LoneWolf on November 3rd, 2010

LoneWolf says Hi!Yesterday I signed up for InfoLinks.  I’ve heard of InfoLinks and in text advertising before.  I’m sure you’ve seen it as well — double underlined links that popup ads when you hover over them.  I read a John Chow article about making money with InfoLinks yesterday which sparked my interest again.

While I tend to find them a bit annoying, the same is true of pretty much all advertising revenue schemes.  Most of us are able to tune them out to some extent or find ways to block them.  But the fact is that they do work for many audiences.  So I am going to test out how they work here on Ramblings to see if I want to add them to some of my other projects as well.

As of this time I still haven’t been approved although from what I understand it shouldn’t be a problem.  InfoLinks doesn’t discriminate based on size or readership of a site.  They do have stringent content guidelines — pretty much the same basic stuff as AdSense guidelines.  It is also possible to use both AdSense and InfoLinks on the same page.

InfoLinks has a 70/30 revenue split with 70% going to the publisher (that’s me) for each qualifying click which is a pretty decent ratio.  However, we have yet to see what a click is worth and what the click through rate would be.  The CTR for AdSense ads here on Ramblings isn’t so hot so it will be interesting to see how the InfoLink CTR compares.  The only drawback is that InfoLinks doesn’t put up CPM ads while AdSense does periodically.

The results of this test will hardly be scientific as the traffic here is pretty light and tends to be a little ad jaded.  But I think it will be an interesting test.  I’m looking forward to seeing how well this works.

But I’d love to have your feedback as well.  Do you like in text ads?  Why or why not?  Have you used them on any of your sites?  What were your results?  Which network did you use?

Don’t be shy — share your wisdom with the rest of the world!  Well, dozens of people at least 8=)

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I’ve had an epiphany.  A breakthrough realization.  I now know what is the problem with internet marketing and list building.  It’s me!  That’s right, me.

“Well,” I hear you ask “how do you know this?”

Great question.  I know this because an internet marketer told me so.

Let’s get into the story.  I signed up for a free membership site which put me onto a mailing list.  So far I’m sure that your familiar with how this works.  The membership site had a collection of free downloads — eBooks, software, etc.  It was basically a collection of PLR and MRR products.  No problem, I checked a few out and didn’t see much that was of interest to me.

Then the emails came.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Typical of the current crop of ad swap list builders.  Nothing that I couldn’t handle.  This list builder was no worse (or better) than most of the lists I’ve signed up for.  Didn’t really stand out in terms of what he/she was offering.

After about 2 weeks I got an email that had 4 of my unsubscribe triggers in it.  Since I hadn’t seen anything outstanding from this person I decided that it was time to unsubscribe.  Then the little feedback dialog box came up.  So I pointed out the reasons why I was unsubscribing.  Usually this is the end of the story (although I’ve had a couple polite “Thank you for the feedback” type emails).  This time was different.

First, we’ll start with my feedback:

Comments:
Your subject line in the last email triggered 2 things that I hate —  using Re: and mentioning payments.
Also, you don’t mention anything about the product except that it is “normally $47″.
Finally, you’ve used blank lines to push your unsubscribe info further down the page — annoying and in violation of AWeber terms of use.

Not a lot of fluff in there, just the facts.  Here’s what I got back.

Waaaa Waaaaa

You’re like one of these people that look to find stuff to complain about…
You’re also probably one of these guys that purchase something and then find a reason to demand a refund.
I mean, it’s not like you were paying for membership anyways…

Scram off and don’t come back around… I for sure don’t need you or your complaints and attitude… In other words,
GET LOST !!!

Oops.  I guess I came across too harsh somehow.  This poor fellow must be having a bad day and has decided to take it out on me.

Hi XXXXXXXXXX

I’m sorry that my constructive criticisms offended you.  I figured that rather than just unsubscribe I’d let you know why I did.  Sorry that you really didn’t want to hear it.  You might want to turn that feature off in the autoresponder.  It will save both you and your unsubscribers the time.

