Hazel Beverly: 3-23-21 Through 8-25-11

At the time you’re seeing this I am in Rochester NY as the funeral is about to start for my grandmother, Hazel Beverly, who passed away last Thursday at age 90 in her sleep. I thought it was important enough to take a break to talk about her on this day.


I hate to say this, but my grandmother’s side of the family is steeped in mystery; at least for me. Just last Thursday, after she passed away, did I learn that I have Cherokee Indian blood; of all things. I knew I had native American blood in me from my grandfather’s side, but no one knew which tribe he was from. The next day I learned that my grandmother’s only surviving sibling, who we were lucky enough to track down from the airport an hour before he was supposed to be going home, had a son along with the two daughters I knew about already. And it’s not that he’s ashamed of his son; it’s just that, in general, they all come from a generation where no one talks about anything without some reason for it to come up.

That’s how it was with my grandmother, who I always felt had Dean Martin cool about her. She was unflappable, even though a life that had its ups and downs, like most lives. She just went with whatever came up, and only having one daughter and one grandson to keep up with, felt life was pretty good.

She was proud when I graduated college, seeing as how she left school in the 8th grade. She was proud to know I played piano and sang because the did the same. She thought I was the funniest person she’d ever met; I loved to try to make her laugh. She was the one who introduced me to beets, red hot dogs, biscuits and syrup, grits, green pea soup with ham sandwiches and peanut brittle.

One of those strange memories is that she used to take me to church with her when I was 10 years old, living in Kansas City. She was devout but I think she took me for the entertainment value and to get me out of the house. It was my introduction to and probably my only experience with black churches and pretty much church in general. It was interesting because people would scream out, sing out, jump up and start dancing at almost any time, and the choir music… well, if you’re not used to traditional black church beats, which are based on 16th notes rather than quarter notes when you want to get people juiced up, still resonate in my mind more than 40 years later; I never learned how to play any of this type of music unfortunately.

But my grandmother didn’t do any of that. She wore the same Sunday dress every week she went, the same hat, and she had this quiet dignity that kept her from acting out. When I questioned her about it, as we were surrounded with all these other people that were, well, really into it, she just said “Every person gets out of it what they feel they need to get into their lives”. That was it; in her mind, nothing else needed to be said.


And that’s really one of those lessons that, from time to time, I hope I learned from her. She was pretty quiet; she only spoke when she felt something needed to be said, or when I’d ask her questions. She was sharp until the last 5 years of her life, when we’d talk about the weather for 30 minutes at a time because she couldn’t remember what I’d just said to her. But her long term memory was always there until the last few months, and she told me a few things here and there that I’ll never be allowed to disclose, but helped flesh out the family history just a little bit more.

I thank you Miss Hazel, my grandmother, for my mother, for allowing us to have a place to live while Dad was in Vietnam, for giving us a great laugh and story when you got “bus left”, for my Kansas City Chiefs jacket, for my crocheted bowling ball and pin, and for just being you, steady and cool. I’ll miss you for the rest of my life.
 

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Affiliate Programs Iā€™m Connected With ā€“ Part Three

Hi Y’all. We’re talking affiliate programs that I’ve used and tried to make money with over the years in these last few posts. We’ve had part one and part two and now we move to part three; hold on to your seats.

Clickbank is one affiliate programs I’ve never specifically written about, hence no link to an article I’ve written. Clickbank is a program that you see a lot of big time internet marketers talking about all the time. They say they create programs, then set it up with Clickbank to help them market their products by allowing us to find products on their site to market, as publishers with their landing pages. There are some nice products there, but a lot of junk as well I have to say. I did purchase one product from them that I liked, 20 Ways To Make $100 Per Day Online, that I thought was pretty good and I marketed that thing for a long time on this blog.

And this is where things fall apart for me. According to them, I’ve never had any clicks on any of the products I’ve marketed from them, and I’ve never made a single dollar. I find that hard to believe, but it’s why I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to market anything else they offered except for the book I’ve given the link to above. A month ago I finally removed that product from my sidebar as well; I guess just having me think it was great didn’t translate to anyone else. But over 5 years I haven’t been credited with a single sale. Maybe others have had better success than me; can’t tell you.

Solutions Medical is an affiliate program that I hooked up with to market medical billing books through my medical billing site, which I talked about on the part one post. Unfortunately, it’s another affiliate I’ve never made a single dollar from, although they do show some clicks here and there.

TTZ Media is an interesting little affiliate program in that it can highlight certain types of ads that you can put wherever and the products will rotate. You can pick one product or many products and change colors as you want to. Below is an example of the types of ads you can create:

According to TTZ, I’ve had almost 2,000 clicks over the years, but I’ve never made a single sale. Once again, it’s a program that I didn’t use a lot, but did have it on some of my other sites here and there, as well as popping it into a blog post every once in awhile. So, once again, I can’t tell you how well they pay or what payments are like. I can see how this might work for some people, but it’s never worked for me.

