Inside Joel Comm’s Made for Adsense spam venture part 2: Eric Holmlund

June 28, 2006

Foreword: For those of you who have been following this saga, thanks for your emails and comments. Patrick Grote summed it up really well for my liking in terms of my own disappointment in terms of Joel Comm’s current activities, and also has some interesting finds in terms of duplicate content that are worth further investigation as well..check it out. Mike also pointed out Joel Comm promoting a program called Instant Article Ghost Writer in the comments..hmm, sounds really legit (not). Also, aside from the general breaching of Google’s TOS, I also noticed (by accident) this post from Jensense that suggests that Joel’s promotion of images next to Google ads may also be dodgy…further food for thought.

Part 2 isn’t about Yaro’s involvement today (and I’d note Yaro has made some changes to his original post), but as a result of a number of Yaro’s supporters in the original post in this series suggesting that Joel Comm can’t be judged based on his previous relationship with spam blog promoter Rick Butts. You see, as I dug deeper into this whole “Made for Adsense” bought to you by Joel Comm venture, one name kept coming up: Eric Holmlund. It’s not a name I was familiar with, and an initial Google search yesterday didn’t bring up an awful lot. But the more I dug, the more I found.

Introducing Eric Holmlund.

So who is Eric Holmlund? Well, although Joel Comm’s name is on the Made for Adsense program he is promoting, Eric Holmlund is actually the brains (for lack of a better word) behind the program, at least in terms of designing the templates. Joel Comm lists Eric Holmlund as being the primary contact for product/ site questions for the program here:


Maybe a paid employee perhaps? but the links are deeper than that, because every single one of the “sample” sites given in the joint venture partner pages has something in common: they are all registered to Eric Holmlund.


But this doesn’t say much really now, does it. So lets dig a little deeper. All the sample sites sit on a server by the name of PSALM9.COM….maybe Eric is a religious man? Lets take a look at the server (this is one screen shot only and doesn’t show all domains):


Now as someone who myself tends to buy domains on a whim, there’s nothing overly untoward here, until we start taking a look at some of these sites:
dating facts
free info

Indeed, there’s a whole pile of sites like this….template look familiar? maybe because it’s the same sites Joel Comm is flogging.

We still don’t know that much about Eric, but also hosts Eric’s blog: Eric’s Tips. On it, he promotes products such as Blog and Ping packages, and one product I hadn’t heard of before (but none the less sickens me when reading it), WP Mass Installer.

In Eric’s words:

Basically, it’s a program that instantly installs WordPress blogs with the click of a button. It allows you to use any WordPress theme (you can add as many as you want), and create topical blogs based on any keyword that you input.

It will then create the blog and automatically post entries to it, based on your keyword, pulled from RSS feeds at your specified interval.

First of all does it work? Absolutely. I tried it personally and created some blogs in under a minute.

Now he does go on to say these sites could be a “little spammy” but still plugs an affiliate link for the program (can you believe this stuff is only $49…no wonder so much stuff is being ripped from my blogs!).

But to be fair, those running against me on these posts argue that promoting someone elses product isn’t a sin in itself. So what’s Eric’s cup of tea: a program called Eric’s Inner Circle. The first line on the Inner Circle Webpage:

Only members of this elite inner circle will learn my secret techniques for building AdSense websites.
inner circle

You also get 7 free videos as an Inner Circle member, but number 3 is the clinger:

Getting unique human-generated content based on those keywords

Yep, it’s called spam blogging and it’s ripping off an RSS feed near you.

So hence I introduce to the world Eric Holmlund, the brains behind Joel Comm’s latest venture. Do people still believe that Joel Comm’s program is all good?

Postscript: if you want to know exactly what templates you are (most likely) going to get in Joel Comm’s program without paying a cent, my guess is they are the sites all sitting on the server now, you can get a full list by doing a reverse ip search at any good domain tools site for

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17 responses to Inside Joel Comm’s Made for Adsense spam venture part 2: Eric Holmlund

  1. Thanks for all this outstanding investigative journalism, Duncan… these people need to be exposed for the sc/pammers they are.

  2. I also found Eric’s sites yesterday. I wonder how someone who claims to be so religious has no problem promoting unethical business practices.

  3. First of all, Kay, this isn’t investigative journalism. This is someone who is taking a LOT of things out of context and creating his own story out of it.

