September 16, 2014
One of the most compelling online companies in the last decade came out of nowhere, at least to much of the business world that was making money in the global marketplace. New startups are nothing new among online entrepreneurs, nor is the idea of very young people being technically savvy enough to run their own companies in the digital age, but Ryan Eagle was something different. His story is one of a boy that had enough vision to become a multimillion dollar entrepreneur in his twenties.
Although his story is a rise and fall tale, when it comes to the company itself. Ryan Eagle’s style, savvy, and spirit for the startup company is one that is compelling, but also noteworthy in recent Internet high tech history. From designing his first website at 5 years old, then working early on with a variety of software, video game and web design pursuits, Ryan Eagle developed a wide arsenal of tricks for his big picture plan.
Eagle Web Assets
Ryan Eagle was born in 1987, just 17 years later in 2004, he forms the startup company called Eagle Web Assets or EWA. Ryan brought an expertise that included web development, business operations, corporate investing, media buying, email marketing, web development, graphic design and international advertising campaigns to the table. He had already made enough real money in the website design world to consider acquiring his first company, actually a few times over.
Between 2004 and 2009, EWA focused on it’s primary goal of being a successful angel investor. Ryan Eagle wanted to acquire, merge and run companies, optimally from the point of being a new startup. Rather than take the long road of proving himself over time and eventually playing with the big boys online, EWA and it’s founder opted for the short road to having a big business online presence.
EWA set it’s sights on becoming a super affiliate network, keeping in mind that they were not even a small public affiliate yet. What Ryan did was sweep up some of the better businesses, from his list of startups that were already formed under the EWA banner. He brought together a large network of unusually diverse companies together, under what would become known as the EWA Private Network in 2009.
EWA Private Network
In the world of affiliate networks in 2009, EWA stood out in a number of ways. First of all, an independent person or small business launch could actually get approved to join EWA’s private network. Becoming an affiliate had less to do with guaranteed volume traffic, but more about a willingness to be supportive of the EWA vision. Ryan Eagle used guerrilla hip-hop marketing ads to meme style representation of the network itself. He encouraged a Photoshop overkill style for EWA and members of the private network were welcome to throw their own hacker art into the mix.
The main ad campaign, if you can call it that was a very simple banner and website block set of ads. A white banner and background would be presented to website visitors, the blue EWA logo of a stylized eagle would fade into view and then as it again faded to white, a single word would appear to fill the screen. The ads almost invariably said only, “OBEY” and they faded back to white. “OBEY” became a symbol for EWA that was marketed a cool to the Generation Next kids with hats, t-shirts and other streetwise fashions. EWA never spent much on marketing itself, if the public found them, it was usually through other affiliate blogs or by random chance of fate.
Yet EWA Private Network pulled off some amazing tactual hijinks that worked incredibly well. By the end of 2009, they had created a synthesis which merged Eagle Web Assets angel investments with EWA Private Network affiliate programs, this alone created a network with several thousand affiliate program companies from everything in online industry. They had all the programs of big affiliates like Wolf Storm Media and Never Blue, but also adult websites, online dating, social networks, video games, ringtones, fashion, food companies, movies ads, TV promotions, religious groups, metaphysical, online casinos and many more.
Next Ryan took the private network to a whole new level, he incorporated 2 new divisions of the EWA corporate umbrella, one called BLAM Ads and another named GlobeOptimize. BLAM Ads brought in a similarly wide mix of affiliate companies, except from places like the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, China, Mexico and all throughout the far and near east. BLAM was able to pull together a very wide net of internationalized affiliate programs, almost like magic. GlobeOptimize was also an internationalization affiliate grouping, but it focused more on the high end corporate, technological and more elite affiliations, but secured a greater total potential for furthering angel investment opportunities throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, although it was the one that paid off the least for EWA.
Anyone who got with EWA Private Network at this time can attest, the pay range was much more lucrative and wide ranging than anything else. Even people like the infomercial brothers Adrian and Anthony Morrison started begging to be on the coat-tails of Ryan Eagle and his all monstrous, super affiliate network. By 2010 the EWA Private Network was ready to rock and roll, making tremendous amounts of cash daily, having the largest number of programs for affiliate ads of anyone at the time. The clock was ticking, the money was flowing and Ryan Eagle put his family, friends, wife and anyone he wanted in positions at EWA.
The Rise and Fall of Ryan Eagle
Unfortunately, the end result of EWA was almost textbook psychology for anyone so young like Ryan Eagle. He was rich beyond his wildest dreams, had fast cars, a girlfriend and a very hard headed addictive personality. Between drugs, drinking, arrests and getting sober, then back to rerun the cycle a few years in a row, Ryan was a personal wreck. Even sober, his alter ego was a straight edge workaholic, making his life a ticking time bomb for something to go wrong.
In 2013, Ryan started to realize that the more money EWA made, the more obvious his poor financial management of the company had been. Not that they were losing money directly, far from it. But most of the super affiliate programs were not contractually firm or in agreement with EWA on many things. As EWA attempted to draw up the delayed contracts, get lawyers and accountants taking all the numbers in, the paperwork was no longer going to be enough clout for Ryan Eagle’s silent partners. Basically, his behind the scenes investors had been all too aware of his partying, poor management skills and were happy to let him keep racking in the millions, but were ready to pull the plug all at once.
EWA suddenly suffered from a high volume deficit, one that caused the company to close it’s doors without paying many stock holders, investors and affiliate program members. EWA officially closed it’s doors in March 2013, along with the EWA Private Network, BLAM Ads and GlobeOptmize. For Ryan Eagle, it was his first real failure, as an online business marketer.
From both a personal and professional view, Ryan Eagle and the EWA story are noteworthy, because the kid has what is missing in many online investors today. EWA had Ryan Eagles unadulterated clear vision, even with his hip-hop big-baller suspenders, UFO rave-style sunglasses and an addiction to almost every prescription and narcotic under the sun. Today Ryan Eagle has moved to bigger and better projects, but can live with an tidy net worth of 50 million or so. Not bad for a web designer with a gumption for big pimping and fast cars. Say what you will about the guy, but he’s grown up a lot, and he definitely deserves respect and credit for what he accomplished in such a short time.