Joel Comm is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and social media expert. He has sold a company to Yahoo, hosted and co-produced the Internet reality show, The Next Internet Millionaire, and has over 65,000 twitter followers. His best-selling books include The AdSense Code and Twitter Power.
What inspired you to write your New York Times best-selling book, The AdSense Code?
The AdSense Code came about from my own success with that. I didn’t set out to write a book. I had content sites of my own- in fact my first site launched in 1995- and I had been monetizing the site a number of different ways. AdSense came on the scene in 2003. I failed miserably at it initially and, in 2004, I cracked the code. I had been doing a lot of different testing, with my AdSense placements, colors, and block sizes, and started to see substantial revenue. I was making over five hundred dollars a day with AdSense and teaching some friends and associates how they could do the same. Someone suggested to me that I write an ebook. In 2005, January of that year, the first edition of my ebook came out and I put a price of about $77 on it. I thought if this thing sells $10,000 in a year, I’m going to be thrilled. I sold that much the first week. And it just took off from there. A second edition followed, invitations to speak and teach others – it just became a phenomenon. In November 2005, I met David Hancock in Morgan James Publishing and…he suggested we turn it into a traditionally published book… Great fun too, because the book did come out the same weekend as the Da Vinci Code…in the movies and if you look at the cover you’ll see that it was a spoof of the Da Vinci Code.
You reached a limit of 5,000 friends on your facebook page and subsequently started a fan page, where I notice over 11,000 people liked your postings. You have over 65,000 followers on twitter. To what do you attribute your success in drawing people in to hear what you have to say?
I think it’s all about providing value. I have a track record and a reputation for being an innovator, being creative, being willing to take risks, to fail, and be forthcoming with failures…If you’re going to fail, fail fast. Rip the bandage off…scream and let it out and move on to the next thing… (I ask myself) am I following a trend or a fad, or am I staying true to my passion and the road that I need to be on? Authenticity is the key.
You were the host and co-producer of the world’s first competitive Internet reality show, The Next Internet Millionaire, which aired exclusively on the Internet. Can you tell why you chose to air it exclusively online?
It wasn’t for (lack of trying to) take the show afterwards and bring it to cable TV. We certainly tried to do that… and Bravo told us it was too intelligent for their audiences. I’m actually speaking to people now(about a second season) and think the timing is right… Were I to do a second season of the show, and if a television producer wanted to do it, I would do less of a marketing approach and more of an online business approach.
This is Part One in a series of three articles based on my interview with Joel Comm. Watch for Part Two to hear what he has to say about the value of traditional book publishing and how relationship-building affects success online.
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