Thanks for reading today’s income report.
What is the income report? Every month, I will be publishing a month end income report. This monthly report will include all of the income that TradingSchools.Org has generated. In addition, all marketing agreements will be described in exact detail. In my opinion, it is important that the reader fully grasp any potential conflicts of interest, and factor this into there individual decision making.
In addition to any and all marketing agreements, and income disclosures, I will also be publishing a detailed traffic report for TradingSchools.Org. This way, viewers can watch as the audience grows (or shrinks). I wanted to do this because I feel that many readers might be interested in how an online business works and generates revenue as well as how to grow this blog in an ethical manner. There are a lot of opportunities in running an online business, and it is my hope that my blog inspires many of you to start your own blog. In particular, the trading community really needs more blogs and honest conversation regarding trading vendors.
Finally, I will also be publishing an expense report that details every single cost to run the TradingSchools.Org blog. There are a lot of little moving parts that make it work, and you might be surprised at how labor intensive and time consuming this endeavor really is.
On January 1st, 2015 I added Google Adsense advertising to the blog. What is Google Adsense advertising? As you scroll around the TradingSchools.Org blog, you will see ads interspersed throughout the website. Most notably, on the top of every page, you will see an ad. I have no control over these ads, Google places ads inside of these spaces, and they are meant to be tailored to your individual tastes. The following is an example:
How much revenue do these ads generate? And how much traffic does TradingSchools.Org generate?
On January 1, 2015, I began including Adsense on the blog. There are approximately 4 ads that Google populated on the site. The following chart is a screen shot that I took from the Google Adsense account module. The chart expresses the ad revenue in terms of daily income. As you can see, the first few months were pretty meager. Mainly .50 cents a day, and a few $1.00 days. However, in July things started to pick up and the blog averaged about $5 each day. In August, about $10 day. And now for September the daily income is about $18 per day.
Since inception, the blog has generated $1,300 in Adsense revenue. Details below:
Also, as you can see above, the TradingSchools.Org website, since January 1, 2015 has gotten 248,599 page views and 817,258 impressions. What does this mean? This simply means that 248,599 pages have loaded TradingSchools.Org onto the browser of a person’s computer. The impressions of 817,258 represent the amount of times that a Google ad has loaded onto the browser of a person’s computer. Why more impressions than page views? Because on some pages, there might be 3 google ads, therefore the higher number of overall impressions.
Since July 2015, the TradingSchools.Org web traffic has really been exploding. Apparently, word is getting out and people enjoy reading the reviews. However, with this added audience comes added responsibility. I feel like the moment has arrived where I need to be fully transparent about EVERYTHING. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome.
From Day 1, I felt like the most important disclosure was my criminal history. Its ugly. If you have not read about my past, then you should stop now and read the “Warning” page. This will take you to a pretty bad place and should scare the hell out of you. Its important that I disclose this and talk openly and honestly about this period of my life. At that time in my life, I would consider myself one of the worst stock swindlers of my generation. A prison sentence, time and reflection has given me a unique perspective on fraud and how it relates to human nature. In order for TradingSchools.Org to achieve the goal of bringing transparency to an industry rife with fraud, corruption and misdirection, then I needed to become the very thing that this industry needs most. I needed to fully embrace and embody honesty, sincerity, transparency, and a belief that good always conquers evil. This might sound corny, but its my core philosophy. OK, continuing on with full transparency.
The next marketing agreement that I want to talk about is with TradingMission.com.
I wrote a review back on January 31st, 2015 and the review went viral pretty quickly. I next contacted Carlos Diaz about promoting his trading service to my readers. We agreed that he would pay me 25% of gross sales. I have to admit, I was really nervous recommending the service because now the stakes were real. If people read my review, and signed up, and then Carlos started to do the wrong thing then my audience would suffer and be hurt. And so, before I decided to go forward with the deal, I needed to put my own money where my mouth was. I then started trading his service with my live, real money account. Almost immediately I began to notice inconsistencies in how Carlos was reporting trades. In short, the reported trades on his website were no longer accurate. I wrote a updated review here that describes the experience. Subsequently, I began receiving emails from subscribers detailing the problems that they were having. Mainly in the reporting of trades. I contacted Carlos with these complaints and was hopeful that he would right the ship. However, when he refused to show me live account statements to verify the trading performance, then I knew I had to pull the plug. In total, I made exactly one sale promoting TradingMission.com, over a one day test period. And if I knew whom that person was that subscribed, I would send him or her their money back. The total income was $90. Lesson learned.
Ok, next I would like to talk about Jason Love at OilTradingGroup.com.
