Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard » reviews http://andybeard.eu Internet Marketing, Lead Acquisition, Online Business Strategy and Social Media with Original Opinion and Loads of Attitude Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:47:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ExitFire – Is Exit Fire A Pending Blogrush Disaster? http://andybeard.eu/2660/exitfire.html http://andybeard.eu/2660/exitfire.html#comments Fri, 26 Mar 2010 04:13:09 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/?p=2660 I was actually quite supportive of John Reese’s Blogrush experiment. It was spammed to death, the quality of the network went downhill rapidly, people clicked the adverts a lot less, and the targeting system was a bit of a longshot.

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I was actually quite supportive of John Reese’s Blogrush experiment. It was spammed to death, the quality of the network went downhill rapidly, people clicked the adverts a lot less, and the targeting system was a bit of a longshot.

Lets face it, Google does a pretty good job with advertising tageting, especially all those Acai berry, colon cleaning, IMVU and flash games, plus the occasional Chitika ad with Darren Rowse that end up showing as remnant ads.
Google can only monetize a percentage of traffic effectively, and lots of traffic doesn’t click ads.

If you have a landing page for a product, then in most cases an exit pop with some kind of special offer, or page switch to another offer is a very popular option.

But what happens if you just have a blog on general stuff?
What happens if you have a huge site that brings in lots of traffic about “stuff” but you would much prefer to receive traffic than rely on Google for reventue, then somehow use that revenue to buy traffic, just feeding Google all the time.

Advertising Credits

Exit Fire has some kind of multilevel referral system and ad traffic swap.

Exit Fire Scam

There doesn’t seem to be any quality control, but maybe there is an army of outsourced workers in the Philippines – there is nothing wrong with the Philippines, I have recently hired a programmer there, I just know that Russell Brunson has or had a lot of staff there.

I can’t rip the math of this apart, or even defend it, as there is not enough information provided in the vague video on the landing page.

Multilevel Matrix Scam

This is multilevel marketing that will never get to level 10 – I doubt anyone using Blogrush had referrals beyond level 6 or 7 – mine only went 5 deep.

The service has to be of value even without referrals, but at least it is targeting people who are exiting your site, and it isn’t blocking external links, just people who have already gone.

Exit Pops

The problem with these exit pops is they are rarely worded clearly

Exit Pop - ExitFire

Someone has just tried to close a tab and this pops up…

Which button takes you to the partner page and which lets them take the action they wanted to do (close the tab) ?

It is never obvious…

Actions which cause a popup include closing a tab, the back button and a Stumble button – maybe other bookmarking plugins etc.

Junk Traffic

I don’t believe they are going to bring targeted traffic… I just don’t… at least not for niche sites, unless they have humans in the background allocating traffic.

Say for my blog on worm juggling (juggling.. not farming)…. ok yes I am kidding about the niche… kinda ;)

Your general bizop type traffic isn’t going to be targeted.

But say you have a site with lots of untargeted traffic and you wanted to arbitrage that into more valuable traffic… I can see a huge benefit, especially if you have a high bounce rate with TONS of traffic, and something you want to target in a biz op niche elsewhere, maybe even an affiliate link (there was no mention of whether you can use aff links)

Multiple Sites & Spam

I don’t think Russell has learnt very much from John Reese’s experience, other than to make money on the front end as this will possibly burn out very quickly…

The ideal setup is to have lots of untargetted visitors be shown an exit popup to a high quality landing page, or a site which is stuffed full of so much malware the average computer will grind to a halt in a frozen state of activex overload.

It is quite possible to “bait & switch” as well.

I can see an Exit Fire infestation on the horizon unless there is proactive monitoring of every site on an ongoing basis.

If you are going to use this, ensure you send traffic to a suitable landing page, not necessarily a squeeze page.

Make sure you track your results such as

http://andybeard.eu/?utm_source=Exitfire&utm_medium=exit&utm_content=homepage&utm_campaign=Exitfire1

(that isn’t a suatable landing page currently, it is just an example)

At the moment I don’t fully trust their traffic stats, I will need to take a look at my server logs, but I am already seeing referral traffic. It is at the expense of annoying regular visitors, thus I will have to work out a technical solution to fix that if someone else doesn’t.

Verdict

I slapped it on… I even upgraded (the downsell)… as an affiliate as far as I know you don’t get any money for referrals, only traffic.

There is a high chance I will now receive at least one phone call trying to sell me something as they have my phone number… something to bare in mind if you do buy the upsell.

This is a referral link, I might gain some additional traffic to some of my sites if you use it, but as far as I know no financial compensation.

http://www.ExitFire.com/1151

Do I recommend it?

For many niche sites, at this stage not at all.

I really wish there was a lot more information about how the credit system works, and the targeting system if there is one other than someone in the background assigning a category with enough traffic.

If I get the code on a site with a few million visitors a month, will ExitFire even have the inventory to send that traffic somewhere targeted?

I also wish there was more info on the abuse mechanisms, as I would hate someone leaving my site and landing on a malware site that had been referred to as my “partner” in the previous popup, that suggests some kind of vetting.

Hopefully more information will become available, but this is a service that could offer a suitable traffic arbitrage system for many sites who could use a way to leverage lots of traffic into quality referrals.

http://www.ExitFire.com/1151

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Stomper 999 – Stompernet Bonus http://andybeard.eu/2166/stomper-999-sompernet-bonus.html http://andybeard.eu/2166/stomper-999-sompernet-bonus.html#comments Wed, 09 Sep 2009 14:35:14 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/?p=2166 Stomper 999 is a strange launch, at least by modern standards in the Internet Marketing Niche.

  • Squeeze page for a couple of weeks
  • A few rumours
  • A few leaks of info after a seminar

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Stomper 999 is a strange launch, at least by modern standards in the Internet Marketing Niche.

  • Squeeze page for a couple of weeks
  • A few rumours
  • A few leaks of info after a seminar
  • A few leaks on information after an affiliate conference
  • The shopping cart opened on launch day and THEN they are going to drive home the message with tons more free content

But you can buy now

For me Brad’s new “Mafia Offer” is a nobrainer but lets look at some of what I heard

The new tools package

  • Full version Market Samurai
  • WYSIWYG Taguchi testing (Software as a Service / Hosted – up to 100,000 views free)10/12/2009 I have removed StomperStorm from the list as it seems to have been delayed indefinately.
  • Shopping cart (some additonal fees apply)
  • Twitter Storm – custom version of People Browser
  • SEO Qast – I think this is a desktop video/article syndication tool
  • Full $97/month version of Traffic Geyser (Update: I have been told that whilst this was the information initially given to affiliates, the exact configuration of the accounts won’t be exactly the same as the $97 Traffic Geyser subscription – We will need to wait until it is officially unveiled
  • Article Syndication network of 17000 sites
  • SMS/Text IM Twitter Email system
  • PDX system with 800 number webconferencing etc (some additional fees can apply)
  • Review System – not exactly sure, but a way to get reviews on Google local, with cards being sent to clients to fill out, pop in the mail and the details are added to local

Plus as far as I know all the current Stompernet training is also available which is really worth thousands of dollars.

There are a few upsells and additional fees on some of the items, but it is the promised Mafia offer, that no one in the industry can come close to matching.

Before I mention exactly what I have as a bonus, here is a little testimonial from one of my avid readers

Brad Fallon
You’re better at spotting issues (and proposing solutions) than anyone I know — so please consider yourself to have an open line to me on any issues you see or have. I’m sure we’ll have a ton as we start rolling things out. Just give me a chance to fix it before you blast us on your blog! :-)

I haven’t found any major issues that haven’t been fixed with what I was playing around with, the Taguchi testing “Stomper Storm” package, and this was a more general comment about what I cover on my blog than specific to new Stompernet products. Brad has been reading my blog for years… by email.

Who Is Andy Beard?

andysquare80x80 I am a real guy (not a fake pseudonym) living in rural Poland – so rural in fact that when we moved into my new house we didn’t have a telephone connected for internet access for 4 months, even though the local exchange box was at the bottom of our 7200m2 garden.

House and Plumbing

That was taken just over 2 years ago, the house is pretty much finished now, other than landscaping, the pool and the 3rd bathroom.


