Dec 27, 2006 Business & Marketing
Instead of typing up a typical “New Year’s Resolutions” list, I decided to make my list something a little more actionable and pertinent to this blog. Not that I think no one cares if I lose my baby fats or get my Cadillac, because I’m sure you all do. But I’ll save you the boring drab about “goals” and “goal setting” and instead offer my Marketing Alliances and Projects Planned for the Year 2007 (or MAPPY for short. It’s corny, but easy to remember.)
Part I: Marketing Alliances I hope to form or utilize in 2007:
CPA Affiliate Companies: I hope to create stronger relationships with CPA networks and be able to profit from multiple streams of income from different networks. I’m not looking for non-interacting, non-publisher centric affiliate network such as CJ or Linkshare. I’m looking for smaller firms, ones that care about the publisher and work with them closely to maximize monitization efforts. And I’ll be starting with the CPA Affiliate Agency I work for. I’ll also be looking for exclusive offers, high paying offers that I can create portals around (see projects below).
SEO Marketers: I’ve been very low key in the SEO industry for the past 4 years, even though it was my full time job during that time. Now that it’s NOT my full time job, I hope that I can network more and get to know other industry players since I don’t have to keep such a low profile.
Email Marketers: I have been a little more involved in the email industry than I have in SEO. I hope to increase my involvement in this industry by attending more events (perhaps live-blogging them too) and continuing to network.
Local Industry Involvement: Due to the high exposure conferences that are held here, you’d think that Las Vegas would be an obvious choice for firms and agencies in the online advertising world to be located in. So far I know of 2 or 3 and that’s only due to my co-workers having worked there prior to the company we all work at now. I know there are others, I’ve just had limited exposure due to my firm’s niche involvement. This year I’d like to get out and attend a few local events (if I can find any). I’d also like to get to know other Affiliate Marketers, SEOs, or Email Marketers that call Las Vegas their home.
LinkedIn and MyBlogLog: There is a lot of opportunity in my LinkedIn and MyBlogLog networks. While I still need to properly learn how to leverage my LinkedIn relationships, I’m really loving how MyBlogLog is an instant community and puts faces to a lot of names that I’ve known for a while. I also really enjoy seeing who’s reading my blog (and in my opinion, this is even better than inbound link stats).
Web Developers: No, I’m not a designer, and I never pretended to be. But what I need to do is make friends in the design community so I can have a pool of trusted designers that I can send projects too. I’ve been a big fan of outsourcing, but I really need to know and be willing to pay for some premium design services. Content is King for sure, but Design is the bling that defines the King!!
Part II: Projects Planned for the Year 2007:
It is really difficult to separate the projects I want to work on, and the projects I plan on working on. I have plenty of ideas and I would love to sit around and get paid to come up with ideas all day long (I’m working on it). But the reality is I am one person, I have a full time job I plan on keeping, I have limited resources and limited time. My goals for my projects are to provide a substantial additional income (perhaps greater than my current Full Time income), create buzz and branding opportunities for my sites, increase my personal brand (my name), and increase my personal development and skillsets. So, that being said, my planned projects are:
Create and Maintain a Popular Forum: Forums are a difficult beast to tame. Once you figure out how to keep users active and participating, you have to continue feeding it. But there IS a tipping point. A point where users beg for you to be volunteer mods. A point where you get more users signing up per day than you did in the whole first month of its existence. A point where your ad impressions are exponentially increasing each and every month. My plan is to produce a forum (although I won’t comment on the niche at this time), and devote the resources and time to get it to that tipping point.
Complete One Career Advancing Certification: Whether in SEO, Email, IT Security, or Privacy law, I plan on completing at least one certification to add to my resume. Hopefully my employer will pay for it (or assist), but I’m willing to cover the costs completely just to increase my personal brand.
Attend the Search Marketing Expo (SMX): I really hope to be able to be at Danny Sullivan’s Search Marketing Expo in June. I feel that by not attending SES shows in the past I really missed out on some networking and friend making within the industry. With this being the inaugural Search Marketing Expo, I think this is a chance for me to start over. It will be a new event, and I expect Danny is going to be selling to a lot of new faces that he couldn’t reach through Incisive or even JupiterMedia. I also expect that Danny is going to attract a lot of oldschoolers and this will be an opportunity to meet-up with them as well.
Raise Portagame.com From the Dust: For the longest time, Portagame.com was my claim to fame. It died off due to personal reasons and restrictions with my employment at the time. Portagame was the place to go for news about portable gaming. It’s only competition at the time was Gizmodo and Engadget, and since theirs were a wider topic, I was able to cater to a larger niche audience. Now, blogs are a whole different playing field. But I can still leaverage my PR contacts, as well as my network of gamers and bloggers and completely bring it back to life. This includes paying for a new design and a new platform for it.
Create a Network of Portal Sites: I have many portal sites running now, but I really want to create a wide network of 50-100 or so new sites to leverage high paying CPA offers. I’m going to have to work my ass off for this one if I want each site to have the infrastructure, the content, and the monetization efforts that I plan on.
My 48 Hour Social Networking Project: You’ll have to wait for this one. But I can tell you I’m taking two days off from work and will be up for a 24 hour period to run some tests (legitimate, nothing shady) on a few of the popular social sites. Details will probably be posted here.
Shirtwatch.com: Damn it! Why can I not get this thing started. I’ve owned Shirtwatch.com for two years now, and the project seems simple enough, why the hell can’t I get the motivation to stick too it? Is 2007 the year? I sure hope so or I might just completely abandon it.
