Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Quality Links and Free Money: So what’s the Catch?

Every now and then you’ll find a service, idea, or product that is so great that you think it will “sell itself”. All you have to do is talk about some of the features and your prospect will just “get it”. No need to sell, it will sell itself – right?

Don’t believe it for a second.

No matter what you’re selling, “your customer needs a ton of rational reasons why this is a great deal, so he can give his wife, his buddies, and himself a good and plausible story supporting his buying decision.” –John Carlton.

Case and point is my recent SEO Poker Tournament announcement. To me, this was such a no-brainer that I thought we’d have a thousand sign-ups by now. To me, the benefits are so overwhelming and self-evident that I believed that everyone who read it would sign up instantly.

Boy was I mistaken.

Here we are more than a week after the announcement and only a handful of people have signed up. Sure, I could chalk it up to the fact that the tourney is not until March 24th, but I think the real failure was in the original pitch.

The benefits were not clearly defined. The pitch was too complicated: the call to action not strong enough.

So let’s have another go at it:

It Cost Nothing to Join!

The SEO poker tournament is basically free to enter. You don’t need any money in your full tilt poker account. There are no hidden costs. All you have to do is agree to link to the winner for year from your page rank 4 or higher site. If you have a Page Rank 6 site, that link can be one off the homepage like in your “about”, “contact”, or “fun stuff” page.

Extra $5000 thrown in for Free!

Maybe you don’t care about getting hundreds of backlinks from quality sites. Maybe you actually believe what rose water said:

“Tons of links with the same anchor text is worthless.”

Sure it is pal. That guy couldn’t even spell “SEO” with a 2-letter head start.

But let’s say you actually buy his “talking out of my ass with no testing to back up my claim” bullshit. You could still win your share of $5000 for placing in SEO Poker tournament. That’s 5000 FREE reasons to join. But if you still need convincing:

Rank for a Profitable Search Term!

You’re Page rank 4 or higher site already has some quality backlinks. Throwing an extra few hundred quality backlinks at your site has the potential to help you rank for something that can make you money – lots of money. Now, you can sit back and let this opportunity pass you by, or you can have some fun on a Saturday with the potential to help you put lots of money in the bank by signing up for the tournament. The decision is as close to a no-brainer as they come.

The SEO Poker Tournament Will Be FUN

No limit Texas Hold’em is fun. Playing poker with other SEOs and webmasters is a way for you kick back, talk trash, have fun and network with other successful webmasters.

Overcoming Objections

You probably dreamed up some kind of reason not to “do it fucking now” and sign up for the SEO poker tournament. So let’s walk through some of the common objections:

1. “I don’t Want to Link to a bad Neighborhood. “

Answer: The Winner Will Have a Quality Site.

Sure, page rank isn’t perfect – far from it. But the winner of the tournament will have at least a page rank 4. It’s not like you’re going to be linking into the dark and shady corners of the Internet; the winning site is not banned from Google. Google trusts the site enough to award it at least a page rank 4.

Plus, it’s unlikely that anyone would win the tournament only to point the links to a spam site; the life cycle of those sites is too short. The smart move is to throw those links at a white hat project and rake in the cash over the long haul. A link to a site like that out of all your quality outbound links is a drop in the bucket; but those drops could add up to something HUGE for the winner.

2. What if people don’t link to the Winner?

Answer: I doubt very many people would be stupid enough to welsh on a bet like this.

In Business, your biggest asset is your word, your credibility: your trust. If people don’t trust you, good luck making any business contacts or becoming successful. Why would anyone want to risk all that over a silly link?

3. “I suck at Poker”

Answer: Get a Ringer!

OK, you may not be that good at No limit Texas Hold’em. It’s a complicated game. But are you really telling me that you don’t have any friends that could play with you?!? We’re talking about potentially ranking for the search term of your choice or your share of $5000. Get a ringer!

Get someone who knows poker to come over your house to help you on every hand. If I didn’t know poker, it’s what I would do.

4. “I don’t want to link to 10s or 100s of sites.”

Answer: You only have to link to the 1 winner of the tournament

It’s not like we are anteing a link for every round of betting – that would get out of control very quickly. All you’re doing is anteing once to get into the tournament. Once you’re in, you stay in till you lose your all your chips, or you win the tournament and all the links.

5. “I’m lazy, What do I have to do to Sign up again?”

