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Adblocking; Don’t Blame The Consumer

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 27, 2015

I used to love commercials as a kid. I loved all types of advertising. However, it wasn’t until I ordered the sea monkeys from a comic book and got something that wasn’t quite up to snuff (what the heck was that anyway?) that I started to distrust certain kinds of ads.

Anyway, that’s kind of what’s led me to talk about this subject. In deference to my buddy Craighead Pro (that’s his professional name lol), I decided it was time to take on this particular subject about “adblocking”.

Here's your chance to be popular! 1953
Tom Simpson via Compfight

For those who aren’t familiar with it, many browsers offer a plugin called Adblock Pro which allows us to block ads from certain websites; okay, almost every website out there. Some sites have figured out how to get certain types of ads to you in different ways (for instance, it doesn’t block all those newsletter subscribe popups) while others have created other plugins or apps to help block more of it if you want to deal with it.

Craighead’s view is an intriguing one, and I’m not totally against his thinking on this one. He’s a big YouTube creator and many YouTubers put a lot of time into creating this content because they can set up ads on them to make money online. With Adblock on, you never see any of those ads, whether they’re in the video or along the side, thus you’re never compelled to potentially click on them or watch them and the creators don’t make money.

Obviously it’s the same with websites. When we block the ads those sites lose a lot of potential revenue because who wants to advertise on a site where most ads are getting blocked? I certainly wouldn’t because it would be a waste of my advertising dollars.

So I get it; I really do. To this end, I’ve stopped blocking ads on YouTube because I recognize the time those folks put into creating this stuff that I like to watch. Just like with other types of ads I tend to have “ad blindness” for the stuff that shows up on the side so that doesn’t bother me. Anything that shows up on a video I can just click away from it by hitting the X if I’m not interested, and some other ads run for 5 seconds and gives you the ability to click away if you so choose.

However, I have no shame when it comes to blocking a lot of other stuff, including CNN and Facebook and on most websites I visit. Even though I run a couple of affiliate ads here and there I still block those other sites.

Why?

I’m going to blame the advertisers for this as much as the websites, but the advertisers first.

What makes us watch advertising in the first place? When we watch ads it’s because it’s offering us something compelling. For instance, the ads I’ll actually watch on YouTube have captured my imagination in some way. I like the funny ads. I like the movie trailers. Even though I’m not a gamer I love seeing those ads; those folks are creative as anything.

I’m not watching an ads that’s 2 minutes long talking about a medical malady I don’t have. I’m almost never clicking on one of those banner ads that comes up because there’s almost never any interest in that product for me. And sometimes those ads look like what we all used to call “generic trick spam”, where they’ll say something like “your computer’s out of date” or stupid mess like that.

A popup telling me I have a virus that I know I don’t have because I have an antivirus program is both disturbing and irksome. That’s one of my biggest gripes with ads that Facebook allows. Those misleading ads aren’t going to fool me after so many years, but I’m betting there are a lot of people who aren’t quite as savvy clicking on that stuff. Those and the ads that are videos that automatically start playing; man, I hate that stuff. That’s why I have a couple of extra layers of protection against ads on that site.

CNN is a different animal entirely. I removed Flash from my computers about 2 months ago as both Firefox, my browser of course, and Chrome switched to a HTML5 mode so I could watch YouTube videos. They’re still blocked on some sites for Firefox, though I can watch them on Chrome. However, CNN has figured out how to not only override that issue but the issue of keeping their videos from automatically starting. And now, if you try to pause those videos it immediately takes you to a different page than the article you want to read & starts playing a different ad; what’s that about?

So, I run different types of blockers on sites like this, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. Whether it’s the types of ads or the intrusiveness of these things, frankly I’m not in the mood to deal with it. YouTube is kind of a different animal but even there, if the ad isn’t compelling I’m not going to stay around to consume it. But I at least give them a chance.

What’s your thought on all of this? Can you see both sides of it? Is it the fault of the advertisers for what they create, the fault of the sites for what they accept, or not your problem whatsoever?
 

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Are You Trying To Make Money With Your Blog?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 2, 2015

Are you trying to make money online? Are you trying to sell services or products? And are you trying to do any of this to your blog?

Independent
Christi Nielsen
via Compfight

I ask this question because there can be subtle differences between writing style based on what it is you’re actually trying to do.

For instance, writing about products that you’re trying to sell is a much different animal than trying to explain to people the types of services you provide.

When you’re writing about a product, you almost have to go step by step by first telling what the product is, how it works, why it’s so great and why someone might need to use it.

When writing about services, you’re not necessarily going to be as direct about them, at least most of the time, because that kind of hard sell for services usually falls on deaf ears. Instead, it usually involves a consistent set of scenarios that one puts up to show that they have expertise in that area so that people will get comfortable with the fact that they may know what they’re talking about.

One of the problems some people have when writing about products is that they forget to be conversational. Everybody loves stories, because stories are very conversational.