View Larger Map

Marketing Credentials

Somehow I can count many of the top online gurus as direct contacts… even though I have never created floods of sales for them during product launches, and I have never released my own product in the internet marketing niche.

Somehow I have also gained the respect of a large number of people in the SEO community (there is rarely a cross-over), and here are some of the accollades I have picked up for my SEO articles (often based on topics Stompernet teaches)

2009 SEMMY Nominee
PageRank Is The Primary Google Search Ranking Factor
Site Structure – SEOs Going Fishing Without Any Bait

2008 SEMMY Runner-UpSEO Linking Gotchas Even The Pros Make

2008 SEMMY Nominee
Dancing With The Gevil – Defamed By Google?
Digg Favorites Slapped By Google
Optimizing HTML Links In The Aftermath Of A Blog Storm

Whilst these rankings tend to fluctuate a fair amount, I am almost always highly placed on almost every “Top Blog” listing related to online marketing.

I could also write about how I helped grow a games company in Poland from 5 employees to 100+, publishing one of the first CD-ROMs on the Polish market, or the family offline apparel business that has been trading for over 20 years.

My biggest achievement has to be every day I spend with my 2 year old adopted son, and my biggest failing is probably knowing that in a year he will probably speak Polish better than me, and English better than his mother.

Show Us The Deal Andy!

For a while I have been thinking of the perfect way to monetize this blog, and the credibility and relationships I have built up.

The obvious solution for me was:-

  • Create a value trojan – an insanely cheap $7/month membership for a few thousand people
  • Have a single upsell – $1000/month for 20 people as a limited form of consultation/mastermind – maybe 4hrs maximum per month, prepaid, use it or lose it.

The specialization? Ripping things apart, fixing things, proposing solutions

I haven’t ruled this out as a long-term monetization plan, it is a huge long-term time investment, though it would give me the funding I need for my startup if I was bootstrapping (it is a big project to bootstrap)

The Better Plan

Whilst the value trojan would help lots of people, I wouldn’t be able to give enough help to the people who need it, and a consultant to the “gurus” would be solving problems of “gurus”, helping the rich get richer.

My long-term projects could certainly benefit from lots of “normal” testimonials

So here is what I am going to do even though it will be as close to a J.O.B. I have been in the last 7 years

This Offer Is Limited To 100 People

That is actually the hard line – it is not workable beyond that – whilst there are some digital components to this offer, it can’t scale beyond 100 people, and the financial reward is pretty much what I could easily earn just working as an SEO consultant.

Stompernet includes so much existing training, the chances of you having time to consume any additional standard “bonus fare” is remote, so I hope you don’t go looking for the biggest $$$ sign bonuses of things you will never read.

My bonus is specific to the product

  • 1hr/month for 3 months of adhoc “Emergency Issue Consultation” & “Problem Solving” orchestrated through Huddle or Basecamp – I will actually set up a new project for each bonus purchaser and you will be able to call on me to help solve problems, test products etc. – it will be limited to what I can confidently advise you on, and if I don’t know, I don’t know and will tell you.
  • Some additional adhoc web conferences for smaller groups when there is some additional insight to share
  • Whilst I don’t want to make a huge bullet point about it, I also have a few private WordPress plugins that you will gain access to on an ongoing basis from a private area on this blog, that will include StomperStorm Taguchi integration just to speed things up even more, and some new SEO plugins (I have a nofollow evaporating PageRank solution for WordPress already to go)

I honestly don’t know how to put a value on this bonus, as it will really depend on the individual.

I don’t do consulting – if I did my hourly rate would have to be in the region of $100 – $200, but then I would also have significant expenses, travel time to meet clients etc.

Even a few years ago I could charge $250 just for a blog post about a company, and many willingly paid that sum, not for links but for the value of the feedback. I always looked on it as undervaluing my own time, a token gesture for the 5+ hours I often spent on writing an article.

But writing articles isn’t efficient use of my time – raw evaluations can be provided in private, and in some way provided more efficiently, with screen capture tools etc.

The value one company has received from my help could easily be looked on as $50,000+ for every hour I spent.

Stompernet is available at various levels and price points – in my own mind it would be a little insulting to offer some kind of scaled table here stating how much you have to spend to receive a specific bonus.

The aim of my bonus is to give you someone you can call on when you need help who can brainstorm with you to achieve a solution quickly. I can make almost any topic less confusing whether you are a programmer trying to understand marketing or SEO, or a business guy trying to establish an online business and can’t speak any geek.

It is in my best interests for you to remain a successful Stompernet memebr, to ensure you never leave, and to in someway magnify the Stompernet “You Are Not Alone”.

Magpies – All That Glitters Does Not Shine

There will be some huge $$$ figure bonuses for Stompernet by “all the regular gurus” – if they interest you, great – I wish you every success trying to debug their software, consume their content and battling their support systems.

I Am Not Doing This To Get Rich

In fact in many ways I am heavily discounting my own time to get valuable feedback from people who are serious about their online business.
Think of it as one step above an “Ask Campaign” or polling my readers.

I am going to leverage the feedback, testimonials and maybe even some of the content into other projects that will be more financially rewarding.

I am allocating the majority of any affiliate commissions to development of tools to help you with your marketing, and you will gain access for free or as near to cost as is possible.
Even if only 20 people take up my offer, I expect to spend at least 40 hrs per month working with people who take up this offer and on things inside Stompernet (forums etc)

This is the link to use:-

I’m Buying Stompernet From Andy Beard

If you have any questions about this offer, here is my contact page
My Skype details are there as always, I am very accessible if you have any questions
Oh, and via this Stompernet offer I will even have a US #800 phone number soon.

Ask Andy About Stompernet Bonus

For a limited time I have also set up a number of chat widgets so you can ask me a question directly here on my bonus page



My status

100% Conversion Rate

Everyone who has contacted me regarding purchasing Stompernet has either purchased through my link, or decided not to purchase Stompernet at all, but wants to somehow hire me or join any membership site I create in the future.

If you have any reservations, I urge you to contact me – I can answer all your questions honestly, and give you a taste of some of the support you will be receiving.

Claiming Your Bonus

After you sign up, drop me a note via my contact form just in case I can’t get your details from the affiliate interface. It is not unknown for Infusionsoft to have problems with order notifications, and I can’t automate bonus delivery.

I won’t be counting time until things settle down for the launch, so the bonus support will last all the way through to the end of the Christmas holidays.

There won’t be a huge delay in getting things set up, though I am human and I occasionally go to sleep.

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New WordPress SEO Blogging Software http://andybeard.eu/1349/new-wordpress-seo-blogging-software.html http://andybeard.eu/1349/new-wordpress-seo-blogging-software.html#comments Fri, 09 May 2008 04:38:27 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/05/new-wordpress-seo-blogging-software.html What a difference 24 hours make.

A few days ago I was honestly prepared to rip a product to shreds. It wasn’t that it was a bad product, but it wasn’t as well prepared as it should have been, and from what I can tell it was due to an honest communication error between a well respected online marketer and his programming team.

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What a difference 24 hours make.

A few days ago I was honestly prepared to rip a product to shreds. It wasn’t that it was a bad product, but it wasn’t as well prepared as it should have been, and from what I can tell it was due to an honest communication error between a well respected online marketer and his programming team.

But before I talk about the product itself, I am going to give you a little history lesson.

WordPress Elite

A few years ago I purchased a script called WordPress Elite. It was pretty useful, and allowed you to point the software at a server, and create WordPress blogs based on a default configuration plus you could select various parameters.

I even sold a couple of copies as an affiliate.

It didn’t do everything, you still had to log into the WordPress blog and activate the plugins, configure them etc, and at the time I was an SEO newbie… some would say I still am ;)

The marketer however sold the business, and the new owner didn’t do anything with it. He got some new subscribers. He asked the list once for new features, then nothing was released, and the script never really supported 2.x very well.

WordPress Super Installer

I managed to pick this up really cheap when it was first released, and I soon forgot that WordPress Elite was going through some teething problems.
Unfortunately development pretty much stopped at the beginning of 2007.

