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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dragons Den

The Dragons Den is a TV reality show whereby "contestants" go in front of a panel of "millionaires", to present a business idea and try to secure funding (in exchange for a stake in the fledgling business. The Dragons basically rip into these people with no mercy, trying to find any weak aspects of their presentation or business background. It's a great TV show, with real money at stake - I'm not sure that I'd like to sell my pound of flesh though. Anyway, the second series is due to start very shortly - sometime during November. Apparently it was delayed due to financial allegations with one of the Dragons (allegedly). It's been widely reported that Rachel Elnough' business went bankrupt during the summer and was bought out by one of the other Dragons. I don't know if that is true or not, but seems to be the case. Anyway, you can read more about Dragon Den at the official BBC site. On my travels around the Inter Web I also found a very interesting site which is written up by one of the people being interviewed...it's nice to read the Dragons Den from a viewpoint which is not a Dragon or the BBC...

Amazon Customer Service

I recently used the 'Customer Support' email form at Amazon to ask a fairly straightforward question, If I purchase an item from someones wishlist, would they be made aware of my home address. OK, fairly easy, simple question which is not covered in their privacy policy! The initial response was obviously not from a "human", and it amounted to:

As a wishlist owner your address is never displayed, only the town and state (if in the US).
Obviously this is not at all what I asked, so I emailed back, the response:
Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.com. I have reviewed our previous correspondence with you, and I offer my sincere apologies for any misunderstanding thus far. If you choose to make your Wish List searchable, any visitor to Amazon.com can access your list by searching for your name or your e-mail address. If you choose not to make your Wish List searchable, only those people to whom you send notice of your Wish List will be able to access it. When you create your Wish List, you can enter the e-mail addresses of those people, and we'll send them an e-mail on your behalf containing a link to your list. When you share your list with others, we won't share your address or phone number with them. We display only your name, your city, and the state or country where you live, and your optional self-description. You can make your list either searchable or non-searchable after it has been created. Click the "Edit this information" link in the "About This List" box in the right-hand margin. Once you have signed in with your e-mail address and password, select the appropriate "This list will be viewable by" option and click the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the page. Please allow 48 hours for any change to the search options to become effective online.
Great. So now I know everything that I need to know about Wish Lists, but not the answer to my original question. I think this may have been a non-human response. So I email back once again, and get this in reply:
I'm very sorry for the misunderstanding so far. I have reviewed our previous correspondence and understand that you have not actually received the answer to your question. The answer is yes, when you place an order from a wishlist, you will not be able to see the recipients address, as you should know by now, but as long as your address is in the billing address section, this will be displayed on the packing slip that they receive. We are unable to offer the option to have a gift sent anonymously. We require a correct billing address to be submitted for each order, and this address appears on the invoice included with each package. For gift orders, we will not include the price of the order on the invoice, but all other information will appear. I hope this has finally answered your question, and I am very sorry that it took so long.
At last! The answer to the question! So, if purchasing from someones wishlist, that person will get your private details - this is not covered in the Amazon Privacy Policy as far as I can see, so beware! Anyway, the upshot is: If a human had read my question, I'd have got the right answer first time. Of course, this took 2 days for Amazon to answer a simple question...which is not good enough in my opinion. At least they had the good grace to apologise a couple of times ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Website Yes or Website No

Do you want to make money through the Internet but you don't have enough experience or capital to start your own online business? You don't have to worry, for a lot of online marketing options exist for you to start with. One of these options is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing provides first time online marketers the chance to market something online even without having your own product to sell. All you have to do is to sign up with an affiliate marketing program, which is usually owned by an online merchant or retailer, and start picking the products you want to promote. As an affiliate, you are paid by the merchant for your services on a commission basis, that is whenever you have directed a visitor to the merchant's site and the visitor actually buys something. Becoming an affiliate is often quick and easy, and for most affiliate programs, signing up is also free. But despite these and all the benefits being promised by affiliate programs, many people are still hesitant to get into affiliate marketing. One of the reasons why a lot of people remain hesitant is the lack of a website to start marketing his affiliate products with. This now leads us to the question of whether a website is required or necessary in affiliate marketing or not. Many people say that one can do affiliate marketing even without a website to start with. Actually, one can really start promoting and marketing his affiliate products even without a website; and there exist a lot of ways on how this can be done. In fact, many affiliate marketing strategies that leads to success can exist without actually needing a website. Among these strategies are email marketing, offline promotions, writing e-books, writing ezines and engaging in online discussions like forums, chats, message boards and others. Email Marketing Email marketing, or maintaining email lists, is actually the most popular affiliate marketing strategy that doesn't require the affiliate to maintain a website. In this affiliate marketing strategy, what you basically do is maintain a list of the email ads of your prospective customers and provide them with articles that are relevant with the affiliate products and programs you are promoting. Articles that you provide your contacts with need not always be promotional, for many individuals find such types of email annoying. Rather, it would be better if you provide them with something informative and just add small text ads that link to your merchant's site. Offline Promotion There are many ways on how you can promote your affiliate products offline. Among the common medium used for such promotions are classified ads, brochures and flyers. Classified ads would generally work better compared to the other two because classified ads in periodicals often get a wider audience. Writing Free e-books If you have a knack in writing, writing an e-book can be the best way for you to promote your affiliate products in the absence of an actual website. Just like in emails and newsletters, your readers would better appreciate your e-book if it is not too promotional but rather informative. Be sure, however, to make the contents of your e-books relative to the actual affiliate products you are promoting. And just like in email marketing, you can just place text ads or banners somewhere near the end of your e-book that links to the merchant's site. Writing Free Ezines Ezines are publications or articles that aim to inform individuals about a particular topic. If you don't have a website and yet want to be an affiliate, you can well use ezines to promote your affiliate products or to insert links to your merchant's site. If you have a website, your ezine article may actually work well as content for your site. But since you have no website, you can just submit your free ezine articles to various websites that hosts ezines, like goarticles.com, ezinearticles.com and others. Online discussions (Forums, Chats, Message Boards, etc.) With or without a website, you just can't ignore online discussions because they are great venues for marketing your affiliate products. In chats, forums, message boards and discussion boards with topics related to your products, you can easily find people who may be interested with the products you are promoting. With all these strategies, it may appear that one really doesn't need to have a website to start marketing his affiliate products and promoting his affiliate programs. Well, starting in an affiliate program without a website may be easy, but getting successful in affiliate marketing without a website is another thing. While one can actually gain enormous success in affiliate marketing even without a website, it is a rare instance that "newbies" like you can reach the same levels of success. Having a website is not really a pre-requisite in entering into an affiliate program, unless otherwise the program owner would require you to have one. But while this is so, I would still recommend that you have for yourself a website, if not now, then maybe at a later time. Having a website creates a lot of advantages in affiliate marketing. For one, it provides you a place where you can creatively promote not only one of your affiliate products but all of your affiliate products. With a website, you can also advertise your affiliate products to a wider market. Again, having a website is not a requirement in affiliate marketing. But with the advantages that a website can provide, I'd rather have one for myself and make affiliate marketing a lot easier for me...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

