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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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You want to get rich with your blog? Maybe you think Adsense will let you retire? Sorry, it's not going to happen.

Archive: Really Annoying

I Can’t Believe This

Remember that post I wrote a few days ago about Clickbooth? Well, they aren’t too happy with it. I just received an email threatening possible legal action.

Yes, that’s right. I report on a current event in the affiliate marketing world, and I get threatened with a (potential) lawsuit. Apparently expressing an opinion constitutes libel.

It has been brought to our attention that a post titled “Don’t Do Business with Clickbooth” was recently created regarding the performance-based network, Clickbooth.com. It was posted March 9, 2008.

The aforementioned post’s content contains defamatory statements referencing Clickbooth and its owner, John Lemp. The information throughout the post is considered libelous, and legal action has already been taken against another such individual publishing similar statements.

I know they’re just bluffing (pesky freedom of speech and all that), but I don’t have the means to stand up to these guys. I’m just a poor college student. I’m going to get some advice from the guys over at Wickedfire, and then go from there.

EDIT: I just took the post down. Like I said, I don’t have the time or resources to deal with this bullshit. Lawyers - 1, freedom of speech - 0.

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Fine, I’ll Write About It

Yesterday when I mentioned that I didn’t want to blog about the worst ‘make money online’ site I have ever seen, I meant it. Of course, that was before a few of you asked me to do it anyway, so I guess I might as well. Before I start ranting though, let me just make it clear that I have nothing against the author. He’s set a noble (and lofty) goal, and he’s backing it up with a plan. I can respect that. I can’t, however, respect his current approach. His site makes me want to tear my eyeballs out while bathing in live fire ants. It’s that bad.

Start from the top

I’ll start from the very top of the page and work my way down. First of all, let’s look at the title: “The Geek Boys”. If you take a look at his ‘About’ page, it seems that he chose that name because:

Well because I believe that the real people making money online and offline are Geeks. So if you want to make money join the geeks.

I don’t know what to think about that. People like John Chow, Paul Bourque, and Jason Pereira all seem like normal enough people. To me, a geek is someone who obsesses over one thing (video games, model trains, etc), shutting out everything else. So, that’s the first thing I hate about his site: People who make money online don’t have to be ‘geeks’.

Moving on

Ok, back to the main page. Moving down a bit, you’ll see his slogan: “A Bad speller with alot of Idea’s.”

…Oh, sorry. That sentence actually knocked me out of my chair. How can anybody run a make money online blog with a slogan like that?! That’s like saying “Hi, I’ve got a vague plan to make a ton of money, and I can’t be bothered with little details like spelling and grammar.” An attitude like that can destroy a writer’s credibility right from the start.

What’s the point?

Anyway, moving on we see his goal: To invest $10,000 in his blog, making it into a $1,000,000 blog in only one year. I think that’s a little (read: very) lofty. For starters, one of the most successfully monetized blogs on the Internet, John Chow dot com, makes less than half of that (assuming he keeps up with the $30,000/month trend). I think it’s nice that he is setting aside a big chunk of change for advertising costs, but I don’t think he’ll be able to reach that million dollar mark with only a $10,000 investment. On the plus side, if he can legally turn $10,000 into $1,000,000 in only one year’s time, he’ll have investment bankers lining up for miles to meet him. It looks like he’s spent a little less than $500 so far, and I’ve seen one of his ads (the anchor text was ‘John Chow sucks’), so he’s had at least a minor amount of success with his advertising.

The layout

This site suffers from two critical flaws.

  1. Wall-of-text disorder. Minimal use of formatting and images makes for a wall of text (something I know I’m going to be guilty of in this post). I find that very unattractive.
  2. White washed. There’s so much white, everywhere. Studies show* that using a non-white background color increases page attractiveness by up to 23%.

*not really

Other than that, the theme is decent, although I think the content area is a little too narrow.

The posts

Who cares? They don’t contain any traces of spelling, grammar, or punctuation. They’re thoroughly unreadable so I won’t even bother. Here’s a tip: Firefox has an automatic spell checker. Use it.

Monetization

It looks like he’s taking the slow route to that first million. He offers six sidebar ads ($20/month), ten text link ads ($5/month), and paid reviews ($20/month, although I’m not sure why you’d want a monthly review from the same site. He also reserve the right to “Deni” any paid reviews). Let’s do some math here: Assuming he sold all of his ads spots every month, and managed to do a whopping ten reviews per month, that puts him at $4,440 for the year (just a little shy of one million). I realize that he may adjust his prices as traffic increases, but that’s how it stands now.

Speaking of traffic, he doesn’t list any statistics. Why would I pay money to advertise on a site without knowing how much traffic it gets?

Jeez, what set you off Geoff?

I know this post is cruel. Normally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to attack another blogger, but this site really got under my skin.

