Insulting Spam

You know, spam at best is normally irritating and nerve racking. These days, spam is taking on a new, direct approach that leaves me confused and wondering what some of these people are thinking.

I can’t be the only one seeing it, but spam comments are actually starting to get insulting. Since I usually delete stuff pretty fast, I haven’t been charting a lot of what it’s been saying lately. However, I thought about it enough to save the last two examples:

Even though this is very interesting, I don’t think I could agree with you completely.”

Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I’m in agreement with you partially, but when you say something like this you actually have to be ready to defend it.”

Many of you are probably seeing the same kind of thing these days. I know that because I visit a lot of blogs, I see a lot of them that have both positive and negative spam comments on them, and the owners of those blogs either thanking the people for their comments or arguing with these spam comments. Sometimes I find that fascinating, and other times I find that pretty sad. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the internet for long time that I can tell it’s spam, but sometimes it just seems so pathetic seeing people trying to argue with something that’s been automatically generated, thus isn’t real.

Not that spam has any redeeming value to begin with, but I keep trying to figure out what possible motivation the people who send this stuff out have in being either rude or in attack mode. Most people don’t respond well when they’re being attacked, and when it comes to their blogs people are more apt to delete rude comments than to keep them around. My thought has always been that I don’t mind if people don’t agree with me as long as they keep a certain amount of decorum. I’m not going to allow bad language, and I’m not going to allow name-calling much beyond calling someone a jerk as long as there’s an explanation behind it. I figure it this way; I pay for it, my name is attached to it even if I’m not really a part of the conversation, and I’m not letting it stay.

I guess this is just the next stage of spam trying to find a way to seem as realistic as possible. I hope those of you who read this blog aren’t falling for this kind of thing all that often.

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Residual Or Full Time Income?

I was checking out a post by our Buddy Mike CJ talking about blogging and job security, and it sparked a memory in my mind. In his post, he’s talking about a friend of his who’s now sick and worried about his business. Mike talks about how, by making a living blogging and being online, he’s actually in a very good position because his business will not only make residual income, but he could still do blog posting from a hospital bed if he were ever in the position to have to do so.

It reminded me that the reason I actually bought my second domain many years ago was because I wanted to try to set up another source where I might be generating some online income as a just in case measure. As a consultant, there are times when I’m making mad dollars, and other times when my income is drastically deficient. There is more down time than alive time, but it’s certainly not vacation time by any stretch.

Enter internet marketing. The basic idea is to find a way to either create your own or market someone else’s products, create and market the webpage to hopefully get visitors to stop by and buy the product, then repeat the process over and over until you’re making serious bank. I mean, it sounds so easy when you hear about other people who’ve done it, right?

I’m here to tell you something you already know; it’s not so easy at that. It seems there are ideas that either work or don’t work, and products that either sell or don’t sell. There are tactics that may work such as mailing lists, or might not work such as popup ads; I’m not sure either one of these works or doesn’t work, but my friend Kelvin is wont to say (that is a legitimate phrase, Sire lol) that if people keep doing it then it’s working for someone.

Here’s the two biggest questions most of us ask about some of these things. One, if we copy what someone else has done step by step, will it necessarily make us the kind of money they’ve made? Two, if they’re making so much money doing that, why are they telling me how to make money? I’m not at that money making level, but I can answer both of those questions.


Lurker
Chocolate Assortment

Let’s look at the first one. Do you know the origin of modern day chocolate? Though there’s an interesting history about the stuff, modern day chocolate was pretty much started by Cadbury, whom many of you have heard of. Is there anyone who would say that Cadbury is the number one chocolate maker in the world today? Nope. I could probably pop off 5 other chocolate makers who are more popular and sell better. And most of them at least initially copied the same formula as Cadbury. But there are probably at least 10’s of thousands who have come afterwards that haven’t quite made it to Cadbury’s level, who might have started, floundered, and gone away already. But many of them are making some kind of money, and are surviving by doing it their own way. They’re not the norm, but at least they’re hanging in there. Those other people are us. We could follow the model exactly as the big time marketers do, and we will either win or fail; there are no guarantees. There are lots of dolls out there, but only one Barbie; that’s just how it goes.

