Case Study, Part 2

Welcome, new readers!

I’ve been testing traffic from to a Marketing Pond splash page, and to this blog. The early results are at my Revisitors Case Study, Part 1 post.

The Marketing Pond traffic of 2,500 visitors is about halfway finished. The click through rate on the splash page went up to 1%. The splash page normally runs at about 5%. The 5% rate is with highly targeted traffic from various paid-to-read sites. So 1% with fairly untargeted traffic is probably about right. What this tells me is that the targeting aspect of Revistors traffic isn’t quite as good as the sales pitch says. But it’s far better than other paid bulk traffic, such as pop-under traffic.

Conversions into Marketing Pond ran at about 50% of the click through traffic. This is about normal.

The blog traffic campaign has delivered over 3,000 visitors to the blog. I’d reported an initial jump in RSS subscribers. That jump was apparently part of the normal fluctuation you get with feed statistics, since the numbers have since gone down and up and down and up again. Either that, or there are both waves of people subscribing, and waves of people leaving.

The bounce rate for the site stabilized at about the same level as before the Revisitors campaign. The average time spent on the site is higher, up to about 10 minutes, compared to 5 minutes from before the campaign. Average page views is about the same, a bit over 2.

While the visitors aren’t subscribing, which was my original measure of success, they are reading the blog (Hello!) And staying for a while to do so, unless some of the regular readers leave the blog up in their browser when they go to bed, skewing the numbers.

If you’re planning a campaign using traffic, plan on a conversion rate lower than you’re used to for targeted traffic. The traffic is inexpensive enough you can probably still make a profit on the deal. At least, unless you’re like me, and use the traffic on sites that don’t provide an immediate sale.

And if you got to this blog and aren’t quite sure how, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed so you can find your way back again. We’re a friendly bunch!

Article Marketing 101, Part 2

This is part 2 of my article marketing series. Click here for part 1 on article marketing.

While you can use article marketing strictly as a way of getting traffic directly to an affiliate link, that generally isn’t the best use. Many article directories don’t allow affiliate links in articles, so you would eliminate some of your distribution. And, if you’re going to the trouble of writing articles in the first place, why put all that SEO effort into someone else’s website?

So before you can get started with writing articles, you need a website to promote. I recommend you have a domain name, even if you’re using a free web host such as That way, any link building your do is for your domain name, which allows you to switch hosts without sacrificing the benefits of articles you’ve already written.

You may be trying to promote an existing website, such as a blog. If so, you’re ready to start writing. But if you’re trying to use article marketing to promote sales through affiliate links (otherwise known as the Bum Marketing method), then you need to do a little work.

As I mentioned above, it isn’t a good idea to link directly to your affiliate link. Instead, create a website that you can point to in your article. This website could be a simple landing page, or a mini-site. The object is to take traffic to this website and convert it into clicks on your affiliate links.

The best site to create is one that provides value to the visitor. A blatant sales page will not help your efforts. Provide useful information, and also link to what you want them to buy in an appropriate way. If you’re trying to sell a particular product, consider selling some of its competitors, too. Then make your site a comparison site. These generally do quite well, since you’re providing your visitors with a comparison of benefits between the products and helping them to decide to buy one of them. You don’t care which one, since you’ll get a commission on all of them.

You can use WordPress to actually create the site. Simply use a page as your front page, and create only pages. In the sidebar you can list pages in whatever categories you want. WordPress is my favorite way of creating mini-sites.

You can also use Squidoo to create a simple landing page for free. For someone just starting out who doesn’t have a website yet, this may be an ideal option.

If you have your own domain name and web hosting, but for some reason do not want to use WordPress, you’re back to writing HTML. You can get a leg up on that chore by using a free website builder. This is basically just a custom version of NVU that comes with a bunch of page templates you can load and fill in the blanks to create a landing page.

If you want something that truly stands out, you can outsource the initial creation of your site. is a professional service that will create a custom template, install appropriate pugins, and generally make the blog exactly the way you want it, leaving it ready for you to add content. You can also find freelancers yourself on various forums, like the Digital Point forums.

Now that we have a site, we’re ready to start writing. In part 3, we’ll see how to write an article about absolutely anything, even if you know nothing about the topic. Review

While I don’t do many blog reviews, when Arun emailed me about his contest I wanted to let you all know about it. is a new blog about how to make money online. He’s holding what he calls “the golden egg contest“. The contest is modeled after John Chow’s review contest.

