(it’s free….no it’s not….yes it is)
Now then. So…..despite the fact that I’m not on a self hosted wordpress install here, I like to tinker….and I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I was playing with writing my own wordpress theme for fun and profit a while ago. Then of course there was the coup d’etat when Brian Gardner’s Revolution Themes went open source. So, I though….hmmm easier to take someone else’s theme and hack it about to fit what I want than to start from scratch. And to be honest, I quite like the look of some of the Revolution themes. They are pretty solid. So I wondered over to the old revolution site and found…..nothing! Well nothing for free anyway. Bleach. I mean the themes are GPL so the code has to be available if you ask for it (erm I think, I haven’t actually read the GPL ’cause I’m lazy and life is too short). Now, you have to pay. Apparently, the themes were available to download for a while…and looking at the source code for the website, there is still a div set up for a free download link sans support, but there is no link anymore….poooo. This is pretty cunning. I mean announce to the world that your themes are open source…..get a load of traffic and then fwoooooosh remove the free link and leave only the paid options. A lot of people would link to a site offering free stuff but won’t link to a site offering paid for stuff, so it’s always a winning link-bait strategy. Talk about how to make money online selling wordpress themes……with some great link juice thrown in for free! Anyway, I know the themes are out there somewhere. I know they are free. I know it because they are released under GPL. There must be a way to find them….
Never content to take the easy way out (like reading the GPL and then emailing to request the source code if that really is an option), my mind begins to work. First up is the Internet Way Back Machine…..maybe the original page is cached there and we can get a link to the downloads. Nope. Oh well, worth a try. Next up Yahoo for a little site exploration (I find the Yahoo site explorer is better than the old google for some things)….maybe it’s cached there. Missed as well. Hang about, what about the actually support forums for the site itself. The old support forums on the RevolutionTwo site are, for the most part, only available to those who have paid for the themes (actually, since the themes are free, you are really paying for support). There are a few free sections of the forums and looking through them I find a link to Brian Gardner’s cop out……so it seems as of the 1st of this year, if you haven’t dowloaded the themes, you are SOL. Pathetic. Obviously, people were simply not paying for support when they could get things for free…..so they up and change the business model. Bollocks I say. And I’m not entering into a discussion about it. This is just bad business practice if you ask me. Not entirely dishonest, but after all the hype and link love, screwing people like that is just wrong. At the very least, have the balls to email all the ping-backs they got and tell people it is no longer free so they can adjust their blog posts accordingly and not mislead their own readers. Oh but wait, I could sign up for their affiliate program and lead you on and send you over and hope you buy (out of frustration maybe?). But I’m not playing that game.
Now then. WordPress is a peculiar beast. If you are a bit savvy with the old code, you can re-create a theme from scratch by viewing the source files, downloading the stylesheet and then hacking a bit of wp-code. It isn’t that difficult, but it can be a bit time-consuming. Really though it is as simple as it sounds – find out what they name their divs, change up the default WP files to use those div names and point to the stylesheet….hey presto, you have hacked the theme. Basically, design and layout on the internet is so simple to swipe if you want to that it’s pretty much ridiculous to delude yourself into thinking that you can keep your work proprietry. Anyway, I’m lazy. So I’m not going to hack it together. Luckily, google is made for lazy people. In fact google has pretty much removed the need to think. And I find a nice handy little link right here…..erm I mean here….nope missed again, where did I put it……aaah wait here it is!
Anyway, according to the GPL, there’s nothing to stop me changing up the themes a bit, and selling them on myself. That’s it! That’s what I’m going to do! I’m going to make money online selling wordpress themes. So, if anyone would like to buy some very cool premium wordpress themes, hit me up……underdogblogger at the old gmail. I warn you, you will have to haggle…me with a poor dying grandmother!
What? Oh. I already gave you link where you can get ’em for free? Damnit! I really need to keep my sources to myself. 😦
Now, I believe today that bloody idiot is kicked out of the White House at last. How the USA managed to keep him in power for 2 terms is beyond me.