Let’s look at the second one. Not on the money front, but on a different front, at one time, when I was still an employee, I was one of the top ranked managers where I worked. I was tied with another guy as the top dogs based on a survey of employees; not bad, eh? This was for a corporation that had around 1,600 employees overall. When I decided it was time to go, I wanted to get into leadership and management because I felt I was pretty good at it, and I wanted to see if I could help others get there as well. That’s what led me to write the book you see there to the left side, Embrace The Lead. Sometimes it’s not enough that others have named you as something good, and it’s not enough that you’ve shown that you can do something well, even mastered it, if you will. You want to see if you can then show others how to do it for themselves, to help spread your legacy, to prove that your theories and practices are correct.

And if you can make a little bit of jack off it. so much the better. However, the second one only works if you’ve actually accomplished something, while the first one is open for everyone. On the first one, though, we all learn that there might be aspects of how someone did something that we don’t like. For instance, Sire and I don’t like mailing lists; if that keeps us from ever truly being successful, so be it. But I remember a presentation I got to see a few years ago from a Rich Jerk representative that troubled me. I don’t want to give out all the details, but in essence the entire sales pitch was based on a lie to consumers. The person who created the video even gloated and laughed, saying his only interest was making money, and at least the people would be getting something out of it, even if it was based on his lie, since he knew absolutely nothing about the product. Man, I just couldn’t live with myself if I did that.

And therein lies the issue. There really are things that hold some of us back from being successful, even though we say we’re trying as hard as we can. I commented on a post earlier this evening where the writer (another buddy of mine) said in one of his financial recommendations that people should work harder to make more money; he wasn’t talking about internet marketing, just to get that out of the way. I wrote back that I didn’t believe it had anything to do with working harder as much as all of us trying to learn how to work smarter. I truly do believe we can all be as successful as we want to be, but our thinking patterns might not be quite in line with where we want to be.

Where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me still scratching and making my little small residual income, and it leaves Mike making his living online. It leaves me with most of y’all, trying to decide when or if I’m going to lay caution to the wind and actually go for it full blast, or keep working on growing incrementally until maybe, one day, I get where I want to be. What about you? How do you see yourself online, if you’re hoping to make money? If you’re not hoping to make money, I guess this question isn’t for you, so just move on to the product. lol

Chocolat (Blu-ray)

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Some Random Sunday Things

I’ve been on quite a clip lately in writing this blog, my other blogs, other people’s blogs and all the articles I’ve been writing as well. I could have taken today off, and I kind of am because this is a quick hitter to mention a few things that have entertained or mentioned me lately.

The first is another online radio interview I did with Beverly Mahone of Boomer Diva Nation, the same group that named me as one of the top Baby Boomer Men of 2010. I thank her for that, and I hope to be able to live up to it for the year. Here’s the interview, which you can download as a MP3.

The second is both an honor and some confusion, I guess. I was listed on Not A Pro Blog by Jordan Cooper as one of the 20 Bloggers To Watch Out For In A Back Alley (at least I was; seems the actual Problogger bought this particular blog in April 2010, so the rest of this paragraph makes little sense, but I’m leaving it here anyway).

There’s a video that picks on 20 of us guys, but when he gets to me he compares me to Magilla Gorilla. I missed the reference, my wife isn’t happy for some reason (probably that “equating a black man with a gorilla thing), but I like that I got a mention anyway. I’d have commented on his blog but he has Disqus, and you know how I feel about that, so I figure he’ll see the trackback. His blog is pretty good, and I subscribe to it, so go ahead and check it out.

The third is just a bit of funny that I saw that I wanted to pop up here, though I’m not sure I’m really allowed to do. If I’m contacted, I’ll take it back down, but I’ll get a bit of fun out of it first. This is how you take someone’s power away when they don’t really have it to begin with. I wish I could have thought of saying stuff like this back to people when I was a kid; now I don’t have to deal with such things. I bring you Get Fuzzy:

Finally, some quick football picks. I’m obviously not the best guy at picking games, but I’ll have my fun with it anyway. In the AFC, I expect Indianapolis to win big, but I’m pulling for the NY Jets. They have to be the emotional pick in this game, and all week we’ve been evoking the memories of Broadway Joe here in NY state. In the NFC, man, I really don’t care since my Cowboys lost, but since I have to make a pick I’m going with New Orleans, though for no particular reason.

