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Archive for the ‘Flotsam’ Category

Moon Movie

May 15, 2009 1 comment

Sod Star Trek. That’s what I say. Who wants that prozaic super CGI’d boring old predictable space movie? Even if it has Sylar as Spok. Moon – now that looks like a good old space movie. Lookit – here’s a trailer:

Damn cool. This is space from my childhood. Big chunky machines. Lots of squares and giant industrial like blocks and chunks. That’s what space exploration is all about – utility, not fancy nokia flip phones with cool gloss sheen finishes. Those things wouldn’t last a tick in real space. You need something big. Built from titanium. Utilitarian. That’s what you want. None of that scrawny sleek modern ipod looking junk you find in Star Trek.

Sam Rockwell’s Moon looks like something you might have imagined exploring while playing Moon Patrol. If you’ve never played Moon Patrol, then you’re probably too young to be reading my blog. I gots adult language on here and stuff.

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Posterous a new email blogging platform

So, I thought I would play around with posterous. For those of you who are woefully behind the times, Posterous is a new blogging platform. Well sort of a mix between blogging and microblogging….but really with an emphasis on blogging from your email client.
Posterous is pretty smart, just write it an email, attach images, music, videos….whatever you want, and it figures out what to do with it all. I like it. Check it out on my new blog How to make money online with posterous.

Why do I like it? Well, it lets you create blog posts quickly, without bells and whistles it’s true, but still, sometimes speed is of the essence. Now posterous currently doesn’t have a lot of front end features. There’s only one template that I can see. Which in a way is pretty good, because you spend your time worrying about the content rather than what your blog looks like. See, I think too many bloggers out there on wordpress get swamped by the plethora of free wordpress themes and spend so much time faffing about with the look and feel of their blog, that they forget to put any words down whatsoever. Another reason I like posterous is because it is kind of perfect for creating backlinks to your site. If you are the kind of online marketer that runs multiple sites, and if you are trying to make money blogging, then you probably do, logging in and out of accounts all the time gets tedious. Blogging by email though, that’s pretty cool. See for every site you set up, you can post to a different address to create your blog post, so, for example, I’ve set up a second posterous blog underdogblog.posterous.com. Now to post to my first blog, how to make money online with posterous, I just email post@posterous.com from my email account, to post to the second blog, the underdog blog at posterous, I use a different send to email address post@underdogblog.posterous.com.

So now, I can see you thinking – hey that’s neat. One email address, multiple blogs, I can update my entire farm from one email account. Hey. That is neat. Check it out.

Categories: Flotsam, Jetsam

Make Money Online Selling WordPress Themes

January 20, 2009 2 comments

(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.

Categories: Elephant, Flotsam, Potential

How to make more money online

December 31, 2008 2 comments

(or where I imagine what we would do if we were THE search engine)

Imagine we were a search engine. A big one. Well, we started small. We developed a great algorithm. People went crazy with the fantastic, relevant search results we offered. We steadily got traffic. We became big. We became huge! Our algorithm was simple, but fairly well guarded. We became THE search engine. Our noun became verbed. And now we are a household name.

Now we want to make some money. So what do we do? In the time honoured internet fashion, we charge people to advertise. To jump the queue. Oh, we put them in a box above the search results and down the side, claiming it is out of the way. We say that the real results aren’t being affected. I mean look, we even put these paid for links in a highlighted yellow box. That will make it obvious that they aren’t the most relevant results. That will make it obvious that those positions have been paid for. (aside dear reader: I bet people who are not so internet savvy, like your grandma, hit up those pretty yellow boxed links pretty often, believing them to be the most relevant. I mean, they are highlighted after all, those search results must be the BEST!). Now we start to make some money online.

We’ve started to make some serious money online now, because people obviously want to be at the top of the most relevant search results in the world, don’t they? Of course they do! So they pay for it. Keep that algorithm secret now, we don’t want other search engines stealing it! Serious online cash is what we are making. But you want more. Everyone who makes money online wants to make more money online. So we come up with a cunning plan……we decide to act as a self appointed middle man. We offer our customers a way to increase their advertising “spread”, increase their visibility, by allowing other websites to host our adverts. Don’t worry, we will chose the most relevant adverts to display on the websites based on content. So now, the guy, who by hook or by crook or by pure bloody luck managed to get his website to the top of the search results can display adverts without having to deal with third parties. He doesn’t have to negotiate rates or bill the company that wants to advertise on his site, he can pass the responsibility off to the trusted SEARCH ENGINE – aren’t we nice, aren’t we kind, aren’t we offering people a nice residual income? (aren’t we making more money online than everyone else put together). Win win you say. Well win for us, THE search engine. We start to make even more money online now because the adverts start getting displayed more and more, on more and more websites. Competition for keywords go up, prices go up, clicks go up, because if your internet-savvy gandma managed by luck not to click on the pretty yellow highlighted results the first time and rather went to the dull blue on white top of the pile result, she will probably be hit with the same advert again and eventually, if enough grandmothers hit up that site, some of them are bound to clicky on our adverts!.

