The 10 Cent Lead Gen Scheme

The other day I got a sweet email from PayPal telling me I had just received money from iSocial Academy. 10 Whole Cents worth of money!

So anyways, I opened the email, and here’s what it said:

Now I love making 10 cents of real money as much as the next guy – it always gives me a nice warm feeling deep down in the cockles of my heart.

However, although receiving Brad’s email truly was effortless, I failed to see how clicking on his link and then sitting staring at my computer for the next three hours is going to replicate those results, even once. My razor-sharp acumen further reasoned that by then I would have not only not spent any effort, but I would have completely LOST the effort I could have spent on something else that would actually have made me money.

Nevertheless, always keen to test out new fringe economic theories, I compliantly clicked on his link, only to find a video on the other side where Brad introduces his latest best friend to us – a certain Austin Walsh who I’ve never heard of before. (Doesn’t mean much, I often joke that I live under a rock)

Okay, 6 minutes of my life is now gone, and yet still that e-dime hasn’t resurfaced.

Now I’m into it for 7 minutes of my life – and so far I’ve made 10 red cents (except not quite. I’d have preferred if Brad had actually sent the 10 pennies, as that would have been worth more.) I had that sinking feeling that was all I was ever going to see from this experiment in fringe economics, despite further investments of time.

So, like any rationale netizen, I decided to blog about it. (queue the music)

And thus we get to the serious part of today’s discussion…

How much is a lead worth to you?

In Brad’s case, it seems a lead is worth 10 cents. But he’s a head honcho in the IM industry, with plenty of connections, so I guess he gets better rates than I do. You see, in my own business, a lead costs me much, much more than that.

Incidentally, the leads I’m talking about (in my own business) are worth less to me than the 10 cent person Brad is hoping to catch.

You see, he’s not only hoping to catch a sale – he’s hoping to recruit an affiliate who will bring lots and lots of sales!

For just a sale, Brad might have stooped to sending only say, two or three cents.

But to catch those big fish… the affiliates he’d love to have on his B-Team… he’s willing to put out 10 whole cents of real money.

Turns out Aaron Wall (a legitimate big fish – I mean that in the nicest sense of the term) was also recently valued at 10 cents, so I feel I’m good company.

So my question to you is this: What would YOU spend to attract a targeted lead? Further.. what would YOU spend to attract a JV partner capable of sending you dozens or even hundreds of sales?

SEO With Dilbert

Here’s another Dilbert classic for you – this one on SEO.

Given all that has been going on lately in the search engine world, with the Panda / Farmer update and all the rest of it, it often feels like Google hasn’t left business owners much recourse but to use tactics that they’ve told us they don’t like. However, if you check any of the biggest keywords, you’ll find all the top sites using so-called “black hat” link building methods. It’s a typical Catch 22 situation, courtesy of the Goog.

Scott Adams isn’t really taking that angle here – more siding with the Goog I guess, but it still makes for a funny strip.

The other side of this whole equation of course is that Google has burned so many marketers so many times, their trust level has plummeted drastically amongst most of the internet marketers I talk to.

Google has become a byword for “corporate control” of the internet; and with Android, Gmail, Docs and all their plethora of other services, people are left wondering just how much does Google know about me?

At the end of the day, after a nice stress-relieving verbal Google bashing, I’d only be half surprised to see a message pop up on my Mac telling me to shut my pie hole.

Who knows? Maybe it will come to that…

69,281 Useless Visitors From Google Image Search Results

Some time ago I thought it would be cool to apply some SEO principles to some of the images on my sites, to see whether or not I could rank them in the Google Image search results.

Well, I managed to get a number one result, and it has been holding steady there now for a month or two.

Which was all fine and dandy, until just the other day when all of a sudden that particular term became a super hot news item, and everyone started looking for pictures of this particular thing! (No, I’m not giving specifics, though it is a fairly common item)

I first discovered this when I logged in to create a new post, and found the admin screen acting rather incoherently. I checked the server logs and discovered I was using up a crazy amount of bandwidth – 10 GB in 15 minutes!

At that point I let the bandwidth exceed its limit, and the site went offline for a few hours. I honestly thought I was being hacked.

Anyways, turns out this was all due to a crazy amount of interest in one particular picture I had on the site.

So I jacked up the bandwidth allotment, and watched the traffic flood in.

Google Image search results traffic spikeThis particular site normally gets around 20,000 visitors a month, which isn’t bad at all; however as you can see, the 2-day traffic spike from the Google image search results blew that away completely.

The next morning, it was still going, so I figured I might as well try to get something out of this, so I put a 300 x 250 Adsense block right beside the picture. Over the course of the day, I collected $25.05 from that adblock, and an additional $74.82 from some other Adsense on the page.

Not too shabby right?

Well…. wrong. In my humble opinion, this just demonstrates the quality of Google Image search traffic.

In total, for the two days in question, I got 69,281 visitors to the site, nearly all from that image search.

