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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

It took me a week of pure Bedlam

Well, I'm feeling rather smug. Do you recall one of the pitchers on the latest series of Dragons Den was the Bedlam guy? I bought one; it took me a week, but I finally found one of the 19,000 odd combinations to solve it!

Burts Challenge - Final Day!

6 weeks has gone by since the start of the challenge...today is the final day! It just seems like yesterday that I originally thought of the idea. I hope that all entrants have done as much as possible to get those sales/clicks flowing in - and I am looking forward to reading all about each entrants adventures over the next few days. As the results come in, I will post up a leaderboard, along with linkback to the entrants story. On the morning of Fenruary 5th, the leaderboard will tell it's own story - and the winner will be Paypal'd $100. I will also get someone else to pick a random entrant, this entrant will receive $25. Good Luck for today, and please get your stories written up ASAP! I can't wait to read them!

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Apprentice (UK version)

A new series of The Apprentice (UK version with Alan Sugar) starts on Wednesday February 15th. Most likely BBC2 at 9pm. Before the series proper, there is a one-off documentary called "Tim's Story" which follows the fortunes of Tim (the last winner) over the course of his year with AMS...

PLR Manna Update

I'm starting to see a few more links now from Blogs and Sites who have come across PLR Manna - it's getting some pretty decent reviews...just need to get some sales! I hope to make a couple more sales before the end of the Burts Challenge, as I really want to "win" it ! Link: PLR Manna

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Burts Challenge - Final Stretch

Burts Challenge is drawing to a close. Within the next few days everyone gets to find out who did what, who did best etc etc. For the 12 or entrants; now is the time to start thinking about your site write-up. You should include as much detail as possible so that we can all learn from each other, it is always great to read a personal story. The more we have to read, the better in my opinion! Possible inclusions: ~ how you thought of the idea ~ why that domain name ~ how you monetized the idea ~ and so on. Also of course: ~ high points ~ low points And not forgetting: ~ how much you earned! If you received Paypal payments we would like to see screenshots (blank out the payer name). If you used Adsense or any 3rd party adverts, we would like to see screenshots (make sure to blank out everything that is not allowed in the ToS). The Winners To stand a chance of winning, the following common sense "rules" apply: 1/ You must be truthful in your story. If you earned nothing, no-one will think any less of you - you were at least one of 12 or so who actually did something. 2/ You must finish up your story and have it online (at your blog, or at this blog if you wish) by February 4th. The Prizes 1/ Overall Winner receives $100 2/ A Randomly chosen entrant receives $25

I am looking forward to reading your stories! GOOD LUCK!
If any entrants have any questions, please feel free to email me: oscshops@gmail.com

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Up The Robins

Cheltenham Town FC play Newcastle this afternoon in the FA Cup. Cheltenham Town are one of my local clubs, so I am hoping for a giant-killing win...

Up The Robins!

Friday, January 27, 2006

PLR Articles - Make Content Unique

PLR Articles are all the rage in the Internet Marketing World at the moment. You might not know what a PLR Article is, so I will try to explain; It's basically a text document (generally about a Niche Subject). Most PLR providers supply 200 to 250 such articles, usually spread across 10 different topics. You can rewrite, rebrand these articles and place them onto your (AIS) websites, or in eBooks etc etc. So what? Well, if you wanted to get 250 articles written, you'd either do it yourself (it would take hours!), or get a ghost writer to do it for you at $20 (or so) per article. You can see that this is uneconomical, both in time & expense. So, join a PLR site and get articles written once a month for a low-cost (generally between $25 and $100 per month). Is there a Downside? Well, truthfully, yes there is a downside. It may be that as many as 700 other people get exactly the same article pack as you do... You can imagine 700 sites with the same articles! Pretty pointless to do SEO on these... What's the way around this problem? It's pretty simple - you need to rewrite those articles! That'll take just as much time and effort as just writing them yourselves... The Alternative... There are a couple of products on the Market - the most (in)famous of which is something called "Make Content Unique". This tool allows you to change 1 article at a time, and each article takes around 3 to 4 minutes to split up, paste into an online form, then re-save onto your hard drive. Who wants to sit at their desk all day doing that? PLR Manna I'd like to introduce you to PLR Manna which is a tool that will scan an entire directory of PLR Articles and change them. You simply write a number of generic "headers", "middles" and "footers", then press "go". I changed over 1000 articles in less than 10 seconds! Some feedback about PLR Manna

Just a bit of feedback regarding this amazingly useful tool, in case you were on the fence about buying it. I have been using it for a few days now and cannot believe the difference it has made to my productivity.
I started off by adding a paragraph to them each by hand! As you can imagine that takes quite a bit of time and gets boring too. So now I'm happily spinning away headers and footers with webspinner and adding them with Garys tool - much less time and more fun too! Plus I am making my headers and footers specific to each site so now I can feel free to use the same article on multiple sites!
I keep laughing my tail off everytime I get an email mentioning his tool (Make Content Unique) because it's touted as the next best thing to changing your content (mind you I'm not dogging his application). I just chuckle because I know we have a better one here in the forum for a fraction of the cost but the marketing guru's have no clue.
Gary's PLR Manna is the Rolls Royce in the field right now.
So, there you have it - my introduction to PLR Manna. Put simply, it allows you to change the content of 100s or 1000s of Articles at lightning-fast speeds! I have a limited DEMO version available free of charge on the site so that you can get an idea of just how powerful my version of "Make Content Unique" is!