Damn, us search engine guys are smart. Damn we are making more money online than you can imagine. But it isn’t enough is it? Money is power isn’t it? Of course it is! OF COURSE IT IS(just in case you doubted it the first time – don’t make me bludgeon it into your head with bold and super sized letters now you cynical swine)! What to do. Oh what to do. How can we milk this little cash cow we have created? How can we make more money online?

I’ve got it! I have an idea. Now that we put adverts on other people’s sites, we’ve created a nice little incentive to be top of the pile haven’t we? Yes we have. Let’s start selling methods for getting to the top of the pile. Great idea! But wait, we need to protect our integrity, so we can’t sell as ourselves. That’s ok, we can just pretend to be other people. People who have “cracked” the system. And you know what? We can just jiggle the results so we erm I mean “they” come out on top for things like “how to make money online” or “how to beat the biggest search engine in the world” or “cracking the search engine rankings”. Ooooooo. What an evil plan.

So now we are making money online selling advertising space on our website….and on websites all over the world that we don’t even own (look how cunning – we aren’t paying anyone to advertise on their websites – our customers are paying our suppliers – oh we are so fucking clever it hurts). But we’ve created a little industry. An economy almost, and everyone wants that top spot because more people visit it. And more visitors mean hook or by crook guy gets more money from the ads that he has allowed us to place on his website. And now we are selling the way to get the top spot, incognito like…..like the Kurgen baby! Yes we are! We are making more money online than ever before. Damn we are clever little online money makers.

Quarterly reports roll by and sales are slipping. This is no good, we must stimulate our little economy. We must inject some life into our industry. I know. I have another cunning plan. And it doesn’t involve “the Black Russian” which always terrifies the clergy. Let’s pretend to change our algorithm. Shake things up a bit. O brilliant! Now we’ve created more demand. We have to sell version 2 of all those “get to the top of the search engine pile” books and vids. Mwahahahahaha we will make more money online than ever before.

We will be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. Wait, we are!

I could do this forever. Wait. I think I will.

This light piece of internet humour has been brought to you by the commissariat of underdog cynisism.

Categories: Disturbed, Flotsam

How to get banned from your affiliate program

December 12, 2008 6 comments

(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.

more.

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?

Most affiliate programs use cookies to store an affiliate’s id on your computer. So say you click on my link because you really need some website hosting, a cookie is stored on your computer by said hosting company. This cookie is timed and includes my affiliate id. If you go back to the hosting company (through my link or directly, it doesn’t matter) any time within a specific period, my affiliate id is still there and if you chose to sign up with them, I will still get commission. The cookie expires eventually though, so I don’t get commission indefinitely.

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”

The End

December 2, 2008 2 comments

(of the underdogblogger charity online thingamabob)

So in October I posted that I would donate all the money I made from my adsense “empire” in October and November to Care for the Wild.  Well the time has come and gone and the profits have been tallied.  Yes, we reached a grand total of $39.36.  Which means that I’m now making something like 60 cents everyday from a blog (which I haven’t updated in about 6 months).  So that’s roughly £27 in real British money!  Why so low you ask?  Well for one – I’m crap at link building clearly.  On the other hand, back when I started the charity challenge I was getting about 50 cents a day, so profits are up 🙂 woohoooo

Anyway, several of you decided to join in and promised some money to a charity of your choice.  Time to pony up guys – those of you who did join in got liked up on my charity challenge page.

Thanks to everyone who did this.  It is a good thing.  Especially around Christmas time.  If you didn’t join in, donate a little time or money to a charity near you – if you like people, then give a little something to a homeless shelter or something – Christmas can be a tough time for people with nothing, and a little bit of food or a blanket or something goes a long way.  Besides, you really don’t need that USB microscope from firebox this christmas…..put the money to better use.