And I was paying with my time which you obviously don’t care about.  And I could have become a paying customer at some point, but now I never will.

I have never purchased anything and looked for a reason to refund it.  I also don’t look for stuff to complain about, but I do find lots of it as there are lots of people out there like you.  I always hope for the best when I subscribe to a list.  And I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Best of luck in the future.  I hope you don’t tell too many people to GET LOST!! though.  It’s pretty hard to sell things when you do that.

Ciao
Bill

Finally, the epiphany email:

You wasn’t going to order anything through us anyways…

Remember, you unsubscribed…

I don’t even want customers like yourself…

You aren’t interested in our services and products…
You are only interested in nosing around different marketers to find out what they are doing, marketing etc..
I have ways to know what others are up to, but don’t pay that much attention until someone like you finds stuff to bitch at.
I really need to eliminate more just like you, but I’m laid back – cool until someone like yourself comes along.
I can take constructive criticism, but yours wasn’t in that nature… It was more like you wanted to take a piss on something…

It’s people like you that are part of the problem in this niche

NOT part of the answer….

So, now we know.  I’m the problem.  If only I didn’t expect marketers to be honest and have respect for my time when they email something.  If only I didn’t expect people to provide me with something of value rather than endless ads.  If only I didn’t expect to build a relationship of trust and respect with someone before I buy their products.

So, to all you struggling internet marketers out there, I’m sorry that I’m part of the problem.

NOTE: This post is now available on LoneWolf’s List Building Adventure. Check it out there

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LoneWolf on September 23rd, 2010

The money is in the list.  Well, that’s what I’ve heard and almost every guru and guru-in-training will tell you that for long term success online you need to build a healthy, responsive email list.

What is harder to find is the best way to do it.

I’m sure that there are many techniques and having a free offer is definitely important.  But you still need to get eyeballs to your offer to get them on your list.

Suppose You Built A List And Nobody Came

So, the big question is how do you do it? I’ve tried Twitter but even with over 2,000 followers between my 2 accounts I rarely get any traffic there. I’ve gotten a few from my website and even used Google AdWords free $100 credit to drive a few in (that was before I had the free offer so the conversion rate was abysmal).

I don’t have a budget for solo ads and I don’t have enough subscribers for an ad swap — yet.

But one technique that seems to be working fairly well is giveaway events.

Giveaway To Get

If you don’t know what these are then you owe it to yourself to find out. So far, I’ve only found 1 that is in my niche (personal development), but the offer that I have works fairly well in the online marketing niche which most events fall into.

The idea is simple.  You sign up before the event goes live as a contributor (aka JV or JV partner). You can set up a product offer to describe your gift with picture and text. You link this to you squeeze page. You can usually upgrade to get more offerings by either referring other contributors (and gaining points) and/or paying an upgrade fee.

Once the event goes live, general members and contributors can scan through all the gifts and download anything that strikes their fancy. Your gift will be in there and if you’ve got some compelling copy and a good product image to catch their attention you’ll find a surge in signups.

The real magic is in the promotion of the event. The event will typically be open to the public for 1 week although some are longer. Each contributor will be promoting the event and you get points for members that sign up with your referral id. The more points you have, the more prominent your gift will be displayed in the listings.

But the most important fact is that all the contributors will be promoting and many have huge lists that will bring hundreds or even thousands of visitors.

There are also lots of One Time Offers thrown into the mix and you can receive affiliate commissions on those and paid upgrades too.

So look for a giveaway event in your niche or one that is a sidedoor niche and give it a try. But avoid the temptation to sign up for every event. You do need to promote the event to make this work and your list will get sick of you constantly promoting these events. Pick and choose.

My Results

So how has it gone for me? Well, I’ve had 2 events in the online marketing niche and one in personal development that is still running. I’ve seen my list grow from 10 to over 60 subscribers. There are about 10 unconfirmed signups as well. I also had a couple signup and then unsubscribe after getting the download — a good reason to have links in your download so they may find you again.

