This little snippet will dump for you a formatted reference of your globals plus your PHP environment. Really useful especially if you have geolocation variables and other junk getting added to your PHP globals by web server modules.
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In two words how to get into pretty much any affiliate network:
Its that simple, really. Plain old honesty.
Most of the time folks asking about getting approved into CPA/CPS networks are afraid they won’t get accepted since they have very little experience. The formula that has worked perfectly for me is just being completely honest.
If you have zero experience, just say it.
Think about what will happen if you manage to convince your interviewer that you have more experience than you really do, or that you can crap smoking hot leads out of your ass. What next? Three likely scenarios:
- Nobody will notice or care
- Your affiliate manager will notice you’re a tool and don’t fit the network – At best you’ll get shit treatment.
- You’ll get booted out, never to be let back in.
What would happen if you are brutally honest and tell them: “I was just reading this blog with naked chicks and….”. Two likely scenarios:
- They’ll approve you.
- They’ll tell you to come back with some battle scars and you can re-apply some time down the road.
Brutal honesty in this case means that:
- If you have only done SEO with Clickbank and nothing ever worked – and hope the network CPA offers work better – Say so.
- If you just want to add the same offer from multiple networks to a rotation, say it.
- If you just read a blog and have no clue where your ass is, say it.
You can’t lose with the truth on this one. Worst case, you’ll come back some other time. Best case, they’ll help you learn what you need.
And the truth shall get you dough…
PS: If you do things even half right, as the affiliate managers you work with start moving around networks and companies, they’ll hit you up to see if you’re interested in working with them at their new place – This can open some pretty interesting doors for you.
How many times have you seen a movie that you think about every single day for two months straight?
This is easily the best movie I have ever seen.
People blessed with ADHD simply watch this trailer and move on
Mr Nobody tells a story the way I personally view reality.
I’ll be brutally honest here: I’m putting my money on 98% of people not being able to grasp half the concepts the movie is based on. That shouldn’t keep anyone from enjoying the pretty pictures, though – its a beautiful film every way you look at it. Now that I’ve finished insulting everyone, lets move on to the movie…
Mr Nobody shows the life of a person who:
- Is conscious across multiple parallel worlds in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics.
- Can see / move across a Static Interpretation of Time
- Knows everything at once thru the static interpretation of time and the many-worlds interpretation, so he can unravel determinism behind the chaos in chaos theory.
- Weights potential against realization – and has a hard time making decisions.
Here’s one of Nemo’s main choices:
Like the movie’s main character ‘Nemo’, I will play in my mind dozens of possible outcomes and try to figure out the likelihood of each – I hope lots of other people do this too or we’re fucked. Years ago when dating and creating an online profile I had to put up a “range” of ages I wanted to date and match against, I sat down for a few hours and ran through my mind the most likely scenarios of what would happen with women of each and every single particular age, that way I could determine how low and how high I would go… Of course I don’t do this when choosing the flavor of my next ice cream – for big deals like that, its worth it to think and decide. Just like Nemo does with Jean, Elise and Anna.
Which brings me to another interesting area of the movie: Decisions. Nemo has a very hard time choosing – he seems to want to make a perfect choice, and given that that is extremely difficult, he hesitates and tries to stretch the amount of time where a decision remains potential and unrealized – by NOT choosing. While personally I do quite the opposite – I do it for the exact and opposite reason the movie shows – to remove potential and bring reality – its amazing to see and imagine what life would be on the flip-side.
What also struck a chord was the idea of clearly identifying decisions. I call them simply “decision points” in my life – and I keep a close eye on my decisions – I also make sure I clearly identify if a decision is in the past, present or future and act accordingly – Unlike Nemo I can’t remember the future so I guess my best and try my best – However I sometimes screw up on purpose – If I could only really control myself.
The movie does not at any point explore the ideas and implications of simulated realities – That would have probably been one twist too many. There are passages that look surreal and hint at all of the reality we have just seen being in the mind of the child trying to make a decision about which parent to go with. He seems to choose none, runs off to a field and blows on a leaf – literally using the “butterfly effect” from chaos theory to alter the events of his life years down the road.
There are loads of things Nemo does in the movie that I sometimes do myself. This made me feel not-so-crazy. Every couple of months I’ll sit quietly in a particular place in a particular park and try to imagine what my future self would tell me if he could speak to me. Then I imagine what I would tell myself if I could speak to myself in the past.
There was one bit of the movie which boggled my mind for about three weeks: Why did they open the film with an explanation of Pigeon Superstition? … Just to say “what did I do to deserve this”? – that opening needs no pigeons.
Pigeon superstition is in every human being – Ever heard of cargo cults? Religion? Well… What if… What if what we hold as basic truths – from gravity and throwing a ball up and having it fall down, to every part of our existence was our own interpretation of something outside of our awareness and comprehension?
I’m not talking about bearded gods and flying saucers -I’m talking about being too retarded to understand the very nature of our existence. That seems a lot more likely than a deluding myself the epicenter of the universe.
When I mix pigeon superstition, many-worlds interpretation and static time what I get is the idea that even the most basic of our assumptions about how the world works and how causes relate to effects are perhaps nothing but our limited interpretation of something entirely beyond our comprehension. Some (like Pauli) have pointed at a complete disconnect between causes and effects, with the only relationship being synchronicity as we perceive it and nothing more. Which had always brought to my mind the question of why am I experiencing this reality and not another one? And is there a way to move to a different one? What is my consciousness? Does it even really exist? What is the meaning of being alive in a deterministic universe? Does it even make sense?
Ah… Most everyone else already has all the answers – You know… Zodiac signs, gods, rules, natural laws, etc, etc — Meanwhile I’m still looking for the right questions. That’s why Mr. Nobody strikes a chord with me. It spares me the answers and gives me more questions in an amazing format.
