2011 Year in Review – Video!

By Spencer Haws |

Today, I wanted to do something a little bit different.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about some of the major accomplishments that I have made in 2011.  When I look back, it really has been a STELLAR year!  After all, I began 2011 working for someone else, did not even exist, and my business was FAR from where it is now.  The year 2011 really will be a year I remember for the rest of my life.

Here are just a few of the accomplishments that I had last year:

2011 Year in Review Video!

I accomplished several other things as well, but I thought this quick video would be more interesting than just listing what I did last year.  The video is good from the standpoint of giving just a little bit of my history with niche sites over the past year or 2.  In addition, I hope you find it MOTIVATIONAL!

An Old, But Still Relevant Video

In the video above, I reference how lots of my sites were penalized in October 2010.  This was a huge setback for me, but ended up being a blessing in disguise as I show in the video.  However, what I thought you also might find interesting is that I actually made a music video shortly after my sites were penalized.

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In my opinion, its a bit more of a humorous video.  It expresses exactly how terrible I felt when the penalty happened, but also makes me chuckle every time I watch this.  Humor is good medicine!  Anyway, if you are interested, here is a music video I made in about November 2010.

So, if you have a love-hate relationship with Google; trust me…I feel your pain!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the 2011 year in review video.  I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts or comments that you might have to share.

Niche Business Ideas | 90 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

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A very creative and inspiring year end review! I hope I can put into practice what I have learned from you and that 2012 is even more exciting and productive for you than 2011.


Thanks Phil! I hope your 2012 is GREAT!

Trent Dyrsmid

Hey Spencer,

Congratulations on such a terrific year. Not only did you have a ton of success, but you had to battle your way through some adversity to get there. Well done!


james @article builder

Hey Spancer , Great post and video.

I am following you since October and it really awesome milestones you have achieved.One of the biggest achievement of you is that you inspire lots of people including me.

I am a big fan of small affiliate sites but now i have just stared building adsense sites and one of the major reason is the inspiration i got from your blog.I hope one day i started to do blogging and share my experience.


Thanks James…and best of luck!

Bryan @

Just checked out the 2011 review video Spencer. Very inspiring man! I had no idea that you lost the bulk of your income over a year ago. Some people would have stopped right there and walked out.

As I always say – persistence and dedication definitely pays off! Maybe this year you can finally finish off that iPhone app and break into even more different income streams?

Looking forward to following you and your endeavors here in 2012!



Thanks Bryan, yes I did indeed get hit by Google very hard in 2010. Shook it off and moved forward…its paid off nicely. I will indeed be creating an iphone app very soon and will be sharing the progress on the blog!


Wow, that was a great video. I’m sure a lot of people will be asking how you made it. Outsourced I would guess?


Todd – glad you enjoyed the video, I never know how these will be received. Nope, not outsourced. Did it myself! I use a program called Pro Show Producer which I have used for years to create photo music videos for family. I enjoy doing it, but its very time consuming…otherwise I’d do alot more for my blog here.

Vijay | eTechBuzz

that’s really awesome progress!!!
withing a year you achieved so much things and you are always been inspiration to me..

BTW I’m waiting for December earning reports from you 🙂


Vijay, glad to be an inspiration! Here is the only income report I did for December:


And soon, in all theater, the niche pursuits movie !

Well done Spencer, you’re an inspiration for a lot of people, including me.


Lol, yeah I wish!!

Thanks for the feedback…glad you like the video.


the second video is exactly what I feel now… thanks for your video.. make me though and keep moving..

btw, after being banned, do you sign up for adsense with the same name or how?

thanks in advance


Achi – sorry to hear you are struggling with Google. Its not fun. To get another adsense account, I formed a new business (LLC) and registered for the adsense account under the LLC.

Hey Spencer. Thanks for the great video! I have been following you since your older blog and want to thank you for all the great information you share with all of us.



Glad you are still following along Omar!

Boris C.

Congratulations for successful year 2011!

The world changes dynamically Spencer. Are you planning or recommend to aquire valuable metals for the sake of diversity and risk mitigation?

Best 2012!


Hey Boris – I don’t want to get into recommending what people buy as far as precious metals…however, are you watching Gold Rush Alaska? I love that show!