As my list grows I suspect I’ll be able to promote the events better and get a higher position for my offers (the rich get richer) as long as I don’t abuse the list by promoting too many events.

If you’d like to know more about events then you can follow me on twitter at either LoneWolfMuskoka or MasterItCA and watch for my periodic promotion of these events. I usually promote twice for contributors and 2 or 3 times for the actual event. You can also search for “giveaway event” on Google to get some information about events that are coming up.


The current giveaway in the personal development niche is Today is Your Day.  It’s open until the 2nd of October, so there may be time to check out some of the gifts over there.  Even if you’re late you can still sign up to get advance notice of the next one.

I’ll try to put together more resources in a future post as well as updates on how things go with the latest event.  There are over 2,000 members in this one and almost 400 gifts to choose from.  If you’re interested check out the Massive Guru Event.  It opens to the public on September 26 and runs until October 1, 2010.

My Offers

If you’d like to learn more about the product that I’m using for my giveaway gift you can check it out at http://masterit.ca/offers/TPOC/index.html (or you could check out the giveaways and try to find it 8=)  The eBook is called The Power of Concentration and will help you learn to focus your mind on the tasks that you choose rather than being distracted and scattered.

Update

Here is an image from AWeber reports for the past month.  You can see spikes in signups that correspond to the dates of the giveaway events.  Click on the image to see it full size.

Note that I’ve erased the subscribers from my list who have unsubscribed, but there have been at least 5 during this past month, one of which was an older subscriber.  But this gives you an idea of what kind of growth I’ve seen so far.

So, in this month I’ve seen 49 new subscribers (I’m not sure if they count the unsubscribes in this total or not, but I don’t think so) and 21 unconfirmed signups.

I’m also starting a new newsletter in a sub-niche so I did my first solo ad for my self.  I had a confirmed signup to the new list in less than 10 minutes.  Pretty cool!

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LoneWolf on September 15th, 2010

It seems that the money is in the list thing has got some marketers in a frenzy.  “If the money is in the list,” they reason, “then I need a bigger list!”  So rather than focus on growing a list of potential clients by offering valuable information in return for the privilege of having their email, they try to cram as many people onto their lists as possible.

Ad swaps are definitely one way to build your list.  Sharing information about an associate’s valuable free offer and/or mailing list a couple times a month can be beneficial when they do the same for you.  You’re giving value to your list by introducing them to someone else who can help them.

But some have gotten way out of hand.  There are some lists that I see 2, 3 or even more ad swaps daily and very little actual content (if any) from the list owner themselves.  They’ve actually automated the adswap process.  And the subject lines and even the emails themselves are sometimes outrageous and border on unethical.

Today I received a marketing email that was way over the top.  I’ve unsubscribed from about 12 lists already this morning just because I’ve had enough, but this one was incredible.  So, if you’re looking to piss off your subscribers and get unsubscriptions, spam flags and even some lovely hate mail, try these techniques.

Subject Lines from Hell

First of all, the subject line had 2 strikes against it (not including the improper spelling of cheque):

Re: your check is waiting

Yeah, right.  There is a cheque (note proper spelling — dang Americans 8=) with my name on it waiting when I open this email.  BS.  This is a blatant lie like we saw on all the Publisher’s Clearance Sweepstakes and Reader’s Digest mailings of yesteryear.  You don’t have a cheque for me so don’t say so.

Also, Re: is used in email for a response to my email.  I know that it can also be used otherwise.  But it typically (and especially in relationship to email) is used to indicate what subject you are replying to.  I never sent you an email so don’t pretend I did.

The Personal Touch and Outright Lies

Then we get into the email itself.  I’ll let you see for yourself what it looks like:

Hey Subscriber, maybe you didn’t see this:

That’s right!  Your check is waiting for you
right now…

All you have to do is put this in place
and you’ll be amazed at how quickly
and effortlessly you can get these
types of checks everyday….