1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”
2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of
4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
” Because I said so, that’s why.”
5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to
the store with me.”
6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
7. My mother taught me IRONY
“Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
9. My mother taught me about CONTORTION-ISM.
“Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”
10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”
11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”
12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”
13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
“Stop acting like your father!”
15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t
have wonderful parents like you do.”
16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
“Just wait until we get home.”
17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
“You are going to get it when you get home!”
18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”
19. My mother taught me ESP.
“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”
20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
22.* _My mother taught me GENETICS._*
“You’re just like your father.”
23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
“Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”
24. My mother taught me WISDOM
“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”
25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you”
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Take a really good look at this page. Yes, the ads are indeed Google ads.
My initial reaction was
“Wow, I didn’t know Google allowed explicit ads like that“…
As my mind started reeling at the possibilities I noticed something…
“Wait, those look like Facebook ads because of the images… and Google ads because of the text – New ad Format?” ..
So I clicked one – yup, it was a legit Google ad and all, leading to something like Estee Lauder –
“Estee Lauder wouldn’t put up an image of a naked chick on an ad. WTF is going on? Are they over-laying the Google ad with something?“… Close…
They are standard vertical AdSense units, and the website is just placing the little square images on the left side of where each little ad sub-unit would fall.
I remember from a long time ago something on the AdSense Terms of Service about making sure ads didn’t look like part of the site content – However I don’t remember anything about making part of the content look like an ad and slapping it next to a real ad! The content layout on this site makes it very clear the stuff at the top is “just ads”, and the content is below, so the ads aren’t blending into the content and causing spurious clicks. The ads are getting a little enhancement from their placement.
Fucking brilliant for epic CTR – I do imagine this is not kosher with Google and very likely to get your AdCents account banned – TOS or no TOS.
PS: If you pay close attention to the actual ads, you’ll notice this browser is being re-targeted quite a bit… PPC management and hosting offers on a Tattoo site? I’m surprised the Bald Storm on Demand Dude didn’t make a nude appearance here too.
Microsoft is suing Amish Shah, Jay Styles and two companies (the creators of the Magic Bullet System guru product) for using Microsoft trademarks and cybersquatting on Microsoft trademarks. And for contributory infringement.
This should send an epic shockwave through the “guru” ranks – The lawsuit talks about contributory trademark infringement and contributory cybersquatting. That means helping or motivating SOMEONE ELSE to do trademark infringement or cybersquatting. Microsoft is saying that not only did these guys do the dirty, they encouraged other people to do it too.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog posted court documents relating to Washington at Seattle case C10-0653 RSM. This suit has been going on for a while – If you look at the title of the court document, it says “Denying Defendant Amended Motion to Dismiss”. PDF File for your enjoyment here:
AFAIK civil cases are public records in the US, so this should be a fun read for quite some time to come.
You can find all the dirty online if you know where to look.
Defendants allegedly providing instructions and their alleged sales
of a method known as the “Magic Bullet System,” which is meant to teach buyers how to use Microsoft marks in order to sell the emoticon-related software
I had seen this idea in one of the intro videos to the Magic Bullet System. I actually thought the trick was clever – Though not my style.
Their system or idea was this:
On that website they would offer the MSN Messenger for download and soft-bundle it with a smilies toolbar. The smilies were a CPA offer pulled from some network. I think the pitch was to tell people “Now that you got the toolbar, here are the Super-Mega-Dopey Similies” or something like Step 1- Get Messenger, Step 2- Get Smilies.
Now you have the idea… You could do this with something that isn’t trademarked, or at least be a little more careful about your pick of domain names and such so you’re not next in line.
ADHD Summary (idea shamelessly stolen from Mr. Green):
1 – Hide yo launches, MSFT be suing everybody out here
2 – Don’t fuck with Microsoft
3 – Guru shit will get you fucked by Microsoft
I’m clearly in the wrong area of marketing. Talk about epic advertising.
TIP: Go full-screen, High Def is the only way to watch boobs falling from the sky.
Here is “The making off…” .. Even more tits and ass…
This is from 2008… Watching boobs fly never gets old for me.
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Do you remember this scene of The 300? Watch closely: There is no hesitation, and there is no undo, take back, or retreat. This is what comes to mind when thinking about life and choices.
If you look closely at my blog, or any e-mail or IM you might have received from me, you will find one of my best secrets – Actually, you won’t find it because the secret is what remains unsaid. I relax my standard a bit on the blog, so you’re bound to find some slips – Still…
The secret is to never, ever, ever use to word “but“... Not in conversations, not in e-mails and not in instant messages.
What the heck could this possibly do? You wouldn’t believe it. I actually shared this little tip with two friends who run different companies about three years ago. Last year I asked them about it. They both remembered distinctly the idea -because they had tried it with surprising results. They both pretty much reported the same thing – Everything – meetings, conferences, etc – started going much, much smoother. People around them would be more positive and things would get done better. They both pretty much independently said it was like fucking Voodoo.
Why “but“? Because it is the “undo” of language, it is worse than hesitation – its an outright “cancel what I just said“. There are many other ways to “undo“, by using commas for example – yet none is so flagrant as “but“. The easiest way to replace “But” is to use “and“, a comma, or like I did above using “yet”. If you can’t say it without “but” or no good alternative presents itself – then you need to think about whatever it is in a different way and say something entirely different – pure and simple.
Try it, it costs $0, results are immediate and pretty fucking unbelievable.
Two days ago I saw a tweet about this Winona Chiropractor at http://winonachiropractic.com/ (yes, the domain name is relevant) who -at first sight- hadn’t paid their web designer. Their web designer went to town and defaced the website with this:
As a marketer, you’re going to see two levels of possible explanations here:
Level 1 – Disgruntled web designer defaces website
Level 2 – Firm (that likely does something other than web design) tries to get viral attention by creating fake defaced website. There is money in attention, so even this kind of negative attention is monetize-able.
