Adventory Limited » Site News Tue, 28 Jun 2011 03:48:09 +0000 en hourly 1 Affiliate Summit East 2010, New York — Takeaways Wed, 13 Oct 2010 04:08:32 +0000 admin

Back in August, the Adventory crew took a trip to Affiliate Summit East in New York. We thought it might be useful to post and briefly let you know what our “takeaways” from each seminar were. You can check out the slideshows for the seminars here, or click the link above each summary to go straight to the relevant presentation. Video possibly to come later. Consider this a “living” post, as it’ll be getting updated and reworked as more information and resources come to hand.


How to Eliminate Affiliate Fraud 100%
-Watch the transaction, rebill, card decline, chargeback, and refund approval ratios.
-Watch customer complaints.
-Check that customers verify transactions that have been placed in real time.

Info Product Co-creation Formula
-Work with your audience/list to build the product.
-Preselling–sell the product before it exists.
-Create back-and-forth with audience. Start with survey, they respond, identify core need, they confirm or deny, you give away free report, they read and respond, then presell–they buy.
-ccp + ein + is +s = $$$ (co-creation plot, early investor narrative, insider status–create status indicators, scarcity)
-Step 1: survey your users (survey, blog comments, twitter feeds) three questions:
-What free information product would you like for me to create just for you?
-What is your biggest fear or frustration?
-What is your ideal perfect outcome and how do you think you’ll attain it?
-Give away cool stuff. Don’t spend more than 2-3 days on the free product. Create a free report or video like top 10 tips related to your customers top need.
-Paid product just go deeper into what you gave away in your free stuff.
-Feedback will help you create the info product. Respond to all customer feedback.

Strategies for Marketing to Women
-Women spend more money online than men and control more generally 85% of all consumer purchases.
-Women prefer benefits to features, how products make them feel, authenticity.
-Women are extremely active on social networking sites.
-50% of women have purchased something because they heard about it on a social networking site.
-Women Want to Hear …From REAL women. From other women LIKE THEM. From other women that have the same products/brands.
-Specific stories about the product/brand. The truth. The whole Truth, and nothing but the truth.

Implementing a Successful Coupon Strategy
-Coupons appeal to deal seekers and improve conversions.
-Successful coupon programs are exclusive and involve close monitoring.
-Be careful about upsetting affiliates, using old coupons, phone operators offering them to everyone, and the percentage of sales that end up being coupon sales.

Processes for Building Profitable Affiliate Websites
-Most good ideas fail–this is part of the process.
-Predefine success metrics, accelerate failure.
-Process: brainstorm->implement basic idea->test site->check metrics against success metrics->if site might meet metrics, continue, otherwise abandon and try a new idea.
-Accelerate failure: recognise failure quickly, learn from mistakes, communicate what you have learned.

Uncovering Advanced Paid Search Strategies
-Worth expanding into search networks outside the big 3, as:
-additional reach-lower CPC
-superior customer service
-Questions to ask when considering other networks: How long have you been in business?
-Traffic estimates for my queries?
-What kind of toolset do you offer? What features?
-What kind of filtering for invalid traffic do you do?
-What kind of customer support/account management, and payment options do you have?

Turbocharge your business
-3 minute plan. Write down your three priorities for the day.
-Take regular breaks away from the computer.
-Use the end of the day to set yourself up for tomorrow.
-Use the mornings to work on major tasks.
-Success = direction + speed + luck

Curation. Can you Filter Free Content?
-You can run sites which aggregate other content and add value in that way.
-Create content, solicit for contributions, and collect content (aggregate and filter).
-Don’t steal value or remove ads from content.
-Abide by relevant copyright legislation and best practice.
-Have a voice on the site. Be transparent and honest.

Affiliate Freakonomics: Market Quirks at Work
-Outclicks, every time a click leaves you site value if created.
-Affiliate market is worth 3.3 billion.
-CPA 5% of money made is returned to affiliates versus 11% to search marketing campaigns.
-Create content around monetization.
-Readers != money.
-Focus matters, small forums + blogs can do great, e.g. knows a site on shaving that does wonderfully.
-Trust matters, be transparent, disclosure of monetized links leads to 2x better conversions.

Jim Kukral Keynote
-Success steps:

1) Say what you do
2) Solve problems
3) Know your customer
4) Be the alternative
5) Make it easy

-Doers get what they want, the rest get what they get.
-If you want to be remarkable you have to do something remarkable.