7pm CST today - Keyword Avalanche

Slots open at 7PM CST today (friday). I am not sure what that is in UK time, probably around 1am tomorrow (saturday). If you are not a member of Keyword Avalanche, please consider joining - the benefits are worth ten times the monthly cost, in my opinion. Link: Keyword Avalanche If I was not a member of Keyword Avalanche, my monthly earning would be approximately 50% of what they are now! No BS - this really is a fantastic forum to be involved with.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Laptops Schmaptops

Why on earth do purveyors of Laptops speak in riddles? I've been trying to find a laptop which will enable me to carry on my businesses when I am out of town. So this means getting a decent(ish) laptop which has wifi capability. So, I have a look in a couple of the local computer stores. Some spotty little 18 year old tries to sell me some Sony Vaio that I know I'll never get enough use out of to warrant spending so much money. I already told him I was after a laptop priced about £600(ish). He basically laughed at me. Me being Mr Middle-Aged Angry Old Man, had to count to 10 so that I did not end up clipping him about the ear. So, next up, I have a look on eBay. My god. There seem to be some sellers on there who are ultra dodgy. No feedback and selling £800 computers and laptops... So, the question. What Laptop should I buy for about less than £600 ($1100) or so. Answers on a postcard please!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Does Commission Drive Sales?

So, you'll all have realised by now that I entered the Burts Challenge by having a product created which I am now selling via a website. Simple, so far. I have just one competitor, who launched a few days before I did. I spent too much time going over the details, gathering feedback and did not just get out there and "do it" as I normally do. The competition product sells for $197, which is due to increase to $297...he offers 50% commission. My product does a better job, much faster with more options and less hassle. And costs a lot, _lot_ less. Over the past few days, I've been contacting people who are in the affiliate marketing game to sell the product to their opt-in email lists and site/forum members. I sent around 25 to 30 emails to these people, and so far only one has replied. Basically his response was "wow! great tool - but I'd be missing out on $100 of commission if I sell yours; if you up the price I'll stop selling his and starting selling yours"...this kind of got me thinking - should the rate of return for an Affiliate determine whether or not he sells one product over another. In most cases, the answer is patently "yes", even though the superior (but cheaper, and consequently lower commission) tool would be better for his clients! I sincerely hope that I never start promoting products like this. I would rather say "this ABC product is crap, buy XYZ product instead" - even if it meant I earned no commission. Maybe, my view of the marketing world is not as cynical as these people yet. It appears that most marketers will do anyting it takes to get affiliate commissions, and that to me is wrong. Perhaps this harks back to my days as an offline salesman where the correct product had to be sold, or else we'd be fined for mis-selling.

Please, someone shoot me if I start promoting products based on rate of commission rather than what I believe will help you.
Of course, I could increase the product price to $197 and offer 50% commission, thereby matching my competitor - but I do not want to do that. That stinks :(

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What Would YOU Have Done?

The scenario You created a site for a challenge. The site sells a new product which saves peoples time and effort. The offer A person (no names mentioned, but quite well known in the Internet Marketing world) sees the site & buys the product. He then gets in touch and offers $7500 for the site and rights to the product. The dilemma Consider that the site has been up for only 40 hours at this point! To accept or not. Do you keep hold of the site and maintain your commitment to your own ideas and AIS success or do you sell out quickly and quietly? Reflection I know full well that this person could promote the site in his circles and because of his reputation sell probably many 1000s of the product. I cannot do that, as I do not mix in those same circles...I believe in myself & in AIS; hence my glass is always half-full. To get a good offer after less than 2 days of the site being live, must mean I am doing something right. The decision Though it would be a tidy profit, I turned the offer down. I believe I can make more (in the long run) by keeping the site and selling 2 or 3 products a week.

What would you have done?

Monthly Target Reached. Hurrah.

Yesterday I reached my Monthly AIS target of $4247. So the next 8 days income (including today) is all gravy. Nice! Good job too, as I need to purchase a car and a laptop and pay for my vacation. Why do big expenses always come at the same time? My entry to the Burts Challenge is starting to pick up steam now as well, which is great. The product had a very good review from one of the leading Internet Marketers, so I am hoping for a few sales from that over the course of the next week or so...

osCommerce - a bit strange ?

I've a client who needs quite a lot of osCommerce work done - I don't have the time to do it all, so I thought I would contact one of the osCommerce Team... The only two I would use are Mattice, and Christian Lescuyer. Anyway, I go to the Team Page at osCommerce to get the two email addresses that I need, to find that Mattice and Christian no longer appear to be Team Members! I can't access the Forum to find out why that is, but it seems strange to me. I'll try to find out more.

Monday, January 23, 2006

You Must Get In Quick - Articles

Guys, I've just been made aware of We Deliver Articles which offers a monthly subscription to purchase a number of articles. If you are one of the first 100 buyers, you get in at a monthly rate of just $12.95 !!! I downloaded the articles this afternoon, and they are top quality. Articles include: Disneyland, Ski Vacations, eBay, Aspen Night Life & more! If you're running AIS sites, you need articles! The price is a no-brainer. Get in now, do not procrastinate on this offer. Link: We Deliver Articles

Any Polish speakers reading this?

I've been wondering what this means: "Tylko najwyższa jakość". Any ideas? I managed to work out that Tylko means "only" or "merely", but the rest I cannot get... Cheers.