eBook Creation & Sales

Informational Products are the greatest product since sliced bread. People love to purchase information. And eBooks are great because they are easy to write, easy to produce (no printing costs), and easy to distribute (download or by email). What could be better! In this blog message, I'm going to show what to write about, and what to do after your eBook is written...and also 1 extra "trick of the trade"...as well as some hints on protecting your work! As I posted on Rich's Blog, it's my belief that everyone has at least 1 eBook in them. What subjects are you knowledgable on - what have you done in the past that you can explain for people - have you travelled the world? Tell us about your adventures. Had an interesting job? Tell us! Your eBook can be about anything! I can't really help to write your eBook, all Ican do is offer ideas on what you could write about... Once your eBook is written, you need to sell it. No point in writing up a Book and then not AIS'ing it. Unless it's going to be a loss leader for other products or services, but let's assume you want to sell it..and I'm going to explain to you how to set up an AIS site on a budget... You'll need to convert your document to PDF I write my documents using Open Office - this has a built in PDF maker. Just click the PDF button and you'll be able to save your Documents as PDF! Cost: $0.00 1/ You'll need a Domain Name Simple. namecheap.com sell .info domains for $2.88. Running Total: $2.88 2/ You'll need a website hosting account I use & recommend sitehq.co.uk - one of their "Personal" accounts runs at $55 (actually £29.50 or so, but we're working in dollars for this blog) for the year. Running Total: $57.88 3/ You'll need a website Again, simple. TemplateMonster.com or TemplateKingdom.com sell websites templates from $5 upwards. Let's say you choose one for $30. Once purchased, all you need to do is amend the text and upload to your webhost! Running Total: $87.88 4/ You need a Paypal account! I'm assuming you already have one of these, but if not go to paypal.com and open up an account. It's free! Running Total: $87.88 5/ You'll need a digital download script These scripts work by automatically setting up a download link which is emailed to your client after they pay by Paypal. This makes selling eBooks a true AIS, as you do not want to be manually sending eBooks to your buyers, and your buyers will not want to wait for you to send them anyway! I used dotwidget for downloads which costs $39. Running Total: $126.88 And that is all that you need. Obviously setting up a website and enabling downloads is quite challenging for Joe Public, but should not take more than a couple of days. And once you've set the first one up, any more are plain sailing. So you can see that for the small outlay of $126.88 and some time, you have an AIS that can pay you for years to come - all you need to do is update your eBook now and then and keep on promoting it! If you search Google for "oscommerce ebooks", my sites (or my affiliate's sites occupy the majority of page 1 results)! So, let's assume that you've written the eBook, you've got the domain name, website and script all set up and ready to rock and roll! You've linked the dotwidget to your Paypal a/c and are waiting for orders...now you can use your own knowledge of Promotion and Search Engine Optimisation to promote your product....I'll leave that for now as it goes beyond the scope of this message... One more "Trick of the Trade": Get your readers to write your eBook for you! People who buy your eBook will go on to do more research, or will already have done research. They are a fountain of knowledge. In your eBooks, add a paragraph asking people to contact you if they have problems with your eBook (so that you can make it clearer), or if they have anything to add that you might have missed. In return, offer them a free updated copy of your Book! This works stunningly well. My own osCommerce SEO eBook went from 12 pages to about 22 pages using this method! And finally; when you have your eBook finished, send a copy to the British Library (you do this by email, it's on their site) - if you have any future copyright battles you can always then prove your copyright easily. You don't have to do this, but I think it's a good idea. What you MUST do is sign up to the eBay VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) program - as this will allow you to email the legal team at eBay when you see people selling your eBook...

End of the Week...

And I ended up slightly over target at 108.22% - the majority of which was Template and eBook sales, with 13.67% as Adsense, and 10.86% as Affiliated Income. So, overall, a good week - any week is good when targets are exceeded! Best day was Wednesday at 165.54% of target (a few eBooks, a template pack, $25 Adsense and $44 Aff Commissions), worst day was Friday at 37.30% of target (1 eBook and about $22 Adsense). The other good news is that I broke $500 in Adsense for the month. My previous highest was $480 or so, so Adsense is now also moving in the right direction!

Friday, October 28, 2005

RSS / XML Live Bookmarks

I'm not sure why, but some blogs and sites that I read don't show the live bookmark button in Firefox. But all is not lost! So long as you know the site has an XML or RSS feed, you can add a live bookmark quite easily - simply go to the Bookmarks menu and select Manage Bookmarks. Under the File Menu, select New Live Bookmark. Now create a name for the Live Bookmark and add the URL. New articles from that site will appear as Live Bookmarks in Firefox, like so: image of my blog as a Firefox live bookmark! I think that in Blogger, you do need to change some settings for the atom feed to be active - Settings > Site Feed > Publish Site Feed {Yes}

How many hours in the day?

When is 24 hours not 24 hours? When it's Internet Time! I was trying to explain my AIS stuff to a friend who is totally computer illiterate - I was trying to explain that Internet time is not the same as keeping a shop. I pointed out the following example: If you own a shop that's open from 9am till 5pm, thats 8 hours of selling time per day. OK, so far so good. If you run an online shop, these are open all hours, thus 12.01 am to 12midnight daily, or in simpler terms; 24 hours per day. But, think of this: An Internet day is made up of more than 24 hours! I'm not 100% sure of the dateline, but today in Japan started hours ago, and today in America has only just started. In other words, today, the 28th of OCtober will be about 40 hours long, if you take into account the International Dateline effect. My friend kind of understood what I was trying to say, I think. In the end I just said I'm a website designer ;) So, how to maximise your income - open an Internet shop and sell internationally!

This weeks target is exceeded!

Hurrah! I just exceeded this weeks target (today is the last day of this week) with a $78 order for eBooks...right now I am at 101.33% of weekly target :) Of course, there is still quite some time to go in the day yet, so I am hoping for a few more AIS's to make up for the terrible week that I had 2 weeks ago.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Paypal Chargebacks - worth fighting?

I don't get many chargebacks via Paypal (maybe around 5 or 6 per year) - I generally don't bother fighting them as it is most likely that Paypal will side with the buyer rather than the seller... However, I recently received a chargeback from someone who stated to Paypal "I never received the item". I knew that this was a crock of BS as the person in question had emailed me for further advice on one part of the eBook that she purchased! So I decide to fight this one! I supplied documentary proof that the person physiclaly downloaded the eBook (both from my own reporting login, and the raw stats provided by my host). I also supplied the usual legal shenanigans about UK Law (no refunds on digital items), as well as emails that this person sent to me regarding the need for further help... Well, it took Paypal 4 months, but in the end I won! As you can see the amount in question was next to nothing, only £9.99 (about $20), but the principle was at stake - I knew that the person was telling outright lies about not receiving the product. So, Paypal do sometimes side with the Seller rather than the Buyer! My only question - why on earth do people want to tell lies (and commit fraud) for the sake of $20 ? It just does not make sense to me at all.

