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February 2017 Income Report: Living in Penguin 🐧 World, Working with VAs, New Amazon Affiliate Rates

In this blog, I write about what I am doing to create various income streams that come from online endeavors. The monthly income reports detail my results.

Why am I sharing my income publicly? I hope to gain trustworthiness with you and to keep some degree of accountability for myself.

The reports motivate me. I tend to forget my small achievements… and reports like this one won’t let me do it 🙂 Apart from that, they help me to remember how much I have already invested. It’s a motivation to push even harder!

Read on February 2017 Income Report – this is my income report #18 and the second report for 2017.

What Happened In February

Penguin 🐧 penalties here and there

I think two of my websites were hit by a new update of the Penguin 🐧.

Penguin 🐧 is a name of a Google algorithm that aims at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that use black hat backlink building techniques. This version of Penguin 🐧 is 4.0 and its difference from the previous updates is that the algorithm now works in real time mode. It means that new websites with spammy backlink profiles should never get high ranking in the first place.

First of the affected websites is, sadly, Elephant 🐘 Website.

I noticed a decrease in traffic revenue a while ago, in November-December 2016. Back then, I thought the reason was a competition. Someone carbon-copied my website and brought it to the 1st page using black-hat link building techniques. Now I can see that my black-hat competition got down as well – but my traffic did not bounce back.

My website does not have that many spammy backlinks. I actually think it just does not have enough backlinks in general and that’s why several bad ones hurt so much.

Rat 🐀 Website seems to get affected, too.

I think the Hoth packages I bought are the reason. Hoth packages seem to produce backlinks from very thin websites that are a perfect target for Penguin 🐧 4.0.

One of the packages I bought was Hoth Mini. This one was, in fact, a waste of money: 2 out of its 3 “authority” websites disappeared over time. However, now I am pretty happy they are gone 🙂

For this website, I also bought 5 links from Lightning Rank. I do not know yet whether they are now considered to be spammy or not… Something to investigate.

My plan of action

Obviously, I need to clean low-quality backlinks and replace them with high-quality ones. The best (and maybe only) way to do it is to disavow the bad links (here’s how I do it manually) and do guest posting to gain good ones.

Apart from that, I decided to take care of anchor text and started following the steps described in the AhRef article Case Study: How Penguin 4.0 Has Affected Anchor Text Optimization.

I am doing it only for Elephant 🐘 Website for the moment.

Guest posting takes quite a lot of time. Of course, my VAs find blogs that accept guest posts. And my writers write the said posts.  Still, there is a lot of work left. The outreach, topic proposal, closing the proposal – it’s all on me.

The hardest part of the task is communicating with bloggers. Since I am a typical nerdy introvert 😀 (though the one that does people management for a living) it requires a mental effort to communicate to humans on a massive scale. For me, it is easier building PBNs than talking to strangers.

No wonder I need to force myself. I was planning to start guest post outreach in January… and got my first guest post backlink only on the last day of February 😹 Noooot easy!

Working With VAs

In February, I simultaneously worked with two virtual assistants.

One of the VAs was the same I hired in January (and I complained about him in my previous income report.)

The second one… I found him through my blog. Well, rather, he found me 🙂 The guy stumbled upon my blog and read that I was about to start looking for a new VA. He wrote me an email offering his services. I decided to give it a try and so far, I am not disappointed 🙂

This time, I set up clear expectations about working schedule right up front. Every week we work together at a certain time we decided upon in advance. I am still training him but it is not a very intense process. I can still do my stuff in parallel while answering his questions.

So far so good 🙂

For the previous VA, his contract is paused at the moment. I have not decided yet what to do… Should I cancel his contract? Or keep two VAs at the same time… need to decide soon.

New Amazon Affiliate Rates

I think pretty much every blog (at least, the ones I ‘m reading) wrote about new Amazon affiliate rates.

For the ones of you who have not heard of it yet, listen to a podcast on Authority Hackers. The new affiliate rates are posted on this page of Amazon Affiliate Program.

How did the change affect me? In a very positive way!

90% of purchases done through my Amazon links belong to the categories Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden. It’s the second top category in terms of new earnings.  From March, I will be (and already am) getting 8% commission straight out of the door. Before, the max commission tier I ever reached was 7.5%. I think my Amazon income should now increase by 150-170%. Not too bad! At least, some compensation for the dropped traffic.


In February, I did testing of some old domains I bought in the very beginning of my PBN journey. Back then, I had a very vague idea about how good and cheap domains look like. I had acquired a bunch of crap and eventually let almost all of them go.

