Burts AIS, osCommerce & More Blog
New URL: www.osworld.biz

Friday, September 30, 2005

Been so busy

I've been so busy for the last few days, that I've not had a chance to update the Blog. Apologies to regular readers! The AIS from the 22nd -> 28th inclusive was 84% above target - so that area of my online endeavours is going very well. Template sales dropped off over the past week, but eBook sales picked up. It's something I've noticed over the past couple of years, sales tend to go in peaks and troughs. I'll need to start promoting the templates again shortly! As regular readers will know, the owner of osCommerce has some personal issues with me - I don't know what or why, even though I have asked for clarification many times. Harald has refused to let me be a Corporate Sponsor (ie pay for advertising). I'm considering selling one of my osCommerce Commercial Sites; I sent email to Harald Ponce de Leon asking "if I sell it, would the new owner be able to start with a clean sheet". No reply as yet. It would be quite unfair if the new owner was unable to take part in the services provided by osCommerce because of Haralds personal problem(s) with me! What else. I got a couple more people onto the Adsense Adventure! So hopefully they'll see some good results. I also got paid by Google, so that'll be a nice week away somewhere, shortly. Thanks Google. I still haven't received my Armband from EssentialiPods, but it may be waiting for me at the office (I haven't checked the post yet). With the autumnal weather here, I decided to fit mudguards to my bike. They look a little bit crap, but I guess they'll stop the mud and rain from covering me. I also need to buy a new set of cycling gloves as mine are literally falling apart at the seams. Ho hum, the life of an Interweb Entrepreneur, eh. Who'd want it! ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Yesterdays AIS

Yesterday (monday 26th) was one of my worst days in a long while for AIS earnings. A grand total earned of $21.20 - well short of my $137 target. Thankfully today has been a bit better, I am up to about $118 already. On target for the $137, and I might (all being well) exceed it to make up for yesterday a little bit. But overall for the 5 days (22nd -> 26th) I am over target, so all is going well in the Land of Burt.

Monday, September 26, 2005

iPod Nano

Last week I succumbed to the force of the Apple. I bought a Nano - over the weekend I've been transferring a few albums onto it. Right now I am listening to 'Wishing I had a photograph of you' by A Flock of Seagulls - a beautiful song that takes me back to my youth. Anyway, this Nano. Looks great, works great. I bought a 2GB model as I don't have that many albums that I wanted to listen to whilst on the move. 1 extra problem is that I have not found anywhere that sells Accessories for the Nano - specifically an armband (for when I'm cycling). If anyone finds one, let me know please!

Friday, September 23, 2005

5 more Adsensers :)

This week I helped to get 5 people on the road to Adsense success. Hopefully they'll see the value in Adsense, just as I do.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

AIS, 15 -> 21 Sep

I came in just a little under target :( Not too worry as the previous weeks more than make up for the little setback. I managed just over 92% of my target, which is not so bad. Time to start thinking about the next AIS...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

RSS -> XML

If you want to use my rants and rambles from this Blog, please do feel free! The XML feed is atom.xml. If you use Firefox, you'll see a handy little orange button in the bottom right hand corner of your browser. Click it and you can add a "live bookmark" to your bookmarks. If you want to use it on a webpage, you'll need to use an RSS reader such as Carp - install and follow the instructions using http://osworld.blogspot.com/atom.xml as the CarpCacheShow setting.

You betcha!

If you want to read a motivational book, you won't do better than "How I raised myself from failure to success" by Frank Bettger. Bettger was one of America's top salesmen during the 30's, 40's and 50's. It's a good book, and I can almost guarantee that once you pick it up, you won't put it down. It really is excellent - even though it was written years ago, all the principles still apply 100%. Well recommended.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Team Building Exercises

One of my osCommerce clients invited me to one of those "outdoor adventure" Team building exercises yesterday. I'm sure you've seen the sort of thing - they give you a load of barrels and some planks of wood and expect you to build a raft and so on. It was a lot of fun, and if you ever get the chance to go on one, grab it with both hands. I managed to fall into the river and hurt my elbow! But all good fun. It's surprising how fast the current in a river is, as within just a few seconds I was 30 or 40 yards downstream!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Anonymous Comments

PLease would all "anonymous" posters sign off with your name (or even a nickname). This way we can see (and respond to) the right part of the conversation. You could even spend the 30 seconds needed to make a Blogger Account ;) I really don't want to turn off Anonymous Posting for reasons that I've already mentioned. Using a nickname would help to make more sense of this Blog. Thanks.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

