Get Paid To Search With ZotSpot

There are a number of “paid to search” sites out there.

I’ve tried a few, and have never made anything at all. A few months ago one of the ones I tried was Zot Spot. I think I made two or three searches using it, couldn’t see in the “my account” area how that contributed to earnings, and stopped using it.

Well, yesterday I received an email from them saying that my account has been credited with $0.06 for search activity two months back. Turns out their crediting cycle takes two months to process, for some reason. Probably waiting on payments from advertisers, although I’d think that would be a bit faster.

Now I wish I’d paid more attention to how many searches I’d made. I can’t imagine it was more than three, so that would make it about $0.02 for each search. That isn’t going to make me rich, but I do a lot of web searches through the course of a day, so it could add up. You also make money from your referrals’ searches.

As far as getting money out of Zot Spot, you have two options. They’ll pay into a PayPal account, or donate the money to a charity. They have a number of charities you can donate to, and if you want them to add another one you can suggest it to them.

I’ll be trying another test of this, doing all my daily searches through it. The goal will be to see how the search results compare to Google’s over a variety of searches, and to see what sort of income is possible. In a couple of months I’ll have some figures to share.

zotspot - get paid to search

The Power of a Dollar Update

Regular readers will remember the Power of a Dollar, the program that started out as an MLM traffic exchange, and changed a few times before finally becoming what it is today.

What it is is a traffic exchange that gets people to read your site. I’ve talked about how it works before, but for the benefit of anyone new I’ll summarize. When you submit your site to run in Power of a Dollar, you put in a question that must be answered for a surfer to get credit for visiting your site. If you’re smart, you make it a question that can be answered only by reading the contents of the site.

The hope is that if someone actually has to read the site, they’ll be sucked in convinced of the value of your site and join (or buy, or whatever is is you want them to do).

I can report a bit on the surfing side of Power of a Dollar. It doesn’t take much longer than a regular traffic exchange to answer the questions about the sites. Most people aren’t being very smart about it, and often you can get the answer to the question at a glance. A few are being smarter, but it still generally takes only about the same 30 seconds you’d have to view the page at other traffic exchanges (at least if you’re good at reading fast).

On the marketing side of Power of a Dollar, I don’t have good data. The program I opted to advertise was My Traffic Empire. It’s a program with a one-time payment but good income potential, so I figured it would do well with the make money online crowd.

Unfortunately, half a dozen other people had the same idea. I’ve since switched to advertising Marketing Pond, which nobody else is doing on the exchange. It’s too early yet to know how well that’s going, though.

Power of a Dollar only has the free memberships working so far. Their pro memberships are being worked on by the programmer. Once the pro memberships are available, you’ll have the same sort of benefit as at other traffic exchanges. You’ll get to advertise more sites, get free website views each month, earn more commissions on your referrals’ purchases, etc.

So early results are mixed. My instinct is still that the exchange can be a good one, provided you do not use splash pages. Since visitors are actually reading your page, send them to your main site and force them to read through it all to answer the question. The details of your program might interest them enough for them to join (or buy, or whatever).

Click here to join Power of a Dollar. Review is a ClickBank ad program.

The basic idea is that you can embed ads on your website that link to ClickBank products. The advantage to this rather than Adsense is that your commission on ClickBank products is usually quite high. The disadvantage is that you don’t get paid for clicks, only for sales. also provides a ClickBank store front. ClickBank has loads of products, but selling them means promoting individual products. A store front organizes the products and allows visitors to browse them. When they buy, you get the commission.

So far, everything sounds pretty good. The emphasizes that it’s free to join, and you get a lot of benefits. The FAQ page even has a nice chart showing the advantages of over other services.

After signing up, you discover that you can only get a storefront by being a paid subscriber. As a free member, you can only put ClickBank ads on your website. They’ve priced the subscription low enough (less than $3 a month if you prepay enough in advance) that many people will subscribe because they want the storefront. In addition, you don’t earn from referrals unless you’re also a paid subscriber.

I consider this sort of bait and switch to be poor business practice. They could easily post the differences between a paid subscription and a free membership on the FAQ page, so that people new what they were getting into when they signed up. And allowing people to earn from referrals as free members is only good practice, since it gives more people an incentive to promote your business.