Hit this link to get insiders access now:

Hey Subscriber is a nice touch.  But the lie continues.  He’s tricked me into opening the email with the lie about the cheque.  But rather than trying to be clever and say something like “If you implement this system you’ll get emails like this…” he continues to lie.  He flat out states that there is a check waiting for me right now.

Hiding the Unsubscribe Link

So, I want to unsubscribe from this guy.  Scroll down … and down … and down.  Where is the damn unsubscribe?  After about 30 or 40 blank lines we find the disclaimer and list options.  Wow, fire off a nasty email to this fellow about what he’s done to piss me off and then go to click on the unsubscribe.

Double Secret Detention for This!

But wait, there’s more!  I can’t believe this.  I see that the guy claims to be from Louisiana so maybe he’s Creole or something, but the unsubscribe link has this:  “Modifier votre inscription” — the only French language on the page.  Wow, nasty email number two.

What Is It With These Guys?

What is it with these guys?  Don’t they realize that they’re building a huge list of people who just won’t respond when they truly have something to offer?  What good is a list of 10,000 when they all hate your guts or at least quietly ignore anything that you send them.

Bad Subjects

There are lots of other techniques that are being used by marketers.  Subjects that contain personal or private to create a false sense of intimacy.  In addition to the cheque waiting BS, there is Your order is ready or Your requested download and similar crap.

Bad Content

Then there are the false urgency appeals.  I don’t know how long he’s going to give this for free … He’ll be giving it away for free as long as he can get suckers to sign up for it.  That’s the whole point of the free offer!

And there are the ones that don’t tell you what you’re clicking on.  It boggles the mind that they think that I will waste my time to look into a product that they’re not willing to at least hint at.

And have a clue — swipe files are to be used as guides or templates.  Don’t just cut and paste those carefully crafted email messages that the marketer has provided.  Change them to suit your voice.  Don’t say that they’re your friend if you haven’t heard of them before you did this ad swap.

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LoneWolf on September 14th, 2010

Update: Unfortunately I’ve had to change the theme back temporarily.  I’ve run into a few snags with the Bold Life theme that need to be ironed out.  Some quirks with the comments and a lack of category menu (although that can be remedied much easier than the comments problem).

I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to get it sorted out though, so the new theme should be back soon.

Update #2:  Discovered why the spacing was messed up for me in the Amazing Grace theme.  Sociable plugin has 2 css files that can be optionally applied and one of them was messing up the blockquote and list spacing.

If you are a regular reader at WWW Ramblings, you’ve likely noticed a change in the look of the site.  While I love the basic look of the Amazing Grace theme that I used before this, I always found that it was a little cramped.  It seemed that there wasn’t enough space between paragraphs and around text objects.

So I thought about getting into the CSS and playing with it a bit (and I did some) but there is more to making it look the way that I wanted than just adjusting padding.  While I like the 3 column layout, it is still cramping — especially with a fixed width layout.

Then I stumbled on Bold Life.  This captures pretty much all that I want in a theme.  It cuts back to 2 columns, but it looks much more inviting to read.  The text is bigger, more spaced out.  The look is very simple without being plain white.  And I love the formatting of the blockquotes and bullet lists better.

I’m sure that over time I’ll find quirks in this theme that will need some tweaking, but I love the power that WordPress and GPL themes give to you as a blogger or even a simple web site designer.

So thanks to Vladimir Prelovac for the Amazing Grace theme (which I still love and will find another place to use it someday).  And thank you to Jay Hafling for the Bold Life theme.  Great work gentlemen!

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LoneWolf on September 13th, 2010

Attack blog comment spamI was thinking about this comment spam series that I’ve written and I realized that it isn’t complete yet. There is at least one more post in this series.

