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A whimsical look at my career, business, marketing, and social interactions in the era of web 2.0. On company time.

Updated: 2017-10-30T12:19:19.976-07:00


We've Moved!


Please go check out the new location of the blog at


Alternate Language Creative


(image) I was presented with an interesting dilemma last week. An affiliate contacted me and pointed out that their visitor base consists mostly of non-English speaking users.

Of course we're willing to accommodate this publisher. He's excited about the program enough to ask for the creative that his visitors will understand and connect with. Now in this case the language in question was Spanish, which I don't personally speak. So I gave the publisher the opportunity to give me the copy and we can work from there.

This makes me wonder how other affiliate managers deal with creating custom ads appealing to different demographics, languages, cultures, etc. Do they always create a few different versions of an ad for other demographics or take the requests in as they come? I guess it depends on their program and the types of publishers they have.

For the time being, I'm sticking with a case-by-case basis, although(image) I know eventually it'll need to be automated lest I go insane trying to appease these requests. I've said it many times before that everyone needs printing, in all languages, so eventually I can see the reach of our program extending across demographics. Eventually it would definitely be nice to come out of the gate with multiple versions of same ads. Networks, if you're reading, you should work in a way to add different versions and not count against our total link count.

Alas, I'm betting that no one from any affiliate networks reads this so my plea will go unseen.

Let Sleeping Husbands & Cats Lie


So what does this have to do with marketing or affiliate managing? Other than I am in these fields and wanted to share a cute picture of the cat sleeping on the husband, it's a good metaphor for inactive affiliates.

Now, the only reason our cat is sleeping on him is because he's asleep and doesn't know it. If he were awake, the cat would be hitting the floor in less than a minute. At any moment he can wake up and kick Lunchbox to the curb (yes, my cat is named Lunchbox). So since he's asleep, the status quo of the cat sleeping with him is maintained.

He could wake up at any time and the cat will be gone. An inactive affiliate could wake up to your program at any time and decide to clean house, drop your program, heavily promote your program, or just leave the cat on their lap - you never know. This is a good argument for why affiliate managers should leave inactive affiliates alone and not deactivate them. Use the "wait and see" tactics as a manager. It's actually less work for you to leave inactive affiliates in the program (but still keep track of how MANY are inactive and reach out periodically) than to continually try to weed them out. And they could end up being great affiliates in the long run.

Now, this is what I've heard EVERYWHERE, but I have to tell you - honestly, inactive affiliates(image) annoy me. I understand their reasons for signing up then not doing anything, I really do. I've done it myself. But in my professional life, I'm a neat freak. I like to keep the program tidy and make sure that the performers are being represented and those that are asleep at the wheel are not. Additionally, the more inactive affiliates are in our program the more dragged down our EPC gets.

We're not the first company of our kind with a strong affiliate program, so trimming the fat is necessary to keep our EPC up and really stand out amongst the competition. Right now I see this as a necessary evil of the rat race. Eventually I hope that our EPCs will be good enough even with the less active affiliates to be a more wide open program.

In the meantime, just answer my email and let me help you :p

Reputation Management Made Easy - By Trackur!


I wish I could tell you all that this amazing service is free, but alas like most good things nowadays there's a price to pay. This is definitely a service that's worth the coin., launched earlier this year by Andy Beal of, is an amazing tool that basically scours the web for you to find references to your keyword. I enjoyed my free trial, and am excited to see that the minimum price has gone down to $18/month. It'll be much easier to sell execs on using this service now that it's ultra affordable.

This ain't yo mama's reputation management!

Google Alerts have pretty much been the standard in the past, but once you try Trackur I promise you'll cancel half those alerts. I found SO much more on Trackur that the Google Alerts never mentioned. Trackur scours all of the web, so if something happens to get past Google's spiders (not likely but hey, it's possible) it'll show up on Trackur.

So don't let me sing the praises for it - go sign up for the free trial. It's a great tool that I'll definitely be hounding the execs here to use. And I know this sounds like I have something to gain from this post, but I don't. It's just such a great service I think it deserves more recognition!

