This is the backstory to one of the most epic and iconic pictures in internet marketing. A When I cashed this check it was accompanied by a $350 unemployment check. A My story isn’t rags to riches but I was 50k in credit card debt, 420 lbs, smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day and was on unemployment. A Then over night started cranking in money with Google Adsense. A This was the start of my journey making money online.

First let me start with just that and then I will go on about what I learned and from there talk about all I learned from that site and applied it to where I am today.

Giving credit where credit is do – throughout this post I refer to everything as I. A Obviously everything wasn’t all done by me. A I coded out the first couple years of NextPimp myself but when it became huge I brought in David Dellanave who was a huge part of it’s and future company successes.

But lets start with what started it all.

Over the years people have tried to use it for acting like its them and they are going to show you the secrets on how to make money. A Or say that I used their system and produced this. A Yes I go after them and I don’t mess around.

Feel free to use it for non commercial purposes (blog posts, etc). A Just I ask you link back to this post (follow or no follow link whichever).

If you would like to use it for commercial user, I.E, a your product – Please contact me and we can figure something out.

Google adsense check
About once every other day I get a question about the AdSense from 10 years ago.  I originally posted the check in this thread. Its most visited page on (behind the main page course) with 1-2k unique visits per day.

So just going through the 120 emails or so in the last year on the subject I will answer questions-

  • What site was that for? (Sold in 2011 for 1.5M. You will see below why so little).
  • What did the site do?  It allowed you to upload any audio format and would spit you out a ringtone formatted correctly for your phone.  It started with Nextel and overtime grew to work with all models of cell phones and carriers.
  • How much traffic did the website get?  At its height in the site was averaging about 20 million visitors a month.  About 5 million were unique.  The site had a very loyal audience that came back a lot.
  • How many servers did you have to run the website?  I had 1 front end web server and 2 backend mysql databases that would round robin the sql requests.  I offloaded all css and javascript assets and images. The site was actually pretty light weight because I would cache the results infinitely unless a new ringtone was uploaded for a specific result.  So the site was pretty much static content for 99.9% of the page loads.  One issue we ran into was that the main web server would randomly reboot.  This was an issue with the version of linux I was using at the time.
  • Did you ever get into legal trouble being the site looked like Nextel’s and a lot of the ringtone’s were copyrighted?  Yes In 2007 I was sued by Nextel in federal court.  The judge threw the case out when we produced over 8000 pages of Nextel stores visiting the site and affidavits from Nextel employees saying the site was a great tool to make sales of their phones.  I also received about 1500 DMCA takedown requests per month from recording labels for copyrighted content which I promptly complied.  I actually built out a control panel that would allow me to quickly remove them.
  • How much of the check was profit? At the time my expenses were 1 server @ 299$ per month for hosting. I would say at least 130k was profit.
  • How much of the traffic was pay per click? None of it was pay per click. Back then I did not know anything at all about pay per click.
  • Where did all your traffic come from? About 70% of the traffic was direct 15% from search engines and 15% from referrals.
  • Why did you get a paper check and not wire? Back then Google did not do wire transfers for amounts of $10,000.00
  • Do you think its possible to still earn that kind of revenue? (most often asked question) Yes.
  • How long did it take to make revenue? I never tried to make any money the first 1.5 years it was running. I just concentrated on providing a good service. About 2 years after I started the site It started to do good revenue from AdSense
  • Can you show the full month report from AdSense for that month?  Sure See Below.

and here is the full month report: (I have permission from Google to display this in my blog and in my presentations. Please check with Google before you disclose any of your reporting)

adsense-august copy

About 3 months,  and discovering this wasn’t just a fluke, I decided to chase the money a bit.  If people could afford to pay me that much per click + Googles 25% or whatever it is advertising fee then what if I promoted directly to the advertiser who was advertising through Adsense.

Enter Affiliate Marketing

So this began my journey with Affiliate revenue.  Even though I went on a world wind tour speaking about my story and how Google Adsense changed my life I was no longer using it.  I was now going direct to the advertiser either charging them to advertise or using their affiliate program.

Some big brands advertised (Sprint, Nextel), but I made more revenue with Affiliate Marketing.

