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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: Smart Guys

Wickedfire Thread of the Month + Podcast Stuff

If you’re into affiliate marketing, have a laptop, and live in a reasonably well populated area, then you need to read this thread. It’s brilliant. Since I live in a college town, I’m going to try this as soon as I get a Bluetooth antenna. I really need to get HarveyJ on my show.

Speaking of the podcast, remember back in episode 1 when Nick talked about the guy in high school who went from $0/day to $200/day? It looks like I’ll be talking to him this weekend. He’s a relatively new player in the ‘make money online’ field, but judging from what I’ve read about him, he’ll be climbing into the spotlight pretty soon.

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Know Your Hosting

The company that I work for was acquired by The Planet yesterday, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about different web hosting options. There’s a lot of tech-lingo that’s tossed around when talking about web hosting, and some people don’t seem to understand the differences. Today, I thought I’d go over a few of the many types of hosting, and what to expect from them.

Shared Hosting

This is the most basic (and usually cheapest) kind of web hosting. Shared hosting is just like it sounds: Your website is hosted on a shared server with dozens, even hundreds of other sites. Shared hosting is fine for sites that don’t require a lot of system resources, or for people just getting started online. The downside of shared hosting is that sometimes the other people on the server don’t like to share. Their sites will eat up all the bandwidth/CPU time/memory, and your site is stuck with whatever is left. If you can, always check to see what kind of load your server experiences. For a single-processor system, a load below 1 is ideal. For a dual-processor (or core) system, below 2 is good (and so on and so forth). I’ve seen some shared hosting servers sit at 20+ load all day, and that equals slow load times and 404s. If you’re on a server like that, it’s time to change hosts.

VPS

A VPS, or virtual private server, is a step up from shared hosting. With a VPS, you’re given your own separate sever environment and a set amount of system resources, and they’re all yours to use. The thing is, it’s still not 100% dedicated. Your VPS is still sharing one physical server with several other VPSs, although the resource management rules set in place make it difficult for the other virtual servers to effect yours. A VPS is an ideal choice for someone who has dozens of websites, or a few websites that consume a significant amount of system resources (huge databases, memory-intensive applications, etc).

Dedicated Hosting

You get your own physical server. It’s all yours. There really isn’t much to explain. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive of the three options, but then again, you can do whatever you want with your sever. Dedicated is ideal for people who have tons of sites, sites that get a lot of traffic, people who want to run dedicated game servers, or people who want to start their own web hosting company. Basically, people who want to do whatever they want.

One thing to look out for with dedicated is that it usually comes in two flavors: managed and unmanaged. With an unmanaged server, it’s up to you to keep it online and working properly. If it goes down, you’re stuck waiting until a datacenter tech fixes it. With a managed server, you have one or more admins watching it 24×7 to make sure nothing goes wrong, and when something does go wrong, they leap into action to correct the problem. Obviously, managed servers tend to be more expensive than their unmanaged counterparts, but the uptime is usually worth it.

Clearing things up

I hope this article gave you guys a basic understanding of how hosting works. Nothing irks me more than people who think that each website gets its own individual server (yes, there are lots of them). Educate yourself and avoid pissing off your techs.

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The Only Account You’ll Ever Need

Rejected title - “OnlyAccount.com: Impressive enough to catch my attention.”

I almost never use social bookmarking sites. Stumbleupon traffic is too random, Digg is full of idiots, and I’ve never really used the other big ones. In any case, that’s all in the past now. One of my nice readers sent me an invite to a new service that he’s developing: OnlyAccount.com. It’s currently in closed beta, so you’ll just have to let me describe it to you (although they are accepting beta tester applications, so sign up if you’d like).

OnlyAccount is pretty simple - You create one account with them, and you let that one account manage all of your other accounts at various social bookmarking sites. After adding your accounts, you can add bookmarks, select which accounts and which services you’d like to add them to, and then let OnlyAccount do the rest. Altogether, it’s a pretty simple process.

Step 1 - Add accounts and logins

I’m actually not a member of any of the eight social bookmarking sites OnlyAccount currently supports, so I had to go and sign up for all of them. I picked one username and password, signed up for all eight sites, and then added them all to one of my OnlyAccount users. It turns out you can add multiple users to your OnlyAccount login, but for now I just used one. Anyway, after adding all of that crap I noticed that I’d mistyped my password in six out of eight of them, but thankfully the service has a mass-edit function that made it simple to fix.

Yes, I know mass-edit is a mundane feature, but you’d be surprised at the number of online services that lack it. Anyway, it makes things easier for the user.