Graphics Tutorial - Metal Corners

Super-Simple Metal Corners Graphics Tutorial. Courtesy of Sam, who is the proprietor of Hampton Smith Design Studio
Question Just wondering what would be the best way to create this "metal corner" effect... Step One Open a new photoshop document. Create a gradient top to bottom for the area you want the nav bar. Step Two With the same selection; 1. Create a new layer and fill it with black. 2. With the selection still active, choose Select > Modify > Contract and choose 1 pixel to contract the selection by. 3. Delete the area covered by the new selection; you should have a perfect 1 pixel stroke around the whole nav bar. 4. Use the single pixel column selection tool (click and hold the standard marquee tool in the toolbox to reveal this option). Add a single column to create the area you want to become the corner. 5. Fill it with black again. Step Three 1. Ctrl + Click the top layer to get back the selection (unless it's still active). 2. Fill with a diagonal gradient from white to light blue. 3. Add a new layer and stick a single column pixel immediately to the left of the side of the button to provide the shadow. 4. Add a further stroke around the whole thing behind the gradient to provide the bevel. Step Four Add text and enjoy! A nice and simple tutorial for creating good looking buttons! Many thanks to Sam. Good looking accessible website design from www.hampton-smith.com

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Keyword Avalache slots available soon...

Anyone interested in joining the Keyword Avalanche forum (which I *highly* recommend) might be interested to know that they will be opening their doors for a very few people to join up on Friday January 27th at 7pm (America Time). Last time they allowed about 30 people in, this time will most likely be about the same. The reason for the available slots: natural churn of members... OK, so why is Keyword Avalanche so good? For me it is access to the Forum which is full of knowledgable people ready to help out with any questions that are asked. There are more than a few "newbies" in there as well, but it's a real breath of fresh air...the Forum also has first access to many new products, sites and services, more often than not at a good discount. Keyword Avalanche also supply weekly keyword lists (hence the name) which are good, though I admit I have never used them. Worth joining? In my opinion, without a doubt, "yes"! Link: Keyword Avalanche

Burts Challenge - 10 days to go!

As most readers know, I recently started a challenge to build and monetize a site; the winner being the one who made the most cash upto and including Jan 31...there is about 10 or 12 entrants. There's only 10 days left, which is not too late to enter. You will have given yourself a serious disadvantage though! First prize is $100. There is also a random prize of $25. During the past few days, I managed to get my site live, hurrah!. It wasn't my first choice of site, but the one I had in mind was simply too much work to get going in such a short time-frame...anyway, I'm doing OK so far :D Looking forward to the end of the month so that we can all read about the other entrants, and I will be able to reveal my new site and monetization efforts!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Don't Sell Information; Save My Time!

Yesterday I had a short email conversation with someone about how to go forward with an AIS idea. As everyone knows, I can come up with ideas and angles that no-one else thinks of, my mind works in mysterious ways :) Sometimes it's just as easy to do what's very straightforward... The Idea My idea for this person was for him to sit down and create an eBook about where he lives (it's an exotic holiday destination). The eBook would have details of everything, from where to eat, how to dress, how to get from a 2 b, the local laws and so on. His response:

...I could see why you would think that’s a great idea but all that info is already well publicised and free...
Sure, that's a good reason, but not a good enough reason. We know that the *vast* majority of people searching for things on the net are not internet-savvy. They don't want to have to spend hours to find out stuff about XYZ. A simple eBook which gives all the info in one place will save them time. My reply:
...what every eBook seller does, is SAVE THE BUYERS TIME. If you put together an eBook with *everything* in it, I'll buy it - I'd rather spend £20 and get the info delivered to me, than spend even one hour hunting for stuff...
Don't sell a product; save the buyers time! Those just getting into this game need to know that you are not selling a product - what you are doing is saving time. ~ The time needed for John Smith to search out loads of sites about XYZ, the time to print it all of (buy my ebook instead) ~ The time needed to build an ecommerce website (buy my template instead) I'm sure you get the idea. Internet Savvy? Now, if you are reading this Blog, then you are most likely a fairly internet-savvy person. You probably have been online for a good few years, you probably know how to search out information quickly and easily. Forget all that. Put yourself into the shoes of someone who just bought their first computer - and angle your AIS towards them...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Flee the Cube

I found another interesting blog: Flee the Cube Seems that this guy is in the same game as we are; entrepreneurship, adsense, product sites and so on. I've read the latest entries and it looks like a good one to bookmark!

Totally Dominate Adsense

Here's another pack of Adsense Websites that I found whilst browsing. Looks like you get 59 adsense websites for $97. Please see my important note at the end of this message! Some of the marketing spiel from the sales page:

Earlier this year, I set up my first Adsense™ website. Although initially, that crappy little website only made me about $49 a month, I was fascinated that I was able to make this money without lifting a finger. So I started thinking, if just one crappy little site can earn me $49 a month, why couldn't 10 more pay me 10 times that? So I got busy building more sites. And a couple weeks later, I had over 50 websites running. Each of those sites paid me money without me having to do a single thing. My website traffic to those sites wasn't very good at first, so I implemented a few easy advertising techniques (included in this package). Within a few weeks, my sites were earning about $11 a piece, each day. As the weeks moved along, each site earned a little more and more each day. Now my sites each make around $22+ a day, which totals to a whopping $33,000 a month!
Link: Dominate Adsense Important Note; I have not purchased this product so I cannot give advice on whether it is any good. The link above is not an affiliate link. If anyone does purchase the pack, let us know what you think please.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

PhDiva - archaeology at it's best

If you know me of old, you'll know that I am really keen on archaeology - particularly Roman and Greek - I actually have A-Level archaeology, my thesis was on Pompeii and Herculaneum. Please keep that info to yourself though as people might think I've become a spotty oik student ;) Anyway, I was reading about the Elgin Marbles and came across a fantastic blog, PhDiva - the blog of Dorothy King, one of the foremost archaeologists in the world. Reading that blog will be my task for tomorrow :)