You see, the series was written from my perspective. I’m not an A-List blogger and I don’t have to deal with the massive amounts of comments, email, etc. that they do. So, do the techniques that I’ve outlined scale to the rockstar level?

A-List Bloggers

I decided to take a look at what the big guns of the blogging and internet marketing niche do with their own blogs. I looked at some of the major sites to see what kind of things I could learn about comment spam from them. I also contacted several with a set of interview questions. I got 2 responses (thanks to the two Chris’s — Chris Garrett and Chris Guillibeau).  We’ll get to that in the 2nd half.

Update: I’ve received a delayed response from another of the big guns — thanks to Yaro Starak for taking some time from his busy schedule to help us out here.

Blogs Turning Comments Off

One thing that I observed was that most of the A-Listers still accept comments on their blogs. There are a few notable exceptions but the major players have comments in play — for most of their posts if not all.

Comments Closed

Another observation that I made was that some of them have comments closed after a certain time period. I’m not sure why they do this since their posts still rank highly in the search engines and I often get Twitter links back to those posts but I’m unable to comment on them. It closes the door to further discussion.

I suppose that older posts tend to get a higher spam to quality ratio. And the blogger has probably written 50 or so articles since then — time to move on. But it still seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity to me. An older post can still be valuable and the conversation can take place without the blogger if the community is there, so why shut it down?

Interaction

I also see a lot of interaction (at least on the newer posts) by the blogger. They respond to comments and continue the conversation. This is one of the reasons that they do so well — they relate to their readers and build the sense of community.

Obviously, they can’t respond to all comments on every post. Some comments are not really needing a reply, others are really just restatements of things already said and responded to.

But the A-List bloggers show that they are human and interested in what you have to say by responding to your comments.

Spam in the Comment Box

The final thing that I want to point out in what I’ve seen is that there is very little spam in the comments of these blogs.  I have noticed at times that I get an email that a new comment has been posted on a blog.  Some of these look spammy, but most of the time if you go to the post you’ll find that the comment has been removed quite quickly.  This is a good indication that someone is monitoring and moderating the comments.

The Interview

So, what about the interview questions?  Well, I asked 7 questions (9 if you count the 2-parters as separate questions) and got pretty much what I expected to hear from the respondees.  So, what were the questions?  Here is the list:

1) How many comments do you typically deal with daily?
1b) What percentage is spam?
2) What techniques do you use to filter comments automatically?
3) Do you use "front end" techniques like captcha's to avoid spam?
3b) Why or why not?
4) Do you moderate your comments or just spam comments?
5) What clues do you look for to spot spam that might get through the filters?
6) Do you find much ham (i.e. false positives) when moderating your spam queue?
7) How important are comments to your blog?

Of the 8 major blogs that I contacted, 2 of them responded very quickly and asked me to send the questions over.  They were both generous with their answers so let’s meet them and see what we can learn from them.  A 3rd was a little late to the party, but given the work load he’s under we’ll cut him some slack 8=)

Chris Garrett is a blogger and consultant who helps businesses use the new media tools as effectively as possible.  He’s been around for a long time and written some powerful ebooks that have helped and encouraged me on my journey.  He lives in the U.K. but is planning to rectify that by moving back to Canada where he belongs 8=)  [Welcome home Chris]

Chris Guillibeau is an experienced world traveler and shares his experience and expertise in both the travel and online business niches.  His online empire is called The Art of Non-Conformity and you’d do well to check out his writing to get yourself inspired.  He is based in the U.S. but you’ll find he’s rarely there.  Catch his posts and videocasts from around the globe.

Yaro Starak is the man behind the mega successful Entrepreneur’s Journey.  He has been working online since 1998 and is currently working hard in the Internet Marketing niche, teaching us all how to make a full time income with blogs and membership sites.

[To help separate the answers I’ll use the responder’s last name]

1) How many comments do you typically deal with daily?