Step 2 - Add bookmark

I decided to bookmark my podcast page. I wrote up a title, description, and provided a list of keywords. After that, I selected my user, all eight of its logins (bookmarking sites), and clicked submit.

Step 3 - Wait

All of those submissions got put into a queue where they were processed within 5 minutes. The queue is very descriptive, with status messages and errors just in case something doesn’t work. After processing, it automatically moves your entries to a separate ‘completed’ queue for record-keeping purposes. Very nice.

Basically, I like this service because it streamlines the whole process of social bookmarking. Once you’ve gotten everything signed up for and recorded in the system, it’s cake to blast out your submissions to multiple sites on multiple accounts. In my example, I only used one user and eight sites. While OnlyAccount may not be a huge time saver in that regard, just imagine if I had created ten or twenty users? Thanks to this service, I would have only had to spend a couple minutes of my time creating a bookmark while the system plowed through 80-160 submissions.

Overall, I think this service has great potential. I’d recommend checking it out if you get the chance.

Oh yeah, and don’t create 100 accounts and get it flagged as a spamming site. No need to ruin it for the rest of us.

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A Couple of Really Creative Ideas

I came across two exceptionally clever marketing ideas today. Neither one of them are my own, but I thought I’d share anyway.

First off, a virus

One of my awesome readers sent me an interesting tip the other day - Apparently, his computer had caught a virus. No, keep reading, it gets interesting. He noticed that, when he loaded web sites with Adsense blocks, they were quickly covered up with a second advertisement. After doing a quick virus scan and finding (and curing) an infection, the graphical ads stopped and the Adsense blocks returned.

That has got to be one of the most brilliant viruses (virii?) I’ve ever heard of. You see, people tend to think of spyware and malware when giant flashing popups appear on their desktop for no particular reason, but everybody expects to see banner ads on a website, right? So, why bother purchasing ad space? Just steal it from every site on the net (with adsense code that is). By superimposing your own ads over competitors ads, you have a free advertising vehicle that will fly right under most people’s radar. My hat is off to whoever wrote such a clever bug.

Employ those bums

Brilliant? Maybe. Strange? Definitely. This guy is thinking outside of the box with a program he calls Bumvertising (yes, I know it’s been around since 2005. I just heard about it today, so sue me). Basically, he “employs” a few bums around town. They hold up his sign (in addition to their own) in exchange for food/cash/whatever. Check out his gallery to see what I mean.

I wonder how this idea worked out for him? He’s gotten all kinds of press, both positive and negative, and his forums are a mess of praise, hatred, and spam. What I’m really wondering is whether or not he’s violating any labor laws. Since he’s technically employing them, he’d have to pay minimum wage, deal with taxes, etc. I’m guessing he just took the simple route and did it all under the table.

Still, it’s an interesting idea, one that definitely got him a lot of attention.

Thinking outside of the box

I really need to work on my creativity. Right now, I’m taking a look at all of the resources I have at my disposal (a lot of time, a lot of (gullible) students, and not a lot of money), and trying to figure out how best to use them. Too bad you can’t learn how to be creative.

Oh well, maybe more Mountain Dew will help.

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Let Your Users Do the Work for You

When it comes to creating content sites, I’m really not your go-to guy. I don’t really like writing informative articles, and I’m not a huge fan of researching unknown topics for niche sites. That’s why I’d rather let my users create all the content for me and monetize the results. For example,

Rated image sites

I create a Hot or Not clone, add a few images, do a little free advertising on related message boards, and it basically automates itself. Just pick a niche (betta pictures for example), add a little adsense code, get a few dozen users, and you’re golden. After you have a ‘community’ established (complete with daily new images, active message boards, etc), replace the adsense with some targeted affiliate offers. After you get enough people on board, these sites run themselves.

Wikis

This one’s pretty self explanatory. Find a niche that doesn’t have its own wiki, create your own on *niche*wiki.com, and again advertise on related message boards. The know-it-alls will flock to your site (especially if they can credit themselves for their own work), and soon you’ll have a nice little reference guide. Do enough link building and you’ll probably start ranking well due to the sheer amounts of content. Adsense, etc, money.

Forums

I keep saying that forums are the best place to get your initial membership surge. Well, why not help yourself out and create you own? Then again, you’d better have a good niche, because forums have been around forever and all of the good niches are long-gone (or have been eaten up by larger forums with dedicated sub-forums). Personally, I only create forums when I already have a decent-sized user community on some other kind of site.

Let them do all the work

Build the initial framework, do some basic recruiting and linkbuilding, and let the whole thing run itself once it’s ready. Your users get a smug sense of self-importance, and you get money. Everybody wins.

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