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Success Story: Mel Strocen

By Kevin Bidwell
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004

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 own success.

1. How long have you been working online?

Since about 1995. I launched my first website,, 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 each?

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,,, and Two, and, are newsletter sites and focus on webmaster and online business related topics respectively.
The remaining sites are a mixed bag: - newsletter directory and search engine - articles directory and search engine - directory of top-rated freeware
applications FreeWebSubmission - free online submission
service - 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,, 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 newsletters?

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 subscribers?

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 used online?

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 schemes.

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.

Thanks Mel!

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 (

Kevin just finished a complete report on building a passive
income. Grab your copy here:



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