All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

My New Computer

There are some things you allow others to buy you, then there are those things you just have to do for yourself. This is one of those things I had to do for myself; I finally bought a new computer.

For the back story, my previous computer has been nothing but problems from the day I bought it. That sucker just kept shutting down at the most inopportune times (as if there’s an opportune time for your computer to throw up the BSOD), and there was nothing I could do about it. I took it back to Comp USA, where I bought it, seven times. I’d had it put together there, and I’m not sure but that was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I easily spent over $3,500 on that bad boy, first picking out all the components, then in repair costs and replacement parts costs (even though I purchased a service agreement), and nothing.

Then this summer, I took it to the computer repair guy up the street, and had a couple of encounters with him that ended up with my computer still not working, but now it was shutting down more often, and at more inopportune times. Frankly, with everything I did over a four year period, if I was dealing with real world issues I’d have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Gateway FX Computer

Well, there’s nothing that a good consulting assignment won’t take care of, and in this case, it’s taken care of my being able to buy a new computer; whew! So, what did I get? I got the Gateway FX Desktop with Intel® Core™ i7-920 Processor, 3 GB DDR3 RAM, 750 GB SATA hard drive, 2.66 GHz processor, 512K ATI RADEON HD 4850 video card, 10 USB ports, one Firewire, dual-layered DVD player/ recorder,… and a host of other stuff that I’m not quite sure what it does, but I’ll learn it. This thing is fast, and it’s stable; man, I’ve wanted that for a very long time. It’s also expandable for two more hard drives and up to 16 GB DDR3 RAM; like I need more storage and more speed and power. Well, in this case, one never knows with me, right? Still, I’m stuck with Vista, but I have to say that, thus far, it’s working well, though there are some minor irritations I’m having, such as it’s working hard to keep me out of files that I’ve always been able to get into and modify on my own. That, and this weird thing of having two Program Files folders, one for 32-bit stuff, the other for 64-bit stuff; weird.

Now, me being me, I had to talk myself out of getting the computer that was one step up, and I’m glad I did. It came with a 2.93 GHz i7-940 processor and 6 GB DDR RAM and 2 GB video memory along with the terabyte hard drive, but when it comes to RAM, it was only expandable to 12 GB RAM. Of course, it was also set up for wireless LAN, and that would have been nice, but since my hub is less than a foot away from the back of my computer, it’s no big deal.

I had to talk myself out of that for two reasons. One is because I also bought the 22″ HDMI Gateway widescreen monitor that’s taken my breath away thus far (once again, having to talk myself out of spending another $150 for 2 inches; that just didn’t seem to computer). Two is because, since I was throwing my money around, I also bought a 42″ Sharp HDTV for the bedroom to replace the best sounding TV I ever had because the remote control wouldn’t work anymore, and it wasn’t the control, it was the sensor in the TV. Have you tried to find an inexpensive TV repairman in today’s world?

Yeah, I was throwing my money around yesterday, treating myself to a late Christmas present. But don’t think I spent it all on me. I took care of my wife before Christmas, the TV is actually more for her than for me, since I spend almost all of my time at the computer, and I’m still going to be giving her more stuff over the next few days to help her take care of some things she’s wanted to do for a long while. I’m a good husband, but she’s a good wife, and knew I needed a new computer. I gave her my old monitor, and man, there’s no real comparison between a flat screen 19″ and one with a big tube in it, is there?

Asus laptop

Of course, the next big electronics purchase for me will need to be a laptop at some point. My poor laptop is moving close to 5 years old now, and I noticed it was struggling last week as I was running it as the main computer. I hope it can last at least another couple of months, as I have some other things to take care of, and then we’ll see what I go with. Right now, I’m leaning towards the Asus Laptop with Intel® Centrino® 2 Processor Technology, red and black colored (I love colors), Intel® Centrino Core™2 Duo Mobile 2.66 GHz, 320 GB hard drive with 4GB DDR3 RAM, and a 17 inch screen. Right now I have a 15.4″ screen, but if you know me you know I never go lateral or smaller, hence the larger screen. Of course, something else might tickle my fancy, as I haven’t ruled out the Alienware n9750 17″ laptop or their new M17 17″, with the 500 GB hard drive, and I’m still kicking myself for not buying, when it was available, the Superman Area 51 laptop; that was really cool!

