Category Archives: Web Stuff

Are You Often Disappointed By “Free”?

I think I give a lot of advice on this blog, as well as a lot of commentary. I’ve helped a lot of people by showing the results of research, or testing things so they don’t have to. I don’t believe I’ve ever really held back on a topic when I’m writing about something unless it was personal.


by Andrew Steinmetz

With that said, I’ve also sometimes wondered why none of the products I’ve created sell here. I know I said that I don’t expect this blog to make a lot of money, but I do expect it to make some. Many comments indicate that there are some relatively new folks who visit and glean information from this blog, yet I’ve never sold any of my books or my webinar from this blog, though luckily I’ve sold them from other places.

What’s leading me into this conversation? The other day someone who I follow on Twitter posted something that said you could learn how someone else made $8,000.00 while on vacation through membership sites, and if you followed the link you could learn how. Well, I thought that was intriguing, as I’ve thought about membership sites, and so I followed the link and got to this page that I’m not going to advertise right now. There was a short video which said if you gave your name and email address, there would be 5 videos that would explain how she’s able to make great money through membership sites. I figured that within 5 videos I might glean some pretty good information, so I gave up the information to one of my rarely used sites; that’s how I subscribe to many things.

I got immediate access to all 5 videos, and I started watching them; took me an entire day, as I had other things to do as well, but eventually I got through all of them. And when I was finished? The only thing I got out of it was that she’s got all of her membership sites set up for recurring billing; that’s it. She talked about concepts, about statistics, and showed a lot of other people’s blogs, but never got to what I wanted to hear, which was just what someone might put into a membership site.

For instance, she mentioned a website where people could get together to talk about autistic children. Okay, that sounded good, but is there content in there? Are there videos or podcasts? How much? Is any material original, or gleaned from other sources? See, to me that’s pertinent information; that’s the type of thing that would help me decide if I wanted to not only create a membership site, or even to join one. I’ve actually joined a couple here and there in the past, only to be disappointed by one thing or another.

Now here’s the thing. Within hours of getting the link to the videos, the emails started coming about a course on how to create a membership site. At that point I pretty much figured I probably wasn’t going to get anything out of the videos, but I found it amazing that, in total, the videos were about 80 minutes long. How can anyone talk for 80 minutes and not say anything, and not be a politician?

The strange question to ask then is are you ever disappointed in free things, and do you deserve the right to be? I’m of two minds. One, if it cost you nothing and it didn’t work quite right, then you got what you paid for. Two, if something took up a lot of your time and at the end you got nothing out of it, then that’s something entirely different. That’s like sitting through an entire presentation geared to get you to pay someone thousands of dollars to create multiple websites for you by telling you how much money other people make and not telling you how other than “they sold cat brushes and made $100,000 in a week!”

What are your thoughts on this type of thing? Do you like the tease to buy, or will you buy if someone can at least offer you something up front that maybe you didn’t know?


Print Free Coupons

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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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Businesses Without Websites

Many of you know that I write blogs for others. One of the sites I write for is a massive real estate blog. It concentrates on home communities and home builders, though I also get to write some commentary here and there.


World Wide Web
by Anthony Mattox

What surprises me is just how many home builders and contractors there are that still don’t have a website. Sure, they’re listed in some fashion via Yahoo maps and Google maps and Manta and other phone number tracking sites, but beyond that there’s no further information on these companies.

It’s frustrating for me because I try to find out more information about either a community or a home builder, and there’s nothing there. In many areas around the country they don’t have home communities, just neighborhoods, and sometimes it’s hard trying to figure out who built those homes. And when you can find them, there’s nothing about them, just a phone number. You don’t know if they build single family, multiple family, condominiums, townhomes… nothing.

Of course it’s not just home builders, but many brick and mortar businesses in general. My wife and I were trying to research snow removal companies that were in our area, but there were only two online, and neither one specifically near our home. Sure, there are plenty of numbers on the search engine, but it would be nice to know which specific neighborhoods these snow removal people like to work in because my wife leaves the house by 5:30 in the morning and it doesn’t do us much good if the builder is on the other side of our town most of the time.

I wrote an article on my SEO website titled Should You Have A Website, and of course I come out on the side that says “yes”. However, I also mentioned some reasons why a business might want a website, and though I could see why someone might, my bet is that most of these companies that don’t have websites do so because they just never thought about it.

In this day and age, when so many more people are internet savvy and would rather look information up on the search engines as opposed to grabbing the Yellow Pages and looking at an ad, it would behoove any legitimate agency to have a website, put up some examples of what they do, and let their online marketing serve their business in ways they’ve never imagined before. It’s the wave of the future; heck, it’s the wave now!
 

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The Quest For Legitimate Images

There are times when you battle with ethical issues, and you’re either ready to give up on them or just move on. I don’t struggle with that issue often, but once I think about something that involves an ethical decision, I just have to work my way through it.

photo by ryancr

This time, the ethical thing concerns images that I’ve been putting into this blog. Truth be told, for me there were two issues out there. One, those images that you knew belonged to someone else, and two, those that you couldn’t confirm.