Android Affiliate Mobile Marketing
-Mobile ad market is big and will be huge.
-Google backs android and wants to advance the mobile web experience.
-Mobile users are more about finding than searching.
-Smartphone use lead by 24-35 Males earning over 100k/year.
-Click to call and location-based ads do best.

Using Social Media For SEO
-Use Social Media To Build Links.
-Leverage Existing Users.
-Find New Users.
-Establish Best Practices.
-Yearly Events Retain Same URL.
-Don’t over complicate. Pick 2-3 Services. works exceptionally well.
-Wordpress has worked in built in functionality for short[er] links.
-Once a URL has been used, 301 it out elsewhere.
-Go around your site and make a list of “social opportunities.”
-Incentivize. “Show us you made a tweet about us and get 30% off” (Another great outsource project)
-Use Google Analytics URL Builder for tracking.
-Affiliate Programs.
-Considering using GET variables.
-Create artificial status.
-Photo galleries, “Check ins”, activities, scavenger hunts.
-Leverage the “Gotta catch them all!” mentality.
-Use artificial status to create social opportunities. Forum referrals, badges, points, tweets, etc
-Always try to use a real URL.
-Try to match ratios of “influential profiles”.
-Retweet good links, hope others follow suit.
-Build a nice link profile for your Twitter page.
-Use hash tags on Twitter to get aggregated.
-YouTube Channel – 1 Way Followed.
-Google Profiles – 1 Way Do Follow Links To Your Sites.
-UrbanSpoon, Yelp, et al – Most are Followed.
-Yahoo Answers.
-Facebook Profile – 1 Way Followed.

Link Building Victories and Failures
-Authority links can fail you because they get so buried so quickly, gave example of site with,, links that didn’t perform.
-Reciprocate, do stuff for other people those who are interested in your content
-Follow up-and-comers; retweet their stuff, build up your karma bank.
-Use a Greasemonkey script that puts twitter search in the top of Google search results.
-Great SEO book by @GarrettFrench
-Make real relationships.
-Use Majestic SEO, compare against competitors and reverse engineer, look at % anchor text, domain age, delicious tags.
-Make sure your % of anchor text isn’t too different from those in the results i.e. don’t an unnatural link profile.
-Use SeoMoz’s Open Site Explorer; export the SeoMoz data to .xls compare competitors.
-Look at competitor sites, use a firefox pluging to search similar sites for broken links (go through directories, yahoo, dmoz, delicious). If there’s a broken link, find out what the content was, duplicate it or update if possible then let site with broken link know that their site has a broken link and suggest an updated alternative.
-Go to page 10+ of Google results for term you want, plug into OSE, often people who’ve given up on optimisation.

Crowdsource Your Success
-Averaged opinion is better than the average individual’s opinion.
-Crowdsourced Adwords companies exist which work well., crowd-sourced product development/refinement.
-Crowdsource your naming and brand, designs, product ideas, landing page design.
-5 principles

1) You reap what you sow
2) Tight deadlines work
3) Keep it simple
4) Don’t be Scrooge
5) Don’t be a douchebag

Facebook Advertising
-Facebook’s product is you.
-Be patient.
-Start off cpc.
-Tweak text.
-Try tons of images.
-Rinse and repeat.
-Do day parting; stop ads when no one is clicking.
-Flip to CPM once you have it dialed in.

Turn Website and Social Media Traffic Into Gold
-Use a Welcome page on facebook page that indicates people should click the “like” button.
-Info product launches are a great way to monetise social media platforms.
-Build your list, help people, follow people with similar interests.
-Monetise content through paid subscriptions.
-Bloggers: investigate payperpost, sponsored tweets.
-Use YouTube.
-Create a community.

Affiliate Marketing in a Digital World
-Strong growth in sales of all digital product categories.
-Promote cross-selling and upselling to make up for lower average price of digital goods.
-Advertise physical version alongside digital version.
-Use social media to promote digital products.
-Add digital samples to content promotion.

Why Q4 is the Year Long Season
-A lot more money spent during the Q4 holiday season, worth targeting.

Jan-Mar: Evaluate and Get Organized.
Apr-Jun: Let the Communication Begin.
Jul-Sep: Negotiate and Implement.
Oct-Dec: Evaluate and Get Organized.