Answer: It’s simple, this is what you need to do:

1st: Just do a simple blog post and link to poker.seoblackhat.com saying you’re gonna play. Cut and paste this if you like:

I will be playing in the SEO <a href="http://poker.seoblackhat.com">Poker Tournament</a> on March 24th at 9:00 pm GMT.

It will take you at most 2 minutes; do it right now before you forget.

(no, really. Do it now.)

2nd Download the free full tilt poker software and sign up for an account. It’s 100% Free. I don’t care if you use my affiliate link or not; just get the poker client so you can play.

3rd Fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

It really is that simple.

Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval Spam Detection

Via the Mad Hat, here’s the interesting part from a PaIR system article:

The process takes place both at indexing and retrieval. In essence the document gets its spam score at indexation and then upon retrieval, should that page be included in the results, weighting is then removed and the page is devalued during the ranking process for previously calculated Spam threshold scoring/weighting.

According to the folks that drafted it, a normal related, topical phrase occurrence (or related phrases) is in the order of 8-20 whereas the typical Spam document would contain between 100-1000 related phrases. So by looking for statistical deviations in related phrase occurrences the system can flag an item as Spam. Once again it is mostly for the high end, but a low deviation count can also be used as a flag for a low occurrences (which could be compared to the link profile for link spam)

Two things to digest there.

1. The indexing method applies a spam score both on indexing and retrieval and
2. Standard Deviation on both the high end and low end could count as a spam flag.

Of course, the only reason spammy docs sometimes have up to 100 times the related phrase density of a non spammy page is because this behavior continues to be rewarded in the SERPs. Even if the spam flag is raised and the site eventually banned, classic keyword and relate phrase stuffing continues to rank in the SERPs.

Google Torpedoes Navy: You Sunk my Battleship!

You sunk my battleship

This is the story of Bill the Navy Guy. Bill learned a battle plan that worked like a charm:

(computer spun content) + (aged domains) + (Adsense) = $ Money in the Bank $

Bill worked his way up where he was purchasing hundreds of domains per day and was hosting thousands of domains across more than 65 dedicated servers. He was pulling in more than $60,000 per month from Google Adsense.

$60,000+ per Month . . . on 1 Adsense account.

Here’s the kicker: All his content across his entire Network of thousands of sites was spun from a total of about 45 sentences. So you could Google one of his sentence fragments and find his entire Network.

What could possibly go wrong here?

The curator of a Western art museum commissioned a local artist to paint a mural-sized painting of Custer’s Last Thought. The artist was told to make it highly symbolic of Custer’s mindset during the debacle at the Little Bighorn. Deep in thought, the artist went to his studio. After many false starts, he proceeded to paint an enormous oil painting.

Finally, after months of work, the opening of the exhibit drew a crowd of people for the unveiling of this, the centerpiece of the exhibit. The canopy came off revealing the artist’s large painting:

In the foreground was a beautiful crystalline blue lake with a single fish leaping. Around the fish’s head is a halo. In the background, the hills and meadows are covered with naked Native American couples copulating.

The curator was both disgusted and baffled by what he saw. In a rage he turned to the artist and asked, “What the hell has this got to do with Custer’s Last Thought?”

The artist replied, “It’s simple. Custer’s last thought must have been, ‘Holy Mackerel! … Where did all these fucking Indians come from?’”

Unlike General Custer to the Indians, Google had an answer to Bill the Navy Guy and Torpedoed the Admiral’s lone Adsense account: $60,000+ a month revenue to $0. Overnight.

Google Battle Lessons

War Buffs and Search Engine Spammers alike will want to learn from Bill the Navy Guy’s critical mistakes. Here are some of the lessons we can glean from Bill’s defeat:

1. Diversify and protect your supply lines. Redundancy is the law of the military; you never want a single point of failure. In fact, that’s why the DoD invented the Internet. Even if you love Adsense, you should never have all your sites under the same Adsense code. Multiple Adsense Accounts + other PPC Engines + Affiliate Revenue makes it so that a hit to any one of your supply lines does not cause a total system failure.

2. Troop Diversification. Did Alexander the Great have just light cavalry? Did William Wallace have only pikemen? Does the US Navy have only submarines? No! By spinning all his content from the same 45 sentences, Bill the Navy Guy went into battle with all the same type of troops. Don’t make that same mistake; build your sites from multiple content sources.