Laser-Targeted Traffic Using Overture

In online marketing business like affiliate marketing, no traffic means no sales. That’s the reason why most affiliates or webmasters easily shell out even big bucks just to get top rankings on the search engines. Once you are promoting a product or service in you web page, you need to have more visitors that can be potential consumers to your products and services. This is one of the fundamental rules to succeed in online marketing business. Here, you just need to start and get it right and you can do some things wrong but still manage to succeed. Don’t ever try to get it wrong because no matter how hard you work, you can never find yourself on the way to success. I guess everyone will agree if I said that obtaining enough highly targeted traffic is the key to success in affiliate marketing business. This method is proven to be effective if you’re promoting or reselling product or service online. One of the best and most secured marketing strategies that affiliate marketers can employ is the strategy of paying for performance. This means that your investments are used only on results such as additional sales and incomes. Let’s take a practical example. Paying for performance could mean giving a commission to a sales person only when new sale is made. This strategy assures you real profit because you can already compute the amount money you have to spend for every new sale made. Also, you can avoid spending any marketing bucks because every cent you use up has either come from sale or will generate a sale in the future. And one of the proven and most efficient ways of acquiring sales in affiliate marketing business is by drawing laser-targeted traffic towards your web site and converting them to sales by means of “Pay-Per-Click” Search Engines (PPCSEs). Overture claims to be the Internet’s best pay-per-click search engine. It is the world’s leading resource of Pay-For-Performance search on the web. And what’s more enticing about Overture? When you advertise in Overture Premium Listings, your site will absolutely appear in the leading U.S. search engines like Yahoo, InfoSpace, MSN, Netscape, AltaVista, Lycos and more. Plus, you can get the benefit of reaching more than 80% of active Internet users. PPCSEs like Overture can bring impressive sales because they permit you to pay for performance by means of attracting precisely targeted traffic to your niche. And this means people or site visitors who are actively searching for what precisely you are offering or selling. Overture’s secret is to drive laser-targeted traffic to your website by proposing or bidding on keywords that are related to the product or services that you are offering. And this strategy works this way: the more exact the keyword is, the better results you’ll receive and the less you’ll have to spend for each new sale. Overture drives targeted traffic by keeping you away from the general keywords that are very common and usually come expensive and by casting a wide net of laser-focused keywords that are more targeted, not so expensive, and with high conversion rate. I’ll tell you, attracting laser-targeted traffic through Overture is nothing but a “Win-Win” Situation. Overture’s strategy also allows your visitors to respond. And what’s important once you get your visitors to respond? Well, you are given a chance to develop lifetime customers that will patronize your product and will buy from you over an over again. Bear in mind that one-time sales can’t be a key in creating a highly-profitable business especially online. You can only achieve this through PPCSEs like Overture, which gets your site visitors to respond. And once it happens, you can constantly market and sell your products to them. Another tactic that Overture uses in order to gain laser-targeted traffic is to have a “Back-Up Response” for those who “almost bought” your product on the first visit. To successfully realize this, you need to market and advertise to them over and over again until you make them a new customer. Offer them an incentive so that they’ll allow you to advertise to them over a certain time span by means of e-mail or post mail. Here are some of the back-up responses which you can use: send a free e-mail newsletter, give a free catalog and offer a promo or sweepstakes which gives them the chance to win free merchandise. Other things that will surely attract lifetime customers to your site are offering valued customer discounts, giving seasonal and special offers especially to your repeat customers and any other incentives to purchase. Don’t get me wrong with this; the abovementioned strategies can surely develop a trusted relationship between you and your customers. Aside from patronizing your products over their lifetime, they may even refer others to you or to your site. To sum up, one of the most effective and secured marketing strategies that any businessman can utilize particularly those who are involved in online marketing is the approach of only paying for performance. And one of the most helpful online strategies to create more sales is by pulling laser targeted traffic towards your website and converting them to sales by means of Pay-Per-Click Search Engines like Overture.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Challenge Entry is live!

I did not have the time to start up my original idea for entry to my own challenge, so came up with a new idea. I launched this at 10:25pm tonight (just a few moments ago). I will not provide any more detail on this until February 1st, when I hope to have made at least a little cash from this new AIS! Good luck to everyone else who is in the challenge!

AIS - misconceptions & advice

Misconception #1 AIS sites have Google Adsense plastered all over them. Wrong! My most successful AIS sites have never had Adsense or any 3rd party advertising on them. Misconception #2 AIS sites need regular updating. Wrong! A true AIS site will never need updating. The A in AIS stands for Automated. Misconception #3 All AIS sites are "spam sites". Wrong! Can a site with links, content, products to sell, amazon, ebooks, further reading, etc etc be considered spam? If so then the Internet should not exist. Misconception #4 All AIS sites are created using Automatic Site Generators. Wrong! My top 4 AIS sites were hand built by me. Misconception #5 AIS sites earn money straightaway. Wrong! Any site, AIS or not, needs visitors - if you have no traffic, expect no income. Is AIS right for everyone? Of course not - some people just don't have any spark. But most people are able to run AIS, even if they don't yet know it. So you want to give AIS a go? 1/ Try not to listen to "glass half empty" people. 2/ Try to forge your own path rather than copy someone elses blueprint. 3/ Remember that AIS sites are just that - automated - once you get traffic. 4/ Don't get sucked into the hype that people come up with "I earn $30k a month so I'm better than you". Go with your gut feeling. 5/ Remember that AIS is not a quick fix to money problems - it will probably take many months to get to even $10 per day. How to build an AIS site 1/ Think of a problem. 2/ Come up with a solution. 3/ Sell the solution. Easy! Example Problem: some people suffer with terrible dandruff. Solution: have someone you know (or a friend of a friend) write down how to properly wash hair and treat scalp problems. Most good hairdressers know this, and everyone knows a hairdresser, surely. Now sell it: Speak to the hairdresser. Create an eBook. Create a site. Sell the eBook. Easy! YOU CAN DO IT. I know you can, you know you can. What is stopping you from creating your own AIS site within the next month? Most likely procrastination.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Forgot to mention about Rich

