Success Story: Mel Strocen
by Kevin Bidwell
Mel Strocen is one impressive guy. In the last eight years
he has gone from a hobby to an online publishing empire of
a dozen websites and hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Mel was kind enough to answer some questions for me about
his success and how you can imitate his methods for your
1. How long have you been working online?
Since about 1995. I launched my first website, Jayde.com, a
search engine and web directory, in 1996. Initially, Jayde
was little more than a hobby but, as traffic and interest
grew, it began to take up more and more of my time.
2. Is working online your full-time job?
It is now and has been since 1999. Before that I worked at
a full-time job unrelated to the Net and worked online
evenings and weekends.
3. What sites do you own/operate and what is the focus of
Currently, my company Jayde Online, Inc., owns and/or
operates a dozen websites with more on the drawing board.
Five of those sites are web search engines, those being
ExactSeek.com, Aesop.com, Best-SearchEngine.com,
SitesOnDisplay.com and OnSeek.com. Two, SiteProNews.com and
AllBusinessNews.com, are newsletter sites and focus on
webmaster and online business related topics respectively.
The remaining sites are a mixed bag:
EzineHub.com - newsletter directory and search engine
GoArticles.com - articles directory and search engine
FreewareFind.com - directory of top-rated freeware
applications FreeWebSubmission - free online submission
service RegisterAtSearchEngine.com - similar to
4. What were you doing before you were working online?
I worked in the property management industry as a Regional
Manager for 20 years. The job involved a wide spectrum of
duties, ranging from advertising and promotion to hiring
and supervising staff for commercial and residential
properties across Canada and the U.S.
5. What prompted you to start your online business(es)?
Well, there was no one defining moment that I can look back
to. It was more of a slow evolution where one thing led to
another. As mentionned, I started my first website,
Jayde.com, as a hobby. As traffic and interest grew, I
began to give serious thought to how I could benefit from
the site's increasing popularity. Back then, the Internet
was still in its infancy and advice on making money online
was scarce. Once I came up with a strategy that I believed
would generate some revenue, I quit my job and started
working online full-time.
6. You have some of the most visited real-estate online.
How did you create such a huge amount of traffic?
One of the first things I learned online is that success on
the Internet, whether you define it in terms of money,
traffic or popularity, is all about numbers. Building and
retaining traffic remains the number one challenge for all
websites regardless of size. My approach to creating
traffic is based on the implementation of 3 simple steps:
Step #1: Creating and maintaining quality website content.
Step #2: Developing, maintaining and leveraging online
business relationships. Step #3: Using low or no
cost promotion methods such as ad swaps, link
exchanges, recirculation of traffic, discussion
forums, articles, and press releases.
A great deal could be said about each of these steps but,
in brief, they summarize the traffic building strategy I've
used on my websites.
7. How many subscribers do you have to your various
The number varies, but right now I believe it's somewhere
between 700,000 and 800,000 subscribers.
8. What were some of the keys to getting so many
In general, the key is in the steps outlined above.
Specifically, our web search engines have been the primary
source for subscribers. Search engines attract webmasters
who are trying to gain greater exposure for their websites.
We try to provide that to them and then offer them
additional information through our newsletters.
9. What is the biggest break/smartest strategy you have
The smartest strategy has probably been creating websites
that complement and support each other. Our search engine
and newsletter websites are an example of this. Basically,
it's an in-house linking strategy. Instead of relying
solely on external link relationships to build traffic, we
created our own internal and circular traffic flow.
10. What is your biggest mistake?
Well, there have been many, but I would have to say that my
biggest mistake was buying opt-in email addresses to jump
start the SiteProNews newsletter. A huge waste of money,
although it seemed like a good idea at the time. The
attrition rate was in the 95% range. The experience soured
me on lead generation programs, safe lists and similar
11. Who do you look up to online?
I'm not sure I "look up" to anyone, but I certainly admire
a number of people. Some I know personally and others by
reputation only. Some I admire for their creativity and
innovative thinking, others for their drive and hard work.
A few of the names that come to mind are Jim Daniels, Mark
Joyner, Shelley Lowery, Mike Banks Valentine, Mike Chen,
Bruce Whitehead, and Jim Wilson who recently passed away.
Do you have any "mentors"?
No, I can't say that I do but, in the last 8 years, I have
shared ideas with many of the great innovators on the Web,
some of whom I've mentionned above.
12. If someone were just starting out today, what advice
would you give them in order to be successful?
My advice would be that creative thinking, networking and
hard work are still the keys to success on the Net. No
other medium in the world evolves as quickly or offers such
tremendous opportunities for the dissemination of new
ideas. The Internet is the perfect vehicle for innovators
to present new technology, services, products, programs and
concepts to the masses. Anyone with a modicum of optimism
and entrepreneurial spirit should be taking this vehicle
for a drive.
I have put together a small eBook with the inspiring
stories of those who are succeeding online. You can grab
your own copy of it here:
Kevin Bidwell is owner of http://www.all-in-one-business.com
Kevin just finished a complete report on building a passive
income. Grab your copy here:
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