First, as with any newly released version of software (including wsi) there are bugs and anomalies that need to be worked out before the version is completely stable. I know one bug in particular reported to WordPress about v2.1 is it’s lack of compliance with the xmlrpc standard. Xmlrpc is what most of the blog content auto-posters use to post content to your blogs via remote methods (as apposed to logging in a posting something manually).

Though the newest version of WordPress may have some advantages over the previous versions, I don’t feel for the sake of building blog farms to achieve back links to your money sites that it makes sense to quickly jump on-board a new version, just for the sake of having a new version.

The last update I received from Randy Rhodes (not Randi from Air America) was at the end of July 2007.

WordPress 2.0.x is still maintained because it needs to be for Debian inclusion, thus if you don’t need all the fancy features of WordPress 2.1 or above, it is still a good choice, especially if you are fed up of things breaking all the time, or have tons of WordPress blogs to maintain.

Other Scripts

There are other scripts out there, plus various services that promise to install WordPress on your behalf. I must admit I am not that keen on forking out more money, changing business processes, and then for another script development to grind to a halt.

I would never trust an automated service to install WordPress packages for me. There are a few cropping up again, there have been a few in the past, but why reveal all your niche sites to a 3rd party hiding behind a website, even if you trusted them to do the installation, and have access to your server.

WordPress Packages

If you are not too reliant on 10s of plugins, you can get by just creating WordPress packages. Include a set of standard plugins and themes that you have tweaked, upload, switch on the plugins, and configure them to your liking.
Or you can create a process, and pay someone else to do it for you.

SEO Optimized WordPress Package

Jeff Johnson has just released a special package for WordPress SEO

The installation is painless

Setup your database as always
Edit your config as always
Upload
Enter your blog name and email address
Log in
Select a theme

So what is done for you?

Permalinks
Plugin Activation
Plugin settings (though I am not sure how much they differ from default)
Ping list

Shall we coin a new phrase… the “4 Ps”

The themes are also relatively well optimized, so you have H1s where they should be

Pretty useful?

WordPress SEO Plugins Installed

All In One SEO Pack
Google XML SiteMaps
Sociable (the new official version with nofollow)

also Akismet and Simple Captcha

Why Was I Going To Slam It?

This problem was exasperated by many of the themes Jeff Johnson decided to include in the package, some optimized themes from MyType.com who basically take fairly average WordPress themes, optimized them a little, and then stick 5 spammy links in the footer to various pages on their domain, many seem to be paid client blogs.

(disclaimer: MyType.com currently rank first for WordPress SEO and I have a post blocked by robots.txt ranking on the same page – it is not exactly a competitive search term, doesn’t bring much traffic, but it probably takes 100s of spammy theme links to rank for it now)

In addition Jeff had included a few links on the default blogroll, and a badge in the sidebar.

When you added up the total number of external links per page, and it came to 14 without the WordPress default links etc, it couldn’t really be looked at as a good recommendation for SEO, especially if people download it who are less experienced.

So I emailed Jeff, and within a few hours I had a reply that it was going to be fixed. I think I may have been the only one who was concerned.

It Is Not Perfect

I don’t like some of the sites on the pinglist they use – lots of .jp sites – my personal pinglist for “quality” blogs consists of just one site, Feedburner, and I let them handle the pings to other places.

sidenote: I keep seeing Pingoat listed on ping lists – last time I checked Pingoat hadn’t been accepting pings for 18 months, maybe that is now closer to 2 years. Web pings only. Maybe John Reese when he purchased the site switched that function back on and didn’t tell anyone (such as update the Pingoat blog) – looking at recently updated blogs on Pingoat, it seems like the Poles might be using a script to spam the hell out of it.

I would use a different plugin selection, though I am sure the version of WordPress Jeff provides to his clients has a more comprehensive feature set. That being said, you really want to minimise plugin use if you are hosting a lot of blogs on a single server.

The themes are better than the originals, though you might want to look for replacements.

As they stand, if lots of people use this WordPress version for blog farms and datafeed sites, they have a bit of a heavy footprint. They still have a lot of nofollow links in the footer, plus 2 blogroll links and a banner

It Is A Time Saver

Even as it stands, for an experienced WordPress users it represents a time saver, and for someone less experienced who has problems with the basic steps of setting up plugins, permalinks etc it is a good resource, especially if the package gets improved over time.

Jeff is providing lots of instructional videos on how to install the package, though effectively it is the same as any WP installation. He does recommend using this only for new blogs, though there is a procedure that can be used for existing sites.

It Is Free

Whilst I started off with some real concerns, what concerns remain can be cured with very simple hacking. I expect this to be well maintained.

Thanks Jeff, great value for money – download it here.

p.s. I am not sure how long Jeff will have this available. It is just one of many things he is providing free of charge as part of a product launch, and these bonuses tend to disappear from public display once a launch has completed.
My advise would be to download it and test it on a few spare domains, tweak it for your own use and feed the blogs you create with some content.

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SpeedPPC V3.0 Released http://andybeard.eu/1327/speedppc-v30-released.html http://andybeard.eu/1327/speedppc-v30-released.html#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2008 03:38:38 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/04/speedppc-v30-released.html SpeedPPCAs we are having a bit of an affiliate marketing news week, I thought it would be good to mention that SpeedPPC v3.0 has just been announced, and for the next week it will be available at $100 discount.

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SpeedPPCAs we are having a bit of an affiliate marketing news week, I thought it would be good to mention that SpeedPPC v3.0 has just been announced, and for the next week it will be available at $100 discount.

Last July SpeedPPC launched to huge critical acclaim and they even created this cool demonstration video of how it works.

There is a higher quality version of this on the SpeedPPC site

I know many of my readers spend 1000s on custom solutions for PPC management. SpeedPPC isn’t a tracking solution.

What it does is build highly optimized landing pages which can enhance your keyword level tracking.

I am sure some people already have custom solutions to do this as well, but not everyone can afford to pay a bunch of programmers to develop proprietary systems, plus you still have the problem of teaching a programmer what you are trying to achieve.

SpeedPPC is a battle tested system

One big caveat as I know this will affect a number of my readers. SpeedPPC uses .Net, thus is Windows only

I love mentioning products being launched by readers. In this case I have been reading Allan Gardyne’s newsletter for 3 years, and Jay Stockwell I know is one of those lurking readers.

I know one thing for sure – if I ever decide to drive traffic to this blog using PPC, it will be to specially designed and optimized landing pages. With the right offer it is possible to exponentially increase opt-in rates.

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Social Power Linking Review http://andybeard.eu/951/social-power-linking-review.html http://andybeard.eu/951/social-power-linking-review.html#comments Fri, 17 Aug 2007 15:53:49 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/08/social-power-linking-review.html There is only one small detail that prevents me from immediately whipping out my credit card in the next 30 seconds and buying Social Power Linking, but for many people that small detail is actually the primary reason they would make a purchase.

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There is only one small detail that prevents me from immediately whipping out my credit card in the next 30 seconds and buying Social Power Linking, but for many people that small detail is actually the primary reason they would make a purchase.

Update: Social Power Linking is now available as an online membership site and you can get access to all the material for just $29.29
Social Power Linking now represents astonishing value and I strongly recommend it.

Its Not The Quality Of The Product

I have experienced some of Jacks training in the past, and it is always phenomenal, he gives so much valuable information and presents it in a way that is easy for anyone to understand.
I have absolutely no doubt that Social Power Linking will be no exception to the rule.

It Is Not Philosophical

Jack HumphreyJack and myself currently have the same philosophical approach to building websites, and in fact I am fairly sure with his Authority Site Centre that he built and promotes with his partners he uses many of the same plugins as I do on a regular basis, only his team sets up the blogs for you on their own servers.

It Is Certainly Not Price

This is a physical product that will be shipped to your door

  • 6 Hours of Video on 8 DVDs
  • PDFs of the Slides
  • PDF Fast Start Guide
  • 3 CD of the same material to listen to in your car

Now most “online gurus”, most of which have half, or even less, of Jack’s 10 years of online experience (and often propose some shady tactics) would start off with a short term promotion of their product for $497 or more, and quickly raise the price to the best part of $1000

Now don’t get me wrong, some of those more expensive packages are worth their weight in gold, because they come from people with a similar level of experience to Jack, and honestly I am sure Jack’s latest offering is worth far more than the measly price he is charging.