For instance, if you’re trying to sell a fishing rod, telling stories about being out on a boat in the middle of a bay while casting with your favorite fly and catching the trout you have always wanted to catch makes for a compelling story. A full description of the lure and the rod and the reel could make someone think that if they bought those things they might have the same kind of success or adventure. But most marketers don’t think that way, which is a shame.

As you’ve seen on this blog, I talk about a lot of different things trying to show my expertise, since I offer services. I do have a couple of products at the top of each of my sidebar, but those are only small pieces of my overall business.

Most of the time there’s a story tied in with the particular topic that I’m addressing on that day, and to be truthful I’m always hoping that one day one of those stories will pique the interest of somebody who’s looking for someone with my particular set of skills.

I hope for the same thing on my other business blog, while on my finance blog I keep trying to make it financially diverse hoping to attract advertisers. Of course that’s another way of making money, getting advertisers, but it can take a lot of hard work to have the right content to drive enough traffic to your blog to make it profitable for them.

As I always say, the point of every blog and every article is to either inform, educate, or entertain. If you decide that you’re looking to use it to make money or to promote yourself, then you have to be flexible enough to alter your text to try to accomplish your goals. When all is said and done that’s what marketing is all about.
 

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Your Business Credibility

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 20, 2014

One of the best things about advertising and working online is that if something isn’t working, you can change it pretty easily. Testing can take some time, but it’s less expensive than printing $10,000 worth of material, mailing it out to thousands of people, getting nothing in return and having to do it all again.

Wikipedia - T-shirt
mikeedesign
via Compfight

One of the worst things about advertising and working online is when you get things so screwed up that you lose any business credibility you might have had. Sure, many times you’ll get another shot at making a go of things, but you’ll probably never get any of those people back that stopped by, disapproved of what you did, left and talked about it later on.

One Sunday last year I did a Google Hangout with my Hot Blog Tips crew on the topic of writing paid posts and blogging credibility, which I’m sharing below. It’s my position that if people do things that are unethical just to make money that eventually it will kill them and their business prospects. There are a lot of bloggers who write paid posts, or put up posts with someone else’s words, and say a lot of glowing stuff about something they’re not familiar with. Some will be promoting a product using an affiliate link that they know nothing about and writing something overly positive without knowing if it is or not.

When it comes to your business and advertising it online, I feel that what you don’t want to do is say you can do things that you can’t do. At the same time, overstating your capabilities doesn’t do you many favors either. I remember having a conversation with someone a couple of years ago where he said that if you’re asked if you can do something or provide something you always answer “yes”, then you go out and find the person who can really do it. To me, it might be true that you can find someone who can do the work, but if you don’t know that person and they do the work badly, you’re the one who’s going to suffer.

There’s nothing wrong with self promotion. There’s really nothing wrong with a bit of hyperbole, although if you say you’re the #1 whatever in your market I tend to believe you’d better be ready to prove it by showing me something, since I might not even allow you to work with me unless I get testimonials. These days people are more savvy than ever, and they can check everything online. Try to fool someone and it will come back at you eventually. Nothing disappears online; remember that.

By the way, you need to know that if you happen to use words that aren’t your own, sent to you by a marketer that they believe will help you sell their product, that it’s a violation of FCC rules and it could result in both fines and losing your domain; just thought I’d mention that.

Check out the video below, as it addresses this topic with a few more ideas on the subject than just mine:


 

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Is HARO For You?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 8, 2012

Back in January I wrote a post titled Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves. One of the things I talked about in that post was how so many of us miss out on opportunities to get publicity that don’t cost us any money, maybe only a little bit of effort. And I added that I’m the same way often, which is easily true.

Enter HARO, which stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. Its main purpose is to connect reporters with people who might have information they need and the urge to gain publicity. From our end, the non-reporters, we can sign up to receive email 3 times a day with requests from both news and magazine reports to respond to any of the multiple links that may be something that describes us. This isn’t like a job where you respond to things that don’t quite fit what you do but you have the skills for. The needs are very specific, and thus if it’s you, you’ll know it.

This is my second foray into HARO; I don’t even remember when I was a part of it the first time around. I also don’t remember why I signed up to try it again, but somehow I’m thinking I have to blame Beverly Mahone in some fashion because of her talking about PR and getting publicity for your business. After being with it for the last 3-4 weeks, it’s time to ask the question “Is HARO for you?”

As I mentioned, you get email 3 times a day if you sign up for it. The email always starts off with an advertisement, but it’s totally text. I don’t have a problem with that, and you shouldn’t either. Next comes the requests, and I’ve seen as few as 25 and as many as 60. They’re categorized to help you get through them quicker, although it’s possible that you may be able to address the interests in categories that aren’t specifically geared for your business. For instance, I once responded to a query from someone looking to talk to dependents of military personnel who traveled a lot, since I certainly lived that life.