After the hectic run-up to Xmas (I cannot imagine running a seasonal business!), Rich is now updating his blog again :) Link: Rich's Business Update

First $50 day yesterday :)

Yesterday I earned $53.75 from Adsense. I recently made some subtle changes to my few websites and have started seeing immediate results. Consider that I still have only around 12 of these AIS-style sites (adsense, clickbank etc) and you can see that earning over $50 is quite an achievement. I also earned around $20 on clickbank and paydotcom products from these sites. Not bad! It doesn't seem so long ago that I put forward a challenge to myself to increase my Adsense from $1 a day to $5 a day. Within just a few months and with no extra sites this has now gone from $5 a day to $50 a day... figures don't include my other product AIS sites, the above figures are only from my "fire and forget" sites

Monday, January 16, 2006

1 or 2 ads instead of 4 ?

Recently Google started serving up 1 or 2 ads instead of 4 in the 336 block - this is supposedly to increase CTR & revenue;

To increase monetization and improve the relevance of ads, we now vary the number of text ads that appear in an ad unit. When we determine that increasing the size of the most relevant ads will improve performance, we'll drop the lowest-performing ad or ads and expand the remaining ones to fill the entire unit. Showing fewer ads works to your advantage, allowing the better-performing ads to draw more user attention and click-throughs. Our system automatically determines the optimal number of ads to display in your ad units, in order to maximize click-throughs and revenue. All of our ad units function in this manner, and we don't offer the option of permanently forcing the maximum number of ads into an ad unit.
Should be interesting to find out what difference this new system makes - for me so far, earnings have been up while CTR is down. But we'll have to see how it goes long-term... You can read more about this at Jensense.

I found another interesting Blog...

My name is BJ, and I'm self-employed. I run my offline business out of my home in Ontario, Canada. I'm also a Web publisher, affiliate marketer and blogger. For me, the ideal career has always been one in which I can play with different ideas. I think that's why I find my online adventures so exciting. Lots and lots of ideas, lots and lots of opportunities for creativity - and the ability to have almost instantaneous results. So you can hop on to the next idea, and the next, and the next ...
Link: Adventures in Net Marketing...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mini Round Up

I ended this last 7 days (8 Jan -> 14 Jan) just $18.60 short of my 7 day target. Bummer! The last 2 weeks have been good though, as I've been concentrating on getting my income to come from a number of sources, in other words, not putting all of my eggs into one basket. My aim for this week is to sort out my entry into my own challenge - as I already mentioned, I know exactly what I want to do, but it's going to take some time for me to actually do it. I'm thinking probably 4 days solid work...but this should give an ongoing AIS income of a couple hundred $ per month. I managed to get SkyPE onto my machine after a bit of trouble with it, I'm not really one for talking to others but decided it might be nice to start networking a little bit more (though I still have not managed to find time to speak to Yaro yet!)... I am thinking of re-designing this Blog after seeing what JC has done with his - I'm not sure I like the lurid green of this one any more...so you might see some subtle changes here soon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

osCommerce in 2006 -> 2007

Since cutting my ties with osCommerce a few months ago I've not really looked at the osCommerce code as I've been too busy with my own projects to take on any new clients. One of my older clients got in touch yesterday as she had a problem integrating the "Total B2B" contribution on her existing osCommerce website. I logged in and made a few changes and it appears to now be working again, the work only took me around 15 minutes (at the same time I was talking with JC on SkyPE, so you can see the work was not that hard to figure out. Simply a case of finding the missing functions and adding them to the general functions file (I didn't even bother charging for the work done) {shock}. I had actually forgotten just how convoluted the osCommerce code is - a real nightmare of spaghetti code that belongs in 1999, not 2006. Hopefully MS3 will be out soon which should help with this, and osCommerce to become the #1 GPL cart again, at this point I feel #1 belongs to Zen Cart (unfortunately). Anyway, with regards osCommerce MS3, I found this mp3 (26 megs) on which Harald Ponce de Leon [owner] and Christian Lescuyer [lead developer] talk about some interesting stuff (including the plans to have the final osCommerce release in Jan 2007), and some other stuff like how osCommerce started.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I now have SkyPE

I re-installed SkyPE on my main machine, so if any of the readers of this Blog want to have a chat (caveat; I am not often available), please feel free to add me: gary_burt When you add me, please let me know who you are, as I won't authorize everyone - sorry!

Burts Challenge - 20 days to go

I recently started a little competition for people to start up a website, monetize it and whoever had earned the most income in 6 weeks would receive a $100 prize from me. There's only 20 days to go until the competition is over & I still haven't built my site yet! I'm still confident of getting a result though. I'll start building it next week which will give me about 10 days or so to build up the sales level so that I can stand a chance of winning the competition :D I hope the other entrants are doing well! If any of you want to give an interim report on your adventures, please feel free to post a reply...we'd all love to read more about what you are upto...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Forum from Yaro

Yaro recently relaunched his Entrepreneurs Journey Forum - it's a bit quiet at the moment, but with his readership I'm sure it'll soon turn into a good resource... Link: Entrepreneurs Journey Forum

Why use Blogger?

