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

Monday, February 13, 2006

Taking a Break from Blogging

I'm taking a break for a bit - unfortunately forced upon me as I'm a bit poorly (health) :( This is a good reason wy AIS sites are so good - they earn income even if the site owner is unavailable. So my income should stay somewhat steady even though I am not going to be working!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Apprentice UK - more info

I found some more details: Ansell Henry Aged 34, is a Sales Manager and for Millwall Footballer... Benedict Stanberry 33. An IT consultant. more... Paul Tulip 26. A "head hunter". Samuel Judah 35. Martial Arts expert and product developer. Tuan Lee 27. Vietnamese refugee and financial adviser. I'm guessing not Tuan Lee, the famous poker player! Mani Sandler 39 & runs a speed dating business! Syed Ahmed 31. An entrepreneur. Loves to argue. Sounds familiar! An argumentative entrepreneur :-) Karen Bremner 34. A lawyer and mum of one. Jo Cameron 35. Single mum and ex Asda shelf stacker. Nargis Aga 38. Another single mum. A student. Michelle Dewberry 26, a telecoms consultant. Sharon McAlister 30. Mum of One - a lecturer. Ruth Badger 27 and a "sales boss". Alexa Tilley 28. Management Consultant. Cousin of comedian Matt Lucas.

Sounds like an interesting bunch!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Banned From Adwords. Yes. No. Dust?

The other day I received an email from Google;

Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords. After reviewing your account, we have found that one or more of your ads or keywords does not meet our guidelines. You can see your disapproved ad(s), the reason for disapproval, and editorial suggestions, from the Disapproved Ads page within your account. Action taken: Suspended - Pending Revision Issue(s): Unacceptable Content SUGGESTIONS: -> Content: At this time, Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain "hacking or cracking". As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site.
Seems like they decided my PLR Manna Tool is a "hacking or cracking" tool. I think these must be machine generated based on Keywords Used in your Adwords Ad. Anyway, I wrote back explaining that it basically merges text files together and can't be used for War Games or anything of that nature... A day or so later I received this:
Firstly I would like to assure you that I have reviewed your account and I have confirmed that your ad is now approved. Our AdWords Specialists review ads that run on Google to ensure that they comply with our advertising policies. I apologise if an error was made regarding the prior disapproval of your ad. However, after reviewing your ad again, our Specialists have found that your ad meets all our Editorial Guidelines and advertising policies. I am sorry that you have been inconvenienced due to the period when your ads stop running.
So, all is not lost - at least the Google Team respond swiftly when contacted - and it is nice to actually get a human email (rather than some rubbishy machine generated email á la eBay). So, be careful with your wording on Adverts!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New PLR Manna Tool Released

I just this moment (14:30 UK time) set live a basic sales page which has details of a new tool that I paid to have coded. Let's see how long it takes to get the first sale...

Monday, February 06, 2006

New Product AIS started...

Yesterday I set live a new product AIS. This one sells a graphic logo pack, it won;t do as well as the PLR Manna site that is for sure. I expect this one to be quite a slow burner - if it sells 1 product per month I will be happy. With this latest addition to my web properties, I now have five "product AIS" sites (in other words, the only form of monetization on them is sales of the product)... I have plans for another addition to my product AIS portfolio, but this will not be until March at the earliest, maybe even longer. In the meantime, my next project is going to be something linked to the PLR Manna site... But before all that, I have this week booked out with a client for a rework of an osCommerce site. Urgghhhh. Working is not great :( It's all go in world_of_burty !

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Challenge Story: It's Mothers Day

I earned 26cents on 30 Jan from one click! I guess Mothers Day wasn't the best choice of theme for a challenge ending in January! However, I'm happy. The visitors are starting to come and I've done very little to promote the site or get it indexed. It made me use my new web design software and I'm pleased with the site. Link: It's Mothers Day

Many thanks to Carol for sending in this short story! Hopefully Carol will be able to tell us more details soon...

Free Google Adwords...

