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The Agloco Autopsy. Or, How To Diagnose Your Business Problems

Business Examiner

Agloco is long gone now. And if you’re not familiar with it, Agloco was a web start-up whose premise was to pay people to surf the web.

There was a massive amount of buzz surrounding the company when it jumped onto the scene. I was never very interested in it, but there is some value in looking at WHY it didn’t work, and luckily I have a system for evaluating business problems we can use …

The Business Autopsy Tools

I talk a lot about what I call the business chain; which is doing the right things in the right order to build a successful business. The chain goes like this:

People => Plan => Sales => Capital => Purchasing … in that order.

The really cool thing about it is, if you start at the end and work your way backwards through the chain, you’ve got a very systematic way to pinpoint the problem areas in a business. You can use this in your own business.

And to show you an example, let’s pull out the reverse business chain and open up Agloco with it.

Scalpel, Please …

Continue Reading …

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“Google Share Price Plunges 80% …”

Google Stock

Could it actually happen? Read on …

Google invests in (or buys) a lot of very innovative web projects; YouTube, Firefox, Android, and many more. And their share of search engine traffic is growing. It’s not inaccurate to describe Google as unassailable, even in the face of controversy.

All Roads Lead to AdWords

But despite all the innovation they’ve brought to the web, from a business perspective, they’ve often been described as a one trick pony.

And the trick is called AdWords.

It’s the only thing they’ve ever made serious money at, and serious money they do make. And this is where the problem lies. AdWords is a pinch point. Damage AdWords and you damage all that Google is.

Continue Reading …

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Turning your Blog into a “King-maker”

Blog King

For the last couple years I’ve played with quite a few different ideas on the net. The more you learn about how different things work, what works and what doesn’t work, the better results you get.

The great thing about a blog is it can be a lot of things; an outlet for writing, a marketing tool for a business, or an income-earning business in itself. And the power and ease of using WordPress to build blogs or affiliate sites or whatever you can dream up is pretty much without equal.

What Works When it Comes to Building an Online Business

Lots of things work, and most of them are really hit and miss if you don’t get all the ingredients just right. But there are a couple of “internet truths” that never seem to fail when you put them together … content is king and traffic is queen. Period.

A blog with consistently great content (a voice), and significant traffic (an audience) can consistently play king-maker … and by that I mean; you talk about it and it turns to gold. As long as you’re true to your audience you can promote a lot of great things. And do it quite lucratively.

Continue Reading …

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Blog Action Day 2007: The Environment

Small blue planet

We live on a small blue planet. It’s an island. A reef. A forest and a beach. And it’s the only … the only one we have.

We are many. Some days, too many. And even though it sometimes seems the world is not enough, we have to remember …

That’s not our choice. It has to be.

Take care of it.

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So, What’s an Internet Millionaire Do on a Friday Night? … Launch BlogRush!

BlogRush

Income.com is the flagship site of John Reese’s latest venture to help online entrepreneurs get traffic and make money on the internet. And the very first thing they’ve launched is BlogRush … a social widget to help bloggers increase their traffic and exposure.

There are a few different incarnations of these widgets that help bloggers connect with other bloggers and get exposure on the web. What I like best about BlogRush … is the source. John knows how to get traffic. He knows how to market on the internet. That’s good enough for me.

The BlogRush widget has all the hallmarks of good marketing:

  1. It’s targeted. When you sign up, you choose a category, like business or food. BlogRush uses your category to make sure your posts are seen on other blogs where the readers are most likely to be interested in what you’re writing about.
  2. It’s viral. Not only does it help bloggers and blog readers network, it rewards bloggers with a multi-tiered point system for signing up other bloggers. When someone signs up to BlogRush by clicking on your widget, you get points that give your posts more reach on the BlogRush network.
  3. It’s free. Plain and simple.

The next piece of the puzzle after BlogRush is another Income.com project that hasn’t been unveiled yet called TrafficJam.

I have no idea what TrafficJam is.

But I like it already.