Social Media Marketing for Affiliates
-Value == exposure, links, increase value of content, branding, traffic, conversion.
-Get in front of influencers.
-Don’t engage in a community unless you’re sure they have value to your business.
-digg == make more mutual friends.
-When you create accounts on social pull in contacts from other accounts.
-Be natural on social sites. See what the awesome people do and do the same.
-stumbleupon campaigns show you what tags are used and by how many people if you sign up to their ads, can use that info to decide what tags you use.
-On all social sites, share other people’s content as well as your own.
-Investigate using Titles in are everything.
-Content: People love lists. Don’t use 10, choose a random number.
-Memes: meme mashups are popular.
-Top lists targeting nostalgia.
-How to/instructional. Illustrate it. Things people WANT to know. Keep it simple.
-Current events: you won’t be first. But when you can see something about to happen you can make an article that takes and angle and run it as soon as the story breaks. Don’t out-news the news sources. Play off the news that is in your niche.
-Infographics: source it and allow others to embed it. Give them an embed code with a linkback.
-Strange/offbeat works, hyperbole (-est) works.
-Know who your audience is. Choose the right topic/format for your readers. Don’t ridicule your readers. Know what you want to rank for.
-Be pithy, funny, and smart.
-Outsourcing: odesk, elance, virtual employee, guru (odesk lets you monitor employee)
-Hire individuals through odesk not agencies.
-Give bonuses rather than raises.
-Audition people: hire 2-3 times as many people as you need for one week then fire everyone who sucks.
-Prices: researcher $1-2/hr, writers $3-5/hr.

Master of Your Domain
-Right to domain name has foundation in trademark law.
-Attach a [TM] to anything, (R) means you’ve officially registered it.
-UDRP is completely online.
-Have to prove that they’re using your domain name in bad faith.
-Bad faith: cybersquatting; block TM owner; disrupt competitor; confuse web users.
-Remedies in UDRP can be a transfer or a cancellation of the registration.
-”X sucks” sites are usually impregnable.

Leveraging Profits Through Social Media Connections
-Establish yourself as an expert.
-Read the book Influence by Robert Cialdini.
-Law of reciprocity, people will buy from you because they know you, like you or trust you.
-People like comments on their websites.
-Watch the 16 minute video at
-People treat books with respect, people buy books they don’t read.
-Scribe (WordPress plugin) is good for content analysis.

Fast Track Your Business with Outsourcing
-Use Elance.
-Do what you do best, outsource the rest.
-Don’t assume outsourcing will be too expensive.
-Use escrow.
-Set milestones and negotiate on price..
-Pay and respond to messages quickly
-Work on your business, not in it.

Innovate! New Exciting Applications of Affiliate Marketing
-Innovation products are new, better quality, for a new market, or use new production/packaging.
-Growth in voucher/content/reward marketing, PPC affiliate marketing in decline.
-Social media integration.
-Retargeting-advertising products visitors have already viewed or placed in carts.
-Mashup datafeeds with apps to add value.
-Link to products from within images.
-Micropayments, social media dominance, real-time data.

Supercharging WordPress for SEO
-Thesis is a good theme for SEO.
-Use plugins to set up your site for stats and search bots.
-Permalinks: use post name only.
-Use caching, speed is a factor.
-Use plugins to improve accessibility.
-Cloak affiliate links.
-Plugins to autopublish to social networks.

The New Lead Generation Model: Social – Mobile – Viral
-Social marketing: sell to pleasure; not to pain.
-Customers are the best affiliates.
-Love travels faster than pain.
-Email is cool again.
-Use facebook email notifications to market to your fans… people like receiving email from social networks.
-Shift to mobile is coming… move away from desktop.
-Uses games/treasure hunts/play a game. Have fun with your audience.
-Two-step marketing: make friends with your audience first.
-Micropayments through mobile. Use mp3 (not video) to sell.
-Make your brand a star.
-Little picture + little text works for mobile ads.
-Click to web/click to call/click to video/click to sms/click to local/click to buy/click to storyboard.
-Video doesn’t have to be you in front of a camera (you can hire an actor).
-Be real to engage people.
-Top mobile sells: games, retail, financial services, automobile info/services, coupons for food.
-Get to know your audience by asking questions. Don’t ask too many questions. Keep them simple.
-Men don’t pass things on like women do.
-Always ask yourself: “Why would my audience want to pass this on?”
-Use social networks to create consumption, but don’t do it up front.
-First two weeks critical for autoresponder sequence.
-Ad/click -> community of like-minded people -> tell them what to do.
-Funnel for mobile is really mobile to email. mp3 rocks for mobile.
-Goal on social/mobile is to get them to remember you.
-Customer ecstasy is your purpose.

Affiliate Tactics, Opportunities and Traffic Comparisons
-Shop around networks for best affiliate offers.
-Have a call to action in ads
-Branding, even if your ad isn’t getting clickthroughs the impressions can lead to a large number of visitors.
-In ads include information about the person that you’ve deduced from demographics.
-People bid in 5 cent increments, beat them by a cent and you’ll be by yourself
-Ugly POF ads do great.
-Ads burnout quickly, keep them fresh.
-Track ads carefully, have a lot of options, text, images etc.