As I said, my money goes to Care for the Wild.  What can I say, I like tigers – I already sponsor them, but I think the cute little fellows could do with a little extra turkey this christmas.  Hopefully next year this time, I’ll be making a little more out of my blogging efforts and maybe the tigers at CFW can get 2 turkeys 🙂

Eat up guys…….turkeys are grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreaat!

Categories: Flotsam Tags:

What is your blog’s theme tune

November 28, 2008 2 comments

(or where I try for the worst blog title in the world)

Sinking to a new low, I’ve decided to enter the competition for the worst blog title ever.  And coupled with it, the worst blog post ever.  Where do I sign up?  Seriously, I’ve seen so many bad, clichéd, rehashed posts in the blogging about blogging or make money online blogs that there must be a competition somewhere.

Hey now, be thankful I didn’t go with “Is your blog a ducker or a Diva”.  Oh man.  That was funny.  Even though I say so myself.  Even though you have to pronounce Diva wrong.  Oh.  C’mon, not even a chuckle?  Where’s the humour, where’s the love?  Maybe you didn’t get it.

So, seriously, when is everyone going to pull finger and stop just copying shit.  God, it gets so boring watching the same rubbish come round again and again and again.  Bad analogies here, terrible metaphors there, and stupid lists to try and get Digg on your arse?  Ptha! Yeauch.  C’mon, our blogs are meant to give insight, advice, ideas, inspiration.

Complete long term success from blogging can only come from being honest, not trying to shift snake oil.  Offer good advice and a better product, get some good targeted traffic and you will be successful.  You don’t have to stoop to being a second rate huckster in a stupid polyester suit with a daft pink tie to make you look the business.  Sell something you believe in.  Stop affiliating crap.  Stop writing crap.  Or at least, stop writing what everyone else is writing.

You know the sad thing I’ve noticed – posts that get the most comments on people’s blogs are the rubbish posts, the ones that pander to your ego, the ones that say “hey are you part of the cool club?”, “of course you are”.  The ones that get the least comments are the ones that give rock solid advice or ideas.

Oh well, can’t beat ’em, join ’em eh?  Let’s see how this post could be if we did.

What is your blog’s theme tune?

If your blog had a theme tune, what would it be?  Are you wallowing in the depths of self pity standing at the back of the club, dressed in black, shoulders stooped, head down mumbling the oh-so-meaningful words to Mother by Lennon?  Or are you up in the front, in your face banging out a “work hard play hard” attitude song like “We will rock you” with your fists raised in the air, jumping up and down like you’re about to make your millions?

See, your blog readers will respond to your blog like they would to your theme tune.  If it’s all down and out and mopey and sad, do you think that your readers are going be revved up to buy your shit?  (Shut up in the back, that was rhetorical you f’ing heckler……) Where was I (shuffle notes um um oh yes) No!  they won’t buy a thing.  They won’t buy squat and your blog will sink to the bottom of the pile.  You will fail.  YOU will be a loser.

But, if your blog has the attitude of a blood boiling rock tune, you readers will feed off that.  They will know you are the man!  they will reward you with their loyalty and adoration.  They will want to be you.  They will buy whatever you throw at them.  Yes they will!  Because your attitude filled-song screams out your success to them (and if it doesn’t, turn up the volume and beat them into submission until they do what you want).

Do you want to be a loser?  Do you?  No! Of course not!  YOU want to be a winner!  You want to be like me.  You want to be great! (by the way, my book is only 9.95)  Nothing says WINNER like a great fuck off theme tune.

I challenge you to take a good hard look at your blog.  What would it’s theme tune be at the moment?  What would you want its theme tune to be in the future?  Now, write like your blog has the theme tune of success!

Bleauch.  I feel just a little bit dirtier now.  Maybe I should get out of this game.

Well, you’ve had a bumper crop of posts from me this week.  Next week sees the end of my Charity challenge.  Anyone who signed on, it will be time to pony up your cash.  I’ll put up my post on it and then I should spend some time on building some links to my sites that actually earn me a few pennies here and there rather than ranting about the state of the pro and semi-pro-blogging industry.

One more thing.  Would be great if you are going to try “fake it till you make it” and try and sell the same crap to people all the time if you learned the difference between “there” and “their”.  Oh, and “a lot” is two damn words not one! grrrrrr!

Categories: Flotsam