Quite often these days you would be expecting to pay $67 for an ebook, with the price raising to $97 within a few days for something that might take you 1hr to read. Sometimes again that is worth it, if you already have a successful business, and one tip could make an existing traffic funnel profitable, or allow you to use a new one and make a profit.

This is a steal for only $149 plus $20 for shipping anywhere in the world… yes even to the Far east, Australia, or to me in Poland.

Take a look at Social Power Linking for yourself

I Don’t Know All Jack’s Strategies

Whilst Jack has a very similar philosophy for site building, I am sure I would pick up a few tricks that would make a total cost of $169 worthwhile.

It Not The Sales Letter

Jack has been known to have some pretty long sales letters in the past, but this one is only about 4 or 5 pages, tells you exactly what you get in Social Power Linking for such a small purchase price, and gives a quick overview of the contents of each CD.

There is not a testimonial in sight

Why? Jack honestly doesn’t need them, he has been in the business so long and is so highly respected. He is also quite sure that his offer is so compelling combined with the feedback his affiliates will give him in reviews such as this that any testimonials will just be unnecessary fluff that will scare away potential customers.

Jack knows full well that in some niches PPC is just not a viable consideration unless you have massive profit margins only suitable for those who have already learnt how to play Google’s Adword’s fiddle to perfection.
Fortunately there are ways to capture free traffic from search engines, and Jack is a master at not only gaining traffic, but teaching others how to do it in whatever niche they are in.

No Problems With Payment

There was a time that many residents of far-flung countries didn’t have the possibility to pay for products using Paypal but times are changing. Paypal makes it easy and if you haven’t got an account then there is always a credit card.

(note: in the past Jack used 2checkout for one of his programs I was a member, and I had some problems – Paypal really does make a difference for me)

Guarantee – You Had Better Believe It!

Not only do you get your money back, they will also pay you a little on top, though actually this is a little confusing.

They don’t refund the $20 shipping charge, but they do pay you $22 on top of the purchase price of the goods. You would only actually gain $2.

On top of that you would also have to pay for the goods to be shipped back, so if you do feel compelled to ask for a refund, you might actually be a few dollars poorer, but that is the same with any product you purchase mail order or over the internet.

So Why Am I Not Buying?

No it is not what you are thinking, I am not looking to get a free copy, I really would part with my cash right now.

I am an unusual rare case, and even if Jack offered it to me for free, including free shipping I would refuse.

Part of my old job in the computer games and software industry here in Poland used to be import/export. I have been through living hell with Polish customs so many times the very thought of having to handle what is now minor import paperwork, and then only sometimes, just gives me the shivers.

When I started my online business, one of the primary reasons was to get away from some of the mundane and sometimes highly stressful aspects of international trade.
My wife working for her father’s apparel business still goes through this almost daily and although things have greatly improved since Poland joined the European Community, I still have what I can only look on as “import phobia”

Thus I am only interested in digital products

Don’t Let My Reservations Stop You

Honestly, my phobia is my problem, not yours.

Physical products are shipped around the world daily, and if they are for personal use they most often sail straight through without having any customs paperwork or charges even here in Poland, well unless you are buying an $80,000 car, a motor cruiser or $4000 hifi system (yeah I still get requests from family friends to help with such purchases, and more often than not I avoid it, even though it would pay well just to make a few phone calls)

$169 Flat Rate (including shipping) = no brainer?

For some people yes, for others who are not making any money online and things are a little tight financially back at home, Social Power Linking is not for you. I would in that case suggest you read Jack’s Authority Black book, and Michelle’s Web 2.0 Traffic guide that I mentioned just a few hours ago.

I actually deliberately wrote about the free alternatives first so that I could link through to them in this post.

I deliberately wrote this as a separate post because just like Jack, I know a little bit about traffic generation and how well I can rank for products that I discuss that I believe are of value to my readers.

Hopefully I can persuade Jack to make a digital version on Social Linking Power available for fellow “import phobia” sufferers as I am sure I will learn something new.

Yes, I did deliberately use “Social Linking Power” instead of Social Power Linking” and I suppose I should also mention Socialpowerlinking.com – there are currently around 2000 references to this product in Google, I wonder how I will rank in the SERPs for “Social Power Linking

Update: Social Power Linking is now available as an online membership site and you can get access to all the material for just $29.29
Social Power Linking now represents astonishing value and I strongly recommend it.
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Volusion Review Followup http://andybeard.eu/949/volusion-review-followup.html http://andybeard.eu/949/volusion-review-followup.html#comments Fri, 17 Aug 2007 11:13:26 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/08/volusion-review-followup.html I have a couple of great things to report regarding my review of the Volusion Shopping Cart. (note I was compensated for that review)

Volusion Now Integrates With Aweber

This was one of the problems I had with Volusion as a solution. Their own email system is primarily for sales notices, and once you grow a subscriber list beyond a certain number of users, they recommended moving over to using Intellicontact.

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I have a couple of great things to report regarding my review of the Volusion Shopping Cart. (note I was compensated for that review)

Volusion Now Integrates With Aweber

This was one of the problems I had with Volusion as a solution. Their own email system is primarily for sales notices, and once you grow a subscriber list beyond a certain number of users, they recommended moving over to using Intellicontact.

I wasn’t very happy with the Intellicontact pricing, but an even bigger concern is that I doubt anyone running their mailing lists with Aweber would even give a second’s thought of moving over to Intellicontact just to use Volusion as a shopping cart.
Your mailing list is your biggest asset, and you don’t move them around because of the need for list members to re-optin with most services.

Maybe my review helped nudge things in a positive direction, as Aweber a few days ago announced Volusion integration with Aweber.

Major Bandwidth Concern Not Addressed

For me it is the bandwidth – I am sure many sites are quite willing to pay $10 per 1GB of bandwidth, but if I was running this blog on Volusion currently, along with a shopping cart I would have to go for one of their Semi-dedicated Premium servers at $499 per month.

This blog at the time of the review was using 9GB of bandwidth per month, and it is now closer to 50 GB – that is with only between 1000 and 2000 daily visitors, and my feeds are handled by Feedburner.

There are ways to offload bandwidth use to other services such as Amazon S3, but note I don’t host large downloads currently, no audio or video, just a few images.

You could also possibly just run the shopping cart on a subdomain, and have the main website hosted elsewhere – not perfect for SEO but viable.

If you have a reasonable cost of goods and profit margin on each sale, bandwidth costs may not be a deciding factor.

Volusion Review Back In Google

I reported 6 weeks ago that for some reason for a period of maybe 2 months my review of Volusion had disappeared from Google search results although it remained on a tag page.

I am please to report that it is back in the index, although link attribution might not yet be accounted for.

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Exclusive – Pay Per Post Direct Changes The Paid Review Landscape http://andybeard.eu/764/payperpost-direct-review.html http://andybeard.eu/764/payperpost-direct-review.html#comments Thu, 24 May 2007 18:57:19 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/05/payperpost-direct-review.html Pay Per Post had first mover advantage within the paid review arena, and initially concentrated on providing a framework for the purchase of mass market buzz marketing.
Competing services such as ReviewMe and Sponsored Reviews were launched, and these concentrated on one-to-one requests for professional reviews.

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Pay Per Post had first mover advantage within the paid review arena, and initially concentrated on providing a framework for the purchase of mass market buzz marketing.
Competing services such as ReviewMe and Sponsored Reviews were launched, and these concentrated on one-to-one requests for professional reviews.

Dan from the Venture Capital Florida Blog, who is a managing partner of Inflexion Partners hinted to me in a quick email exchange that Pay Per Post had some very significant changes coming in the very near future, and he was certainly right.

Halfway through writing this review of PayPerPost Direct I hit a problem, and I really needed to check my facts straight from the horse’s mouth. After being passed from the PayPerPost PR agency to the PayPerPost switchboard, I discovered that Ted Murphy is truly protected by a wall of iron, and direct contact at short notice might be difficult.

I opted for plan B, went searching into the depths of my Gmail account, and I was fortunate enough to find a direct phone number to Ted in some old email correspondence.