3. Never give the enemy your battle plans or the locations of your troops. You think the landing at Normandy would have been as successful had we sent Hitler the battle plan and troop locations 2 weeks before the invasion? By using the same Adsense account and leaving such huge footprints, Bill the Navy guy might as well have sent Google this email every day:

To: Google Spam Team
From: Bill The Navy Guy
Subject: Please Ban Me

Dear Google,

I am spamming your index and using Adsense to monitize. Please ban my sites and Adsense account at your earliest convenience. Here is the complete list:

[list of every site]

-Bill the Navy Guy

PS: Don’t Give up the Ship

Even if you’re not an SEO Black Hat, there’s a good reason not to use the same Adsense account across your network of sites. Let’s say you want to interlink sites in your 300 site network. With all your sites on the same Adsense account, Google can and will discount the value of intra network links. Instead of a potential 299 quality backlinks, you’re probably looking at a value closer to several on site links (closer to Navigation links).

Don’t lose the War do to tactical mistakes: Get multiple Adsense accounts and diversify your online income to other sources.

Search is Still in its Infancy

There are dreams that have been around for a while…a tablet computer for students instead of text books. We’ve wanted that for ages. A computer that can see, that can learn…computing today is really in its infancy.

- Bill Gates

19 years ago, this was a top of the line, monster Personal Computer:

1988 Computer

Now, multi-touch screens that could revolutionize computer input are right around the corner:

Touchscreen Video

50,000 Gigabyte DVDs will allow every person with a computer to store more information than is currently in the entire Google Index.

What will we use that kind of storage for? Things like Microsoft’s Lifelogger

For the past seven years, Bell has been conducting an audacious experiment in “lifelogging”–creating a near-total digital record of his experience. His custom-designed software, “MyLifeBits,” saves everything it can get its hands on. For every piece of email he sends and receives, every document he types, every chat session he engages in, every Web page he surfs, a copy is scooped up and stashed away. MyLifeBits records his telephone calls and archives every picture–up to 1,000 a day–snapped by his automatic “SenseCam,” that device slung around his neck. He has even stowed his entire past: The massive stacks of documents from his 47-year computer career, first as a millionaire executive then as a government Internet bureaucrat, have been hoovered up and scanned in. The last time he counted, MyLifeBits had more than 101,000 emails, almost 15,000 Word and PDF documents, 99,000 Web pages, and 44,000 pictures.

will be a mere drop in the bucket. The entire library of congress will be digitized along with every video ever available in Ultra-High Resolution. In 20 years, who knows? We could be browsing holographic libraries like a scene out of Minority Report:

Minority Report

Search still has a long way to go before it can sort, order, and prioritize that volume of information. We act like the game is already over and Google has won. But there are already more than 100 other search engines working on how to best organize the worlds information.

As the amount of information continues to increase exponentially, the shift towards an attention economy will become even more pronounced:

The primary economic consequence of the micromedia explosion is that the equilibrium price of media everywhere falls. This is due to the simple economics of supply and demand, where prices fall when the supply curve shifts outward. In turn, the micromedia explosion means that competition for attention becomes truly intense, with economics most media markets haven’t seen since the era of the printing press: attention becomes relatively more expensive than production.

Search Engines will continue to be a gateway to that most valuable prize in the new economic paradigms: Attention. As such, the importance of Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Engineering and Viral Marking will become even more pronounce in the decades to come.

You’re in the right industry. You’re in it at the right time. You’re in it while search is still in its infancy.

Do it Fucking Now.

When it comes to building your business, there are 4 words that should be echoing in your mind throughout the day; they are “Do it Fucking Now.”

We’re not talking about checking your stats or chatting with your buddies on Instant Messenger. We’re not talking about checking your RSS reader incessantly throughout the day. And we’re not talking about surfing MySpace, Digg, Fark, Television or some other time waister.

We’re talking about developing your online properties. We’re talking about creating new campaigns to drive links and revenue. When we say “Do it Fucking Now”, we’re talking about those tasks that you keep putting off which, when completed, will start putting more money in the bank.

Do it Fucking Now.

Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. The winners in this world are not the ones who find the greatest excuses to put off doing what they know will make them more money. The winners are the ones that prioritize and seize the day.