Indianapolis versus Minnesota would have way more back stories to tell, and the networks would love the Manning vs. Favre comparisons, and of course that game would easily draw in more visitors and make more money than a Jets versus Saints Super Bowl, but most of the world will watch no matter who’s playing, and I’ll have a legitimate betting interest in the game then (Scott, get ready!). By the way, the Jets prove why you play these games rather than just anoint the teams that should be there. No one saw the Jets making it this far with a rookie QB and new coach; fantastic stuff.

That’s it; a “short post” that ended up being more than 500 words anyway. Enjoy your Sunday y’all!

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Avatar – My Review

As strange as it seems to me, I’ve only ever done one other movie review on this blog. That was for The Secret, and I don’t know if that movie ever was brought to the theaters. I know was about to the theaters where I live, but it’s possible in the larger cities it did hit the big screens. No matter; here’s my first movie review of something I saw in a theater.

The truth of the matter is that I had no interest in going to see Avatar. While I’m usually crazy about science fiction movies, especially those involving aliens, usually I like the scenarios that are set up where we earthlings are trying to protect our existence. I don’t really know why, and I might have to think about that one of these days, but that’s usually my preference. I think it’s pretty much highlighted when you look back at my list of my favorite sci-fi movies. Anyway, my wife seemed to get caught up in all the publicity this time around, and suddenly she really want to go. And, since it wasn’t a chick flick, I figured why not.

We decided upon the 3-D movie because it was the earliest showing of the thing and we wanted to get it out of the way because we had heard it was close to three hours long. Despite all the numbers that everyone has been hearing about how this movie has been doing, the theater wasn’t packed. I’m not sure what that says about the movie or the fact that it was a 3-D, but I just type that out there.

Since the movie’s been out there for more than a month at this point, hopefully I’m not giving anything away to anybody who still really want to see this movie. But I’m not going to all that many details, so if I tell you what the story is about and you still want to go see it, remember that the movie is still three hours long while my synopsis is very short so you might still enjoy it.

The story is about a race of tall blue creatures in human form living on an alien moon that someone has discovered is rich with a mineral that we, the bad earthlings, desperately want. We have found that it’s not so easy getting what we want from these people who, though primitive, have shown themselves to be a pretty good match against those trying to take their resources. So the thought is to create avatars that look like the blue people, link human minds to these avatars, and have them interact with the blue people, learning their culture and trying to figure out a peaceful way to get them to leave so we can take their stuff.

One of the people who gets linked to an avatar turns out to be a former Marine who has lost the use of his legs and ends up taking over the avatar from his scientist brother who somehow gets killed. Of course he takes over the avatar without any training and without anyone determining what his overall mental state might be. At some point he integrates with these people, who accept him even though they know he’s not really one of them and shows him their ways. Even though it turns out that he’s a double agent, because while he’s with some people who are trying to find a peaceful solution, there is a military buildup which is basically waiting to go in and take whatever they want if a peaceful solution can be found. He of course ends up wanting to help these people keep what they have, because it turns out they have a symbiosis with every living thing on this moon and he comes to understand that, and they need his help to overcome the overwhelming technology of the military so that they can preserve their way of life in the end.

I have to say I like Avatar, I can’t say I loved it. I did not walk out of the movie saying “wow, I got to see that again”. A few hours later, I didn’t have this movie running through my head making me feel as though I had seen something I’ve never seen before. There were couple of great action scenes I’d have to say, where you see stuff blown up, some fight scenes, and some battles with wildlife. And I love stuff like that, yet for whatever reason this movie just didn’t grab me like some other movies have. It was well filmed and well acted, but I just didn’t ever get any emotional involvement in this movie. It’s quite possible that I was numbed by all the attention and publicity this movie had gotten beforehand. That happened to me once before when I eventually saw E.T. the first time and absolutely hated it. Years later when I saw it again I started to love that movie.

On a scale of 1 to 5 I would probably rank Avatar a 3 1/2. I was less emotionally involved in this movie that James Cameron’s other fantastic movie Titanic. Maybe it was the 3-D version that threw me off a little bit. I’m not crazy about having to wear 3-D glasses, and these days they tend to make movies look darker than they’re supposed to be, and I’m not usually crazy about watching movies that seem to be dark throughout most of it. The 3-D effects weren’t bad, but there were some things I thought needed to be stronger for a better effect.