Thus part of this review is direct from the PayPerPost Hotline

PayPerPost Announce Pay Per Post Direct

With Pay Per Post Direct you can reach out to advertisers, even those not currently in the PPP network, and advertise your own blogs and content. We’ve found in the past that advertisers often want to directly hire good bloggers to write about their products or services and with PayPerPost Direct that’s now possible.

Whilst I have written reviews with both ReviewMe and Sponsored Reviews in the past, and I have supported Pay Per Post because I appreciate their business model, I have never written a review for their service.
I wasn’t interested in many of their opportunities for a number of reasons.

  1. Many of the topics were not suitable – my blog is a business blog, and many of the opportunities were more “niche” or suitable for a blog about “stuff”
  2. I didn’t qualify for the higher paying opportunities that might have been suitable content for my audience, and the lower paid opportunities for the same subjects were often snapped up by active Pay Per Post users extremely fast
  3. The time allowed to post a paid review with PayPerPost before it is no longer reserved limits the amount you can really write about each service.
  4. I wasn’t prepared to log into the service multiple times per day trying to find something to write about to make money

Up until now, ReviewMe and Sponsored Reviews provided the best marketplace for what I would look on as being “professional reviews”, and I mean no disrespect with that term.
If you want to be able to spend 10 hours writing a review for a service over a couple of days, it was previous impossible with PayPerPost, and the higher priced reviews were more about the huge traffic potential from a popular blog than the possible benefits of a review as a consultant.

How To Qualify For Pay Per Post Direct

First of all you have to sign up for Pay Per Post as a “postie” – it sometimes can take a couple of days to be accepted depending on demand, and I am sure with this new service there will be a huge amount of new demand, so be patient.

Whilst you are waiting for acceptance, you can install the code, and make sure your blog has very clear disclosure – clear disclosure is a requirement with Pay Per Post.

Update: I have been notified that there is no waiting time or qualifications for Pay Per Post Direct, you can sign up and display the badges the same day.
There is still a waiting time for acceptance into the marketplace

Once you are fully qualified, your interface within the PayPerPost system should look a bit like this under “My Blogs”

Pay Per Post Installed OK

Buy Cheaper Reviews With PayPerPost

One of the things made clear by Dan Rua in the comments of my review of Sponsored Reviews, is that Pay Per Post actually have the lowest markup of the big 3 paid reviews services.

At RM, that $150 delivers $75 to the blogger and $75 to RM as a 50% “cut” (75/150) or a 100% “markup” (75/75).
At SR, that $150 delivers $98 to the blogger and $52 to SR as a 35% “cut” (52/150) or a 53% “markup” (52/98). (see “You Get” in first screenshot)
At PPP, that $150 delivers $111 to the blogger and $39 to PPP as a 26% “cut” (39/150) or a 35% “markup” (39/111). Assuming a sponsor wanted 50 such posts, you should also include PPP’s $5 opp fee which would equate to $.10/post across those 50 posts — a rounding error in these calcs.

Lets put that into perspective on what I am currently charging

I currently aim to earn around $130 for each review I write, but also remember I donate 50% of those earnings to the Best WordPress Plugins Developers, voted for by my readers which gives lots of longevity to the reviews I write.

Review Service Price To Advertiser Money Received Markup Percentage to Reviewer
ReviewMe $260 $130 100% 50%
Sponsored Reviews $200 $130 53% 65%
PayPerPost $175.5 $130 35% 74%
PayPerPost Direct $143 $130 10% 91%

Bloggers can set their review prices cheaper and earn the same amount of money, or set their review prices slightly higher and earn more, and still offer competitive pricing.

The amount possible with the normal PayPerPost marketplace is effectively hypothetical because so far I haven’t managed to reach the higher ranking necessary for their “big green” reviews, typically PR6 or PR7 with an Alexa rating below 10,000.

I try to aim for a quality influential readership, thus my traffic does grow a little slower than many blogs, and I do tend to take a fairly controversial stance on some issues, so I might not get as many links as “populist” bloggers.

PayPerPost Direct Only Charge 10%

Only 10%I have set the price I want to be paid at $130 as listed above, and advertisers will pay $143. PayPerPost get $13, and from that they have to cover the cost of credit card and Paypal processing fees.

In addition they are holding the money as a form of Escrow service, and paying me immediately upon completion. There are also some advantages when it comes to tax time for those in the US.

You will see in this screenshot below that you can set your own price. I was going to base my pricing upon the 35% markup PayPerPost normally charge (which is still cheap)

Ted set me straight on that. 10% is 10%, and anyone who wants a review will only be paying $143 of which I receive $130 (and give half of it away)

PayPerPost Set Price

This Isn’t A Market Place For Paid Reviews

I questioned Ted quite extensively about this.

As far as Pay Per Post are concerned, if the advertiser is coming from our blog to purchase a review, they have no right to be charging a 50% or more service fee. (some competitors have a 100% markup as you can see above)

Once Pay Per Post have a few thousand of their 15000+ 25000+ bloggers setup for Pay Per Post Direct, they will also be providing a marketplace on the PayPerPost site, where Advertisers will be able to search for bloggers to write reviews and approach specific bloggers.

In that situation, because PayPerPost would be enabling the transaction, there would be a higher service fee. I would expect it would be the familiar 35% though I couldn’t pin Ted down to an exact figure – understandable, because this is a new service.

This is different to their current marketplace, which is based upon fairly broad category and traffic details.

Negotiation Interface

This just keeps on getting better. If you click on the button on my sidebar, a popup will appear to order a review. You are not taken away to a marketplace to explore other blogs who might offer on the face of it better value, but in my own mind would give an advertiser less value.

Popup Negotiation Interface

Within the main Pay Per Post interface, it is possible for the blogger and advertiser to send messages backwards and forwards and actually “haggle” over the review price.

As I mentioned in my review of Sponsored Reviews, this is something I wanted included in their service. Currently they offer a method of negotiating prices that doesn’t have a message interface. They don’t object to emailing an advertiser directly, but it is slightly inconvenient.

Giving Away Your Customers?

With that popup window, the transaction starts whilst someone is on my website. They are my customer and it is me selling them the opportunity for a review or consultation, which is how I look on many of my reviews – they are not for search engine links (I give those editorially, they are partially for buzz and qualified customers from my audience, and above all they are looking for expert feedback.

You might think that review marketplaces are really bringing me lots of review customers and I would miss their traffic.

My last review with ReviewMe was at the beginning of March. Take a look at these referral stats.

ReviewMe referral stats

I have sent ReviewMe 400 potential customers since the beginning of March, and none of those potential customers have converted.

They may have converted into ReviewMe bloggers, but I don’t earn anything for that. They didn’t convert into advertisers, I would have been paid $25 for those.

That conversion rate is affected by 2 major factors

  • I set a premium rate for my reviews so that I receive $130, but advertisers see a $260 charge
  • Other blogs look more competitive because of a bug in the ReviewMe rating system in how they count Bloglines subscribers.

ReviewMe Bugs

Sponsored Reviews aren’t without their problems either. They don’t seem to use Bloglines as a criteria, but they do use link popularity, which these days usually means Yahoo.
Yahoo currently reports more than 27,000 links to my blog. During the last month they have reported as high as 40,000, and as low as 9,000.
Not long ago on Sponsored Reviews my blog was rated a 4 and now the average is a 3. I know a lot of blogs with lower pagerank, worse Alexa and Technorati stats, and a lot less links that currently rate a 4 overall.

Sponsored Reviews

Sending traffic to a site which isn’t rating your site as highly as it should isn’t good business.

Thus it is hard to judge how much money I have lost but let us suppose of those 400 who clicked through to ReviewMe, a percentage were genuinely interested in buying a review from me. If I converted just 4% of those enquiries into some form of paid content, I could well have earned an additional $2000 in paid reviews over the last 3 months.

I assure you that is a lot more traffic that I have sent ReviewMe than ReviewMe has sent to me.

Buttons

PayPerPost have made a lot of buttons available, which you can customise, and you are even able to use a text link, or create your own buttons.

PayPerPost Buttons

Couldn’t You Do This With A WordPress Plugin

Yes you could. I actually own a copy of the WordPress Bankroll Plugin, which cost me $100 when first released for an unlimited use license. I gave them a lot of feedback, and many of the features in version 2 were based upon my suggestions.

