31 January 2008

AdSense Issues Verification and Income

Time to catch up on some issues with AdSense. Those with accounts who haven't yet been through the verification process on their accounts will notice that Google has changed the trigger level for sending out PIN's.

Google has two ways to check that the physical address given for the AdSense account is correct. The first is that they send out a PIN in a postcard to the address which then has to be verified back into the account. The second is telephoning the phone number given in the account. Google used to send out the PIN once the AdSense account had accrued $50 but this has been dropped to $10 so new AdSense users will go through this verification process much sooner than previous sign ups did.

A more significant issue with AdSense is the fact that there appear to be many users reporting drops in their AdSense income over the last month or so. There is speculation that this may be due to Smartpricing which reduces the cost per click and is linked to the quality of clicks. Some AdSense users have experimented with reducing their AdSense exposure to try to deal with this.

Typically these were publishers who were deploying AdSense across a range of sites of varying quality. What they have been doing is removing the ADSense from the lower quality sites. Smartpricing is account wide not site targeted so increasing the average quality of clicks ( ie user actions ) should possibly counteract SmartPricing. Although these publishers may get fewer clicks as a result the payment per click should go up on the the quality sites that the AdSense is left on. This should more than compensate - or so the theory goes. I havent yet seen definitive evidence that this aproach works though.

Google bidding for 700mhz radio spot

It seems that Googles ambitions like the space time continuum are infinite and boundless. Not content with its Search Engine AdSense and Adwords empire the Google monster has been steadily devouring others and moving into other fields. Indeed there were accounts recently suggesting that Google was considering moving into paid reviews.

Googles latest bid for growth takes it into the auction of the 700 megahertz radio spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission. The likelihood is that whoever wins this auction will pay around $5 billion. The winner will be able one day to beam all kinds of signals, including voice, digital video, data.

At the recent World Economic Conference in Davos, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said that mobile devices with location-based advertising could spark a "huge revolution," more interesting than the personal computer.

There are also reports that as well as its involvement in the 700 mhz auction Google is trying to get access to currently unlicensed and unused bands that lie in the spectrum between television channels.

These bands were thought to be too narrow to be worth auctioning. They were designed originally to ensure that broadcasts on adjoining channels didnt bleed across. But this is a choice part of the radio spectrum used for analog television. , Its also an area that could be used for data services.

The discussions about using this so called white space spectrum has been around for years butthere have been worries about TV signal interference. The powerful broadcast lobby.was non too happy about the suggestion of using these bands.

So how would Google use these radio bands? No one really knows - apart from Google. Is Google's zeal for white space a hedge against losing the auction? Speculation is that Googles real concern is to ensure that whoever wins the auction anyone can send data through the spectrum. Theior tactics seem designed to ensure this happens. In 2007, Google persuaded the FCC to adopt a provision that ensures that networks built in the newly sold spectrum would be open to all third-party devices. Butthis provision only kicks in if the auction goes over $4.6 billion. the speculation is that Google is bidding to make sure the final price exceeds $4.6 billion.

Googles interest will be based as it always is on expanding its advertising operations and its financial growth. Google and others may need to develop new technolgies to fully exploit these spectrums but Google is short neither of financial muscle or determination in its bid to reach customers through as many channels as possible.

So the Google cash Cow looks as if its going to be grazing on fresh pastures soon. It will be interesting to see what business models Google has in mind for generating cash from the airwaves.

28 January 2008

How to build a Niche Website a poker example

In previous posts I spoke about the importance of building a niche website. I thought it might be a good idea to give an example of a good niche website development and I want to talk about an example in the field of Poker websites.

Now there are thousands of poker websites out there in the internet so if you were wanting to build a poker website ( and maybe play some poker !) how could you develop a website in this crowded niche market? Now I like a bit of poker myself so I thought I would do a bit of digging around to find a good example.

An excellent example of a website which has found a niche within a seemingly crowded niche market is MacPokerOnline.com which provides the only online source of information about online Poker specifically for the Macintosh computer user. The site owners have clearly identified that Macintosh computer users have very specific needs and they have targeted this part of the poker audience very well. They have developed an attractive and informative site and are closely targetted on meeting the needs of the Macintosh using poker player. For example they have a page which gives ratings for online poker rooms and a page which gives information about online gambling bonuses. they have clearly thought carefully about the kind of information that their customers will be looking for.

So where will all those Macintosh users go who want to play online poker? There is a good chance that many of them will find their way to this specialist Macintosh poker site.

That's niche marketing for you. A niche may seem very crowded and difficult to break into but if you spend time and think what customers are needing there is a good chance that even within a seemingly crowded market like online poker you will be able to find a smaller niche that will turn out to be profitable.

26 January 2008

Blogger Buzz: Learn how to add an image to your blog's header

Someone asked me recently how to add an image to a blogspot blog header.

