Product Name: FAT Stacks Niche Tycoon
Product Owner: Jon Dykstra
Advertised Price: $147
==> Update 2018: Niche Tycoon is no longer available. Bummer! The owner, Jon, was very consistent about updating this guide over the years. Recently, he's been working on other projects, so hasn't had time to update. Why not just leave it to sell, and let affiliates like me promote it? Probably because he wants to maintain his stellar reputation. If the info is old or no longer relevant, selling that is unethical.
It's a bummer, but you can still get updates on Jon's website, Fat Stacks Blog. It's one of the best “make money online” blogs out there IMO. Careful newbies, some of it is advanced, but bookmark his site and visit it when you have the chops to keep up.
What Is It?
FAT Stacks Niche Tycoon (previously called Authority Site Guide) is a 100+ page PDF guide how to set up a website according to what has worked for him to generate $40-$60k per month. He give extremely detailed information about how to drive traffic to the site, and how to make money from it.
We'll be using Facebook ads to drive traffic to our website, and make money through Google Adsense. It sounds pretty simple, but the layout of how he does it is pretty genius. I'm currently working on a website according to his training.
Niche Tycoon is my longest running “experiment”, and one of my most trusted products I recommend. If you are looking to build a website that makes money from contextual ads like Adsense, Criteo, MediaVine, Media.net, and others, this is the best one-time payment product.
It's also the #1 product I recommend for experienced marketers. If you need extra help building your website, I recommend Wealthy Affiliate. They are much more newbie-focused, but require recurring a membership fee (hosting is included). But if you have built a few websites and are just looking to learn specific techniques to build and monetize a website, then Jon Dykstra's product Niche Tycoon is the best I can recommend.
Keep in mind, many of the best “build a website” or “SEO” products cost $997 – $1497. I'm not even kidding. Sure, you can buy crappy WSO's for $5 a pop, but they are just trash that people toss out as a tripwire to buy their $10,000 mentorships. Niche Tycoon is the real deal, at a reasonable price.
Anyway, keep reading for full details.
Update 2017: Jon has made several improvements and updates to the course in 2016 and 2017. Not all the updated details are included in this review. I'm not going to write out every detail each time he updates the course. Some notes are included in the bottom of what he's included in various updates though.
Also, I include stats from my own website at the bottom. I update any time anything interesting happens with the site. Two years of updates included!
This is the first info product I’ve read in a long time that I’m really excited about. I rarely rate anything over 80/100, and only two products have ever rated above 90/100 in the 3 years I’ve run this website.
This is an extremely high quality guide that leaves out no details of how to set up a website and make money exactly how Jon Dykstra has done it. My main issue with the guide is that it focuses on Adsense and I have personally been banned for life from the program.
UPDATE: Jon has since updated with a bunch of great vides since I wrote this review. I haven't seen them yet, but if they are of similar quality as the previous course I bought, then I assume they are great. I bought the course for about $50 back in the day, but now it's $197. The thing I really like about what Jon is doing is that he's keeping THE SAME COURSE and just updating with more value, improvements, new content, etc.
Usually, these “gurus” just launch a different product and sell it under a different title. Jon is focusing on making his brand strong, reliable, and trustworthy. It's a great strategy as a marketer, and his growing popularity reflects this.
Before You Buy
I purchased both the FAT Stacks Niche Tycoon and the FAT Stacks Niche Sniper at the same time because I was so impressed with the writing and information on FAT Stacks Entrepreneur. Dykstra clearly has nothing to hide, and no fancy sales funnel where you have to pay to figure out what you are actually buying.
He is very clear that he makes his money through Google Adsense, and that it’s done using image based “list” websites. No secrets there. The whole point of purchasing this product isn’t to learn the secret to making money online, it’s just to have Jon take us inside his websites and show us exactly how he turns a profit from this business model.
Update: There have been 3 updates to the guide since I bought it a few months ago, and all updates were delivered to my email for free. That's pretty sweet, and unheard of for most sellers in the ‘make money online' industry. Big thanks to Jon.