(or how to make money from firefox plugins for the self-hating internet marketer)
(or in fact, what your grandma doesn’t know about internet marketing part II)
You have become a self-hating internet marketer and to alleviate the oppressive guilt, you need a way to get yourself banned from your affiliate program don’t you? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This one is in the key of Gm. Watch me for the chord changes, and try to keep up.
I know what you’re thinking you big-shot successful internet marketer. You’re thinking
Brrrrrrrr It’s cold out there and I’m feeling guilty about all those people I eagerly directed into buying a diet product that I know nothing about, have not used and indeed do not need. How can I pay back some of the karmic debt I have incurred upon my wretched soul?
Fear not my child, for I offer absolution. A way in which you can and will eventually get banned from your affiliate program. “Only if they find out”, you cry as you continue on your quest to make money with little traffic. But I know you want to get caught. All criminal do. Once you have this up and running you will inevitably use one of your other internet identities to report yourself in a bizarre Tyler-Durden-like-you-hit-me-in-the-ear twist. And so I say, pull up your rosary beads and write yourself a firefox plugin. What the software does “front of house” is irrelevant. All that you really need is for it to be downloaded. A Lot (yes it is two words!!). So maybe you do a page 3 girl of the day thumbnail that would sit in the top corner of firefox instead of the little whirly circle that tells you when you are loading a page. Now listen closely. Here is the devil in your ear. You code up that plugin so that every time someone visits amazon or other affiliate of your choice using the now infected firefox, you stuff their cookie* with your affiliate code, or rewrite the url dynamically to use your aff code. (I’ve not looked into writing firefox extensions, but I imagine you could do this – someone correct me if I’m wrong?)
The evil plan unfolds as all those horny little desk jockeys who think they are bucking the system and shoving it to the man by looking at page 3 girls embedded in their browser’s skin while they are at work now earn you a tidy piece of pie when they order from amazon. And they are bound to order from amazon at some point. O yes they are. But you won’t stop there will you? You are an evil internet marketing whore and you want more.
You have no scruples. You are the kind of marketer who would sell your own grandma’s cookies if you could only get her to bloody well bake them up, the lazy cow. So you infiltrate your family and friends’ computers with this nasty little piece of code under the guise of
“oh, I’m a computer geek, why don’t I tune your computer for you….you know give it a defrag, speed up your browsing, fix the old flux capacitor.”
“Nonono don’t worry, I love doing it…….(mwahahaha f’ing simpletons)……”
“Eh? Wassat you say? O, no nothing, Um I said I would love a cup of tea, ta very much. Hey…..have you seen amazon’s new christmas home page?”.
The evil is more insidious because the first time you walk the path of no-scruples, it erodes the little scrupulous cogs in your mind that would act as a brake just a little. Every time you perpetuate a little online wrong doing, the cogs get ground down a little more until they no longer touch and cannot brake the evil internet marketing monkey in your head who can spin his wheels as fast as he likes. And spin he does. As fast as his monkey legs can pedal. The voices come so fast now, you almost can’t type the ideas down fast enough. So you buy a bunch of usb keys on the cheap and you make a custom firefox install which you autorun on the usb keys. Then one day, while you are out shopping, you just happen to drop a bunch of them in the parking lot by accident. O what tired and weary christmas shopper can resist the lure of free storage as they sneakily pretend to tie their yowling snot faced younger-one’s shoelace and pocket the scattered treasure? And how many of them have disabled autorun?
The moral of the story is……be careful what plugins you install.
* Let us teach grandma about affiliate codes. An affiliate is simply someone who earns commission for recommending a product. A middle man if you like. How do they do this? Well say you click a link on my website that takes you to amazon. That link has information stored in it. One of those pieces of information is an affiliate id which is the tracking code which will tell amazon that I referred you to them. If you purchase something from amazon through my link, I get a percentage of the sale.
Wow you say. My nan never knew that!
