All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

September Income Report – A Fluke!

Back in January when I wrote my last income report, I said I wouldn’t be writing another one of these until I made $500 through online stuff in one month.


Piles of Money
by Thomas Hawk

Well, September turns out to be my first month, although not quite how I ever thought it would pan out. It was my best month ever with Adsense, made a couple of sales I hadn’t expected, and I find that I like seeing the money coming in like this; I want more!

So, without further ado, how did I make my money in September online?


Flipped Website – $300.00
Adsense – $197.47
Infolinks – $24.70
Commission Junction – $20.00
Product Sales – $15.95
Google Affiliate Network (Barnes & Noble) – $3.24
Kontera – $0.47
Bidvertiser – $0.48

Total – $562.31!

Just to get it out of the way, for those of you who saw my post on Google picking on me, I made 14 cents on this blog from them in September; not a big loss.

The selling of one of my websites was interesting, I must say. It came out of the blue (not saying which one it was for now) and I almost just deleted the email. Then I thought about it and realized I just wasn’t going to ever have the time to do it justice, so I let it go. It took about 2 weeks to finally get the transaction done, mainly because he needed someone to help him with setting up the new site, and of course we didn’t know each other so the level of trust had to be overcome. But we got it done. Website flipping won’t be something I do on a regular basis, but I have one more site that I might try to build up some and eventually sell it; we’ll see.

Most of that Adsense money and all of the Infolinks money came from one site in particular, which has turned out to be a gold mine for me. It does prove in a way that you can make some pretty good money on niche sites. The GAN sale came from one of my newsletters. The other two… actually, one came from my finance blog that I forgot I even had one of their ads on, and I have no idea where the other one came from. And the CJ payment came from someone buying a year of hosting from 1&1 through me; neat!

And that’s that. Now to go back into the cave on this type of reporting until it happens again; I hope it’s not another 2 1/2 years before it happens. 🙂
 

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How To File A DMCA Notice

It seems that I’ve had to become practiced in the art of filing DMCA notices against people who are stealing my content. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it was created to protect online content. Of course it wasn’t for those of us who blog specifically, but what you’ll find is that most hosting companies won’t do anything about a complaint of yours unless you put it into a specific form which is laid out in the Act.

I have seen where some other sites recommend going after a person through the pocket book, aka filing one with Google to get their Adsense accounts removed. However, even doing that the content stays on the site. I’d rather it not be there at all.

There’s a step by step process of information you need to file with the host. The best way I know how to figure out who the host might be is to go to GoDaddy, put the name of the domain in the name search, then when it comes up saying someone already has it there’s this link that will let you go find out who the person is. Look to the nameservers near the bottom and that will tell you. I did find there was one strange one, “domaincontrol.com”, and it turns out that means the account is hosted on GoDaddy’s servers; interesting. There’s always the possibility that someone has paid to remove most of that information, but I believe the nameservers are always there; I’ll have to confirm that.

Before you go right into the DMCA notice, you should send at least one email to the offender to give them a chance to do the right thing. I hate to say this, but so far I’ve only had one person willing to do the right thing before I had to take the next step; shame. So here you go, the steps as listed in the law, and an explanation if needed.

(i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

This is where you put your name.

(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

This is where you put your original link that the material was stolen from.

(iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

This is where you put the link where your stolen material is showing.

(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

This is all your contact information, including address and phone number and I also add the link to my domain name. One host sent me something back saying they had to have the ability to call me, which is why I know you have to add your phone number.

(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

This is where you basically write an oath of some kind saying that you know it’s your material that someone stole. Here’s what I have for mine: “Not only do I have a good faith belief, I know it is stolen content from my site, as I was the author of the post and am the owner of the blog it was taken from.”

(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

This is where you write an oath of, well, honesty that you are who you say you are and fully take notice that you’re reporting someone stealing your content. Here’s mine once again: “I affirm that this statement is accurate to the best of my ability, and the proof is that all the other content on the site is stolen and scraped as well. Since I’m the complaining party, I am authorized to act on my own behalf.”

And there you go. That’s all you need, and you can send that to the contact information you find on the host’s site. Now, the same people who made me put a phone number on it also said they only accepted DMCA notices via fax; weasels. Luckily, there are a number of online sites that will let you send a free fax as long as it’s not longer than 2 pages.
 