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Top 10 Things Every Spammer Should Know

Canned spam

  1. 99% of the people on the planet want to kick your ass.
  2. Seriously.
  3. Learn about ROI. Sure, you hack other people’s networks to send spam and it doesn’t cost you any real cash to send emails and blog comments again and again to places where there is no return on your investment. But it costs you a lot in visibility. And that visibilty and constant annoyance is part of an illegal activity that’s the basis of all your income. So, I can understand that you may be a real risk taker, but taking risks where there is no reward is just plain stupid. Rewardless spamming is visibility you don’t need. It’s visibilty that puts your freedom and your livelihood in jeopardy. It’s a bad return on investment.
  4. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.
  5. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.
  6. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.
  7. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.
  8. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.
  9. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.
  10. There’s more you need to know. Just work on the first 3 for now.

And p.s. … I don’t need any Viagra.

But thanks for your concern.

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Google Referrals 2.0: You Can’t Do Business the Way Business is Not Done

The sign says turn around

Let me tell a story on a related theme first …

Listening to one entrepreneur’s business plan as an advisor a couple years ago, I really liked what I was hearing. He was a great pitchman and he had a solid skillset for developing corporate identities; websites, business cards, advertising, etc.

And then he said something that blew it all out of the water. He’d been burned a couple times and had his design work ripped off by customers without being paid. His solution was to collect a fee from potential customers … before he showed them anything.

This is not how business is done. At least, not in advertising. In advertising, you have to make a presentation first. There are other ways to protect yourself, but trying to collect a fee before a company can see if you even understand who they are or what their brand means is a tough sell for a small and new company.

Luckily, he understood what we were saying and we helped him structure a better solution.

Google Referrals 2.0 is Crashing Hard

Google has opened up an interesting door with their referrals 2.0 program. The possibilities for publishers and advertisers with this affiliate sales platform are huge. The platform is a lot like AdSense …

And that’s the problem.

When it comes to affiliate sales, this is not how business is done. And although the problems are being viewed by some as “technical issues”, they’re not. They’re systemic. The system doesn’t work the way an affiliate platform should work.

Let’s look at the main issue:

Advertisers can specify a budget. Just like in AdWords. When their budget runs out for the day, Google starts showing other ads from other referral advertisers.

Affiliate sales are all about the landing page. If you build a landing page around a deal you’re promoting and some other offer is showing up, or nothing shows up, it completely destroys the whole process for publishers and users. And it sure doesn’t help the advertisers look very good either.

The solution?

Google and the advertisers they bring into the referral program have to understand that CPA means Cost-Per-Action. And that action has to be able to support the cost of acquisition (paying the affiliate).

There can’t be a “daily budget”. When a publisher chooses an ad, that ad has to be served for as long as the advertiser is running the program and the advertisers landing page has to be built with one goal; getting the action that pays the affiliate.

Or else there won’t be any.

Innovation is important. It’s necessary for success. But you still have to do business the way business is done.

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Webolution: Blogging is Changing. Forever.

The Mad Scientists of Blogging

Whether you’re an entrepreneurial blogger or a corporate marketer, you need to know that blogging is going through some big changes. The blogs of tomorrow will not look like the blogs of today.

This revolution on the web is happening because the internet is changing. There’s more.

  • More video
  • More users
  • More site creators

2 Revolution Predictors and 2 Change-Drivers

A couple of eBooks I’ve read recently; John Reese’s Rebirth of Internet Marketing and Jack Humphrey’s Authority Blackbook both talk about the importance of authority. They talk about how targeted and focused blogs and websites will better serve a niche audience as well as the search engines.

The more content you have that’s relevant to your niche, the better an authority you’ll be. And the more relevant your blog will be to your niche. A sensible prediction when you look at how the internet is growing, eCommerce is growing. And how competition on the web is growing.

Two major change drivers that are putting greater importance on authority are Nielsen and Google. Neilsen is using a new metric to rank websites; time. The thinking is, the more time visitors spend on your blog, the more relevant it must be. Video, anyone?

Google is moving towards becoming a multimedia search engine. And their Universal Search initiative is designed to capture the most relevant search results including websites, blogs, news pieces, images and video, and put that mash on page one of the results.

Universal Search means that building your authority is a multimedia challenge. Optimizing your images, video, and content to fit your niche is becoming more important to helping your audience find you via search.

