Marketing news – @DailyIMNews   (I created this twitter account from RSS feeds of all the marketing blogs I read)
– Trending products  – Amazon, Alibaba (If you do international)

Any other ideas? Share them in the comments

About Taewoo Kim

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

22 thoughts on “How to Exploit Bad News

  1. Rueben M.

    A little out of poor taste given the latest disaster with the missing Malaysia flight, don’t you think?

    1. Taewoo Kim Post author

      If you think this is bad taste, take a look at all these multi billion dollar news companies who cover nothing but negative news and charge advertisers premium $$$.

      Last time I saw CNN, I didn’t see any news about people helping people.. or princess peach getting rescued by mario from King Koopa’s castle.

      Nope, it’s always about violence, fights, wars, tragedies…

      Poor taste? You tell me.

  2. Miranda

    I follow a bunch of newsy blogs. They seem to do this a lot. Like my news feed was PACKED and continues to be flooded since that missing plane. I know there are other examples, but that’s the only one I can think of right now (case and point about trends/stories coming and going).

  3. Leo

    Wow this all just seems very shady. I am all for making money, but this just seems greedy and manipulative. I can’t get on board with making money from people’s fear. That’s just scummy.

    1. Gemini

      If you don’t do it someone else will. Might as well get off the field if you don’t wanna play ball.

      1. Gab Goldenberg

        That’s one of the worst arguments ever. By that reasoning you should be selling stolen human organs because hey, that’s lucrative (even more than riding news trends) and if you don’t make the money, someone else will. Maybe you should also be dealing drugs and promoting child abuse products by that reasoning.

  4. Kevin Young

    I like your idea of going after the posts/internet trolls. People get so heated about stuff and this a great way to bank on it.

  5. Pete White

    Dude, your crazy ideas, I hope stay just that: Crazy ideas. No one should be acting on those.

  6. Anonymous

    To your face I want to say this: I know affiliate marketers have done some shady stuff before but this is just nasty advice, man.

    Really I want to say: Clever! and slyly high five you.

Comments are closed.