There is yet another likely explanation – And this is why I love con artist movies and why I’ve been watching the BBC series Hustle so much (thanks to Yaxx for recommending it). Because it helps you think in oblique ways and see beyond. A third possibility is:
Level 3: Extortion – Someone set up a fake website targeting ALL Winona chiropractors, they put a single chriropractor’s info in there and try to get money from them in exchange for taking the website down. After collecting money, they change the information to another chiropractor’s office details and try to extort money from them.
And there you have it folks, a criminal model of local lead generation.
PS: Highlight in bold colors the “criminal” part – If you tried this, even without success, chances are very high you’ll end up someone’s prison girlfriend in no time.
PPS: This is by no means the only shady shit out there – DDoS extortions have been around for a long time.
I’m going to give you a movie-star secret – Its a pro acting secret that can improve your image, your self-image, help you project confidence in person and even over the phone. It can also help with back pain and muscle aches.
Sounds too good to be true? It really isn’t – Like all things that are good and beneficial, it just takes time, work and moolah. Its something I bumped into several years ago: The Alexander Technique.
Its a way of re-training you on movement and posture. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you can get even a basic understanding by reading a book or watching the few training DVDs that roam the net – this is something you have to take a class on and experience it yourself. Trying to understand it fully or learn even a little bit by reading or watching would be like trying to learn how to swim -even a little bit- without ever getting in the water – It just ain’t happening.
I found some really inexpensive Alexander Technique lessons at a local university campus – on their non-credited courses… I’m sure you can find an instructor wherever you are – do yourself a favor and go to just one session, then tell me what you think.
Heading out to ASW11 in a few hours – Hit me up on Twitter if you’d like to meet-up!
I have a single goal for 2011: To smoothly transition into affiliate marketing full-time.
Not so weird. And not a resolution. I don’t do “resolutions” – as if my willpower was lacking and it could be improved by merely “willing it” or “really, seriously, positively deciding”. That only works in the fantasy wonderland where most for self-help retard gurus live.
Its a goal I’ve been working my balls off towards achieving for a while now – and it isn’t going to get any easier.
Every single word of my goal is important. I need to move in controlled fashion – There are a lot of people depending on me and I have to make sure I don’t drop any balls along the way or as I make the jump.
My guesstimate here is that I will be able to pull this off around August-September 2011 – So that’s what I’m shooting for.
I’m not a young kid in my mom’s garage anymore, so it takes planning and foresight – This whole transition feels like preparing for a samurai duel on a tightrope: There is no margin of error, there is no dodging, there is no out, there is only pure focus on execution.
So, I’m going to kick off my 2011 main goal by going to ASW 11 in Las Vegas on Saturday and getting completely shit-faced! … Oh, yeah… and networking with folks!
I bought a PPVspy “perpetual” license from BevoMedia on Friday morning five minutes after Mike Chiasson sent me a text message about it. Interested in an unbiased no-affiliate-links capsule review? Read on.
And no, I’m not biased in trying to justify to myself my purchase – Lets get that out of the way.
The way I make decisions is: Fast, once and over – This was no different – And part of choosing the $999 one-time payment option boils down to not wasting time re-evaluating the tool constantly. Once and done.
So the first thing I saw when I accessed the tool was… Ho-hum.
I have a box that runs some of these pop-up toolbars so I already peek at what folks are doing out there – Is this tool better than my own research?
A bit of background – Before getting into PPV, I was doing PPC with Google, Yahoo and Bing and using a tool called PPCBully. PPCBully is really a top-notch tool, yet it stopped being useful to me – never mind the “warning” I got from Google, the real problems with PPCBully were somewhere else – and they happen to PPVSpy too.
PPVSpy will give you a nice sorted listing of what pop-ups it has seen the most. Slight problem – Not just the most popular pops, the entire majority of them, are from two sources I don’t want: 1 – Advertisers going direct to the PPV network and 2 – direct-linking noobs. So this nice sorted list, instead of telling you what works, just tells you where people are spending money.
1 – Sit back and think about that last point for a second – it is the fatal flaw I found on PPCBully too. Its the cashflow model. If you are a lead brokerage firm, and have an offer on an affiliate network where you pay idiots like me $5 per e-mail and address, you have a ton more margin (plus less middlemen) and a ton of leverage to get a massive discount at the PPV network. The spread between what you as a direct advertiser can afford versus what an affiliate marketer can, is very wide… Sometimes you find an offer has an exclusive deal when you try to advertise it and the network tells you it can’t accept your ads because they have an exclusive agreement – pretty upfront and not much sleuthing there. Either way, if your funnel or cashflow model doesn’t match what you’re “spying” on, then it isn’t really useful.
2 – Direct-linkers. It can be hard to tell at first sight someone who is direct-linking apart from the owner of the offer, yet not impossible – just look how they’re getting to the offer (direct or via network) and what if any affiliate ID they use. Judging by this, there is a deluge of direct-linkers. This is actually easy to see when you have the toolbar installed – Direct-linking is everywhere. These are usually new PPV users and are losing money – Wanna know which URLs they’re losing money on? Go right ahead. If you’re making bank direct linking, good for you – it never works for me.
In this area of finding profitable stuff PPVSpy (just like PPCBully) gets a ton of “noise” and very little “signal” simply because “signal” to me is someone who matches my business model for a particular niche and is being successful. Everything else is noise… And there is an awful lot of noise that literally drowns out the signal. In niches you’re familiar with, or for targets you know, you can -with some effort- extract some signal from the noise.