I would still use PayPerPost Direct

  • They have a brand – it may be a little tarnished (wrongly), but at the end of the day someone would trust them to hold their money until I had a review written meeting the agreed upon requirements. That is an escrow type service, and is highly worthwhile.
  • PayPerPost promote their bloggers extensively – I have even appeared on their blog in the past even though I haven’t written any reviews for them in the past.
  • Their future marketplace I predict is going to be much larger than the other services. They have had major brands such as Hewlett Packard using their services in the past.
  • I have a feeling many of the “big green” promotions, many of which were for writing about PayPerPost services will in some way also be channelled through the PayPerPost Direct service
  • This is a service that I think will be highly acceptable for mainstream bloggers, and as more come onboard, more opportunities for reviews will become available. Advertisers rarely just buy one review with a service if they are looking for buzz or even for quality feedback.

That doesn’t mean I won’t use the WordPress Bankroll, it just means I will use the WordPress Bankroll plugin creatively for a purpose it is ideally suited for, but for which it was not intended.

PayPerPost – Other New Announcements

  • Rating system changed – they no longer use Technorati because it isn’t very relevant (and I suppose is easily gamed)
  • Time for Reviews Increased – for conventional market place reviews, there is now 6 hours to complete an accepted opportunity
  • Rating System – the internal ratings system for posties has “benches” added in addition to “tack” – I don’t know too much about this but hopefully it will lead to more reliable reporting of good or bad reviewers.

How Much Did I Get Paid To Write This Glowing Review?

Not one cent!

In fact this is the kind of service I would actually be willing to Pay PayPerPost $100 for, because I know it is going to make me a lot more money.

This review contains no affiliate links, but you can find those now on the sidebar of my blog if you wish to sign up.

I have spent quite a long time writing this review, and there is now a lot more information available on the Pay Per Post blog including a cool video explaining the whole Pay Per Post Direct system, and an overview of the benefits.

The funny thing is, I doubt this new service will get a lot of coverage, because it is so good, even Michael Arrington at Techcrunch. or Jason Calacanis won’t be able to find much wrong with it.

Update:
It seems lots of people enjoyed this post, why not share it with others by
giving it a Digg

Update 2:

  • I have adjusted the number of bloggers signed up with Pay Per Post, which is currently over 25000, a lot more than the 15000 I was previously aware of.
  • I have added a clarification regarding the approval process. There is no waiting time or approval required for Pay Per Post Direct, you can sign up and use it the same day.
  • Yesterday I modified the time required for a marketplace post to be completed from 4 hours to the as published 6 hours, which is even enough time for me to write most reviews.
  • I have been reading a fair amount of questions and answers on the Pay Per Post forums (they are very active and full of help for Bloggers) – with Pay Per Post Direct there is no official time set for writing a review, but apparently an advertiser can cancel if you are taking too long to complete. I suggest you give yourself a nice large window and spend some time to write really high quality reviews that you can be proud of, and show to other advertisers.
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iBegin Source Review http://andybeard.eu/692/ibegin-source-review.html http://andybeard.eu/692/ibegin-source-review.html#comments Wed, 25 Apr 2007 20:33:56 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/04/ibegin-source-review.html iBegin Source is an interesting concept, and aims to make local business data both more accurate and cheaper than ever before.
I hesitated initially in accepting this paid review, because I wasn’t sure I was capable in giving it the level of in-depth coverage I normally give reviews, mainly because I have never really got involved with local search in the US – the Altantic Ocean is quite a large separator. iBegin Source do plan however to offer European data soon, so it might become more relevant for my own use.

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iBegin Source is an interesting concept, and aims to make local business data both more accurate and cheaper than ever before.
I hesitated initially in accepting this paid review, because I wasn’t sure I was capable in giving it the level of in-depth coverage I normally give reviews, mainly because I have never really got involved with local search in the US – the Altantic Ocean is quite a large separator. iBegin Source do plan however to offer European data soon, so it might become more relevant for my own use.

I can remember a while back listening to a charity teleconference held by a large number of internet marketing gurus. If I recall it was raising money for disaster relief after the hurricanes hit the southern United States pretty bad.

Frank Kern was one of the presenters, and as a special bonus for those listening in live, he had offered a free download of a special keyword generator he used to great success, that included every US town and city, in every state.
Unfortunately the keyword tool wasn’t available to those listening in to the recording afterwards, just a few hours later, so I was out of luck. I am prety sure someone released something similar at a later date.

If you can target search terms down to the geographic area, you are really targeting the long-tail of search, though of course keyword competition changes over time, and search technologies improve. Google I am sure would prefer to offer up results for local businesses, and not 100 different business directories in the first 100 results for a particular phrase.

All Mashed Up

Not even a couple of years later we are in the era of “Web 2.0″ and database generated sites are now called mashups. They typically provide a little bit more data and generally also offer some level of user interaction in providing reviews.
If you stick together some business data, a mapping API fed by GEO-Targeting, maybe some Photos that were also GEO-Targeted, and possibly the location of the end user, you can get some useful websites, even though they are largely made up of duplicate content.
For unique content you have to include some kind of social network twist.

iBegin Source Provides a Mashup Backbone

They currently provide around 10 million addresses, and all of them are GEO-Coded so the data is ideal for local search, mapping and location based social network mashups.
I haven’t checked out the competition in the sector, but iBegin Source claim that they are the only company providing the GEO-Code along with their business data. If that is true it is a fairly unique selling point for their target audience.

Potentially More Accurate

iBegin Source is potentially more accurate data, because they allow a business to supply their own data, and they also have an interface so their customers can also provide updates, so currently I wouldn’t be too worried about any holes in their dataset.
As an example, only Montana (22620) has less businesses registered than Delaware (31901). With Delaware having some favourable business conditions, it seems to me that that figure is a lot on the low side compared to California (1,322,000).
Maybe the business data is about where a company trades from, and not where they are registered.

Pricing

iBegin Source claim they are cheaper than any other source, with a charge of $1000 per state or $40,000 for the whole USA. If you are a funded start-up, that might be attractive, and they also offer a free version for non-commercial use. They really mean no adverts at all – if you are not making a profit yet, but have ads, you are still commercial. The free version is without telephone numbers and geocoding.
Apparently other companies charge $500,000+ for this kind of data.

Maybe Google should buy them and provide the data for free, though I would expect Google have a fair amount of their own data already.

You also only pay one flat fee, rather than recurring billing, or fees based on traffic.

Data Format

iBegin Source provide their data in pipe delimited format “|”, thus here is an example they give for Alaska.

1|12th & L Bed & Breakfast|1001 W 12th Ave|Anchorage|99501|9072761225|0|Bed & Breakfast Accommodations|http://www.anchorage-lodging.com||1169576311|1169576311|61.210458|-149.901819|12th Ave W & L St

The data is fairly easy to use, but it also seems you don’t get access to the reviews or tagging data from the main site, or just a company description The data is categorised, but that isn’t very granular.

If you search for “sushi” in “Vegas” in their own search box, you don’t get a result, thus the data on its own won’t make a complete website. Actually Burger King doesn’t come up with a result either, even though their fast food listing for Las Vegas shows lots of Burger Kings.

For your own sites you would use your own search engine, but you would certainly have to provide it with more data to give your users better results.

Real Reviews

If I am doing a paid review, it comes with the good and bad aspects. So lets get our hands dirty.

  • Contact information – they have got a live chat, but there is absolutely no way I am going to drop $1000, or even $40,000 for some data without real company details
  • License – hire a lawyer – seriously the license definitely wasn’t written by a lawyer, no company name, no jurisdiction to name just obvious things.
  • One Domain – You buy the data to use on one domain. Does that cover subdomains? What happens if you want to assign a top level domain for branding or SEO purposes to a subdomain?
    Maybe you would want to target both horizontal and vertical niches with the data, with 100,000 different domain names. That would probably cover state x business category, plus major cities.
    You could manage that from one very large database cluster.
    On a smaller scale, if you are in the wedding niche and wanted USA-wide listings, you would have to pay $40,000 – that isn’t within most niche marketers budgets.
  • RSS XML Print – you are not even allowed to provide a printer friendly copy of the data, let alone have RSS or XML feeds that use the data.
    In many ways you wouldn’t be able to use this dataset as a backbone, but as a supplement to your existing database, because of these restrictions.
  • Widgets – as a continuation, you might have problems with widget design if you can’t export the data.
  • Franchises – IBegin Source make a big thing about the size of their franchise database, but many local directories are themselves setup in some way like a franchise, with the rights to a location being purchased by an editor. This clause might cause such a site some problems:-

    Rerent the information or otherwise permit any use of the information by or for the benefit of any party other than Buyer;

There are a host of other complications.