It gets more interesting because most affiliate links include a time period so anytime you purchase anything from amazon for x days after you’ve clicked my link, I still get commission.
Wow you say, My nan definitely never knew that! How do they do it?
So now the moral of this story is twofold. Be careful what extensions and plugins you install, and be careful what links you click.
See a tinyurl link? You think it is there simply for your convenience so you don’t have to see a long-ass url? Ha! The cunning and suspicious among you will immediately think “affiliate link”. So, why would anyone click an affiliate link? Well, many people don’t know what they are and are oblivious to the fact that such things exist. I’m sure at some point in my browsing history, I’ve inadvertently scored an internet marketer some commission. Some people do know what affiliate links are though (like your nan for instance because she has read this brilliant scree on what your grandma doesn’t know about internet marketing) and they chose to click anyway, to reward the website owner, you know because they appreciate the rather eloquent writing and all.
Now go tell your nan all about affiliate links and plugins. And if she doesn’t understand, well I’m happy to come round and explain it to her while I give her computer a tune up……..ooh a cup of tea? yes please! ta very much.
“down mighty internet marketing devil”
(or where I wonder how many times we can sell the same thing)
Proof that you really don’t need an original idea to make money. And if its true in the world of entertainment, then I don’t see why it isn’t going to apply to the make money online world.
Let’s be honest, if you want to make money from your blog or website then the formula should go something like:
Niche + Content + Traffic = Money for free!
Yeah, ok that’s slightly simplified, but essentially there isn’t anything more complicated about it than that. Find yourself a niche – you need something that gets good search volume. You need a niche that you can monetise by contextual ads, affiliate products or your own products. You need some content – something that will get the context sensitive ads working (if that’s your route), or some sales copy if you are affiliate marketing or selling your own product. Then, to make money online for free, you need traffic. More traffic is better. But you need specific kinds of traffic as well. Social traffic is fun. Watching people comment on your blog is very satisfying, but basically, doesn’t really convert to sales very well. You need organic search traffic. You need people looking for a sollution to a problem. In fact, so important is traffic that you can almost do without content if you get enough traffic. Of course G would never allow that. You would get slapped. Probably.
Not to say that making money online is simple, but the formula for it is fairly simple. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I can’t tell you the number of products I see in the mmo niche that are selling exactly the same thing. How to get traffic. And the answer itself is: Good solid backlinks. Article marketing? it’s about backlinks. Hubpages? Squidoo? backlinks! Comment Kahuna? Backlinks! Conduit method? Backlinks! 30 Minute Backlinks? it is about backlinks! at least that one is honest enough to tell you. The industry is a one trick pony. We re-package and re-sell methods of getting backlinks. Heck the less scrupulous don’t even do that. They simple tell you how to set up a blog……”oh install wordpress, write about what you love, comment on someone else’s blog, watch money come in” Bollocks. Nothing without backlinks.
So many products just rehash the same thing again and again and again, I’m thinking about writing an e-book myself. I need a snappy title….. “Absolute Underdog Ultimate Online Wealth Guide“. That sums it up nicely. Then I need a long-ass sales page. With testimonials from a bunch of people you’ve never heard of. Why the fuck that makes people more inclined to buy, I’ll never know. But it seems to work. Then a nice big “buy it now” button. Price of only Thirty Nine Ninety Five. Why? Oh, I don’t know, cause I like the number. Then, when people start buying, I’ll set up an affiliate program…..Promote my book, sell it for me and keep 30%. Yeah! (You know the best part of affiliating out your e-book? that’s right – backlinks!)
The book itself – oh simple – the first 10 pages will be about how great I am. The next 10 about how blogging is the future. The next 10 about using social media. The last 10 will tell you how to build backlinks……5 pages on “the hard way” and 5 pages on “the easy way”.
I rekon if the Hoosiers can rehash the same old same old, then I can too.
Make money online for free selling the same thing everyone else is doing.
