30.5.07

ReviewMe Say "Sorry" With A Refund


I would like to put it here on record that ReviewMe had kindly replied to my complain about that crappy review of The NextPost by this blog called "Blog Corner" (No, I won't link to it this time. The link is in my previous post if you wanna go and have a look).

Here is the reply from ReviewMe Support:

BlockquoteThanks for notifying ReviewMe about this blogger. I am sorry this review was approved. I have canceled the review for you and you will be refunded for it at the end of the billing period if it is not replaced by another review."

StatCounter Increases Log Size To 500


Your free hit counter and web tracker, StatCounter, have been optimizing their systems lately and they have just announced that users can now enjoy a log size of 500 - and it's still free!
Previously, most of us freeloaders have been limited to just 100 log size. By multiplying the log size by 5, StatCounter are allowing us to drill down into the detail of the last 500 pageloads on our sites.

That also means more information on visitors to your site.

For free members: log into StatCounter, click the wrench icon beside your project, then click "adjust log size" to enter 500 in the box. Click "adjust project log" and it's done!

For upgraded members: Follow the same steps but increase your log size by an extra 400 because your current log already includes the first free 100.

Related topic:
StatCounter get a "shocking" offer

28.5.07

What Do You Want, RSS Feeds Or Emails?


Mr Shoemoney brought up the question of whether people prefer full RSS feeds or not in a recent post. And he has got this feedback: The majority of readers, it seems, want full RSS feeds.

Shoemoney had switched to partial feeds but now he has switched back to full feeds after a poll on what people prefer.

There have been contradicting opinions on this feed issue. I guess it all comes down to the individual's preference.

Why I Prefer Full RSS Feeds

If you asked me, I'd prefer full feeds where I can read whatever on the spot without going through the hassle of clicking to the source for a complete read.
You can call me lazy for that.

In fact, I hardly read up my RSS feeds, even at Google Reader. Some people may swear by it, but I guess I'm too lazy to visit Google Reader or any of the other feed readers to check on new stuff coming in. Sometimes I forget my login or password and have to try a few times before I get it right.

I may subscribe to them but that's about it. My line of thinking is that if you want to read a post it has to be complete...right there on the spot. Not just a few lines and being asked to click to see the full article. No way.

There are sites that do just that, giving you only the few lines of their posts and expecting you to click and keep going to and fro if you want to read them in full. To me, that's damn tiring! But I guess their argument may be that they're showing visitors there are "many interesting posts" on their sites. Well, to each his own.
I feel doing this is like breaking your train of thoughts. Going from one place to another and then coming back again to check on the other stuff. It sounds a lot like nit-picking 'cos I'm not used to it yet. Maybe I might come around to it later.

Why I Prefer Email Subscription

So it's no-no to reading RSS feeds and partial posts for me. I subscribe to sites I want to read via email. I check my email, well, almost everyday.

These posts, coming via email, usually give me ideas of what to write myself. Sometimes I get the first sniff of some new developments in the industry. If the post topic is not interesting and not worth archiving, I just delete it.

The upside to email subscription is that there's no need to visit a particular site and sometimes getting frustrated while waiting for it to load.

So going through my emails is just like managing incoming information on a daily basis at one control center without the hassle. And it's a breeze...at least for me.

27.5.07

Shocking Quality Of Blog Reviews Revealed


Preamble
I always thought ReviewMe set a high standard, admitting only those blogs that qualify to join their program. They are one of the early pay-per-post sponsors. To be accepted by ReviewMe, your blog must have achieved a certain traffic ranking from sites like Alexa, Google PageRank and Technorati.

In their promo, they write that bloggers are required to write in a way that makes sense for their unique niches and audience. Blogs must also have a minimum number of citations, traffic, and subscribers to RSS feeds.

After The NextPost had attained a PR4 status last month, it was accepted by ReviewMe. I'm always game to try something new, so I thought why not submit a one-time $10 review campaign with ReviewMe and see who picks up the offer and do a review of this blog.

Sure enough, somebody picked up the offer and ReviewMe informed me that this blog has been reviewed. That's fine. Now I just pop over to that blog and see what it's like...