PPVSpy will also give you a nice breakdown of offers and niches… So I thought – “Awesome, lets see if I can jump on a niche I know very little about, like dating…”
So I open the Dating niche pop-up thumbnails and see… Well, I have no fucking clue what I’m seeing… And therein lies the problem… I can’t tell apart what is a direct-linked/advertiser offer from an affiliate landing page, let alone figure out which one is working. – The reason is simple, I haven’t been spending the past two weeks looking at dating offers and their landing pages on different networks, and know didly about them. The same goes for practically every niche I haven’t been researching already. This makes the task of getting some “signal” (ie: info on popups that work) from that “noise” (everything else) impossible – you can’t tell it apart until you go do your normal research.
So does it have any good points? Yes, of course… I’m learning a ton from different niches on how offers are run. … This tool is great for breaking out of “Pop-up block” and seeing things a bit differently.
Is some of what I see something I can “copy, paste and bank“? No. I can’t just decide I’m going into a niche without doing the real research – its a guaranteed epic fail. There may be something I can use in niches I’m already researching or new ideas I can port from other niches – This tool is excellent for that. … This isn’t exactly push-button marketing.
What does it really do for me? It accelerates and augments my research.
Do I still have to do the same research? Less so – The difference is I can feel more confident of my conclusions faster and get to market faster – that’s my bottom line.
Is it worth $1k ?Absolutely – Where else can you learn from the market itself and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in so many niches at once while in your pajamas?
Will it pay for itself? Don’t be silly, of course not. You have to do real work to recover the money.
Enough talk, more action!
If you haven’t read Robert Cialdini’s masterpiece: “Influence”, you’re a tool. I can even tell you what tool you would be… You’d be a plunger, ready to dive into a toilet full of shit – My shit to be specific.
In this little story below there is a tale of how massive amounts of people get screwed, along with an opportunity for you.
Quote straight from Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” book:
So the toy manufacturers are faced with a dilemma: how to keep sales high during the peak season and, at the same time, retain a healthy demand for toys in the immediately following months. Their difficulty certainly doesn’t lie in motivating kids to want more toys after Christmas. The problem lies in motivating postholiday spent-out parents to buy another plaything for their already toy-glutted children. What could the toy companies possibly do to produce that unlikely behavior? Some have tried greatly increased advertising campaigns, others have reduced prices during the slack period, but neither of those standard sales devices has proved successful. Both tactics are costly, and have been ineffective in increasing sales to desired levels. Parents are simply not in a toy-buying mood, and the influences of advertising or reduced expense are not enough to shake that stony resistance.
Certain large toy manufacturers, however, think they have found a solution. It’s an ingenious one, involving no more than a normal advertising expense and an un-derstanding of the powerful pull of the need for consistency. My first hint of the way the toy companies’ strategy worked came after I fell for it and then, in true patsy form, fell for it again.It was January, and I was in the town’s largest toy store. After purchasing all too many gifts there for my son a month before, I had sworn not to enter that store or any like it for a long, long time. Yet there I was, not only in the diabolic place but also in the process of buying my son another expensive toy—a big, electric road-race set. In front of the road-race display I happened to meet a former neighbor who was buying his son the same toy. The odd thing was that we almost never saw each other anymore. In fact, the last time had been a year earlier in the same store when we were both buying our sons an expensive post-Christmas gift—that time a robot that walked, talked, and laid waste. We laughed about our strange pattern of seeing each other only once a year at the same time, in the same place, while doing the same thing. Later that day, I mentioned the coincidence to a friend who, it turned out, had once worked in the toy business.
“No coincidence,” he said knowingly.
“What do you mean, ‘No coincidence’?”
“Look,” he said, “let me ask you a couple of questions about the road-race set you bought this year. First, did you promise your son that he’d get one for Christmas?”
“Well, yes I did. Christopher had seen a bunch of ads for them on the Saturday morning cartoon shows and said that was what he wanted for Christmas. I saw a couple of ads myself and it looked like fun; so I said OK.”
“Strike one,” he announced. “Now for my second question. When you went to buy one, did you find all the stores sold out?”
“That’s right, I did! The stores said they’d ordered some but didn’t know when they’d get any more in. So I had to buy Christopher some other toys to make up for the road-race set. But how did you know?”
“Strike two,” he said. “Just let me ask one more question. Didn’t this same sort of thing happen the year before with the robot toy?” Wait a minute … you’re right. That’s just what happened. This is incredible. How did you know?” No psychic powers; I just happen to know how several of the big toy companies jack up their January and February sales. They start prior to Christmas with attractive TV ads for certain special toys. The kids, naturally, want what they see and extract Christmas promises for these items from their parents. Now here’s where the genius of the companies’ plan comes in: They undersupply the stores with the toys they’ve gotten the parents to promise. Most parents find those toys sold out and are forced to substitute other toys of equal value. The toy manufacturers, of course, make a point of supplying the stores with plenty of these substitutes. Then, after Christmas, the companies start running the ads again for the other, special toys. That juices up the kids to want those toys more than ever. They go running to their parents whining, ‘You promised, you promised,’ and the adults go trudging off to the store to live up dutifully to their words.”
“Where,” I said, beginning to seethe now, “they meet other parents they haven’t seen for a year, falling for the same trick, right?”
“Right. Uh, where are you going?”
“I’m going to take the road-race set right back to the store.” I was so angry I was nearly shouting.
“Wait. Think for a minute first. Why did you buy it this morning?”
“Because I didn’t want to let Christopher down and because I wanted to teach him that promises are to be lived up to.”
“Well, has any of that changed? Look, if you take his toy away now, he won’t understand why. He’ll just know that his father broke a promise to him. Is that what you want?”
“No,” I said, sighing, “I guess not. So, you’re telling me that the toy companies doubled their profits on me for the past two years, and I never even knew it; and now that I do, I’m still trapped—by my own words. So, what you’re really telling me is, ‘Strike three.’ ” He nodded, “And you’re out.”