Podcasting 101
-Podcasting is easy and cheap to get into.
-Promote your podcast on podcasting networks, similar podcasts, and social networks.
-Have guests interact on forums, iTunes.

Building Niche Affiliate Sites That Produce Revenue
-Do it fast: use wordpress, plugins, product feeds.
-Build traffic via frequent posting, chasing the long tail, syndicated feeds, social bookmarking, socialising the content, commenting, article submission, and joining related forums.
-Capitalize on traffic.
-Work hard on your relationships with advertisers.

More Money Same Traffic
-Collect data with your jump pages.
-Big FREE on display ads doubles clickthroughs.
-BMI page to get email addresses.
-icontact (best), aweber, bronto mail constant contact.
-Seed your data with email addresses that come to you.
-SMS offers

Avoiding the Google Slap
-Quality score is largely automated, user complaints will generate a closer look though.
-CTR is important.
-Having thin landing pages is a poor user experience and penalised.
-Direct linking is fine, preferred, although affiliate programs less pleased with this.
-Look at the bounce rates of your pages, if this sucks it’s something you should work on.
-Very long copy tends to be the sort of pages that make dubious claims and therefore trigger QS penalties and/or slappage.
-Stuff with automatic or monthly payments are dubious.
-Any kind of dubious business practice likely to be closely scrutinized.
-If new campaign triggers Adwords alarms, older campaigns likely to be re-reviewed.
-Affiliates should explore Google Display Network, not as competitive yet.

How Bloggers Can Successfully Connect with Audiences
-Interview people.
-Let others be featured.
-Meet people.
-Give then get.
-Be more personal.
-Respond to every comment on facebook, flickr, blog, draw people back to the main site.
-Your audience engages with you across sites, maintain a profile on other sites.
-Encourage comments by starting and closing blog posts with a question, then ask the question on twitter.
-For advertising paid blog posts get best prices.
-Encourage sharing, make the share button more ‘call to actiony’.
-Guest post, just send the guest post to bloggers and they’ll often just use it, minimal friction. Too many steps to wait for a reply etc.
-Build up a newsletter, list. Use a popup lightbox leads to 3x more signups. It’s ugly but it works, and means you don’t become too dependent on Google for traffic.

Search Engine Marketing Reviews
-Business name should be at the end of title tags.
-Keep meta descriptions short and sweet.
-Place all code in external files and call them… compress HTML.
-Don’t use duplicate meta descriptions.
-Use the variable excerpt in wordpress for the meta description.
-Do 301 direct from www. to non-www, or vice versa.
-H1 tags are ridiculously important.
-Navigation links should include relevant keywords.
-Avoid category drop-downs (UI).
-If running campaigns for your site don’t use your homepage as your landing page.
-Use facebook landing page and get people to “like” you then market to people through your facebook page.
-Consider social networks (especially niche sites/forums) outside facebook/twitter.
-Tweetdeck is awesome.

Affiliate platforming: building and keeping an audience
-Marketing is not a task. It’s any time you interact with any audience.
-Make people know like and trust you.
-Your newsletters should have content.
-People spread AWESOME.
-Try living on twitter for a while.
-”Don’t say or do or post anything that you don’t want to see on a billboard”.
-Build a relationship in Social Media, and take the business somewhere else.
-Haters love you.
-Friends rule.

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Google AdWords: Caveat Emptor Wed, 28 Jul 2010 04:59:56 +0000 admin As nearly all of you doubtless know, AdWords is Google’s flagship advertising product and main source of revenue (to the tune of $22.9 billion in 2009 alone). What you almost certainly don’t know is that advertisers doing geo targeting using this advertising product are often (usually!) not getting what they think they are.

First, some background.

When we’re not busy writing articles for this blog, one of the things the team do to make ends meet and keep body and soul together is to run PPC advertising campaigns on Google AdWords. We’d been running a geo-targeted campaign for a few years on an offer that targets  people living in France when earlier this year, we decided to start doing our own geo tracking on the traffic Google AdWords was sending to the campaign.

Now, just to back up a little bit here. Within AdWords’ management interface, when you start a campaign and choose to geo target it to a country or countries (in our example, France), here’s what it looks like on your screen when you select your targets:

Now, wouldn’t you think when you were selecting geo-targeted traffic from “France (Country)” there, and Google AdWords was showing you a big-ass map of France, that the traffic you were going to get to the campaign was going to be, you know, from France? We think you would. We sure did. But guess what? That’s not what it means. At all.

