This is a brilliant mind-map by Dr NGO
Updates from October, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
Originally posted to the Internet University message board
Captains log, Stardate -313708.32
I went back to the Zip submit campaign I was running and trimmed the URLs so at least I’m keeping 2-3 profitable URLs. Ultimately I don’t want to invest a ton of time on something I know won’t take me very far even if I get it 100% awesome. I may come back and try some other crazy stuff with them
I grabbed an old laptop – a Thinkpad T30 and loaded it with Gamevance, Hotbar, Vombashots and Gamebound for DirectCPV. I’m learning quite a bit. The hardest part was getting stupid Hotbar to not get nuked by the Antivirus. I also installed an older version of Firefox. I ‘m aware the machine is at risk for viruses and trojans, so it gets backed up nightly and can be rebuilt in 30 minutes. Its also not part of the core of my home network, just in case. Its slow as freaking molasses, but does the job. Today I was able to see and screencapture one of my own pop-ups!!! It looked like shit – lesson learned.
I had an interesting idea. A counter-intuitive and over-arching idea on where to target my promotions. Essentially I see two kinds of pop-ups:
1 – DirectCPV interstitials: You have to provide the visitor what they were looking for, faster, simple and easier, and it HAS to match they site they just surfed into and you popped over
2 – Other Pop-ups: You have to provide the user something they want MORE than what they are currently doing.
The Pivotal a-ha moment I had was that instead of giving the user what they are looking for in a pop-up, I have to acknowledge that people are often doing something they DONT WANT to be doing. My task is to figure out where these unsavory tasks are, what they are doing that they don’t want to do, what they would rather be doing, and offer it to them. It isn’t easy – I have a feeling this idea is a keeper, though.
On Stardate -313702.84 (AKA, Tuesday) I launched a campaign promoting mobile downloads, with five offers rotating through just one web site on LeadImpact and Mediatraffic – I’m trying to implement the idea I described above. So far there’s one conversion in there, so not much to say since traffic started running late yesterday. I still think the concept is a winner – I just have to prove it.
Actually, there is something to say – MediaTraffic has sent a shit ton more traffic than LeadImpact, but no conversions, really. I don’t understand – their pop-ups are huge when compared.
Gamevance started popping immediately after installation. Something I do is I make sure I click on the pop-ups. Why? Because I figure if they see me click on the pop-ups, they’ll probably send me more – this may be my imagination, though. That’s how I would design the algorithm – show more to those who like it.
I have yet to see a DirectCPV ad. The other networks are almost flooding me.
I also tried running a “Category” campaign on MediaTraffic. I stopped it after a couple of hours and a thousand pops – The price is much lower, $0.007 a pop instead of $0.015 (less than half). The traffic quality, however, was rock-bottom suck-ass. Their “classification” was ass-ward-back – I looked at the referrers, and while there wasn’t any obvious mischief, the pops came from things like parked pages, landers of other affiliate offers, and generally random and completely irrelevant shit.
The machine is pretty hard to use… The pop ups are fairly regular.
There was one very memorable pop-up: There’s an offer and landing page that I wanted to work on and I noticed a pop-up just like I had envisioned. This is no mere coincidence. I didn’t “accidentally” install all this crap on a laptop and surfed randomly. I went to a site where I thought a pop-up like that would be and set Firefox to refresh the page every two minutes, so I did find it. I analyzed it…
Now I have to cross the Neutral Zone…
Here’s my handy list of the software that goes with each network
Leadimpact = Hotbar
TrafficVance = Gamevance
MediaTraffic = Vombashots
DirectCPV = Loudmo.com – Gamebound
<Sarcasm warning> Oh… But how refreshing this is… I start digging with Robtex.com at the sever of a pop-up and it turns out the server is located in Turkey, registered in Turkey, and also does e-mail for just two other domains… Both of those other domains are in German… Here’s a Google translation snippet of the homepage:
“The CC is a relaxed, friendly association of people with pedophilic inclinations and non-pedophile people of any race. Anyone who wants to deal with no attacks or accusations with the theme, is hereby cordially invited to visit our homepage and our public discussion forum and to participate in the discussions.”
What… the.. fuck…
Computer, end entry.
Speed Up Landing Pages and Redirects by Loading a Preview from a Content Distribution Network like CloudFront
If the offer you are promoting loads too slowly for sending it PPV traffic directly, or your own redirection is slowing down your pop-ups, here’s an interesting solution I developed.
The idea is simple: Show the user the landing page even before it is fully loaded – so you get them to see the offer just a bit before they can actually interact with it – This way they hopefully don’t close down the pop-up because it catches their eye.