  1. He’s bashing a very successful blogger as part of his marketing campaign.
  2. He’s throwing $10,000 at a site that is, in my opinion, absolutely worthless in its present form. I honestly believe that a savings account would get him a better return on his investment.
  3. The spelling! Agh, this site is an affront to the English language! Yes, I’m a grammar nazi, I know.

Maybe tomorrow he’ll check his Wordpress stats and see this post as an incoming link. Hopefully he won’t get too worked up about my criticism, and make a few changes to his site. Who knows.

Anyway, if he’s serious about spending a whopping $10,000 on advertising, he needs to make some changes. Done correctly, he could make all of that back and more. As it is right now, he’d be better off lighting that wad of cash on fire.

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Don’t Do Business With Clickbooth

This post has been removed due to a nasty email I received from Clickbooth.

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Affiliate Annoyances

I’ve learned a hard lesson over the past couple of days: Watch your affiliate campaigns like a hawk. Go over every little detail at least once per day, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch the problems that arise before they cost you. Not everything is as controlled as you would think.

PPC Budget

First of all, if you’re have a tiny budget like me, you’d do well to keep an eye on it. Adwords seems to consider the daily budget limit as more of a helpful suggestion than a rule. If your campaign is getting thousands of clicks more than you thought, Google will be more than happy to bill you. Keep an eye on this so you can either shut your campaign off or at least make some changes.

Offer Redirect

Nothing says professional like a landing page that advertises one thing and goes to another. Even if your landing page links to the correct offer today, that doesn’t mean that it will tomorrow. I’ve had this problem with Neverblueads a lot. When I’m running an email/zip submit campaign that advertises a free iPod, the free iPod page will suddenly vanish and redirect instead to a smiley download or gift card page. It’s unprofessional and annoying. Visit your landing pages at least once a day to make sure they’re still sending traffic to the correct place. I think it’s pathetic that I need to check on this kind of thing, but it’s an unfortunate fact.

Disappearing Sales Page

Even worse than the redirected sales page is the one that just plain vanishes, leaving you with a 404. I saw an offer on Neverblueads yesterday that looked great: A $3 zip submit. Too good to be true? Well, yes. It was live for about a day and then vanished. Fortunately I was funding that campaign on a free MSN Adcenter voucher, so I lost nothing but time. Still, the loss of a potential mountain of cash was disappointing. I mean, come on. A $3 zip submit? I would have been buried in money.

Anyway, these are things that we shouldn’t have to look out for, but do anyway. Keep an eye on your campaigns and save yourself some cash.

My contest for 5 free somethings is still going. Go enter!

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You Can’t Get Rich With Digital Point Forums

Digital Point’s buy/sell forum is a cesspool. I thought I might be able to make a few bucks off of various projects posted on DP, but that’s starting to look less and less likely. Right now I’m getting the impression that nine out of every ten topics on those boards are scams. Just browsing over it right now reveals these lovely gems:

  • Earn $16,500 in four days using a script. That comes out to roughly 1.5 million dollars per year. If I had an automatic script that generated that much cash per year, I’d keep it a secret.
  • Earn a ZILLION dollars with this eBook! DP is loaded with people trying to take advantage of newbies. You’ll see eBooks on topics like affiliate marketing, email marketing, how to attract visitors to your site, stuff like that. All of them promise to make the reader rich using “tested and perfected methods” that only take ten minutes per day. You can get all of that information for the low, low price of $97.99. What a ripoff. Go to Wickedfire, they have a thread dedicated to free, useful eBooks.
    Granted, not all eBooks are ripoffs. I’ve read a couple of Jason’s books and they’re full of useful information. Do your research before spending money on a pdf.
  • Selling 10,000 diggs/stumbles! Ok, I hate social bookmarking traffic. Do you realize how disappointing it is to see your traffic spike one day and disappear the next? Some people have the nerve to sell this kind of traffic, which dilutes the value of those sites even further.
  • Paying $5 to borrow your paypal account for a day. I don’t know what to say about this one. This is so bad that if you fall for it, you probably deserve it. Speaking of which, I need to get in touch with that nice Nigerian fellow about my bank transfer.
  • Selling articles at $1 per THOUSAND words! Gee, thanks for destroying the content writing niche. Most people seem to charge between one and five cents per word, based on quality, but then you have these idiots who pump out worthless cheap crap that drives down prices.
  • ##–>Very long subject title with lots of UNNECESSARY CAPITALIZATION and symbols @@!!!!<–##
    I don’t even click on these.

Of course, that’s just the Buy/Sell/Trade board. I’m sure that the rest of the boards aren’t nearly as bad, but who cares? Everybody uses DP for the marketplace. I think it’s time to abandon ship and look for quality services somewhere else.

My contest is still going on. Go enter!

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