After tracking the traffic that Google AdWords was sending to our France-targeted campaign for a little while and doing our own geo-checking on it (using MaxMind’s excellent GeoIP software) we discovered something downright sinister. Here’s a breakdown by country of traffic to our “France” traffic AdWords campaign for March 2009.

| country            | cnt  |
| France             | 4422 |
| Algeria            |  941 |
| Morocco            |  668 |
| Tunisia            |  540 |
| Belgium            |   49 |
| Senegal            |   43 |
| Switzerland        |   24 |
| Côte D’Ivoire      |   18 |
| Réunion            |   15 |
| Satellite Provider |   11 |

As you can see, AdWords had been sending our “France” campaign traffic from a variety of French-speaking countries. This non-France French-speaking traffic was about 35% of the total. And Google were cheerfully charging us for it as though it were premium, first-world French traffic. From FRANCE. Perhaps the following map might be of assistance to Google?

Once we discovered we’d actually been spending years pissing money down the drain buying traffic from the likes of Senegal and Tunisia, we freaked.

We tried opting out of the countries we didn’t want, but discovered that you can’t opt-out of geo targeted countries you haven’t opted INto in the first place (though apparently opting into countries you haven’t opted into is no problem!) We tried opting into the third-world countries just to see if opting out of them later would stop the traffic flow from those countries, but no such luck.

In the end we did figure out a (kind of hacky) solution to ensure that we only got traffic from France, which we’ll explain in detail a bit later on.  But we had a pressing problem to deal with now. Google had been taking our money for what we thought was 3-Michelin-star French traffic for a few years now (to the tune of $93,885), and delivering us McDonalds takeaways traffic in a trash bag. It was surprising in retrospect that we were making any profit on the campaign at all.

And now we were mad. Mad enough to let Google AdWords know how we felt. And so we embarked upon a long and ultimately infuriating exchange of emails, which after numerous attempts at blaming us, evasion, and obfuscation finally ended with AdWords support saying, essentially, “Yeah, that’s how it works. Selecting traffic from ‘France’ actually means you’re selecting traffic from, whatever the source of the traffic may be.”

That’s right, kids. ANY geo-targeted traffic purchased through AdWords meant “traffic that runs through the google site using that country’s ccTLD (,, google. mx, etc.) and NOT “traffic from this country I just selected”.

And that was that. After responding to their final “come clean” email, we never heard from AdWords again. No response, and certainly no materialization of the promised “credit [applied] to [our] account for the inconvenience caused”.

We later discovered that all of our geo-targeted campaigns had similar issues. The France one was the worst, but (for example) our geo targeted “UK” campaign included plenty of traffic from India, Pakistan, Turkey, etcetera.

We considered fighting on and taking it further, but in the end decided to just forget about it and chalk it up to a (very expensive and painful lesson) learned. But we thought we’d at least share the whole sad saga on this blog so that, hopefully, other AdWords users can find out about Google’s  “rook the suckers and bury the truth” policy and avoid having the same thing happen to them.

What we think about Google AdWords’ Behaviour

To be completely fair, Google do have documentation in existence that explains that this is how their geo targeting system works, such as the below, which can be found buried deep within the GAP study material.

* UPDATE: Google have pulled the above paragraph from the GAP documentation, but you can see that it was once there by hitting this search.

But in our opinion this buried information exists mostly to create an “out” for them; something they can point to with a knowing smirk when they’re called out on their essentially deceptive practice.

The fact is that unless an AdWords user has studied diligently to become a GAP (and the overwhelming majority of AdWords users don’t, as Google well knows) he is not likely to ever uncover the truth. And Google takes pains to supply plenty of information elsewhere that contradicts the information presented in the GAP documentation (or at least strongly implies that the truth is otherwise, like the selection interface shown earlier.)

Here’s one example:

Really, Google? Geo-targeted ads will appear ONLY to users located in the selected areas AND who have selected one of those languages as their preferences? Sounds great; it’s a shame that it’s a GIGANTIC LIE. A lie which Google doesn’t seem to have any qualms about leaving in the AdWords help documentation.

What we think is really happening here is that Google knowingly, sneakily, and dishonestly is attempting to monetize third-world clicked traffic by passing it off as first-world traffic. The technology is readily available for them to provide traffic only to the geographic locations that their advertisers are selecting, and they’re not doing it.