How To Continually Grow Your Affiliate Cheques

The promise of earning profits without really doing much of anything has enticed a lot of people towards affiliate marketing. But does affiliate marketing really work this way? As an affiliate, all that is required of you is to simply place the merchant's ad on your website. Then after that, you virtually do nothing but wait for anyone to click on the merchant's ad and later collect your profits. Easy, right? Well, sort of! Many affiliates earn almost nothing from their affiliate programs simply because they do nothing. Remember that affiliate marketing is just another form of marketing, and you'll definitely need to market your merchant's product for you to earn something. Successful affiliates in any affiliate program simply don't sit there and wait for money to come. Why? Because there is no money in simply sitting and waiting. If you want to be successful in affiliate marketing and if you want to continually grow your affiliate checks, you've got to do something. Think of ways on how to promote your merchant's business and products better. Think of ways on how to induce other people to click on the link or ad provided to you by your merchant. Think of ways on how to make your affiliate sales increase! So if you're new in affiliate marketing and you try to follow the easy go lucky pit that most unsuccessful affiliate marketers follow, then you're definitely on the wrong track. But I'm not advising you to stop right there. No. Rather, I want you to take some steps to make your affiliate program work better and gain more commissions for you. How? Here are a few guidelines that may help you to continually grow your affiliate checks: Become an expert on your affiliate product. You can promote your merchant's product better if you know a lot of things about it. To become an expert, the best thing you can do is purchase your merchant's product yourself. This way, you can tell your customers about your first-hand experience using the product. You can even write a testimonial or a personal endorsement ad about it. But if any condition does not permit you to purchase the product, you can at least make a thorough research about it. Host your own website. Or at least have a domain name that is short and easy to remember. You certainly wouldn't expect a visitor to remember a very long and incomprehensible URL. And if that's so, you also wouldn't expect him to visit your website any time soon. That means less traffic for your page and the less chance for your affiliate ads and links to be clicked. It is also a good idea to create a private website and offer access to it to anybody who clicks on any of your affiliate ads. Visitors usually get interested with these private websites. Private websites also gives you a venue to promote your back-end affiliate products. Write your own affiliate ads. Many merchants usually wouldn't mind if you write and design your own ads for their products, for as long as you ask permission from them and present them your ad before posting it on your site. This gives you a greater advantage over a lot of other affiliates who must be advertising the same affiliate products. Participate in chat rooms, discussion boards, and forums related to your product. If you used to ignore them before, then it is time for you to start focusing your attention on them. You can start your own chat or join an existing chat related to your product. You don't have to promote your affiliate product at once, but find the chance to advertise and promote it as you go along. The same would be true for message boards, discussion boards and forums. Create a free ezine or newsletter. Ezines and newsletters are periodical publications whose aim is to inform a group of people about a certain subject. In your ezines and newsletters, you don't always have to promote your merchant's product for this may greatly annoy your subscribers. Rather, find a way to insert your affiliate ads and links on some portions of the letter. Also, don't forget to promote your ezine or newsletter on your website. These are just a few guidelines on how you can increase your affiliate sales and continually grow your affiliate cheques. What's important is that you are able to find a way to: 1. Attract more traffic to your site. 2. Induce your visitors to click on the ads on your site. 3. Be able to promote your merchant's products even outside the boundary of your website. If you can do these 3 things, there's no reason for you to fail in Affiliate Marketing. Note: The tone of this message goes somewhat against my AIS mantra, but most AIS's don't depend upon selling other peoples products - if you are going into Affiliate Marketing, you will need to promote your site in order to earn "good" money.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Keeping records is vitally important

Inspired by my previous post about keeping records = working smart I decided to come up with a proper spreadsheet to track my AIS earnings. Previously I just totted up the daily figures, and worked out any %'s when I needed to. Now I can work out all sorts of interesting info; ~ Adsense Income makes up 12.95% of overall AIS so far this month. ~ Best Sellers are my eBooks, closely followed by my templates. ~ worst AIS by far is my Affiliation to a couple of sites (just 4.91% of overall AIS). ~ based on 31 days, I am at 81.35% of my target. ~ based on 25 days [days in month so far recorded], I am at 100.88% of target. ~ best day in October: 16th (226.72% of target) ~ worst: 11th (only 19.82% of target) Targets for November: 1/ Increase Adsense to 20% of overall AIS, by building more sites. 2/ Increase Affiliation earnings by using the methods employed by the Rich Jerk. Maybe you can start keeping records to show you where you should concentrate your AIS efforts too?

Where are your readers clicking?

You may have noticed the strange little mouseover effect on each outgoing link from my Blog: I've been playing with "My Blog Log" to record some intersting facts about my Blog. It works like this - you sign up for an account, then place a small piece of javascript into your Blog. This piece of javascript records incoming links (which is not that useful as Awstats or Webalizer does it better): It also records outgoing links...this is much more useful as the Blog owner can see what links are of interest to his readers - meaning the Blog owner can tailor his articles to what his readers are interested in: The cost of the reporting feature is just $3 per month recurring, or $25 for a full year. For me, it is worth the $25 cost to see what links are popular on my site. Try it out - there's a free 3-day trial available - it takes less than a couple of minutes to add the code and the reporting starts immediately! If you don't like it, remove the code and close the account: cost $0. AIS link: My Blog Log

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's the value of your Blog


My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Basically this is a fun test to see how much your blog is worth based on the value of the weblogs inc buyout from AOL... It means nothing in real terms, but is kind of fun to see how much your rants and raves are worth. You can see mine is worth just under $4,000 - anyone want to buy it ;) What's yours worth ? Take the test and post the results to your blog!