With affiliate marketing I promoted directly what people were advertising through Google AdSense.  Since the affiliate network is no existing (Azoogle) I only had this screen shot from my archives for 1 month of affiliate revenue from NextPimp in 2006:

AzoogleAds May 2007 Income Report

Enter Subscription Revenue

With NextPimp I also had “Premium Forums” which charged a monthly subscription.  These forums would contain walk through guides and support from other users.   I compensated the users by letting them run their own AdSense code on the forums part of the site and balanced it between them (stole that idea from Shawn Hogan).  They all made thousands a month  ( $3000-$5000 per person).  It was awesome though because I was 100% hands off.

However I kept the subscription revenue from users to access the forums.  This was my introduction to subscription revenue. at first I charged a flat $20 per year via PayPal.  But after reading some article about price points and psychology I gave options to users offering them different prices based on how they wanted to be billed.

  • Monthly subscription was $5.
  • 6 Months subscription was was $10.
  • 12 Months subscription was $25.

Conversions to subscriptions tripped when I offered these options and 75% of the people took the monthly plan.   At first I thought a lot would just stick for 1 month but on average it was years.   If I told you the exact number per user that paid $5 per month you would not believe me on how much that worked out to.

Between us people keep paying the subscription through Paypal for years after the site wasn’t even available.   Unreal.

Enter Product Sales

Now you have to keep in mind that when this site was at its peak it was at a time when you had to load these ringtones via a serial data cable.  Most people had no idea where to buy these.

So I bought them in bulk from China for .50 and tested various price points ($9.95, $15.95, $29.95).  Conversion wise I forget how the exact numbers broke down but at the price point of $29.95 I was making double the others after it washed out.  Yes .50 sold for 29.95 (I included free shipping o; ).

I hired a local kid to package and ship them for $8 per hour.  Good margins on that.

Revenue from this was not huge compared to the others.  The kid that shipped them only worked about an hour every 2 days so I would say maybe 10-15 per day so just for numbers sake on the low end about 100k extra in profit.

Enter Pay Per Click.

So, as illustrated above,  I had made good money figuring out what people were advertising through Google AdSense via Adwords.  So I started playing with that bidding on keywords driving them to the same affiliate programs that I was making money with.

At first I lost my ass.  I remember losing 1k in my first 30 minutes.  Oups I forgot to set a budget.  I would go on to lose money for the first month or so as I tested the “suggested” keywords Adwords brought up.

I also bought keyword lists that had all the best keywords for the mobile vertical….  still losing my ass.

But then one day it hit me.  WHAT AM I DOING.

Because I had a search button and was getting tens of thousands of searches a day I had my own keyword list on what people were searching for.

But I not only had a keyword list I had THE keyword list.  I had realtime searches and typos of searches.

Now I was cooking with butter.  Between the various search engines (Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo) I was tripling my money.  With the Adwords API I could actually real-time bid on the searches going on.  I also could pull keywords that were not working out dollar wise.  It was awesome.

Other Misc Stuff

This post has mostly focused on my monetization experiences & education.

I learned so much more than what is mentioned in this post.  optimization, conversion, general business stuff (The first year I made over a million dollars H&R Block did my taxes LOL).

The Fall of NextPimp.

In 2007 I got greedy and board with NextPimp.  I was doing a lot more with pay per click and started my own advertising network called AuctionAds.  NextPimp became whats called a “thin affiliate site”.   Over a long period of time the site lost its rankings with Google for some heavy keywords and I sold the site in 2010 after revenue had dropped significantly.

A small part of me regrets letting it die.  But I was on to much bigger things.

The Rise of a Career

In order to make this less of a TL;DR than it already is,  I took the skills NextPimp taught me and went on to do some cool stuff.

The ShoeMoney Brand & Blog – I started in 2002 but nobody really read it until 2005 when I started about what I was learning in the world of making money on the internet.  I never posted the AdSense check publicly until 2007 which of course made the blog explode.  It was only in 2010 that I actually publicly revealed that it was that was giving me all this experience that I was sharing.