We'd like to give you a free £30 Google AdWords voucher for every one of your domains, so you can drive thousands more visitors to your websites by advertising on the world's leading search engine. With Google AdWords you can create high-profile adverts on Google and its partner sites, helping you to sell more products, attract new members and increase your audience. In fact, AdWords are so good at attracting the attention of surfers that Google normally requires payment for placing them! With your Google AdWords voucher though, you'll be able to create adverts to the tune of £30 absolutely free of charge.
If you register domains through Fasthosts (UK Reg), you can get £30 of free Adwords for every domain! I have about 100 such domains in my UK Reg Control Panel ! The only problem is that if you already have an Adwords Account, the voucher code is not recognised: BUM! The only way around this is to create a brand new Adwords Account for every Domain, which I just cannot be bothered to do. I may make a few, but certinaly not 100! They didn't think that one out to well - surely creating masses of Adwords accounts just creates "paperwork" for Google doesn't it ?

Challenge Story: The Green Belt

I've never used Adsense as a means of generating revenue before, so this seemed the obvious choice to explore for the challenge. I didn't want to build another 'Asthma / Weight Loss / Credit Card' type site; I wanted something that could genuinely be useful to people, but also generate it's own content to a degree. I eventually decided to build a gig listings site, aiming to appeal to bands listing their shows and people searching for live entertainment in their area. The site is at www.thegreenbelt.co.uk. Bands can list their gigs automatically online, thereby building the useful content. Another potential source of income was as an affiliate for Ticketmaster - adding 'buy tickets now' links to gig listings, as well as sending mail-outs with new gig announcements and affiliate links to Ticketmaster. Unfortunately, the Ticketmaster affiliate set-up is dreadful and the site was only approved mid-way through January. Once approved, I couldn't figure out how to implement this, or even log in to the 'affliates area'. My intentions were good but unfortunately due to an unexpectantly heavy workload in other areas (and a crippling addiction to Su Doku) I was unable to promote the site as heavily as I would have liked. The site never really made an impact on the search engines, although a lot of pages were listed on Google - but seem to have been mysteriously dropped. Briefly the site was the number one result on Google for the term 'Drug-addled waster Pete Doherty', but I doubt this yielded much traffic, and is sadly no longer the case (being no1 on Google that is; Doherty is still a drug-addled waster). The main source of visitors was via a myspace.com profile I set up for the site, which brought 10 - 20 visitors to the site daily, but could have been vastly improved with a bit of promotion. At the end of the challenge www.thegreenbelt.co.uk had made the princely sum of 82 cents in adsense revenue - just about enough to buy a packet of crisps in the pub tonight. I do believe the idea has potential, especially with the Ticketmaster affiliation - it's just a case of knuckling down to it, which isn't easy when you have a 'proper' business to worry about. I intend to keep gradually improving and promoting the site, if nothing else as a means of pushing people onto my promotional sticker printing site, www.sticker-factory.co.uk.

Many thanks to Tim for his Story!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Challenge Story: PLR Manna

About The Site: PLR Manna offers a desktop tool, coded in VB which allows people to add customised content to PLR (Private Label Rights) Articles. At the moment PLR Articles are all the rage in the Marketing World. The Idea: On one of the Forums I am on, someone was moaning about hundreds of people having the exact same articles to promote. They wanted a quick and easy way to change many articles at once. I started asking more questions and came up with an acorn of an idea – I freely posted my intention to have such a tool built. I then proceeded to gather more feedback and ideas from interested people. The Tool: I have no idea about coding in Visual Basic. I employed an online buddie to build me a tool, based on the ideas and feedback I had gathered. The original tool was very basic but over the course of 10 days or so, it has been transformed into a tool that does everything bar the washing up :) The Site: The site is based on a free design available from www.oswd.org – this took me around 10 minutes to change and build. The download system is linked to “Dotwidget” of which I already have a license (I use this on a number of sites linked to 1 central download area). It is simple to create a Paypal Button in Dotwidget, and it gives you a nice (but quite basic) interface to determine your sales levels... The Promotion: When the original version of the tool was ready, I posted into a couple of Forums that I am a member of – these are full of people who are on my wavelength when it comes to site building and tools thereof. I did not submit at all to any Search Engines. I do have an Adwords campaign running for this tool. One buyer mentioned another Forum that I was not aware of – I got in touch with the owner of that Forum who agreed to write a review of the tool for his members, on the basis that I would give a discounted price for his members. Here is what he wrote:

OK, I had a chance to review Gary's program, which is called PLR Manna (is that supposed to be Mania?) and I give it a big thumbs up when compared to Dr. Mani's program, both in productivity and price. There are a number of features that make this simple program a real gem. For starters, you can create as many header, middle and footer paragraphs as you want. You can build up a library of them over time and sense they are in your own words, you're not going to be reusing the same paragraphs as a few hundred or thousand other people as with Dr. Mani's system. Next, you can decide whether or not to include a header, middle or footer paragraph in each "batch" of articles you process. This gives you some added flexibility to avoid article "Footprints" with your paragraphs. Lastly, the one awesome feature this program has is you process entire directories full of articles rather than one at a time like Dr. Mani's system. You can little change hundreds of articles in a few seconds! In talking with Gary, he's offered a discount of 25% to our forum members - he needs to set up an order page though so hold off just a bit. The price is normally $50, but we can get it for $37.50 if I did the math right. Overall, for what it does and considering the price, time and effort to doing it through Dr. Mani's system, I'd say the PLR Manna beats everything else hands down. Now, I also have to throw in my two cents in regards to depending solely on this or similar programs. I still think the best long-term value of a PLR Article is to manually re-write it. But, I do understand that you're all mostly going to buy something to automate as much of it as you can, so if you do need to buy a program like this - buy Gary's! I can see it now - Gary is going to launch a whole new industry around PLR Paragraphs. Great job Gary - I'm impressed!
This person is very well known in Internet Marketing, so it was nice to get such a great review. The Sales: It took off quite well. Within an hour or two of my first message, I had a couple of sales. One buyer in particular was very helpful with feedback and ideas ( thanks Linda ! ) - this allowed me to go back to my programmer with some extra ideas for functionality. Over the 14 days that I was in the Challenge I sold 83 products for a total of $3875. Other Monetization: None. I never put Adsense or 3rd party adverts onto my Product AIS's. Summary: Since the challenge ended, I have gone on to make another 14 sales. I intend to put up the price of the tool within the next few days. Once I do that, I expect the tool to sell only 3 or 4 per month, but even so this is a great little AIS, with upsell opportunities (more on that to follow in the future). Though the earned figure is comparatively high, please bear in mind that my costs were also quite high. Link: PLR Manna

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Challenge Story: Real Money Web Design

The initial concept was to write an e-book titled "How to make real money as a web designer." I know a lot of people who do web design but barely make enough to make ends meet, so I figured, why not share some of my secrets? I work fulltime but do freelance on the side and make some serious extra $ doing it! I work smarter, not harder. Well, 24 pages into the book and Jan 1st rolls around. I KNEW it wouldn't be done in enough time to do anything with an AIS site. So I decided to turn my AIS into a blog (www.realmoneywebdesign.com) which dealt with the same topic but more informal... kindof like an adventure. The concept now was to develop a loyal reader base and at the end of the year (2006 and pending positive results and a high income) I would put the ebook up for sale on my site and hopefully, sell it to all my readers =) So where am I at now? Well, THE AIS itself made $0! Yup, Nada, zippo, zero! I promoted a book called "Don't make me think" through Amazon as an affiliate at one point (which is in fact a very good book!) but that didn't generate an income. However, sometimes things happen as a result of something indirectly! I started a different type of AIS. I built an ecomm site and have a 50% partnership in a company. I don't have to do a thing and we're registered resellers for some high end equipment by a twist of fate! Yesterday we sold a $10,000 printer. That's about $800 in my pocket for someone else selling it and having it ordered online. ALSO! I billed about $5k in freelance work this month. www.realmoneywebdesign.com forced me to keep the content fresh and the only way to do it was to do freelance work =) So! That said, I've got my fulltime job which pays very well, I made $800 off my e-comm AIS websites first sale AND about $5k of freelance web development/design. All as a direct "Side-effect" of my starting my Direct AIS challenge! My costs? $8 for a domain and my time. Thanks Gary!