The Rich Jerk – Review

"The Rich Jerk" is an eBook which turns salesmanship on it's head. Basically the creator has taken time to document a variety of methods (both orthodox and unorthodox) which show how to create a sale from what seems to be thin air. Chapter 1: Affiliate Networks – this shows which Affiliate Networks should definitely be joined, which are somewhat OK to join, and which should be joined if you have nothing better to do on a rainy day. I'll admit that some of the networks mentioned are new to me, but there are some mentioned which we are all aware of, for example “Click Bank”. Sales Letters - showing the power of words - what words to use to elicit a buying response. I found this section very interesting as I struggle quite badly with the English Language. This section also includes a very good example sales letter! There are 2 further sections which are of interest - offering rebates and getting paid per lead. Both are explained fully, including examples of what to do and what not to do! Chapter 2: A discussion about the power of Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts, including the infamous Adsense and Adwords. I used a method outlined in this Chapter to reduce my Adwords Cost, yet get more clicks through to my website! Chapter 3: Everything that you didn't know about Search Engine Optimization! Including “incoming links”, “page content”, “cloaking” and other miscellaneous strategies. Includes a list of free and paid for directories to submit your sites to. I've been in the amateur SEO game for a few years, and some of the methods outlined here are quite eye-opening to me! Chapter 4: How to sell your own product. Basically everything you need to know from start to finish! What more do I need to say? Chapter 5: eBay - the what's, why's, where's and how's. From sourcing products to sell, to how eBay works. Includes some good tips on security as well. Chapter 6: Profitable websites - what sort of website is likely to make you good profits with little work. Includes example of a site that the author sold for $380,000 after just a few months of existence! Chapter 7: Other entrepreneurial adventures - showing how to make money by investing small amounts of cash wisely. Seems quite straightforward, but not something that I would be interested in. Chapter 8: Extra info for beginners - some great ideas for how to make money with very little knowledge. Fairly basic knowledge here, but even so I found a couple of ideas that I had not considered. This chapter is more of a “mop-up” chapter giving a clearer english overview of what has been explained in the previous chapters. Chapter 9: Website & Services recommended by the author - a few links to tools and websites that will allow the reader to shortcut their way to success. The Rich Jerk Aff Link My overall view: I was sceptical when I first hit on the Rich Jerk website. But after taking the time out to read this Book, I can definitely see where the author is coming from on most of the chapters. There's only one chapter that I think is not worthwhile to my situation, but for the most part, the Author is right on the money. I've already implemented a couple of Adwords methods, and have seen good results. I think that if you are going to buy the book, you need to realise that it is not a “magic bean” solution – it will still take hard work from you to be a success. What the book does give to you is a torch, that allows you to peak into corners of Internet Marketing that were previously dark. I class myself as somewhat knowledgable about online endeavours – this book has opened up at least 5 new avenues for me to explore! All in all, I recommend it. AIS link: Rich Jerk

Monday, October 24, 2005

Work Smart

The following quote is taken from the best book on salesmanship that I have ever read. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger.

Later on, I will show how keeping records helped me to organize myself so that I was gradually able to increase the value of my calls from $2.30 to $19.00 each; how over a period of years, i cut down my average of closing only 1 out of 29 to 1 out of 25, then 1 out of 20, 1 out of 10, and finally 1 out of 3. Let me give just one example now: The records showed that 70% of my sales were made on the 1st interview, 23% on the 2nd interview, and 7% on the 3rd and after. But listen to this: 50% of my time was spent going after the 7%. "So why bother with the 7%," I thought. "Why not put all my time on the first and second interviews?" That decision alone increased the value of each call from $2.80 to $4.27.
You can plainly see that by cutting out the awkward "come back later" people, Frank Bettger was able to work smart, and earn more money for doing less. This is possible in any walk of life, not just selling! What can you do today which will allow you to do less work, whilst earning more money? Have a think about it, I know that everyone should be able to come up with at least one idea.

Why So Many People Fail In Affiliate Marketing

More and More people are lured into affiliate marketing and you might be one of them. Indeed, affiliate marketing is one of the most effective means of generating a full-time income through the Internet. It’s a fair deal between the merchandiser and his affiliates as both benefit from each sale materialized. Like in other kinds of business, a great deal of the profits in affiliate marketing depends on the affiliate’s advertising, promoting and selling strategies. Everyday, as affiliate marketing industry expands, competition heightens as well so an affiliate marketer must be creative enough to employ unique and effective ways to convince potential buyers to purchase or avail of the products and services offered. Compared to traditional advertising practices, affiliate programs are more effective, risk-free and cost-efficient. But why do many people still fail in affiliate marketing? There are a lot of reasons and a lot of areas in the program to look into. The most critical aspect in the affiliate program is advertising. Many affiliate marketers fail in this aspect because they lack hard work, which is the most important thing in affiliate marketing and in all other kinds of business as well. Although it pays to be lucky, you cannot merely rely on it. Affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as directing customers to the business site. If you want to earn big, of course, you have to invest time and great amount of hard work in promoting the products. As earlier mentioned, the competition is very high and customers nowadays are very wise, too. After all, who doesn’t want to get the best purchase—that is, to pay less and get more in terms of quantity and quality. Lack of preparation is also a reason why one fails in affiliate marketing, whether he is a merchandiser or an affiliate. Part of the preparation is researching. On the part of the merchant, he has to be highly selective in choosing the right affiliate websites for his affiliate program. In order to be sure he has the best choices, he must have exhausted his means in looking for highly interested affiliates whose sites are sure fit to his products and services. The affiliate site's visitors must match his targeted customers. On the other hand, the affiliate marketer must likewise research on the good-paying merchandisers before he signs up for an affiliate program. He must ensure that the merchants' products and services match his interests so he can give his full attention and dedication to the program. He can get valuable information by joining affiliate forums, comparing different affiliate programs and reading articles on affiliate marketing where he can get tips from experienced affiliate marketers on how to choose the best merchants and products with high conversion rate. The website is a very important tool in the whole affiliate program. As an affiliate marketer, you should plan how your site is going to be, from domain name to the design, the lay-out, the content, and ads. Some users are particular about what they see at first glance and thus when they find your site ugly, they won't read through the content even if your site has many things to say and offer. On the other hand, there those who want information more than anything else. Affiliate marketers with "rich-content" web sites are usually the ones who prosper in this business because the content improves traffic to the site. Websites with high quality contents—with relevant keywords and more importantly, right information about the product and not empty hyped-up advertisements—allow you to earn big in affiliate marketing even when you're asleep. If you won't be able to sustain the interest of your site visitor, you won't be able to lead him to the merchants’ site. No click-through means no sale and thus, no income on your part. Selecting a top level domain name is also crucial to the success of the affiliate program. Lots of affiliate sites don't appear in the search engine results because they are deemed by affiliate managers as personal sites. Major search engines and directories would think of your site as transient ones and thus, they won't list it in the directory. Before you decide on the domain name, know first what you are going to promote. Many fail because their sites are not appropriately named, so even when they feature the exact products the customer is looking for, the customer might think the site is not relevant and thus, won't enter the site. Above all, an affiliate marketer must be willing to learn more. Certainly, there are still a lot of things to learn and so an affiliate marketer must continue to educate himself so he can improve his marketing strategies. Many fail because they don't grow in the business and they are merely concerned about earning big quickly. If you want long-term and highly satisfactory results, take time to learn the ins and outs of the business. Continue to improve your knowledge especially with the basics in affiliate marketing ranging from advertising to programming, web page development, and search engine optimization techniques. Likewise, study the needs and wants of your site users and how different merchandisers compete with each other. Keep on trying; don't get disappointed if your first attempts did not pay off. Thousands are attracted by the possibility of generating skyrocketing incomes through affiliate marketing and so they sign up in any affiliate program without carefully understanding every aspect of the business. When they don't get instant results, they quit and sign up for another program and repeat the process of just copying links and referring them to others. When you sign up for an affiliate program, don't expect to get rich in an instant. Work on your advertising strategies and be patient. You'll never know how much you can get if you don’t persevere.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Google Adsense Images