A lot of people ask why I use Blogger rather than a self-hosted WordPress set-up. I don't know really - I guess because Blogger is so easy; ~ It does everything I need it to do. ~ I don't require ads (adsense, chitika etc) all over the place. ~ I can use my mobile phone to post to my Blogger. I have used WordPress briefly, and it's a fine tool - I just don't see a need for it, right now. My little blog is just fine and dandy with Blogger for now :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Heartstring Marketing

I've noticed a growing trend of so-called marketers using heartstring marketing - I'm not really sure what else to call it...I'm sure you've seen the sort of thing that I mean;

Please buy my XYZ product as I have 18 children to feed and nothing in the pantry...
I'm a 16 year old schoolkid, buying my ABC product will help me to pay my fees through college...
And many more sob stories like these... Sure, it's hard luck if you have some problems in your life - but doesn't everyone have problems at some time or other? I really detest seeing these sorts of messages - it makes a mockery of the buying process in my opinion. If a product or service is good enough, it will sell regardless of how many "hard luck" stories are told. I have no doubt that there are genuine people having a run of poor luck out there - and I wish them well; just don't rely on sympathy to get money out of my pocket. Make your product or service valuable to me and you have much more chance of making a sale.

Do You Know osCommerce Inside Out?

JC is looking to set up a mini-directory detailing the best osCommerce developers - I'm guessing coders, designers, developers and troubleshooters should all send mail! But make sure that you are a quality osC'er - I'm guessing that JC will be very stringent with quality control!

It behooves you to submit yourself as I receive hundreds of targeted osCommerce users a month, and a listing on my site will be a personal recommendation on my part for your work.
Link: The Truth Abbout Chance & osCommerce

Niche Creator Hack #2

Someone in the NicheCreator Forum wanted a way to grab the fist keyword from the keywords file. Pretty simple... Step 1: Create a file named "firstkeyword" (without the quotes!) Step 2: In this file paste the following code

<?php
// Garys Super Simple KW1 Grabber 
// © http://osworld.blogspot.com
$array_keyword = file($keywordsfile);
print array_shift(array_values($array_keyword));
?>
Step 3: Save it! Upload it to the /include/ directory. Step 4: You can now place
%%firstkeyword%%
into your template, and this will grab the first keyword for you. 2 lines of code for a simple solution :) Enjoy.

Monday, January 09, 2006

First FireFox Sale :)

Cool! Yesterday I earned a whole dollar as someone must have clicked on the button over there ----> and installed FireFox. Excellent news for 2 reasons: 1. I get a buck :) 2. Someone has the pleasure of using FireFox :) That's the first time I've earned cash from that new scheme - though I did already have a couple of Adsense Sign-ups (which have not converted yet).

Niche Creator Hack

If you're using Niche Creator (I know a few people have bought it due to my recommendation), then you need to make a few hacks to the code in order to give better results... Hack 1 Open up index.php and find:

//check against bad words file
$badwords = file("$badwordsfile");
$badwords = trim($badwords);
if (stristr(implode(' ',file($badwordsfile)),"$k")) {
    $k = $default_keyword;
}
Change this to:
// check against badwords file
// copyright © http://osworld.blogspot.com
$badwords = file($badwordsfile);
for ($i=0, $n=sizeof($badwords); $i<$n; $i++) {
    if (is_null($badwords[$i]) === FALSE) {
        if ($k == trim($badwords[$i])) {
            $k = $default_keyword;
            break;
        }
    }
}
What this will do is search the exclude file on a word by word basis. You can now also sanitize the exclude.txt file by removing all double occurences of a word... If you are not using Niche Creator to build your AIS sites, then this hack is not that much use to you ;) More hacks coming soon.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

New Site - Niche Products Monthly - You have to see this!

I've just been made aware of this new website that is offering AIS style products and websites for no work whatsoever! I thnk it went live yesterday, and so anyone joining now will be at a major advantage...

To be honest, I'm a bit annoyed as I intended to create somehting like this, this month. It's what I was working on for my own entry to "Burts Challenge". I'll admit that my offering was going to be similar by priced quite a lot higher!
Anyway, I've lost out this time. What you get in this offer: ~ 3 Private Label Products each month ~ 3 Salesletters for eahc of the products ~ 150 Private Label Articles each month ~ 3 brand new Adsense websites per Niche ~ 3 5-part email series per Niche ~ 1000s of tightly focused keywords ~ 60 pre-written ads for google & overture ~ 5 brand new Master Resell Right products each month ~ Discounted Internet Marketing products ~ Access to a special Members Only forum ~ A few extra bonuses I'm not allowed to mention :( The cost? $47 per month *or* $97 every 3 months *or* $167 per 6 months *or* $297 per 12 months. I went for the $167 deal as the Business Paypal account is rather low right now, and it's just about half the cost of going for the $47 monthly deal! It has a limited membership, so please if you are at all interested in AIS and have a bit of cash floating about in your Paypal - this is the offer to go for...big time! Link: Niche Products Monthly If you're into AIS, this package will go a long way to getting you set up. The 150 articles per month that are included in the deal are worth the monthly cost - you'll know I've been speaking about Articles recently! Whether you join or not is up to you - but bear one thing in mind:
Nothing happens until you stop procrastinating. Now is your chance to take the easy route to action in 2006.