In the years since, I have observed a variety of parental toy-buying sprees similar to the one I experienced during that particular holiday season—for Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo dolls, Furbies, etc. But, historically, the one that best fits the pattern is that of the Cabbage Patch Kids, $25 dolls that were promoted heavily during mid-1980s Christmas seasons but were woefully undersupplied to stores. Some of the consequences were a government false advertising charge against the Kids’ maker for continuing to advertise dolls that were not available; frenzied groups of adults battling at toy outlets or paying up to $700 apiece at auction for dolls they had promised their children; and an annual $150 million in sales that extended well beyond the Christmas months. During the 1998 holiday season, the least available toy that everyone wanted was the Furby, created by a division of toy giant Hasbro. When asked what frustrated, Furby-less parents should tell their kids, a Hasbro spokeswoman advised the kind of promise that has profited toy manufacturers for decades, “I’ll try, but if I can’t get it for you now, I’ll get it for you later” (Tooher, 1998).
There are a couple of things you can do with this info, other than not promising toys that will be in short supply. One of those things would be to figure out what toys will be in short supply, get there first and bank on eBay. Another would be to catch these parents looking for these toys during the holiday season and offer an alternative. Another would be to re-target these parents AFTER the holiday seasons with, say.. An Amazon affiliate link – I can already see the landing page “Remember the toy you promised? Its available NOW”…
Jesus saves, everybody else uses MasterCard.
This is one of those posts I know I will regret within minutes…
A while back I started reading The Salty Droid’s blog.
Honestly, I don’t get it. The guy behind The Salty Droid is funny and brilliant – I laughed my ass off with his videos.
What I don’t get is how “The Syndicate” are totally evil scumbags.
I just listened to 90 minutes out of two hours of a Syndicate conference call The Salty Droid posted on his blog. I was really hoping to find some really juicy stuff – You know, killing kittens and human sacrifices to Cthulhu. All I found was a couple of guys trying to figure out how to do their product launch to get the most money – Their products may be good, or they may be shit – They’re probably shit, yet that’s not for me to judge. What I can make a judgment call on is the tone of the conversation and their intentions.
Yes, they sell an overpriced dream. And they use many of science’s best marketing tactics available. And they are fairly well organized, to the point they can surround you with the message. Almost like a true cult… So? Life is chock-full of friends, and also brimming with people trying to fuck you over. What else is news? They belong to the “People trying to fuck you over” category – If we lived in the world of “The Invention of Lying”, then I would be shocked, as it is, these guys are kiddie candy thiefs – Why so much hate?
I was hoping to hear how they were going to fuck people over by having them hand over their retirement funds in exchange for the philosopher’s stone – or something like Enron, or like Jim Jones and “The People’s Temple”, and really all they talk about is how to structure the launch so it sells more. I was hoping to hear how they were going to take the money and run to Bermuda. Or how they were going to escape the FBI. Or how they were going to embezzle ClickBank. Jeez, at the very least I was hoping to hear them talk about their customers in a condescending tone! Not even. WTF. Where is the video of Sekhmet drinking the blood of Syndicate adepts?
Retargeting is the newest craze. You visit a site, then that advertiser can target you wherever you go across some advertising networks – like Google.
It starts to get very creepy and ridiculous after a while, though. The bald dude from Storm on Demand has been following me around the net for over a week – I see him several times a day. I’m already a customer – this isn’t making me interested in buying more or inviting the dude for drinks or something.
If you’re about to do a retargeting campaign, please think long and hard about your creatives.
I for one wouldn’t mind if the ones chasing me around the net were Playboy bunnies – I’d be delighted. Then again I wouldn’t want hosting from dumb blondes.
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This is an anecdote that shaped my beliefs and views on intelligence – as a little follow-up to my last post on “Drive” by Daniel Pink.
I’ve only shared this story with close family members, as it stereotypes and isn’t very scientific. That didn’t matter for my young mind – Young minds don’t care about science as they’re trying to make sense of the world.
[Fade to sepia]
As I was attending elementary school (not in the US and not in Asia) I happened to have quite a few schoolmates of Asian descent. As a young kid, I could tell these kids were just as sharp as me, and sometimes even smarter, more patient, methodical, etc. We did have dumb kids, and even kids with true learning problems – this is not a story about kids with real problems.
Among my Asian friends I noticed two distinct behaviors – Some would behave just normal, like me. Others would play the “language” card and pretend they didn’t understand things because of the difference in language – they had figured out they could get away with less school work and less demands from the teachers if they played like they were dumb… And they did, they kept playing dumb from the point I have clear school memories (about second grade) to the point they graduated from school six or seven years later.
The teachers saw a dumb kid, with learning problems and a language barrier, struggle through school for several years and make it out.
I saw a normal kid who played dumb since second grade – and by the time they were in seventh grade they had BECOME dumb. They were no longer faking it – you could tell the little spark of focused attention had been put out. It was like they became a little autistic as part of their act, and they became their act.
My little mind understood something about intelligence in very straightforward terms:
- If you play dumb, you will get away with doing less, and you will become dumb.
- If you do what you’re supposed to do, you will get smarter in the same time that slackers become dumber.
[Fade to color]
Play dumb, be dumb. Play smart, get smart.
This is an excellent piece of the book “Drive” By Dan Pink
The big a-ha! moment:
If you believe intelligence is a fixed quantity, then every educational and professional encounter becomes a measure of how much you have.
If you believe intelligence is something you can increase, then the same encounters become opportunities for growth.
In one view, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in the other, it’s something you develop.
Why this matters:
These two types of thinking trigger contrasting responses to adversity—one of helpless,” the other, “mastery-oriented.”