This sort of contest is difficult for a new blog to use, because typically the entrants get only a backlink out of writing a review. And most bloggers don’t value backlinks from low PR sites (regular readers will know I think that’s a mistake, but I won’t rant about that here).

So what Arun has done is to provide a prize that is sure to interest any blogger. Free lifetime web hosting, with unlimited web space and bandwidth. This is worth anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on how long you intend to live (you will keep blogging right up until the end, right?)

Go over to his contest page at “The Golden Egg Contest” link above for the rules. Now on to the review. is very new, so there aren’t a lot of posts yet. The posts that are there are a fairly typical mix for a blog about making money online. His link building series has covered, so far, directory and article submissions, and he has an post on Adsense basics, along with the usual entries into other contests.

One of the things I liked best was that he asked his readers if he should use Kontera links to monetize his blog or not. I hate those links in content, so anyone who takes the time to find out if his readers want them is showing a lot of respect for his readers.

That’s it for the review. You’ve probably already clicked over to his contest page and are writing your own review right now, so I’m not sure why I’m still typing.

Oh, and since this review counts as an entry in Arun’s contest, if I win the lifetime hosting will become the prize for whatever contest I hold the next month. So if you don’t win his contest, hope for me to win and get a second chance!

Article Marketing 101, Part 1

I’ve written about article marketing before, but recently realized I didn’t have a good series of How To posts about it. Since the prize for this month’s comment contest is an original Ezine Article article, this is a good time to fit in an Article Marketing 101 series.

There are two basic reasons to use article marketing: search engine optimization, and search engine results.

Search Engine Optimization

Since you are writing the article, you have control over the anchor text of links in the article (subject to the article directory’s editorial rules). So if you want your site to rank higher for the phrase make money online, then make that your anchor text in the article. As long as the article really is about making money online, you’ll get a relevancy boost by having that one-way link from the article to your site.

Search Engine Results

Let’s say that your site is ranking #10 for your chosen keyword in Google. You’ve tried everything, and can’t quite manage to get higher than that. The next best thing to ranking highly in Google for a keyword is to have a highly ranked site link to you. Ezine Articles articles generally rank highly in Google search results. By writing an article for that keyword, you’ll now have two search results working for you.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Having multiple search results on the front page of Google that, effectively, point to your site will greatly increase your chances of making a sale or getting a reader.

It isn’t just the increase in traffic from having multiple results show up, but the increase in confidence a visitor will have in your site. If they’ve read a couple of articles that link to your site before they finally get to your site itself, then they’ll already be thinking of your site as an authority on the subject.

This same concept works with Squidoo lenses, too. In fact, combining article marketing with Squidoo lenses is very powerful. On the right keywords you could end up having three or four of the top 10 search results in Google.

But I’m Not A Writer!

If you write a blog, you’re a writer. Articles do not need to be much more refined than your blog posts. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with my articles, which actually limits my effectiveness with article marketing. It would be far better if I put the articles together more quickly, and in greater quantity.

In future installments of this series, we’ll look at the various stages of article marketing, including researching and writing the article and knowing what the subject of the article should be. We’ll also talk more about quality versus quantity.

Keywords Used to Find This Blog

As you add more and more content to a blog, you’re going to find yourself more and more surprised by the keywords people use in search engines to find you.

Here’s a selection of keywords used to find Online Opportunity over the past couple of months.

a hungry crowd: I was actually on page 7 for this search term when I checked. That’s one of the surprising things about looking at these keywords, some are quite deep in Google’s search results. I can only imagine that the person searching didn’t find what they were looking for on the first page.

make your own websyte 4 free: I was on page 2 for this misspelling of website. None of the results actually used the misspelling. Could be a niche!

get paid to click advertisements for 1 dollar per ad: I was #1 in Google when I checked, but have now dropped out of sight. Not sure what happened there, but it’s just as well since I only wish I knew how to get paid $1 per ad clicked.

make money just by filling forms without paying something: Lots of people out there looking to make money without spending money. I was on page 10 for this one, so they were looking hard for a solution and not finding one.

creating oppurtunity from nothing: #1 for Google for this misspelling. Not that I can help anyone create opportunity from nothing, but it’s nice that Google has such confidence in me.

online opportunity sleep autopilot: Page 2 when I checked, but not there now. I’m hoping this person wants to make money while they’re sleeping, and that they are not a pilot looking for autopiloting software. I was #3 when I checked, but am missing from the results now. I used this domain as an example in a post.