Great video Spencer. I hope to be able to put something similar together at the end of this year if all goes all well. I don’t have to worry about quitting my job though since I happened to get laid off yesterday. 2012 will certainly be an interesting year and I am as motivated as you can be to get it done.


Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear that Ryan! I don’t know what your situation is, but most likely the best thing to do is to start doing everything you can to get another job. In most circumstances, I would never encourage anyway to try and rely on their own business income unless that income was already exceeding their living expenses.

Its probably tough to think about, but your best option is to probably start looking for another job. Unless you already have something amazing already up and running…


Hehe. Ya don’t worry. I’m not going all crazy on niche websites just yet. I’ve got 7 months of severance and already a few leads on some new jobs. It’s just things like this that remind me why I am working on passive income ideas like this and trying to learn from people like yourself.


Man, I hate hear about people losing their jobs. Sounds like you have a good plan and a nice severance that will help. Best of luck!


Great job Spencer. It’s been great following you on the blog but the video really brings out your accomplishments from last year really well. Cheers to a great new year!


Thanks Manyu!


Hey Spencer –

What a fantastic video. Very inspirational. I see you gone through tough times and pulled out of it. That is great to see that you could do that. I really look forward to having some of the level of success as you’ve had. I am constantly working on it myself and will eventually find the same level of success you have found online. I might just take the longer path to success than you did.

Thanks again for the motivational video and I hope 2012 will be the best year yet for you and for myself!


Thanks Michael. I didn’t actaully take a very short path to success though. I started building sites in 2005…so 6 years later I finally was making enough to quit my job. Its a long road typically.

Mary Chicoine

Spencer – congratulations on some very entertaining videos and for your perseverance. Thanks for Niche Pursuits, I always learn something.

Best Regards, Mary C


Thanks Mary!


i’m new one on yourblog, could you write few words , what is a reason why google penalized your sites?



Making money LIKE A BOSS! You’re an inspiration to all of us Spencer. Keep up the great work and wish you all the best in 2012 – to another great year!



Thanks Virli!

A newbie marketer

Awesome video bro, I like the intro maybe could have thrown in some scratching and hip hop beats at the end ..haha

I like it



Yeah, I’ll have to through in some scratches in the next one 🙂


Spencer, did you detail out somewhere what you “thought” caused the Google Slap that you talk about in your video? and what you did differently in your new sites that you rebuilt?


Great videos Spencer ! The 2nd one made me LOL !

I recently overcame some setbacks also, but not anything the Big G did. Some hackers took over some of my sites, then I had problems with hostgator shutting down my sites without warning because of caching issues. I hope Big G leaves me alone, since I already have PTSD due to the hackers and hostgator.

But, like yourself, I am back in the saddle again and keep on keeping on…

2012 is getting off to a good start for me. I hope 2012 is your best yet and for all of us who follow your blog !


Thanks Tom! Best of luck with 2012!

Mike Thomas


I also go hacked. I would suggest using something like Backup buddy or ManageWP to backup your sites.


Thanks Mike,

I now have almost all my blogs saved on a 2 TB external hard drive.

Mike Thomas

Nice work. It’s a nightmare when you get hacked. I actually got hacked when my sites weren’t very special at all. Which means that they will target anyone.

Advice for everyone before it’s too late: backup your sites!

Mike Thomas


It’s great how you came back hard after getting the Google slap. I’m currently building a bunch of niche sites so I hope I can get to your level soon.


Hi Spencer,

I was really curious about your videos. Sadly I’m from germany and your videos are not available in germany due to some music-rights and this *#&% GEMA.
I know it’s a lot of work, but is it possible to create a transcript of the video?

Best regards and thanks for sharing your knowledge


Interesting. I will see what I can do.


Same problem here. I am also from germany. :/
What be cool if you could upload the video to your server or upload it to another video site.



Hi Spenser. A prosperous New Year to you. I got to know about your blog through Pat Flynn the owner of blog and i am grateful to him for recommending your blog to me. Your post inspires me and i appreciate your honesty. I wish you massive success in 2012. Thanks!


I’m fully convinced that Matt Cutts stumbled across your first vid back 2010, realized his mistakes, decided to make amends, and hence the good results in 2011.