Garrett: It varies but across all sites it is probably under 50 comments – it’s hard to say because Disqus and some of my filters mean I don’t have to see the majority

Guillibeau: 200-300

Starak: I personally deal with 10-50 a day, but akismet no doubt deals with a lot more for me.

1a) What percentage is spam?

Garrett: Only a minority now, earlier in the year a group seemed to have targeted me for a denial of service they were sending so many spam messages. Luckily I seem to have come out the other side. At the worst it was hundreds of spam comments a day.

Guillibeau: Maybe 5-10%… I’m not sure exactly. Note that this is just the spam that makes it past the filters. Whatever else that comes, I don’t see but I know it can be quite substantial.

Starak: I’d say 80% are spam if you count what akismet picks up.

2) What techniques do you use to filter comments automatically?

Garrett: I now use Disqus with any comment containing a link set to moderation and I use the blacklist quite heavily. At times I have had to filter at hosting level using IP address also.

Guillibeau: Akismet and related.

Starak: Akismet and in-built wordpress controls for approving comments.

3) Do you use “front end” techniques like captcha’s to avoid spam?

Garrett: No

Guillibeau: No

Starak: No captchas, no.

3a) Why or why not?

Garrett: Disqus seems to be a decent approach right now and I would rather not put additional barriers up

Guillibeau: Don’t want to create a bad or difficult user experience.

Starak: Haven’t needed it.

4) Do you moderate your comments or just spam comments?

Garrett: I used to use moderation for all comments but now just spam

Guillibeau: I moderate.

Starak: I moderate what WordPress moderates based on the rules set up like comments with more than two links are automatically moderated.

5) What clues do you look for to spot spam that might get through the filters?

Garrett: People dropping links or using keywords “SEO Chicago Water Filters” as their name instead of their real human name.

Guillibeau: They are self-promotional, contain links, or are otherwise just irrelevant.

Starak: The biggest clue is what name they use for the comment. If it says like “cheap used forklifts” then I know that’s not a real comment.

6) Do you find much ham (i.e. false positives) when moderating your spam queue?

Garrett: For some reason my brother appears in spam filters a lot, I think because he uses a free online email account.

Guillibeau: A bit, yes — everything mentioned in #1. But it’s not too bad overall.

Starak: There are not too many, at least based on what I know about. Maybe ten a year, though I’m sure there are more than that I never find out about.

7) How important are comments to your blog?

Garrett: Very, although I do understand the arguments from people who have turned them off. My blog is all about building relationships and it’s important for me to hear from my readers.

Guillibeau: Very important at this stage. I don’t have them on every post, but on the regular articles it’s nice to hear from the community. They often add more value than the original post contained.

Starak: Community is important, and sometimes comments offer great additional insights beyond what my blog post provides, so I value them. That being said I suspect my blog would continue to be successful without them.

What Have We Learned?

Based on the responses that I received and the inferences that I was able to make by looking at some of the big blogs out there, the techniques used to battle comment spam by the top guns are pretty similar to what I’ve recommended in this series and they seem to scale reasonably well.

A couple of things to note:

All the respondents made it clear that comments are a vital part of their online work.  They want to hear and interact with their readers in a positive way.  They also made it clear that they want to minimize the hoops that you need to jump through to get there, so no Captcha’s or the like.

They also put a reasonable amount of effort into keeping the spam out using backend techniques to catch obvious spam and moderation to catch the rest.  And it works reasonably well from the sound of it.

An interesting thing that I didn’t see in their answers was the importance of Gravatars in determining spam.  Chris Garrett uses Disqus which doesn’t seem to use Gravatar at all which may be a reason for not seeing that as being important, but the keyword names and unrelated links are something that they all look at.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about how some of the big guns deal with the problem of spam in blog comments.  What kind of experience have you encountered with comments on these types of blogs?  Do you know of any other A-List bloggers that are doing a great job of balancing conversation and spam fighting?


Thanks to sardinelly at stock.xchng for the Katana image

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LoneWolf on September 8th, 2010

Mailbox full of spamSpam. Everyone hates it. At least that’s what we hear all the time. Look at the proliferation of anti-spam software for email, blogs and forums.

