Upgrade to WordPress 2.3

Just a quick note that I’ve upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.3.

This was relatively painless, although one of the plugins I was using turned out to be incompatible (the EXEC PHP Widget), and so I had to find a replacement. For part of the weekend, none of the PHP code I was using in the sidebar was showing, so the top commentators list, featured posts, etc, was gone. It’s all back now.

Also, at least one comment seems to have been lost in the transition (one by Chris on the Fast Directory Submitter Review post). Sorry about that Chris! At the end of the contest I’ll give you one extra entry into the random drawing to make up for it.

Hopefully everything is in order now, but if something blows up on you, please use the contact form to let me know.

The Year’s PTC Sites In Review

One of my efforts in 2007 was evaluating paid-to-click sites, those sites that pay you to view advertiser’s sites.

These sorts of sites are dead simple to start, and many are outright scams. They either don’t pay when they say they will, or they offer ridiculous amounts of money for each ad you view, or both. But some have kept their quality through the year, paid out when they said they would, and even improved their offerings over time.

Adbux

This is probably the most controversial of the sites, with many on the Internet calling it a scam site. Over the year it’s emerged as one of the quality paid-to-click sites. The admins have no only weathered the controversy, but have added paid offers to the site, too.

The number of ads available in Adbux has increased over the year, to the point where without hardly trying you can make $0.15 a day, clicking links in between your other web surfing. They’ve also added an Ad Alert feature, which will run in the background and alert you when new ads are available. By running that, you can often catch short-lived ads and boost your daily income.

Payout is a low $10, and payout is made reliably on their published schedule.

A couple of hints about getting the most out of Adbux…promote your referral link to get referrals, but do not purchase referrals through Adbux itself. That’s a crap shoot, and most of them will likely not continue to use the site long-term. Also, do not upgrade until you know that you have enough active referrals to earn back the upgrade fee in the increased earnings you’ll get.

ClixSense

This program is rock solid, and hardly ever seems to change. This past year, the only change was that you now earn from premium upgrades 5 levels deep instead of just 1. Your potential referral earnings are much greater that way.

You do not earn from your referrals’ actual clicks in ClixSense. Instead, you get $0.10 from referring a member, and if you are a premium member yourself you earn when anyone in your 5 level downline upgrades to premium.

The premium upgrade is $10 a year, and is well worth doing immediately upon joining. Many of the ads are only available to premium members. Typically, the night you pay your $10 to upgrade, you can immediately get back $5 of that by clicking on all the premium only ads that still have clicks available.

Once you’ve worked through that backlog, you’ll find a good couple dozen ads each day. Most pay $0.01, but some go as high as $0.05. The theoretical maximum is $5.00, but that only happens when someone goofs when placing an ad. There’s no real reason for an advertiser to go above $0.02 (which puts their link above all the $0.01 links). But some do.

Myster-E-Mail

I have to admit, this site was a pleasant surprise.

At first glance, it seems like a typical paid-to-click site. The links are often vastly underpaying (as low as $0.0001).

But the admin is the most professional I’ve seen in a long time. The site has no minimum payout level, so if you’ve made the money, every week she’ll send it to you via PayPal. I’ve become accustomed to getting $0.15 or so into my PayPal account on a regular basis from Myster-E-Mail.

I don’t recommend the upgrades, although the free referrals only upgrade is worth it. You’ll quickly earn back the cost from clicking ads alone, let alone getting a few referrals to boost your earnings.

Above I said that many ads are vastly underpaid. I personally do not bother clicking on any ad that pays less than $0.001, and I’ll usually skip those unless it’s convenient. My time is worth more to me than I’ll get by clicking on an ad that pays less than a tenth of a cent.

So here’s my success strategy with Myster-E-Mail. Log in every other day or so and click on any ad that pays more than a tenth of a cent. Click the tenth of a centers if they’re on the same page with the higher paying ones, and ignore anything lower.

Also ignore any of the paid emails they send you. You’ll get a lot, and it’s best to setup your email client to automatically filter them out.

You’ll leave some money on the table this way, but you’ll also make the best use of your time and get regular payouts.

Hits4Pay and DealsNCash

These two are paid email sites, but they send very few emails. And each email simply contains a link that takes you back to the site to view the advertisement.

Each of these sites pays well for viewing the ad itself, $0.02 and $0.03 respectively, and each pays you for every ad one of your referrals views. Payouts are promptly made on their published schedule.

Both of these sites are run by the same people, and so they operate in similar ways. Both are also rock solid sites, with no changes throughout the year.

These sites seem, at first, as if you earn more slowly than the others I’ve listed. Payouts are relatively high (in the $20 range), and they send so few emails (an average of one a day, but generally clustered) it would take a long time to reach payout. They’re highly attractive, though, because they send so few emails and it’s dead easy to view their ads when you do get the emails.

The real earning in these two sites comes from recruiting others. You earn as much from your referrals’ activity as you do from your own (in general, the pay plan between the two sites is slightly different). So as you build a base of referrals, your earnings in these programs can skyrocket.

Conclusion

These were the best of the paid-to-click sites I found this year. I expect them to continue to be quality sites into the coming year. Other sites have come and gone throughout the year, but these have remained solid, and in some cases, improved.

Fast Directory Submitter Review

Fast Directory Submitter is a program that allows both automatic and manual submission to link directories. Fast Directory Submitter competes with products such as Link Directory Submitter (click for my review of that product).

Fast Directory Submitter is a free download, but without paying money you’re limited to submitting each site to 150 directories. This certainly gives you enough room to get a feel for the program.

The program does what it needs to do, and has a nice user interface. Directories are listed along with the date you submitted to them, the anchor text used, and other info. You can easily sort the list so that directories you have not submitted to are displayed first.

