29 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Traffic Exchange Verification Icons

There’s been a lot of discussion about surf icons lately, though mostly sparked from a video of an independent person, and I was just going to let it go, but I think it may be important to put a statement out there, so here it is.

It is as policy in my company to NEVER discuss cheat or anti-cheat methods with anyone, public or private.  There is no situation where telling someone how people can / are cheating your site is a good practice.

That being said, I have no plans to change icons at all on any of my properties.

I also would absolutely NEVER condone any business basing their perception on a Traffic Exchange but what is obvious to them as cheat prevention, only your TRACKING can tell the true story.

I spend every day of every week not only checking logs to find potential cheaters, but also improving and developing software to end it, if you want me to turn it into a marketing sales pitch and put out a press release every single time I update a cheat prevention method, sorry, you are not going to get it.  I’d rather not have to make a formal announcement every day, nor would I ever want to tell the existing cheaters that have not been caught, to keep an eye out for updated things.

The icon systems are just a very basic first level of defense, the concept when designing icons for any of my sites is always to make them as absolutely easy as possible for a human to resolve quickly — choosing varying shapes and colors that are very easy and quick to identify, as well as being accessible to all persons including those with disabilities.

The primary function of my advertising resources is advertising, I firmly believe that the icons should take the LEAST amount of focus from the member.  The advertisements are not displayed on the icons, therefor a member spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to solve simple logic puzzles is a massive disservice to my advertisers.

I have developed and will continue to develop extensive anti-cheat measures that are beyond the surface, I firmly believe that a strong anti-cheat system is completely invisible to the vast majority of users.  I will continue to do everything I can to continue to ensure only the best quality traffic possible (Surprise! You can have Quality AND Quantity!! GASP!) to my members, and currently that does not necessitate changing any icons and further complicating the experience for my valued members.

I would absolutely never recommend a person to buy advertising based on their icons, the ONLY thing I have and will continue to recommend basing your purchase decisions on is TRACKING.

If you put 50,000 credits on one site and get 100 conversions, and put 50,000 at another and get 3 – then the obvious answer would be either your targeting sucks for that second site, or there is a problem with their advertising.  If adapting your ads and better targeting to the site still does not increase conversions, THEN and ONLY THEN would I suggest maybe reducing your advertising there.

To recommend purchases based on anything other than tracking and results is ignorant, from my view.  I understand people wanting to support their friends, but this is business.  Dumping money into something that consistently does not provide a return is just a complete waste of your budget, which should be common sense but sadly isn’t.

 

The primary reason we do not make product recommendations outside of our own is that there is no fill-all solution for anyone, if there were we would just have 1 advertising source and everyone would be using it, different sites work for different types of products and advertising methods, making a recommendation without being fully 100% involved in the product being advertised and advertising methods used is guaranteed to decrease trust when your recommendation fails them.

The only way you can know if an advertising source will work for you is to try it, test it, and track it, not by looking at the style of icons it chooses to or not to use, if anyone was to ever suggest otherwise I would highly question their motives and if they can even be trusted as a company.

 

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20 June 2013 ~ 2 Comments

The Six Figure Difference

Like many people who enter our market, I was very eager and excited to get started.  I did have some experience already with my business I [was trying to] created and doing online advertising using things like Google, Y! Marketing (when it existed) and Social Media Marketing – I had a few clients and felt pretty decently about my ability.  After I lost my job in December of ’09 and wrapped up a 6 month job search only receiving 1 interview (which lead to a job offer…. working 8 hours a week) I quickly realized that the traditional get a job go to work every day thing just simply was no longer an option and decided there was no better time than to take this business I was trying to create to the next level. I discovered Traffic Exchanges as I was looking for non-traditional ways to advertise my business.  I started out promoting an opt-in page for a splash page creation service – as there was an obvious need for graphic designers, and my major was Multimedia Design in college, I thought it was a clear market demand I could fill.

After not getting a client for about a month I started looking around more and discovered that the pricing of what was the going rate for Graphic Designers locally, was way beyond the realm of what my audience was asking for, and there was simply no way I could compete with everyone outsourcing graphics to India and other places where people were doing full website designs for $25-$50.  It was only a matter of time before I got sucked into a get rich quick scheme – and although I did make some pretty good money off of it, I never made that $13,000,000 I was promised on the sales page.