Link Glossary: On-Page Factors


On Page Factors:
  • Ranking criteria that can be found on a web page. These factors include: text on the page, meta-tags, keyword density, keyword proximity, etc.
A brief word about some factors. Some people don't seem to understand the importance of meta-tags, but they're vital for SEO and SEM. Meta-tags increase the attractiveness of your website to search engines. Keyword density is also a must; if you are looking to improve your organic search results for a particular keyword, you must include that word in the text on your page at least 4 times as a rule of thumb.

Glossary Definition From
The Definitive Guide to Link Buying by Patrick Gavin

Cribbed Content for March 21st


It's been a weird week...long yet short. Not a lot going on but here's some highlights.
  • Stephen Denton, president of LinkShare, resigned. Basically he just wants to take some time off to be with his kids and family. Right on.
  • GeekCast 10 - hilarious as usual. Word directly from Shawn is that ASW09 is going to be in Las Vegas again...usually gets about 75% of the vote. Personally, I voted San Diego. Meh.
  • Clever, yet, annoying marketing idea for the week comes from Jim Kukral on The Daily Flip - get a jingle. Watch this... soak it in... punch him in the head next time you see him.
  • I'm discontinuing the daily quotes. They didn't add much to anything and ultimately ended up being a chore to do. Sorry to anyone who'll miss them.
On a secondary note I suggested a topic for Affiliate Fortune Cookies that Sam seemed to dig and submitted a couple questions for and I hope that Jim answers them. So if I get answers from Jim Kukral I'll post them and if Sam Harrelson gets around to doing a podcast on my topic, I'll share that too. I'm all about sharing what I know!

Link Glossary: Link Popularity


Link Popularity:
  • The measure the quantity and/or quality of sites that link back to your web page.
Popular links are important links. Like in High School.

Glossary Definition From
The Definitive Guide to Link Buying by Patrick Gavin

Explain the value to me


Okay, so there are some websites that I just don't get. So this is a participation welcome post. Well, okay all of my posts are, of course, welcome to comments, discussion, and participation. But today we're going to jump into web 2.0 and the world of user generated content!

There are a couple of biggun websites out there that I just don't understand what the value of these pages are. On one hand I do understand the getting your name out there and a wide & varied web presence will generate traffic (however little). But on the other hand, there's only one of me so where do I allocate my personal resources?

Here are the websites I just don't get - someone explain it to me! Remember, this blog is dofollow so feel free to throw in a link for your trouble!
  • - Isn't this just a big affiliate link venue?
  • - This seems like a lot of redundancy since the people I'm inclined to follow on friendfeed I already follow through their channels that are linked. Make sense?
  • - Is this just scrapped content heaven? Is there any value to your Technorati authority?
  • - What is SO much better about this cultivated human powered search engine?

Viral Marketing at it's Finest


ALL FREAKIN' DAY I've seen the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, Ze Frank, and others go back and forth on Twitter about joining the Very Green Team and wondered if they'd lost their natural minds. It looks like there's a color war going on... just something to pass the time. Gary explains why he's so passionate about the color green on his website:

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This is a great example at viral marketing at it's finest. Sam Harrelson also posted about the phenomenon at CostPerNews. So take a page from the Garyvee book and do something viral!

EDIT: OK, Ze was kind enough to explain what the heck is going on with these color wars in his blog.