SHOCKING! That's my reaction after seeing the review. The name of that site is called "Blog Corner." (Can't help it if I've to link to it so you can go over and have a look).

I don't want to describe how bad it is. It's just BAD...but the interesting questions are:

  • How did that review get approved? By a human or a bot?
  • Would any advertiser give a thumbs-up for such a review? Would they want to come and advertise again?
  • Why wasn't the advertiser asked to approve the pending review before releasing it?

Almost every line was simply lifted from my profile and blog description. There's nothing original from the reviewer. This is a real rip-off! Take a look at two screenshots from "Blog Corner"...





Well, how do you like that? Cute teddy bears, eh?

Joshua Dorkin over at Time For Blogging also felt the same after discovering that his site was given a "bad review."

"What I've noticed, however, is that many people are cheating their reviewees out of a proper website or blog review," he said in his post.


Are there loopholes in their systems?

With this kind of experience nagging you, I'm wondering how these sponsoring sites are going to plug these "loopholes" in their systems.


Take for example, three blogs, which I came across, carrying sponsored reviews that were exact replicas of each other. Playing snoopy, I found that they were all under one same owner.
 

I had also written to ReviewMe about the "bad review." Will wait and see whether a reply is forthcoming. Is there anybody else with the same bad experience with a ReviewMe review?

Related Posts:
SponsoredReviews: How To Win The Waiting Game
Can You Do Review Me?

Update:ReviewMe has notified me that they have taken appropriate action regarding this issue.
Read "ReviewMe say "sorry"...


23.5.07

Vacation: Where Paradise Is Just A Click Away


The competition is keen when you're selling holiday packages on the Internet. Vacation websites need to up the ante to bring in targeted traffic and visitors. 

Good website design is everything. For high-end hospitality websites they need to be image-critical upfront and convey an attitude that potential clients can react to in a positive way.

With this in mind, Vacations.net, a leader in the all-inclusive travel experience, have launched their redesigned website where you'll now see compelling visual images and in-depth information for those seeking a great beach vacation


I had a look at the redesigned website and was impressed by the ease of navigation and their easy-to-use booking engine.

Vacations.net specialize in all-inclusive holiday resorts in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Mexico. 


Savvy travellers looking for a "gateway to paradise" in the sun in the Carribean will find thorough information on accomodations and other attractive deals via this website


21.5.07

Is Video The Wave Of The Future?


Looking around the blogging scene, it's not that difficult to tell which blogs are doing great shoutouts about making money online.
Don't mess around with them 'cos they're dead serious about their "online business."

Prove me wrong that these money-centric blogs are just about the busiest in the business. They're so busy pumping blogjuice and if you don't step out of the way, you'll be run over!

Now here's a guy who had been there and done that well before this new breed of online go-getters arrive on the scene. Man, you can imagine how much "money tips and tricks" they can learn from this guy.

Who's gonna dispute an Internet doyen who has been creating profitable websites since 1995? His expertise covers everything from web hosting, domain registration and search engine optimization to creating content, generating traffic and monetizing sites. Wow, that's a mouthful!

Oops, before I forget, he's also the co-creator of Yahoo! Games and author of several ebooks, host and speaker at numerous teleseminars, private workshops and yada, yada...

If the current crop of online money-makers feel it's worth listening to this guy, then read on. Otherwise, don't stick around 'cos there's money to be made elsewhere...in your own way, of course.

For those who feel they need to know more in this great adventure, then hear the man out. He's giving direct answers on topics that relate to Internet marketing, Adsense, list building, advertising, joint ventures (JV), affiliate programs...and any other topics under the sun.

Okay, who's the guy? Voila!...it's Joel Comm, Dr Adsense himself. Remember his book "The Adsense Code" once topped the best seller list in The New York Times?


Before I go on, I'd like to state specifically here that I'm not plugging for Joel. I'm writing this post 'cos I feel I want to write it.

What Joel is bringing out soon is something which may be of interest to some readers. This is fresh information that readers can use in their quest to make it as online entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, it's up to each individual to decide whether it's good or not.