im 14 i want to earn money:
how are 14-year olds supposed to make money?: #4 when I checked, but not there now. This traffic is thanks to Carl Ocab posting a comment in my John Chow review post.

find a hungry crowd case study: #4 in Google, thanks to my Autopilot Profits review. I’m afraid that post didn’t help the searcher much.

randall cornett: on page 1 in Google. If you want to rank highly for someone else’s name, just use it freely in blog posts. Especially if it isn’t a common name to start with. I’m not quite sure why anyone would search on Randall’s name, though, and bypass his own blog in the #1 and #2 slots to get to this blog. Unless it was the big “$100” in the title of my blog post (that was my original review contest post).

Some of the things that struck me going through these keywords: first, many people are looking pretty deep into Google’s search results to find the blog. Second, when I first checked for many of these keywords, I ranked for them. When I just checked before posting this, I’d dropped out of the search results for some. Search engine results positioning is very fluid, and changes all the time.

You can try to optimize for specific keywords, but expect Google to change its mind quite frequently. And you’ll end up ranking for keywords you never expected based on chance phrases you use in your post, and on comments. So don’t spend too much time worrying about SEO. Do the basics, and write enough content that you’ll rank highly for something, even if you’re not sure what.

What strange keywords have people used to find your blog?

Subliminal Link Cloaking

Link Cloaking is the practice of replacing an affiliate link with a link that looks more normal.

This has benefit in a couple of ways. First, the link looks like a typical web link, so people think nothing about clicking on it. Second, since the affiliate link isn’t exposed, people can’t avoid paying you a commission without a lot more work. With affiliate links exposed, they could replace your affiliate id with someone else’s, or their own, to redirect the commission. Yes, some people do this, especially with products sold on ClickBank, since once you have a ClickBank ID you are automatically eligible to receive commissions on every product in the marketplace, and you can receive commissions on sales to yourself. Since ClickBank products often have high commissions, this results in a significant savings, and loses you a nice commission.

Another technique with link cloaking is to take advantage of the URL of the cloaked link to reinforce the value of the product. A very common URL combination to use is to put all redirected affiliate links in the “recommends” directory. So rather than linking directly to a product, you’d use something like You get the benefits of link cloaking, and additionally reinforce the fact that you think the product is worth having. Instead of “recommends” you could use any text that creates the image of benefit in the mind of the reader. “Recommends” is nice because it reads like a sentence, and is easily parsed subconsciously.

There are different techniques for link cloaking, anywhere from simple JavaScript cloaks that leave the real URL in the web page but display a different URL in the status bar, to .htaccess redirects, to using iframes, to encoding the affiliate link. The JavaScript technique is the least secure, since a person need only view the source of the web page to discover the affiliate link. The other techniques basically vary in how much work is needed for a person to uncover the affiliate link (the thinking being that if it isn’t easy, most people won’t bother).

One advantage of the iframe technique is that the merchant’s web page is shown inside your web page, so if the user bookmarks the page they’re essentially bookmarking your affiliate link and will come back to it later. Or if they email the URL to their friends after seeing the merchant website, it’s your link they’re emailing.

You’ll note that I don’t use link cloaking myself here. I played around with the Javascript method for a few links, but didn’t really like it (it didn’t work well with Firefox for some reason). I’ve used the iframe method on other websites, and it works well. I really should use some form of link cloaking here, but it’s a low priority since it does take a bit of extra time.

The product I’ve used on other sites is Instant Affiliate Link Master. You could also write your own tool pretty easily, if you have the programming knowledge. The affiliate link in this scheme is not secure, it simply takes more work to extract.

You can find Instant Affiliate Link Master around the Internet. I didn’t pay for it, I received it as a bonus for joining a site. It would be one of the items available in the Network library if I set that up as a membership site.

That’s Wise also has a free link cloaker. Just type in your values and click Generate, and you’re done. The tool, unfortunately, uses frames rather than iframes, and so is not quite up to speed for modern web browsers. It should work fine, but iframes are the recommended method these days.

Another option for link cloaking is to use a service such as URLFreeze. The main problem with URLFreeze generated links is that they look ugly, and no more realistic than the affiliate links themselves. But they’re free and don’t require you to have your own website, so many people use them for email campaigns.

What do you think? Is link cloaking something that you worry about?

Increase Your Profits by Offering Resale Rights?

One technique I’ve seen many people using these days is selling resale rights to products as a one-time offer after you buy.