Top Six Mistakes to Avoid in Any Postcard Marketing Campaign


Postcards are a very cost-effective and efficient way to market your business. Combine that with their ability to generate a high response rate, and you have a tremendously powerful marketing tool. However, it’s really important to avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when implementing their postcard marketing campaign. Here’s a list of the top six mistakes you should avoid in order to have a successful campaign. 1. Not Targeting the Best ProspectsHow much of a response would the Omaha Steaks company receive if they sent marketing postcards to a subscriber list of Vegetarian Cooking? Chances are, the results would be poor. Having the best possible mailing list is one of the most important factors of a successful postcard marketing campaign. In-house lists are best. An in-house list is a list of your past and current customers. If you don’t have an in-house list or want to expand your marketing reach, you can rent a list. Several companies offer the ability to rent mailing lists, including PsPrint. You can select specific criteria for you list rentals. For example, if you are selling high-end baby items, you would want your list to include households with a certain income level, within a certain distance from you store, and in a specific age range. That would ensure a good return on your campaign. 2. Lack of continuity/repetitionStudies show that the average person needs to see or hear something four times before it completely registers. So when you plan your postcard campaign, make sure it’s not just a single mailing but an actual campaign. When someone sees your company name over and over again, it builds credibility and familiarity. It may take a number of contacts with a customer before it leads to a sale, but the eventual increase in revenue from a committed customer usually far offsets the small cost of postcard printing. 3. Sending an unprofessional, lack-luster postcardYou want your postcard to look professional, stand out, and generate a positive response. Consider sending oversized postcards, or include a personal message on the postcard. Include colors, high-quality photos or other items to attract attention and make people want to read your card. 4. Too much text/informationBrevity is the soul of wit! Keep that in mind when you develop the content for your postcard. Do not include every little detail of information. In fact, bullet points are the best way to deliver a message with postcards. Think of what step you want the reader to take and make sure you deliver enough information and enticement. You can always have more information on a landing page, in follow up communication or in a phone message. If you try to put too many messages or information, the reader will have a hard time making out any message and will not bother to read the card. 5. Not providing contact informationThis might sound like common sense, but it’s amazing how many postcards do not provide contact information in easy to spot format. Provide a telephone, cell or fax number, url to landing page, email or return address. And make sure you repeat your company name next to the contact information. 6. Not seeding your mailing listWhenever you conduct a postcard campaign, make certain that you place addresses of friends, relatives, and your address on the list. This will enable you to know exactly when the postcard reaches your intended audience. If you are mailing nationwide, be sure to include the addresses of friends and family across the country. If you don’t receive your card in a timely manner, you can follow up with the mailing list company to determine the cause.__For the latest marketing advice, visit for more articles like this![...]

Link Glossary: PageRank


Page Rank:
  • A method developed and patented by Stanford University and Larry Page (co-founder of Google) to rank search engine results. PageRank gives a unique ranking to every page on the internet. The ranking is based on the number and quality of inbound links pointing to a page.
Part of my goal here is to share what I'm learning while stumbling through my career with others, hence a new glossary series on link related terms. This is a brief explanation of PageRank, but Google offers more thorough information here.

PageRank tip... usually a website has to have a PageRank of at least 4 to be relevant to SEO results.

Glossary Definition From
The Definitive Guide to Link Buying by Patrick Gavin

Free Toolsday for March 18th


Today's tool isn't so much one tool as it is a set of tools. A few months back while I was scouring the blogosphere for blog directories to post a link on, I found a website called Blogflux. Not only is there a directory on this site, but they also offer a pinger, polls, PR checker, blog themes, and more. All of their free services are listed right on the home page.PR CheckerWith as much credence as the online world gives PageRank, it's important to be able to easily check your page rank. This PR checker is easy to use and works for more than just blogs. I can use it to see that, sadly, I have a PR 0 or to see that PsPrint has a PR 5. It's quick and accurate, which is all it needs to be.PollsThe polls feature works great and super easy. They are somewhat limited in how many answers a respondent can choose from, but for a free service that's not bad. You can use the Blogflux interface to keep track of various polls and the results. Here's a quick example: src="" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" height="372" scrolling="no" width="222"><a href="">Take the poll</a><br /><br /><a href="">Free Poll by Blog Flux</a>PingerAny business professional, regardless of industry, would be lying if they said they wouldn't jump at a chance to save time & increase their efficiency in their daily routine. A blog ping service does just that. Instead of visiting dozens of websites one by one to let them know you've written a new blog post, the Blogflux ping service can notify 17 different services from one page and show you the status of the ping, which is a nifty feature. Last October the pinger was listed on Mashable among 19 other blog ping services. It may not be able to ping the highest number of services, but with the added convenience of all the other services that Blogflux offers, the efficiency is definitely increased.ThemesOne of the easiest tools in any blogger's arsenal is their site design, commonly referred to as a theme. A unique theme is your most immediate way to stand out from the repetitive noise of the blogosphere and stock templates. The Blogflux Themes area lets you browse and search for some less common themes to download and use for your blog. While it's not a unique theme that visitors will only see on your blog, it will stand out amongst the extremely repetitive stock templates.CommentfulNow this is one of their neatest features. Commentful keeps track on comments, blog follow ups, and all sorts of handy tracking without having to go to your blog and Digg and a million other sites to keep track[...]