The Tools of Blogging are Becoming More Sophisticated

WordPress just keeps getting better. It’s steadily evolving from a simple blogging platform into a full featured content management system. It’s a platform that’s increasingly capable of creating more and more sophisticated and interesting blogs.

And the 3rd party plugins available for WordPress are stepping up to the plate as well. I’ve been playing around with Ozh’s Who-Sees-Ads plugin here on Zoomstart. It allows you to target ads using any number of parameters, both default and one’s you custom program.

But it’s more than that. Who-Sees-Ads is amazingly dynamic. You can use the plugin to create special messages like “subscribe to my blog” that only new visitors see. The possibilities of serving dynamic, targeted content to your visitors using this plugin are literally endless.

Smart Blogs and Designers are Paving the Way

The look and feel of some well known blogs has been changing. Copyblogger’s new design by Chris Pearson and John Chow’s new theme by Nate Whitehill are packing more punch into every page than ever before.

And probably the biggest revolution in blog design recently has to be Ben Bleikamp’s redesign of Darren Rowse’s Problogger. With a static front page highlighting blog posts, features, video-of-the-week, and subscriber signup, they’re taking full advantage of the metric of time and the benefits of multimedia search.

There’s a revolution coming. Are you up for it?

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Blogonomics Part 2: Your Best Competitors are your Best Friends

Finding your way

There’s something strange that happens in business over time. Your competitors will often become your friends. And should. This is true in any business. But in blogging it’s doubly true.

So while great content might be the first pillar of good blogonomics. The next, is other bloggers.

When your competitors become your friends, you make each other better. After all, who better to share ideas, stories, and strategies with than the people who have the same goals that you do. The people, doing what you’re doing.

So let’s go learn something about blogging from a few friends …

Some Blogging Secrets

First, Trizle teaches us that there are no secrets worth keeping. A marketer once told me a brilliant idea for a new beer. Bikini Beer. Catchy, viral, you could have a lot of fun with the packaging. I’ve told quite a few people in the bottling industry about it … haven’t seen it yet. Your secrets are safe.

Allen Taylor teaches us that online marketing is much like offline marketing. If you can do one, you can do the other. If you need help with one, get help with the other.

Chris G teaches us that compelling content means you’re only as good as your last post. Hollywood filmmakers live and die by that philosophy. And in the last couple weeks I’ve had a nice jump in RSS subscribers, simply because I wrote less often. And more betterer.

Liz teaches us how to clearly know what to do. Someone in the comments quoted Yoda; “Do or do not. There is no try“. It doesn’t get clearer than that.

Tynan writes a guest post that teaches us that radical change requires … radical change. Clearly, if you want to change the results you’re getting, the first step is to ask yourself, “by how much”?

Nate and Josh teach us how to make that change by just doing it. That’s what they did with their first video blog. They just fired up the camera and went for it.

Steve Roesler teaches us how to not fear success. From your peers. Or for that matter, the success OF your peers. And check out the classic No Fear shirt he replicated for me at the bottom of the post. I miss that shirt. I learned a lot from it.

Martin Reed teaches us that building your community is about making it a place where people want to get involved.

Life Remix teaches us the power of what we can build if we do.

And Gregg Hawkins teaches us that everyone strives to be the best. Even Hooters girls.

Learn. Teach. Trade your secrets of the trade.

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A New Meeting Place for Freelancers and Webtrepreneurs!

Freelance Folder

There’s a new dog in town, and even though he’s just a puppy right now, he’s got huge paws, so you know he’s gonna be big!

Freelance Folder has just launched. It’s a new blog about freelancing, entrepreneurship, and working from home. Jon from SWR has assembled a group of great writers (including himself) for FF so they’re going to have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

The Best Part

If you’ve ever been by SWR, then you know that Jon builds a genuine sense of community into his blogs. He’s a network warrior and always willing to lend a hand.

If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, then you know just how vital networking is to making progress in your passion.

Get in on the Ground Floor

The community vibe that you’ll find building at Freelance Folder also offers a unique opportunity. If you’ve got some expertise and some blogging craft then you can make a real connection with like-minded people by helping FF grow. Submit a guest post or engage with others in the comments sections with your own helpful hints and tips on a particlular post.

Check it out.

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