6 months old...

This Blog is exactly 6 months old. In that time I've made 211 posts, which is just over 1 per day on average. Hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them :D During the 6 months I had some peaks and troughs; ~ Best was helping people to start down the road to earning via AIS type sites. ~ Worst was cutting my ties with the osCommerce Community due to the actions (and inaction) of Harald [leader of that particular script]. ~ I've made some new online buddies, and people that I thought were online buddies turned out to be nothing of the sort. You live & learn. What will the next 6 months bring? Who knows, but it'll be a blast, no doubt!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ewen Chia - The Secret Affiliate Weapon

I just received email letting me know that Ewen Chia's Secret Affiliate Weapon has been reduced in price all the way down to $9.97 ! At that price, it's an absolute no-brainer. My own view is that he'll be using the low price to get people onto a mailing list, ready for a new product launch. Even so $9.97 (about £5) is nothing for this product. Link: Secret Affiliate Weapon If you're into AIS, or even thinking about it, the price is so low that this is something that you should grab with both hands.

Any hardcore UK MTB'ers out there ?

I'm seriously considering entering for the 2006 TR - but I need a UK based partner for prepwork and for the actual race. Anyone out there? More: Trans Rockies Pricing: Pricing (Classic)... Get in touch!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Google Page Rank

I've become intrigued by Google Page Rank. In my opinion, it doesn't really matter what PR a site has, all that matters is that the product/service that you are selling, is selling. However, I noticed my Blog has a PR4, and wanted to know if my efforts at getting quality backlinks will be worth anything on the next Page Rank update. So I found some PR predictor sites; the results all say that this Blog will be updated to PR 5. Well, that doesn't really mean much in real life, but some people hang their hat on PR. I believe that PR plays no part in the sales level or popularity of a website, but I do wonder if PR makes a difference when actually selling a site? I would say that if Mr Pink had a website to sell, the intrinsic value of a good PR rank (eg >4) should pump up the selling price by at least a little. What's your thoughts on PR as an aid to increase the selling price of a domain or website?

Million Dollar Homepage

You must have heard of the site that is selling pixels by the dollar. Million Dollar Homepage, the brainchild of Alex Tew. A simple idea that took off after a blaze of publicity... If you visit the Million $ Homepage you'll see that 999,000 pixels have been sold, leaving just 1000 up for grabs! Unbelievable that this ever took off, let alone be so successful. Anyway, the last 1000 pixels is for sale on eBay, presently standing at $35,603. The buyer of this last block is bound to get massive publicity for their site.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just sold a Domain Name

Last August I purchased a .com domain with good intentions of building a full-fledged "Product AIS". Unfortunately, I was guilty of procrastination in this case and never did get around to building the site. Well anyway, today, out of the blue I received this:

Judging by your email address and the fact that there is no hosting set up on the domain ************.com, I am guessing you are trying to resell it. If this is the case, what is your asking price?
Well, actually I wasn;t squatting on the domain - I just had not gotten around to it yet - not enough hours in the day. Anyway, upshot is that this guy wanted to use the Domain to start up a business and help the community that I would have been helping... So I sold the domain for just $50 (just about covers the cost of the registration). I could have asked for ten times as much, and it would probably have sold, my feelings on the matter are quite plain; 1. The guy wanted to help his community. 2. I can help him by selling the domain. 3. I don't want to be seen as some money-grabbing idiot. 4. I get some good karma. I wish the guy luck with his new site - I might even sign up as an Affiliate of his if his products are good enough quality...

Article Force & Article Lightning

In recent messages I've spoken about the need for Articles and where to get Articles from. I promised to talk a bit more about the two Article Memberships sites that I subscribe to; Article Lightning I've been a member here for about 3 months. The articles are generally well written, though there is the odd spelling mistake [that is most likely because I use the English english rather than American english ;)] There is a Forum on which members are entitled to nominate next months Topics. These nominations are then collated and put to a vote by the members. The top 10 voted topics are then written in time for the next download. The cost for this is $37 per month; this buys me 25 articles in 10 topics. Or in other words, 250 articles. This allows me to build 10 websites... Article Force This one has been open for just a few days - it would appear that the owner of this site is a member at Article Lightning and has seen a gap in the market for another Article Based site. That's good! However, I'm already a little disappointed :( They've written the topics to be almost exactly the same as the Article Lightning topics - I'm not sure whether this is done purposely, but I would say so. Obviously writing in the same broad topics means that members of both sites will choose one or the other. It's pretty much the same set up for topics/forum/vote as Article Lightning. The difference being that it is $30 more expensive per month, at $67. However, this is tempered by the fact that Article Force offers more articles; 15 topics, each containg about 25 articles (or 375 articles). Please note; although the broad topic areas are the same, the actual articles are totally different. Financially best? Looking at it from a purely financial Point Of View, Article Force (375 articles for $67) costs me $0.18 per article. Article Lightning (250 articles for $37) costs me $0.15 per article. Article Lightning therefore seems to make the most financial sense, in terms of money spent. In terms of money earned, more articles = more sites = more profit, thus Article Force is better value. Which will I cancel? I'll be brutally honest - having two sites write articles on the same subject matter pretty much sucks. Being as Article Lightning told everyone what Januarys topics would be back on November 14th, this gave ample time for the people at Article Force to write on different Topics. Summary I'll probably cancel the Article Force subscription. The service provided is simply not worth the money if you are a member of Article Lightning. If you're not a member of Article Lightning then $67 for 375 articles is a great deal... Links Article Force Article Lightning

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More About Articles...

