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Is Digital Real Estate a Scam or Legit? 5 Controversial Aspects of the Business

April 26, 2024

Is digital real estate a scam? No, digital real estate is not a scam. Digital real estate is a legit way of investing into digital assets that have real value, such as websites. There are multiple types of digital real estate that have created legitimate wealth for those who took the risk of investing into them. 

For example, Niche Site Lady is a popular voice in the digital marketing sphere that has achieved impressive results by investing into niche websites. Niche sites are websites that create content around a specific niche to earn money through tactics like affiliate marketing, paid advertising, and sponsorships. Niche Site Lady makes tens of thousands of dollars a month through her niche site travel blog.

Another example of a digital real estate success story is the newsletter Morning Brew that was created by Austin Rief and Alex Lieberman. Morning Brew sends out a daily newsletter on the latest business news to over 4 million subscribers, earning money by partnering with brands to showcase their ads throughout the newsletter content. The newsletter is valuable digital real estate because of the massive and relevant audience it attracts. As a result, the founders of Morning Brew were able to sell their digital real estate to Business Insider for a whopping $75 million.

I’ve also had great success with digital real estate myself. Over my last decade in online business, I’ve been investing in a type of digital real estate called local lead generation websites. Local lead generation websites allow you to generate recurring online income by creating websites that attract customers for local businesses and then selling the leads to real local businesses for a fee. By accumulating a large portfolio of these sites, I’ve consistently brought in over $50K per month in recurring income for the last few years.

Although there are many legitimate investment opportunities with digital real estate, there is potential for scammy behavior in the digital real estate industry. One such instance is CryptoZoo by Logan Paul. CryptoZoo was meant to be a game where users could buy and sell virtual animals using cryptocurrency. When the game was first proposed in 2021, NFTs were valuable, so it made logical sense that buying and selling these virtual animals could enable investors to realize profits. Investors spent millions of dollars on game tokens in anticipation of owning valuable digital real estate in the form of virtual animals when the game released. Unfortunately, the game was never released, and it’s uncertain whether investors will be able to recoup their investment into the project. 

In the following article, we discuss how digital real estate can be a scam in greater depth so you can avoid illegitimate business models and choose the right types of digital real estate that can generate a consistent income similar to traditional real estate investing.

What is Digital Real Estate?

Digital real estate is a property on the internet that exists in digital form. A digital asset that you own. But the key is to create an entity that has value. And one that can attract a steady flow of online traffic. Then you can rent it or sell your property. But digital real estate is legit. And if you know how to leverage Google and get to the top of the SERPs. You can generate substantial profit margins.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation provides high-quality leads for local companies. In theory, it's a simple concept. But starting a lead gen business isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. You need to know how to build online real estate properties that can climb to the top of Google search engines. But once you have the skill set and get your systems in place. You can rinse and repeat to grow an online empire. 

Lead generation is five easy steps that include:

Niche Selection

Focus on phone-driven and service-based businesses. (Like these lead generation niches in our list of top picks). You can use tools like Keywords Everywhere to find local keywords you can rank for. And third-party tools like SEMRush to access the competition. Or you can check out my rank and rent guide. (For a more comprehensive breakdown of how to find the perfect niche and how to choose a domain name). 

The Build Out

Content is still king. So you need at least 1000-1500 words on your home page and 500-1000 for each service page. Use tools like AnswerThePublic or Google Trends to find top search queries or ideas for your content. But be sure to cover the same topics as your top competitors. And leverage Google's free Google Business Profile to generate a secondary source for your leads. 


Here's where you need to understand local SEO. And how to get backlinks and citations. These ranking factors help your site become an authority in the eyes of Google. But you should also use tools like Ahrefs or Mangools to find copycat links. And platforms like Brightlocal can show where and how often your competitor's NAP is listed on the internet. 

Sales & Prospecting

You own the leads. And with tools like CallRail, you can track the calls coming to your digital assets. Then, once your lead gen website starts getting calls, find a local company hungry for more business. The beauty is that your site doesn't need to be number one to bring in high-quality leads. So the quicker you can get a deal in place. The faster you can start making money. 


Local SEO is easy than global. So you can leverage Google a lot faster. You can start a digital real estate business and rank your online property in as little as six weeks to six months. Plus, the business model is super scalable because you can build more than one site at a time.

You can check out my how to start a lead generation business for a more detailed explanation of the business model. But the great thing about lead gen is that natural barriers control the competition. (And eliminate market saturation). Plus, because you own the websites, tracking numbers, and leads. You're in full control over every aspect of your business. 