    Duncan, you made some very broad claims in your post, and some assumptions about me and my business that are unequivocally untrue.

    First of all, what is my relationship in this project? Joel and I are partners on it. Simple as that.

    Why are all the demo sites registered to me? Because I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m the one uploading and testing them. If you really did your ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúinvestigative?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù research, you?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢d have known that all of those sites have been uploaded only in the past couple of weeks.

    I think most people would agree it makes sense to test our templates in a live setting to make sure they perform as we claim.

    Are these templates designed to host spam sites? The answer is no, and I think this is where you are missing the entire point of these sites.

    The objective of these templates is to help people create their OWN sites with their OWN content. We are particularly focused on helping those who would otherwise have a hard time creating a website on their own.

    You will have to wait until July 5th, but you will see that a good portion of the sales page is devoted to explaining the detriment of spam sites, and the importance of creating your own content.

    Likewise, the tutorials included with the program are focused on helping users create original sites using the templates.

    About the post by Jensense that you mentioned, again we are aware of this issue. It?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s not against Google?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s TOS to put images near ad blocks, but it is something to be aware of, and we address it in the program.

    Regarding your comments about my review of WPMassInstaller, again you have taken me totally out of context in an apparent effort to smear my reputation.

    For example, in the paragraph immediately following the one you quoted, I said,

    ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚ÄúShould you use it? Well that all depends on what you?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢re going to use it for. I think the implied selling point is that you can use it to dominate AdSense. If that?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s what you?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢re thinking, I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢d say forget about it.

    In my opinion, creating mass quantities of blogs and using RSS to ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúautoblog?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù definitely qualifies as a ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúspammy?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù technique. You need to consider whether it is worth losing your AdSense account.?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù

    Then in your comments about my ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúinner circle?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù, you again made a totally false assumption.

    You said, ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚ÄúYep, it?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s called spam blogging and it?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s ripping off an RSS feed near you.?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù

    If you had actually looked at that lesson, you would have known that it is about paying ghostwriters to write original content (yes real content that is useful to visitors), not ripping off RSS feeds.

    Lastly, in regard to your claims about me being religious, and Mike?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s insinuation that I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m hypocritical?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭ¶

    Yes I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m a Christian. I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m trying my best to live what I believe. Yes I make mistakes?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭ¶ a lot of mistakes. I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m not out here on the internet trying to use my faith as a means of promoting my business. But inevitably, the two do intertwine. I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢d like to think that my convictions are the driving force behind everything I do, but again I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m not perfect, and I am sometimes driven by selfish motivations.

    That said, I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m not a spammer. I do consider part of my job as an online marketing educator to be testing and trying new techniques as they emerge. Admittedly, some of those techniques have been deemed spammy, or have become spammy over time due to abuse.

    There are also programs (like WPMassInstaller) with practical ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúgood?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù applications, that could also be used for spam purposes. I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢ve typically held the philosophy that just because a certain technology ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúcould?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù be used for evil, that?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s not a reason to avoid it completely. But alas, that brings up an entire discussion of ethics, which I don?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢t have time for at the moment?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭ¶

    To be honest, I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m still learning where to draw the line as a marketer. As long as I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢m in this business, I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢ll be trying to learn about the most effective means of online marketing, while at the same time balancing what I feel is an honest an ethical way of doing business online. As always, I welcome input in those areas.

    While I don?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢t expect you to oblige, I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢d appreciate if you took down the screenshots containing my personal information and sites.

  4. Sorry Eric, didn’t notice this here until your other comment. I’d note in the original piece that I have no gripe with your WordPress or PHPBB templates what soever, because selling well layed out templates (I’m not saying yours are or aren’t) which help people put in their own content is a legitimate business…and indeed, I’d encourage you if you were doing only this, but you aren’t you’re selling prepackaged “content” that already some of my readers have claimed may have been taken from elsewhere (I haven’t investigated this in any depth yet, so I make no ascertions). And if you are talking original content, why are you then selling “private label” content to a whole pile of people, after all, it’s not going to be original when 1000 (or whatever you figures are for max sales, 100..whatever) have the same content on the same sites?
    Legit questions Eric, but again, I’m not knocking the WP templates, just the made for adsense ones because they are coming complete with content that by your own sales pitch is all about getting clicks on ads.