In exchange, I pocketed a shade under $100, though admittedly this could have been better had I been a bit more proactive on the first day. Also, the second Adsense block was in a rotation with other banners, so it wasn’t getting full play.

69,281 Useless visitors from google image search resultsNow although $100 might seem like decent coin for doing nothing (and to be fair, I’m happy as it nearly covers that hosting account for a year), let’s break it down and look a bit more closely at the numbers.

69,281 / $99.87 = 1 dollar of revenue per every 694 visitors!

Now, take it a step further. The real purpose of the site is to collect subscribers, and during those two days I got a grand total of 30 opt ins from that URL.

30 / 69,281 = 0.0004% opt in rate! Put it the other way around, that’s 1 opt in per 2309 visitors.

Can you imagine if you were paying for that kind of traffic?

Interestingly, another outcome from this little traffic spike is my Alexa ranking jumped from around 510,000 pre-spike to about 390,000, a few days after.

The Bottom Line

Google Image search results traffic is not easily monetized.

The real upshot of this traffic spike for me was that it really put the spotlight on a particular type of free traffic that I’d not really taken the time to try to measure before. Normally, it takes a bit of work to figure out how much of your traffic comes from a source like Google Images, and it would be extremely difficult (as far as I know) to really figure out how much that specific traffic was worth.

Having a massive spike such as this made it fairly easy to approximate the value, and in the end, it came up lacking.

A while back I was considering buying a website on Flippa that showed some decent stats, however looking through their analytics, I noticed that a lot of the traffic was from Google Image search results. At the time, I didn’t know what to make of that. Now, I know better.

PS – Traffic stats are from GetClicky – an awesome alternative to Google Analytics. Do you really want them looking over your shoulder all the time?

Can I Use EasyAzon for Autoblogging?

There is a fairly persistent segment of the internet marketing community that is enamored with autoblogs, and I must admit that I’ve tried my hand at them from time to time as well. I’ve made a few bucks off of autoblogs, and I know you can generate some decent traffic using them.

Amazon AutobloggingThe Amazon affiliate program is probably one of the best programs for autobloggers, because using their API you can easily pull product feeds and slap them right into your website. Product picture, price, buy button, description, reviews – the whole shebang.

The only problem with this is that by copying Amazon’s content straight up, you’re leaving yourself hugely exposed to any changes in the Google algorithm.

For instance, in the most recent (and hugely infamous) Panda update, Google has cracked down on duplicate content (albiet in a very incoherent and inconsistent manner).

Where does that leave websites that are chalk full of duplicate Amazon content?

Personally, I’ve noticed some of my sites that were in this boat have sunk; while others (that’s the inconsistency) have managed to keep their rankings.

The longer I’m involved in the internet marketing game (let’s call it what it is), the more my resolve deepens to build quality websites and stay away from quick and easy make money tricks.

To that end, for some time now, I’ve abandoned the Amazon autoblogging strategy in favor of unique, quality content written specifically for that site. I hired a writer in the Phillipines, and that is all he does all day; write content for my Amazon sites. He goes to the Amazon listing, reads it, summarizes the product description and reviews, and cranks out a good unique 300-400 word article on that product. Using SEOPressor, each article comes out with a high score and typically has a good chance of ranking.

Then, using EasyAzon, he is able to very quickly insert my affiliate links and product images into each post.

The great part is, he never has to login or even have access to my affiliate account in order to build content and links on my behalf. EasyAzon does all that part for him.

Selling Amazon Products on WordPress With EasyAzon

EasyAzonSelling Amazon products on a WordPress platform has never been easier for bloggers than with the introduction of EasyAzon, Chris Guthrie’s new plugin.

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to diversify my income streams – I absolutely hate relying on a single income stream for my business. Are you heavy into Adsense? Google is infamous for banning accounts just because some 1 or 0 doesn’t line up in their algorithm. Heavy into a particular affiliate offer? Depending on the network, I’ve seen campaigns get swiped, robbed or simple cut off at a moment’s notice. It’s happened to me before, and I’m not the only one.

So diversification is really the name of the game in internet marketing.

Selling Amazon products offers a couple ways to diversify your income. For starters, you’re adding a new affiliate account, and it is always nice to get checks from an additional source.

However, just as importantly, the sheer breadth of products that are available on Amazon allows you to easily diversify the markets that you’re active in as well. Some of the niches I’m in are seasonal, so it is great to have the ability to develop websites that counter each other from that perspective. For instance, if you’re selling umbrellas and sunscreen, you’re going to hedge yourself against an extra rainy season, or an extra sunny season.

I use WordPress for every single site that I build these days, and EasyAzon makes adding Amazon products into your posts a snap. You can read my full EasyAzon review here.

In brief, some of my favorite aspects of EasyAzon are:

  • No html coding required
  • Easy access to Amazon products from your post edit screen
  • Very straightforward to use
  • No real footprints are left on your site

If you’ve got any WordPress sites that are currently promoting Amazon products, I’d highly recommend checking out EasyAzon.