The AuctionAds Advertising Network – This started as a service called ShoeMoney Ads.  Basically a network that allowed people to make AdSense like ads on their site but use their own links to Affiliate Programs.  I never charged anyone to use it.  Then we decided to build the network around eBay and collectively leverage a high affiliate payout and pass that on to publishers.  I never took a cut from that.  Paid out 100%.  From that AuctionAds grew and when I say grew it went like a rocket.  By the 2nd month we were doing over 2m in revenue.  This was springboarded from the blog and other connections I had made.  I sold the company 4 months after I started it.  I can’t publicly disclose the exact price.  There are rumors on the internet anywhere from 5 to 20 million.  But again I can’t confirm or deny those.  I will say that when the sale happen every employee that worked for me I gave a million dollars to or more depending on their contribution.  Some got significantly more.

I feel like this would be a never ending huge list.  I have had over 14 registered corporations in the last decade each with its own thing and some of them with many things.

I have sold internet marketing tools, products about how to make money online, a mixed martial arts site, and about 20 other things.

Most recently I sold my email marketing company for 12 million.

So ya its been a crazy 10 years.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

47 thoughts on “The Iconic Google AdSense Check and My 10 Year Journey After”
  1. Motivation!! I never netted the six figures a month so after all these years I’m still looking at that pic from time to time hehe.


  2. You’ve had an excellent career so far and as someone who has been following what you’re doing for the last 7 or so years I can honestly say that you are one of the very few “experts” that I actually pay attention too.

  3. Wow you are a great inspiration!! I love your keeping real attitude! Help me please :0)

  4. Hey man, thanks for sharing your story. I’ve known the image and your name for many years but for some reason today finally made it over to your site to take a gander! I had no idea of what your story was. I’m looking foreard to reading more of your content and watching my own business grow faster and faster!



  5. I completed the ShoeMoney Network training program and I can’t really in words express my gratitude for an actually free training program. I had been struggling with wordpress for years. Thank you!

  6. Hey, shoe money author. I am very much thankful to you for sharing such a useful piece of information with us. This has been really effective and informative to us. This iconic google adsense check is a boom and wonder.

  7. I wish I could drive around on the Internet and make money like you do:).I’m Just not that smart at it, but it’s my life’s desire to learn the computer world, I have a nice computer, a small construction business with my husband I’m the office Manager and half owner, but i have to say my memory is not go to go from here to there on computer, ,can you help me learn, I’m almost 55 yes old and have nothing to do in my office. Our company is not doing well. Due to taxes we haven’t paid, I’m not sure if I should file bankruptcy.we have allot of debt too.I really want to make money online. Thanks, Sheri Garcia of 3G’S Construction Arlington Tx

  8. What an epic story … I know you’ve heard it so many times ShoeMoney, but you are an inspiration to internet entrepreneurs everywhere. Keep rocking man!

  9. 130k pure profit with adsense ! Actually I am very impressed with your report and really want and optimize my blog on SEO to get more visits and have a good result ! Amazing!

  10. One day I come to your Jeremy level ! Congratulations. You serve as an inspiration for me!

    Jhon Carter

  11. Shoemoney doesn’t know me – but his advice changed my life. His article years ago about the “coke effect” how coke found a product – then just made different versions of the same thing. I’ve copied that advice since and have earned over $3m with Adsense in the last 7 years because of it. Thanks shoe! always love reading this post. Wish the blog was more active like it was before.

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  13. Personal, i sure google adsense is CPC best
    but i thinks amazon, CB, jv then adsense alternatives

    dear bro, i hope you always happy

  14. Thank you so much for the important information you provide. I went through your ninja training and it got me inspired-for a while. I wrote a few posts but kind of gave up on it. Now I’m working at it again, trying to improve older posts and learn about marketing. It’s not easy, but I enjoy it. I just wish I could be as successful as you have been!

  15. Magic! You are almost a marketing god on earth friend! HAHA !

    Congratulations on the success and I am following you !

  16. Hi, it was really amazing but it’s hard to believe. We are on this journey and I hope we would get this amount.

  17. I remember your famous check photo very well, it took the internet by storm and also raised a lot of controversy. So many people thought it was fake.

    BTW : you don’t care about the comments here at all? Half of them is spam.

  18. hi, nice story and the information that you have provided is just amazing. I am really inspired by what you have done and what you have achieved. hope to get the same results as you have.

  19. I remember seeing this during the first days of me looking to make money online! 10 years later I do make money online… the freedom is awesome and something I forget to be grateful for.

  20. 130k pure profit with adsense ! Actually I am very impressed with your report and really want and optimize my blog on SEO to get more visits and have a good result ! Amazing!

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