I may have sprung for the subscription to give the store front a try, if they’d been up front about the cost. As it is, I wouldn’t trust to not pull some other bait and switch later on, and have remained a free member.

Click here if you’re interested in ClickBank ads on your site.

Top Commentators List Fixed

For months now, the top commentators list has shown Betshopboy‘s entry together with someone else’s, with no link and no separator.

The problem was that some of his comments had a URL attached, and some didn’t, and that apparently confused the plugin. Since he recently got his own domain, I went through the database and updated all the comments to point to the new URL, and the top commentators list now displays correctly.

This isn’t really a permanent fix, though, since the next person who doesn’t put a URL in when they comment will still show up incorrectly. I haven’t quite figured out why, but suspect an incompatibility with the theme.

I’ll put some time into figuring that out when the problem comes up again.

A Stroll Through Other Blogs

With the semester just starting, I’m keeping pretty busy teaching my classes and getting into the swing of being back at work. But I found some time today to spend with my much neglected RSS reader (currently at about 80+ subscriptions), and thought I’d share some of the posts I ran across that caught my eye.

Over at Interesting Observations is a great post on Creating Content From Everyday Life. I’d been about to write something of the sort, but Pearl beat me to it! Which reminds me of a story…but that’s for another post.

The Kosher Cooking meta-Carnival over at Juggling Frogs is the most amazing compilation of related links I’ve seen in a long time. A warning, though, don’t click through unless you have some food handy, because you’ll come away hungry!

The post about Virtual Real Estate over at Cash For Comments is a nice way of looking at the Internet. When I was trying to get my mind around domaining, the buying and selling of domain names for profit, what finally made it all click for me was the notion that registering a domain name is like creating new real estate.

At a time when I’ve started to take the weekend off, Dosh Dosh has a post on 7 Easy Ways To Get More Weekend Traffic for Your Website. The article is written from the perspective of wanting to avoid the sales dip that comes with low traffic periods.

Enkay Blog has a nice article about Google’s recent change to its webmaster guidelines. For more info, go read Google Says “OK” To Some Link Schemes?.

I’ve been following Yaro Starak’s series on How To Launch A Membership Site with great interest. Yaro knows what he’s talking about, having launched Blog Mastermind, a successful membership site that helps you learn how to make money blogging.

If you use WordPress themes someone else has designed, or plugins, you should take a look at How To Find Hidden Links In Your Site. Court goes through it step by step to show you how to find out exactly what links are in your site, including the ones you may not be aware of.

Self Made Minds regularly has posts about buying websites. The latest talks about how the price for older establish websites is increasing. Read A good website for 10-12 times net income, not anymore for the details.

Shaun Low has a fun post on How To Use Video Games To Promote Your Site. So for anyone who needs an excuse to play video games, start a website and call it a “promotional effort”.

Some Make Money has a post called Noepets, Minimum Wage Blogging, and Making Money Online. It’s a must read for anyone thinking about getting into blogging for money.

Hope you enjoyed this stroll through my feed subscriptions. I’ll probably do this fairly regularly, since it gives me a good excuse to give the subscriptions some attention.

Viral Advertising Demystified

Viral advertising is pretty popular these days.

In general terms, anything viral means that you only put a little initial effort into the project, and then other people promote it for you. They promote it because they get some benefit out of doing so.

The sort of viral advertising I’m talking about today is that used in sites like Free Viral, Traffic Digger, and T2000 Ultra.

All of these sites promise 1,000,000 visitors to your website (or some other outrageously high figure). I’ve see a lot of people sign up to them, and then complain a month later when they haven’t seen any visitors. The problem is that they don’t really understand how the sites work.

When you sign up with one of these sites, you have to visit some number of other sites to get activation codes from each. Once you have all the activation codes, you can get your own account. With your account, you get an advertising URL.

Here’s the most important bit: you must get people to visit your advertising URL!

The way you get your million visitors is by getting other people to sign up for the advertising site through your advertising URL. That way, your site is one of the ones they visit to get their activation code.

And since these sites always list half a dozen or so sites, when one of your referrals refers someone, your site is in the number two position. By the time your site gets to number six (or ten, or however many the site uses), the referral tree has grown large enough that you might very well get your million visitors.

