Real World Examples of the $5,000 Hour


I remember reading a while go about the five thousand dollar hour, where you spend an hour working on an idea that will earn you an extra $5K over the space of the year. I quite like that sort of hourly rate and have been fortunate to of had four such hours in the last year. So that’s an extra $20K for 4 hours work, if only every hour was that productive.

All 4 ideas were small tweaks and additions to my main site Coolest Gadgets and can easily be replicated on other sites.

Automatic Site Translation

I found about this over on Digital Point, a very simple script that automatically translates your site into different languages. I spent just over an hour tweaking the script from an SEO perspective.

Once fully installed my indexed page count shot through the roof and search engine traffic was pretty good to my foreign pages (admittedly the automatic translation was crap but that wasn’t the point). In the 8 months it was up the addition pages generated at least $7K of additional profit (maybe more but the other revenue streams I couldn’t track separately as easily).

I’ve had to remove the script from CG now as it got blocked by Google for automated queries, you can see it in action on one of my other sites SoftSift, just click the flags on the left hand side.

Time to implement: ~ 1.5 hours
Annual Revenue: $7K+

Improved Search Monetization
The blogging platform that we use here and on CG is WordPress, it has a lot of cool features built in and can be improved by plug-ins. One such plug-in is search meter which lets you monitor what people and search for and do a few other cool things.

I based my modification off this, did a bit of work on the SEO (search engine friendly URLs, title tags, bit of bold keywords etc.) and now whenever anybody does a search a new page is dynamically created and added to the site.

With my modified script I can now automatically create pages targeted at any key phrase so say I want a relevant page about Linux gadgets, I just need to do the search Linux gadgets.

The final monetization part of this $5,000 hour was how the Adsense is integrated, it’s right at the top of the search results and should display relevant links based on what was searched for.

Time to implement: < 1 hour
Annual Revenue: $8K+

Displaying More Ads on Older Posts

CG has a very tech savy audience and displaying too many ads is going to put people off, one answer I found to this is to display additional ads on older pages. So on all pages that are older than a week or so I also display Kontera ads (those are the links with two underlines). This way regular visitors can read the fresh content without too many ads whilst older posts which generally get more search engine traffic will be fully monetized.

Time to implement: < 1/2 hour
Annual Revenue: ~$5K+ (newish so estimated)

Automatic Affiliate Links

As CG is focused on gadgets and consumer electronics a lot of the things we write about are on sale around the Net and the same stores often pop up again and again (Think Geek, Firebox, Amazon, Hammacher, etc.). By writing a script to convert all appropriate links to affiliate links my writers and I can just post normal links and everything is done in the back end.

Doing this I’ve sold all sorts of things that I’d never of dreamed about creating an affiliate link for, e.g. stormtrooper outfit, Deflexion the laser game and a very odd muscle trainer.

Time to implement: ~ 1 hour but ongoing as more affiliate stores are added
Annual Revenue: ~$5K+

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. @ the Trooper Costume: Clearly you underestimate the Dark Side of the Force!

    At £1299.95 they are a bit steep but if you are making $5000 an hour the Sith will welcome you I’m sure. =P

  2. Very good Iain. I’m a fan of Star Wars but I couldn’t ever justify spending that much on a costume. I was amazed when I sold one and pretty happy with the £100 commission. If I made $5000 every hour I suppose I’d consider it for my next halloween costume.

  3. If you could only imagine how bad the automatic translation works, and how bad the final result is. I think it turns visitors off immediatly because the content doesn’t make any sense at all.

    From a “money-making” point of view I understand why you used it, but from a “content-creator” point of view, I don’t.

    I didn’t know the affiliate links performed that good 🙂

  4. I know what you mean Tiago, the way I saw it (apart from the bucks obviously) is that the visitors it put off we’d never of seen without the translation thing. So we never lost any visitors we already had but monetised new visitors. I must admit the translation service was there for the financial rather than visitor benefit, hey but at least I’m honest about that 🙂

  5. The 5000$ hour is a great idea. Do you remember where you read it?

    I am interested in the search pages for content. As I understand it, you create a dynamic search page for each query. I went to have a look and all seems “normal”. But I can’t see how the search engines are finding your search pages. Am I missing something?

    I love your ideas for creating content rich pages out of practically thin air. I hope you’ll share some more content ideas with us here!

  6. No I can’t remember the original post, it was on blog somewhere but I’ve Googled to no avail.

    The search pages are found by links that are created manually, then at the bottom of the search results page are links to other popular searches as well as a link to a page containing all popular searches that have been done.

  7. Great info in this blog. Although we don’t use adsense, yahoo offers a similar program. No doubt, Automatic Affiliate Links is the way to go… look for Affiliates that offer the highest commission. Example, newegg and amazon offer a lot of the same products, but newegg’s commission is 2%, where amazon is 4%. Shop around…


  8. Good advice their Scooter.

    One of the future posts I have planned is an exact breakdown of where revenue comes from, I’ll wait until the end of the month and do it for March.

  9. I love these ideas, in particular the search ideas, first class, one small problem your Soft sift site translation is currently down you look to much like a spam bot!

    It would be better to program the translator to cache after each edit and then you are making only one call to Google rather then repeated calls for multiple users just a thought to help you get round the spam bot issue.

  10. Thanks Tim, yeah it looks like the translation is gone on SoftSift too now and you’re right I should of done that caching thing.

  11. Great post. I’m curious about the Automatic affiliate links. Where can I get more information about this and how to implement??


  12. …just taking it in like a sponge. Great stuff. The part you mention about creating a page from a search query…was that something you wrote or a WP plugin you obtained? If it’s a plugin could you share the name?

  13. Hi Gmo, I used the search meter plugin (link in the main post) and just customised it a little.

  14. Automatic site translation: great! Even if I always fear about duplicate content. I know, different languages are no dulpicate content.. but.. I’m afraid of google!!!

  15. So many $5000 hour ideas!!!
    I’d settle for just one apiece per month.

  16. Al can you expalin “as it got blocked by Google” ? Re the translation script


    • The script used Google to do the translation, but as we were calling it too often it stop translating. It didn’t effect our search results we just couldn’t translate the site any more.

  17. I’ve been following SMM for several months now and this was one of my favorite posts - so far. I implemented a cached version of the translator for one of my content sites just after this post. I can now say this was at least a $10k hour for me. I can attribute an extra $1-2k a month from just one site and just one tip - and the money keeps coming in! Thank you Al!

  18. Hi, Al. I know this is an old article but i find it effective for my blogs. But, I was confused by you Search Monetizing strategy.
    It seems you are creating a automatic new page from each new search string on CG. As far as my amateur SEO knowledge, Google seems to prohibiting such activity.

    The guideline said that we should restrict our search result page using robots.txt because such page have no value at all for reader. While I do some small research on your CG, I found lots of Search pages indexed in Google. I wonder if you have violate a guideline?

    Well, I’m not sure though, that’s why I ask you about it. 🙂

    Please kindly help me clear this confusion. I will really appreciate your information.



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  19. The pages generated are unique and only show snippets of the actual posts and I would expect them to be useful to our readers. I wouldn’t want to do anything with keywords from organic traffic, they must be ranking anyway for those keywords to get the traffic in the first place.

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