AIS last 7 days

Last week I gave the daily figures for my AIS's (Automated Income Streams) - I wanted to update you all on the last 7 days of AIS [08 Sep -> 14 Sep inclusive]. My target for those 7 days was $959 [137*7] - I ended up earning $1325.32. Which is 38% over target - I tell you this only to give an indication that last weeks daily figures were not a fluke or made up (as someone emailed to tell me!). What will it take to prove the income? Screenshots: Adsense - with the CTR/Click blanked out to comply with Adsense T&C's
One of my Paypal Accounts, showing most of this weeks transactions:
Hopefully now I won't be emailed again to say I'm a liar! Ho hum. I will admit that I am not expecting to be so much over target every week, but each week that I am gives a little buffer for the weeks when sales will be very slow. So, $1325 earned (and remember this was for less than 30 minutes work all told - a few emails answered & a couple of forum posts answered). If I can do something like this, why cannot you (in addition to your normal job) ? Remember => He who tries and fails, will never say "What if..." ...

What's good for the goose...

In a recent Forum post, Harald Ponce de Leon says:

I am doing the best for the team at the moment.
I'd have thought it would be better to always be doing what is best for the Community. Is the Community not important to osCommerce anymore?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Ad Targetting

Sometimes you'll see Google Ads on pages that are not quite right for the context. Eg an Advert for washing machines on a tumble dryer page (silly example, bnut you know what I mean I guess). This is because Google scans the whole page looking for suitable content to return "relevant" ads. Now you can help Google to produce better ads for your pages by using the google_ad_weight settings... There are 3 tags. 1. This one tells Google to pay attention because the next section is important. <!-- google_ad_section_start --> 2. This one tells Google to pay little attention to the next section because it is irrelevant. <!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) --> 3. This one tells Google that it's reached the end of the section in question. <!-- google_ad_section_end --> So, by using these "tags" in your source code, you *should* get better Adsense Contextual Adverts! Read more...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

osCommerce Email Vulnerability

You may have been seeing attempts to find a vulnerability using email injection in your osCommerce sites. These attempts are trying to find a way to use the contact_us form as an email relay - it needs plugging. Earlier on today, Christian Lescuyer made available » email.php (.zipped) « which is a direct replacement for the following file: /includes/classes/email.php Make a back up of the old file first, before uploading this new one. And please note that I have not tested this, so use at your own risk. Many thanks to Christian for this interim fix.

Monday, September 12, 2005

eBay have bought SkyPE

eBay have bought SkyPE for $2.6B... This is a triad that could knock Google for six: eBay - Paypal - SkyPE It would not surprise me to see eBay move into the Search Engine market soon - with results in the format of a normal search engine, but with extra results based on what's for sale at eBay. That would be quite interesting actually. Perhaps a nice competitor to Froogle, with the results being linked to "pay by Paypal"... Interesting possibilities, I think.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Today I bought a website !

I bought a website today. Only a 1 page site, but with an accompanying eBook to which I have full rights to sell and copyright. The price was quite good, only a couple of hundred $$$. It's a subject that I know nothing about, but can see a good opportunity with it. Once I have it all set up I'll post the URL, I think you'll be surprised at the content :) I'm trying to increase my portfolio of web properties and move away from the osCommerce market a little bit; I decided that too much of my online earnings is gained from providing osCommerce products and services.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My latest website !

My latest little adventure is Polish My Pixels which is a resource for Photoshop/Graphics etc. We'll see how it goes!

When is Open Source not Open ?

Q. When is Open Source not Open ? A. When it's osCommerce. I just tried to download the latest version of osCommerce (MS3) - only to find that it is unavailable. OK, so that doesn't make it closed source, but even so... The problem is that the "team" are talking about MS3 openly on the Forum and in their Blogs, and yet there is a rule that says that anything that is discussed must be freely available. And yet, MS3 is not freely available. Now, if anyone else was to talk about XYZ (not freely available) code, they'd be censored or even banned from the Forum. Another example of the Double Standards applied by the Monkeys @ osCommerce.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