Would you recommend I post any preemptive videos to my YT channel to try and ward off any big G slap? I was thinking maybe “Achy Breaky Heart” but I’m open to suggestions.

Jk all kidding aside congrats on a boss year that made you your own boss. Started my journey back in Aug of 2011, and I too got a good feeling that 2012 is gonna be tops.



Yeah, I think Google is watching my videos closely 🙂 . Maybe you should create one, doesn’t appear to hurt!


This is a great year-end post Spencer, thanks for sharing your adventure with us. It keeps me inspired and push on forward! with my niche business. 🙂


Really cool way to share your 2011 journey, I hope 2012 is even better!

Shae Bynes

Just wanted to stop by and say CONGRATS! Definitely a stellar year, my friend 🙂


Thanks Shae!

Jenny Nassour

Huge congratulations Spencer! Videos are great, inspiring and funny 🙂

Its obviously been a tough journey to get to this point. Look forward to supporting your continued growth in 2012!


Thanks Jenny!


My congratulation to you! In 2012 if you can increase your monthly income $10,000 to at least $15,000 then you are a winner. I know that you can do it easily.


I don’t know how easy it will be, but its sounds like a good goal to me!


Dope video Spence!

Go big or go home…2012 here we come!

You’re always a inspiration for everyone who reads your blog, keep it up mannnn!


Hi Spencer

That was a very cool epic production you put on the their!

What happened to the last 37 seconds though!

All the best for 2012. What im personelly looking forward to is to see how you do with amazon.

I know some guys out there selling membership course on adsense slag off amazon. but i dont agree. It can often make a lot more money that adsense. and i easly achieve a higher click through and income on some of my amazon siotes. Especialy when people up buy to $1000 digiatl cameras 🙂



Thanks Steve! Great points…

Sheyi Shobayo

Creative and mind blowing video. I love the pic which covers the face of the second video. You should create a third video and show that the baby is now

Google has been an ass lately and with what I’ve been reading about google, we might soon need to start spending much time on social sites for traffic.


Kent @ Make Extra Money Online

Love your first video and learned that you re-built your Adsense assets in and early 2011.

It proved that this business model and process rocks. I’m thankful that I got your LongTail Pro eBook and it is still my blueprint.

Also love your love and hate relationship with Google and the love song in the 2nd video. 🙂

I do love Google and hope they drive me more traffic to various niche sites. As an end user, I love their web services including Gmail, Google Search, analytics, and Android!


Glad you enjoyed the videos Kent! And the fact that you still have my old ebook makes you unique!


This video is in Germany not allowed! Do you have this video outside of YouTube, too?


A great year it has been for you, Spencer, and I think that what all of us can learn from you is how much effort and conviction it takes to get up once you thought you were beat, how you never gave up, decided to try again (even though Google can be a very picky loved one) and never quit until you made your dream come true.

So let us flow into 2012 on a high, keep our expectations up and our efforts to the max. Thanks for all the inspiration


Hi Spencer, congratulations on your great success!

Unfortunately, I can’t see your video because… wait for this… GEMA hasn’t granted music rights to show the video in Germany. I presume that means that you’re now a published artist and should receive GEMA benefits? lol – can’t wait to hear your next Nr. 1 hit!

Anyway, may 2012 be as great for you as 2011 for you and your family!

Kind regards, Marion


Wow, who knew I had so many German followers. I will have to look at uploading the videos to my own server…


Hey Spencer,

Your success this year isn’t surprising…you consistently put out epic stuff! I’d seen your love/hate video before and got a kick out of it, but love the look back at 2011 video. Man…LTP is absolutely KILLING it there, brother.

Looking forward to a GREAT 2012. I think we’ll be putting out some stuff that compliments yours nicely and looking forward to working together!


2012 should be a great year! Best of luck in your efforts as well Justin!

Joe Case

Hi Spencer, Great videos. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but I guess I didn’t realize you had started it less than a year ago. Inspiring stuff. Congrats on the great year and good luck in 2012. -Joe

Jeff Mendelson

Hi Spencer,

Congrats on your success! Wishing you a very healthy and profitable 2012 and beyond.