Of course, you need to do some heavy lifting at the beginning. But once your sites rank in the SERPs, they don't need much maintenance. So you can build your lead gen sites simultaneously. And if you get stuck with a business owner who doesn't want to pay. Then, you can go to the competition and keep bringing in money on autopilot. 

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Digital Real Estate?


The internet continues to evolve. So there's no scarcity or lack of opportunities to create virtual real estate. 

Virtual real estate boasts low initial investment costs. (Compared to physical real estate investing). And can generate steady cash flow.

Digital assets can procure profit margins of 84% or higher. Plus, your online property can appreciate up to 5X in one year. 


Online users' attention is transient in digital experiences. So while you can grab it fast, you can lose it just as quickly. 

Lack of market predictability. Note that the internet is constantly evolving. So what works today might not work tomorrow.

Risks of cyber threats. Plus, a lack of regulation can result in extortion and fraud. 

5 Controversial Aspects of the Business Model

People have a lot of questions when it comes to local lead generation. Like is it legal? Where do you find clients? And can you still make money with this online business model in 2024? But digital real estate isn't a scam. You just need to learn the skills to leverage Google. And know how to build a valuable online asset. Below are five of the most controversial aspects of the business. But our answers demonstrate that this proven system is a chance to create financial abundance and time freedom. Check it out:

1. Our Site is Pretending To Be a Business Even Though It's a Lead Gen Site.

Lead generation is about building a generic branded website and getting it to the top of the SERPs. Once your site ranks and gets calls, you own a valuable online asset. Your lead gen site acts like a digital billboard. One that drives organic traffic and brings in high-quality leads. But after you find your ideal client, you can swap out images and fine-tune the branding elements of your site. Plus, you need to consider that two different brands in the SERPs generate twice the leads.

It's a lot like having two varying franchises. So your client is in front of people with two websites instead of one. Plus, most local business owners are less concerned with the aesthetics of your lead gen site. Instead, they're focused on closing their deals. And the same is true for customers. People actively searching for a business aren't worried that your online property is a lead gen website. They just want a local company that can do the job now. And for the best price.

2. You Need a License # for Many of the Niches.

You have two options for building lead gen properties in niches requiring a license number. The first is not to do it. Then it becomes a non-issue. Instead, consider that hundreds of service-based niches don't need a license. A few of the top contenders include:

  • Drywall
  • Pest Removal
  • Landscaping
  • Junk Removal
  • Window & Gutter Cleaning

But the students in our local lead generation training build sites all the time that require a license number. Still, there are options here too. For example, you can get the license number once you secure a client.

Then simply add, "this is a lead generation site" in fine print at the bottom of the site until then. Or you can add a TOS and Privacy Policy to the footer of your site. (But if you're really concerned, check out my rank and rent legal article). 

3. If It Works So Well, Why are These Coaches Teaching It? Why Don't They Do It Themselves?

There are 42,000 zip codes in the USA and over 100 niches in each market. So that's at least 4.2 million small businesses that need lead generation. In addition, more than 600,000 new small businesses start each year in the United States alone. And one coach couldn't possibly fulfill all those small businesses.

But much like most other professions, when you reach a level of mastery in a particular skill set. Then, you can choose to be a coach. It's just another way to diversify your income streams from the same skill set. Plus, many people get much more gratification from being a coach than doing just one thing.

But beware that just because someone's been successful with the business model doesn't mean they're a good coach. So you need to do your research. And determine the following:

  • How long have they been coaching? Can you contact them on multiple platforms?
  • Are they still using the business model?
  • Do they update course content regularly? Do they offer live streams or ongoing support?
  • How much does their coaching cost? Is it in line with your budget?
  • What type of lead generation do they teach? Does it align with your long-term goals?

Of course, you have a ton of options. But if you want a leg up with your research, you can read my best local lead generation courses for some insider tips.

4. Isn't It Too Difficult To Create a GMB Today?

GMB or GPB is a free online platform. It's a chance to get your site in the coveted 'map pack.' But, to confirm your business listing, you need an address. And this has been an ongoing question posed to lead generators for years. Of course, you don't need a GMB to generate leads for your client. In fact, the first five organic results account for 67.6% of all the clicks. So if you have the skills to rank your website and get to the top, you will get leads. 

But your GMB is another traffic source, which means extra leads. Plus, you control one more piece of real estate to generate leads for your site. So our lead generation group has devised many strategies to create GMBs. However, these tactics change all the time. (You can bet that we have a working system right now). But this could all change next month. So we're constantly figuring out new rankings strategies that are working today. 

5. What if the Business Owner Already Has a Website?

If your business owner has an existing site, it's a win-win. Now you have two valuable online entities. Imagine if your lead gen website and the business owner's actual site are the top two listings. And are front and center on Google for top-searched keywords.