Create a list of action items to make sure your important tasks get accomplished. Every project you’re working on should be in action. If you’re not moving, you’re standing still. Your next step towards making money must not be “something I’ll take care of maybe sometime next week.” If it’s going to help make you money: Do it Fucking Now.

Some of you may think that you don’t need the “fucking” in “do it fucking now”. You do. You need that impact, that force, that call to action and mostly, that kick in the ass to get you moving. Otherwise, you’ll end up another loser that had a great idea a long time ago but never did anything about it. Dreamers don’t make money. Doers make money. And doers “Do it Fucking Now.”

This passage is truer today than when it was written more than 400 years ago:

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose the ventures before us.

– William Shakespeare, Julias Ceasar

Cliffnotes of quote for the Shakespearean impaired

Try it. Next time you have an inclining to procrastinate on a task that you know will make you money, say those magic words out loud and get inspired!

Do it Fucking Now.

Spamming Google Maps

This one require that you get up, go outside and actually DO SOMETHING in the real world. But that’s not stopping a few dotcoms from making signs that that are large enough to be viewed from a satellite with their brand on it.

From Google’s page on the event in Sydney Austrailia:

So when you see the Google branded plane flying overhead this January 26th, hoist a sign, arrange your family into a fun formation or just get a bunch of friends together to wave.

Some people worked quite a bit to get signs ready for this Google Fly By.

There are several examples of this tactic working including:
Target store in College Point, NY

Target

for KFC:

KFC

and of course a penis or 2 like this rooftop,

or this spot in arizona

Other interesting ideas include:

1. Hi Mom!
2. A sign on your ex’s roof with the word “Slut”
3. An arrow pointing to that asshole neighbor’s house with the caption “Unsecured wireless network here!!”
4. “Fuck off Google”
5. “Mostly Harmless” (my favorite)

Obviously, the key here is to make the signs BIG and to have an easily recognized logo.

We’re not far from a future where most all major companies put forth the effort to make sure their buildings can be easily identified on satellite maps. The people who do it first are the ones that will be mentioned time and time again in case future studies.

If you’re gonna try this, remember – North is up.

2007 Key to Success: You are the CEO

Here’s my 2007 prediction:

You will make more money in 2007 on the Net than you have ever made in the past.

How?

By changing your perspective. This year, you will see yourself and act like the CEO of your own Virtual Real Estate Company.

Too often, you tackle problems as a web designer, an SEO, a programmer, a geek, a blogger, a content creator, a designer or a hacker. This is where you go wrong.

If you want to make the big bucks in 2007, you will have to see yourself and become CEO / President of your Internet Company. You are the Boss, the manager, the deal maker, and the head hancho.

As the President, your time is extremely valuable. As such, you need to automate every task that can be automated. This particular task will vary from company to company, but repetitive operations must be automated for you to free up more time to run your company. Throughout the day, you will be asking yourself “How can this task be automated?”

Every task that can be performed cheaply by someone else, should be. How much time do you waste per day on things that could be performed by someone for $500 per month? Stop and think about it: If you are performing a task that can be done by someone that normally makes $20 per day, how much money can you expect to make doing that same task? Create jobs, get employees, get contractors and free up your time for doing what needs to be done: running your virtual real estate company. You need low cost lackeys to do your low brainwork tasks. With every task, you will ask yourself “Can I outsource this task to someone else for less money than my time is worth?”

Unless you are heavy into PPC, you should not be checking your stats more than once per week. It’s a waste of your time. Let’s face it, if you got 46,000 uniques on one of your sites one day, 45,500 the next day and 47,000 the next, that doesn’t really matter. As the CEO, you don’t have time to waste looking at stats that simply don’t matter. Unless you are going to change your basic strategy, you are throwing away hours per week that could be spent on outsourcing, automation, and advertising.

This year you will focus your time on things that make you money. Throughout the day, you will be asking yourself “Is the task I’m doing right now going to make me more money?” If it’s not, you will think about how to eliminate that task from your routine to increase your productivity.

Finally, this year you will make a greater effort to surround yourself with winners. You will develop a network of like-minded individuals around you that know how to make money on the Web. You will have less time for people who waste your time and will make a greater effort to network with people who “get it.” Unlike in years past, this year you will actually make the effort to stay in contact with, do business with, and associate yourself with winners.

That’s how I know that 2007 will be your most profitable year ever.

Spam-o-Thon

The holidays are coming up along the end of the fiscal tax year. That’s 2 great reasons to give money to charity rolled into one.