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Google Comes After This Blog Again

It’s a good thing this blog has made almost no money from Adsense. In a weird bit of timing, after not running Google ads for a long time, a couple of weeks ago I decided to add it back with a large ad. I’d had it before and it hadn’t made almost anything, but I figured why not, since the blog seems to be getting fairly popular again.

Well, like Sire, Google has decided that one post out of more than 820 posts is enough for them to decide this blog isn’t worthy of Adsense. No problem, I figure, but I’m also going to share the letter here:

Hello,

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as http://www.imjustsharing.com/cleavage-yeah-im-going-there/. Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website.

As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with adult or mature content. This includes images or video content containing lewd or provocative poses, or close-ups of breasts, butts, or crotches.

As a result, we have disabled ad serving to the site.

Your AdSense account remains active. However, we strongly suggest that you take the time to review our program policies (https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=48182&stc=aspe-2pp-en) to ensure that all of your remaining pages are in compliance.

Please note that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

Now that’s pretty ridiculous, and it’s duplicitous. As others have said, it’s amazing how Google can decide that one post on this blog isn’t up to their standards when you can go to Google, look up “sex”, and not only get tons of listings but also get ads advertising sex and the like:

Heck, look up “breasts” and you get this:

Oh yeah, click on the images to see them bigger.

So, there’s some major hypocrisy going on here. But that’s okay; it’s their ball, so they can do what they wish with it. I have taken it off here, since it made almost no money ($9.29 in 2 1/2 years to be exact) and I’ve replaced that space with an ad that you really should check out if you want to learn how the top leaders of industry do what they do, Meet The Boss. It cost nothing to join and if I get 4 people to click on it and sign up I earn $10 (it’s based in the U.K., so I’ll earn a pound per registration, which pretty much equals $2.50 I believe).

First page rank is taken away and now this. And on with life we go. What does the ad below have to do with this? Absolutely nothing, except basketball camps have opened and MY Los Angeles Lakers are the two-time defending champs. That is all.
 

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Where I Find Inspiration

Our friend Peter asked an interesting question in one of his comments. His question was where I find the inspiration for all these posts and newsletters that I do. I guess it’s because I have a large output for all my blogs and my one newsletter, and of course all the writing I do for other people here and there.


I find inspiration in many places. Almost anything could spark an idea for writing a blog post. Even visiting other blogs or reading news stories or seeing what’s going on via Twitter or Facebook can spark something. And sometimes it’s a comment, like this post. Let’s take a look at my previous 10 posts on this blog to see where I got the inspiration from; I’m not going to link to them, just so you know.

I wrote about evaluating when to end something because I was reading another one of those blog posts where it was recommended to never give anything up because success is just around the corner. I had just a couple of weeks earlier stopped writing one of my newsletters because I realized I didn’t have what it took to write it anymore, and thus I felt what I was reading was contrary to what I was doing, and so I wrote about it.

I wrote about the song We Are the World because I was walking on the track at the gym listening to my MP3 player and it came up and I got chills listening to it. The impact was still strong when I got home, and there you go.

I wrote a Sunday post on cravings because I’ve been having a lot of them. I had just days earlier started a new metabolic eating plan that I’m being evaluated on, and I had been craving chocolate almost nonstop.

I wrote a post on the Count Per Day plugin because on one of the blogs I write for they had it, and I tested it to see how it compared to Analytics and wrote my thoughts on it all.

I wrote a post on blogging and Twitter because of a local event that showed just how fast news, good or bad, can spread based on a blog post and its popping up on Twitter, and how a business can either be ruined or have a chance to save their reputation.

I wrote a post on simple answers to what seems to be difficult problems because I’d just gone through two things, one literally a couple of days earlier, where I’d done a lot of work for nothing.

I wrote a post on the things a blog should have because of a comment someone left asking about it. Then the next day I wrote a post on the administrative area of WordPress because I had just helped a friend of mine set up a new blog, and she looked inside it and was really confused over what she saw.

I wrote the next Sunday post on trust because it’s the political season, and thus all those political commercials are on TV these days. It’s interesting how much we all hate them because they’re so mean, yet these people keep putting that trash on, and thus we don’t trust them because we know they could care less about us and are only in it for their own reasons.

And finally I wrote about the components of a newsletter because my friend has been thinking about writing one and kept asking me about length, images, etc, and it seemed like a good idea to write a post about it in case someone else had been wondering.

