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I can't get rich online and neither can you. Topics include why you won't get rich with your blog, ideas you wish you had thought of, and other Internet phenomena.

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Archive: I Wish I'd Thought of That

Electronic Cigarettes?!? Good lesson here…

You always hear marketers talking about how the product doesn’t really matter … and that it’s all about the sales copy and marketing. Even though I’m a big backer of good marketing and sales copy (it definitely is a big factor in my successful products), I think that there’s a lot to be said about having a unique, interesting, or otherwise “different” product that sells itself.

Recently, I came across an electronic cigarette. Yes, you heard me right. Electronic smokes apparently are picking up popularity, and I don’t think it’s because they’re doing an awesome job marketing it — I think it’s because the product has an “wow that’s unique/cool/awesome” factor to it.

On top of that, the uses of it can be more than just a normal cigarette. You apparently can smoke it on airplanes, in non-smoking areas, etc. because it gives out water vapor instead of actual “smoke.” This again, is another “wow” factor that will market itself virally by word of mouth (not to mention the fact that it’s a ton cheaper).

Another use is to use it to stop smoking, as you can buy ones with high, medium, low, or NO nicotine, so all of a sudden you have a product with a ton of uses — those looking to smoke more, smoke less, and save money.

Throw on added value where there aren’t 2,000+ dangerous chemicals (only nicotine — unless you get the non-nicotine ones –, flavor, water, etc.), and you have a product that sells itself.

Rumor has it that several of these electronic cigarette companies are selling out fast and having a hard time getting more shipments, but I came across one still shipping out at www.ElectroBlu.com (if you want to test it out, I’d recommend getting more than just the sampler if you plan on having a good supply of it).

But seriously, I love how this can be marketed to smokers AND those looking to quit with major benefits for both. Again, it’s an awesome case of a product selling itself.

I think that is the best kind of marketing possible, and who knows how well they’d do if they were a little better at marketing themselves.

If you have a killer product, I think that’s perhaps the most important part to major success online, as everything else can just fall in place then. :)

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Awesome example of controversial viral marketing

One thing I learned after participating in several internet marketing forums is that you simply can’t please everyone regardless of how politically correct or polite you try to be — some people just want to be angry and pissed for the sake of being angry and pissed.  If you help them out (for free giving them your own time), some will b@tch and moan because you didn’t help them even more.

And the funny part is that the more you try to conform to everyone else, the more you’ll just blend in and not stand out.  That’s why it’s not always a bad idea to stand out and create a little controversy every now and then.

Recently, one such site did just that.  If you’re a racist, bigot, or prejudice, you’ve probably heard of t-shirt hell — a cool t-shirt site selling t-shirts that more often than not cross a few lines (but sure are hilarious).  Now, before you get your panties in a knot, the site doesn’t just pick on any particular group — they’re equally prejudice and racist towards everyone.  :)

But here’s what they did…  A few weeks ago, the owner of the site announced that he was shutting down the site in a few weeks.  He said that they were closing and not selling out or anything like that, despite how they could easily sell it to a corporate entity for millions.  He went on to talk about how he was sick of all the haters against him and his shirts and how everyone just needs to get a sense of humor, so to “stick it to them,” he was closing his doors forever.

Then when the day came to close, there was an announcement that it was all just a joke and that he’d never close because of some humorless people trying to shut him down (another “in your face” statement).

Here’s the cool part.  The controversy that his “closing announcement” made got around the internet on several blogs (both for the site and against it), but it generated them a TON of sales.  If I read it right, it went from selling 3,000 t-shirts a week to over 100,000 t-shirts in those few weeks time.

Even the bloggers talking crap about the site helped him generate more revenue, which is an important lesson to learn.

Any type of news or publicity for your site is better than no news or publicity.

If he was just like all the other sites, trying to conform to what everyone thought was normal and right, he’d probably be going out of business for real.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to be some obnoxious freak to generate sales, but sometimes you do need to go against the rest of the crowd and not be so worried about not doing what everyone else is doing.

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I Have Found the Key

I can’t waste time with a post today. Why? I found this (someone was trying to sell it on DP). I am simply in awe. Why didn’t I ever think of that?

It’s so simple that it’s beautiful. The ultimate method to unlock the power of thousands of idiots, all without wasting more than half an hour on the initial startup. I have seen the future, and it’s made of money.