What they do do, instead, is erect a confusing maze of smoke and mirrors around the functioning of their geo targeting, as much as accuse their advertisers of lying when they call them on their bullshit, and do a deflective tapdance of misdirection, stonewalling, and shoulder-shrugging when presented with the unpleasant consequences of their devious enterprise. And we think that makes it a scam. And we think it sucks balls.

How many AdWords advertisers out there right now are paying for traffic from “France” that’s actually from Senegal? Traffic from the United Kingdom that’s actually from Turkey? I’d guess thousands. And Google knows it, and they know that most of their advertisers don’t.

Solution: how to avoid Google’s scam

As promised, here’s how to avoid getting “French” traffic from Algeria and Morocco and whereverthefuck. Apologies in advance: it’s hacky and tedious, but it does work. And it’s the only way to do actual geo targeting with Google AdWords.

1. Go to the section of your AdWords campaign interface where you choose your geo targeted location:

2. Select the “Custom” interface.

3.  Select “Custom shape”.

4. Draw polygons over France (or whatever country.)
Make sure you completely cover it and don’t select any other countries. You’ll usually have to create multiple polygons, as AdWords limits your polygons to a side length of “no greater than 400km”.

5. Save your campaign and exit.

And that’s it. That’s how you do it. Hacky, ugly, and a huge time-consuming nightmare if you have a lot of geo targeted campaigns, but  the only way you can get actual geo targeted traffic from Google AdWords.

What do you think about this practice?  Would you have felt deceived if it had been your campaign? Particularly keen to hear from any AdWords advertisers who didn’t know that this was how it worked:  we’re sure there are plenty of you out there!

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Interview with Jeremy Schoemaker (Shoemoney) Tue, 21 Jul 2009 04:31:20 +0000 admin Any, and I do mean ANY serious Internet marketer knows of Jeremy Schoemaker, even if only by his online handle of  “Shoemoney”. He’s the “make money online” guy, running more than half a dozen businesses and pulling in millions a year. I’ve followed and commented on his blog for months now, but you could have knocked me down with a feather when he agreed to give us this interview–I guess sometimes paying attention to what people say works out!

Mogul: What do you think makes a good stripper? A good UFC fighter?

JS: Wow great question… well, I think obviously the ability to generate the most amount of money from people who come to their club. I think looks have very little to do with how much money a stripper can make. A good stripper (like an Internet marketer) really understands the art of getting people to do what you want them to do while giving up as little as possible. A very good stripper at work can be an amazing educational experience for even the most savvy Internet marketer. I mean look at a stripper- they have to be experts at the initial pitch, the upsell, and be able to close all in one. Quite a art.

A good UFC fighter IMO has the ability to adapt more than anything else. The top fighters are experts at many different disciplines and can call on an arsenal of offensive and defensive moves depending on the situation.

Mogul: I know that you enjoy coding. How would you explain to someone who knew nothing about computers why you enjoy programming?

JS: I hate doing the same thing over and over. This is why I started programming. Seven years ago I was searching for ways to properly format images so they would work on my Nextel phone. Once I figured it out I offered to do it for others. I was getting hundreds of requests a day to resize images and I knew there had to be a better way. I picked up some programming books at Borders, slapped some 80% off stickers on them I got from the clearance rack (hey, I was super broke!), and figured out how to resize these images server side. Then I started allowing people to save images and sort them by category (now called tags). Long story short, that ( site evolved to make over 10 million dollars in profit in under 7 years and taught me how to make money online with subscriptions, donations, contextual revenue, direct ad sales, and even selling my own products. I leveraged this information to start my own blog at and write about my learnings along the way, eventually even launching my own advertising network called AuctionAds, which in only 4 short months went from 0 to 25,000+ users making over 3 million a month in net revenue, then we sold the company in 2007 to MediaWhiz.

More than programming, it’s about solving problems (which often programming does). I love solving problems.

Mogul: Of all the websites/services you’ve created outside the blog, of which one are you the most proud and why?

JS: This will probably sound really awkward but I dunno that I would say I am super proud of any of them. They have all been amazing learning experiences, but I think I really missed a ton of opportunities. Nextpimp should have been a 100 million dollar site but I lost interest and did not put someone in charge of it years ago. The same thing could be said about Auctionads too; I mean even though we got a great exit I wish I would have taken it to the next level. BUT all those experiences help us build better companies and services going forward. Plus I am just kind of tough to satisfy…

Mogul: What’s one thing that’s making you angry right now and why?

JS: I have been in a pissed off mood for weeks because while I should be marketing ShoeMoney Tools I am stuck writing documentation which I am REALLY bad at and it takes tons of time and I HATE doing it.