The free version will be great for businesses to use internally as a supplement to their existing data, though it wouldn’t for instance be usable by a company running trade shows who would subsequently provide data to exhibitors about attendees.
Students would have fun with the data, as there are some simple code samples to use with it.

Until such time as the legal paperwork is cleared up, and maybe a little more flexibility is provided in using the data, I am not sure I would be happy using it as a backbone for a startup that had any funding. You could use the free version until you have funding, and then scout around the marketplace. By that time the data might be less restricted.

Would I pay $1000 if they provided datasets in vertical niches? Possibly, though in many cases in niche marketing you would generally prefer to provide affiliate links.

Large corporations might grab this as a cheap set of data, but I am sure they would look to have more up-front legal and contact information.
I look for contact information when I buy a $40 ebook, so for $1000 to $40,000 purchases, it really is a requirement.

You can find additional information about iBegin Source in these bullet points which I believe were written by one of the developers.
I am not sure about whether it is done better, or just different. One point raised was about a lack of sales process. I am not convinced that is a benefit.

Update – We have Sushi

Ahmed Farooq contacted me regarding the search problems I had.

The ‘problem’ is that there are multiple Las Vegases in the US. If you
tried ‘Las Vegas, NV’ or ‘Las Vegas, Nevada’ instead – it would work 100%.

sushi in las vegas

It should however be noted that that search seems to be based on having the word in the company name and it seems the category names is also used. There would still be a need for tag and description data.

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I Bet You Missed Some of These (March 07) http://andybeard.eu/603/i-bet-you-missed-some-of-these-march-07.html http://andybeard.eu/603/i-bet-you-missed-some-of-these-march-07.html#comments Sun, 01 Apr 2007 11:55:30 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/04/i-bet-you-missed-some-of-these-march-07.html These are some highlights (in my opinion) of some of the content I have created over the last month. If I have missed anything out which you enjoyed or gained some value from, please let others know in the comments.

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These are some highlights (in my opinion) of some of the content I have created over the last month. If I have missed anything out which you enjoyed or gained some value from, please let others know in the comments.

WordPress SEO Tips & Hacks

Subscribe to Comments Hacks – I am including this at the top of the list because it is highly important. Emails sent out from your domain could cause you problems with email delivery or spam complaints, and the plugin by default doesn’t comply with CAN-SPAM if you or someone else (a spammer) includes a marketing message in your emails.
The danger of overloading your server with emails being sent faster than your host allows is also worth thinking about. I know multiple blogs that have problems delivering all subscribed comments and I am sure the owners are not aware of this.

Just imagine you have 20 people comment on a post, and then you get 5 new comments in the space of one hour – that would put you over the limit on most shared hosting.

Mine are set up to be delivered by Gmail by SMTP – which email host is going to block Gmail totally?

Spam Karma latest release, and I also speculated that I get less spam using it than if I was using Akismet.

My Ultimate List of Dofollow Plugins first published in February still gains links on a daily basis, and has helped convert 100s of people into removing nofollow from their comments and trackbacks.
I have a followup project planned that I will launch within the next week that will provide a way of highlighting blogs that wish to be highlighted as supporting DoFollow.
The page also now includes information on how to remove NoFollow from blogs using Blogger and I hope to be able to include detailed Typepad and MoveableType instructions (I know of 3 people working on this)

How linking to social media and bookmarking sites could affect your search engine performance. The discussion that followed on is just as informative as the post.

Tagging and How Tagging Can Help SEO is one of the primary topics of this blog. I have written a lot of posts regarding the benefits of using Ultimate Tag Warrior (that is a link to the tag).
My analysis of the Google BlogSearch Patent didn’t gain a lot of links from SEO blogs, but then most SEO bloggers don’t understand the benefits of tagging and are too worried about duplicate content (another tag link)

Do you get linked to by the press? I also highlighted how bad some press agencies are with linking.

My attack on Top Commenters plugins caused some uproar. It is great to provide a way to thank the people who comment on your blog, but I prefer to do that by using DoFollow.
If you can understand my milk bottle analogy, you will go a long way to improving the SEO profile of your blog. If you do use a Top Commenters plugin, at least include it using some WordPress logic functions such as is_home() and is_single()

Top WordPress Plugins

I will be opening up the voting for the first round of my cash donations for best wordpress plugins later today (I need to decide which plugin or service to use). I am giving away real money in large chunks to help support WordPress Plugin Development.

Monetization & Blogging Tips

Warning about using Amazon Contextual Links

PayPerPost vs Jason Calacanis turned into an in depth discussion regarding ThisNext vs PayPerPost on Disclosure (you really have to read the comments)

Performancing Metrics Is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing for Niche Website owners and why I recommend Clicky instead.

I write a lot about disclosure in affiliate marketing and blogging. Whilst PayPerPost is constantly being highlighted, the people doing the highlighting are actually as guilty of poor disclosure and unethical practices themselves.

Maki asked a number of bloggers why they display a feed counter and I gave what I believe is the most in depth answer. There are some good tips there for those people who already have an existing mailing list to jumpstart their blog subscription for an insane amount of social proof.
Why don’t Aweber and Getresponse offer a decent email subscription to RSS feeds that reports numbers to Feedburner? Anyone who uses their services misses out on the social proof benefit.
They should also offer their own social proof icons for email subscriptions.

In some ways I hate product launch formula style marketing of services. The scarcity factor makes it hard for a potential buyer to make an informed decision despite all the proof.
Sometimes the materials left over are of huge value, and I recommend you watch the videos from Rich Schefren.

Product Reviews

Stampede Traffic

Sponsored Reviews – with this service you can negotiate with me for paid reviews :)

Volusion Shopping Cart – was I too harsh on them?
Auction Ads

Web 2.0

Is this the Future of MyBlogLog when we finally get an API? Smart internet marketers should already be planning on how the data could be best integrated into other applications.

Tips on using Reddit and Stumbleupon. The StumbleUpon post lists my membership details to a number of social networks… lets be friends. I really should include those in my sidebar.

Sometimes it is amazing the knock-on effect of what you blog about.

My How To Use MyBlogLog post sent Cord some traffic, but the important factor is the quality of traffic sent. Eric from MyBlogLog saw the post, read Cord’s 2 part guide, and then listed it on the MyBlogLog blog, along with some more tips.

I wrote a fair amount about Twitter, partially because it was the talk of the blogosphere, and partially because as with all emerging technology, there were a lot of ethical problems in using it for commercial use. The best way to read full coverage is to use my Twitter tag.

I love Technorati, but they really have problems coping with all the new kinds of RSS and micro blog services such as Twitter, and co.Comment

I had some Digg success earlier in the month, with a story I submitted to Digg actually reaching the front page. The discussion is well worth reading with some insight from Michel Fortin and others.

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In Depth Review | Traffic Strategy | Stampede Secrets 2.0 – Social Media Marketing From A Unique Perspective? http://andybeard.eu/598/in-depth-review-traffic-strategy-stampede-secrets-20-social-media-marketing-from-a-unique-perspective.html http://andybeard.eu/598/in-depth-review-traffic-strategy-stampede-secrets-20-social-media-marketing-from-a-unique-perspective.html#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2007 11:55:27 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/03/in-depth-review-traffic-strategy-stampede-secrets-20-social-media-marketing-from-a-unique-perspective.html Stampede Secrets 2.0 is unlike any internet marketing report or ebook I have read…

If spending $97 on an ebook is a major financial commitment, don’t read any further

Ok, for the rest of you lets get on with the review…

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The post In Depth Review | Traffic Strategy | Stampede Secrets 2.0 – Social Media Marketing From A Unique Perspective? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

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Stampede Secrets 2.0 is unlike any internet marketing report or ebook I have read…

If spending $97 on an ebook is a major financial commitment, don’t read any further

Ok, for the rest of you lets get on with the review…

  • There is no hype in the sales letter
  • There is no hype in the ebook
  • There is no hype in this review

Another Web 2.0 Social Media Ebook?