I originally wrote a review about Jason and the Oil Trading Group back in 2014. You can read the original review here. Initially, I was very cautious about Jason. However, after watching him trade for a couple of months, he really won me over. And it really helped that he opened up to me about his personal trading performance. This was the first time that I got to see how a large trader conducted himself. Going over his account statements was both elating and horrifying. I got to see some huge trades reap massive profits and some others that are just plain gut wrenching. Lets just say that Jason is plenty comfortable with risk, and he is supremely confident with his trading approach. My own experiences in watching him trade and recording his trading inspired me to write a follow up review on May 27, 2015. You can read that follow up here. One of the things I like about Jason is that he has been able to get 8+ people through the TopStepTrader combine, and he has passed that combine several times himself. In addition, he has been one of the most successful traders, in terms of real money earners at TopStepTrader. In short, I have had a really good working relationship with Jason, and I really like him personally. But, I did not form any sort of marketing agreement with Jason until very recently…that began on September 1, 2015.
Why did I wait so long before I formed a marketing agreement with Jason Love and the Oil Trading Group? In short, Jason was trading in such size and scale that the vast majority of the people that were subscribing could not replicate his trading. It was not uncommon to watch Jason have a 30K up month, followed by a $15k drawdown, but these figures are based upon larger contract size per trade. Considering that the average futures trading account is $15k, how could a person replicate Jason without blowing out his account? This was a problem. And so Jason and I agreed that he would establish a new, live trading account with only $15k in beginning capital. This account would be traded in the live trading room, and it would be tracked and recorded. Only by doing this was I comfortable in making sure that the audience could replicate Jason’s trades. I feel like I worked out a pretty good deal for the audience, in return Jason has agree to pay TradingSchools.Org a referral fee of $30 for each trial member sign up. The agreement has only been in effect for a month, but I have now generated $210 in income from the marketing agreement with the Oil Trading Group. This agreement is also very informal, so if you sign up for a trial of his trading room, please make sure that you mention TradingSchools.Org. The income keeps the lights on, and fresh reviews flowing.
Next, lets talk about TopStepTrader.com
TopStepTrader reached out to me this past May, 2015 and requested that I write a review. Their business model is to allow traders to pay a monthly fee to trade on a trading simulator. If the person reaches a minimal performance threshold, trading on a simulator, then TopStepTrader would award the person a real money trading account. There are certainly many that have legitimate criticism regarding the TopStepTrader business model. However, they are the only legitimate opportunity within this trading space. Yes, TopStepTrader makes a killing on combine fee’s, and many of the combine graduates quickly crash and burn with their live trading accounts, however this is the only bonafide company within this space. In my opinion, it is very important that this company succeeds. If the model works well, then others will form legitimate companies to compete with TopStepTrader and this will create a more liberal performance environment for all traders that need funding. With this in mind, I agreed to write a positive review regarding TopStepTrader. My review is littered with affiliate links. If you read the review and click the affiliate link, and then sign up for a trading combine then TradingSchools.Org receives a commission for each new customer. How much does TradingSchools.Org receive? I am embarrassed to say that I am not really sure! Perhaps I should of asked. Honestly, I just want this company to succeed so badly that I was willing to work for free.
To date, I have earned $0 from TopStepTrader. However, my review is ranked number one on Google search, and a massive amount of people currently read the review daily. My link tracking statistics show a huge amount of click through’s. And I find it really shady that not one of the thousands of people that click do not purchase. I think what is happening is that TopStepTrader also has a bunch of coupon sites offering $20 in reduced combine fee’s. The coupon sites are basically stealing my traffic. Which is annoying for sure. I contacted TopStepTrader and they have been very accommodating and offered to pay me a monthly advertising fee which I refused. Instead I agreed to accept an offer where any TradingSchools.Org reader will get a exclusive code that allows the reader to the first month of any trading combine at zero cost. Its an amazing deal. Better to pass the savings onto the readers. This is a amazing deal for the readers or anyone thinking of joining TopStepTrader, use my affiliate code and your first month of a fully operational trading combine will cost you absolutely nothing. Absolutely zero risk or cost. Please contact me directly for the coupon code. My direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully, at some point we can start generating a profit on TopStepTrader. But for now, not a penny.
Ok, finally my last marketing agreement: B12Trader.com
Several months ago, a reader sent me a request to review B12Trader.com. This is Jasen Baker’s website, and you can read the review here. The B12Trader website is a relatively new website that swing trades ETF stocks from a global macro perspective. Yes, the track record was a little light, and I provided a detailed overview of all of these issues. However, I had many very open and honest conversations with Jasen Baker and he made me feel very comfortable in recommending his service to TradingSchools.Org readers. In fact, I signed up myself and take each of the trades. I dont trade huge size, but I feel very confident in Jasen’s trading. The review describes everything in detail. This is the type of service that I would recommend to my mother. With this in mind, I agreed to a marketing agreement with Jason, which is also very clearly described and disclosed in the original review. The agreement calls for TradingSchools.Org to receive a commission of 25% of the gross sales from each client, for the life cycle of the client.
