Want Chris Garrett to Post on Your Blog? So do I

published on October 4, 2007

Alright, I don’t normally enter contests that require a link, but this one is a bit different. First of all, this isn’t really a contest. Also, it’s something that I think you readers would like to know if you don’t already. Chris Garrett of chrisg.com is offering to guest post on your blog as well as link to your site. So what’s the catch? Really it’s not much of one at all. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

To get a guest post you need to let me know that you want one and to be eligible you only need to meet one requirement and that is your blog must be confirmed to be indexed by Technorati.  You can link to me with a post or if you are sure any links from your blog will show up write a comment saying why you should get one of the guest posts. That’s it :) As well as the guest post itself you will get a link from this blog. Some great content and a link, all for free!

I have a feeling Chris is going to get a TON of responses on this one. He’s a great writer and on top of writing for his own blog and running a great forum, he also writes regularly for CopyBlogger. Chris was also generous enough to provide one of the prizes for our Complete Blogging Package contest that helped generate a lot of interest and a lot of traffic for this blog. So, why do I deserve a guest post? Because I shared this information with you, my lovely readers, of course. ;) Seriously though, this is one more chance to get a bit more exposure for your blog and who can say no to that?

Also, as just a little teaser, if you’re a fan of the hit TV show Heroes (and who isn’t at this point?) you won’t want to miss the post I have scheduled for this afternoon. In fact, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss it.


Reader Discussion: Be Careful What you Promote?

published on October 3, 2007

Reader DiscussionAll the recent hype and then disappointment with BlogRush, the issues with Widgetbucks, and my personal feelings about Dealdotcom, I began to ponder a question that sprang up when JohnChow was heavily promoting Algoco. I have to admit, I’ve gone back and forth on the issue and I’m still not sure I have settled on one side or the other. So, I figured I’d open up the discussion to you, the readers. The quality of comments left on this blog are something I’m quite proud of (although I think it’s more a reflection on you than on the content I post), and I thought it would be interesting to hear what you all have to say on the issue.

The question is, does a blogger need to be careful what they promote? By promoting a product or service, are you to some extent tying your reputation to it?

For example, John Chow heavily recruited people to sign up for Algoco, which all signs suggest is a flop. Darren Rowse, Yaro Starak, Shoemoney, and John Chow all promoted BlogRush which for most people up to this point has proven to be a flop as well. 3 of those same big three promoted WidgetBucks. As Andy Beard pointed out, there are more than a few issues with this program as well. So, has your opinion of any of these bloggers changed because of their promotion of these services? If so, why? If not, why not?

Does the bloggers’ persona or personality play a roll in this? For example, John Chow is a fairly controversial figure and plays into the whole “root of all evil” image. Can he promote any and every service or program that he chooses and get away with it because he’s “evil”? Do you hold Darren (Problogger.net) to a higher standard than the panda killer? And finally, are less popular bloggers held to yet another standard or do the same principles apply?

Since I’m asking for you to voice your opinions on all of these questions I’ll go ahead and share mine in hopes of getting the conversation started.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I’m certainly finding myself more skeptical of the things Darren and Yaro promote now. In fact, my initial reaction to WidgetBucks was skepticism. In a matter of a couple of hours I saw it popping up on JohnChow, Problogger and in an email from Yaro, and that set alarms off and sent red flags flying. I’m not sure whether that’s fair or not, but it was my gut reaction. It could just as easily have been the best thing since sliced bread being promoted and just happened to contact the top bloggers in this niche but it made me suspicious.

I think I do hold Darren and Yaro to a higher standard than I do Mr. Chow and I’m not sure whether that’s fair either. Really John wouldn’t want to become known for promoting scams or crappy products either so I’m not sure why it seems he can “get away” with more.

I guess I view a bloggers’ reputation as his  or her most valuable asset. If you can’t trust what I say, I’m doomed. You’ll stop reading, you’ll stop visiting the site, and in the end, I’ll stop making money off the site. However, I think a less popular blogger probably has more to lose, for a couple of reasons. The obvious one being less popular bloggers have fewer readers to lose, so each one is, in a sense, more valuable to the smaller blog. Another reason is that the less popular blogger doesn’t have the track record that a well known blogger has. For example, if I promote some product that ends up being complete crap, that might very well be the only impression people have of me. If Darren promoted the same product in the same manner, people might very well say “Well he missed that one but look at all this other great advice he’s give us. Look at his track record over the years.”