But it all starts with you getting referrals to the advertising site. You won’t get any visitors without that step.

How useful is this sort of advertising?

I consider this sort of thing to be just like another traffic exchange. Provide an offer that’s attractive to the average person trying to make money online with little investment, and you might get some takers.

For the typical personal blog, though, it’s probably wasted effort.

Squidoo Challenge

I recently gave myself the challenge to write a Squidoo lens a day, for as long as I could keep it up.

My main hurdle in this challenge was to silence my internal perfectionist, the one that says the lens must be perfect before I click publish. That’s wrong for so many reasons, not least of which is that both Google and Squidoo like lenses that change frequently. By publishing a lens that still needs work, I can continue to update it over time and create better Google rankings for that page than if I waited to publish it and then never changed it again.

Here’s the list of lenses I managed to create during this challenge. The Responsible Living series is a rework of some web pages I’d written on those topics years ago.

I started the challenge on a Saturday:

Saturday: Responsible Living
Sunday: Discovering Your Values Finished on time
Monday: Living Deliberately Finished on time
Tuesday: What Is Yuwie? Finished on time
Wednesday: Popera Finished early
Thursday: Right and Wrong Finished on time (not happy with this one, but it’s published anyway)
Friday: Call of Cthulhu RPG Finished on time, barely
Saturday: Death on the Gambia Review Finished early
Sunday: Temporal Chess Finished late
Monday: Storytelling Games Finished on time

The Yuwie lens started receiving a decent amount of search engine traffic in just about 7 days. So it would appear that Google is starting to like Squidoo lenses again, at least lenses with a sufficient amount of content.

By the end of the challenge, I was starting to dread making the next lens. So ten lenses is about the limit for my creativity to flow non-stop. I plan on doing this again eventually, to increase my stable of Squidoo lenses.

Evaluating Advertising Coops

When you join a program, you might find that they have an advertising coop available.

The idea of an advertising coop is to pool the money from many members and split the benefits between the members of the coop. You must carefully look at each coop, though, to make sure it looks effective. There are two primary characteristics of coops I look at: where they get their traffic, and what’s the benefit you get from the coop.

Where The Traffic Comes From

The traditional coop is an advertising coop. Members pool their money, and then advertising is purchased, both offline and online. Any responses to the advertising go through some sort of rotator so that benefits are split between the coop members. You might get no responses at all, although that would be unusual for a well designed advertising campaign.

Another type of coop is one where responses are paid for. For example, in SFI, members can join an advertising coop. Signups from that coop come from other members who are paid to recruit new members. They get paid a certain amount for each new member they bring in.

I personally don’t like this sort of coop, because of the potential for fraud. When you pay someone for each new recruit, arbitrage inevitably happens. They’ll pay someone else to get guaranteed signups for less than SFI will pay them. Those guaranteed signups will be paid still less to signup. Everyone makes money except for the coop members, who get signups who have no intention of being active.

That’s not to say everyone who gets paid for signups in SFI does this, but the potential is there.

What’s The Benefit?

Benefits from coop come in two flavors: visits and actions.

A traditional coop spreads visit across the coop members. So if there are ten coop members and advertising generates one thousand visits to the program site, each member’s page will get one hundred visits. Some members may have no actual sales/signups, if none of their hundred visitors decided to take action. This is implemented pretty easily with a URL rotator.

An action based coop guaranteed that each coop member will get the same number of actions. So if the advertising campaign above generated one hundred sales, those sales would be split among the ten coop members, at ten sales each. This is a bit harder to implement, as it requires changes to the site software that handles purchases.

If you find a coop that fits your needs, you can get some terrific advertising. The people running the coop are, generally, experienced at marketing their particular program and may get better results than you would doing it yourself. The size of the coop can also enable them to negotiate better advertising deals, getting more advertising for your money than you could yourself.

Traffic Exchange Tips

Traffic exchanges are one way to get traffic to your site.

Traffic exchanges are only really any good for sites that provide information related to Internet marketing, since the vast majority of people who use traffic exchanges are Internet marketers. You do see the odd non-IM site on traffic exchanges, but not often.