The basics of adding an image to your blogger blog header are really straightforward. You might use this to add a small logo to your Header for example or to add a background behind your blog Title and description. You could even replace the Title and description altogether and replace it with an Image. I wouldn't recommend this last approach though as it will reduce the ability of the search engines to find you and index you properly.

First - go into your Template tab and go to the Page Elements page. Click Edit on the Header element and you will see the option to add an image from your computer or the Internet. You can also choose to add the image behind the title and description or to replace the title and description. Make your selection save and that's it done. Simple.

Remember - if you are going to use a full image to go behind your Title and description - if your Title and description are in dark/black text then your image should be quite light in tone - otherwise your title text will not be readable.

There are some refinements that you can make to this process of adding an image to your header and when I get time I will update this post with some further information on this.

Blogger Buzz: Learn how to add an image to your blog's header

23 January 2008

Recent top domain name sales at Sedo

OK so if you are an average AdSense user or Affiliate marketer you are not going to be paying thousands for a domain name - but if you are in the market for domain names - either buying domains or selling them - then it does no harm to keep in touch with what is really selling for big bucks. This can help you when you are thinking about purchasing your own domain name - if you know the type of name that is going for big bucks then it can help you when you are searching for your own domain name. Single word domain names are hard to locate to they do command the best money as can be seen from this list of recent sales at SEDO.

Click.net 56,000 USD
Seatbelts.com 12,000 USD
Should.com 6,800 USD
New.mobi 4,350 USD
SayCheese.co.uk 2,700 EUR
MusicStar.net 2,500 EUR
Reject.net 2,400 USD
Tumors.net 2,200 USD
FindStudentLoans.com 2,000 USD
LiveFootball.net 1,945 USD

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Ozzie claims you can run your car on water

Here I am trying to find ways of making money from the internet and I read that some guy called Ozzie freedom claims to have a way to run a car on water. Hmm. Now I was very sceptical at first but I checked out a Wikepedia entry and there does actually seem to be something behind it. Rumours of there being a method of running a car on water have been around for some time - I wonder if someone has actually cracked it?

BidVertiser adds feeds plugins

On the back of the launch of BidVertiser Ads for Feeds, BidVertiser have now beefed this up with 3 unique solutions that will allow publishers to keep their current feed address (including FeedBurner!) when they run BidVertiser ads for Feeds. The Three solutions are;

1. A WordPress Plugin. This allows BidVertiser Ads to be embedded in your WordPress feeds.
2. A FeedBurner solution which allows for BidVertiser Ads to be embedded in a current FeedBurner address without disturbing the Subscribers Count.
3. A Solution for Blogger. BidVertiser Ads can now be embedded in the footer of blogger post feeds.

The facility to embedd ads into feeds is a really important one as Feeds have been one of the areas which has been problematic to monetize. These new solutions should considerably enhance the reach of those running BidVertiser Ads.

22 January 2008

Financing your internet marketing venture

In earlier posts I covered some of the basics of how to get yourself going with Internet marketing, PPC advertising and Affiliate marketing. Now while it's true that you can make an excellent start getting income from ads and affiliate marketing at relatively little direct cost if you want to really earn good money from the Internet at some stage you need to think about properly financing your venture.

There's an old saying that it takes money to make money and while its possible to earn income with very little outlay there is no doubt that your Internet marketing activities are going to be a lot more profitable if you invest some money in them.

Some of the things that will be costing you money already and that you may not have factored in include the cost of running your Internet connection and the cost of purchase/depreciation on your computer. Your aim should be to ensure that your online income from affiliate marketing and pay per click programs is going to outstrip these basic costs.

To get to this point you may need to consider investing some further capital, financed possibly by an online loan (usually an unsecured loan) or if you have it from savings. Some of the following things can be found cheaply or for free but, like most things in life, the quality often depends on what you are prepared to pay.
(For US residents only americaoneunsecured.com have an easy to use website that you can use to apply for an unsecured loan online. They offer unsecured personal and small business loans and an easy application process. No collateral is required and they don't look for financial statements, tax returns or business plans.)

Lets look at some of the core things that you might need to pay for;

Domain name registration - its important to have at least one and usually more of your own domains.
Web Hosting - many Free hosting services are very good but sooner or later you are going to need the extra facilities provided by a paid service.
Mailing list manager/autoresponder - again there are free ones but you get what you pay for!
and finally but by no means least;
Advertising Capital - you can do much to promote your affiliate products and pages by a range of link development schemes which will bring traffic to your site. However if you are really serious about your affiliate program then sooner or later you will need to take the plunge and fund a proper advertising campaign.

Writing articles brings Affiliate success

One of the best ways to support your affiliate marketing is by article promotion. This means learning how to write articles that really grab attention, with powerful article headlines, and content that makes the reader take immediate action, If you can produce articles which meet these test then you will see an increase in your sales.

Poor headlines and product descriptions can really drag down your affiliate web site marketing sales or any of results for the products or services you are trying to marketing online.