Analytics Glossary: Scenario Analysis


Scenario Analysis:
  • A report showing the amount of activity at each step of a defined scenario, plus conversion rates for each transition from step to step as well as for the whole process. Examples of scenarios are check-out, registration, or application sequences.
Very much like conversion funnel, you should check all the processes on your website on a regular basis to update them and improve the user interface. The easiest way to get behind competitors in your industry is to fall behind in technology and ease of experience.

Well, that concludes my analytics glossary series. I hope you've learned as much as I have! If you have suggestions for any other glossary series you'd like to see, shoot me an email at

Glossary Definition From
Website Magazine, February 2008.

St. Patrick’s Day Tips and Tricks for Graphic Designers


As a graphic designer, it is your job to make your clients’ marketing materials truly stand out and set them apart from their competition. They have to look great to maximize their return on investment; which in turn will generate repeat business for you. If you have the basic thematic association design concepts down pat, it’s time to take your clients’ St. Patrick’s Day promotions to the next level with striking creativity that looks professional and elegant. Here are a few St. Patrick’s Day tips and tricks for graphic designers. Stray from the Norm Many designers stick to green and orange for their clients’ St. Patrick’s Day promotions, but you don’t have to. In fact, straying from the normal color selections help your designs become instant attention-grabbers. One example would be to make a shamrock in your clients’ company colors. Because designers often cover St. Patty’s Day promos in green backgrounds, you can also accentuate your designs by using a white background with subtle shapes in varying shades of green throughout the promotional piece; whether it’s a postcard, a brochure, a sales letter, or an envelope. This method lends a touch of elegance and professionalism to corporate pieces and makes ‘fun’ materials stand out in a river of green. Make it Shine An oft-overlooked design element is foil stamping. Foil-stamped promotional materials beam with confidence and professionalism, and St. Patrick’s Day offers the perfect opportunity for gold foil stamping through associations with leprechauns and their pots of gold. You can also try outlining your letters, or adding a drop shadow, with silver foil stamping. Cut it Up Die-cutting is a great way to incorporate thematic association on St. Patrick’s Day. You can choose from pre-existing die-cuts or have a custom die-cut created in shape of a shamrock, leprechaun, Ireland, the Irish flag, or a pot of gold, for example. Die-cutting isn’t limited to fun, adventurous promotional pieces – elegant designs can be accomplished as well. Imagine, for instance, a promotional postcard for an investment firm shaped like a shamrock, with a blue background and white lettering. Promotional Materials Should be Promotional If possible, encourage your clients to add limited-time sales, bargains, and deals to their promotional pieces to increase their response. They’ll know the sale begins or ends on St. Patrick’s Day and are less likely to ‘miss the sale.’ Another example would be to hide a pot of gold in a company catalog and give a percentage off of merchandise to anyone who correctly identifies its location (of course, it should be relatively easy to find). This will encourage potential customers to browse through the catalog pages, increasing the likelihood that they’ll find something they want to purchase. Ultimately, a successful marketing campaign depends on whether your client appears to offer what potential customers are looking for – and whether they appear to have the best product/service/price, etc. It is your job to be the messenger, so scope out your clients’ competition, unleash your creativity, and make your client out to be the best. If you keep the above tips in mind, everyone will be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day.__For the latest marketing advice, visit for more articles like this![...]

Quote of the Day


If Thomas Edison invented the electric light today, it would be reported on the evening news that the candle making industry was threatened. Ralph Nader would announce a lawsuit on behalf of all the poor people who might get electrocuted. And the candle workers' union would have at least two Senators introduce a bill to lock electricity on behalf of their industry.
-Newt Gingrich

Politics are getting me down...can't it be time to vote and get it over with already?