Mogul: What are the business and personal things that you are most excited about right now?

JS: Businesswise ShoeMoney Tools is really exciting. We have been experiencing slow, steady growth and just reached our 2,000th user. I really want to grow the userbase to 10,000 users within the next year and a half and that challenge REALLY excites me. We are implementing somethings like monthly webinars and Q&A’s and tons of other features on top of our industry-leading toolset.

On the personal level honestly I just love spending time with my daughters and watching them grow up.

Mogul: If you got another chance to make one decision you’ve made in your life, which one would it be and why?

JS: The only things I can think of are really stupid things…. like the time in college I smoked so much weed that I couldn’t feel my head (trying to prove to friends that weed did not affect me) …. or the time I lost $1350 on a UFC bet….

Most major “mistakes” I dunno if I would want to correct them because they have made me who I am.

Thanks for the interview!

Yeah right, Shoe–like YOU should me thanking ME! Thank you for being so incredibly generous with your time and energy. See you all next week!

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New theme! Thu, 07 May 2009 22:27:08 +0000 admin Finished up installing it last night and so far, so good. At least nothing broke which I wasn’t able to fix. Hope you like the new look, we’re thinking about a logo redesign as well, as the old one seems a little out of place now. Onward and upward!

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Changing themes Wed, 06 May 2009 23:54:52 +0000 admin Hey guys. Just a heads up for today. I’m changing the theme on this blog, and unfortunately I’ve messed with the current one enough that’s it’s not going to be a pretty or easy transition. So, yeah. If anything on the site looks like it’s completely freaking out on you today, it probably is. Hopefully it is all sorted out within the next few hours. Wish me luck.

See you at the end of the tunnel. Let me know what you think about the changes!

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Email Marketing – How to Avoid the Spam Blockers and Filters Thu, 09 Apr 2009 01:01:25 +0000 admin INTRODUCTION

Email is a great tool and a brilliant way to get your marketing message seen by your prospects, but it has also become a tough challenge in today’s online world. Any e-mail marketer will tell you that the hardest part of e-mail marketing now is simply getting your message read by the intended recipient. Why? Because spam.

Spam constitutes a huge percentage of all email sent. In order to stem the rising tide of spam, the spam filtering software has had to become more and more aggressive, meaning (unfortunately) that a reasonable proportion of legitimate email now gets marked as spam, and is either rejected altogether, or is delivered into the dark abyss of the junk/spam folder, never to see the light of day.

If you’re planning to branch into e-mail marketing—and you should!—here’s how to give your e-mail the best chance of achieving the Holy Grail of Prospect Inbox Joy.


To protect users from spam, ISPs and major webmail providers are continually developing and upgrading software programs to identify and prevent unwanted messages.
Spam blocker applications often work directly on the ISP’s mail servers, refusing to deliver e-mails before they even get within sniffing distance of the inbox. Lower-level filters review incoming mail and divert messages they deduce to be “unwanted” directly into a “junk” or “spam” folder.

Sadly for legitimate e-mail marketers, blockers and filters often make mistakes—euphemistically known as “false positives” within the industry. They occur when completely desirable and legitimate e-mail is identified as “spam” by a filter, which happens because text, graphics, or images in the e-mail trigger the filter for invalid reasons.


What follows is some advice about how to avoid the dreaded spam filters and get your e-mail delivered to your prospects’ inboxes, on time, every time.

Test. Test again.
Before sending out your mailing, perform a “dry run”. Try viewing your email on different operating systems and with different e-mail programs. You may wish to arrange a small mailing list of friends or colleagues to trial your mailings on first, in order to get swift and honest feedback.

You should also set up a number of email accounts with the various free (major) webmail providers—Yahoo, MSN, Gmail. Use different spam protection settings on the accounts. If your mail hits the junk box (or worse, doesn’t get delivered at all) with any of them, you have more work to do.

The most common filter out there is Spam Assassin. The great thing about it is that for every email that it flags as spam it explains exactly why it thinks the email is spam.
Like many filters, it uses a scoring system. When a message racks up too many points, it defines it as spam. You can see what tests it runs on your emails here—it makes for fascinating reading. You should run your newsletter or marketing email through an online spam-score checker tool like this one before sending it. Generally, a score of 3 or higher will be liable to be identified as spam.

Don’t use a lot of images
Having a lot of images in your email increases its spam score.

Avoid tiny fonts
Filters often see tiny type as a sign that marketers are trying to embed harmful elements.