Pre-Written Articles (Copyright) I recently wrote about Article Miner which is a good tool for digging through numerous Article Sites for articles that match your criteria. It's a very good time saving tool. The type of Articles are those such as at Article City - the ones where you need to keep the authors details intact at the bottom...on most of these articles you are not allowed to change the content! Pre-Written Articles (Creative Commons) JC recently wrote about this on his blog - it's a search engine that allows to look for work that you can modify to your hearts content... There are other options open to you; Write your own articles! This takes time, skill and patience. Writing (say) 20 articles each of 500 words is really hard work. I know, I've done it! It's a waste of time and effort. Pre-Written Articles (without Copyright) There are sites which supply pre-written articles that you are allowed to use and modify as much or as little as you like. They are generally limited to a couple of hundred subscribers to save too many people using the same texts, and those subscribers get 25 or so articles in 10 topic areas (in other words, 250 articles per month)...two such sites that I know of are Article Lightning (AL) and Article Force (AF) - AF is the "new kid on the block". I'm a member of both of these sites, solely for the fact that my AIS sites need around 20 articles each, and I don't have the inclination to write them myself.

Tomorrow, I'll write up my thoughts on both the AL and AF sites...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Adsense/Adwords Arbitrage. Huh ??

What is Adsense? We pretty much all know what Adsense is, if you don't then you aren't going to be all that interested in this Blog. What is Adwords? Paying per click for visitors to your own website. What is Arbitrage?

The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy. Source: www.dictionary.com
So just what is Adsense/Adwords Arbitrage? Well, it's when a person holds both an Adsense Account (advertising other peoples sites on his website[s] and receiving commission per click) and an Adwords Account (gaining visitors to his own website[s] by paying per click)... Now imagine the scenario of creating a website that is highly monetized using Adsense. Imagine getting 30 to 40% CTR (not overly difficult if the site is laid out correctly)... Getting Traffic How to get traffic to the site? Well, use the usual method of SEO, links, article submissionand what-not. But there is another way. Use Adwords...which is known as Adsense/Adwords Arbitrage. Or in other words, pay a very low amount per highly targetted keyword, in the hope that the visitor will click a higher paying ad once on your site... Many Adwords users don;t know exactly how to play it to best effect. You'll see that most Adwords Ads are very untargetted. By using highly targetted keywords you'll be able to pay much less (sometimes just a penny or two) to gain a visitor. And hopefully get a 50 or 60 cent click when they click an Adsense Ad on your website. Obviously this approach can be very risky, but when played correctly it can produce very good results. I have played around with Adsense/Adwords Arbitrage, but decided it wasn't right for my needs. I pretty much came out even. Since I now know much more about how Adwords works (ideas from the Rich Jerk eBook), I may give this another go sometime soon. A real life result! When it works, it can work well. Here's a comment I found in one of the private Forums that I regularly use...
$48,475 for December from Adsense - cost $26,454 in Adwords.
You can see that this person (and I have no doubt they are telling the truth) paid out $26k in Adwords Fees to recoup $48k in Adsense Income. Overall, a $22k profit in one month. Warning As with anything of this nature, it is very easy to lose your shirt. You could end up spending $5k to recoup just $2k for example - that would be a nightmare. If you are going to try Arbitrage, then make sure to do a lot of reading beforehand! Links Rich Jerk eBook An interesting chapter on how to maximise Adsense & Adwords potential Explanation of Arbitrage from Wikipedia.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

December Round Up AIS

Stat Attack Best Day: 5th - $479.65 earned Worst Day: 19th - $14.58 earned 31 Day Average: $159.09 per day Best performing day of the Week: Mondays Worst performing day of the Week: Wednesdays Breakdown Adsense: 12.44% eBooks: 1.77% Templates: 50.24% Other (Aff Earnings etc): 35.55% Sales/Commission Largest Sale/Commission: $198.40 [multiple times] Smallest Sale/Commission: $8.57 [excludes tiny Adsense Clicks] I worked for approximately 6 hours in total to earn just under $5000, which entailed; ~ answering a few questions by email ~ making and answering a few posts on some forums ~ making 4 templates for my subscribers (each one took about 20 minutes) ~ coding up a small PHP script (only 13 lines of code!) Major Happenings During December ~ Launched a subscription service on one of my AIS's. This brought in a number of subscribers. ~ Launched "Burt's Business Challenge". Minor Happenings During December ~ Purchased many domain names ready to monetize using my own AIS method. ~ Wrote a PHP script which plugs into Niche Creator to allow "Sticky Articles". This sold very well! Decembers Targets 1/ Maintain Adsense Income at about 20% of overall AIS Failed. Only 12.44% dues to my massive increase in "other" earnings. 2/ Create 10 AIS Style sites, based on the new Niche Creator package. Achieved. By using Niche Creator along with my own Sticky Articles script, I made exactly 10 new AIS sites. Targets for January 1/ Make at least 15 new AIS sites. 2/ Purchase another 20 Domain Names. 3/ Create an AIS for entry into my own Business Challenge 4/ Win my own Business Challenge! #1, #2 and #3 are quite straightforward. #4 I may do, depending upon how successful the other entrants are!

I would very much like to read about your December Adventures on your blog or site!
I was pleasantly surprised at how well December ended up. Looking at the first half, I decided I was not going to reach my $4247 target so reduced my target to $3100. By making some changes to one of my Product AIS sites, I was able to reach almost $5000 by the end of the month. I hope that January is just as successful!

Best wishes for a Prosperous 2006

As the title says, I wish everyone reading this Blog the very best for 2006.