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Every neighborhood should have a bazooka

August 17, 2009 1 comment

Yes, it was, I seem to remember, far too early to be woken up. Especially given that I was enjoying a rather tasty dream. Pancakes, maple syrup and a very good cup of coffee sat before my fish like dream eyes, tempting me. Just before my fork managed to grab a mouthful of the stuff, I swam up, still flapping my gills, to the sound outside that must have woken the whole neighbourhood.
My goodness they were drunk. Two women were literally rolling around on the gravel out front, pulling each other’s hair.
I shit you not.
I thought that stuff only happened on stupid ibiza gone wild television shows. But no. There it was, right in front of me. Well, not right in front, more like down below me, cause I live one floor up.
A shirtless man paced around the skirmish, along with several other tarted up induhviduals, pretending to try and stop the little display of fisticuffs…..or should that be hairicuffs? or grabihairicuffs.
But they didn’t really want it to stop, did they? I mean how hard is it to pull two people apart. Especially after they have clearly had their adrenaline dump. There was no fight left in them, but they persisted. I have to give them that.
Mr Shirtless actually got a bit excited by all this and punched a car window. Then kicked the car, presumably because the car window hurt his hand.

Nothing else really happened. It was all a little bit of a let down really. No blood, no other violence. The police turned up (actually rather a lot of police turned up) and broke the whole thing up….a domestic of some sorts (I can’t possibly fathom what about though amidst the screams of “you dirty slut” and other such profanities). A young lady with far too many children got in a car and drove away, leaving Mr No Shirt growling. I presume it was his lass. Hopefully now his ex-lass.

In other news Joshua Goodwin has released a rather nice looking wordpress theme called Old Popular Yolk. I think you should use it. I know I would if this blog let me. Yes, it is yellow, even though his blog is not.

I’m starting to subscribe to Kilgore Trout’s theory that every neighborhood should have a bazooka and a responsible adult should know where it is………

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Selling WordPress Templates

See, the thing about WordPress that really sucks is that on the free platform (i.e. wordpress.com hosted sites), you can’t use your own wordrpess template without coughing up some money. Now, I’ve not done the sums, but given the ridiculousness of how cheap hosting is these days, it would be daft to pay wordpress instead of simply buying hosting and having your own install. Or would it? I mean essentially it would amount to the same thing, except that you wouldn’t necessarily have a domain name if you went the worpress route.

See, Blogger isn’t like this. The free blogger service lets you completely customise it if you want. You can slap up your own templates to your heart’s content, and showcase your awesome design skills. Oh well. Sure is a pity, ’cause I’ve designed such a nice wordpress template and everything. And how the hell am I going to sell it if I can’t showcase it? meh. Suppose I could give it away instead of selling wordpress templates.

I know that blogger is owned by google, who, let’s face it, have money to throw around. But really, wordpress could take some notes here. On the other hand, wordpress don’t really have a monetisation model like blogger er I mean google. So, maybe they’re stuck with having to charge people for custom upgrades.

Either way, the underdog blog will always be free. If you want a free wordpress template, email me. put the words underdogblogger and gmail into some sort of semblance of an email address….don’t forget the @ sign or the .com and you should be good to go!

Categories: Get Paid To, Inspire, Potential

Flipping Cynical

January 22, 2009 3 comments

(the cynical look at making money online flipping websites)

So, I’m thinking of flipping a website or two, you know, ’cause it seems like everyone is doing it, and I really hate to be left out making less money online than I should be. Not like I’m really “in” anyway. I mean make money bloggers tend to be pretty clicky and even though I can’t say I’m in the mainstream by any means, it’s obvious my sychophantic rantings about the make money online industry underlie a desperate longing to be an A-list blogger scaming you out of your money with useless product after useless product.

Yes sir! I want it all. Hustle-influenced-Mickey-Bricks-style. Speaking of which, have you been watching Hustle on BBC 1? It’s great isn’t it? I mean I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I’ve got a soft spot for Hustle. Why? Well it is all about the Underdog isn’t it? Some may not like the fact that a TV show glorifies criminals….grifters…..con men, but Mickey Bricks (played by Adrian Lester) is a grifter with a heart. He doesn’t go after the average joe. He targets people who are already bent and so, in a way, he is a modern Robin Hood, righting the wrongs of society….just as I am writing the wrongs of the make money online world (okay that went a little too far, but I couldn’t resist the pun)! Anyway, most of the online money making websites and blogs you find are nothing better than a good old fashioned con. Yes sir! That beautiful sales page that goes on for miles promising untold riches? It’s probably a con. You probably won’t make money following their methods.

Before I go off on another tiradal tangent, let’s get back to the tirade at hand.

