Six years ago Jeremy Schoemaker was unemployed, so he created a Web site where people could download cell phone ringtones. Schoemaker got so much traffic that he decided to start advertising on his site with Google's ad placement service.
Schoemaker says that six years later he is making over six figures a month.
A spokesperson for Google confirms that Schoemaker is a Google Adsense publisher, but it is Google company policy not to disclose the earnings of any individuals. Schoemaker is one of those Internet rags-to-riches stories -- he lectures and coaches other Web site owners on how to maximize the legitimate Google Adsense program to make money.
But his online success has also caused some trouble.
Schoemaker took a picture of the biggest check he ever received from Google, in the amount of $132,942. That picture, which was included in a recent "Good Morning America" report about Google Money Tree and fake news reports, has been used on the Web by many of the scammers who are now using Google's name and Schoemaker's image in their ads for get-rich-quick schemes.
Schoemaker says he has taken legal action to stop these companies from using his picture, spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees just to track these shell companies.
"My clients are confused by my face being associated with these work from home scams," Shoemaker said.
After being bilked by one of the alleged fraudulent sites like Google Money Tree, victims would find Schoemaker's contact information and call him to demand their money back. He vehemently explains that he's not associated with the Google Money Tree program.
This Internet businessman does have advice for anyone considering purchasing products online: "With anything you buy, spend a few extra minutes researching. The information is out there, if you spend five minutes searching online, you will see if something is a scam."
Schoemaker's best advice for learning to make money online: "Anything that promises that you'll get rich overnight on the Internet is a scam. I did get rich through the Internet, but it was after years of hard work. I created a site I was passionate about, and my success came from that. You don't need to buy anything to figure it out. All the information you need out there is free."