Don’t use spammy terms in your email, especially in the subject line
It’s best to use your subject line to illustrate some customer benefit or solution to a problem. Don’t use it to be cute or overly personal. Don’t overuse punctuation, caps, tired and obvious marketing phrases such as: “While supplies last,” “Last chance to save,” or “Call for a free quote.”, and avoid words like “free,” “win,” “now,” “click here,”, etcetera.

Send messages from a real name
If the “From Name” field of your e-mail contains symbols, numbers, or other junk, your message has a much greater chance of being labeled spam.

Don’t get blacklisted
Besides using a set of rules to determine whether email is spam, blockers also use data from feedback and complaints, and from delivery patterns. That includes sending mail from a server that is guilty of a high number of bounce backs or which has a history of being used for spamming.

Once you’ve been identified as a spammer, it can be tough to convince an ISP or blacklist administrator that you’re not one. Sometimes it might even be impossible (some blacklist administrators, like jaded cops, have become unreasonable and aggressive through long years of having to deal with idiots.)

Pay attention to your formatting
When formatting your email, keep it simple and professional. Excessive use of different colors, fonts, sizes, images and so forth will result in a higher spam score. Keep your email as clean as possible, and stick to only a few different font types and sizes.

Be consistent
Use a template if you plan on sending newsletters consistently. This will make sure that all your newsletters look and feel the same. It will also add a touch of professionalism and branding to your newsletters

Always use Double Opt-in
Always, ALWAYS make your mailing lists double opt-in. “Double-opt-in” means that when a user subscribes to your mailing list, they will be sent an email with a link that they must click on to confirm their subscription.

The reason this is so important is that many people accidentally enter an incorrect email address. Sometimes people even add someone else’s email address maliciously. When that person receives a newsletter they did not subscribe to, they will assume they have been spammed, and your newsletter (and possibly your mail server) will be reported as spam.

Include unsubscribe and contact information in your email footer

Every newsletter you send out should contain a way for the reader to unsubscribe. You should also display your contact information clearly and completely, as this greatly increases confidence in your email and your company. Both of the above requirements are law in the United States.


Avoiding spam filters when sending out legitimate mailings can be time consuming. As your mailing list grows, however, it can prove to be a hugely beneficial exercise. If you apply all the techniques mentioned above, increases of 1000% in your open rates are quite achievable. Good luck with with your email marketing endeavors, and enjoy the information. Cheers!

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Free Affiliate Marketing E-books Released Today Thu, 02 Apr 2009 00:32:18 +0000 admin As you’ll see in the sidebar to your right, we’ve now got 5 free Affiliate marketing eBooks that we’re giving away to every new subscriber to our newsletter. The eBooks contain guides on Copywriting, SEO/User Optimization, Website Design and usability, Traffic generation, and Email Marketing.

They’re not going to be around forever, so sign up now and start earning!

Enjoy! Later!

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Need money? Welcome to! Mon, 02 Mar 2009 01:38:43 +0000 admin Welcome to, the blog dedicated to helping you to succeed financially in the e-marketing/affiliate marketing industry. Or just here looking for some quick cash? We can help with that, too.

Over the coming weeks and months we’re going to be writing and posting dozens of articles here on such topics as copywriting for the web, designing and testing websites, generating traffic, email marketing, sales testing, and webpage optimization. We’ll also be sharing our experiences and teaching you everything you’ll need to know about making money online from people who have been there and done it.

Our first lesson is going to be on the topic of web copywriting; specifically we’re going to examine the four fundamental principles of writing great copy for your e-marketing pages. Add us to your reader now and stay tuned!

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Dow gains in October Sun, 02 Nov 2008 04:26:53 +0000 admin While world stockmarkets have been retreating over the last two months, the US dollar has strengthed. So while US investors in the US stockmarket may be feeling poorer, their relative wealth to the rest of the world has not fared quite as badly. As a comparison I’ve graphed the DOW over the last two months price in Australian dollars (AUD) and Great Britain Pounds (GBP). As you can see priced in Australian dollars the DOW is actually up.

I may do a couple of extra graphs, using different commodities which I’m sure will show that priced in many of these the DOW is significantly up, over the last few months.

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Unfair airfares. Wed, 29 Oct 2008 09:44:58 +0000 admin I want a one way non-stop ticket from Los Angeles to Auckland.  Air New Zealand will charge me more for this, than if I book London Heathrow to Los Angeles then continued on to Auckland.   Why?  I don’t know.

Yet the exact same flight from Los Angeles to Auckland costs almost 150 more. I know this is not an uncommon experience, but I’m yet to read a decent explanation of why it is.
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