AIS breakdown for these past 7 days

Template Sales: 8 packs sold for a total of $944 eBook Sales: 14 eBooks sold for a total of $231.73 Adsense Earnings: $31.46 So for this period of 7 days, I "earned" a total of $1207.19. My target was $959 [137*7] - so I came in at $248 over. That's a great result! My maths is not strong, but I think I exceeded my target by 25%. Remember also, that all this took absolutely no work - I have my templates and eBooks set up so that the buyer pays and downloads without intervention from me. All that I have to do is answer the odd email. Of course, I will also have to take into account my costs. Such as; - Payment to affiliates. My affiliates get commission of 33%, and of the sales this week, that totalled around $250. - Adwords payments. I do spend a tiny amount per day on advertising my new templates site. Take off beer money, which is around $10 (for the week). - TAX :( But even so, you can see that is is possible to create a nice income by doing very little ongoing work. The best thing is when you first log in each morning, download your mail and see 3 or 4 emails go straight into your "sales" inbox :)

AIS Earnings - 07 Sep

$255.59 Made up of a couple of template sales + some Adsense.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My new template site

During the first month (06 Aug > 05 Sep), my new template site sold $2923 worth of templates (34 buyers for an average ticket price of $85.97). In addition to this I also made a couple of one-off templates foir clients as well (for around $400 extra). That's not bad for a brand new site ! I'm rather pleased about it.

Serious about osCommerce? Don't use a template system!

Yesterday I had someone contact me to add a contribution to a couple of Stores. No great shakes, probably around 2 hours all told. The person had bought a couple of templates (not from me!!!) and had installed them on her shops. The templates had caused a few errors that needed sorting, as well as this one extra contribution to be installed. I took a look at the code and it's disgraceful. How anyone can sell code like that is beyond me - it's based on the BTS, but they've hacked it about so much that it is half-BTS and half-not. I could see that there was going to be problems so I declined the job, pointing her back to the original vendor. So, if you are serious about using osCommerce for your Store, then please do not buy a template that changes the core osCommerce files. Questions to ask a template provider: 1/ Do you provide support? If the answer is "yes", then that's good 2/ Do you use a template system, eg ST or BTS? If the answer is "yes", avoid like the plague 3/ Do you have a portfolio? If the answer is "no", then take a look at their profile in the offical osCommerce forum to see how much they help others, or if they need help themselves The problem with the majority of these Template sellers is that they will take your money, and then leave you high and dry when you need supporting. What you need to be looking for is an osCommerce Template provider that does not use a template system - in other words, they have integrated the style with the core files of osCommerce without adding an extra layer of complexity.

AIS - 06 Sep

I ended up on $153.67 - yet again, a template, a couple of eBooks and some Adsense.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Todays Target reached !

$137.30 for today already. So I am off out for a bike ride :)

Paypal MicroPayments!

Paypal are to introduce Micropayments, an "affordable" solution for small amounts (under $2) according to a press release. The new pricing will provide merchants with a more affordable way to process payments for low-cost digital content such as video games, online greeting cards, news articles, mobile phone content and digital music. PayPal's micropayments pricing is designed to give customers the convenience of a-la-carte purchases, such as 99-cent downloadable ringtones, without having to sign up for annual subscriptions or pre-funded payment accounts.
You can read more at that Press Release. Examples Selling price: $0.50 Old charge: $0.22 New Charge: $0.08 Saving: $0.14 Selling price: $1.00 Old charge: $0.23 New Charge: $0.10 Saving: $0.13 Selling price: $1.50 Old charge: $0.25 New Charge: $0.13 Saving: $0.12 Selling price: $2.00 Old charge: $0.27 New Charge: $0.15 Saving: $0.12 Though 12 or 13 cents does not sound like much, these savings over the course of a few thousand transactions add up quite substantially. Well done Paypal!

AIS Earnings - 05 Sep

$138.56 - a template, a couple of eBooks and Adsense. Exceeded my target by $1.56 - phew!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Nochex & Adult Goods

Nochex have recently changed their T & C's to no longer accept merchants who sell Adult DVD's. What this means is that your Nochex a/c will be suspended even if 99% of your sales are for "normal" adult stuff. So, remove those DVD's from your online stores - Nochex will be after you otherwise.

AIS Earnings - 04 Sep

Just a few eBook sales + some Adsense, totalling: $58.81 - the weekends are always quite slow for sales across all of my sites.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

AIS Earnings - 03 Sep

$187.66 - quite surprising as the weekends are normally quite slow. Made up of 1 template sale, a few eBooks and some Adsense.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

AIS Earnings - 02 Sep

$282.44 - well in excess of my target. That's good as the weekend is usually quite quiet on the sales front, so this will make up some of the difference.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Spam Comments & Word Verification

In order to try to combat useless spam comments, I've installed "Word Verification" on the add commments page. The other option was to stop anonymous posting - but I really wanted to keep that as some of the anonymous comments are from people that I know want to post, but don't want to be named as "one of the bad people" ;) So, "Word Verification" it is - it should help to combat the random spam comments.