No matter. With the new speed and no more worries about shutting down, there will be more blogging articles on all my blogs, and everyone will want to buy new computers eventually. Happy holidays!

CoutureCandy $10 Off

Answering Someone Else’s Marketing Questions

One of the best things about Twitter is that, if you’re following the right people, every once in awhile you come across something that just peaks your interest, and then you have to investigate it.

This happened a little while ago when I came across a Twitter post by Dr. Letitia Wright saying that she’d left what was probably the longest comment she’s ever left on someone else’s blog. Me being the curious type, I just had to go see what she was talking about, and I came upon a post by Frank Conrad Martin on his blog Marketing Magic where he asks 30 questions about marketing in general, not specifically internet marketing. Dr. Wright decided to respond to every single question he asked, and I like her answers, mainly because she took the time to answer them. And I pretty much agree with them, but of course I have my own take on them. I hope you go and visit the article so you can read all the questions for yourself. However, I’m going to respond to a few of them here.

1. Why are pigs always smiling and dancing on signs at a Barbecue Restaurant? Does anyone think that pigs are happy about barbecue? This is a good one, something I’ve always wondered when I go to certain restaurants and see the happy faces of what it is you’re about to eat. Frankly, most of the time it creeps me out, but as I thought about it, I figure that it’s a pretty good advertising trick because you easily know what a restaurant’s main thrust is, even if it doesn’t say it in the name. I guess it’s better having the animals smiling than having them look like they want to kick your behind for eating them.

2. Does anyone know anyone who has *ever* purchased an item from pop-up ads? I’ve wondered this one myself. I know Problogger and the like stated that they saw dramatic increases in their newsletter subscriptions once they added that stupid little popup on their sites, but you know how much popups irritate the heck out of me. Yet, those aren’t the only types I’ve seen. Will anyone admit to buying something because a popup or popunder stopped them from leaving a site by offering a ridiculously good offer? Will anyone admit to buying something because, while they were reading an article, one of those floating popups came by offering some other unbelievably good deal?

5. Why is it OK to use stereotypes in ads, as long as the stereotypes are only for white men? Why are men so frequently depicted as inept or clueless in advertising presumably designed to sell them stuff? This is one of those questions that’s only ever asked by the majority of whatever country a person happens to be from. People in general, at least those with any kind of sense of humor, tend to parody themselves. In America, all the ad companies are run by white men for the most part, so who would they be expected to lampoon and not have people picketing outside of their doors? And the writer has this one wrong, or hasn’t he ever noticed how the music in the background is different if the person in the ad is a minority? For a marketing guy to not have figured this one out just kind of amazes me, but it also makes it look like he’s never left the country; for those of you who are in other countries, tell us which group gets lampooned the most where you live. I’m betting it’s the majority male.

8. Does the nudity in European advertising get more attention and sell more stuff than the more fully clad ads in the USA? Another one I obviously can’t answer, but I will admit to being shocked by what advertisers can get away with in other countries that just won’t fly here. Still, it’s an intriguing question overall; does sex on TV really sell more, no matter the country? Do I need to add more pictures of pretty women on my blog to start making some sales (I know Sire’s answer lol)?

9. How much viagra and “male enhancement” are actually sold via spam email? Could anyone *really* trust their credit card numbers to those spam marketers? Once again, you know how much I hate spam, and it’s a question I’ve asked elsewhere, that being just what do spammers think they’re deriving from all that they’re sending out? If you remember, I wrote on a post talking about legitimizing spam where someone sent out almost 470 million pieces of spam email and got 28 people to purchase from them. People around the world have gotten more savvy, and the spammers have gotten more desperate, and this is really a very legitimate question because it shows that, even though we’re all gotten smarter, there are still a few people out there who need more information on how to protect themselves.

15. Why are so many television commercials dumbed down to the 5th grade level of comprehension? Because advertisers have looked at statistics which show that at least half the American population can only read well at a 3rd grade level. You think I’m making that one up? Based on statistics put together by The Informatics Review, in 1995, 41.6% of American patients could not comprehend directions for taking medication on an empty stomach. One in four Americans is a high school dropout. Parents with young children overall read at a higher level than the norm, but only at a 7th grade level. Even Medicare requires any written correspondence for their subscribers has to be written at the level of a 3rd grader. So, this one makes sense because, unfortunately, we’re not a country full of Mensa candidates.