Today, I’m going to insult website flippers. I would love to flip a site that isn’t a good old fashioned con. That rare website on sitepoint that would actually make someone some money. I’m sure everyone gets into it with scruples though, and pretty soon they are eroded away when the cash rolls in. So I’ll probably list my site while I’m drunk and in a “fuck the world” kind of mood so I don’t suffer from some sort of guilt induced “here, have it for a fiver + seven quid for the domain name ’cause that’s what it’s really worth” sales listing.

First up when entering a new arena of making money online is research. I’m looking through auction listings on a bunch of sites…..checking out the competition. What sells, what doesn’t…….there are a few things I’ve noticed. It’s pretty appaling what passes for a good niche in the “startup websites” category. There are tons of sites there that just won’t make any money. I’m not the hottest niche finder in the world, but I figure a lot of the people who purchase websites (or at least start up websites) must be amateurs who’ve been sold a pipe dream of easy riches on the internet rather than a marketable niche.

How do I know? Well, follow me down the rabit hole of logic for a minute. Say you find a listing, you like the look of the blog. You like the niche, you think – hey I can make money online with a blog about fishing. After all, I like to fish. It fits in with my personal outlook of retiring early an’ spendin’ mah time down by the river. Chillin.  I’ve got lots to say on the subject. So, your eye is caught and you read on. It’s pretty convincing is the sales spiel. I mean, I’m convinced. This site will make me money! After all, it says the site ranks first for the long-tail phrase  “cunty the sardine”. And further more,it even tells you how to monetise the website you are about to purchase. Yeah? Yeah! It says:

“how to make money from this blog once you’ve purchased it”

(or something similar). And then the magic word that holds the hopes and dreams of every fledgling internet marketer in the world…….

Adsense.

Yes! That’s my ticket to quittin’ the day job. Adsense + Blog = Profit! Simple! I rule! So nice of the site builder to tell me. Dude’s practically handed me money on a plate.

But wait. Ever the cynic, if I were you, I would ask myself (when presented with such convincing deal closing sales speak); “Why isn’t the person hanging on to the site if it is such a hot niche?”. Put it another way. If this site is simply going to sit there, rolling the dough your way, why isn’t the guy who built it hanging on to it?

So then I would go and do a little research. Type in that long tail phrase. What was it again? Oh yes “cunty the sardine”. Type that into google and search baby! Now check to see if anyone is actually bidding on that phrase. Nope? Didn’t think so. If there are no adsense ads on google’s own search results, how the hell do you think you are going to make money with adsense on the site that ranks top for that long tail phrase? It isn’t! So, why is it being sold? Because it is a deadend niche mascarading as a potential goldmine. It is in fact, not a sardine, but a red herring! And I hate herring. Damn those Norwegians and their “cuisine”!

But wait you say, I’ve looked at the actual site and there are adverts being displayed. Oh, say I, but what are those adverts for? hmmm? Read ’em, go on. Are they even related to the blog’s subject matter? Nooooooooo. They are adverts for “how to set up a blog” or general service announcements from google. Do you think people will click those when they are actually looking for a whaling harpoon? Uhhuh. Okaaaaaay, whatever. Good luck.

(You know what else I love at sitepoint? Learning the sales lingo. You know when the listing says  “super duper heavily customised premium theme never to be sold again”. What that actually means is “I changed the background colour on this theme I have, and added a logo that I found on a free image site”. Next time I sell a site, I’ll make the background ochre instead of peach. mwahahahahaha I can make money online with my wordpress theme forever. Still, you gotta talk the talk – I’m gonna use that in my listing so watch out.

Approach those auctions (mine included) with caution. Don’t believe the hype. Many of the sites listed for sale promising instant internet cash probably won’t make you any money at all. It’s all a big con, a big salespitch. And it isn’t even a modern-day-robin-hood-Hustle-like con that catches evil naughty people at their own game. Nope, it’s a con aimed at the average joe or joesette, who is fed up with his or her job, and worried about rising unemployment. The average joe just wants to make a few honest bucks from a website on the side. That’s who you are selling to. Scruples? Hah. Fuck scruples. Fuck ’em to high hell. It’s always easier to justify something when you de-humanise the person on the other end (aside aside aside aside I say….that’s why armies de-humanise the enemy, it makes them easier to kill…why do you think they code name ’em? charlie? gi joe? etc etc). That’s why it’s so easy to be what is essentially a bastard con artist on the internet, because you don’t see the innocent young lady with 2 kids to feed and mortgage that’s fucked up beyond belief because the banks didn’t manage the impossible task of manifesting money out of thin air……

Eh, who am I kidding, you guys doing the buying aren’t reading this. Even if you were, you wouldn’t listen to me, because so many other people sing a different tune. And anyway, who am I to disillusion you, my potential buyer? Go to sitepoint buy buy buy. Because you can make money on the internet buying a website.