AIS - 01 September

$130.46 A little shy of my $137 target - unfortunately I only earned money on Adsense and made 1 template sale. I sold no eBooks at all yesterday! :(

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Secret to Adsense Success

The secret to Adsense success is to build a site and place adsense on it. Then wait for visitors to click on those Adsense links... Sounds too easy, right. It really is that easy. However, having 1 adsense site may make you beer money - if you really want to earn the big bucks you need to have more sites. If 1 site brings in $50 a month, how much would 10 sites earn, 100 sites? 1000 sites? It's simple maths - the more site you have that run Adsense, the more likely your Adsense earnings are going to increase! So, what does it take to build an Adsense site? Not a lot really: 1/ Some knowledge of a subject. 2/ Creeate the HTML Pages, making sure to include the Adsense Code. 3/ A website hosting account & Domain name 4/ Transfer the site to the hosting account 5/ Wait for visitors 6/ Of course, an Adsense account! I'm guessing that a site like this would take maybe 1 week to build - after all, you need to research the subject, write up some nice keyword laden pages and so on. The other option - which all the "big" earners use is Automated Page Building software such as "Cash Page Builder", "Niche Portal Builder", "Directory Generator", "Traffic Equalizer" and many others. These people simply choose their favoured piece of software, plug in a few keywords, press "go" and their site is built within just a few minutes. Ally this to a good domain name, and they are laughing all the way to the (Adsense) bank. I've read stories (and seen proof) of people earning $50k per month using this type of software... I've tried out quite a few pieces of this software - in the end I plumped for "Niche Portal Builder", as it is templatable and also the software interface is quite easy to use. A typical 100 page website will take no more than 2 minutes to build from start to finish. Where to find the "Niche Portal Builder" software: NPB software. At the time of writing this post, this costs $397 for the part of the software that you need, but read on before buying it! Next up is where to find cheap domain names! That's easy, simply use NameCheap .info domains, which are $2.88 each. And hosting. Well, I'll leave that up to you, but if you do purchase this software, you'll be creating sites daily - so choose a Resellers Plan which gives you the ability to create hosting for yourself... Of course, you may be wondering about how to get your newly created sites into the Search Engines - again, this is really simple. Simply use your own knowledge of SEO to promote, promote, promote! One final extra which is more than worth the monthly cost - subscribe to the Keyword Avalanche site. For the low cost, you get access to a top notch forum which is full of knowledgable people, as well as a weekly keyword list which will help you to create sites based on the keywords that they send! Inside the Forum are a number of special offers (including a 20% discount on the "Niche Portal Builder" software!)...and a very, *very* good tutorial/video showing the absolutely best way to promote your newly created sites! Start Up Cost: ~ $57 (per month) for Keyword Avalanche access. ~ $318 for the "Niche Software" (includes the 20% discount via the Keyword Avalanche site. ~ A resellers account via a webhost. Say $200 per year. Ongoing costs: ~ $57 (per month) for Keyword Avalanche access. ~ $2.88 per Domain Name Extra Info: The whole point of these sites is such that you build, promote and move onto the next. It's no more than a numbers game. The more sites you build, the more you will earn. Simple. But there is one extra way to moentise these sites - upselling other products and services! Example: An example might be that I build a site all about "Website Hosting". Adsense Income let's say is $100 per month (remember that the site only cost a few dollars to actually build)... On top of this Adsense Income, I could do the following: 1/ Search for related books over at clickbank.com - eBooks are really hot sellers. Put links on the newly created site. This might raise an extra $25 per month. 2/ Find a webhost that might like to put a banner on the site. Let's say an extra $25 for this per month. 3/ Find associated service providers who might like to advertise their site(s) - eg: webdeigners, and so on. An extra $25 for this. 4/ Sign up to other affiliate programs, eg "Template Monster". Place links etc - this will raise perhaps another $50 per month. Now, we are upto $225 per month, just from the one site! I hope you can see the possibilities that are open to you... And remember - these type of sites take no maintenance - build, promote, forget.

AIS - 31 Aug

$359.95 across all my AIS's. Not just Adsense!