Update 2: Some screenshots may show the title “Authority Site Guide”. This was the previous name of the product. The updated product is now called Niche Tycoon, which is much easier to say, and includes recent changes Jon made to his strategies 🙂
What I Liked
Loaded With Information
Unlike most PDFs on the Warrior Forum or JVZoo, instead of spending the first 30% of the guide talking about himself and the basics of internet marketing, by page 10 of the Niche Tycoon I already had a clear idea of HOW I would be making money, and which concrete steps I needed to take to get started.
I already know how to manage hosting and set up a basic WordPress website, so the beginning part was easy for me. I also happen to have access to Studiopress WordPress themes (his recommendation) so I was ahead of the game here. If you don't know how to set up a website, I recommend you press your host to help you set up your WordPress website (they will do it for you if you ask). Installing a theme is quite easy, but again, Studiopress will have excellent tutorials on how to install Genesis and the child theme.
Some of the stuff covered in the guide includes
- Choosing a domain name
- Choosing a niche
- Ad management and placement (IMPORTANT!!!!)
- Ad services he uses
- Plugins he uses (and why)
- How to buy traffic
- Leveraging content on social media
- Video creation and how to use them properly
Actually, most of this stuff I'm quite familiar with. The really interesting thing about this guide is that Jon puts it together in a way that just makes sense. Instead of having a bunch of jumbled information in your head about how other people are making money online, you can hyper-focus on one specific business model, that's already been proven (he provides income screenshots).
Saves Me Time And Brainpower
One of the biggest pains in the butt about making money online is making someone else's strategy work for you. You can read about SEO and social media all day long, but until you take the steps to do it yourself, you won't see a dime in your bank account.
Jon has spent $100,000's of dollars experimenting with different tweaks on his website so that it can make him the most amount of money, with the least amount of work. I've read all three iterations, and am glad to just find out that he has recently reduced his social media activity due to lack of ad revenue from certain sites.
How much money or time did it cost me to find this out? Nothing. He did the experimenting. He spent the money. He tested stuff and got results.
Plus, he's updated his guide 3 times FOR FREE. Normally, most internet marketing ‘experts' will relaunch a version 2.0 and version 3.0. Jon really has gone above and beyond what other internet marketers are doing with the quality and value he provides in Niche Tycoon.
No Fluff + Simple Concept
Jon really just lists off everything he’s doing in his business. He doesn’t reveal his websites, but I’m confident that I have a good idea of what they look like after seeing the ad layout he provides within the PDF.
It’s really quite simple!
You build a website with “lists” that focus on images. You then drive Facebook traffic using paid Facebook ads to those lists (targeting specific audiences). Because of the share-worthy nature of lists, people then share your site (for free, of course).
In a nutshell, you just want to drive as much traffic as you can to the site. Because you’re monetizing the website with Google Adsense, you don’t have to do any kind sales funnel, list building, etc etc. Just get traffic and you can make money.
You need A LOT of traffic, but at least you know where to focus your efforts.
Lots of Details + Actionable Advice
The detail in the FAT Stacks Niche Tycoon is pretty amazing. He even goes so far as to tell us which theme converts the best, which font to use, what link color he uses, and how to change the code so that our site looks exactly like the example.
He tells us how to find pictures to use on our site, and how to get access to copyrighted images. Probably most importantly, he talks a lot about ad placement and what’s making him the most money.
Near the end of the guide he talks about outsourcing and how to hire people to do certain jobs for you. It’s not easy to set up a site and generate $40,000 per month in income like he does. It’s a lot of work! But it’s possible if you manage your time properly and outsource certain aspects of the business.
Great For People That Hate To Write
One thing I thought was really exciting about this type of online business is that it’s not blogging focused. All of my own profits have come from lots and lots of blogging. I know that a lot of folks hate to sit down and write on a daily basis,so I think this could be a really good alternative.