And there you go. See, it doesn’t take a lot to determine what to write a blog post about, even if I were writing a niche blog. Of course, this is the fun blog, so I write more posts on this one than the others. Inspiration really doesn’t have to be hard most of the time; all you have to do is pay attention to what’s going on, what people are saying to you, and of course your own feelings.
 

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The Basics Of Writing A Newsletter

I’ve been writing a newsletter for more than 7 years now. I was writing two, but I already wrote about why I gave up writing one of them.


When I started, there weren’t tons of email newsletters out there. Not that there weren’t any, but I’d seen very few when I decided I was going to write one. Over the years I think I’ve refined it somewhat, to the point that I believe I can now tell others my thoughts on writing one. Sure, everyone has their own style, and that’s fine. You can see what I have to say, then take from it what you will and do your own. My opinion, my blog, and thus I’m writing my beliefs on the subject. By the way, if you’d like to subscribe to my business newsletter, there’s the link for it.

The first basic is that you have to have something to say. Just like the recommendation I make to bloggers, if you don’t think you can write about something for at least a few years don’t even start it. I know people who start writing one and give up after 3 or 4, or go six months or more between them. To me, that’s a waste of time and insulting to your readers, since they took the time to sign up.

The second basic is determining a style. The lucky thing is that you don’t have to keep the style you start out with. When I first started writing my business blog, there was little personality in it. As I kept writing, I knew that people might like seeing more of what I was about and why I might come to the conclusions I do when writing my newsletter. I’ve come to a style now where I start off with some kind of story most of the time, then use the story to get to my point. Not that I have thousands of subscribers, but I can say that once I went to a less formal format readers seemed to enjoy it more, and I started getting some comments, which almost never happened before that.

The third basic is determining what your purpose is. Will your newsletter be to showcase your expertise? Will it be a sales and marketing newsletter? Will it be a combination of both? Will you post a product, and will that product be related in some way to your topic? Will you highlight your business in some fashion, or just entertain? Will your newsletter have new content, or will it be a recap of blog posts you wrote during the week? My newsletter is to highlight my expertise in certain business areas, and I’ve stuck to that all these years. It took me awhile to realize I should have not only my business listed on it but my products and some of my other websites. And it wasn’t all that long ago that I started adding two books that I recommend in some fashion with every newsletter that addresses the topic, at least most of the time, as I haven’t been able to resist popping something in every once in awhile that I just happened to like.

The fourth basic is determining the look and format. The newsletter I have now is the culmination of maybe 10 different styles or colors. It used to be really colorful, and every newsletter had a different color. Now it’s pretty clean; all white background, dark blue print and framing, and the books. As a matter of fact, I’m going to let you see one of my newsletters, the last one I’ve written, because I not only want you to see it, but because I was somewhat inspired by a blog written by one of my favorite commenters here, Karen Cruz, and she honored me by not giving the link out to the newsletter and I want to thank her for that. The title of my newsletter is Money, Power and Respect, and Karen’s post was titled Letter of Resignation.

By the way, a quick sidebar to Charles, who comments here and writes a great blog as well. What I just did in linking to a specific post on Karen’s blog is a trackback. If she’s got it turned on, her blog comment will show this link in it saying I have linked back to, or tracked back to, that specific blog post.

The fifth and final basis is determining how you’re going to send it out, or delivery. I’m not going to get into how to market it or publicize it, as that’s another topic entirely; just stemming that question for now. Anyway, You can decide on a number of things; send out email, post it to a website or blog and let people know about it, print it and send it out in regular main, set up a forum, etc. What I do is send it out in email along with the HTML attachment, and then I put the link online. I’m thinking about either creating a membership site at some point with all my newsletters in there, since new subscribers don’t have access to older newsletters, or taking what I consider are my best written ones, re-edit them, and put them in a book format. I’m just not sure yet.

Oh yeah; how many words? That’s up to you. I’ve seen some newsletters that are barely 300 words, and others that are nearly 2,000 words; I think I’ve written one or two of them. Someone said the standard should be between 500 and 750 words; I tend to think, just like blog posts, you write as much or as little as you need to and then move on. For instance, if you’re writing an instructional newsletter, you might be using images and thus cut down how many words you’re writing. Or you might have a long story to tell to get to your point, in which case you write longer newsletters. Mine come in between 750 and 1,100 words most of the time.

And that’s that. If there are other questions I’ll be glad to answer them. Otherwise, good luck!

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