I've seen quite a few sites that have placed Images next to their Google Adsense Ads, I think that this practice is OK under the ToS of Adsense, but I'm also of the opinion that is does sail quite close to the wind and *could* get you into trouble... In other words, use the code in this article at your own risk!!! In this article, I'll show you the simplest and easiest way to place images near to your Adsense Ads. You'll need 10 minutes of your time to read through this article, as well as a graphics program (for making the graphic), and the ability to create (or amend) files in your webhosting service... Step 1: Find (or make) a good graphic to use. Pretty simple - I'll use this one of a guy looking over a sign which I found at Big Stock Photo Step 2: Enclose your Google Adsense Code in a <div> like this:

<div id="google">
  <!-- start adsense-->
    google_code_here
  <!-- end adsense-->
</div>
What this does is place the Google code into a "container" called "google". We can style this container to suit our needs using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Obviously you need to change "google_code_here" to your actual Adsense code! Step 3: Upload the image to your webspace, and remember it's location and name. In my case this is /images/guy-blank-sign.jpg Step 4: Amend your stylesheet to set CSS onto the
<div>
that we made in Step 2. Add this code to your stylesheet:
#google {
   background: url(images/guy-blank-sign.jpg) no-repeat white;
   padding-top: 175px;
}
In this code, you can see that I have set the background of the container to use the image I uploaded in Step 3. You will also notice a strange piece of code:
   padding-top: 175px;
What this is saying is: Start the contents of the "container" 175 pixels from the top of the container. Why 175px? This is the height of the image I am using! We don't want the Adsense Ads to overlay the Image, thus we need to start the Adsense Ads 175 pixels from the top of the Container! Simple, right? And that is all there is to it! If you have followed my instructions correctly, you should have an Adsense Ads area that now looks like this: Rather than the standard no image Adsense Ads! Of course with good use of CSS, you can place your image on the right or left, or top or bottom of the Adsense Ads! Or on all the sides! You can manipulate the Ad to look however you want! It's simple. For further reading please see the w3school CSS tutorial.
This article may be freely reproduced, so long as you linkback to this Blog.
If you prefer not to deal with the code in your websites directly and would like me to implement an image for you, using CSS, please feel free to get in touch - my email address can be seen in the right hand column of this blog.

White Van Man

As the weather was nice yesterday, I took the opportunity to cycle (as in pedal power) up to my local town and back. The raod to go along is quite busy, as the usual cycle path is closed while a new bypass is being completed :( Anyway, it's 10 miles there and back which I did in just over 33 minutes - not bad! On my return journey, I was overtaken by a guy in a white van, who then pulled in to park and cut me up. Suffice to say that Burty was not happy chappy! As I went past him I punched the side of his van [ I recently purchased cycling gloves with padded plastic stuff just right for this purpose ;) ]...and gave him the bird as well as some f---ing and blinding abuse. He looked either half drunk or half asleep - I guess he had not noticed me, even though I'm large(ish), in a yellow flourescent jacket doing 20MPH. Bloody annoying. I just wish I had my phone with me so I could have taken a picture of the dent in the side of his van :D Gloves built to do damage to vans :D

Friday, October 21, 2005

Become A Clickbank Super Affiliate

Making money through affiliate marketing is one of the most rewarding careers one could ever have. What’s good about this business is that anyone can join and make their way to success. Affiliate marketing has been known to be cost-efficient, assessable method of conveying long-term results. In fact, you can start even with a shoe string budget. And with affiliate marketing, you can have the benefit of working from home and enjoying the freedom and flexibility of working for yourself. But there are also some people who failed in this kind of business. It could be because they lack knowledge and tactics. If you are a web site owner and you want to join in an affiliate marketing business, you should know where to get good affiliate programs. Clickbank is an ideal place to start. Here, you can find one of the largest affiliate marketing programs in the industry. You just need to visit their site, ClickBank.com and secure a clickbank ID. From the Clickbank's home page, proceed to 'Earn Commissions' and look for the products and services that perfectly fit you and your site. These products are typically ranked according to their popularity. Clickbank is one of the affiliate networks that serve as a 3rd party between the web merchants and the associated affiliates. It is responsible in providing the technology to deliver the merchant's offers and campaigns. The affiliate network also do the job of collecting commission fees from the merchant and giving it to the affiliates involved in the program. Clickbank provides you a large and increasing network of publishers or affiliates to tap into. To be more specific, clickbank has more than 100,000 affiliates who are experts in finding potential customers for your affiliate program. The reason why more and more affiliates are joining Clickbank is obvious – the process of gaining commissions in this network is absolutely fair and transparent. For web merchants, joining Clickbank is so easy. You just need to sign up in their site for free and allow them to sell your products. Keep up a promotional web site that gives your potential customers detailed information about your offered product or services. At your website, you must also maintain a comprehensive technical support pages for your product. In return, Clickbank will promote and sell your product, give customer service for your product, allow their affiliates to pass on traffic to your web site, enable you to encourage new affiliates to advertise your web site, furnish real-time sales reporting for you and the affiliates and send you and all affiliates a paycheck twice a month. If you're a Clickbank affiliate wannabe, you won't find it hard to be a part of this network. First, you are required to place their link on your website and if you don’t have a Clickbank account, you need to complete the Clickbank affiliate form and create your own account. Then, if you already have a Clickbank username, you are free to choose whatever marketing tools you want to use bring in more clicks and generate more sales. After selecting marketing tools, you can now get your affiliate link. That's how simple it is to join Clickbank. But being a Clickbank super affiliate is no minor achievement. It means you need to possess the ability to sell lots of affiliate products. You also need to have expertise in search engine optimization, email marketing, newsletter marketing, reciprocal linkage, link exchanges and other methods of promoting your merchant’s goods and services. Among the secrets to become successful in affiliate marketing is to come up with good content based website and put your affiliate links in all your content. Your main purpose here is to give your visitors good quality content about the things they are interested in. Set aside the job of selling. It must be done by the sales letter page you are transferring them to. Promote multiple affiliate programs in your website but don't promote everything the world has to offer. Just choose the affiliate programs that fit your site and focus on it. Then, it is advisable to automate the whole process, giving you more time for other ventures. Yes, you’ve read it right! Automation is another key to become a super affiliate. Of course, you have to spend more time in reading, learning and taking up the changes in affiliate marketing business. Through this, you'll remain on top of the trends. If you are knowledgeable with online marketing, you'll understand how important it is to stay up-to-date. In this kind of business, what worked and what was accepted few months ago may not work at present. So always see to it that you know what’s new in affiliate marketing everyday. It’s really hard to be a Clickbank super affiliate, but you shouldn’t say NO to the thought of giving up. Bear in mind that in affiliate marketing business, you need to develop persistence, patience and knowledge. These traits will teach you to carry on no matter how tough the job is. Also, check your statistics. This will help you find out what is working and what is not. Make necessary changes if needed but do it one at a time and be patient. Don’t forget that in affiliate marketing, everything won’t take place overnight. And it will not happen without blood, sweat and hefty time commitment. Again, just encompass patience, persistence and knowledge; then do above mentioned tactics. Before you recognize it, you will start gaining profits. Believe me, the fruits of all your efforts here in affiliate marketing will be way too sweet. More reading: >> Click Bank

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm in pain :(

Many years ago I hurt my back quite badly, and now suffer the occasional twinge. Today I've really been suffering quite badly - I've booked a session with the chiropractor for tomorrow morning. I'm quite tempted to try acupuncture one day. Has anyone tried it, and does it hurt? Any other recommendations? What's this Reiki thing all about?