I launched a couple of small sites after that, first being The L Team which was a team website I created for The site I was using, and after that I created the original Affiliate Toolbox (not the version that exists today). After using Traffic Exchanges I thought that to be the obvious  next step, and knowing far too little about the market – launched Traffic Swirl.

Traffic Swirl went well, or at least I thought it was good – It went for about a year and a half of 10 member a day joining, 30k hits delivered a day, I thought I had good activity but looking back, it was nothing.  My programming skills got better and there was a massive market for programmers so I started programming for other people, essentially parting out my site, reselling the things that made it unique..

Something I realized after programming mods and working on just over 100 different Traffic Exchanges, was that every key feature that people loved about Traffic Swirl, was now spread all over the internet.

I stopped programming for other people, though my mods continued to get resold by former clients, even to this day people are reselling my work from 2 years ago, some of the rigths of which I have even sold to LFM who sell some of my mods on their official website – but the point is – the site was not mine anymore, it was a collection of random features that now everybody else had.

How I went from earning $25,000 a year with my internet business, to over $100,000 a year from my business happened almost overnight.

I said “To hell with it!”

I had been running my business in a market I wasn’t entirely familiar with, and was just sort of following the stream and trying to stay on the front end of trends – and one day I decided, screw it.. I’m going to do it my way.  I got sick of doing things just because I thought they should be done, and decided to take the chances and try things out.  When something was always done one way instead of doing it that way, I decided to dig deeper, “Why is it done that way?”  and begin to test alternatives – that very first month I doubled my sales and signups.

It isn’t some formula, some training package, there’s no sales page or product to buy – it’s something you already have.

It’s you.

If you truly want your business to succeed – the biggest “secret” is to stop listening to what people tell you to do – and start doing things.

 

 

So what’s my secret weapon?  It’s me.

You are the biggest resource and tool you have in your business – if you are not at the level you want to be, and are going to the LFMTE conference every month and buying the latest mod for your site…. well there’s your problem.

Are you trying to build the same site everyone else has? Or are you trying to build YOUR site?

Sure some mods are great, but if you have the same features as every other site, why should I even join yours?  How will I even remember yours exists when there is nothing different about it?

All it takes, is being you, and putting you into it.  The entire foundation of the success of my business is thinking ‘You know what would be kind of cool?’  and then putting it into action.

Don’t get me wrong, new features and increased functionality (value) are excellent, but not when it is the same stuff going in to every site…

People talk about Traffic Exchanges being full of freebie seekers and people who don’t want to pay for things, but I have found the opposite to be true, there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people waving their wallets in the air just begging, searching everywhere for a site that is worth spending their advertising dollars on, I know because I’m one of those people.

But when you present a site that is just a clone of the last 10 sites they were at, but with different colors – what’s the point? Why waste my time? I already know what the site has to offer because I’ve already been to a dozen that were the exact same.

 

It’s all a matter of perspective, Derek Sivers talks about in a video — he says “What’s obvious to you is amazing to someone else” and that is something that couldn’t be more true.   My biggest success’ in my business have been things that I thought were obvious, no big deal, just another day at the office.. but then I get members who praise it and say holy cow I can’t believe what a great idea that is, and to me it was just something I thought a couple of people might like.

 

What’s the difference between me running a six figure business, and you who are struggling to make a profit?  I took that step.  I said let’s try it.  That’s it.

It doesn’t matter how silly or seemingly obvious it is, if you have an idea — take action on it.  “Put it out and let the world decide” (Sivers)

The most important thing to understand is that when you put YOU into it, You literally CAN NOT fail.  People LOVE to see you trying new things, even if it’s a major flop, you will be building some very loyal fans who are so happy just to see you trying something new, that they’ll forget whether or not it actually was successful, and if it is NOT successful, that just simply means you know another way that doesn’t work, and knowing which ways don’t work are the secret sauce to discovering which ways do.

So if you are a business owner, my only request for you is that the next random Idea you get for your business — do it, take action – regardless of how little or big, silly or serious, obvious or amazing – just do it.  There’s a massive market out there waiting for you to take that step, so take it, no matter how obvious or dumb the idea seems.

 

“Things that seem obvious to you, are amazing to others.  Are you holding back something that seems to obvious to share?” – Sivers

 

So what’s the secret to running a six figure business?  Just be you – do it your way, do what feels right, and ignore everyone else.

 

 

Referance Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcmI5SSQLmE

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