The bottom line for affiliate marketing is that you need to bring more traffic to your affiliate products and your website. One of the most powerful ways is by writing well targeted, informative and entertaining articles. These articles can then be distributed throughout the Internet using article directories.

Using affiliate web site marketing you can bring hundreds of new customers to your sites just by writing a few articles each week. Of course the articles must relate to the niches that you are marketing in.

Affiliates are always asking how to increase traffic to their sites and this is a surefire way to increase you affiliate exposure.

If you are going to write articles and use them to promote your affiliate programs them make sure to research the "long tail keywords" for your niche and craft your articles around these.

Ideally you should aim to be producing an article a day but why not set yourself a goal of two a week initially. The important thing is to set yourself a goal and then achieve it. After that you can make your goals more challenging.

remember the big secrets to affiliate marketing and making money online - persistence and determination. You will get nowhere with your Affiliate marketing or your dreams of making online money if you do not set goals and then set about achieving them with persistence and determination. So get writing those articles!

Using Structured Settlement cash to deal with Debt

In my last post I wrote about the current stock market turmoil and the probability that if this continues then web and blog owners may start to see falls in their advertising and affiliate income. Today the FED announced a very significant cut in interest rates. This cut is clearly designed to try to stop the slump in world markets but the jury is out at the moment on whether this will be successful.

All this got me thinking about the number of people in the US and elsewhere who are clearly having debt problems - much of it mortgage debt. In such a situation people will naturally look for ways to obtain cash to control their debt positions.

Aside from trying to generate online income there of course other ways to obtain lump sums to deal with debt. One way I came across recently applies to people who are in receipt of what are called "Structured settlements". ( More info Also check Wikipedia)

Structured settlements or periodic payments are financial arrangements, including periodic payments, that claimants accepts to resolve a personal injury, tort claim or which compromise a statutory periodic payment obligation. Structured settlements were first used in Canada and the United States during the 1970s as an alternative to lump sum settlements and they are now used in a number of countries.

There are companies which will assist people to convert these periodic payments into a lump sum (check this site for example). In a time when people may be pressed for cash sums to settle debt this can be an attractive option and turning a series of future cash flows into a present cash settlement sum may make a lot of sense. Of course the numbers of people who have such structured settlements is limited and it is by no means going to be the solution to everyones problem although the same companies will also turn annuities into cash sums. (Check here for quotes). For people that have this option this may be an excellent way to obtain a cash sum for debt settlement.

21 January 2008

Stock Market falls will impact on Internet marketing

Significant falls on world stock markets today may spell problems down the line for Internet marketers and publishers. Around the world stock markets have seen losses of around 5% of their value today and it seems likely that this will impact on the earnings of Internet affiliates and web publishers who monetise their blogs and sites using PPC advertising. Although the US stock market was closed today due to a public holiday it is anticipated that the US stock market when it re-opens tomorrow may show similar levels of falls. So how will this impact on online income generation?

The current stock market falls can be traced back to the problems in the US with the Sub Prime mortgage market and the recent announcements by some major banks of major write offs connected with these problems. The impact of these problems on stock market levels has been anticipated for some time and the crunch seems to have finally arrived.

If you are involved in Internet income activities you should be under no illusion - these stock market falls if sustained are likely to hit your bottom line. As the US hovers around a recession and the credit crunch continues there is likely to be much less money in the system to support online advertising and a percentage of potential Internet consumers will think more carefully about making those non-essential Internet purchases. Google Adwords users for example may be more reluctant to fund advertising campaigns in a climate where they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that the returns on such advertising campaigns may fall. In turn this will impact on website and blog publishers who rely significantly on PPC advertising income.

Changes in stock market levels are driven as much by psychology as they are by economic fundamentals so if you are involved in generating income through online activities you need to keep your fingers crossed that what is happening is a short term market correction rather than a longer term fundamental shift in the psychology of the market. If it turns out to be the latter then the hit on your bottom line could be significant and sustained.

16 January 2008

ClixSense affiliate program update

In previous posts I have written very positively about my experience with the Clixsense scheme. Just as a refresher here are the basics of the ClixSense program. As a basic member you earn small amounts of cash from simply viewing ads on the clixsense system. larger earnings become available once you sign up as a premium member. This costs a few dollars but this money is easily recouped. Clixsense have a five level affiliate scheme which you become part of as a premium member. This allows you also to earn when you refer new members and when they refer new members you also earn from them - up to five levels deep.

I said that I would give an update on my earnings so far - well I have decided not to reveal the actual amount at this time - largely because its now starting to be a very healthy sum of money and guess what? - its my business what I am earning. Suffice it to say that I now have fifty level one sign ups, ten at level two and four at level three and two at level four. best of all this shows no sign of slowing down. I don't see ClixSense as ever being a major source of my income but that was never my intention. What interests me is the possibility of converting the earnings into adverts on the clixsense system. This will be a great way of generating extra exposure for my other activities at no cost to myself.