(or where I tell you to just fucking remember the milk)
I like Tim Ferris. I know you like Tim Ferris as well. I mean what’s not to like about the self-styled Jason Bourne of aspiring well travelled, well educated, wish they were retired already cubical rats? Who here hasn’t been seduced by his promise of a 4 hour work week? Who doesn’t crave a mini-retirement? Who wouldn’t like their own PA to remind them of their wife’s birthday, and even buy her a gift? Who wouldn’t want to win a full contact kickboxing tourney in China? Yes, well, maybe not that last one eh?….Tim Ferris does have some cool ideas. Sometimes his work feels a lot like a rebranded Charles Handy to me; employment based on multiple skill sets, outsourcing, just-in-time employees, general use of technology for convenience and automation of routine tasks. Yeah well, whose to say he isn’t influenced by the great Handy himself? Anyway, I think Tim writes well and his concept of a lifestyle experiment blog is a good unique selling point.
So, I was perusing Tim Ferris’ blog and found my way onto this post on how never to forget anything again (is that a split infinitive? I never got the hang of them). Cool! I’ve read some of his learn a language in an hour ideas and thought we were going to get some cool quick forget-me-not aides for the old brain. Maybe some updated Tony Buzan tricks and tips or something. Boy, what a let down, just a glorified list of a bunch of software you can use to help make your brain even more lazy. Admittedly it is a guest post, but still, if Tim publishes it on his blog, he is condoning it to some extent. The guest poster btw is none other than the author of Zen Habits whose idea for I blog I really like, but whose blog I read very sporadically, mainly because it just doesn’t grab me much. Zen Habits is kind of like the allure and promise of becky cam to me. I’ve got huge respect for Leo Babauta especially since he has taken the very bold uncopyright step. Very Zen I thought.
Before you lambast me and tell me I don’t have a perfect memory and how would I know how good my memory is anyway because I would never remember the things I’ve forgotten, I’m a great believer in having an organiser/diary. I’m a bit old fashioned though, walking cane and tophat style, I favour using a simple filofax and actually writing down my appointments and long term todo notes with a pen.
But sometimes, you should really just remember shit. I mean with the method presented on Tim’s blog, say you get an email from your wife to pick up some milk on the way home, you would probably slam it into 3 or 4 different applications hopefully remembering to set some sort of alert for just before you leave work so you get reminded to remember…..lets roll with this…..we submit to technology completely, become completely connected and have a GPS app track our car and bring up a reminder on our dashboard when we approach a shop en-route. Heck the nifty little bit of code could even scan ahead, do a quick price comparison and parking availability find for us, plotting the most efficient/cost effective milk purchasing experience for us based on an algorithm that takes into account some variables we fill in (like maybe if we are prepared to spend a few extra pence for convenience or if we are after the cheapest possible commodity).
We are well and truly fucked though, if the wife phones while we are buying milk and asks us to pick up some bread at the same time….now we have to run back to our car, coax the old laptop out of hibernation (why haven’t I upgraded this fucker yet?), log into 4 different applications, enter the note and then…..Erm never mind. A facile maybe, but it serves to underline my point; just fucking remember. Creating all these technological crutches between you and your memory seems to create a lot of complexity to my mind, which goes against a lot of what I perceive in Tim and Leo’s work, which is simplifying your life. Maybe I’m misinterpreting. But is this really a zen habit? In the moment? Beginners mind? Hmmm.
I’m know there are studies out there about the brain being a muscle. The more it is used, the stronger it becomes. Don’t use it and pretty soon it will atrophy. Do we really want to place our reliance on technology to the extent that we sacrifice our potential? I don’t! Practice remembering things. It’s good for you. Train your brain – it’s one of your most valuable assets. Balance in all things – body, mind, spirit. Don’t let continuous partial attention and availability of technology make you lazy. Technology should be a tool not a crutch!
Anyway, enough of that – I’ve just remembered why I started writing this post…to remind myself to go and read Charles Handy again!