After you read the sales letter that is probably the impression you will have, and in fact you will still have that impression shortly after you start reading the ebook.

Here are some interesting facts for you

Pages 56 (+bonus guide on video, crib sheets and tables)

Subject # of times
Mentions of Digg in the content 1
Mentions of linkbait 0
Mentions of “effect” (such as Digg effect) 0
Netscape 0
Reddit 0
Positive mentions of Del.icio.us 1

In fact those few references that were included were mainly in facts and figures like usage data.

So What is this Ebook Talking About?

Subject # of times
References to Business 31
Community 9
Research 44
Content 56
Feedback 8
Amazon 7
Ebay 7
YouTube 7
43 Things 20
Traffic 170

Traffic Secrets

Whilst many people don’t appreciate the value of ebooks, claiming that the information is out there if you look for it, or join and participate in various forums, that isn’t strictly true.
We live in an age of information overload. Quite often different ideas and new ideas take a long time to rise to the surface, or never make it, not because the ideas are not valuable, or supported by hard evidence.

I often see “specialists” in SMO (Social Media Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing) claim that their methods and expensive services can work in virtually any market place.
I am not going to dispute those claims, but that very statement tends to drown out other methods that could be equally effective for traffic generation that might be equally, or potentially more suitable for certain markets.

Traffic Strategy

The fundamental value from this ebook is that it challenges you to examine your social media marketing strategy, and optimize it for best effect.
This is nothing to do with writing better headlines, or coercing top users at Digg, Reddit or Netscape to add you as a friend and to plug your content.

Whilst Laura’s intention was to target the ebook to beginners in social media marketing, in many ways consultants in social media marketing should read it because it will place a new perspective on information and strategies you think you already know.

Professional Writing

Laura has written a lot of ebooks as a ghost writer, and this isn’t her first outing in publishing an ebook in her own name. This ebook oozes quality production with footnotes on almost every page and links to resources that back up the data and strategies she proposes.

The professional tone may also be one of its shortcomings – The Stampede Secret isn’t a light refreshing read, or suitable for people who prefer information in short 400 word chunks.

To get the most benefit you really will have to read through the ebook a couple of times taking notes – in some ways it reminds me of some of the more serious marketing reports you might receive from Marketing Sherpa.

Recommended Audience

Ideal

You are already making money, and probably think you know everything there is about SMM. You might even skim read the ebook once and think there is nothing new, but if you take the time to sit down and read it slowly a couple of times, you will pick up a new perspective.

  • Marketing consultants
  • Blogging consultants
  • Business owners in niche markets
  • Owners of Virtual Real Estate in Niche markets including blogging networks
  • VCs and Angel Investors
  • Researchers
  • Journalists

Possible

Beginners who have tried SMM for their niche websites and blogs with little success, and who have money to invest to accelerate their learning process.

Don’t Buy It

This isn’t an ebook showing you the secret route to success and instant wealth. This isn’t something you should spend your last meal ticket on for that one chance of financial independence.

If the price of the ebook is more than you would spend on a night out, think again.

It will probably take you 3 hours to read this ebook unless you have been studying various fast reading techniques – if 3 hours of your time is worth less than $97, this ebook probably isn’t ideal.

You Can Find This Information Elsewhere

I honestly haven’t gone searching for all this information elsewhere, but I am sure somewhere among the millions of pages of content that are created on the internet every day, you would find at least 90% of this information. The value is in the way it is collated and presented.

Just as an example some of what is discussed in the ebook you could find on my blog, and potentially in more depth, especially in regards to things like tagging. Laura even quoted from one of my articles and linked through, highlighting that people should read the article, and the valuable discussion afterwards.

Unique Information

Analysis of one of Laura’s niche sites in a very competitive market (Acne Treatment) with real proof of traffic numbers from Quantcast – not just screenshots.
This isn’t a high traffic site, it is very much a simple niche website, running on WordPress that anyone could create and generate some income – I wouldn’t expect Laura to expose her most profitable sites.

Discussion of traffic strategy – some social media consultants charge $5000 per day to help you formulate a social media marketing action plan. Most of the consultants concentrate on the search engine optimization benefits, and not how to participate in social networks to find real customers.

How to Write an Ebook – whilst this isn’t one of the lessons taught, the production quality and style is something to learn from.

I am going to finish off with a few select quotes from the ebook that don’t give too much away, but at the same time highlight how much different the overall perspective of the information is.

If anything is going to hold you back in being a fore-runner in the new web, the need to measure and record every click or movement to and on your site would be the culprit. The internet is changing at such a rapid rate that controlling and metering every change you make has the potential to stall your success.

Uptight control and playing it safe is seldom the stance of a pioneer. It is the pioneer who wins in profits, fame and visitor traffic – not the followers and whiners. I am not guaranteeing success by any means, nor am I advising you to risk your life savings on some promising new start up, but I am saying that the occasional ‘play your cards or go home’ attitude is one of the keys to success.

Web 2.0 is a very creative, innovative and fluid environment. Most Web 2.0 sites cannot be put in a box and measured in any consistent and reliable fashion – they are simply too young. There is a level of intuition at launch, an element of change and growth throughout the life of the web property, and yet another level of intuition used for assessment when determining a reasonable sale value.

Conclusion

No hype, no bonus, though if I do see enough interest and sales I might write up a supplement to the ebook going into some of the topics in more depth, especially on the benefits of tagging.
I would probably make that available free to all Laura’s customers.
I may even go into some of the topics that Laura has missed – Web 2.0 grows at an alarming rate, and there is a limit to how fast you can research strategies enough to be able to offer conclusive proof.

Disclaimers are unheard of in most ebooks, but Laura takes this to a new professional level, this is just part of it.

Information within this report may be speculation and are therefore within the meaning of the securities litigation reform act of 1995 and contain verbiage such as ‘expected’, ‘anticipated’, ‘estimated’, projected’, ‘believed’ or variations of those.

I have actually been chucking a few emails backwards and forwards to Laura over the last couple of days, and I thought I would include one small excerpt.

You know you really rock! You don’t even ‘know’ me and you’ve given me so
much of your time. It’s a dying art in our world.

I am not going to include my exact reply, because it mentioned names of people that if internet marketers were actively using LinkedIn, would certainly appear between myself and Laura as shared contacts, and over the last 2 years I have certainly dropped by her blog a number of times.

This comment also shows the benefit of “paying it forward” and the value of providing information for free to eventually reach your goals.

There are quite a few expert marketers who normally charge their clients a great deal of money who I correspond with on a regular basis, simply because they have gained value from what I have offered for free.

One of the bonuses that Laura provides is some very specific email support – she states that she will answer 2 emails from her customers, and highlights the importance formulating those questions to receive maximum benefit. She is not going to exclude pleas for help, and win / win relationships can develop to extend the level of help provided.

I have always been happy to answer emails regarding the products I review both before someone makes a buying decision and afterwards, or you can just ask here in the comments.

I gained a great deal of value from Stampede Secrets. I might not realise that value immediately because I already employ many of the strategies and techniques discussed, and it is hard to quantify the effect any changes might have on my income.
Reading the ebook has certainly helped me highlight the action I should be taking to revitalise some of the niche websites I have had for a long time and hardly ever modify, because each is bringing in a small trickle of income.
Laura has helped me realise that it is possible to employ a few extra traffic strategies for these niche websites that could turn the flow of traffic into a gushing fountain.

Disclaimer:- I am one of the few people who received a free review copy of this ebook, possibly because I offered to take a look before publishing, that Laura reads my blog, and because she quoted me in the ebook. To be honest I might not have purchased the ebook just based upon the sales page. That is the value of affiliate marketing in pre-selling, or explaining the benefits of a product in an ethical manner

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