Here’s what I propose:

1. We need to pick a charity. Please suggest something good in the comment section. It should be some credible and reasonably well known charity that helps poor people. I really don’t know who should be the beneficary, but it should be some people that are poor: Really poor, like even more impoverished than than white hats ;)

2. To make sure the funds actually get to the charity, (and don’t get pocketed by, say, me) I would ask that an embassador from Google (does nofollow even work?) set up an adsense account and send the funds directly to the charity we pick. Then just let us know what the adsense code is.

3. I invite all Bloggers and SEOs to put this adsense code on their blogs or on few of thier thier sites for anywhere from a day to week between December 24th and 31st.

4. No click fraud.

Let’s face it, most of us are very fortunate to be in the line of work we are in. If a few lines of code on our blogs during the holidays can help out, we should do it. What do you say?

Google Funding Terrorists

Do you recall when the “funding terrorist” campaign was targeting Marijuana, online gambling and Porn? Almost everyone was happy to stand by and let that bullshit be spread around without questioning it – even many of those who understood that this was nothing but political scare tactics.

Who cares what the ignorant masses believe? It’s not your business – right? No need to stand up for intellectual honesty. That whole “slippery slope” argument has no merit and those same tactics couldn’t be used against a real company – Right?

Well it now appears that those same sheeple are now looking at a new target and for the “Google Funding Terrorists” connection.

So for those of you that haven’t figured it out, the whole “funding terrorist” thing is total bullshit. If you buy into it, you’re a fucktard. When I wrote the Poker Bann Would fund Terrorists post, I did so because Frist is just the kind of asshole that would play the “terrorists funding” card for anything; just like when Gonzales said that illicit businesses (copyright infringement) are used, “quite frankly, to fund terrorism.”

You know how much it cost to take down the World Trade Center, put a hole in the Pentagon, and take down 4 Commercial Airlines? About $50,000. You know how much Bin Laden had in his personal fortune at the time? About $600,000,000. To put this in perspective, with the personal funding of just that one guy, they have enough funding for 12,000 similar attacks.

The Terrorists don’t Need Funding – They’ve already got it.

Is Google adsense being used to fund terrorists? Yes. All someone has to do is set up a damn adsense account like anyone else and send traffic to it. The argument is just as valid as saying that buying Marijuana or playing poker funds terrorism; it’s not valid at all.

So the next time someone says that pot, poker, Google, or Porn is being used to fund terrorism, knee them in the groin, sweep their legs out and start kicking them in the head until they stop acting like a such fucktard.

Do you Brandverb?

For a long time, we have not had a term for when a company’s brand becomes synonymous with an action. Today we do: brandverb.

The brandverb you will be most familiar with is Google. When someone says “Google it” or “I got the answer by Googling it” they are using Google as a brandverb. As you can see, the brand “Google” is being used to replace verb “search” becoming a brandverb.

Yesterday, I used Jetblue as a brandverb. While contemplating going out to Los Angeles for New Years, I said “Maybe I’ll Jetblue out there.” Once again, the brand replaced a verb (fly) and became a brandverb. Here is how the term brandverb was born:

[23:49] QuadsZilla: my flight to RIO is on the 4th from JFK
[23:50] QuadsZilla: maybe i’ll jetblue out there
[23:50] QuadsZilla: for like 3 days or something
[23:50] QuadsZilla: if that’s cool
[23:50] Jeff Random: I just made up a word based on your word
[23:50] Jeff Random: brandverb
[23:50] Jeff Random: example jetblue out there
[23:50] Jeff Random: aka to google
[23:50] QuadsZilla: nice
[23:50] QuadsZilla: i like it
[23:50] QuadsZilla: i’ll blog it

If you are going to photocopy something and say “I’ll Xerox it” you have used a brandverb. If you want your maid to vacuum your bachelor pad and ask her to “Hoover the place” you have used a brandverb. When you advise your grandmother to get rid of some junk and say “Ebay that crap, some idiot will buy it” – you have brandverbed ebay.

Want an important signed document delivered to finalize a deal? Fedex it over – you sexy brandverber!

By understanding the power of brandverbing you will become a better marketer. If you are thinking in terms of “How can I brandverb my company?”, your marketing will have a longer term impact. Especially if you brand becomes engrained in culture.

Do you brandverb?