Google Page Rank (Part 2)

A couple of weeks ago I moaned about PR. Seems like someone at Google listened to me ;) as this blog now has PR4 - I'm still not sure what that means in real terms but anyway... I checked a few of my other sites, and see one new site came in at PR4, with a few other new ones at PR0. It's interesting to note that the PR4 came about because I linked it from a few of my existing sites (all lower than PR4). Thus, there must be some sort of a totting up procedure maintained by Google (eg a number of links from PR2 and PR3 sites add up to a PR4)... I don't know. Can anyone give their views on this phenomonen?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Easiest Way To Start In Affiliate Marketing

With the aid of the Internet, you can almost have everything right at your fingertips - with just a few clicks you get access to thousands and even millions of pieces of information and data on virtually any field of interest. Experts say that the information space, commonly known as the "world wide web" grows by over a million pages everyday as more and more people utilize the Internet for information, education, entertainment, business and other personal reasons - it doesn't take a business-oriented individual to realize that this phenomenon can bring about sky-high financial gains. The Internet's fast-growing popularity is surely an opportunity for business that any entrepreneur would not want to miss. You might be thinking only businessmen can make much money out of the Internet. Think again. You too can earn big bucks through the Internet even if you don't have products to sell and high-profile and established company. How, you ask; through affiliate marketing. You might have come across these words while surfing. Affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing between a merchant and an affiliate who gets paid for referring or promoting the merchants’ products and services. It is one of the fastest growing industries nowadays because it is proven to be a cost-efficient and quantifiable means of attaining great profit both for the merchant and the affiliate! Affiliate marketing works effectively for the merchant and the affiliate. The Merchant gains opportunities to advertise his products to a larger market, which increases his chances to earn - the more affiliate websites or hard-working affiliates he gets, the more sales he can expect. By getting affiliates to market his products and services, he is saving himself time, effort and money in looking for possible markets and customers. When a client clicks on the link in the affiliate website, purchases the product, recommends it to others who look for the same item or buys it again, the merchant multiplies his chances of earning. On the other hand, the affiliate marketer benefits from each customer who clicks on the link in his website and who actually purchases the product or service provided by the merchant. In most cases, the affiliate gets commision per sale, which can be a percentage of the valule of the sale or a fixed amount per sale (regardless of value). If you want to be an affiliate marketer and make fortunes out of the Internet, you may follow the following three most basic and easiest ways to start an effective affiliate marketing program: First is to identify a particular thing you are interested in or passionate about so you won’t be bored. Focusing on a specific area you know very well will help you bring out your best without much risks and effort. You can add a personal touch to your site and give your visitors who are possible buyers an impression that you are an expert in your field. In this way, you gain their trust and eventually encourage them to buy the products you endorse. Second is to look for good paying merchants and products or services related to your interest and create a website. In choosing the products, you must also consider its conversion rate—the number of visitors-turned-buyers. There are various affiliate networks and affiliate solution providers that can give you info on the most profitable products and best paying merchants. The key is to be wise enough to choose the right one. Now that you have decided where to concentrate, have chosen the products to endorse and the merchant you are supporting and have created your own web site with top level domain name and reliable hosting, you are now for the next step. Thirdly get promoting! This is a crucial task, since it is through this that you would be able to increase traffic to the business website, sales and of course, profit. In affiliate marketing, it is possible to earn large sums of money in a short span of time especially when you’re endorsing high-priced items. Expensive products are hard to sell; however, with the right marketing strategies and sales techniques, you can draw visitors to the merchant’s site and make them buy the products. Keep in mind, there is no easy and quick path towards success. Affiliate marketing may seem very tempting due to numerous encouraging testimonies of merchants and affiliate marketers alike who have benefited from it, but it entails great deal of hard work and persistence. You need to be creative, flexible and willing to embrace new ideas to market your partners products until you find the perfect strategy that works for the specific market that you are targeting. Simply signing up for an affiliate program doesn’t guarantee success. It needs hard work, and many affiliate marketers fail to understand this - so when they don’t make sales, they quit, look for other programs and repeat the same mistake. In the end, they conclude that affiliate marketing is just one of those scams in the Internet. Even as you sleep, you can work your way to great financial success if you employ the right strategies in affiliate marketing. Be creative, be smart and you'll achieve your goals.

Taking your message to the next level

As many of you will know, my informational products are all eBooks - I've been exploring different mediums over the past 6 months to try to expand my horizons. How about producing video tutorials, or mp3 downloads (aka podcasting)...it seems like the way forward is to give the user of your products the choice to use them in whatever falvour they prefer. If they want to watch a video tutorial - send it to them on CD/DVD. Maybe they want to listen to your voice whilst on the way to work - make an mp3 available for download... It seems like a lot of work, but is something that I think can only help to grow a business. Cater for your clients needs and your clientbase will grow itself... Mind you, with my accent I am not sure that an mp3 would be very useful as I have quite a broad gloucestershire accent (actually what is termed a "vorest" accent in this part of the world). A good example: Ow bist awld butty (translated: how are you, my friend).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Should a website owner learn HTML ?

On one of the Forums that I'm (somewhat) active on, an interesting question was posed today:

would it be in my interest to be familiar with HTML content ... what would you suggest I and others like myself, who just want to run our businesses the best way we can, do to leap this hurdle?
Most people would say "yep, learn HTML as it can only help you". That's all well and good, but usually Mr Joe Businessman doesn't understand that HTML is not the only thing that needs to be learned. What about Accessibility, Usability and general design skills ? We know that the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) means that anyone running a website needs to be aware of the rules that need to be applied to not fall foul of this 5 year old law. What I am trying to say is: Leave website design and development to the experts. Sure, if you want to have a little go on your own that's great, but be aware that there is much more to creating a website than simply learning HTML. After all, just because you can string a sentence together in English, does not make you Ernest Hemingway ;) The other good reason is that leaving the website to someone else means that you (as the business owner) can concentrate on the more important things such as sourcing new products, wholesale deals, pricing, tax and the like - in other words, growing your core business. A proper businessman will use the best tools at his disposal, and that includes the use of a web professional to build his website!