That is a good time to offer resale rights, because you’ve bought the product so you clearly feel it has some value. But you haven’t had a chance to evaluate the product yet, so if it’s going to be disappointing you won’t find out until after the one-time offer. Generally, for a product costing $47, they’ll offer resale rights for $199 or so (this post isn’t about products that come with resale rights by default, only those for which you pay extra for the resale rights).

When you buy resale rights, you get to sell the product for $47 and keep 100% of the profits. None of the money goes back to the original author. You think to yourself, “Just 5 sales and I’ve made my money back and everything else is pure profit!”, and jump on the one-time offer. And it does sound like a great deal.

So how does this increase the author’s profit if they’re giving away future sales?

The sad fact is that most people who purchase resale rights to a product don’t make anything from it. There are a couple of factors involved in this.

First, the original author has, if they’re experienced, created such an online buzz about the product before it goes up for sale that anyone interested in it buys from them shortly after it’s available. This leaves the people who buy resale rights selling to audiences that weren’t interested enough in the product to buy it right away.

Second, most people who buy resale rights aren’t that experienced, and don’t manage to make any sales. The product generally comes with a website you can setup, but then you have to advertise it to get traffic, and the original author will typically rank higher than a new site in search engines for the relevant keywords.

Selling resale rights to a product is a quick way for an author to multiply his profit on the product by three, four, or five times what he gets just from a straight sale. Since few of the people who buy resale rights will do anything useful with them, it doesn’t hurt his future profits.

If you think you can make sales of a product, rather than paying money for resale rights, become an affiliate for the product. You’ll get a commission from each sale, and make less than you would with resale rights. But you’ll pay nothing for the privilege of being an affiliate, so your risk is far less. And if you fail, you’ve used up less of your starting capital (hoarding starting capital is a topic that deserves a post of its own).

So, the next time you see a great offer to purchase resale rights to a product, think carefully about whether you will actually do anything with those rights or not.

On the other hand, if you’re selling a product, consider giving your customers an opportunity to purchase resale rights to boost your profits.

8 Interesting Things About Me

I normally don’t participate in this sort of thing, but I could hardly resist when I was tagged by Enkay Blog. He was one of the early readers of this blog, and I owe a lot to him for promoting the first contest I had (when it would have increased his chances of winning $100 by not promoting it).

So here are the rules for this 8 interesting things post:

– Each player must post these rules to begin the meme.
– Each players starts with eight random facts or habits about themselves.
– People who get tagged must blog about their eight things and post these rules.
– At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
– Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are the 8 interesting things about myself:

1: While in college, I failed Speech class three or four times before finally passing. Most of my old friends find it hard to believe I now teach college and stand up talking in front of students all the time.

2: To stick with the college theme for a moment, it took me four colleges and fourteen years to get my undergraduate degree. I have to confess I wasn’t a very good student. My Master’s degree took only two years, and I made perfect grades all the way through. Maybe the pod people replaced me between the two degrees?

3: I have a wonderful two-year old daughter. We’d never expected to have kids, and my daughter fought her way past various forms of birth control to get here. We’re so glad she did!

4: I have a personal web site where I’ve written quite a bit about my personal philosophy on growth, finances, and the like. It’s called Guardian Tree Productions.

5: I’m a life long gamer, and love board games, roleplaying games, murder mystery games, card games, and pretty much anything that involves getting together with multiple people and having fun.

6: In high school, I designed a chess variant where pieces traveled in time in addition to their normal movement. I never could get anyone to play that version with me.

7: I write science fiction when I get the chance (which isn’t much since I started this blog!) I’ve put a couple of my stories up on a really old home page of mine. The page itself is hopelessly out of date, and all the material there is slated to be worked into another site some day.

8: Also back in high school, I helped a friend of mine make a movie about zombies. He now owns his own production company and makes movies for a living.

This is the spot where I’m supposed to tag other bloggers. Most of the ones I would have tagged were also in Enkay Blog’s list, but here are a few that missed the list: Tyson, Carolyn, Rosa, and Lori.

Oh, and may I just say that the latest poll over at Carolyn’s site, Juggling Frogs, gave me my best laugh yet today.

Power of a Dollar Analysis

Update: the information below is no longer applicable, since the Power of a Dollar program changed how it all works. See my more recent Power of a Dollar Update for the most recent information.

Since Power of a Dollar is an odd sort of program, I thought it would be useful to analyze where the money goes. If you haven’t seen my Power of a Dollar review, it’d probably make sense to read that before continuing, as the following may not make much sense otherwise.

