Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TopicSpotter Sold

With the rash of so many other sites, TopicSpotter has been sold and has claimed all the articles for its own, with no way to delete them. Your only hope is to file a DMCA Notice of Infringement and pray for the best.

Unfortunately, writing for article platforms is currently the Wild West, and there is no way to stop the sale of these sites. However, be warned if you buy one of these revenue-producing sites: if the site claims all its articles are by the site owner, be wary and do your research; get the advice of a lawyer on intellectual property rights. You don't want to end up with Federal Trade Commission Complaints, or be sued by authors.

Your best bet is to head over to the Wayback Machine at http://www.archive.org and look for the Terms and Conditions of the site you are thinking of buying. If there is a revenue split, in all likelihood the authors own their respective articles.

If you buy such a site, be aware that you will have to continue to either honor the original Terms and Conditions, or give authors a chance to remove their content (90 days is about right). Make sure you send an email notice to each author's registered email address.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Value of Passive Income

I just saw a post on a forum, stating that working a week on a project that was going to pay $2.00 per month is not a worthwhile use of time. Yes, that is true for your day job, I'll admit. However, passive income is much different than active income, and its value has to be figured differently.

With interest rates on investments near zero, and not likely to rise fast, the passive income value of a CD with a $25,000 deposit is $325 per year, or $27.08 per month. Most online writers who have been at it a while earn, on average, at least that much, so you can say that their online properties are worth $25,000 in terms of their passive income value.

Now, the question is not how long it would take you to earn $27.08. Most of us can do that pretty easily. The question is, how long would it take you to save $25,000? That's the real value of your online properties.

To put it another way, let's say you work an hour on some passive income-producing property (an article, a graphic, a photograph, &c.). If that article makes you ten cents per month, you feel as if your time has been wasted. But has it?

The first month you've been paid ten cents per hour. After five years you've been paid six dollars per hour. But after ten years, you've been paid twelve dollars per hour (a little better, right?). In addition, used correctly, each property you put online drives sales to your other properties, so in the long run, everything makes more. And that's time you wouldn't have spent on active income in any case, so it's quite likely that you wouldn't have produced any income whatsoever in that hour.

So don't be discouraged by pennies in earnings, especially at first. It takes a while for your work to catch on, and you have to keep at it steadily.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Literally Anything You Write May Earn You Money!

This was such a funny occurrence that I couldn't resist sharing it with all of you. You know how people tell you to write what you know about, or what you're passionate about, and people will search for it? I got proof the other day that it happens to be true.

I was looking at my Wizzley statistics, and here is the screenshot of what I saw:


So yes, it's true. People will search for anything. If you're not earning yet, take heart. Eventually someone will search for what you're writing about!

Friday, July 3, 2015

You're Wasting Your Outgoing Links

A lot of people use their limited number of links on Hubpages, InfoBarrel, Wizzley, and other sites foolishly. They link to a single product, when each of these sites has a module or element to link to single products on Amazon. If the person is not going to buy from your element, they're not going to buy from your link. So never use a link to link to a single product.

The smart way to use your links, if you're going to link to Amazon as well as use the Amazon element is to use the links to link to a search page, a Listmania! list, a So You'd Like To guide, reviews, discussion forums, or anything at all on Amazon except a single product. The thing is, once you get the customer to Amazon, you can let Amazon do the selling. So get them there any way you can. You'll still get the credit for whatever they buy, using the "Link to this page" tool (see the previous post on how to do this) in your Site Stripe. By all means use the Amazon elements for single products but it's a waste to use links for that when you can direct them to a page where they can or want to buy more than one thing.

If you don't know how to create or find any of those things I listed above, then it's time you checked out the other kinds of information Amazon has available. Believe me, you want to learn, because this is where most of your sales will come from!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Link to Amazon

Affiliate sales can be confusing, but it seems to me that one of the sites many people have trouble understanding is Amazon. Now, Amazon is a great site, and it's got the potential to be a real money-maker, but there are so many options that knowing which one to choose can be a bit difficult. So both for your own blog, and for the major revenue share platforms, let's clear up a little of the confusion.