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 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”

What your grandma doesn’t know about internet list building

November 27, 2008 6 comments

(or where I tell you how I like to sign up to free “spam free” ebooks everyone offers to build their list)

Yearg – I forgot to add my aside into my post about having food in my fridge yesterday that turned out to be more about a fable than anything else.  Bad me.  I won’t do it again.

Oh well.  Never ye mind.

So you know how every blog and his dog has a little “sign up to our newsletter” or “give us your email and get a free ebook” type of thing?  They always say “don’t worry, 100% spam free”.  But you just know they will email you with “special offer” after “special offer” jiminy-jam packed with affiliate links.  Well, here’s what your grandma doesn’t know about THE LIST……They are all completely automated.  I bet most so called web-entreupreneurs who are faking it till the make it never even look through their list to see who has signed up.  I bet most of them just leave it on autopilot.  You know what I like to do?  I lke to sign up with strange names.  I like to see if anyone checks and weeds me out.  On blogs I really don’t like, I’ll put in something mildly offensive – just because I can be an asshole sometimes.  On blogs that I feel ambivalent towards, I’ll use something like Detective Van Halen,  or Humpty Dumpty.  Sometimes I like to put my name in as “just another sucker waiting for your marketing crap”, but that gets scuppered now and then when people put a limit on the length of your name.  On blogs I actually like to read, I don’t usually sign up 🙂

Obviously I’m using a spam email addy for all this.  But I check it now and then for fun.  I’m still waiting for the savvy marketer to look through his sign ups, notice me and send a humourous email back signed with an equally crazy name.  See, if that happened, then I would know 2 things:

  1. That dude/lady has a sense of humour
  2. They actually check their list from time to time

The presence of 1 means I might actually like the person and that they might not be full of shit like most make money bloggers trying to build a “money is in the list” list out there.  The presence of 2 means they might actually try to personalise something towards their readers.  You know what though?  I’m still waiting.  So far, nadda, nothing, zip…….If you find me in your list – send me an email.  I ain’t gonna buy your snake oil, but what the heck, maybe you’ll make a friend.  A cynical friend……but hey I’ve been know to give backlinks to my friends 🙂

Now, you know what, I think we need a series of “What your nan doesn’t know about the internet“.

Anchor text is the most important thing

November 17, 2008 9 comments

(or where I tell you how to get more hits for keywords by using it in your anchor text)

It’s no secret that I think organic search results are the way to go for making money online.  The social web is great, and fun, but I don’t think social traffic converts well.  I mean, you guys are reading this right?  Most of you browse here from other blogs that I’ve left a comment on.  How many of you feel like throwing me a little affiliate bone and buying some cool web hosting?  yeah…..none of you?  Hmmm that’s my point entirely.  See now if I ranked really well for the search phrase “where can I buy cool web hosting”, then I bet I would make a lot more money, even if my traffic halved.  Why?  Because people browsing this page would already want to buy something.  They would be looking for a product.  You lot are just looking.  Buncha of tire kickers, the lot of you (but I still love you all, please leave a nice comment….I will bribe you if I have to….what do you want? 🙂 ).

Yeah, so how to get all important organic search traffic?  Backlinks.  That’s the way you get up in the ranks of the old backrub search engine….erm I mean google.  You know, I offered a link to someone a while ago, asked them what anchor text they wanted.  Their reply was “I don’t care what anchor text you use”.  Really?  I mean really?  you don’t care?  You should care!  you should care a lot!!!  What if I link to you with the phrase “cunty the sardine”?  You going be happy with that?  Is that what you want the big G to associate your site with?  Really?  That’s an anchor text you want?  Man, sometimes I wonder…….tell you what, someone offers me a backlink with my choice of anchor text, I thank them profusely and consider carefully what I want to rank for.  That’s what I do.

With that in mind, it’s always interesting to see what organic search phrases you are ranking for.  Take them, analyse them a little and decide which ones you want to rank better for.  I mean, might as well capitalise on traffic right?  So, what have people searched on to get to me?  Well, some phrase are just bizzare.  I mean someone actually found me with the phrase pavlov vodka. lol…..have to chuckle at that one. Another reader hit me from using wealthiest adsense. Wow. That one I wouldn’t mind more of. That one and a few related searches could bring in a tidy profit if handled correctly. How about wordpress theme. Woooooosh……that could bring a rush of traffic. Might not be profitable given the vast expanse of free wordpress themes out there, but still. My favourite so far: the best and worst way to make money online. That’s the money baby! Give me that one. Then I paste up a thin affiliate site with a bunch of reviews of some cool products….give a few “editors picks” and hey presto.  That would really turn this puppy into a cash blog.

Pay attention to you anchor text. If someone offers you a choice…..grab it with both hands!