So, there’s my take, what’s yours? Am I wrong? Am I right? Do you have other thoughts on the issue? Let’s talk it over.


Our First Advertiser!

published on October 3, 2007

Neil DuckettLadies and gentlemen, bloggers of all ages, I’d like to introduce you to BloggingExperiment’s first advertiser, Neil Duckett! As you’ve probably noticed, though, this add doesn’t look like most of the other 125 x 125 ads that are so popular these days. It’s actually just a picture of Neil that he’s using to promote his personal site (talk about a personal touch right?). Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a fellow cueball, but I was really pleased with the way the ad looks and I’m willing to bet he get’s quite a few extra clicks out of it. Well done Neil!

If you’d like to claim one of the three remaining 125 x 125 ad spots, let me know. I’ll prorate the $60 fee for every day missed (for example, Neil only had to pay $58.00) and I’ll put the ad up as soon as payment is received.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other advertising options. I was just accepted into ReviewMe and they set the price of a review at $250! That’s more than twice what I’m charging privately. I’ve since upped my price through ReviewMe (I’ll explain that in a post later) but needless to say, I think the $100 price for a full review is well worth it and it appears ReviewMe thinks so as well.

And last but not least, be on the look out towards the end of the week for a new and innovative advertising option to become available. I’m putting the finishing touches on the details but I think it’s going to be something that will not only be of great value to the advertisers but also something that isn’t being offered on any of the other popular make money online sites!


A Few Quick Notes

published on October 2, 2007

I’ve got a random collection of things I feel like I should mention but don’t necessarily warrant their own post. So, I figured I’d throw em all together and let you sort them out.

I upgraded to WordPress 2.3 without incident. The only hiccup was with my FTP client. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you aren’t using WordPress (and on your own domain) you should seriously consider switching. It’s amazing.

If you haven’t upgraded yet, you should. Don’t believe me? Ask Kyle.

It seems WidgetBucks is going to be the next hugely hyped thing in the make money corner of the blogosphere. There’s not the tiered affiliate scam structure though and the program seems legit. I’ve added them to the Free for Signing Up page since they give you $25 for, you guessed it, signing up.
Edit: Crap, it looks like there are some issues with the service after all. Why is it that every new “exciting” way to make money lately has been surrounded by controversy? Even more importantly, are Darren, Yaro, and John harming their reputation by backing such services? This could very well be the 2nd scam in a row promoted by these guys.

I’ve been pretty disappointed so far with Dealdotcom. There’s been only one product I’ve even been remotely interested in, and the prices hardly seem like deals. Turns out, I’m not the only one that feels this way. CashQuests has a solid post about the website so hyped by Mr. Chow and others.

If you’ve not signed up for Text Link Ads you really should stop procrastinating. I just got another wonderful “Text Link Ads to Approve” email. I’m now making more than $100 a month from blogs I’ve not written for in months!


September Wrap Up

published on October 2, 2007

wake me up, when September endsWow… I can’t believe it’s that time again. Another month has flown by and what a month it was. I made $75 this month from affiliate sales. Two people this month purchased the SEO Book and I had another Text Link Ads sign up as well. While this is a long way from my goal of $5,000 a month, it does represent a 50% increase from last month. Besides, October has already more than doubled that total with the $150 coming in from the Goodmind study, as well as our first advertiser (more on that later this week). So, while I’ve still got a long way to go, I still think I stand a good shot at hitting my goal over the next 275 days.

September was also a great month for the number of RSS subscribers. If you remember the Complete Blogging Package contest’s goal was to hit 150 subscribers on September 1st and we just barely made it. A month later, the feedcount has more than doubled! I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but I am really excited and encouraged by these results. In my post What Hosting a Blog Contest Can Do for You, I mentioned that if the number of subscribers doubled again in 25 days I’d be “one happy blogger”. Well it’s only been 18 days and we’re only 70 subscribers away from hitting that goal. I guess I’d better have a good week of blogging huh?

So there you have it, 50% more income, and more than double the number of subscribers for the month of September. Let’s hope October is more of the same.