J-V Network is a lot like Clickbank. What you do is look through the tons of offers they have and sign up to help promote and market that program. I actually did a test with something called Tweet My Blog, which I had on this blog as the first program I used to send my blog posts to Twitter, which was neat except I couldn’t get rid of its marketing on my blog itself. That is, if anyone clicked on the link in Twitter they came to the blog and had a large banner ad at the top of the blog that obscured even the title of this blog.

Anyway, I had that post above and I heard from 3 people who said they’d added it to their blogs as well. When I went to check my stats it didn’t show I’d had any clicks, which of course means it showed me as not making any money from those sales. That was disappointing and I wrote them, but never heard a single thing back. I’ve never gone back to try it again, and I’m not sure I will. I do still get email every once in awhile from someone that’s created a new product that they’d like help marketing, but I’m just not in the mood for now.

There you go, 4 more affiliate programs I’ve dealt with. And there’s still more coming; well, you asked. šŸ™‚
 

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Affiliate Programs Iā€™m Connected With ā€“ Part Two

Obviously if this is part two, then there was a part one, which I hope you check out. Last time I mentioned 3 affiliate programs I’m a part of; here are some more. And, just to remind you, the links are to articles on this blog and not to the sites themselves, but there are links to those sites on some of those other articles.

Commission Junction is probably the second best known affiliate program I use, but it’s also been the diciest. I can’t say I’ve had great success with it, but it’s given me some of the best options for finding products and links to market to date. If you notice at the top there I have banner ads, and those are from CJ, as I call them sometimes. They rotate, so if you go to a page more than once you’ll see different ads, up to 5.

The best thing about them isn’t the fact that they have lots of different sizes and literally a couple thousand affiliates. The best thing about them is that they allow you to pop up specific products, with a template that’s formatted along with a “buy” button, which I kind of stole as the template for my books there to the left. The first three years of this blog had me adding a product or link of some kind at the end of every post, but I gave that up at the beginning of the year. Sometimes I pop a product in where my image resides. I use products on some of my other websites instead now.

I can say I’ve made money, but it’s been kind of iffy. I’ve talked about the problems I’ve had with some Commission Junction affiliates, which is irritating because I deserve to be paid. They don’t always support the publishers, which is us, and that’s depressing. But I have made some money here and there, to the tune of probably $400 over 3 1/2 years. Not great if you ask me, but more than some other affiliates. I’ve actually made more, but I’m not counting those affiliates that haven’t paid me.

Google Affiliate Network is Google’s version of CJ, with fewer advertisers but they’re getting bigger. Over the years I’ve made some sales, but not tons. That’s probably my fault as I haven’t used them as much as CJ except for Barnes & Noble, who just recently left them. The best thing about GAN, as I sometimes refer to them, is that if you have Adsense money and make sales with this program, it counts towards your monetary total, and thus you get to your thresholds for getting paid quicker.

The bad thing about Google Affiliate Network is that, like CJ, they don’t support the publishers. Instead, they tell you that you have to work directly with the companies, which failed me when Finish Line refused to pay me my commission, then dropped me because they said I didn’t make enough sales. This seems to be a major failing with some of these affiliate networks; they put a lot of affiliates together, but can’t make any of them treat you right. I’ve probably only made $200 in total over a 4-year period, most of that from the sale of books and DVDs.

The final affiliate network I’m going to mention is Linkshare. They’re like the other two networks I’ve already mentioned, the newest one, and they’re starting to add more companies to the mix. They’re the company that Barnes & Noble just moved to, and one of my other former affiliates also moved to. That might mean that Linkshare is the up and coming affiliate network for everyone, or that the terms are better for these companies.

The problem here is that I’ve yet to see a single sale from any of my affiliates, although once again I have to say I think this is probably my fault. Initially I only belonged to 5 programs and haven’t marketed them all that often, and now I’m only up to 9 programs. However, with the move of B&N and the fact that I like mentioning books and movies and thus putting links into some of my posts (in case y’all don’t remember, if you see a blue link that’s an affiliate link of some kind), and I do tend to sell some books and DVDs here and there, I hope that I’ll start making a sale or two over there. Because I haven’t made any sales I can’t say how well they pay.

Something you have to know for all of these is that the companies you link to will kill those links without your knowledge and, unless you’re always checking your old blog pages or your websites, you’ll have no idea unless someone notices one of your pages looking weird and contacts you about it. That’s kind of depressing, as I’ve seen many things go missing from older pages, but there’s really nothing you can do about that.

