That ain't workin', that's the way you do it!

I received this yesterday:

From: [redacted]
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2012 20:49:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dan's Data Page

Hello Dan,

I came across your website,, this evening. I have been considering doing something like this for awhile. I was wondering if you would be willing to share with me how succesful it has been? I am trying to save enough money and invest it so I can live off of dividend payouts. My goal is to be able to be home with my family as much as possible. I have a target of atleast 100k and have managed to to save about 40k on my own thus far. It will takes years however to complete my goal on my own. I need a way to boost my savings. Please help.

[name redacted]

I always wonder how these people come to e-mail me. I've had two this week. I suppose they find my contact-and-donation page, which is titled "Give Dan Money For No Very Good Reason!", and... that's all they read, before clicking the e-mail link.

Because otherwise, they'd notice that people occasionally drop a buck or two in my tip jar because I, you know, wrote a load of stuff, on a very wide range of subjects.

Perhaps I've got this guy all wrong, and what he wants to do is start a Web site and slog away at it for a decade and make money that way. I suspect, however, that he, like the others who more clearly express their desire that I share my money-making secrets, just reckons I must be some kind of expert Internet panhandler. The contact/donation page scores really high in a Google search for "give me money"; I think a search like that is usually where these people come from.

When one of these correspondents seems to have two brain cells to rub together I direct them to my reply to this letter, in which I explain why people occasionally give me money. But all you really need to do is actually read the donation page, on which can be found subtle hints that it is not quite the only page on Dan's Data.

It'd make more sense if these e-mails were widely-copied scattershot spam, but they never seem to be. (Or, at least, Googling a string from them never turns up copies elsewhere.) Even the ones that include a sob story and ask me to send some of my presumed riches to them on account of how their son only has a burlap sack full of leaves for a body, or something, appear to have been typed in by an actual human and sent to only a few recipients, and quite possibly only to me.

I suppose sending spur-of-the-moment e-mails to someone who might know about getting strangers to send you money for nothing is a better wealth-generation strategy than just visualising money really hard and waiting for your Ultra Advanced Psychotronic Money Magnet to kick in.

I think you'd probably do better by just sending out PayPal money requests at random, though.

(The people I get PayPal money requests from almost certainly find me via the contact/donation page, too. Only seldom does someone really put in some effort.)

5 Responses to “That ain't workin', that's the way you do it!”

  1. Max Says:

    Well, they could always simply try playing the guitar on the MTV, I guess...

  2. Chazzozz Says:

    The contact/donation page scores really high in a Google search for "give me money"; I think a search like that is usually where these people come from.

    Currently it's sitting at only number two on the search results page. I reckon if we all click the link to the search we can bring it up to number one! w00t!

    Hmmm...maybe that will result in a deluge of SEO spam, too...

  3. Fallingwater Says:

    I'll use this post to ask you something I've been wondering for quite some time.

    Do you think a single, low-expense person can actually, really make a living with a site such as yours in 2012? I'm talking referrals, sponsorships and such, not living off donations (not that I'd mind, but I think you'd need a Wikipedia-like amount of readers, and possibly Jimmy Wales' creepy face, to pull that off).

    I ask because I, um, have a site such as yours (and I'd lie if I said I didn't take inspiration from you), but I've updated it so rarely it isn't really causing the series of tubes to take much interest in it. This was not at all unexpected; I'd need a lot more content for it to start registering.

    I've toyed with the idea of turning my site into an independent work-from-home revenue-producing activity since I started it, but with user reviews popping up everywhere, and with Chinese products and knockoffs having made the market of gadgets noticeably more complex to sift through, I'm not sure referral links and such would generate much revenue at all. For instance, I have a referral account on DX; it's made me enough money to buy a pack of gum. If I had a hundred times the readership a hundred packs of gum would still not be very much money at all.

    The site is also horribly designed, but I consider that a lesson in trusting budding webdesigners who promise free site rebuilds for advertisement and forget all about it halfway through. I'm currently looking to WordPress the whole thing so I can run it entirely by myself.

  4. Major Malfunction Says:

    There was that guy that sold pixels...

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