The Wave of The Future

That's it! Joel is launching AskJoelComm.com, a video-based blog designed to give answers and information to those who seek to build their online business. Joel believes video is gonna be "the wave of the future" and he intends to use it to its maximum potential.

Here are some of the stuff that he's gonna dish out on his new blog:



  • Product reviews on what's hot and what's not

  • Real scoop on web strategies and techniques to succeed

  • A never-before-seen video presentation of some of his best Adsense secrets
  • Questions answered on a regular basis

  • Step-by-step tutorials
You may want to subscribe to his YouTube video channel in order to be notified when the next entry is posted so you don't miss any of them.

19.5.07

Time To Get Smart With Smorty

If you're one of those posties who blog for money and don't hesitate to sign up with every new get-paid-to-blog service that comes along, then Smorty might be your next stop for such opportunities.
There's not much difference between this new kid on the blog (block) and the others that had made the blogging scene. Basically, you'll get paid for blogging.

Smorty will connect advertisers with bloggers who qualify to write opinions on their services or products. Like most of these services, you are required to pump up at least a minimum of 150 words about products or services.

For the advertiser:

One particular aspect that these guys are telling advertisers to advertise on blogs is that their search engine rankings will improve with quality inbound links.

The content thread of blogger reviews will get the advertiser's site greatly indexed by Google spiders and thus increase website traffic.

For the blogger:


Smorty is free to join. Once you're approved you can start taking opportunities although I have noticed that there's not that many choices at the moment. Hopefully, blog advertising will increase as Smorty rein in more advertisers.

Be mindful that your blog's page rank can affect your income. Smorty will pay a higher rate for blogs with higher score based on their unique ranking system. Basically, you get more campaign offers and more higher priced campaigns for having a higher Smorty score.

15.5.07

TextLinkAds And Blogger Resolve RSS Feed Issue

Here's a little piece of good news that just came in regarding Text Link Ads publishers with a Blogger site.

The recent issues with Blogger's RSS feed functionality have been resolved and it's back to business for their TLA publishers.

Earlier on, many of TLA's Blogger sites were disabled because their RSS feed could not be installed. But all's well that ends well!


Now approved Blogger blogs that have signed up with Text Link Ads can sell ad space on their sites.

14.5.07

Buzz It: Get 'Cutting Edge' Website Optimization

Just like any individual's website or blog, a company going online is just as keen to get people to visit its site. More so for a business setup because web traffic and online visibility are two key factors that will make the difference to the bottom line.

A business site's real power exists well beyond its own web pages and that means building links, partnerships, branding corporate images and content to get
more website traffic.

ThinkBIGsites.com is a
website optimization firm that leverages small and mid-sized companies that need to embrace savvy marketing strategies to build up the buzz.

Its
website optimization services are on the "cutting edge" with a wide-ranging package. For example, its services include link building, business and social networking, strategic blog marketing techniques and blogging for businesses.

Checking out the site reveals the firm already has scores of clients whose businesses range from marketing products to various types of services.

If you visit the site, you'll also see examples of their web design work for their clients. According to the firm, their web design and Internet marketing methods are geared towards creating a "buzz" and increase your online visibility.

11.5.07

How To Win The Waiting Game

I'm sure a lot of bloggers who had registered with SponsoredReviews are still tapping their fingers patiently or just getting a wee bit frustrated with the extraordinary long waiting game.

For those who are still waiting for an assignment, the only news from them is via the email where they provide you with their pearls of wisdom about how to run a good blog, how to write good posts and a lot of other how-tos.

So now they have written another article explaining why their very fussy advertisers do not accept every bid. And what the poor blogger can do to improve his/her chances.

They are telling us SponsoredReviews is "not a free-for-all marketplace" like their competitors. If you do not already know, here's the lowdown on why their advertisers reject or ignore bids:

  • Our advertisers are inundated by hundreds of bids.

So what to do? Yes, cherry pick from the best of those bids. Wait a few more days for review feedbacks. If your blog does not stand out, you probably won't get a second look.

They look for relevant blogs first with the "right audience" for their product/service/website. If you have a "lousy" site then it's "thank you, good day" to you!