If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to Blogging Experiment either through our RSS feed or via email. Also, how was your September? Let me know in the comments below.


Why I Don’t Use AdSense

published on October 1, 2007

Over the weekend, Ognjen of Ioncenter dropped me an email that I thought would be great for this week’s Reader Question Session. Ognjen asks,

“I was wondering, why don’t you use Google AdSense in your blog?”

 
Well, to be honest there are a few reasons. The first one being that my AdSense account was banned more than a year ago for reasons still unknown. Now I realize that if you ask the inmates, there are no guilty men in prison, but in all honesty, I never broke their terms of service or participated in any type of click fraud or anything like that. I simply logged into my account one day and poof, it was gone. I of course appealed but Google would not provide me any information (even such basic things such as which domain the fraud occurred on, or a date range for me to pull my log files) about why I had been banned and denied my appeal. Now it appears publishers often receive warnings before being banned but I guess I just wasn’t that lucky.

I guess the silver lining of getting banned was that it opened my eyes and for the first time I looked more critically at the AdSense program. When I did, I saw several things I saw that would keep me from running AdSense ads on this blog, even if I hadn’t been banned.

Vulnerability

Obviously the first issue that would worry me about using AdSense is the vulnerability factor. If my account could be banned for actions that I had no control over (and if you do some searching you’ll find I’m not alone), why would I want to put my earnings at risk? When Google bans you, they don’t pay you the balance you’re owed minus whatever clicks they have decided were fraudulent. They keep every dime that’s left in your account, whether it was earned honestly or not. Luckily for me, I had only a few hundred dollars in my account. While that most certainly wasn’t a pleasant experience, it could have been MUCH, MUCH worse.

No Accountability

How about this, you send me as much targeted traffic as you can, and I’ll pay you for it. How much? Oh, whatever I think is fair. And actually I’m going to resell that traffic at a profit. How large a profit? Oh, whatever I think is fair.

Now how many of you are going to sign up for that offer? When it’s presented like that, probably not many. However, when you sign up for Google AdSense, that’s essentially what you’re doing. You’re agreeing to let Google determine how much they should pay you for each click. Of course, they don’t disclose what percentage they pay you, so they can actually change your share at any given moment. If they’re paying you $1.00 a click, the next day they could pay you $0.50 for that same click and you’d never know it.

As if that weren’t enough, Google also get’s to decide which clicks they pay you for! Think hitting the front page of a popular social media site will increase your AdSense earnings? Not so fast. Steve over at Ramblings of the Marginalized has some pretty solid evidence that Google is discounting any clicks when your site gets a surge in traffic. That’s on top of the fact that Google could count only 8 out of every 10 clicks and you’d have absolutely no idea and no recourse. So, after all that, if you’re still interested in running Google AdSense, I’ve got one final reason you shouldn’t.

Poor Earnings

The best reason NOT to run AdSense ads on your site is a simple one. You’ll be losing money. Over the years webmaster after webmaster has realized that they could earn more money by running affiliate ads, offering private ad sales, or even running ads from other programs. One sports site I developed used Google AdSense (preban obviously) was doing pretty well and earned an average of about 35 – 40 cents a click. I thought that was just dandy until I came across an affiliate program that would pay me a flat fee of 50 cents per click for running their ads on my site. Now I don’t know about you but I’d take a 25% raise any time I can get it. The worst part of it was when I realized just how much money I had thrown away over the time I had been running AdSense. While that’s just one story, I’m not alone on this either. John Chow recently gave up on AdSense, and it’s no coincidence that none of the top dogs run AdSense on their sites.

To sum it all up, I don’t use Google AdSense because not only could you be banned at any time, you also have no idea how much you’re going to be paid per click, or how many of the clicks you generate will be counted and, last but not least, you’re probably not making as much as you could be off those clicks in the first place! If you’re currently using Google AdSense on your blog, I’d challenge you to take some time and research a few other ad sources. You’ll thank me for it later.