If you have a site that fits, though, traffic exchanges can be a free way to get some traffic to your site. The traffic isn’t qualified, since the members are viewing your site not because of interest, but to get credits. So you need to make sure to qualify the traffic before it gets to your site.

I’ve talked before about the importance of using splash pages on traffic exchanges. Splash pages help to weed out the people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer, so they never get to your site. The people who do get to your site are more qualified, and more likely to convert.

Yet I still see most people in traffic exchanges not using splash pages, and making other mistakes. So this is my list of traffic exchange tips, based on what I’ve seen.

Don’t Use A Page With A Movie

Movies take time to load, often taking longer than the 15 or 30 seconds a person has to view your page. You have only a few seconds to catch their interest and qualify them. If the movie doesn’t load in a few seconds, it’s wasted effort.

Make Sure Your Links Are Good

Traffic exchange visitors get credit even if your URL is bad and all that displays is a 404 error page. Make sure your links are good by testing them yourself.

Don’t Link To An Internal Page

I’ve seen some people on traffic exchanges link to pages that must have been internal to their account at a program. When they tested the link, I’m sure it came up fine because they were logged into the program. But for others, what comes up is an error page saying that you need to be logged in. That isn’t doing anyone any good.

Always logout of your site before testing the link you want to put on the traffic exchange.

Only Require One Action

The only action a person should have to take on your page is to click through to your site. Do not require them to pick a language, or a country, or take any other action before you can try to catch their attention. They’ll just leave the site at the “pick a language prompt”, get their credit, and move on.

Use A Splash Page

I won’t belabor this, since I’ve done that in other posts and above. I’ll just note that most program affiliate pages violate one or more of the above tips, and so don’t do well in traffic exchanges.

All of the above goes double for paid to read sites, where you’re actually paying someone to view your site for a certain amount of time. Don’t pay for ineffectual advertising!

Using Yahoo Answers to Market Your Site

One of the ways you can get some traffic to your site is with Yahoo Answers.

If you haven’t seen the site before, it’s a place where people post questions, and other people post answers. The person who posted the question can pick the best answer, or if they don’t do it then others can vote on the best answer. There are questions there on pretty much any topic imaginable, from SEO to getting paid to read surveys to making doll houses, to the issue of world peace.

The best part about Yahoo Answers is that a lot of web traffic flows through the site, both from members and search engines. This can mean more visitors to your site. And all the traffic is pretty well qualified, since you’re answering related questions.

Plus, you get to brand yourself as an expert, as the number of questions for which your answer is picked as best increases.

So how do you use Yahoo Answers best? Here’s my list of tips.

Don’t Spam

Answer only questions for which a page on your site is extremely relevant. There’s nothing worse than a totally irrelevant answer that’s an obvious advertisement. Plus, answering relevant questions ensures your traffic is qualified.

Be Informative and Honest

Provide a good amount of information in the answer itself, and then link out to a page of yours that provides more information. An answer is not the place for hype. Hype gets you unqualified traffic, honesty gets you qualified traffic.

Be One Of The First To Answer

The original poster doesn’t have to wait until the question expires to pick a best answer. If you’re one of the first, and give a good enough answer, they might pick yours early. At the very least, everyone else who comes to answer the question after you will see your answer and perhaps visit your site.

Vote For Yourself

If the original poster doesn’t pick a best answer, then the answers go into community voting. Sometimes nobody votes. So vote for your own answer! You’ll need to wait for the question to be placed in voting status, but at that point your single vote might be enough to pick your answer as the best one. Being the best answer means that it’s the only answer that appears in the archive pages.

Keep Answering

You get the best results when your answers are fresh. You will get some residual traffic from archived answers when yours was the best answer, but you get more from answers to questions that have not been resolved yet.

Search for Open Questions

If you click on Advanced next to the search box, you can specify that you only want to search for open questions. This allows you to find questions on suitable topics to answer.

Over the past few months I’ve received about 150 visitors from Yahoo Answers. 40 of those signed up to Inbox Dollars, and one purchased the most excellent SEO Book. This is an excellent example of how qualified visitors do more for your site than bulk traffic.

So go over to Yahoo Answers and help out a few people today, and get some extra traffic to your site.