Quote of the Day


If at first you don't succeed, well, so much for skydiving.
-Victor O'Reilly

Enjoy the last tidbits of your weekend!

Quote of the Day


The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need more men who can dream of things that never were.
-President John F. Kennedy

What are you dreaming of?

Sayounara, Spottt


I do a lot of experimenting with this blog to see what works and what doesn't in terms of driving traffic. When Spottt came along as a sort of EntreCard knock off, I jumped into the water and threw it up to see how it'd work.

I've been running it for a month and so far it is just not showing the return on traffic that I was hoping for. These are the stats that Spottt has given me:

(image) So, with those stats my ad gets clicked on less than 1%. To be exact it's like 0.26%. That's really not very good. Now another thing I noticed is that Spottt says the banner received 25 clicks, yet Google Analytics shows me this data over the last month:

(image) So, 1 page visit. That stayed on the site so short that it doesn't even register. Bounced immediately. On my list of traffic sources it's #105. I'm no analytics guru, but I'm pretty sure at this point that it's best to focus my efforts on, say, the top 25 traffic sources. So the real estate on my blog is actually WORTH something.

So take a hike, Spottt. I'll stick with my EntreCard love.

Cribbed Content for March 14


A ton of stuff has gone on this week in the world of online & affiliate marketing. It's pandemonium.
The end of the week has really slowed down in terms of business news. So I'll leave you with this - go to and listen to the Geek Cast with Sam Harrelson, Shawn Collins, Jim Kukral, and Lisa Picarille. Hilarity & relevancy collide, I promise you.

Quote of the Day


The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.

Have you done anything lately to help educate your youth?

Mecha Googlezilla - AdManager Launched


Google is quick on the draw - it was only days ago that the deal for Google to buy DoubleClick was finalized and today Google's Inside AdSense blog let the cat out of the bag.

They say it best, so straight from the horse's mouth:
Ad Manager currently addresses the ad management and serving needs of publishers with smaller sales teams and effectively complements the DoubleClick Revenue Center, which is focused on publishers with large sales teams. We're excited to add DART for Publishers to our suite of products,and we're committed to the continued development and enhancement of DoubleClick's offerings.
So basically all of the internet marketing industry's speculation earlier this week about what this means has been swiftly answered. Sort of.

It's still not clear the fate of affiliate network Performics, a DoubleClick company, and whether they'll stick around or if it'll be eventually swallowed. Personally I think it would be silly for them to absorb Performics. Instead they should pretty much do what DoubleClick did when they initially bought Peformics - just append the name.

Coming to an internet near you - Google Performics?

Brochure Printing Made Easy


A fast and easy way to promote your business is by having brochures available for your customers. These promotional materials are easy to make and will give customers a way to take more information with them and look into your services when they're good and ready. Brochures are also easy to mail to prospective customers, making your direct mail efforts a breeze.If you are just starting out in business, brochure-printing is a cheap yet effective way to promote your company.Here are some simple steps to creating your brochures efficiently and effectively:1. Content comes FirstThe most important part of your brochure is the content. Spend the time necessary to perfect your content before deciding how it will look. Your brochures should include a detailed overview of the products or services that your company offers. If possible, include prices. You want to let the reader know what your company is about in a succinct manner.Be sure to include your company's contact information for the reader to be able to ask questions and get more detailed information. Think of the brochure as a teaser - you want them to come back for more.Take the time to have multiple people review the content before you settle on it. You want to be sure to catch any typos, grammatical errors, or misinformation. It is important that you make a good first impression in the hands of potential customers with this brochure, so you want to make sure your content is top notch.Once you've perfected your content, work on the layout. Be sure to follow any guidelines set forth by your printer while designing the brochure. It is much easier to work within their guides than to have to redesign something later. Be sure to include vivid, eye catching photographs that are high quality. Make your brochure informative, but do not overcrowd it with so much text that it will be a bore to read.2. Gloss or Matte?Many customers look to the printer to help decide if a gloss or a matte finish is better for their brochures. Truth be told the best judge of this is you the customer. Gloss finish is an industry standard and tends to make vivid pictures pop just a little more. Matte has an air of class that might be important for a classy restaurant or elite law firm. Take into consideration what type of business you are before deciding on which finish to go with.Remember to choose your finish in line with the rest of your branded materials. If all of your business cards and sales fliers are glossy, a matte brochure may not fit in. Whether you go with gloss or matte, be sure to stick with that finish for 99% of your major marketing materials.3. Get them PrintedGenerally speaking, you will want to print a large quantity of brochures to satisfy demand. You never want to get to the point where you're out of brochures. Being out of brochures means that there are potential customers that walk away empty handed instead of walking away with your information.When deciding how many brochures to have printed, consider how preserved is your data? If your prices or products change quarterly, you may want to be more conservative with how many you print. You always want to reprint your brochures with updated information if it changes; handing out brochures with stale information reduces their effectiveness considerably.In most cases, printing the brochures on your home or office printer is not an option. The strain and ink usage is just not cost effective. Using a quality professional printing company is your [...]