Digging For Gold?

published on September 28, 2007

Wow… what a week! Two articles hitting the front page of Digg in the matter of a few days bringing in over 100 new comments. With that in mind, today seemed like the perfect time to profile a new site that has sprung up that hopes to follow in the footsteps of the milliondollarhomepage and the Million Dollar Wiki. Andrew Galasetti has created a site called Goldigg.com which is essentially a Digg clone, with a twist. Unlike the popular social media site, only 5,000 members will be allowed to sign up and it costs $100 to join. Alex explains the site like this:

I created this site so that I can earn some money to donate to a charity (Modest Needs), to pay for college, and to re-launch another venture that didn’t succeed in the past because of my limited resources. I admire such web ventures as Alex Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage but I wanted to create something more, something that is not only interesting but valuable to the everyday web surfer.

To become a member of Goldigg.com it will cost $100. Once you are a member you can quickly gain that back by placing ads in your story submissions, by charging to submit someone’s story, having others pay you to vote, or by selling your account. Almost anything is possible to generate income for yourself.

Once 5,000 members is reached no more will be accepted. A limited user base will create more demand for you, adding more money to your pocket.

Alex emailed me and asked me to check the site out and even gave me a free membership. He certainly knows how to grease the wheels a bit! So, what do I think of Goldigg?  I’m glad you asked.

First of all, I love the idea. One of the things I love most about the internet is that original and outside the box ideas like this can turn into the next rags to riches story. While Andrew no doubt based his idea on the milliondollarhomepage (MDHP), he modified it and made it into something all his own. The value of the site, and by extension, the memberships, is going to depend almost solely on the size of the audience Andrew is able to generate. Much like the MDHP and the million dollar wiki (MDW), the more popular the site gets, the more valuable membership becomes. Alex doesn’t go into much detail about the things he has in mind to help generate that buzz, but contacting bloggers certainly seemed to work well for (MDW). Also, Andrew has vowed to donate half the proceeds to charity. While the more skeptical people out there will suspect no charity will ever see a dime from this project, I think stating it publicly and putting the promise in writing on his website certainly adds to the pressure to deliver. If the site begins to get any kind of media attention, you can believe someone will be checking up to make sure he makes good.

So, overall, I like the idea. I do have a few suggestions and recommendations for the site as well as promotion of it. First of all Andrew, while I’m flattered that I was the first member, you really should contact some of the big dogs and work a deal with them in exchange for promoting your site. You could contact John Chow and give him a cut of all memberships you sell as a result of his coverage. You could do the same thing for numerous other bloggers. You could offer an affiliate program that members could join to help give them further incentive to spread the word about the site.

Also, the site design leaves a bit to be desired. You have a lot of empty space at the top of the page that’s just taken up by stripes. Also, a memorable logo would definitely help you brand the site and make it more memorable. There are thousands of Pligg based sites out there, you need to make yours exceptional. The navigation on interior pages is pretty rough and I think on one page the only way I could get back to the main site was the back button.

So there you have it. I think with a lot of promotional effort and some design work, the idea will be able to shine through. As it stands now, I believe those two issues are holding it back a bit. However, the site’s also only been live for days at this point and it can be a HUGE task getting Pligg to work the way you want it to (I’ve know, I’ve tried). But what do you think of the site, BloggingExperiment readers? Does Andrew have the next big idea on his hands or is he going to have to chalk this one up to experience? Do you have any ideas or suggestions for the site? Let us know in the comments below.


Earn $150 for 90 Minutes

published on September 27, 2007

I’m not sure how many of you readers out there also subscribe to Marketing Pilgrim (if you don’t you should) but I figured I’d pass this post along just in case you missed it:

I received an interesting offer from the folks at Goodmind. They offered me $150 to take part in a study that would take about 90 minutes of my time. I don’t have the time, but Goodmind agreed to let me pass on the offer to Marketing Pilgrim readers, so here it is

You can read about the entire offer over on Marketing Pilgrim but suffice it to say, I’ve already contacted them and will hopefully qualify to participate. Enjoy!


The Art of eWar

published on September 27, 2007

Over the years some people have accused me of picking a lot of fights online. Of course I’d say that the fights pick me but either way you look at it, I’ve had my share of experience in virtual dust ups. Recently I’ve been on the outside looking in at a few online battles and I believe I’ve discovered a few rules or laws that are critical to not only surviving but winning these encounters.