But is that true?  Does everyone hate spam?

Why is Spam Here?

The fact is that spam is more pervasive than ever and people spend countless hours (and dollars) coming up with ways to make it get past all the filters and techniques designed to prevent it.  Why do they do that?

Spam works.  That’s the bottom line.

If I can send out 1,000,000 emails and get a 1% conversion rate then that is 10,000 clicks to my web site.  If that site converts 1% then I’ve sold 100 products just by sending out a single email.  Suppose I send out 10,000,000?  What if I send out 20 different emails to the same 10,000,000 addresses over the next month?

And spam in blogs or forums is no different.  If I have an automated system that can post comments on blog posts and forums (related to my product or not) then I’m building backlinks to my own site, increasing my page rankings on the search engines and building my traffic.  All without really lifting a finger — except for a single mouse click.

What About the Good Guys?

But look at the legitimate internet marketer.  They write quality blog articles that take time to research and write.  They spend time reading other blogs and forums and posting relevant comments in order to build a few backlinks.  They are actually interactive and helpful on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.  They hand craft articles for distribution on EzineArticles, etc.

And what is the return?  Unless you’re a major player in your niche then you’re left with peanuts.  Hours of hard work, doing things the right way and your reward is obscurity.

So it isn’t any wonder that desperate marketers turn to grey or black hat techniques to turn a quick buck.  They offer traffic (and hence money) without the great effort.  And we end up with spam.

How Can We Encourage Value and Discourage Spam?

So next time you’re complaining about spam, think about this:  Why don’t the honest, hardworking marketers who provide quality, helpful resources online get the rewards that the spammers do?  Do you think that maybe you have something to do with it?

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Next time you read a helpful article, don’t just say to yourself “That was nice.”  Leave a constructive comment to start a conversation.  Tweet it or post the link on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Stumble it, Delicious it or Digg it.  Email it to your friends and family.  Link to it on your own blog if you have one.
  • Teach your friends and family how to avoid spam and why they shouldn’t click on the links in spam emails, tweets, etc.  Teach them not to feed the tiger and it will die.

The more effort we spend supporting the hard working guy or gal online the fewer of us will resort to the spammy techniques.

What ways can you be part of the solution?

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LoneWolf on July 26th, 2010

Work From Home ForumA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

I’ve been doing far too much research into online marketing and not enough actual marketing lately.  But I have discovered a few forums that are dedicated to various aspects of the business that I’m finding quite helpful.

This is the first in a series of posts about forums that I’ve found that I would recommend to anyone interested in making money online.

Work From Home

The Work From Home forum site has been put together by Kevin Potts and Paul Lynch — at least they are the two administrators from what I’ve found so far.  There may be some others involved at the top level but I haven’t discovered them yet.

I first came across this site when I followed a link to Gordon Taylor’s Video Marketing which is one of the forums on this site.  It has lessons and discussions on how to use video properly in your marketing efforts, regardless of the level of technical ability you have.  If you’re interested in using video more effectively, then this section of the forum is well worth getting into.

But That’s Not All!

But wait, there’s more!  This site has a lot to offer.  There are lots of technical forums to help you figure out things like SEO, affiliate marketing, traffic, list building, copywriting … all of the stuff that you need to get your business working.

There are also some forums dedicated to specific products as well as The Lounge where you can kick back and just get to know other members.

So, why don’t you hop on over to the forum and check them out.  You’ll find some great information and lots of friendly and helpful people who’ll answer your questions.

By Peter Downs

This article was written by Peter Downs and is definitely worth a read.

Article marketing is something that I’ve been slow getting into, but I see the power of it over the long haul.

Listen up to what Peter has to say here!

LoneWolf

Article Marketing is a well established method of generating free web traffic. People do it because it works, it’s as simple as that. But a common misconception of marketing with articles is that it will generate immediate results. If people don’t see their traffic levels shoot up then many give up on article marketing.