Many thanks to Corby for his story. Though the actual AIS that Corby started did not take off too well, it led onto other things which have impacted Corby's bottom line. Nice one!

Just For Fun

I will reveal what I earned on my Challenge Entry in a day or two. Just for fun, have a guess at what I earned. The nearest guess, without going over, will win a prize. 1 guess per person please... Not sure what the prize will be yet though...anyway, guess away!

Burts Challenge - The Results

Over the next few days, the results of the challenge will trickle in. I'd like to take this opportunity to say well done to every entrant! Obviously the league table will change as more results come in... League Table: #1: PLR Manna $3875.00 #2: MP3 Extras $398.77 #3: Face Party Tips $180.33 #4: Niche Templates $147.30 #5: The Essay Guru $8.03 #6: The Green Belt $0.86 #7: It's Mothers Day $0.26 #8: Proxy Templates $0.00 =8: Real Money Web Design $0.00 Those who entered, but never responded afterwards: Feed Me Info World Cup 2006 Tickets The Online Info

Challenge Story: The Essay Guru

Site The Essay Guru About the site Originally intended to sell a self-written e-book on essay-writing techniques, priced at £6.99 (approx $12). Realised that needed more information on site to draw visitors in so expanded with a series of articles (again self-penned) – thanks as usual to Gary for the idea. Also used this opportunity to add Adsense to the site to generate extra income. Investment Around £50 on hosting, domain and “Dotwidget for downloads” script. Income Adsense: $8.03. E-books sold: 0. Positives ~ Exciting to learn about generating income online and develop own site. ~ Potential for earnings to increase over time and supplement income from the full-time “day job” Negatives ~ Despite keyword-rich text and attempted SE optimisation, have struggled to attract visitors – still single figures most days. ~ Site is in Google but not for the key search phrases – sandbox issue? ~ Low Adsense earnings – though clicks seem to earn quite well so potential for decent return if can achieve traffic increase. ~ E-book took a fair amount of time and effort to write, so disappointing to receive no sales. Some thoughts ~ Been very busy (bought and moved house just before Christmas) so unable to work on promoting the site in appropriate places; perhaps need to work on this more. ~ Maybe need to look into specific opportunities for promoting the e-book. ~ Possible conflict between the aims of the site – partly for visitors to only stay briefly and then depart via the Adsense adverts, or do I want people to stay longer and think about buying the e-book? If the articles are really good then it might encourage people to buy the book, but then the Adsense income will drop (not that it’s huge now!) ~ Perhaps if lack of interest in e-book continues, I should scrap it and use the content (which is quite good I hope) to build up the size of the website and concentrate on Adsense. Overall Pleased to have taken part but the experiment has shown that this AIS thing isn’t as easy as some people may believe! Still, determined to stick with it and keep playing around with the site – I’ve got another 11 months till deciding whether to renew the hosting. Long-term aim is naturally – like every other online entrepreneur – to come up with the next million-dollar idea...

Well done to Tom. Though the site has not performed as Tom hoped, it's plain to see that some lessons have been learned for future AIS efforts!

January Round Up AIS

I did pretty well in January. I had my highest Adsense month ever at a smidgeon under $1000. I also had some fun starting up a new AIS, which has done OK - more details to be revealed... Januarys Targets: 1/ Make at least 15 new AIS sites. Failed. I created 8 small AIS sites. 2/ Purchase another 20 Domain Names. Succeeded. I purchased about 25 Domain Names. 3/ Create an AIS for entry into my own Business Challenge Succeeded. My original idea was too much work to get started in such a short time-frame, so I opted for something else. More details to follow! 4/ Win my own Business Challenge! ???. To be determied after all the entrants have their story written up! Targets for February: 1/ Make at least 15 new sites. 2/ Register another 20 Domain Names. 3/ Create 1 large product AIS.