All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Are You An Original?

I’m not always up to date on everything, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. I read and listen to a lot of interviews with people on various subjects, but sometimes it takes me awhile to get to it. A couple of days ago I finally got to a recorded interview Willie Crawford did with a guy named Paul Evans, who runs a website called Nicheology. It helps people learn how to make money through internet marketing, but this guy’s got a real world pedigree of creating and still owning regular businesses as well. He actually had a lot of good things to say during this interview, which took place in November 2008, but I came away with one thing in particular.

Willie asked him what were 3 reasons he believed most people fail at internet marketing. His first answer was the biggie for me: “being a complete copycat.” That’s it, short, sweet and simple. He goes on to say that many people buy a lot of products seeing how someone else did it, or goes to see what someone else did as far as creating their website or marketing their product online and tries to copy it, and then it doesn’t work and they blame whatever it was they read or just find that it’s not working as well for them. He believes that we learn from others by taking things they’ve done and finding new ways of applying them to whatever it is we do or want to do, because even within the same niche nothing is ever the same from person to person or business to business.

I found that an incredible statement and true as well. My wife and I were in the car a few nights ago and she was saying how many of the songs today sound the exact same. I thought back on disco and how, after awhile, you could tell the junk from the good stuff because the junk sounded exactly like something else you’d already heard. And let’s not even get into that European electronic music of the late 80’s and early 80’s; you could have put a monkey in front of the mike and not known who was singing a particular song.

Are you an original? I like to think I am, but at the same time, I acknowledge that I probably could have made things a lot easier if I hadn’t gone into so many things with so much skepticism. I mention Willie because he’s the guy who put together that book I market to the right about 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day, one of the few books that I’ve actually ever gotten something out of, which is why I’ve listened to some of the interviews he’s done and given over the years. True, he’s always marketing, yet there’s something about him that just comes across as original and authentic.

I think that for the most part most of you who visit this blog are extremely original, and I love that. I still feel somewhat cheated when I go to see a blog post and I see the same exact things spouted about how to be successful in internet marketing or blogging that I’ve seen time and time again. I mean, some concepts are what they are; commenting on other blogs will help your blog to grow and there’s no debate about that. But telling people that it’s a new concept is not only a lie, but it’s not original.

Originality is a great thing to strive for; being contrary isn’t. Contrarianism for argument’s sake gets you nothing except a little bit of attention. Taking the opposite side of something you don’t believe in just wastes people’s time. Sometimes it’s way too transparent as well; if I started saying I support efforts of… no, I don’t want to give anything I hate negative attention so I’ll let it go there. lol

Back to the original question; are you original? And are you happy with it? I hope so; that’s when you’re the most interesting.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Why You Need A Comment Policy

You know, ever since I added the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin a few weeks ago, the amount of spam this blog was getting dropped a lot. However, it hasn’t killed spam entirely. What seems to be coming now is a lot of one line messages that read like spam, and thus I treat them like spam. I figure that some of it are people who are thinking that they can just write any ol’ thing and I’ll let it pass; nope. However, I’m thinking some of it is automated to some degree; I just don’t know how they’re doing it.

I said I treated one line messages like spam; that’s from people who haven’t shown that they’re legitimate commenters on the blog yet. I have that in my comment policy, which is not only at the very top of this blog but listed right above the comment box on every single post. People who comment on blogs a lot and are going to write authentic comments definitely don’t have to worry about it, but for the others, I have no idea if they’re ever really coming back, so I don’t feel the same kind of loyalty to them.

I think it’s important to have a comment policy so people who come to your blog know what you expect. For instance, I really only have a couple of things in my comment policy. The first is that I need a legitimate name to call you. If you write a post and your name is a keyword phrase, but it’s not a bad comment, I reduce it all to the initials on the post. It looks ridiculous, but so be it. And I’ll refer to you either by those initials or by the first name in the email address if one is there. I stated the reason a long time ago in my post against fake commenter names. I don’t mind nicknames because it’s still something you may be known as.

The second is of course the one-line rule. I think that’s fair. After all, leaving a comment that says “nice post; I learned a lot” and nothing else could apply to almost anything. It doesn’t further the discussion and, well, just looks spammy, which it probably is. The big boys, who don’t moderate their comments, can play with that one; since I give dofollow links, I’ll handle it another way.

Anyway, if you expect certain things from people, you should let them know up front so there’s no surprise if you do something with their comment later on. Now that I think about it, I need to modify mine just a little bit more.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Sunday Question – Doing Anything Special For Valentine’s Day?

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and if you’ve forgotten about it until now, at least you’ve been warned. If not, I hope you’re able to do something with the one you love, whether it’s something special or not.

My wife isn’t really one of those overly romantic people. That actually works in my favor because if I just give her a card she’s a happy person. If she didn’t work with other women she’d probably never even know there was a Valentine’s Day; I tend to be the one that remembers dates in this household.

I’ve gone some of the traditional routes in the past. I bought her jewelry a couple of times. I bought chocolate once; she doesn’t eat chocolate all that often. I once bought her one of those Pepperidge Farms cheese platters, since she doesn’t eat meat, and she ended up saving it for a mini party she had. And I did the flowers thing a couple of times as well; it went over well with her co-workers, but she’s not really a flowers type of person either.

Probably the best gifts I’ve given her were gift baskets. That’s because she makes gift baskets herself, and loves all the little foods and gifts and such that could be contained within it. She thoroughly enjoyed the fruit basket I sent her one year, and another year I sent her a gift basket with lots of smelly stuff. She liked that one so much that she’s still using it as a decoration in her bathroom (we have separate bathrooms; hers is much, much larger than mine).

