Thanks 1800HART, good post.
I think what gets most people to buy an Internet Marketing e-book, or to sign up for a service like Datafeedr/PopShops/WordPress (etc), is stories of "I was just an average guy..." and "If *I* can do it, ANYONE can!". Books, in particular, 'dangle a carrot' (as the expression goes) and hint at some secret that, once revealed, will bring huge success. I see a lot of people chasing this proverbial last piece of the jigsaw, which they believe will unlock huge online success.
Thinking about it now, it seems to me that there are two types of sales. Either it's "promised land" stuff where the item for sale seems to hold the answer to things you want but have yet to get. This includes self help ("personal development") stuff; Internet Marketing materials; vile "Get Rich Quick" schemes; those sorts of things. While the other side of the coin is buying something because you're reliant on the recommendations of an expert. That's why www.rose-gardening-made-easy.com
is so successful. It comes down to being an expert on a particular subject - having bags of passion for it - translating that into great content - and then being able to naturally recommend products from the context of an article.
Annelie, who runs that site, is someone whose passion (rose gardening) happens to be a very in demand topic and the competition - at least when she started - was poor. She put a great spin on something she loves and her natural authority on the subject engages her visitors and they trust her opinion on what to buy.
That kind of enthusiasm and expertise is impossible to fake. And I'd be surprised if Michael Kane has zero interest in any of the subjects of his successful sites.
One of my problems is that my niche (new PCs / PC repair) is saturated. There are a lot of experts and tons of great sites with good content. My other big passion is guitar but, again, it's a saturated niche and it would be very difficult to stand out from the crowd.
But I'd be loathsome to start a site in a niche that has outstanding demand and little supply/competition if I knew nothing about it. I know for a fact that Annelie makes good money but I'd never copy her site concept because I know nothing about the subject. And copying her content would be utterly pointless because Google is sophisticated enough to recognise duplicate material. Any form of plagiarism and deviation away from "keeping it real" is a total waste of time. This isn't a game to fool people - that's not how successful businesses work. And that is why I don't understand anyone who gets shy about revealing their sites...
Michael's sites must be full of unique content and have good inbound links. But if they do rely very heavily on autofed Datafeedr stuff, he must have found niches with high demand and low supply and, in that case, I could understand him keeping them to himself. But I'd bet that they have a limited lifespan.