Yes, you do have to write some stuff for the site – namely in the form of image descriptions, or an occasional tutorial. In fact, you can write more content for the site if you want! If you decide to outsource, writing short passages means you'll be able to hire cheaper writers, versus more skilled ones that may be required for articles of 1,000 words or more. Even some non-native speakers can write a decent 100 word description of a picture.
But the basic idea of lists of images means that you do not have to write 2000 of content every day, and you can spend your time doing other things on the website, or pay someone to create the content for you, and you can spend your time making the Facebook ads.
What I Didn’t Like
Relies On Adsense
Unfortunately, I’ve already been banned from Adsense, and that ban is for life. Nope. I can never create another account with them ever again, for any reason. Yeah, it pisses me off, and a lot of other people too.
It’s really easy to get banned from the program, especially for beginners that are not familiar with all the rules. The company never actually tells you why you got banned either, and does not have to.
If you’ve been banned from Adsense, you’ll need to be a critical thinker to make this product work for you. Personally, I still think the general set up of the business described in FAT Stacks is pretty cool, and I think I can make it work for another monetization strategy like affiliate marketing or email marketing. However, it means that my job won’t be as simple as driving Facebook traffic to the blog – I need a more in-depth strategy.
There are other ad networks like media.net (also described in the guide), but none pay as well as Adsense.
Update 3: I have created a separate LLC and am now working on a website that uses the tactics Jon outlines. I'll update in a few months with my progress and/or results.
Requires A Budget
FAT Stacks Niche Tycoon is for someone that is serious about starting a business. A lot of folks looking to start making money online are trying to get started with a budget of $0 and looking for fast money.
Sorry guys, this isn’t for you. Stick to paid surveys and save your pennies. You’ll need probably at least a few hundred dollars per month to run your business. You need hosting, a premium WordPress theme, maybe a paid plugin or two, and a budget for advertising on Facebook.
You might need some money to outsource some of the work too.
$200 per month for a budget to start business is still dirt cheap compared to the $200,000 loan you’d need to start a brick and mortar business though.
Too Fast For Impatient Newbies
Dykstra does a very good job of explaining the basics of how to set up your website and get started. However, as someone that helps newbies start WordPress blogs every day, I know that some of you just won’t be able to handle the work on your own.
For someone starting their first website, it’s a bit scary learning how to do this stuff. Anyone can do it with some patience, but many folks don’t even have that.
This PDF does not come with 1-on-1 support. Jon offers consulting services, but a price is not listed and I assume it’s quite expensive, considering he’s making $40k a month already and his time is extremely valuable. I don’t think you are going to want to pay him $50/hour to show you how to switch from visual to text editor in your WordPress dashboard area.
I’m not saying he’s wrong for setting it up that way! I mean, he has done a great job with this product and I wholeheartedly recommend it. But if you purchase this guide, expect to run into some issues and look for ways to solve them on your own.
A very high quality product on how to set up a very specific type of online business. I’m very excited about this guide and although I’m banned from Adsense, I’ll be implementing lots of other techniques I learned from FAT Stacks Niche Tycoon to fit a similar style website.
If you are looking for more of a hand-holding way to start making money online, then the Wealthy Affiliate online business community is where you need to start. You can speak to professional internet marketers and newbie peers on a daily basis while you are starting your first online business.
They also focus on getting free traffic from Google rather than paid ads, so it requires significantly less of a budget to get started. It’s just a different style of marketing altogether, and worth looking at if FAT Stacks isn’t your cup of tea.
June 2015: Re-read Niche Tycoon, do niche research
July 2015: Launched website, create content
August 2015: Create content, hire writer
Sept 2015: Create content schedule for 12 months, schedule content for 3 months
Oct 2015: Start using Adsense and create first Facebook ad
March 2016: Still working on content. I have a good schedule going, with everything being outsource. Natural rankings are up, and daily Adsense earnings are coming in from organic search (about $0.30 per day). I haven't restarted my FB campaigns because I'm sinking a lot of money into content right now.