First of all, make sure you are signed up for the Amazon Associate program. Recently, Amazon has started deleting accounts that don't make a sale within the first 90 days. If you don't already have an account that was grandfathered in, you want to have a sizable body of work online before you apply. If you have just applied, be ready to put a LOT of links out there fast.

You'll see later how to use outgoing links with Amazon, and you should be following those rules, as well. But for specific products (for which you should NOT be using outgoing links), you'll want to follow these steps:

First, make sure your Site Stripe is turned on. To do that, go to your Associates homepage, click on Account Settings.


In the box that says Account Information, click on Associates Site Stripe Options.


Make sure it says "On," and then click the options you want. I have everything except discussion forums checked.



Now, when you go back to Amazon, you should see a grey stripe at the top of your page. If you have your settings correct, the first item on the left of the Site Stripe will be "Link to this page," followed by "Short link to this page." Search for the product you want as you would normally do. Once you are on the actual product page, you can use either the link or the short link. Some revenue-sharing platforms happily accept the short link; others want the long link.


On InfoBarrel, I recommend the regular link. When you click "Link to this page," a box will come up.


Choose "Text only" from the options. A long line of code will appear inside a text box. Of this code, find the first quotation mark (") and place your cursor there. Select everything until you see another quotation mark (you want all the stuff inside the quotation marks, but not the marks themselves). Using your keyboard, copy the selected text using Control-C.



Now switch over to InfoBarrel, and use the sidebar to add an Amazon element. Click "EDIT" at the top right corner of the element, and using Control-V, paste your link from the clipboard. Add your description, and click SAVE.

For HubPages, all you need is the ASIN (the product identifier number). In your browser address bar, look at the link, and after amazon.com and the name of the product, will be /dp/ followed by a string of letters and numbers, followed by another virgule (/). That string of letters and numbers will tell HubPages what product to find. Again, enter your description and click Save.

What about widgets? Astore? We'll get into that very soon.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

I know I absolutely loathe article promotion. It's horrible. I avoid it whenever possible. So when I find something where I can "set it and forget it," (apologies to Ron Popeil) I'm delighted!

IFTTT (If This Then That, pronounced like "gift" without the initial g) is an automation tool for the web, your cell phone, and much more. If you go to IFTTT.com, you can "set and forget" lots of things, but the best is social media. Now I've written about this elsewhere at length, but you can stack IFTTT and Buffer to make a very powerful social media promotion that you never have to think about ever again (until the internet changes dramatically). When Pinterest allows IFTTT then we will all be able to take a vacation! (Buffer does allow it, now, but you have to pay. I'm not making enough money yet to pay.)

Unfortunately, if you're like me, and have multiple social media accounts, you'll have to sign up for IFTTT using multiple email addresses, one for each account. With four Twitter accounts, that's a bit of a hassle, but hey, it's better than tweeting my links all day every day (actually even cleaning my oven is better than that).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Art.com and Allposters.com are moving to Commission Junction

Yes, it's true. I logged on to my account this morning and both sites are moving to Commission Junction. I've never had much luck with that program, simply because I don't seem to sell anything, but I am hoping that with luck and all the hundreds of posts with those two affiliates, and the 1600+ links I will be adding shortly, that I'll be able to sell something before they kick me out for inactivity. Fortunately, I can apply for other programs, too, and I hope that something will sell eventually!

So for now I will be redoing literally hundreds of links and hoping that I don't mess something up. As if I didn't have enough to do already!

Art.com has told me their former links don't work; however, I believe if you leave it all in place and use the Commission Junction auto deeplinker, that might work (if their pictures are still served from the same address after the change). If not, you can find the picture address, and use the CJ bookmarklet to generate a deeplink.

Art.com and allposters.com are also on VigLink, so it's possible if you have VigLink installed that will work, too. We'll see after the changeover!