Do I hate Google? Oh, yeah. I’ve been watching my sites get bounced around like ping balls for this past year. One day Google loves me, the next day I’m chopped liver. If Google were a guy, I would have sent him packing a long time ago!


I hear you on that Deane!

Chris Guthrie

Spencer, thanks for the great video!

Here is my team’s game plan or structure of 2012 as well as some background (sorry for the novel).

I was laid off from my job in late August 2011 and was my motivation to make Micro-Niche sites my bread-and-butter.

I was luckily only out of work for 12 days so I was distracted between September and November with the new job, but ever since the last week of November my team and I have created over 50 niche sites and are working on our first Amazon site this week.

Our back linking for that first round didn’t start until the first week of December, so we’re still waiting to see how that is going to pan out. We are using the blueprint you laid out in your “Ultimate Backlinking Guide” btw.

My team consists of myself, my wife, and my father-in-law. We all have our job roles. We all do individual keyword research and then come together as a group to make a decision on which 10 (at minimum) keywords we want to pursue in the next cycle. I think this works out great because we all generate seed keywords for or research in different ways which creates a greatly diversified set of sites we are building. And of course we all use Long Tail Pro =)

We are still refining the process and of course it will always change as our lives and the industry changes.

Our goal is create a minimum of 20 new sites every 4 weeks, but now we’re pushing more like 24 sites. By the time 2012 comes to a close we should be able to build over 200 new sites in 2012 alone (taking into account family vacations, holidays, and such).

Since we began we’ve double our earnings month over month. Our first month started at around $5 and we closed out December at $107.80. The trend for January is looking like will not continue our doubling, but we can hope that some of our sites will raise up in the search rankings here in the next week or so.

Our CPC starting around the beginning of January really went down. I’m not sure if this is because in December advertisers pay more for their clicks or what it is. We plan on discussing this tonight in my team’s weekly Thursday conference call. I’ve heard of some phenomenon that one poorly performing site can effect other sites within your adsense account. I can’t think of what this is called. Has anybody ever experienced this?


My CPC is down about 6%, and my RPM is down about 10% from December to January. My views are way up, though, which more than makes up for the difference.

The decreased traffic around Christmas was killer, but after getting over that hump growth rates have resumed a little bit of normalcy.

As long as your keyword research principles are sound, just keep building and the everything will “normal out”



Very cool the way you have set up a team and you guys are tackling niche sites together! I’m sure that keeps everyone both motivated and accountable. Sounds like you have a good plan in place. I do notice that my CPC during the end of the year is much higher than my CPC at the beginning of the year. I think businesses at the end of the year are just trying to blow through their budgets.


Best part: I had no idea that Weezer covered Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart.”


Oh yeah, Weezer rocks it on their Death to False Metal album that came out a year or 2 ago.



Did you ever find out why Google penalized your sites last year?


I believe it was a virus on one of my hosting accounts that came from a vulnerable wordpress plugin that I had not updated.

Wesley Banks

Good stuff Spencer. I think one accomplishment you can add to 2011 is “Helped a lot of people create additional incomes via niche sites.” Thanks for posting such awesome, down to earth content.

Looking forward to an epic 2012!


I hope that is true! I really do hope that I have helped some people create additional income for themselves…


Hi Spencer,
thanks for your creative review of 2011! Very inspiring!


Very inspirational. I hope I can make my 2012 just as successful!

Tom Ewer

Hey Spencer,

Inspiring and amusing videos. If I approach anywhere near your 2011 level of success in 2012, I will be absolutely delighted. I just quit the job that I have held for just over 5 years, so it must be written in the stars 😉




Best of luck Tom!


What’s the music you use in the first video? I played it twice just to hear it again!

Seriously cool (and so was your progress in 2011!)


Its called Royksopp Forever, by Royksopp. One of my favorite groups! I find that song very motivating… Here are some other songs of their you might also like (there are many others):
Happy up Here:

Sean Penney

Wow. Very, very inspiring.

What a great idea to produce a video summary of the year!

It’s interesting how set-backs and catastrophes can have different effects on different people. For some it is the end of the road and others merely a stepping stone to success.

2012 will definitely be a year to remember!!!

Well done Spencer!


Thanks Sean! Glad you enjoyed the video and found it motivating!

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