I tested 2 domains out three that were left from the big purging. Surprisingly, both are still good! 🙂

Apart from that, I put my PBN efforts on a mild pause. I am too busy with guest posting efforts. Alas.


In February, I backed one business while none of the businesses finished their consignments during this month. February must be slow for everybody.

I backed  Glamour Dolls Makeup with their Glamour Dolls Makeup ❤ Lisa Frank Collection campaign. They have not yet paid their previous consignment where I am a backer. But I believe they will succesfully deliver on both contracts!

If you want to try it out yourself, sign up with my referral to get $5 credit to start backing Kickfurther businesses.

Personal Life

February was a bit of stressful month for me.

Google Penguin 🐧  affected my mood quite a lot. I keep reminding myself that this is a great learning experience and that failures make me move my ass and not successes. It helps. Sometimes.

At work, I still act as a team lead without having an official title. The title is not very important for me but it is always a reminder that the top people are still in the process of making the decision.

Apart from that, the work is fine. As usual, we have tons of food in the office. On Fridays, we have a free salad + cheese bar. On Wednesdays, we have free bagels + salmon. While devouring on salad, cheese, and fish, I try not to eat bagels. Carbs are not good for a waistline, especially such tasty ones as fresh soft bagels!

Here’s me at work with a salad.

february 2017 income report me and salad

Here’s again me with a salad and a colleague of mine.

february 2017 income report me and salad

Apart from that, February pleased us Montrealers with a relatively good weather – especially, by the end. We got 11C (51F) with the sun. It felt like a real spring!

Now, let’s look at the numbers!


February expenses were higher comparing to the other months because my VAs worked a lot. It means my business is growing and it makes me feel satisfied 🙂

Expense Amount Notes
Outsourced writing $68.45 Ordered new articles
Outsourced VA $140.69 Outsource some work to a VA
Heatmap tool $20.00 Paid for 2 LuckyOrange accounts
E-marketing and tools $50.92 Paid for stock photos and a cheap access to AhRef, Majestic, plus some other tools
PBN domains $9.99 Did not register any new domains for PBN (I use Domain Hunter Gatherer to mine expired domains)
PBN hosting $45.81 Paid for Easy Blog Networks, an awesome solution for PBNs (read my review), Bulk Buy Hosting (here's my review), and some 1-dollar hosting
KickFurther $105.70 Re-invested the paybacks received before
Total $411.60


In terms of income, February was a bit better than January.

Elephant 🐘 Website is going up due to the approaching high season.

I sold a link on one of my old blog posts to a company that offers money transfer from U.S. to Canada.

Also in February, I found out that my Buy Bulk Hosting affiliate account got some money. I never looked at it before and was caught by surprise when received a You Got Money notification from PayPal. The sales were made back in 2016. But since I found out about them only in February, I added it to my February income.

Income Amount Notes
Amazon by Elephant Website $126.47 Revenue from the 1st website I bought
AdSense by Elephant & Horse Websites $360.99 Revenue from two websites
Amazon by Rat Website $11.04 Revenue from the website built by Human Proof Designs; check their website to see if you can get a ready made niche website for yourself
Ads by Rat Website $0.00 I monetize Rat Website through media.net
Amazon by Honeybee Website $0.00 Revenue from the website I am building myself
Other affiliate $99.64 Sales for Easy Blog Networks and Bulk Buy Hosting
Human Proof Designs $0.00 Affiliate sale for Human Proof Designs
KickFurther $68.67 Online investments paid back; read more in my post about Kickfurther
Interest $3.02 Earned interest from extra money stashed on a high earning saving account
Total $555.62

(Read here to find out what website nicknames mean)


Here are my totals for February 2017.

Total income $555.62 minus total expenses $411.60 makes a net profit of $144.02.

Here is the chart with my revenue vs expenses for the last 12 months. It does not include my big investment in June 2016 when I bought some cryptocurrency.

february 2017 income report revenu expenses chart

March 2017 Plans

In March, I plan to do pretty much the same things as in February.

I will be doing guest post outreaches for Elephant 🐘 Website and maybe will start doing it for Rat 🐀 Website.

If I have time, I will keep working on my PBN and keep buying more expired domains.

I may also try to bump up an income from my blog. I want to create a page with a list of tools I am using. It will help my blog visitors as well as myself to know at any moment where my money is going to.  It’s hard to keep it all in my mind.

And of course, I will try to write about my experience in the blog! Since I am not sure when I will post the next post… stay tuned by subscribing to my emails!

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Some of the links in this income report are affiliate links. I will receive a small fee if you choose to buy after clicking on any of these links. Thank you if you do!

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