Monday, October 17, 2005

New Week - New Start

Last week was really quite dire as I earned only 50% of my 7 day target. Well, it's day 3 of the new week now (I don't run my weeks from monday to friday), mine go like this: Week 1: 1st -> 7th Week 2: 8th -> 14th Week 3: 15th -> 21st Week 4: 22nd -> 28th with the extra few days per month as "mop up" days... Already for this 7 days, I have earned almost as much as I did in the whole of last week. On saturday I earned $174.14 from AIS, and yesterday I earned $310.60 - which is very surprising as weekends are usually quite poor. It seems that last week people saved their cash to spend it all over the weekend! So, things have picked up very nicely and it's a good feeling to be back on track. Also yesterday, I received a $97 order which I have not counted in these figures as this order is not an AIS - it will take a couple of hours work to do the job.

Friday, October 14, 2005

This weeks gonna be bad :( + update

For the 6 days, I am only at 53% of target :( That's still $437 earned in 6 days for less than a few minutes worked which is a positive thing, but my target for the 6 days is $822 ! What this means is that I must earn $522 AIS today in order to catch up for the full 7 days; ((7 [days] * 137 [$ target per day]) - 437 [earned so far over 6 days]) ! Well, that is probably not going to happen... Since I set my target, this is the first week that I have been quite disappointed with the results, but not too worry - things will turnaround soon enough :) I also made the decision to build 1 full adsenser site per day for the foreseeable future - I know I've been saying I'll do it, but it's difficult to do when there's such better things to do (like listen to music, hobbies etc). Todays site is up and running already but I won't divulge the URL, I'm sure you'll all understand why!

Dell - Master Spammers

I recently had to purchase a new computer as mine was fried. Rather than mess about, I simply bought a Dell. It works great, but f***ing hell, Dell are Master Spammers. In an average week, I get 4 (Royal Mail) mailshots, a few emails, and at least 1 phone call trying to sell me insurance or some sh*tty upgrade. What they say is "contact us and we'll remove you from our lists". Yeah sure. I already faxed them twice. I've written to them once. I've emailed 7 times. Still I get their spam none of which I agreed to receive in the first place! Yet again, today I received another letter from them. This time, I got through the the company that arranges Dell "communications". Spoke to a very nice lady who has assured me that I will be taken off all lists ASAP. However, the Royal Mail Spam is pre-prinited 12 weeks in advance so I will still receive Dell Crap for another 12 weeks. if you are thinking of buying a Dell, they are great machines, but the amount of times you'll get stuff asking you to buy more and more and more is unbelievable. Dell - get yourself sorted!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Hard Job but someones gotta do it

Over on Baldys Blog there's an interesting post about jobs...people often (in real life, not interweb life) ask what I do for a living. I usually just say "website designer", but that's not really correct - but everyone knows what a webdesigner is. If I was to speak to someone else who's knowledgable about the web, I'd call myself an "Internet Consultant/Marketeer". I used to tell people that, but then got strange looks as their eyes glazed over when I tried to clarify what I meant... I suppose I don't really have a job title - I'm bit of a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. I suppose "Del Boy" would be appropriate ;)

This time next year, Rodders...

My Bonsai Tree Site

I decided to make my own Bonsai Site to show the other buyers what can be achieved on these AIS sites. I just finished it up, and will be uploading to one of my unused domains sometime today. I'll put it into it's own Adsense Channel and watch it closely for earnings... Hopefully this'll go someway to proving that these sites can be good money-spinners. We will see!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Are Forums slowly dying?

It seems to me that over the past couple of years, most Forums seem to be dying a slow and painful death. I can only guess that Blogs are the reason for it... Taking into account the fact that on your own Blog, there are no rules to abide by (except your own), then this means it is far easier to post freely and without the "fear" of breaking a rule or two. I think that most Forums have a small amount of hardcore posters, with others who post now and then. The vast majority of members either lurk, or don't post at all. A few years back I (along with an online acquaintance) set up a Forum (not a business forum). It's been quite successful over the years, and has brought people together in real life as well as online. I've often wondered what wuld happen to that Forum if the hardcore of about 30 regular posters just stopped posting. I think it would die a quick and ugly death... For business sites, there is nothing worse than seeing a forum provided which is unused. I run a business based Forum (it covers three of my sites which have a customer base of over 100 customers), and yet it's hardly used. It looks dead, which i think harms my businesses that it's linked to. So what to do: I think for businesses, a good idea is some sort of a "support desk", where people wanting help can raise a ticket... For "fun" forums, I see forum posters making blogs and operating threads within the blog rather than using the Forums... My previous (the one before my defunct osCommerce blog) blog actually came about because a Moderator at the Forum where I was trying to help people took it upon himself to try to control what I was posting...maybe Forums should be more open to their members? Perhaps that is the way for a Forum not to die?

Battle Shop !

One of my online buddies, Carine has made up a new site over at Battle Shop where osCommerce stores can be added and then fight it out in a "hot or not" style fight. Seems like a lot of fun. The main site at ning.com allows you to build these type of sites quite quickly and easily - it looks like very good and unique site. Anyway, back to Carine' Battle Shop - the idea of 2 shops fighting it out is quite novel - I like it. Of course, it only goes on looks, and not the important stuff underneath like graceful code, accessibility and so on, but all the same it can be a useful tool to see which shop-look that people like the best. Of course, what it does need is loads more shops all added - to get a good representation of some of the lovely (and not-so-lovely) shops... Take a look: Battle Shop

Selling (& buying) websites

As regular readers will know, I'm looking to sell off a few of my web properties - I have a number of sites (both new and established) which I will be looking to sell over the coming months, ranging from small sites (about $100 worth) to large sites ($10k worth)... I've been trying to find a formula that'll allow anyone to work out a guideline price for selling (or buying) a website. Over on Sitepoint, one of the FAQs explains the 12x revenue model thus:

Take the average of the last 4 months revenue. Multiply it by 12 and there's your selling price.
This seems kind of strange as it does not take into account the other assets such as customer lists, website, products and so on. Hmmm. Let's work out the figures, the guideline price for the site that I am looking at selling (under the 12x revenue model) is about 11.5k USD. Which is about right, I think. Perhaps this model is a general rule of thumb that works OK. Now the problem is to find a buyer willing to pay a fair amount for the site! It's a site that I like, it raises a good daily income (average $41 daily for October so far), but is for a product that I have lost my enthusiasm for.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Simple CMS

I am looking for a really simple editor that I can use on clients websites so that they can update a small part of each page: Title Meta Tags Heading Content The rest of the page will not be updatable by them (unless they literally FTP the file down and make changes, the re-upload it!). In other words, a system that's as foolproof as possible. Think of non-techie people who are just about able to type! Anyone got any suggestions? Free or paid-for - it does not matter. Thanks!