Of course, there’s been the debates and the discussions I’ve seen online. My friend Scott, who has a photography blog, got me into a discussion one day on the topic. My point to him is that I have papers filed with the government proving my copyright, that I can put a symbol on any of my work (I’ve got music and my first book copywritten), and that by adding that copyright symbol at the end of my stuff (and, these days, that copyright thing you see at the end of most of my posts), show that I own the copyright. However, with images, if there’s no watermark, or no copyright symbol on a website, or no attribution anywhere, that it becomes very difficult to figure out whether an image has a copyright or not. His belief is that one can always find it; mine is that at times it’s literally impossible.

Regardless, the issue is still out there. Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to do this for every image, because I sometimes get an image from Imagekind, which I’m an affiliate for, and of course there are times when you know someone put together a mashup of sorts that, if there’s a copyright that’s been violated, so be it, but there is a way to help get around this type of thing.

If you notice, today’s image and yesterday’s image has attribution. It turns out that you can get images from Flickr, a site I’d never gone to unless someone sent me a picture they wanted me to send and it was there, and find images you can use. Seems there’s this search function you can select that will find photos based on a description you put in and, most of the time, they allow you to use the image if you give them attribution and link back to their Flickr page with the image.

I’m not going to portray myself as any kind of genius for figuring this out, however. I got the information from Hubspot’s story titled How To Use Creative Commons To Add Images To Your Blog. There’s a video there, and I’m really glad because I wouldn’t have figured it out without that. And there’s one other thing. Something they tell you that you can do in the video is actually something you can only do if you have a Flickr account, which I won’t because I don’t have any photos that I’m ever going to pop up on any site like that. So, I have to do it the long way, write my code and add the image in a much different way. But no matter; at least I’ve found a place where, if I use those images, I know I’m in the clear.
 

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How Influential Are You Online?

On Twitter yesterday, one of the folks I followed asked who they thought were the most influential Syracuse social media people. There were a few names bandied about, but I have to admit that somewhere along the way I was hoping that someone would mention me. However, it wasn’t meant to be, and as disappointing as that was, it seems to follow an interesting pattern.

We as bloggers spend our time writing our posts, hoping to drive visitors to our sites to read what we have to say and see what we have to show. Some of us hope to make a dollar or two here and there, if not necessarily through the blog itself, then by doing speaking engagements, workshops and the like, or having someone see what we write about and decide to pay us for it. However, to get all of that, it takes influence, because that’s what’s going to determine just how many people are going to come see what it is you do.

What I’ve noticed is that I’m more influential outside of my home area than within it. Though I’ve lived in this area for 35 years, I find that I’m kind of the great unknown. Now, a part of that is my fault because I don’t get out all that much anymore, and in the days when I did get out, there was no internet. It’s hard becoming a local cause célèbre, if you will, at age 50. Indeed, the local net community in general probably didn’t even know I existed until I went to my first tweetup last year. Oh, I had a local client here and there, but all because I participated in this consulting group; any local work I’ve done has come through them.

Just to spread this even further, most of my consulting assignments in my main profession have also been out of town. Do local facilities need the types of services I provide as much as out of town facilities? Yes. Do they even look at me? No, I’m pretty much ignored, even at health care networking meetings (I finally decided to drop out after being a member for 15 years), though I do still market to them from time to time. Not memorable enough? Me?!?!?

Back on the 22nd, I did my first workshop on social media marketing in central New York. It’s actually the first time I’ve given a presentation in this area that I’ve been paid for, and I’ve given enough presentations. Goodness, I’ve been in the local newspaper, local business newspaper, once on local radio (I don’t count seeing myself in the background on the local news, though I did laugh), and it seems no one really knows who I am around here; that’s a shame.

Of course, I kind of see it as my fault. One of the things about social media marketing is that when you do it, unless you’ve finitely targeted yourself to your local area, your message tends to spread everywhere, and let’s face the fact that there’s a lot more people “everywhere” than at home. The most consistent comments I get on this blog or any of my other blogs come from people “elsewhere”. The people who have bought products I’ve created are from “elsewhere” (well, I did have one guy I knew who bought one of my products, but he’s the only one). Any web work that didn’t come from my consulting group, or writing work, that I’ve gotten have come from “elsewhere”. Goodness, the article I wrote about one of our tweetups, where I mentioned about 30 names, only got 2 comments, luckily from local people, though I know a few more did see it at least.

Ah, I know what you’re asking; what about the topic about influence online? In that fashion, we at least have some tools we can look at. For instance, I’m sitting at an Alexa rank of 112,591 for this blog. My main business site is around 392,000, my other site is around 1.3 million. For my main search terms on my main business, I come up in the top ten, if not at #1. For my other business, I’m in the top 40 for half of the terms, but if Yahoo was the main search engine I could actually claim a bunch of top 10 slots; I’m going to figure that out one day. For my main business site, it’s linked to more than 3,000 other websites, and my other business site almost 3,000; for this blog, more than 14,000 links elsewhere. As a point of comparison, I popped in some other domain names, and I don’t see anyone else linked to that many sites that I know.

So, in a weird way, it begs the question what is influence anyway, and how does one use it? I think I’ll tackle that one next week. But I’ll ask this question again; how influential are you online?

Ultimate World War II DVD Collection

Ultimate World War II DVD Collection


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