The program makes it very easy to mass submit to large numbers of directories. This isn’t a technique I’d recommend. Adding directory links gradually over time is more natural looking to search engines, and a better technique. But it just takes a little discipline to run the program every few days and submit to a few more directories.

One of the things I did not like about the program is that you must create an account to use it. In the Internet Marketing world, knowledge of what niches someone is targeting is useful information. Doing everything through an account makes it possible for them to know what anchor text you’re using and to track the websites you’re submitting. I’m sure that the Fast Directory Submitter folks respect the privacy of their members, but it’d be a smarter bet to not require an account to use the program.

Once you’ve used up the 150 directories you can submit to for free, you must pay $15 per website you are promoting to unlock the rest of the directories (currently a bit over 2,000).

If you’re promoting a single website, like a blog, then this is a good deal. If you’re promoting multiple niche websites and create new ones often, then a program like Link Directory Submitter will be a better value (a one-time payment for unlimited websites).

Click here for the Fast Directory Submitter page.

P.S. Since Fast Directory Submitter is a free download, the above is not an affiliate link. If you like the program, and decide to purchase upgrade credits for one or more websites, doing so through this link will help to support this blog, and not cost you any more than if you bought them through the Fast Directory submitter website.

SBI! Mentoring Available

As part of my effort to provide exceptional value to those who follow my recommendations, I’m starting a mentoring program for anyone who purchases an SBI! site through one of my links.

I’d been planning on offering a web site with tutorial information, similar to what I do for my Marketing Pond referrals, but the SBI! material is already exceptional. But there are aspects to the process that may not be obvious the first time through, especially if you are new to Internet Marketing.

So to provide extra value, what I’ll do is personally help anyone who purchases SBI! through one of my links to identify a profitable niche and do the initial site design (identifying appropriate keywords for tier 2 and tier 3 pages). My focus will be on helping you to build the skills and judgment needed to do it yourself, rather than simply doing it for you. But I’ll offer advice on what I would do, too.

This offer is also good for whoever wins the January contest, so good luck to everyone who enters!

Also, I’ve recently received notice that the buy-one-get-one-free Holiday special has been held over until January 4th. So you still have a couple of days in which to get two SBI! sites for the price of one. SBI! is a great value as it is, cutting the price of two sites in half is even better. And now, you can also get personal mentoring from me as you work through the action guide.

Click here for the two-for-one special.

Note that you’ll purchase your first site through the order form. When you receive your “Get Ready For Site Build It!” email with details on getting started with your site, there will be a link at the bottom of that email for redeeming your free site. You have 9 months in which to redeem that second site (or give it to someone else), and the one year subscription for that second site doesn’t start until you redeem it. So you can take your time building your first site, and only redeem the second when you’re ready to start another site.

If you purchase an SBI! site through my link, use the contact form at this blog to request your personal mentoring. Send me your first name and the last four digits of your telephone number, to allow me to verify the purchase. Also let me know how far you’ve gotten in the SBI! action guide, and we’ll go from there.

P.S. To be certain of getting credited as my referral, and being eligible for the mentoring, it’s best to clear your cookies before clicking through my link to order.

Contest Beat First To Promote January Contest

Just a quick post to plug Contest Beat.

I submitted January’s Win A Free Web Site For the New Year contest to half a dozen of the contest oriented blogs, and Contest Beat very quickly turned the submission around into a post promoting the contest. I haven’t heard yet from another of the others, which is not surprising considering I submitted the contest on New Year’s Day.

So if you’re running a contest, I highly recommend submitting it to Contest Beat. Or go there if you’re looking for a contest to enter, too.

Win A Free Web Site For the New Year

One of my resolutions this year is to get back to holding regular contests, so I’m going to start the year off with a doozy.

The prize is a free SBI! site for a year. This is a $299 value, and includes the absolute best set of step-by-step instructions for creating a profitable, high quality niche site that I’ve ever seen. You also get free autoresponders and ad trackers for use on your niche site, along with a year’s worth of web hosting for the site and access to SBI!’s Block Builder, a no-HTML way to build websites.

To qualify to win the prize, you must do two things:

1) Leave a comment on this post saying that you’re entering the contest.

2) At the stroke of midnight (EST) on January 31st, 2008, be one of the ten people listed in the top commentators list on Online Opportunity. Note that I have it counting only comments in the last 30 days.

And that’s it. At the end of the contest I’ll hold a random drawing to pick the winner. Every person in the top commentator’s list gets one entry for every comment listed by their name. So if you leave 100 comments over the month, you get 100 entries in the random drawing. But even a person with 1 entry can still win.

Since I anticipate more entries than my normal high-tech paper-in-a-bag technique can handle, I’ll use the month to write a computer program to do the drawing. Or maybe I’ll assign that as an exercise to my students.

This is a great opportunity to test drive SBI! for a full year. At the end of the year, you pick up the $299 yearly fee for subsequent years. If you’re not making enough from your site to cover that, just don’t renew it (although, you’ve probably not followed the action guide if you’re not making at least that by the end of the year).

Good luck to everyone who enters!

P.S. A quick update on my SBI! niche site…after about 30 days it started receiving traffic from targeted keywords in Google. I was a bit surprised, since normally my sites take longer than that to start to rate highly in Google. I checked the traffic stats, and found the site on the first page of Google (typically in the first 3 results) for half a dozen highly targeted long-tail keywords. The site was also on pages 2 and 3 for some higher traffic, shorter keywords.

All this without my doing any promotion, link building, or SEO at all, other than just using the SBI! tools. I’m looking forward to when the site is complete enough to start doing link building and promotion, and seeing the results improve even more.