What this does, in summary:
1 – Take a snapshot of the landing page (you do this, manually)
2 – Upload the snapshot and an HTML page to CloudFront
3 – Point the PPV/CPV network to pop the HTML file instead of your tracking link
4 – The HTML file, hosted on the Content Distribution Network (Akamai, CloudFront, etc) will load the snapshot from the same CDN and also load the REAL URL in the background in a transparent frame
5 – When the real offer URL frame is fully loaded, switch the transparency levels and the real landing page appears instantly in place
6 – All relevant URL variables get passed on
The effect is pretty much invisible to the user – It just loads a ton faster- depending on the speed of where you’re redirecting to. Remember to optimize the snapshot graphic file you’re serving. In my testing (about 10,000 pops) the loss of impressions reaching the offer page went DOWN by 2%-3% (to 8% total – down from 10%) for direct to the offer, also this was 18% better (again in terms of impressions reaching the offer page) when compared to a slower redirect I used.
As with everything, test it. What I did notice in testing was that it provides no benefit if the landing page is really fast already – the slower your redirection, tracking, offer or affiliate network servers are, the more juice you’ll get out of of this script.
If you want to check the variables that are getting passed to the iFramed page simply use the attached “Variable Checker” PHP file.
I’m placing everything in a neat ZIP file for you to download HERE:
IFRAME VARIABLE CHECKER
Original PHP-Based Preloader (Not recommended)
In the neverending quest for traffic, I bumped into a great list of traffic sources compiled by Edward from http://3things.be which I promptly proceeded to rip, massage, sort and post. Probably the best part of the list are Edward’s one-line comments on each source. Check out the ultimate list of traffic sources.
Found a nifty little app called StatsRemote that can keep track of dozens of advertising as well as affiliate network accounts. By what I read this tool is pretty popular in the Adult webmaster industry.
The functionality is limited to overall stats, the price is around $30 a month. In a nutshell, it gives you a birds-eye view of your money going in and out (AKA: Cashflow) plus a projection for the entire month month/year and some stats. It doesn’t do SubIDs and I don’t think it can help optimize much – but its sure nice to see how big a hole I’m putting on my budget. It has an INCREDIBLE list of supported platforms – and they do work – If nothing, that list is worth a look simply because it acts as a directory of working shit by type – For example if you are looking at getting more traffic then their pruned list is pretty good, just as well if you suddenly fancy a bit of gambling.
Tip 1 – Get Dedicated Servers or a Virtual Private servers. I just spent the last two days migrating and consolidating hosting accounts. Total waste of time, but had to be done. Be smart, not like me.
Tip 2 – Use the Domain Registrar’s DNS service, not your server’s. The main reason is because if you have a dedicated server and all your domains are being served by a single domain name server, which is highly likely, or by different domain name servers that share the same IP addresss, once a competing affiliate develops an interest on one of your campaigns, figuring out the entire portfolio of sites on your server is trivial. If you are using your registrar’ DNS, the same lookup will return thousands of other unrelated sites, essentially cloaking yours even if you have them on the same registrar.
Tip 3 – Don’t skimp on IP addresses – Get one for each domain name. Same reason as for the DNS servers above. You could share some betweena few campaigns… Its not the best of ideas, though.
Tip 4 – Parallel’s Plesk control panel is more user-friendly, but less feature rich. WHM from Cpanel is chock-full of features, but really unfriendly (check out a screenshot of WHM here).
Tip 5 – You NEED a “Managed” server or VPS. Whatever you get make sure it says its “Managed” or get the “Managed” add-on option. This way when it turns out you need a newer version of MySQL to run Prosper, you can just pick up the phone or open a ticket and get it upgraded instead of messing everything up yourself.
Got any other affiliate hosting tips? Share with a comment!
Slave Rat and Joseph are discussing. Toggle Comments
Ever wish you could deliver web pages and graphics at blazing speeds without having to sell your firstborn?
99% of the content of this blog is now speeding from Amazon’s CloudFront Content Distribution Network. Check the page source code – whatever comes from “cloud.negbox.com” is actually coming from a server at an Amazon location near YOU. Yes, YOU. Not me, not my hosting provider… You.
I never thought I would set up my own little CDN in a few hours – I thought these things were hard as hell to set up. Amazon has made it incredibly simple, and you don’t have to pick up the phone to talk to any IT ‘tard. I basically muddled my way through. The really nice bit is that I estimate that for my 3GB of storage and an ungodly amount of traffic on this blog, the monthly cost I would pay for storage, transfer, etc would not exceed a coffee at Starbucks even when I double my realistic estimate. Yup, this is really cheap.
Now imagine hosting your landing page and images on CloudFront. Wouldn’t that be sweet for the PPV mavens?
Turns out Amazon has been offering for some time this service called CloudFront. If you’ve heard of Akamai (by far the biggest name in this field) and other Content Distribution Networks – you know what this is. They put the stuff in a redundant cloud close to the people that request the files. Theoretically if folks from Botswanahilii start requesting your pages, your pages start getting replicated to servers closer to Botswanahilii – That’s the gist of a CDN and I understand CloudFront follows it to some degree – not going to split hairs on this one.
Signing up for Amazon Web Services is dead-simple. Setting up CloudFront is not for the faint of heart – it involved no coding, and can be done easily – but there is little in the way of user-level help screens – you get tons of help pages, but its all aimed at developers. Just do like me: Close your eyes, plug some values that make sense and cross your fingers… You did it on every other test in school – this is no different.