27. Do politicians or their managers *really* believe voters are stupid enough to believe the negative drivel they push late in the campaigns? They do because it’s true, unfortunately. Barack Obama had a double digits lead on McCain until the campaign got ugly, with the Republican National Committee deciding to keep pushing the fact that his middle name was “Hussein” (anyone see the racist intent there?), that he even knew a reverend and a former American “terrorist” (heck, might as well call that one for what it was) and wouldn’t repudiate either as they wanted him to (nope, just saying he disagreed with their positions wasn’t enough for them), and then, when they wanted more juice, decided to try to get people to believe that he wasn’t even American enough to be legally elected. I hate negativity in campaigns, but it works; or did you not see this video from Ohio that I posted back in October?

Anyway, those are the questions I wanted to address, but there are so many more. Please, visit the site, read the questions, do some thinking, and either respond to him or write your thoughts here. I’ve just marketed for the both of us.

Gateway HD2201 22 Widescreen LCD Computer Monitor

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Kontera, Performancing, TTZ – The Update

Back on November 3rd, I talked about adding some new affiliate programs, most specifically Kontera, Performancing Ads, and TTZ Media. I figured it was time for a quick update on these programs, since we’re six weeks away from that time.

To date, I have to say that I’m more than somewhat disappointed by the performance of all of them. Kontera has performed that best of all three programs, as I’ve made,… 14 cents since I implemented it. In case you’re not sure, Kontera are the ads you see throughout the posts with the double underline. I have to say that I’ve taken a look at some of those things by hovering over them, and I’ve noticed that many of them have nothing to do with the word they’re setting themselves against, and some of them don’t make much sense. It’s probably no wonder that they’re not making much, but at least they’re there for now.

TTZ Media and Performancing Ads have made the same amount of money, that being nothing. Each of these programs works differently, though, so the expectation is somewhat different. TTZ Media has ads that somewhat look like a cross between Shopping Ads and Widget Bucks. If you look to the right above the Technorati image, you’ll see the TTZ ad. I need to have more of those, and in more prominent places probably, but it does change with every post, including changing if you visit the same post more than once, so maybe it just needs to be in a more prominent spot.

However, the Performancing Ads program has been the biggest disappointment. What you see on the right, above the TTZ ads, is the affiliate ad for Performancing Ads, and not any of the Performancing Ads themselves. If you saw anything, it would be showing above that ad, as Performancing has you add a widget to your site, and that’s where they would populate the ads of their advertisers. If all was working properly, you’d see two 125×125 ads sitting there, instead, you don’t see anything there, and that’s irritating me. I added it because of a post on John Chow, but I should have read this post by Problogger beforehand, as he mentioned that Performancing had been sold, then made a comeback, but he wasn’t sure if they’d be able to get advertisers for the program again. Even John Chow, the guy whose blog I saw Performancing Ads on, hasn’t made any money from them, even though he’s showing the affiliate ad on his site.

So, the immediate move I’m going to make within the next day or so is to remove Performancing Ads totally from my site. The widget will be gone, and I’ll be popping a different ad in that 125×125 slot. You may even see it gone by the time you read this. I don’t know if the problem is them not finding advertisers, or those advertisers not wanting to advertise on my blog. Since I’m about to break into the top 100,000 per Technorati, I figure I’ve done my part in popularizing my blog in some fashion, and I can’t go blaming myself for everything, so I’m thinking it’s on them. No matter; time to put something new in there to see if it performs better.

Stay tuned, folks; there will be more reviews on some of these other affiliate programs I’ve added in the near future. Nothing personal, Performancing; it’s all business.

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Maintenance Day

I hadn’t planned on making today a maintenance day. What happened is that I was going through my email and came across the email telling me about another affiliate dropping me because I’m in New York state; sigh,…

Anyway, I went looking for that particular affiliate throughout my blog, and as I went along I noticed other things that were off here and there. That included a few links that were discontinued that were shown to me by Broken Link Checker, but it turned out to be a heck of a lot more.

For instance, I saw how many of the affiliate products I add at the end of my posts had the images suddenly missing, either because those products were discontinued or the company added a different program to the mix; I wish they’d tell a body. Also, I came across many other affiliates which had been discontinued, that I hadn’t thought about, so I had to replace some of those ads.