  5. Duncan this very page is currently monetised with an ad for ‘Adsense Ready Websites’ – 300 Content Rich Websites – which links to

    This makes you a spammer too right?


  6. Where? if it’s a Google Adsense ad I’m not seeing it, but they do geotarget differently depending on where you are, if you are seeing it in adsense thanks for letting me know, I’ll add it to our filters to block it out just to be sure.

  7. Oddly enough I’m now seeing other similar types of ads from google though…they obviously have a sense of humour 🙂

  8. As I stated, the purpose of the templates is to help people build their own websites with their own content. My philosophy on PLR content is that it’s a viable media to use in the creation of unique content.

    We’re NOT encouraging people to upload the pre-built sites as-is. I knew this would be misinterpreted by some people (who havn’t bought the product), and for that reason, we contemplated not including the PLR content.

    However, I feel it is worth including it, because it provides a good jumpstart particularly for those who are building their first websites. Instead of writing (or hiring out) content from scratch, they have something to work with.

    Here’s another way of looking at it Duncan. I happen to know that you use “free” articles on some of your sites, because I saw a post about it on another blog. For example, articles from Okay, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, because people write the material with the intention of lots of people publishing it. It’s called syndicated content. It’s a big part of how the web works.

    Nevertheless, it’s duplicate content. In some cases those articles are published well over 1,000 times and I can give you some examples if you need it.

    PLR articles are similar, for the fact they were written for the purpose of being republished (by license holders). The difference with PLR content is you CAN change it and make it unique.

    And when I say PLR content, I’m talking about real articles or other content that is legible and written by human beings, not auto-generated stuff. I’m also NOT talking about scraped content. Generally PLR content is ghostwritten.

    I?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢ll give you an example of its use. Let?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s say I create a reasonably fair quality site, and I fill it with PLR content, making some changes to keep it unique. The site is built in such a way that users can find the content they?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢re looking for, or click on ads that they are interested in. And we?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢ll assume I choose to monetize the site with AdSense and/or affiliate programs.

    Web users may find that site when searching for certain keyword phrases in the search engine. When they click the listing, they are brought to a page of relevant content. They can read the content or click on an ad. There?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s nothing ?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ö‚Äúblack hat?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?Ǭù about it. I’m not trying to trick the visitor into clicking onto the site, and I’m not trying to trick the search engine into indexing it.

    That?ɬ¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s NOT a spam site. It’s providing value to the end-user.

    Also in regard to your claim that the sales pitch is all about the content getting clicks… I think if you re-read it you would find that the parts that talk about the pre-packaged content only account for a small percentage of the product description.

    Alas, I am well aware this will not please everyone, and there will always be critics.

    I take comfort in knowing that we’re helping people with their online business. This is a product that has taken literally 1000’s of man-hours to create, and we’re selling it for a more than fair price, which will allow many people to start or increase their online business.

    If Joel’s AdSense templates end up being the Pandora’s box of the internet, maybe we’ll have more to talk about. I personally believe they will do much more good than harm, and only the test of time will tell…

  9. Fair enough, I’ll republish you comments in their own post to put your side of the story up..and I did note in the original posts that I’m not being critical of the WP or PHPBB templates, its the pre-written stuff. I’ll leave it for my readers to decide, but I’ll concede you make a good argument, and have tackled the fact that it does smell spammy..even if you believe it isn’t. Posting soon.

  10. I hate to bring this up about Eric because I am not this type of person, however, people have to be aware of wolves in sheeps clothing. I downloaded McAfee’s site advisor and upon going to Eric’s Tips website was surprised to find it red flagged! Eric is either dropping cookies or spyware, adware, etc. onto people. Prior to downloading McAfee’s site advisor software I believed Eric meant to help people, but at what cost. If people don’t believe this they can check this out for themselves. The truth is with this statement I am hoping Eric stops whatever he is trying to do to people as they visit his website.

  11. Hello! Help solve the problem.
    Very often try to enter the forum, but says that the password is not correct.
    Regrettably use of remembering. Give like to be?
    Thank you!

  12. can anyone become part of Eric's inner circle by using Adsense?What if someone isn't computer savvy would he be able to joint the club?

  13. can anyone become part of Eric's inner circle by using Adsense?What if someone isn't computer savvy would he be able to joint the club?

  14. can anyone become part of Eric's inner circle by using Adsense?What if someone isn't computer savvy would he be able to joint the club?

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