Amazon has a really nice web interface for all their web services… I’m not going to go into how awesome all their other services are – just check them out, they are awesome.
If you’ve got balls of steel, you can follow my instructions:
1 – Signup to AWS (Amazon Web Services) – Give them your billing info.
2 – Go into the AWS interface, go to the tab labeled S3 and “Create a Bucket” any name is fine – if it gives you errors, try a more unique name. “Bucket” is probably taken.
3 – Go into the CloudFront tab and “Create a Distribution” and give it the name of your blog, or your pet Iguana, don’t really matter.
3a – Select download for the type (I really don’t know what the difference is – this is how I did it). On the “Origin” drop down, select the name of the bucket you created on step 2
3b – On the CNAME field, put a subdomain you will be creating for this file distribution service. I chose “cloud” so in that field I put in “cloud.negbox.com” … The way NegBox is set up (no www) I could have perfectly well chosen “www” on CloudFront and could serve some static pages from http://www.negbox.com/index.html straight from CloudFront (note it doesn’t do “root” or document finding, so pointing your browser at the root of your CloudFront subdomain returns gibberish).
4 – Go to your hosting provider’s DNS tool or your registrar’s DNS tool – Whoever is doing name resolution for you at the moment – and add a CNAME record. The Cname Record has only two pieces of information – One is going to be the name you want to redirect, in this case “cloud.negbox.com” the other piece of info is WHERE you want to redirect it to – that comes from the AWS interface – when you are looking at the CloudFront dashboard you can see your network’s line that says “Delivery Method, Domain, Comment, Bucket”. That domain name that is something like d87sdhs98.cloudfront.com is the second bit of info you need for the CNAME record.
5 – You’re done. Sorta – Now you need to redirect traffic to the cloud.
To get WordPress working with CloudFront I am using W3 Total Cache from Frederick Townes. I can’t even begin to explain what an AMAZING piece of software the W3 Total Cache plugin is. I am simply amazed it is free – he could charge in the hundreds for this piece of software. One hint, though – Don’t use the current distribution release – get the development build 0.9 from wordpres.org, this new release in the pipeline worked flawlessly with CloudFront.
To really use the plug-in is going to take a bit of time to figure out and learn – but its amazing. It scans your site and uploads to the CDN the files it needs, it minifies and caches your pages an uploads the cached pages, updates your .htaccess, goes through all your posts and fetches any content you’ve linked to, brings it into the media library and then exports it to the CDN… In short, it won’t wipe your butt, but it comes pretty close.
If you need some hand-holding, they actually offer support, installation and professional services… Or you could go dig into the much more exhaustive posts on how to use W3 Total Cache with Self-Hosted CDN from Udegbunam Chukwudi and his follow-up post – His post is about self-hosted CDNs, but still very useful.
What does this all translate to? Well, this site loads about 40-50% faster when profiled with simple Safari tools. Yes, the women are coming faster at you.
It also means I’m going to seriously think about how I use CloudFront to accelerate any landing pages, blogs, flogs, etc.
Go forth and Accelerate!
Its a catch-22. If you have a blog with little traffic, like mine, you want folks to get what they came for fast and easy – so your homepage should be styled to give them what they want with minimum fuzz. That translates into lots of featured posts (all content visible on homepage).
Now why would anyone leave a comment on a blog with little traffic like that? People are a little egocentric – why would they leave a comment when deep down they KNOW nobody but the blog owner is going to see it - To even leave the comment, the user has to go into the individual post page, and leave it there. For someone to see how clever that comment poster is, they would also have to go there – we all know that’s not going to happen. Why do you think Facebook works so well?
We have Top Comments, Comment Luv, and Top Commenters, and Latest Comments plug-ins and widgets and shit… Well, how about just putting the damn comments where people can see them, Sherlock?
When you post a comment on someone’s page on Facebook, it doesn’t just go on the page, it tells all YOUR friends about the fact that you posted some words of brilliant wisdom somewhere – and gives them a link. Disqus has the right idea on their commenting platform – What’s the point if folks don’t even get to it?
Enter the in-line comment.
If I could give my site visitors a can of spray-paint, I would.
Anyway, enjoy the new quick-comment thing. Say hi to the Comment Monster when you see him. I wonder if I can use it for something elsewhere. I just had to have this developed – It was driving me nuts…
Check the toolbar at the bottom of your browser window when you’re viewing negbox.com. That’s the Wibiya toolbar. What a stupid name for an awesome app – I keep misspelling it every time I want to go to their site. I had this thing running on another site for a year or two and its come a long way.
Wibiya makes it really easy way for folks to mess with your site a little more. Its free, it has a truckload of features and “apps” you can add/remove, and even I can figure out how to use it.
This will only be interesting if you’re running content-rich sites. It might help if you’re trying to convince Google your site doesn’t suck – by lowering the bounceback rate and increasing the time folks spend on your site… What? You thought Google doesn’t know how much people spend on your site? They know what you’re going to have for breakfast tomorrow, and even how much salt its going to have.
One tip if you use the toolbar on a site: Less is more.