The full explanation cited directly from the book:
Mastery Is a Mindset
As with so many things in life, the pursuit of mastery is all in our head. At least that’s what Carol Dweck has discovered.
Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has been studying motivation and achievement in children and young adults for nearly forty years, amassing a body of rigorous empirical research that has made her a superstar in contemporary behavioral science. Dweck’s signature insight is that what people believe shapes what people achieve. Our beliefs about ourselves and the nature of our abilities—what she calls our “self-theories”—determine how we interpret our experiences and can set the boundaries on what we accomplish. Although her research looks mostly at notions of “intelligence,” her findings apply with equal force to most human capabilities. And they yield the first law of mastery: Mastery is a mindset.
According to Dweck, people can hold two different views of their own intelligence. Those who have an “entity theory” believe that intelligence is just that—an entity. It exists within us, in a finite supply that we cannot increase. Those who subscribe to an “incremental theory” take a different view. They believe that while intelligence may vary slightly from person to person, it is ultimately something that, with effort, we can increase. To analogize to physical qualities, incremental theorists consider intelligence as something like strength. (Want to get stronger and more muscular? Start pumping iron.) Entity theorists view it as something more like height. (Want to get taller? You’re out of luck.)
If you believe intelligence is a fixed quantity, then every educational and professional encounter becomes a measure of how much you have.
If you believe intelligence is something you can increase, then the same encounters become opportunities for growth.
In one view, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in the other, it’s something you develop.
The two self-theories lead down two very different paths—one that heads toward mastery and one that doesn’t. For instance, consider goals. Dweck says they come in two varieties—performance goals and learning goals. Getting an A in French class is a performance goal. Being able to speak French is a learning goal. “Both goals are entirely normal and pretty much universal,” Dweck says, “and both can fuel achievement.” But only one leads to mastery. In several studies, Dweck found that giving children a performance goal (say, getting a high mark on a test) was effective for relatively straightforward problems but often inhibited children’s ability to apply the concepts to new situations. For example, in one study, Dweck and a colleague asked junior high students to learn a set of scientific principles, giving half of the students a performance goal and half a learning goal. After both groups demonstrated they had grasped the material, researchers asked the students to apply their knowledge to a new set of problems, related but not identical to what they’d just studied. Students with learning goals scored significantly higher on these novel challenges. They also worked longer and tried more solutions. As Dweck writes, “With a learning goal, students don’t have to feel that they’re already good at something in order to hang in and keep trying. After all, their goal is to learn, not to prove they’re smart.”
Indeed, the two self-theories take very different views of effort. To incremental theorists, exertion is positive. Since incremental theorists believe that ability is malleable, they see working harder as a way to get better. By contrast, says Dweck, “the entity theory . . . is a system that requires a diet of easy successes.” In this schema, if you have to work hard, it means you’re not very good. People therefore choose easy targets that, when hit, affirm their existing abilities but do little to expand them. In a sense, entity theorists want to look like masters without expending the effort to attain mastery.
Finally, the two types of thinking trigger contrasting responses to adversity—one that Dweck calls “helpless,” the other, “mastery-oriented.” In a study of American fifth- and sixth-graders, Dweck gave students eight conceptual problems they could solve, followed by four they could not (because the questions were too advanced for children that age). Students who subscribed to the idea that brain-power is fixed gave up quickly on the tough problems and blamed their (lack of ) intelligence for their difficulties. Students with a more expansive mindset kept working in spite of the difficulty and deployed far more inventive strategies to find a solution. What did these students blame for their inability to conquer the toughest problems? “The answer, which surprised us, was that they didn’t blame anything,” Dweck says. The young people recognized that setbacks were inevitable on the road to mastery and that they could even be guideposts for the journey.
Most of the “Drive” book is ok so far.
This idea, however, is different. This idea is huge. It has huge practical applications from the workplace to the family. I challenge you to go around your house or through your friends and dig up what their belief is regarding intelligence as a fixed attribute or a malleable skill.
Better yet – I went to my kids and checked their understanding of intelligence to make sure it aligned with mine – this is one concept I was keeping a close eye on already as it is tied to self-esteem – now I know exactly how it works its magic and what it must be shaped like to be beneficial.
That right there is a powerful agent of positive change. The power lies in SAYING that phrase and seeing how silly your stories sound.
“That’s My Story, and I’m Sticking to It”
That’s the phrase I began chirping every single time I said – or heard someone tell me- something that sounded even a tiny bit like a whim, hidden excuse or faulty reasoning. I decided to start doing this after reading “All Marketers Are Liars” for the fourth time and thinking about our everyday stories for a long time.
I thought this would be a good way of explaining the stories of marketing, by making folks notice their everyday actions and how they put stories around it – even stories that made no sense at all.
It worked wonders. My entire family laughed – and laughs. They all now chirp it back to me and make everyone conscious of why we do what we do.
In action it looks like this:
Wife: “If it was warmer, we’d be out jogging”
Me: “Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”
Me: “I’m gonna get a Wii for Christmas… It has really nice games *FOR THE KIDS*… and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it”
Kids: “I love Cheerios, they’re good for your heart”
Me:” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”
Wife: “I really need these boots for the winter so my feet don’t freeze… That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…” (while rearranging 50 other pairs of boots in the closet)
Its really nice to see a whole new level of consciousness in everyday living – lifting the veil of the little stories we tell ourselves to justify doing what we’re doing.
It separates reality from the story and makes YOU accountable for doing whatever you are doing – it takes the story out of the picture, as an optional mental masturbation, and puts you back in control.
I firmly believe everything is optional – there is not one single thing you have to do. Sure, there are risks, consequences, rewards, whatever… Yet nothing is mandatory. These little stories we hear on TV or from other people and then we tell ourselves give us quick ways to deceive ourselves. We live out the lies we tell ourselves. Kill the lie. Then dissect it and take a look at its guts.