SEO Portal: I’m planning a SEO portal that will offer a unique niche within the industry.
Email Marketing Portal: A lot like the SEO portal above, but will be a little more broad since the email marketing industry isn’t as blog-saturated.
NANOWRIMO: Yes, I plan on participating in NANOWRIMO again. I’ll keep participating in this event until I actually walk out of it with a completed manuscript. 2006 was my first year and it was a very valuable learning experience. I know what to expect for 2007 now.
A collaborative project: I haven’t fleshed this one out yet, but I want to collaborate with a couple of other bloggers, SEOs, and marketers on a project I have written on the cliche-like “restaurant napkin”.
There you have it, that’s my MAPPY 2007. It’s a basic outline of the things I hope to accomplish in 2007 as a marketer. There are a few items that I have kept from public viewing, but they are very much a part of my whole MAPPY strategy.
To all marketers of all niches and sizes, may 2007 be your most profitable year ever!
Dec 26, 2006 Unordered Miscellany
It’s bad enough that I live this stuff each and every day, but when I start dreaming about it, over the Christmas holiday weekend even, that’s when I know that I’ve been drinking a little too much Geek Kool-Aid. Here’s some actual dreams that I had over the weekend.
So I’m sitting down at a Christmas banquet next to my buddy Mr. Bill Gates. There is a group of about 20 of us at the table and we’re having goose or some kind of fowl bird. Bill is leading the conversation at the table and I don’t recall what the topic was, but it was pure geekery. I didn’t participate much, instead I’m enthralled with a very large green jem that Bill is wearing on a large gold chain around his neck. I stopped the conversation and ask what kind of stone that is.
Bill gives me a “are you dumb, kid?” kind of look and simply responds “It’s kryptonite.”
He then removes his toupee and reveals that he has been the real Lex Luther this whole time!
Here’s another dream, this time showing I think too much about SEO. I don’t know the guy below from Adam, other than through a few forums.
I was sitting at home reading a nice book, when the door bell rings. I was very surprised to see that it was Jeremy Shoemaker. Except he had a full head of hair. I asked about his new mop and he said it was a free gift from a Bosley campaign he was running. We joked around about the state of the industry and how it had changed over the years. We were talking about Digital Point’s recent takeover of Google through a majority share buyout, and the recent Yahoo/MSN merger. I offered that we boot up the Xbox 360 and he said he was actually there on business, but he’d school me on Live some other time. I asked his business and he said that I had won his contest. Contest?! Didn’t know I even entered. He didn’t mind the details, but only told me that I was hand selected by his sponsor. The prize: a full on internship/mentorship with Shoemoney and a few other industry names and we’d exclusively be handling the Nerf account. That’s right, we’d be exclusively managing all the SEO and PPC marketing for Nerf footballs, and all those cool Nerf warfare toys. Nerf? WTF?
So I immediately run to my computer, load up my domain tools, and start looking for Nerf domains. I was bummed because Nerfster.com was already taken.
I had a few other dreams of this nature, but those two were the ones I remembered. I recall waking up from both thinking to myself “What the hell? I need to get out more.”
Dec 20, 2006 Business & Marketing
When a site like Digg.com becomes mainstream popular, you can bet that there will be many attempts to clone or knockoff the original concept. There are at best guess a few hundred to a thousand or so Digg-like clones running in production mode today. My prediction: 2007 will mark the year of the rise of Digg clones! The number of digg clones will increase exponentially in the next 12 months. Sure we’ll see a lot of horrible default installations of CMS softwares like pligg.com (a digg emulation script), but we’ll also a lot of creative uses, creative designs, mods, and unique features that you can come to expect from a solid open source community.
Such is the case of PlugIM. PlugIM is a fantastic example of pligg done right. It is also my new favorite digg clone if you couldn’t tell. It is focused on providing news and resources just for Internet Marketers, which I happen to be. This is a perfect example of hitting a niche on the head. Internet Marketers (IMs) are as hungry for new information just as much as any of the savvy consumers we are marketing too. We’re always looking for the latest trends, trying to beat all the other IMs to market, researching ways to optimize revenue efforts, and always shamelessly promoting ourselves or products (aka “plugs”). PlugIM provides an IM playground, were only the best tips and products make the front page, while the rest is filtered in the background.
But all is not golden unicorns and lucky charms cereal in the land of plugIM. One risk they are taking is opening its doors to spammers. This is always a concern in the IM industry. An IM forum or site can expect to be massively spam attacked by formidable spammers, just as fast and easily as a warez or hacker forum can expect to be prodded and port-holed by a script kiddie. Pligg offers a few tools to combat spam, but plugIM will definitely need to stay on their toes until the anti-spam techniques are refined and tested. I did hear that there was an akismet plugin for pligg somewhere, and this would be a solid start of a defensive strategy for any pligg site.
plugIM offers a fresh design that differs a great deal from any of the pligg default templates. Design is so important in the world of startup clones, as I found out with my poor attempt at a pligg site in PureGenio.us. (The site has since died at pligg version 5 — but since pligg has since released v.9, I think I’ll take another shot at it soon.) plugIM utilizes the Adsense revenue sharing module (a plus!) and a few other unique features that makes it very valuable for any Internet Marketer.
[DISCLAIMER: I am in no way associated with plugIM, pligg, or digg. I am simply a fan of all three sites]