Three more down, and lots more to come.
 

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Affiliate Programs I’m Connected With – Part One

There’s a young woman (I’m assuming she’s young) that’s been asking me a lot of questions lately about different affiliate programs. I’ve realized that other than the couple that have irritated me lately I haven’t really written about many of them in a long time. I figured that over the next few posts I would talk about some of the affiliate programs I’m a part of and how they do for me; I hear a voice saying “finally he’s talking about making money online”.

I’m going to start by talking about the affiliate program that’s done the best for me, that being Google Adsense. It’s what they call a PPC (pay-per-click) program, which of course means if people click on the ad then you make money. And the more niched you are the more money you can possibly make if you pick the right niche.

My Adsense income has been steadily going up month after month, albeit slowly. If everything holds steady I will break $300 this month for the first time ever. Man, that’s been a long time coming, and I’m happy about it. The truth is that I make most of the money on one site, my medical billing information site, and since all the content is geared towards medical billing issues, it’s will niched because those folks pay well for clicks.

My second best paying affiliate program is Infolinks, and once again I make most of my cash from it on that same medical billing site. I’m averaging close to $40 a month from Infolinks, which is pretty amazing because the first couple of years I had it I didn’t make $40. Actually, both of these affiliate programs have proven that if you can get a site with even moderate consistent traffic you can do well, because that site doesn’t get the kind of traffic this site gets.

Another affiliate program I have that I’ve made almost no money from is Kontera. It’s like Infolinks, but for some reason when I had it on two of my other sites it generated nothing. At one point I did some split testing on my medical billing site with it and Infolinks, and Infolinks won hands down; wish I could tell you why.

Even though I’ve linked to my own articles on the last two affiliates, if you don’t go check those out I’ll tell you that these are those affiliate programs where you go to a page and you see these double lined words every once in a while, and if you hover over them you’ll see a pop-up window like conversation bubbles in comic strips.

There’s the start; stick around for the next round of affiliates.
 

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Why I Don’t Over-Automate On Twitter

Just thought I’d mention that if you see a post from me at 2 or 3 in the morning, I actually wrote it.” – Mitch Mitchell

I tend to stay up pretty late; yeah, I’m nuts. I get my energy around 9:30 or 10PM and then I start working really well. At a certain point I finish a project and unless I’m totally exhausted it’s a great time to go back and look at Twitter to see what has gone on either during the day or for at least a few hours.

Some people locally have commented on my late night tweets because they wake up and see a bunch of things from me. Actually, I never knew any of them paid much attention to anything I put out so that’s illuminating. However, like most people they tend to believe that everyone else is on the same time frame they’re on, and thus think that by the time I’m writing everyone else has gone to bed.

The world’s a big place, and as I’ve talked about on this blog, the majority of people that actually comment in my blogs don’t live in my area. So if I’m posting at 3 in the morning and someone’s still awake, they’re probably on the West Coast except for my friend that lives in Nebraska and works night, or they’re in Australia where it’s actually already well into their next day, or in Europe where it’s morning and they’re just getting started on their day.

One also sees a lot of other noise, if you will, when you stay up really late. There’s a ton of automation, the same messages over and over from people you know aren’t awake, messages I’ve seen many times during the day. Frankly it starts getting irritating, and one reason I actually write some of those folks early in the morning is to see if any of them respond. Of course I know that almost no one is going to respond, but I figure maybe they’ll respond in the morning when I’ve awakened.

Nope. Truth be told most people that do a lot of automation aren’t interested in what anyone else has to say for the most part. They haven’t quite learned the lesson that social media isn’t really only about “them”, but about everyone, communications, relationships, and networking.

I only do one little bit of automation. For almost every new blog post I publish I use Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12) to put the notification out that I’ve written a new blog post. I do that because I tend to write a lot of posts all at once on all my blogs (remember I have 5 of my own and many that I write for others) in advance.

Often I’m actually sitting at the computer when a blog post goes out but I’m doing something else. However, I check to see if my blog posts are showing up usually within the hour if I’m not live on Twitter. Actually, every once in awhile I’m on Twitter when a post of mine shows up; that’s pretty neat.

If you see a blog post of mine in the afternoon or evening, you can be 99.8% sure that I’m posting it live. It’s either a repost of an earlier blog post or, if something’s hit me that I just have to talk about immediately, it’s brand new. Back in November I did an experiment testing 2-a-day blog posts with the second being advertisements for some of my products, and in that case those were written in advance. I haven’t done that since.

Here are my questions for you. How much automation are you doing on Twitter? How much actual engagement are you doing around the time messages are coming your way? Are you actually engaging people on Twitter at all? And how do you feel when you see messages from people that are almost all automation, since we know it when we see it?
 

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