The other factor is how much you're bidding. Don't be too greedy like asking for $100 when another blog with similar stats as yours is only bidding for $50. If that's the case, then you don't stand a ghost of a chance.

  • Our advertisers are value shoppers

Now here is a possible problem with this "blog blindness" on the part of the advertisers. A $100 bidder can be so good and professional with the copywriting that will make their product shine, but no, they'd rather pay for a $50 post or even less that may well have grammatical errors and typos that will make an English teacher cringe! Does that reflect well on their products then?

  • Make your blog stand out from the crowd

So how? After the bid price, your blog's title is extremely important to the advertisers. So you're told to be creative like, instead of calling your blog "Joe's Blog" you will do better by giving it a title like "Joe's Technology and Gadget Blog." In short, the right title sells.

That triggers off alarm bells in my head. Is my blog "The NextPost" irrelevant?

Here are 3 keypoints to note if you want to succeed with SponsoredReviews. These are their suggestions:

1. If you include the category of your blog in your title and it matches the category of the advertisers product, it will get noticed. If you have good pagerank or a lot of readers, you should say so in your title. i.e. “Joe’s Technology Blog (PR6)” or “Technology blog w/ 10,000 Readers”. If you cannot fit everything you want into your title you should include it in the first line in your description.

2. Take advantage of your description - This is especially important if you are charging a higher price. Why should an advertiser choose you? Do you write great reviews? Include links to a few examples. Do you have a large readership? Include stats at the top of the review. Do you have expertise in a particular area? If so, you should say so.

3. Blogs with their own domain name get noticed - You are many times more likely to sell reviews if you have your own top level domain. While there are some great blogs out there hosted on sites like Blogger etc…, it is a misconception by many advertisers that if the blogger doesn’t have their own domain name they are not serious about blogging. (Well, that's good for a snigger).

The cards are laid on the table. You can continue to bid for assignments at SponsoredReviews or you can sit back and wait for advertisers to buy reviews directly from you.

Here's SponsoredReviews' parting shot:

Blockquote
Last but not least: Don’t forget to promote that you sell reviews on your own site. If you write great reviews people will want to buy from you."

What do you think?

9.5.07

From The Gulf Coast To The Heartland...


Remember New Orleans, August 29, 2005?
Remember Greensburg, May 5, 2007?

Two days after a massive tornado levelled Greensburg, last Saturday, The Wichita Eagle headlined:

"Greensburg Is Gone, It's Future, Unknown."


The article opens: "This sun-baked High Plains town no longer has a grade school, a high school, a City Hall, a hospital, a water tower, a fire station, a business district or a main street. It has people, but all 1,400 of them live elsewhere today."

Two different places - a city and a town. But both sharing the same grief and losses when struck by natural forces of destruction.

The Big Easy ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, and now this small Kansas township in the U.S. heartland.



*Mary Gauthier sings "Mercy Now" in the video footage.*

5.5.07

Psst! Are You A Blogging PRO?

Oh no, I don't mean a Blogging Professional!

What I mean is: Are you PageRank Obsessed?

Well, Google have, more or less, completed their updates of PR for blogs. And I think most bloggers are happy with the results regarding their blogs' standing.

For those who are new on the blogging scene, you need to be mindful of your blog's ranking if you have any ambition to go far where making income online is your ultimate aim.

Here's a brief take on this ranking syndrome...

Google PageRank is a number from 0 to 10. Technorati Rank is a number calculated on basis of total incoming links and can vary from 3 to4 million to 1. An increasing number is good for Google PR but not so for Technorati Rank.

If you want to know more, there's a recent post over at Beta Blogger 4 Dummies that explains what you need to know about ranking...and also over at Search Engine Land.

Your website was accepted!

That was the email I received from ReviewMe that this site has been accepted and is now ready to accept review orders.

The price for a review on The NextPost will be $40.00 per review. I was told I may accept or deny any reviews that are ordered. Now I've to go over to ReviewMe and grab my badge.

Meanwhile, I've to say this. I've been blogging for about three months now on The NextPost, cracking my head and churning out post after post. Never expected this turnaround so soon.