Blogger appear to be broken!

As far as I can make out, new Comments on existing blog messages are not being publically posted...bit of a nightmare. The way around this, until it's fixed is to republish the whole blog...then the comments will show.

Inspirational ;¬)

clicky - I know who this is, and good luck to him! I hope he reaches his stated target, it'd be great to know that I'm (somewhat) responsible!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Google PageRank - WTF ?

Does anyone know exactly what the point is of PageRank ? It seems to me that loads of people think that having a good PR is the be all and end all of running a website. Every few months (or so) I see forum posts from people saying "the google dance has begun"... Take for example this Blog. At the time of writing, this Blog has a PR of zero. And yet, it's listed in Google, with good links from other strong blogs and pages. Shouldn't it be better PR than zero ? Another of my sites is a PR5 (the last time I checked) - and yet it has far less traffic than this Blog! So what does PR mean in real life? What benefit does it give to a site? Does it help to get more traffic? Does it help to sell products? And PR is so easy to manipulate - buy a few links from high PR sites - or use the 302 trick (google for it!)... I believe that PR is a crock of BS. What say you ?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

eBay's VeRO Program from a VeRO owners POV

The VeRO program run by eBay is a way for copyright holders of a product to stop other people from illegally selling the product. You can read more at the eBay VeRO pages - no point in repeating all the gumpf here. Anyway, I am a member of the VeRO program for my osCommerce eBooks and Templates - menaing that when I see an infringement I can report it and eBay will remove the listing as appropriate. Here is a typical timeline: Tuesday 4th @ 9am approx - I find a listing on eBay for someone selling my Designing osCommerce eBook. Tuesday 4th @ 9.38am - I send in a VeRO "Notice of Claimed Infringement" via email. I hear nothing in response, not even an automated "thank you, we have received your VeRO email". This would be a good addition to the process I think! Tuesday 4th @ 5.25pm - I send another email to the VeRO department asking how long a VeRO claim should take. Again, no automated response. Thursday 6th @ 10.30am - the listing is still live! I'm starting to get annoyed about this as it's been over 48 hours with no action taken and no response from eBay! Whilst looking at my site logs (the eBay listing had even hotlinked one of my images!) I found this rather strange entry:

193.28.178.62 - - [06/Oct/2005:10:09:03 +0100] "GET /images/transform.gif HTTP/1.1" 200 35485 "http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&vwpending=1 &item=*******&userid=*******%5C&pass=*******@ebay.com" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.2; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)"
Please note that I have *******'d out the info that is not needed for this blog! So, you can see that at 10:09 the listing was visited by an eBay member of staff! But the listing was not removed! The "pass" at the end is actually a live eBay Email Address (obviously as mentioned I have *****'d out the employees name as I don't want them being inundated with email)... The IP Address 193.28.178.62 refers to Ebay in Dublin:
inetnum: 193.28.178.0 - 193.28.178.255 netname: EBAY-DUBLIN-NET descr: ebay Inc. descr: San Jose, California 95125 country: GB
Thursday 6th @1:12pm - The item in question has been removed! At last! I still have had no email to let me know this. Thursday 6th @ 1:23pm - I get an answer to my second email! Basically stating that all being well, most VeRO claims are dealt with within 48 hours. OK, so this is fine, but what happens if the illegal item has less than 48 hours to the end of the auction? I may email back and ask the question... eBay can be a real PITA sometimes - I believe that a 48 hour turnaround is not good enough. It should be a maximum of 6 working hours in my opinion. I'm also a bit concerned that it took 3 hours between being first visited by eBay and being removed - surely all they need to do is press a button and *bang* - the item is gone? Oh well. At least the item is no longer illegally available on eBay.

Kickstarting online earnings

For the last 3 weeks, I've been concentrating on trying to get other people involved in earning money online - many people expressed an interest in what I was doing to earn cash so I thought "why not get these people involved"... I posted up an advert on one of the forums that I frequent (it has a dedicated "marketplace" which is quite good) - offering money earning websites that I'll build and then the person can promote and earn money from them. The sites are good looking, they are adsense integrated and also carry clickbank products. They have articles, content and a links directory. The price of these is set very low in order to get as many people as possible earning online cash. I had a few comments such as "aren't you the only one making money on these deals"...the answer to that:

If it was all about money, I would churn these sites out on eBay for £100 a time. They would sell, as I have previously sold websites on eBay for upto £500. I am only interested in getting my online friends up and running with these sites - hopefully then they'll be able to see the possibilities that are available these days!
The only problem with these sites is that they take too long too build! I've had to cut down on my other online endeavours to find the time to build them. I can't remember the last time I looked at any osCommerce code!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fun website template...

I just put together a fun Xmas themed website template: which will be given away free of charge to people who already bought (or will buy) my templates pack. Most of my templates are quite corporate, so making this one was fun and a nice change.

Increased prices ...

Yesterday, I increased the price of a couple of my eBooks - I had meant to do it a few months ago, but for one reason or another I never got around to actually doing it. One of my eBooks has been on special offer for about the last 18 months! Anyway, I increased prices by 33% (from £9.99 to £14.99 UKP), and I don't seem to have had a slowdown in sales. Of course, I might have a problem selling at the slightly higher price, so I may need to rethink. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

People who steal your work...

I found someone on eBay is selling one of my copyrighted eBooks. Why do people think that just because it's a digital product it gives them the right to steal work and pass it off as their own. Stealing, cheating, theiving a-holes. On this particular eBook, my copyright notice is clearly displayed at the bottom of each page. The eBook is lodged with the British Library with me as the copyright owner and author - meaning I will win if I ever take a case to court. I am also a member of the VERO program at eBay, and have on occasion had to use this. Earlier on today I sent in a VERO "Notice of Infringement", but as yet, eBay have not responded.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Good news for Adsense earnings

The Adsense Electronic Funds Transfer has come out of Beta, meaning that any Adsense publisher in about 16 countries can no receive their payments by EFT straight into the Bank Account. That's good news, as it's been a real PITA to receive checks. To sign up for EFT: 1. Sign in to your account at www.google.com/adsense 2. Click My Account 3. Click the edit link adjacent to the Payment Details header 4. Select the Electronic Funds Transfer radio button 5. Click Continue 6. Enter the requested bank account information. Your account page will provide details on what information is required - if you're unsure, please contact your bank to obtain this information. Click Save Changes 7. At this point, we'll begin the process of depositing a small test amount into the bank account you specified. Check your bank statements after 4-10 days to find a deposit from 'Google' or from 'BFS' Once you have the test deposit amount: 1. Click the My Account tab 2. In the Payment Details section, click Verify this account 3. In the box provided, enter the test deposit amount that you received in your bank account 4. Click Next. Once you have entered your test deposit verification amount correctly, your bank account will be approved and automatically selected as your form of payment Well done Google!