Analytics Glossary: Benchmark


  • A standard by which something can be measured or judged. Assigning value to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) ensures your organization is measuring performance against similar goals.
Be sure you're not setting benchmarked goals for your analytics or company that are impossible to obtain!

Glossary Definition From
Website Magazine, February 2008.

Quote of the Day


You can learn many things from your children. How much patience you have, for example.
-Franklin P. Jones

Remember this hump day that patience is a virtue!

NoFollow vs. DoFollow


First, the definition, courtesy of Dot Traffic Glossary:Nofollow A website can direct a search engine spider not to follow a link that appears on it. The idea being that the target website’s ranking will not influence the website indexed. Nofollow attribute values are most often used on sites with user generated content, like user comments and blogs.Dofollow is basically the opposite of this. Many bloggers refer to this as link love. By allowing the search engine spiders to follow those links, you're increasing their page rank status and allowing their ranks to influence your rank. Which is not what you want if you're looking to increase your page rank, necessarily.There's a debate raging amongst bloggers and it seems like most smaller blogs are going the Dofollow route. By spreading the link love you're helping out your fellow bloggers, who are more inclined to reciprocate. Blogroll's are a prime opportunity for this. The larger bloggers don't seem to be weighing in on the issue (at least not from what I've seen) so perhaps for a blogger with a larger audience they couldn't care one way or the other.Since this is a bit outside my expertise, I'll admit, I posed the question to my 59 Twitterati followers for their opinions:Shawn Collins of Affiliate Tip: "Event with nofollow in my blog comments, the comment monkeys constantly attack with their spam."Scott Jangro of MechMedia: "I've been fighting so hard with the spammers recently, I'm starting to question my own long-time use of dofollow." He also added "I agree with Sam on the size of the blog though. Mine was until the past few days a PR6 which has me on every must-spam list."Sam Harrelson of ReveNews & Affiliate Fortune Cookies: "I'm all in favor of spreading the love, but there are SO many gamers out there that it makes DoFollow really unsustainable." He followed up to say "Would just add that if it's a small blog, you might make dofollow work. As it grows, it's just too hard." Of course, these opinions totally fall in line with that I've observed in looking around. The little guys are all for dofollow to get the word out, but once you cross that line you become a "comment monkey" target. Scott Jangro wrote a really reflective post about it back in February called Attack of the Comment Monkeys (don't know how I missed it from the RSS feed...).I think one thing all bloggers and internet marketers in general can agree on is that Spam is a problem. Not only is it definitely annoying, but it also pollutes the well (as Jason Calacanis pointed out in his keynote at Affiliate Summit West last month). It makes a lot of legitimate internet marketing look bad, and it's a fine line before someone misunderstands persistent follow up and due diligence for the dreaded SPAM label.Where do I stand? Long time readers of this blog will note that I use links a lot in my posts. Basically I do this for two reasons: 1. I like to give readers an easy reference of what or who I'm talking about. 2. It's just nice karma. This blog is hosted by Blogger, and according to their Help Center they automatically add the nofollow tag to the templates. Which is probably why I have a page rank of 0.So I'm going to edit my template as an experiment. For anyone else curious on how to do this for blogger, there's a great tutorial onl[...]