This is a mistake. Article marketing is a long term strategy.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to article marketing. As with any form of website marketing what you are trying achieve is high search engine ranking and a steady, organic stream of traffic that will fuel your business for years to come.

This will not happen overnight.

Sure, you can read stories of some short term success with article promotion. For example, when a popular Ezine picks up your article quickly and you get an influx of traffic immediately after its publication. But you should treat this as a bonus if it happens to you.

The link building power of article marketing is what will bring you traffic in the long term.

If your articles are good quality and are picked up by other website owners you’ll receive links back to your site. This builds your authority over time and people like Google will respect that and reward you with page ranking.

If you are consistent and post to article directories regularly over months, even years, there is no doubt that you will move up the rankings and hence receive increasing number of visitors to your sites.

But why do many people give up on marketing with articles. The simple reason is that people are not prepared to wait the 4-5 months it could take to start seeing the desired results.

Yet the strategy is so simple as all it takes is consistency and patience.

If your site is new it could take longer as it must go through the indexing process to start with and then wait for the search engines to crawl your site and calculate the ranking. The search engines don’t do this every week so you must be patient.

There have been reports of sudden surges of traffic, even for relatively new sites. Apart from the prospect of popular Ezine publication you can get movements if your sites ranking is re-calculated and more links are picked up. This is why if you use article marketing you should stick to a routine, say 5 article per week, submit to multiple directories, and sit back to expect results in the long term.

Try not to be discouraged and be patient because marketing with articles is one of the tried, tested and true ways to obtain free web traffic as the backbone of your business for years to come.

It is possible to write quality articles that pull in traffic if you know a few simple techniques. Learn how at: http://www.blog-training.org/5MinuteArticle/index.html

For reviews of 50 of the best internet marketing tools, including tools for article marketing go to: http://www.downunderaffiliate.com.au/Toolkit/Toolkit.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peter_Downs
http://EzineArticles.com/?Want-Instant-Web-Site-Traffic—Forget-About-Article-Marketing!&id=3206434

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LoneWolf on June 10th, 2010

Irony is a funny thing.  Just having finished a series of posts on comment spam, checking the comments on the posts revealed an excellent example of the sneaky spam comment.  The irony was too delicious to pass up.

There were 2 comments in my moderator queue this morning and the first was obviously spam, but the second was less obvious.  Click on the image to the left to see what it looked like.  You’ll notice the post that the comment was submitted to.

Results of a Google search for the comment text.

The Signs

In this example we see several of the tell tale signs of comment spam:

  • A keyword in the name space.
  • No gravatar.
  • And finally, a nice but generic comment.

This comment has every intention of staying on my blog where it can link back to Mr. Forex Robot for ever.

The Search

Next step, I googled the entire comment (in quotation marks) to see if it has shown up elsewhere.  You can click on the image to the right to see part of the first page.

Notice the exact text showing up in almost all these blogs.  There are a few entries where the text doesn’t show up in the search results, but if you click through to those entries you’ll find our little friend there in the comments.

An example of the comment on an elderly care blog

This example was found on a blog about high blood pressure amongst the elderly.

Looking at this comment showing up in the wild, we can see it coming from the same spammer, using the same keyword for a name and linking back to the same url.

The Result

Needless to say, this comment was deleted permanently.  Bye-bye forex robot.  Alas that I ever knew ya.

So, a little vigilance and we’ve avoided populating the web with meaningless drivel that is only intended to improve someone’s bottom line.  Leave the room and link juice for those who earn it with real, personal comments that are part of the conversation.

And a note to Mr. Forex Robot — why not send the real Mr. Forex over for a visit and some real conversation.  We’d love it if the real you showed up.

Update!

I’ve added a new post to this series on battling comment spam.  Read Battling Comment Spam — The Big Guns to see what we can learn from the A-List bloggers.

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