If you’re a marketer, you then take that dead, dissected lie, you stitch it back up, and you sling it out into the world as a marketing piece:
“Newsflash: In Winter, consumers stop going to the Gym and turn to Acai Berry Detox to combat Holiday Weight Gain”
“Get a Wii for the Kids for $25? Only at Bidiot.com!”
“Free Heart-healthy Cheerio Samples. Enter your e-mail (and entire medical history)”
“You’ve won free UGG Boots! Just claim your prize in the next two minutes by entering your cell phone number in the next screen!”
Lets see who can spot where I fucked up, changed the landing page and went to bed ASS-uming everything was just fine.
Its fucking retarded that DreamWeaver, Adobe’s top-of-the-line ($$$) web design package can’t just work graphically kinda like PowerPoint and then figure out what it needs to do to display your doodle as a working web page.
Maybe there’s tons of wizards out there that know how to do just that with DreamWeaver. As far as I’m concerned – you can’t. I’m no dummy yet I couldn’t for the life of me find that functionality even poring over some Lynda.com trainings.
Fuck you very much, Adobe.
Enter WYSIWYG Web Builder.
You really have to see this shit in action to appreciate it – Its a dream come true. You just plop down the graphics and move them wherever you want, plop down a flash control and put it wherever, bring up the properties of something and tweak the HTML, JS and PHP to your heart’s content.
Make the image a link, overlay some text on it, put it on a layer, add an effect of it sliding in and attach a little button on the top that makes the layer “close” – bam, you’ve got a pop-up slider with a close button with your e-mail submit form in it… Wanna add a Captcha? Drag-and-drop, baby. Wanna create a long form with on-the-fly validation? Enter the Form wizard or plop the form pieces down yourself. You done? Preview locally with a built-in PHP interpreter or click publish to have it FTP the files wherever.
It figures out what to turn into a GIF, what into a JPEG, what into a PNG, add the PNG fixes, sends it all out… Beautiful.
Oh.. Yeah, want to stop Traffic Vance from showing Text Links on your landing page? Tick “Render as an image” in the properties of your text boxes and voila!
This is really a very-very complete package for website design. No, you’re not going to create the next FaceBook with it, and no, you’re not going to win a Webbie award or some other shit for it – You’re going to use it to build unique and interesting landing pages faster than ever. Price: 30 day trial, then $45 for the license. This tool is a no-brainer – gotta have it.
Check it out: WYSIWYG Web Builder. (PS: No, I don’t get any sort of kickback other than a warm and fuzzy feeling)
Update 11/22/10: Their forums are really good too. Look at this index of WYSIWYG Web Editor Extensions. Really impressive.
Nothing is ever black and white – so here’s the skinny.
You keep getting bombarded by “Product Launches”. What to do? Are they good? Bad? Evil?
They are not all bad, and they are not all good. The major difference between a good product and a bad product is YOU. Yes, you. Not the product, YOU.
Quick example: If it is a guru product on PPC, then it will only be good for you if you haven’t done PPC and haven’t had any other training on PPC.
The bottom line is: It is not the guru product that will lead you to success; it is busting your ass trying to make it work.
The guru product is like reading a book on exercise techniques – you’re not going to get any fitter while reading it – You might learn of good gyms, equipment, supplements and related stuff – but THE BOOK WONT MAKE YOU SWEAT ONE DROP.
There’s another deeper problem with these “products” – They can’t give you a ‘road to riches’ – because that road keeps changing each and every single day. What you could do today on MySpace ads, you can’t do tomorrow – and if you can still do it, now there are a couple hundred more people doing it. You’re going to find that the “product” is either so generic you can’t apply it directly, or if it is specific enough, that it just doesn’t work out for you because the environment has changed. And it isn’t a matter of getting a “fresh” product – things change so incredibly fast that yesterday’s news is pretty much OBSOLETE. As the saying goes: “If it’s news, you lose!”
Here are some practical tips – shit I actually did, shit I failed at and shit I still do:
1) Budget spend:
What is your budget? Write it down, whether you’re coming in with $2,000 of play money or $200 a month, write that down.
Take 1/3rd of the budget and put that towards learning. No matter if that is guru products, forum subscriptions or books – you cannot go over that amount even if the Pope gives you a ring and pitches his Tax-Sheltered Holy Bling Profit System. If you set it aside per month, then it’s a per-month limit. If you set aside a chunk of money, then that’s all you have and that’s it – no more, no less. I did exactly this.
2) Whatever you sign up to, you do it. Make sure you’re not signing up for a 3-year course. You want it all and you want it now – Fuck the “drip-feed” where they give you a pinch of content every week – run like hell.
3) You read the books, watch the videos, you do the exercises, you follow along like your life depends on it. You read the material three times. You think about it while you’re peeing, you think about it while you’re shitting, you think about it while you’re fucking… And when you’re done peeing, shitting and fucking around, you DO *SOMETHING*. You carry a notepad and jot down ideas, and then sit down and do them sequentially.
4) After you’ve assimilated a couple of these, being books, video courses or whatever, you STOP. Yes, you STOP. You now know everything the guru courses can teach you – now you need to talk to people wherever they may be. At this point, guru shit is likely to be a giant waste of time.
5) An EXCELLENT source of information, training and tips are the little “marketing guides” blogs put up to entice you to sign-up to their mailing lists – Some blogs put up these guides without the mailing list sign-up – these are usually even more valuable. If it’s a list that goes out every week or more often than that, you can bet your ass that person is trying to cash in on you – IGNORE. If it’s a list that goes out every time there is a blue moon, chances are high whatever it is they’re sending is worth at least reading the e-mail. Don’t know where to start? Start here on my post about Uber-Affiliate’s Marketing Guide updated for 2010 and its links.