I'm frustrated at myself that it's taking so long. I need to get moving on more FB ads, and setting the goal of doing this sometime during March. I'm starting to create more content ideas from reviews for affiliate/Amazon earnings, but have not given up on making the traffic arbitrage work for me. I WILL MAKE THIS WORK AND BE PROFITABLE.
May 2016: After talking to Jon, I realized my site was covering too broad of a topic, so I've narrowed it down. I'm also changing content direction slightly, so have fired some writers, hired some new ones, and am taking some of my own photos now. It's been about 1 year. So far, the site is not profitable, and I've spent about $10,000+ on content, tools, etc. I'm frustrated, for sure, but still working diligently.
Nov 2016: Earnings are up to $1.50 per day. Not ideal obviously, but growing. Amazon earnings are about $50-$100 per month. Taking way longer than expected. I feel pretty dumb compare to Jon on this stuff but have to find my own path I guess. Focusing on Amazon earnings for a while, and tweaking my Adsense content strategy to a different type of content. Not focusing on Facebook ads – just looking at organic rankings and social media.
I'm also building some links, but only through editorial content. It's horribly expensive and it makes me wonder if it's worth it. At $100 – $1000 per individual link, I've spent over $1k for 5 links. With $1,000 I could purchase some very good content. However, considering Jon is my mentor, I have to follow his advice and see how it goes.
Traffic is up to around 500 visits per day. CPM is very low, like $1 to $3 (on a good day)
Dec 2016: Well, I finally started earning. In December, CPM was up to $4-$5, and Amazon Associates earnings skyrocketed. Lists and other types of content are starting to rank better. Total earnings for the year is about $3k. Not $30k/month like I was hoping, but at least there's finally some success to talk about. Visits up to around 700/day organic (very few from social, zero from paid).
Update May 2017
Still working in this guys. Amazon is making about $1,000 per month. I recently switched from Ezoic + Media.net to using MediaVine. Earnings went from about $5/day between both of them to $12 per day. More than double. Still not $40k a month, but creeping up there. Ugh. Mental fatigue is setting in.
Part of me wants to quit this site, sell it, and pick a different niche. Sound familiar? Yeah, even the so-called “experts” doubt themselves! But I believe I can make this work. It's been two years.
My main goal is to make this site pay for itself, then grow it through 100% outsourcing. So far, it's costing me about $2,000 per month in content, and it's making about $1500 per month. Not quite there. Yes, I've dumped a lot of time and money into this site…am I committing the sunk cost fallacy? Am I just a persistent entrepreneur? Not sure yet. You let me know!
I'm focusing more on affiliate earnings moving forward because it seems to be where I'm earning more. Unfortunately, Amazon cut my commission rate from 7.5% to 4.5% so I'm looking for other affiliates in the niche to see what they can do.
Update June 2017
MediaVine earnings are way up! Top day was $24, which is about 5x what I was earning with Ezoic. Higher RPM too. I've had a slight traffic increase too, but it's a big jump in earnings compared to the $12 days I started out with using MediaVine. At $20 per day, that's $600 per month, which is much more “self sustaining” in terms of outsourcing content that pays for itself. With Amazon earnings at $600 – $1000 per month, I'm finally approaching $2k per month with this website.
I know I keep saying this (2 years now), but it's not the $40k Jon is earning, but it's moving in the right direction.
Update February 2018:
- RPM was over $40 for December. WOW. Has settled at around $20 as of Feb 2018, with an average of $23. Still pretty good!
- Daily sessions are between 1500 and 2000
- Earnings for December 2017 were $4698.48, an all time high. Not a full time income yet, and not $40k/month, but getting better.
Honestly, I'm tired of researching and writing about the topic, so I'm starting to outsource more, and keep the cost of outsourcing under my Amazon budget. Amazon earnings are a steady $600, so as long as I can spend about $500/month on content I'll be happy. To make it doubly worth my while, I'll be testing content services to see which is the best. So far, it's a shitshow. I got kicked out of one company for being too demanding, and another company hasn't delivered content I started ordering in November 2017 (3 months).