Read and learn, young padawans. Embrace the dark side, and your pockets shall be full of cash.

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I Think I Might Be A Spammer

If you’ve never read the blog ‘Mixed Market Arts’, you’re missing out. I was browsing around today, looking for some ways to promote a new site of mine when I stumbled across his Link Building Cookbook.  Specifically, I found parts one and fourteen.

Those stupid shout boxes

I’m sure you’ve seen them before.  Shout boxes like CBox and Oggix are all over the place, although they seem to be most common on message boards and angsty ‘life-is-pain’ livejournals.  It never occurred to me that they could be used for good (or evil, depending on which side you’re on).  For example, did you know that CBox has zero spam control?  Or that Oggix only has a simple three digit captcha?  Did you know that, depending on how they’re implemented, comments you leave in those chat boxes can count as backlinks?  Did you know that it’s relatively simple to find thousands of sites that use those two widgets using Google?  Are the gears turning yet?

So, yeah.  After reading through those two entries, I decided to give it a try.  Fourty-five pages of Google results and a few hundred sites later, I realized that I was a spammer.  Oddly enough, it didn’t bother me. That may be because the two-day old site I was promoting has had seven conversions since I started my little campaign.  It also helped that a good percentage of the sites that I left comments on were Harry Potter fanfiction message boards.  Those people scare me.

Oh yeah, message boards.  Those were an added bonus.  Some of them had hundreds of active members (again, you’d be surprised at the number of Pokemon/Harry Potter crossover groups there are), and judging by the impression statistics I’m seeing, a lot of them clicked through to my site.  I even came across a few PR6 sites while rummaging around.  Hooray for high PR backlinks (for free!).

Shady?  Yes.  Mean?  Absolutely.  Effective?  Hell yes.  Do yourself a favor and go read Colin’s cookbook.

Completely unrelated note

Do any of you know anything about capoeira?  I found a club that meets twice a week where I live and I’m thinking of giving it a try.

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You Can’t Get Rich Infringing On Others’ Intellectual Property

A friend of mine is starting a little online business. This post is partly to plug his site, and partly to talk about everything that he’s doing wrong.

The business

Are you a fan of classic video games? You know, the ones that were made before they started putting games on CDs? If so, then you probably know what a sprite is. If not, a sprite is one frame of animation for a pixel-based character model. My friend, and a couple others, are starting a business they call Bead Sprites. I think it’s a pretty cool idea, but it certainly has a few problems with the business model (I’ll go into that later). If you’re interested, check out some of his example work. I really like them, and I’ve already bought a couple:

Megaman and Cutman

Right now he’s taking commissions, so if you have a favorite character, feel free to ask him if he’ll make you one. I’m not sure what he’s charging right now, but my Megaman and Cutman magnets (pictured above) cost me $9 (that’s with no delivery charge and friend discount). They’re about the size of my hand.

Now, on to the problems.

Legal issues

Both Megaman and Cutman are trademarks of Capcom Entertainment. The Final Fantasy crews pictured in his example gallery are trademarks of Square Enix. Mario is Nintendo’s beloved mascot. See where I’m going with this? My guess is that it won’t be long until he gets a cease and desist letter from one of the big video game companies. I advised him to stay small and not make an official business out of it.

The labor

Let’s say he charges $8 for one sprite. Each sprite takes, oh, $1.50 worth of materials and 30 minutes to make. Then there’s the packaging and shipping for customers that are more than walking distance away. That cuts down profits to somewhere around $10-$14/hour. Not bad, but not something that’ll make you rich. If anything, it’s a nice hobby that he can make some spare cash off of. He’s told me that he’s really not concerned about that, so oh well.

The timing

College tends to eat up a lot of time, what with all of the studying and group projects. Add that to the fact that he’s only stocking really recognizable sprites (Mario, Final Fantasy characters, mushrooms), and you realize that commissioned sprites will take awhile to make. If customers are ok with that, fine. If not, there might be some problems.

The bottom line

I doubt his business will get huge, but it’s an interesting idea. Plus, it’s something he enjoys doing, so that’s always good. Go check out his site (still under construction at the time of this writing) and buy a few if you’re a big fan of classic gaming.

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