6) Do not fall for the idea that its ok for a blogger or guru to monetize their time on the blog or “marketing guide” by plaguing it with paid plugs and affiliate links. It creates a three-way conflict of interest where you –the reader- is the only possible loser – just move on, there are plenty of other sources of the same information out there. And no, just because everybody does it, doesn’t make it any less risky for you to trust “incentivized” opinions.
7) Skip guru blogs for the most part and head for the real people. Take a peek at their posts – These are the blogs that will give you the best tips, most useful tools and best pointers. Who are these bloggers and blogs? Look at my list of recommended affiliate marketing blogs – Those bloggers will give you the scoop. Others will scoop you up and wring you dry.
Recap for Alzheimer’s and ADHD: Stop buying guru shit, read the blogs on my recommended list and the guides I linked from my post on Uber-Affiliate’s Marketing Guide updated for 2010. The rest is blood, sweat and tears.
Now go sweat, bleed and cry!
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Practical checklist to spotting internet scammers trying to fleece internet marketers.
The only thing you need is a bit of an ability to read your own emotions and this handy list. Don’t surf without it!
You know you are about to get scammed when:
- You feel you’re going to lose out if you don’t do something now.
- You are told how much the “free stuff” you get is “really” worth.
- The offer is for a really short limited time (less than two weeks) and it is stated up-front.
- The product is “closed” and there is a waitlist.
- E-mails from the person contain your first name even though you’ve never met them.
- You can’t believe the amount of good stuff you’re going to get for such a low price.
- The price ends with the number “7″, for example: $37, $77, $197, $297.
- As you’re making the purchase, you are offered something additional you didn’t even know was available when you started the purchase process – Sometimes free on trial basis.
- There is a flashy video on the website – it has really cool animations that look like a Hollywood movie.
- You are told how many of the product, seats, or promotions are available.
- There was an error (doesn’t matter of what or whom) and now as ‘compensation’ or ‘grandfathering’ you’re entitled to something – like a discount or a bonus product.
- The website has the look and feel of a Squeeze Page (RUN!)
- The product website has more than four or five pages of information to scroll down and read.
- The website has any sort of anxiety questions like “How would you feel if your neighbor became rich with this and you didn’t?”
- There is a photograph of a product box or a bounded book, meanwhile the product is a book in PDF format, a piece of software, or access to a website with videos.
- The ‘lessons’ will take place over time, even though they are not really live.
- The Salty Droid talked about it.
- You’ve won something, even though you made no effort to win it (pushing a button does not constitute effort).
- You’ve found the answer to all your problems.
- The product allows you to get big rewards with very little effort.
Now, now… Many legit products will show up with one or two from this list of shame. Simply put, if you hear good things from your friends, then it doesn’t matter what the site looks like. If you don’t hear anything other than hype, hope and expectation – close your wallet, make a note and come back to the site in a month – if you still want it a month later, get it… Or search… Whatever floats your boat.
Woopra is an Analytics tool I picked up after peeking under the hood while doing some competitive research. It really kicks Google where the sun don’t shine in many areas.
The amount of stats is impressive, the way its presented looks almost like one of those Wired magazine InfoPorn infographics – Heck, you can even set a real-time visitor color-coded world map to display full screen on any monitor you’re running, separate from the main app. Ever fancy a Network Operations Control Center-style setup? Here’s your chance.
Here’s a screenshot of a drill-down into the activities of a single user across two months, it even includes the comments the visitor posted, files downloaded, etc and pretty much everything is clickable to filter and sort.
Its so good for content-rich sites like a blog that I’ve shut off Google Analytics – Woopra crushes it for these sites.
The one theme to end it all released Version 2.0 today: Headway 2.0
Its not an affiliate link, and I don’t get paid, yada, yada yada….
If you run ANY WordPress at all, you have to check out that theme. What’s so special? Well, how about designing your blog in real-time with a drag-and drop WYSIWYG interface, where you can see how your content looks as you’re building it?
Would you like a widget to display horizontally between your header and your columns? Go ahead, add it, size it, move it, then add the widgets in there.
Changed your mind and would you prefer that to be a left-hand thin column with a navigation menu. Go ahead, re-size it and drag it to the side.
Want to change some colors around? You can see the changes instantly. Want to style with CSS? Go ahead.
Speaking of CSS – This blog is running the older version of Headway and has ZERO custom CSS.
Good SEO? Forget about SEO plug-ins, this does it for you.
Like more control? Headway has hooks *everywhere* and you can put your code in them via a built-in interface. On this blog I’m using a hook that comes right after every post content gets displayed – it calls up the NegBox girls for display.
Way too many unique features. Lets just say it beats the crap out of everything else I’ve tried, even Thesis and the Affiliate/Squeeze Themes. I bought a developer license a while back for about $160 and I’ve leveraged the heck out of it. Now every time I want to start a campaign that includes a blog, I save about 12 horus of hunting for the right theme and get straight to business. Love it.
I have Ryan on Twitter and sometimes I wonder what kind of glue he’s sniffing – whatever it is, you have to recognize he’s got talent to brand himself to the point he can be recognized by the writing style and even the glasses!
Ever since I removed that plug-in that allowed me to punch in posts from the front page like it was a real-time chat, the amount of posts has gone downhill.
We can argue the quality has gone up…
One of the reasons for this blog is that I hate Twitter’s 140-char limit… So this doubles as my twitter stream. Lately, it hasn’t done much for me. Time to call it in.
Truth of the matter is, I don’t give a fuck about post counts, quality or visitors (yeah, sorry about that – nothing personal) . This is my creative outlet, so I’m bringing back the short-form-blog style posts.
Just so I keep myself focused, I’ll start by backlinking to my all-time favorite worthless and useless blog post on this blog: http://negbox.com/crashing-bed