What’s my issue? Including the first time I was with HARO I’ve never had one person ever respond back to me. Now, one could surmise that they found what they were looking for beforehand, and that’s obviously true. Still, how do you feel when you visit a lot of blogs, leave what you think are pretty good comments, and never get an acknowledgment?

You feel like you’ve just wasted your time, that’s what. And that’s how I often feel with HARO. I’ve tried it a couple of different ways. A few times I responded and gave my story entirely, thinking that if they saw everything up front they’d at least contact me to ask for more, whether they used it or not. A few times I’ve gone minimalistic, giving some information but not going into any details, seeing if the “tease” was enough to get their attention.

Nope, nada, zip. Now, the site tells you that all these big time news sources use their services in looking for people to talk to and get information from, which is pretty enticing. But when you look at the emails, the majority of what you get certainly isn’t coming from big media. However, I didn’t sign up expecting NBC to come calling to ask me about anything. My hope was to possibly get into a couple of magazines, where people can read what you have to say and hopefully like it enough to look for you online.

So, is HARO for you and me? I’m not really sure yet, but I remember I had the same feeling the first time I left, and I’m getting that same feeling now. I mean, going through potentially hundreds of links and responding to some via email only to hear the sound of a vacant room without the echo as a response… is it worth the time? I’m thinking I learned better methods from Bev’s book How To Get On The News Without Committing Murder, and have made a couple of local contacts because of it.

Still, I’m not ready to let go just yet, so I’m going to give it another couple of weeks to see if I’m getting more irritated or whether I feel it’ll all work out in the end. Right now, I know which way I’m leaning, and I bet you do as well.
 

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Accepting Advertising; Pricing, Visuals, Etc.

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 16, 2011

I’ve often talked about not making any money off this blog. Well, it’s a little different with one of my other blogs. On my finance blog, I get plenty of advertising. I can’t say I’m turning into a mogul on that page, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s doing pretty well, and combined with the Adsense money I make off one of my other sites I’m not doing all that badly.


by sachac

The thing about accepting advertising, though, is making sure that whatever you accept fits in with what it is you want to accomplish with your blog, or how you want it all to look. I thought I’d talk about this a little bit because you can find yourself gushing with a little bit of pride the first time someone comes to you asking if you’ll accept an ad without thinking about how it might eventually affect the look and structure of your blog.

For instance, when I first had advertising on this blog, I hooked up with Text Link Ads. And I made money; one month I made almost $100 while I was accepting it. Then Google learned about it and I lost my page rank. I wouldn’t have cared except it seems those advertisers stopped wanting to advertise on this blog because of it. And since my Alexa rank wasn’t as good as it is now I didn’t have anything else to keep them interested, so that was that.

These days, I don’t accept link ads on my blog except within a post. I also don’t accept any advertising that doesn’t have anything to do with the topic of the blog or website. That’s actually the most important thing you have to look at if you decide to accept advertising; relevance. Now I know I’ve said this blog will be about almost anything, but I do concentrate on a few things here and there. So, unless I’m popping up one of my own affiliate ads, you won’t see shampoo ads on this blog. I almost said you wouldn’t see Duncan Hines ads on this blog, but y’all know how much I love cake. lol

Okay, maybe not so much for this blog, but for my finance blog if the ad doesn’t concern something financial or business related it’s not going on there. I don’t accept any advertising on my business blog except for my affiliate ads. On my local blog I don’t have any advertising there yet, not even Adsense; I’m going to have to take care of that one of these days.

Then there’s the types of ads one will accept. I don’t accept any text link ads on the sidebars or on the first page, but I do accept banner ads of some type. If you decided to check out my finance blog you’ll see there’s this neat widget at the lower left. I get paid well to run that sucker and it’s finance related, although it’s geared towards a UK audience, which is one of the strangest anomalies for me. Most of the advertisers are from there, but they pay well and quickly and I don’t mind all that much, though it’s still confusing.

I also will allow someone to buy into an article, or write an article and pay for their ads to be in it. That’s one of the best parts of allowing guest posts there, and it’s the type of thing that can bring in cash here and there. For instance, yesterday I had a company ask if they could write an article about their website and their product. That’s a first, and the reason I turned it down was that it wasn’t a company geared towards an American audience, though it was financial. Since the blog is geared towards Americans it didn’t quite fit. However, I’d have gotten paid nicely for that guest article, which would have been a total advertisement, and I’m not above that.

I do allow ads within posts as long as they’re related to whatever the topic is on that post. I allow that kind of advertising on my other websites as well. Though I’m about to remove the links in a week because their contract is up, I have some linked advertising on my anti-smoking site, which ran for a year. Of course, the rate’s going up for anyone else who might want to advertise, but I’d grandfather them in for now.

Anyway, the overall idea is that money can be made on blogs or websites in more ways than one. It helps to think about your advertising rates and the type of advertising you’d like to accept if you’re ever asked. I hope you get asked as well; trust me, it’s kind of cool. 😉

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