There's no 2000 Bloggers or Technorati Favorites Train here. No Review-My-Blog-And-I'll-Link-Back-To-U stuff. Maybe a couple of self-initiated Link Love handouts and a Tagging exercise which I didn't really follow up enough.


3.5.07

Digg, Dugg, Done?

Talk about the winds of change!

The last I heard was Digg got dugg 15,000 times!! And there's a revolt.

Wow, this Digg story is hot, hot, hot...it's posted almost everywhere.

But that's all I have to say. Goodnight!

Related topics:
Digg: Social Media Consumer Revolt
What's happening with HD-DVD stories?
Digg And The HD DVD Key - Digg Just Got Buried?
Digg Revolt? Oh, The Delicious Irony

2.5.07

Who's Looking For Link Love?

I've gone on my usual intermittent siesta after my last post here about some jokers getting my goat. Actually I had gone over to my other blog, CommonSense With Markk, to keep it chugging along.

It seems like a given for some other bloggers who can manage 5 to 10 blogs without batting an eyelid. If I'm attending to one of my three blogs, then the other two got to wait their turn to be fed with fresh posts.

In between blogging tasks, I try to keep up to date with what's brewing and who's cooking up a storm. You see, I'm no super-duper blogger nor do I have the cash to pay someone to blog for me.

I don't know, but from the vibes and bytes that are floating around, a great number of bloggers seem to be going ga-ga about linking up to each other.

What it boils down to is that these signs $-$-$ are the motivators behind this bandwagon ride. And to get there, your blog has got to keep moving up in ranking especially in the Google PR and Technorati lists.

Reminds me of this famous line that goes something like this: "It's all in the list, bro, if you want to see money on the table!"

Playing Fave-orites and Getting Entwined In Linkfest

Getting linkety-minded is the natural thing to do if you want to see your blog rise. And, I think, it's not a taboo thing to do if you do it in the right manner.

Sometime back, Andy Beal over at Marketing Pilgrim wrote in his post that he's "reaching out..."
Blockquote
I'm not claiming to be A-list, but I do realize there are a lot of great blogs out there that don't get the attention we do, so I'm sharing the love."

At least, Andy is more forthcoming when he readily admitted that he's conscious of the fact that there are likely many great blogs that he doesn't read.

I've also being involved in linking to other blogs but I do it voluntarily if I think the blog is worth linking to or I picked out my MBL visitors on a particular day and tagged them. I don't inform the linked party about it. I also faved blogs to my Technorati Favorites without asking anyone to do the same for me.

Do these bloggers return the favor? Well, it's their decision, not mine. Some do when they see the link, others probably think this guy must be crazy, altruistic, or just plain stupid.

Maybe my blogs don't look like the make-money-online type or a John Chow-kind of blog and, therefore, has no appeal at all. Maybe I should write like Robert Scoble or some of the gadget blogs' style of writing to get attention. I don't think I can cut it there.

Again, I don't know. The blogosphere is so diverse you can go bonkers if you try to read too much into it.

Meanwhile, the blogging Gods of Mt Olympus (aka the A-Listers) don't need to scurry around lookng for links, they sorta perch at the top and watch us little rabbits do the running below. For now, they are entrenched.

The truth is that they were there early on when blogging was fairly new on the Internet. Writing about gadgets, fluffy snippets and stuff was like "wow, that's great!" to all those hero-worshipping newbies and wannabes at that time, and even now if you know where to look for them. And, of course, Adsense was great then, too.

So, I believe, it wasn't much of a struggle to be a shooting star in an era when netusers just click away on anything - banners, pay-per-click ads, pop-ups, splash pages, etc. - and the money kept rolling in for the site owner.

Today, it's so much harder to reach for the stars because competition is coming at you from all directions. The quality of blogs are improving with greater flair and more creative writing coming on. If you don't agree, I'll be glad to hear about it.

If it hasn't hit you yet, now is the time to start noticing the winds of change that's blowing across the blogging world.

It's like a new awakening for the "blogging proletariat." What can you see beyond the horizon?