It has now been one month since this agreement went into effect. To date, TradingSchools.Org has earned a net of $1,472.02 in earning for the month of September, 2015. To date, after all of these months of toiling with this blog, writing and researching, recording videos and watching videos, I have finally gotten a glimmer of profitability.
Hopefully, Jasen Baker of B12Trader.com can keep up doing what a good job and we can continue to grow his subscriber base and get him the exposure that he certainly deserves.
Ok, so if you have gotten this far, then perhaps you can go a little further. To recap, September is the first month that the blog has actually made anything significant. The income for September is as follows:
- Google Adsense $489.91
- Oil Trading Group $210.00
- Top Step Trader $0
- B12 Trader $1,472.02
Total gross income for September, 2015 is $2,171.93.
Ok, so now that we gone over the monthly income. Lets now go over the monthly expenses.
TradingSchools.Org Monthly Expenses
TradingSchools.Org has three employees. Reyna, Cesar, and myself. The business runs as follows, everyday Cesar remotely logs into one of 6 different live trading rooms, using 6 different computers. The computers are housed at my residence and Cesar uses screen sharing software to control each machine. His job is to gain access to each of the trading rooms using different aliases, and then record the live trading activity using Camtasia screen recording software. On any given day, he will typically record 20 hours of video footage. Once the videos are captured, he then converts the video into MP3 format, which can be played back at 2 X’s the original speed without loss of sound quality or distortions. He also runs a program that attempts to convert as much of the audio portion of the video into written word. This can be really helpful because if the video contains subtitles, this allows a clearer interpretation. Cesar’s job is to get the videos converted and ready for review.
Cesar currently works from his home in the Philippines. He is also a full time college student and the TradingSchools.Org job currently consumes 4 hours each day of time. I am currently paying Cesar $300 each month as a part time employee. Cesar speaks fluent English and is working on his degree in aeronautical engineering. He is a very sharp young man.
After the videos are collected, they are then organized and stored on a single server. At this point, Reyna and myself will typically spend 5 hours each, every day of the week reviewing the footage. As the videos are reviewed, we edit and make notations inside of the videos. We look for things like a trading DOM, trading from the charts, evidence of account statements, but mostly we look at deception and fraud. In fact, you would be amazed at the amount of fraud and chicanery that we witness inside of these trading rooms. Currently, I pay Reyna $800 each month to help with this labor intensive portion of the business. Reyna speaks perfect English, in fact, she has spent a good portion of the last 15 years working in call centers in Manila, Philippines. She has been with me, as a full time employee for 6 months, and I consider her to be irreplaceable. She enjoys the job because she gets to stay at home with her kids.
The final piece of the puzzle is myself. I don’t take a salary. In fact, I have lost money on this project since day one. But maybe at some point I can get this blog earning enough to keep afloat. Time will tell. Anyway, my job is to craft the reviews from my unique perspective, and attempt to not put the audience to sleep.
Other than Reyna and Cesar, I have the following expenses related to this blog: web hosting fee’s of $125 per month, Wistia video hosting at $20 each month, and $400 a month for a web security company that helps me run background checks on trading room vendors as well as network snooping tools.
- Reyna $800 monthly
- Cesar $300 monthly
- Myself $0 monthly
- Web hosting $125 monthly
- Video hosting $20 monthly
- Web Security/Snooping Tools $400 monthly
Total expenses for September $1645.
For the month of September, the TradingSchools.Org blog earned a net income of $528. Many of you reading this probably find this laughable, but in fact this is the very first month that the blog actually earned an income. Prior to September the blog had an average monthly loss of $1,300. Yes, you are reading this correctly, for the past 9 months I have lost money on this blog to the tune of -$10,400.
As you are reading this, now you perhaps get a better understanding of the brutal economics of attempting to bring transparency to an industry that sorely needs it. Keep in mind that for every bad review that I write, this is yet another enemy that I make and the pool of potential marketing partnerships shrinks further.
The road ahead.
Going forward, if I can maintain the current levels of monthly income, I will be hiring an additional writer on November 1st, 2015. This will double the amount of reviews that the blog is currently outputting. I do my best to publish two, very well researched reviews each week. However, with an additional writer, then I can get a new review published nearly every single day. This will allow me to cover much more ground, as well as do more update reviews on previously reviewed products, this helps to insure that vendors keep up to date, transparent, and honest.
Well that is it for today. Sorry this post is do darn long. I promise that next month, the income and expense report will be ultra short and to the point. However, for this initial income report, I wanted the audience to understand the economics of this venture. Don’t forget to leave your comments below. This would be a great time to express your opinions regarding any and all marketing agreements.