By the way, I want to address one criticism of the movie that I’ve heard. Some critics have said that they see some racial overtones in this movie because, in their words, once again the white man had to save a group of people of color instead of there being able to find a way to save themselves. It’s kind of an ignorant statement by people who have no clue in my opinion of what technology can do against anybody who has no clue about technology. Native Americans did not lose in this country because they didn’t have heart or skill, they lost because they didn’t have the kind of technology that guns offer. If you’ve ever seen the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data proves that one person with the right technology can take out an entire village, and then hears him say that there are ways to take people out without even needing the ability to see those people, you get to understand that intelligence and heart isn’t always enough to overcome things. I wonder what the criticism would have been if the main character of this movie had been someone like Will Smith. If there hadn’t been the same conversation, then those people would’ve been disingenuous because it wasn’t a racial issue from the get go, it was a technological issue. You people who still might think this; get over it! And I say that with some risk since my wife, who actually liked the movie more than me, thought it had racial overtones as well.

If anyone else has seen Avatar, I like to know your opinion to see whether you agree with me or not.

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Six Figure Blogger Blueprint – A Review

I recently got my hands on a copy of Six Figure Blogger Blueprint by David Risley. I read it, as it’s only around 45 pages or so, and decided to give a review of it in my own fair and unbiased way; y’all know me.

First, I want to get the full disclosure stuff out of the way. I had never heard of David Risley until our friend Sire wrote a post on why he wouldn’t be linking to probloggers anymore. David stopped by and offered some opinions that got folks riled up and pretty much helped catapult Sire under 100,000 as far as Alexa rankings go (and I’m betting Sire didn’t send him a gift or anything for it). That post prompted an interesting response back from David, which, based on comments I read, led me to write this about knowing one’s audience, and then led to Sire writing this post on commenting, which then led to a video post by a guy named Allan (who’s removed the video and the article; I wonder what that’s about), and eventually led our buddy Rose to write this. He is also one of the experts interviewed for the book Beyond Blogging. If you go through all of that, you’ll know that most of what was going on wasn’t all that positive, but at least it’s now been disclosed.

Back to the review. I have to say this; I liked it. I’d be lying if I said there was anything that was Earth shattering in the report, but the truth is I’ve been writing blogs for about five years, so I should know most of what it is that was in his report. There are obviously one or two things I disagree with, but they’re more about personal choice disagreements rather than whether he’s right or wrong. For instance, he talks about the need to have a mailing list. I haven’t talked all that much on this blog about mailing lists, but for me, I only have a mailing list for my newsletters and not for my blogs. My general thought is that if I don’t have anything different to send somebody then why have a mailing list. But this is also something that I tried to have a conversation with Lynn Terry about, and we really didn’t get anywhere on this topic either. My thinking might be a little convoluted, but I can’t figure out why so I’m pretty much going to keep thinking like that.

I think the blueprint is actually laid out very well. He talks about his beginnings into internet marketing and what lead to him eventually get into blogging. He talks about niche blogging, which a lot of people have talked about in the past, and he gives a pretty nice guideline for how that should go. As a matter of fact, while I was reading it I was reminded of something that I think is probably a major failing of my finance blog, that being that just having a niche blog isn’t enough. You have to remember to solve issues that people have at the same time as giving them opinions and thoughts on other things. I have to say that being reminded of that one nugget was probably enough for me to say that I like this thing.

He also does talk about how to market oneself and how to monetize a blog. Like I said, for me a lot of it is pretty old hat stuff, but there are some new things in there that I might have to think about. Near the end he also gives you a way to plan your blog following a step-by-step process. Now, most people probably didn’t do this when they created a blog, and it might be a bit rigid for a lot of people, but at least it’s there and it’s something you can try if you decide to start another blog that’s specific toward trying to make money.

So, if you’re still relatively new to blogging, and my little blogging tips aren’t enough for you, I think you could do yourself some good by going to get this. It doesn’t cost you anything, so you can’t use that as a gripe. And even if you’ve been blogging for a while, you might find a nugget or two here and there that might make you think about something you can use for yourself. It only took me 20 minutes to read this blueprint; then again, y’all know I can speed read. 🙂 Go for it I say; what can you lose?

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