I’ve done a similar sort of analysis before with my Bigorilla review. Power of a Dollar isn’t quite so simple, since you can earn extra positions in the matrix by surfing sites, essentially getting more earning power for the same amount of money.

Let’s look at it from the point of view of the person at the top of the matrix. Let’s assume there are 3,200 members who go on to pay the $11 a month to get into the paid matrix (that is a bit under the program’s current membership, but it makes the math easier later). The person at the top immediately makes $32 (from 1 cent times 3,200 members).

Every day, those 3,200 members surf their three sites in order to get another position in the matrix, which pays the person at the top another 1 cent per position, so another $32 every day, even ignoring the additional positions he’ll get through surfing himself. But then, we always knew it was best to be at the top of a matrix.

What happens to people toward the bottom of the matrix? Let’s look at it from the position of one of the people at the bottom of the matrix. The bottom, level 7, of the overall matrix would have 2,187 people in it.

Level 8 has about 6,500 positions in it. It takes the membership two days to fill it, earning the positions on level 7 $.03. Everyone also gets two more positions, these on level 8.

Level 9 has nearly 20,000 positions in it, taking about 7 days to fill. The original level 7 position earns 9 cents, and each of the 2 level 8 positions earns 3 cents, for a total of 15 cents. Each member also earns an additional 7 positions on level 9.

Level 10 has almost 60,000 positions in it. It takes 19 days to fill. The level 7 position gets 27 cents, the 2 level 8 positions get 9 cents each, and the 7 level 9 positions earn 3 cents each. The total earned this level is 72 cents. Everyone also gets another 19 positions on level 10.

Level 11 has almost 180,000 positions in it. Assuming nobody else comes in from the outside, it takes 57 days to fill. The original position on level 7 gets 81 cents, the 2 level 8 positions get 27 cents each, the 7 level 9 positions get 9 cents each, and the 19 level 10 positions get 3 cents each. Total is $2.28. Everyone also gets another 57 positions on level 11.

Level 12 has over 530,000 people in it and will take 166 days to fill completely. The original position gets $2.43, the 2 level 8 positions 81 cents each, the 7 level 9 positions 27 cents each, the 19 level 10 positions 9 cents each, and the 57 level 11 positions 3 cents each. The total for this level is $9.36. Everyone also gets another 166 positions on level 12.

That should be enough to show a trend.

Level Positions Earnings Days to Fill Per Day
8 2 $.03 2 1.5 cents
9 7 $.15 7 2.1 cents
10 19 $.72 19 3.7 cents
11 57 $2.28 57 4 cents
12 166 $9.36 166 5.6 cents

That makes a total income after 251 days of $12.54.

The above analysis also makes some pretty big assumptions. One is that no new people join the program, another is that the entire membership surfs their three sites a day. The assumptions were to make the math easier, and are probably not going to hold up to reality.

While the amount of money to be made isn’t impressive, the people involved in Power of a Dollar would be surfing other traffic exchanges anyway, and perhaps paying $11 a month for upgrades there.

The main benefit of the program is that your site is not just viewed, but reviewed. You pose a question about your site that reviewers must answer correctly to gain credit for reviewing your site. So people will be reading your site, not just allowing a surf-timer to expire while doing something else. This should translate into more sales for you, especially since the people visiting your site have shown a willingness to pay money into one program.

Only time will tell whether the monthly fee is worth the advertising you’ll receive, or whether the income for late joiners will ever offset the cost.

The Network as a Membership Site

I’ve mentioned before the idea about making a portion of the Network into a membership site, to give access to the ever growing library of ebooks and videos I’m accumulating. Since most do not have give away rights, I’d need to use them as incentive for joining a membership site.

My original idea had been a $1 one-time fee to get access to the library. I’d also need to provide something as a benefit of membership, to keep within the letter of the licenses, so there would probably be a URL rotator available for members.

Then I started thinking that I wanted to continue adding to the library, which does cost some money, and bandwidth would rise as the library grows. It’d be nice to defray the ongoing costs, so a monthly fee started sounding like a better idea. $1 a month is still fairly trivial, but would help to offset the cost of adding to the library.

So I thought I’d throw it open for your opinions, since the purpose of such a site would be to get this library in your hands. What do you think is the best way to work the membership fee for the site? I’ve included a poll below to track the most common options, but feel free to leave comments with ideas, too.