You not only get twice the call volume. But you can dominate the market and location. Then, of course, you can offer SEO services. And rank the business owner's site alongside your LG property. So you'll generate a secondary source of income. Plus, you continue to provide value.

How Much Money Do You Need To Invest in Digital Real Estate?

Investing in virtual real estate is a low-cost way to diversify your income. Plus, you can make money investing in digital real estate, and it's a chance to recoup impressive ROIs. Consider that a digital real estate investment is a fraction of what it would cost to invest in physical real estate. And with online real estate, you don't need $50K+ for a down payment. In fact, for $500 or less, you can get your lead generation website to the top of the SERPs. So even if money is funny, you can start a lead generation business with minimal capital. But you need to cover the costs of things like:

Lead Generation Website Costs:

  • Domain: $10-$15/year: You can buy on platforms like GoDaddy or Namecheap

  • Hosting: Can be purchased on sites like Siteground and Hostinger for as little as $3-$12/month.
  • Call Tracking Number: Will run about $25/month using services like CallRail.

Then, when your online real estate generates leads, you sell those leads to hungry business owners. And they cover the cost of maintaining your lead gen sites. Plus, you walk away with a profit every month.

Can You Make Money With Digital Real Estate?

Lead generation is gearing up to be a $3.24 billion industry in the USA by 2023. So if you have the skills to build valuable digital land. And know how to get in front of eyeballs actively searching for the service you offer. You will make money with lead generation. Plus, because you own the digital land. (Like a digital landlord). You get to decide on the payment arrangement that works best for you. A few popular options include things like:

  • Flat fee: Get paid every week, bi-monthly or monthly
  • Pay-per-lead: Receive $X for every lead
  • Commission: Earn a percentage on closed deals
  • Arbitrage: Start your own business and contract the work to fulfill the service

Of course, you can also create social media sites or YouTube channels for free.

These are both types of virtual land that can produce leads. (However not as commonly used with the local lead gen model as websites). But if you're a content creator. And can publish content to build an audience. You can sell any service you want to make money.

Why Lead Generation is Our Number One Recommendation in 2024

Money doesn't buy happiness. However, it is a significant aspect of our lives. And how you make money can make a difference in the quality of your life. So you need to find leverage. But you can achieve that goal by building digital assets. Then you own virtual real estate that puts you in the driver's seat. So consider that your lead gen property is an investment opportunity. And it allows you to build valuable online assets.

But you need to be willing to take the risk. So you need to invest your time. And commit to doing the hard work upfront. But even if you're only successful with 30%-50% of your digital land. You'll still create cash flow. Plus, as your skill set improves. You'll become more successful more often. Then you can generate multiple income streams and harness time freedom. Or maybe even a passive income.

Local lead generation

Like I did with this site above. It took me about 15 hours to build and rank. And the total costs were around $500 over about 6 months. But with this site alone. (I own over 80) I've made $2000/month since 2015. That's almost seven years of monthly checks—mailbox money on autopilot. So if you lead with value and focus on providing a quality service, you'll be paid tenfold when you reach the finish line. Just like I did. And just like we teach the other over 7000 students in our lead generation coaching program.


Digital real estate investing isn't a scam. Even if you factor in controversial aspects of the local lead generation business model, it's still a highly profitable investment opportunity. Plus, if you understand how to leverage Google and have the skills to get to the top of the search engines. Then you own prime real estate. So local business owners will want to do business with you. And you can create a steady cash flow.


Digital real estate investing is a chance to make money online. But you don't need to invest in Metaverse real estate or own crypto to make money with digital real estate in 2024. Lead generation is a proven concept. So learn the skills and do them right. And you will make money. 

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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    1. Hey Janet! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. You can do local lead generation without any experience. Our coaching program is suited for beginners as well as seasoned online individuals. If you have questions or would like to speak with one of our coaches about lead generation you can book a call through this link: Best of luck and look forward to connecting.

    1. Hi Takashi, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Yes! 100% you can do lead generation from Japan. We have over 7000 students in our program from around the globe. If you would like more information or have questions feel free to book a call with one of our coaches. You can use this link to schedule a time that works best for you: Look forward to connecting!

    1. Hey Richard! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. We would love to chat with you about our lead generation coaching program. You can book a call with this link: Look forward to connecting!

    1. Hey John! Thanks for reading, and yes-100% you can do lead generation in England. We have students from the UK, Ireland, and France who have all seen great success with our coaching program. If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to book a call. You can use this link to schedule a time that works best for you:
      Wishing you well on your online business journey!

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