One thing about doing maintenance on your blog is that it will bring some posts back to your mind that you hadn’t thought about in awhile. For instance, I’d forgotten that I’d written a post way back in March on publishing one’s own book, which I then followed up on in November as the final piece of my book writing series.

I also found many instances where I hadn’t typed the HTML code all that well, so I’m glad to have had the opportunity to fix those errors. It probably wasn’t until August when I started looking at every post before publishing it so I could see what things looked like, and I’m glad I do that now.

Still, I realize that I’m going to have to do two things. One, I’m going to have to create something that will be at the top of this blog that lists all my posts on making money online. I think putting them all in one place will make it a very valuable resource. Also, I’m going to have to pull out the spreadsheet and log all the affiliates I’ve used at the end of each of these posts so I can keep track of them and make sure I’m not leaving anyone out, as, it seems, some of these affiliates have rules for making sure you use them within a certain time period; weasels.

So, think about looking back through your posts to see what needs to be cleaned up and what you may be able to change around. Of course our buddy Dennis has a link error problem that he can’t find, so I’m sure he’ll find that using the time to go back through his posts may help him find it, though he’s hinting at a contest of some kind, which is sneaky, but I like it. 🙂 Also, I did all of this work this afternoon, and just a few minutes ago I read this post on Blab Web on the same thing. I guess great minds do think alike.

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Number 301, A Year To Remember

When I hit milestone number 201, I said that my goal was to get to number 300 before I’d had this blog a year. This is post number 301, and I wrote post number 300 two days ago, on the 11th, and I started this blog on December 12th, so I hit my goal; how about that!

As I did with my recap of my first 100 posts and my second 100 posts, I’m going to offer a recap of how the last 100 posts went, obviously my biggest output of posts in such a short time (less than 60 days), and compare it to at least the last 100 posts in some fashion.

Interestingly enough, four of my top five categories are still here, with the order changed, but there is one new entry, that being writing, as I had my book writing series, which can now be accessed all together by clicking on this link, or on Book Writing at the top, just as I did with my blogging tips series. Overall I wrote 8 posts on writing, which places it in 4th place. The other topics were:

Blogging – 26

Marketing – 23

Internet – 10

Computing – 7

Next, a quick look at comments. The first 100 posts had around 100 comments, and I was very happy to report last time that the second 100 had 486 posts. The third 100 posts have had,… 1,344 posts! Okay, some of those are my responses back, but so were the others, which means the figure is legitimate by comparison. And I also acknowledge that it’s not only the 100 posts within this period that got responses, but that’s not important either. I think the activity has been amazing, and I appreciate every one of you who have gifted me with your comments, and I hope you continue gifting me with even more comments as we move forward. The top five (actually six, since I have a tie, two ties to be more accurate) posts that received the most number of comments were:

A Point About Commenting On Blogs – 45

Dofollow Page Rank Discussion – 37

I Want More RSS Subscribers – 33

My Gripe With Blogger Blogs – 33

How To Be A Prolific Writer

Broken Link Checker – 29

Oddly enough, the post that got the most visits in this time period wasn’t one I wrote, but one that a guest writer, Jerry Low, wrote, called 9 Instant Tips On How To Leverage The Power Of Squidoo, so congratulations to Jerry on that one, a post I couldn’t have written because, until I read it, I didn’t know anything about Squidoo. My most visited post was the one on Dofollow Page Rank Discussion that I mentioned earlier, but a strange number three in the list was the viral post of the Dance Off between Barack Obama and John McCain; I knew folks loved to be entertained from time to time. 🙂

I doubt that over the next few months I’ll be able to write with the speed and consistency that I’ve written this past 100 posts, mainly because, as you know, I’m in Reno on a consulting assignment, and I’ve just started a new blog called Top Finance Blog that I went through a lot of trouble in getting it going, and I hope y’all find it in your busy schedules to visit and offer your opinions on what I post over there.

In my mind, as we count down the days to the end of 2008, I view this as a very successful and fun year. I treasure the friends I’ve met here, and I’ve read some wonderful entries on all of your blogs also. So, everybody, get up and dance for a few seconds, as we’re joined by the Peanuts crew; see you on the flip side!

Link to main Workout Programs page

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