Wake Up!

Andy Alvarez
There are very few things that bother me about this business. Typically the average webmaster is a good guy just trying to make a living. Sure, every once in a while you run into those pieces of trash that think short term, and that's usually how long they last in this business — short term. The most common complaint I hear from webmasters that gets under my skin like nothing else is: "Damn, I wish it was 1996 or 1997 again. Now the business is so different, and it's so hard to make money."

To those critics, I say, "Wake up!"

We have been given a gift — the gift of an entirely new medium that is larger and has more opportunity than TV or radio could ever offer the average Joe. It's a medium where anyone can make money if they have a good idea and a good work ethic. Could you imagine in 1967 if someone had said, "TV has been around for more than a decade and the age of big opportunity is gone."

The opportunities we have before us are so vast, it makes my head spin.

Webmasters, stop waiting for someone to have a new idea and then copy it. Has the click-through really changed in five years? No! Get creative! There are new sites that go online every day that do 1,000 signups from merely word of mouth. The potential is unlimited. Folks, I believe that in the next three years things are going to get very interesting. As television and the Internet converge, you won't believe the new ideas and opportunities that will blossom. When the Internet bubble popped in 2000, it wasn't because they were "way off" in their predictions, it was because the average American doesn't embrace new technology that quickly. Hell, fewer than 50 percent of Americans have cable TV, for Pete's sake.

Always remember what I'm about to tell you: You are in the right business at the right time. Don't be so quick to copy what someone else is doing because you think it works. I did that in the beginning, and I ended up doing a lot of things very half-assed. Concentrate on one thing and do it right. You're in the most amazing new medium to come along in 50 years. Embrace it and stop bitching about the "good old days."

I wouldn't risk my family's future on a whim. Here is my advice: Be a good webmaster, be legitimate, don't do shady shit. Do good business, and I promise that the rewards will vastly outweigh the risks. When I started Webmaster Central, I told my dad, "Damn, there are like 10 other guys doing the same thing I am." Do you know what he told me? I will never forget it. He said: "Listen, dipshit, I'm a car dealer and I'm competing against 10 other car dealers on my block. You're competing with 10 competitors on the planet, so wake up and get to work." True words of wisdom.