So, it is with great pride and the wisdom of many scars that I present to you The Art of eWar (with apologies to Sun Tzu).

the Art of War by Sun TzuKnow Your Enemy
There’s an old saying that “knowing is half the battle.” While I personally prefer my own variation “Knowing that your opponent is an idiot is half the battle”, it can still be quite useful to know your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your own. Obviously if you are going to prey on emotion (discussed below) and use it to your advantage, you need to know precisely which nerves to tweak and which toes to step on.

You also need to know who your enemy is allied (friends) with, and most importantly what the central issue is in the war. Knowing your enemy and their allies seems like an obvious point but a mistake here is often fatal. The last thing you want to do is criticize an A-list blogger or some other heavy hitter in your niche, without knowing who you’re calling out. That’s not to say you can never do battle with the big dogs, just be sure the risk you’re taking is a calculated one. “What the hell do you know about search engines? What makes you think you’re an expert?” …. “Oh, you actually ARE a Google engineer huh? Uh…. well.. you’re still a moron” is an embarrassment that would be tough to live down.

Go to Extremes
When engaging your enemy use logic and reasoning to dismantle your opposition’s defenses. Expand their statements or positions to the most broad and extreme cases possible. Statements like “Using that logic, you could justify stealing candy from a baby!” or “So you’re suggesting we just kill off all Mac users?” are mini-victories all on their own and almost impossible to defend.

Prey on Emotion
Stir up emotional responses and force your opponent to divert from their planned course of action. Remarks such as “Didn’t your mom do the same thing you’re criticizing?” or “Don’t you think this is really stemming from your lack of self worth and subsequent overcompensation for your inferior sexual stature?” can send your foe into a frenzied state so far off the beaten path that they’ll never recover. They’ll spend so much time lashing out at you personally in their blind rage that you should easily be able to decimate their position. When dropping these types of bombs, though, be sure they are precisely targeted and preferably relevant. There’s nothing worse than one of these puppies blowing up in your face.

Stick to Your Guns
An often overlooked principle of eWar is to never lose sight of the central issue. Many times (especially if you’ve recently used the previous tactic against them) your opponent will try to distract you or divert your energies by bringing up irrelevant topics or throwing up smoke screens. Never let this faze you. Don’t get bogged down and waste your energy on some trivial point or defending your mother’s brother’s dog’s honor. Keep your message clear and simple. Pound your main point home and you’ll often win the support of any observers, and may even wear your opponent down to the point of conceding.

Choose the Battle Ground
It can be quite difficult to see an eWar coming. The most innocent remarks or actions can spark the fiercest of battles. However, a seasoned eWarrior can learn to distinguish the warning signs and be prepared when the fighting starts. Make sure your first attack is targeted where it will do the most harm. That often means attacking someone before they expect it but may also involve pausing to regroup long enough to establish a game plan if you’re on the receiving end of the attack. Forcing an opponent to do battle on your terms can weaken your enemy before the eWar even begins and will often limit your casualties. If you can move the war from your opponents blog to a neutral site such as Digg, or better yet to your own blog, You take away your opponent’s greatest weapons, the edit and delete buttons.

mouse trapLure and Ambush
Use seemingly innocent questions like “wouldn’t you agree that (insert obvious and inarguable point here)” to lure your opponent down the path you’ve chosen. Once they take the bait, use statements like “Since (once again obvious point), wouldn’t you also agree that (insert your point here)” to spring the trap. Once your opponent begins agreeing with you on any level it’s almost always game, set, match. While not all arguments will be this easy, an effective ambush can often lead to swift and efficient victories.

Know When It’s Over
Recognizing the end of a war is just as critical as any action or tactic used in the height of battle. If you’ve won the war, don’t continue to pummel a now helpless opponent. You will tarnish your victory and lose the respect you just spent so much effort winning. If you’ve lost, graciously accept defeat, maintain some dignity (if possible), and live to fight another day. There’s nothing more pitiful than someone continuing to flail away when the battle field is empty and the war is lost. Make sure that pitiful person is your opponent, not you.

And there you have it. The Art of eWar. Use this knowledge wisely and remember, with great power comes great responsibility. If you think I’ve missed the target or left out a critical law, let me know in the comments bellow. Who knows… maybe you’ll get a chance to put these tactics to the test. ;)