And we’ve done dinner, though we probably won’t go out to dinner on a Monday night. It works really well if you don’t go out all that often, but we do go out to dinner a lot so to me it’s lost some of its specialness.

Anyway, I’m unsure what I’ll do this year, but at least I have it on my mind. What are you doing? Go ahead, share; your significant other isn’t reading this blog. 😉

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Article Farm Madness

As some of you know, I need a new roof. This isn’t a brand new issue, as I’ve written about my roof issues in the past. However, trying to get through one more winter with what we have is proving problematic, and it finally hit me that maybe I could find some information online about a home improvement grant instead of trying to go the loan route.


Organic Farm
by Charles Harker

I popped the term “home improvement grant” into Google, hit the search button, and up came almost 2 million pages on the subject. This looked really good, because I figured somewhere in there I was going to find something. And you know what? I was wrong!

What comes up are a great number of articles on what’s called “article farms” talking about grants in general. There’s not a single bit of assistance. How many times do I want to read “if you need help in paying for home repairs you can apply for a government home improvement grant”? And yet, there’s no specific offers anywhere, no real assistance, no links to government agencies, no phone numbers, no names, nothing.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term “article farm”, this is what all those sites that pay writers almost no money to produce content for them are known as. Sites such as eHow, About.com, Associated Content, Buzzle and the like are all article farms. Because of their structure and rules for length and the like, what they end up doing is creating mass amounts of content that gives sketchy help at best most of the time. You might get lucky, but you might end up getting a mash of information that’s contradictory or useless.

Who remembers when I was writing some articles for Demand Studios? I found that two of my biggest issues with them were their saying I was writing articles that had too much information and my not being allowed to give specific answers that I knew if I couldn’t find the information to link to. I mean, health care finance is my background and I have a lot of knowledge that’s just not written up online, but they didn’t care. So, the articles I ended up actually getting on the site, though accurate, were deficient if you ask me.

Google is the first search engine that’s stated their working on algorithms to decrease the effectiveness of article farms that produce low quality content. Although I believe it’s about time, I also wonder just how they’re going to be able to do it. I mean, what would separate an article farm with low content from a blog post that their algorithm might determine isn’t written all that well? As I approach 1,000 articles on this blog, I wonder if they’ll use number of pages as a determinant, and if so, how many pages would that be?

I will say this, however. The days of searching and finding exactly what you need immediately are probably gone. There’s just so much content on the net that if it’s hard for us as individuals to find what we need, how will search engines determine what we need? Nope, I don’t envy them one bit.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2019 Mitch Mitchell

Do You Want Accountability Or Activity?

You know, there are times when you know you’re right and you just want to be proven right, and when it’s eventually proven that you’re right you’re not really sure what to do with it. Well, I had that happen this week, and what I decided to do was write about it here.


by Michael Tracey

On my newest blog, I wrote a post titled I Hate Syracuse.com. Basically it was a minor rant against news sites that allow comments without attribution, which pretty much means people don’t have to stay on topic or add to the conversation, but can be downright piggish and mean. I hate that and I decided to write about it on that blog because this was my local newspaper and online site, although I did mention other news sites in the article as well.

This past Monday I had an opportunity to talk with a representative of the site about the comments section. He wasn’t necessarily happy that I’d written what I did and thought it was unfair. Time after time I said I hated the comments and why didn’t they just require people to use their real name. In my opinion, if people weren’t hiding behind fake names they’d behave better.

I knew all the time what the reason was, and after nearly 30 minutes he finally stated it; because they worried that not as many people would leave comments and the site would look empty. It was almost too easy, yet, as I said, I knew that was the real answer, and the reason why all the other news sites do it.

I was kind but insistent. I said that we run our blogs with the intention of making sure that discourse stayed civil, and that at a moment’s notice we would eliminate any response that didn’t fit our sense of decorum. I’ve always said that I don’t mind if people don’t agree with me, but if there’s bad language or threatening language that comment is gone, and fast. After all, I pay for this space, so in essence it’s my online home, and no one messes up my home. He didn’t quite see it the same way, although he did say that they did work hard to keep things at a reasonable level.

Whether that’s what I see or not isn’t necessarily the point. The point is that we all get to choose whether we’re going to hold ourselves and those we interact with in our space accountable for their actions or not. Many folks who write about how to drive comments on blogs say to write about a controversial subject. While that might work, often you might find yourself suddenly dealing with someone who not only disagrees with you, but goes overboard and forces you to decide whether to go with the flow and be happy for the activity or censor in some fashion because you want to keep the discussion going in a different manner.

With censorship you risk people deciding that maybe your blog or space isn’t as open as they’d like and they could possibly leave and never come back. That’s kind of possible, but I say “so what”. If you’re going to change your ethics because you’re worried about reactions, then are your ethics really worth having? Or are they ethics at all?

And really, is it censorship if you ask people to behave, and if they don’t you kill their message? I tend to think not. After all, for all the people who use a lot of bad language, I’ve found that when put into certain situations they all know how not to say certain stuff. I have friends who will curse up a storm, yet they know they can’t use that same language at work, so I ask them not to use it in front of me. If you can actually control a behavior here and there then you’ve shown you know better.

You know my point of view; how do you see this particular subject? Would you be happy with 200 comments a day if most of them were hateful or would you rather have fewer comments but know that your family could read them without worry, if they ever read your blog?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell