Crabs Are the New Bacon On Deals.Woot

You can see the power of community in action today at I took this screenshot around 6am this morning, which shows lots of crab related deals on the home page. 10 of the 15 deals are crab related.

I’m not sure what this is about. It might be Wooters trying to replace the old go-to deal of bacon products. Some people are saying it might be the work of Anonymous at 4Chan. Either way, it’s a great example of how a strong online community can influence the web.

How to Add the Creative Commons Search Bar to Firefox 4

I use all the time to find legal and free images for my articles, so I was extremely disappointed to find that CC Search was removed from the drop-down search bar in Firefox 4. And it’s also not listed in the Search Tools section as an Add-on.

I thought it was gone, but it turns out that if you go to Creative Commons labs, you can install the CC Search beta interface.

It doesn’t work the same as the old search bar, which previously went to a more user friendly interface (in my opinion), but it’s still handy. You can also revert to the old version by clicking the link in the top right corner of the page that says “Switch to tabbed search interface,” which you can see in the image below.

Review of Guy Kawasaki’s New Book, Enchantment

A couple of months ago (June 2013) I received an email from Guy Kawasaki asking if I had an interest in getting a free copy of his book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions. He sent out the request to registered users of his website, an awesome website by the way. The book caters to business owners, which sounded interesting to me so I filled out the necessary information to have a copy shipped to my house.

A couple of months had already gone by and I never heard anything about it, so I thought I wasn’t chosen but then I saw an unexpected package in the mail. It was the book!

I immediately cracked it open to read the introduction. It pulled me in. I was already in the middle of another book at the time so I spent the next three hours finishing it up so that I could start on Enchantment. That’s how excited I was to read it. 😀

The basic premise of this book is to teach you how to ‘enchant’ your customers, employees and business partners.

Guy Kawasaki gets a lot of his inspiration from Apple, which is a company he worked for when they first started. He saw how they enchanted their customers and applied it to his own business endeavors.

I read Enchantment every night before bed and finished it in about a week. I learned a lot.

Guy mentions a lot of behavioral studies throughout the book, mostly about being persuasive. A lot of those studies come from “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive” by Robert B. Cialdini, another great book that I recommend reading.

One study, for example is that by providing social proof that people are embracing your cause or like the products you’re selling, you are likely to convince them of embracing it as well.

Another study shows that you should always speak positive. For example, instead of saying “25 million people every year die from smoking,” say something like “more than 2 billion people every year choose not to smoke.” Saying that message in a negative way could be telling your listeners, “25 million people smoke, so why shouldn’t you.”

Enchantment isn’t about using persuasive techniques to trick people into accepting you and your business. It’s about being genuinely likable.

Here are some other great examples from the book that I really liked. (these are notes I took down while reading. Not direct quotes)

– An authentic smile is one that’s so big that you have crows feet on your eyes. People can tell when you don’t mean it. Think of something that makes you happy. And if you don’t smile, you might come off as grumpy and people don’t like to do business with grumpy people.

– When meeting someone, dress as equals. Overdressing can show the other person that you think you’re richer or better than they are. On the other hand, underdressing shows that you don’t care. That you don’t respect them.

– A lot of people prefer contact through email and phone, but to build a strong relationship, physical contact is important. It lets you interact with others more and can turn an acquaintance into a friend. Digital interaction is good for maintaining a relationship once it’s already in place.

– If you want to be enchanting, it’s important that you are truly passionate about your business. (This one made me immediately think of affiliate marketing and how a lot of people go after big money niches they have no interest in.)

– If your employees aren’t enchanted, they won’t enchant your customers.

There was a whole chapter dedicated to enchanting your employees, which he followed up with a chapter on how to enchant your boss. Guy suggests that if your boss wants you to do something, you should drop whatever it is you’re doing and do it, no matter how unimportant you think it is. He also mentioned how this is a great strategy for husbands.

“If your wife asks you to do something, drop everything and do it. You may not think it’s important, but you aren’t juggling four kids, a career, and several charitable causes. You may think you see the “big picture,” but you don’t see her big picture.”

That’s some awesome advice.

At the end of each chapter, Guy also included inspiring stories from real people that relate to what that chapter was about. It was a great way to wrap up each section.

One of the reasons I really liked Enchantment is because everything Guy talks about are things that I feel are important in my own life. He talks about the importance of fulfilling promises, acting with honesty and focusing on actions that make the world a better place.

All of this got me thinking about the companies that have enchanted me.

  • WordPress
  • Apple (yes, I’m a Mac user too!)
  • Sony
  • BSN Supplements
  • Trek Bikes
  • SEOMoz

These are all great companies for a reason. I’m going to think about why they enchant me and use it for my own sites and with my clients.

As I read this book, I kept coming across things that I wanted to include in my own life. I’m actually going to read it again, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Enchantment was just released today, so I definitely recommend buying it.

P.S. – Writing a review was not required to receive a free copy of the book, but I liked it so much that I really wanted to share my thoughts. 😉

LinkTrackr Is Must Use Software For Affiliate Marketers

LinkTrackr describes itself as a link cloaking and tracking software. I think in the internet marketing industry the word “cloaking” has negative connotations, but for affiliate marketers, this is a good thing. If you’ve ever signed up for an affiliate account somewhere, you’ve probably noticed that they give you long, ugly URL’s. They might have numbers, id’s, and often look a little sketchy. This is why you want to cloak your links.

Usually I set up redirects in my htaccess file so that my affiliate links look something like which is much easier on the users eyes. You’re probably posting your links all over your site and on Twitter, guest blog posts and other places, so if your real affiliate link changes you can easily fix it in your htaccess, instead of trying to figure out where you posted that link all over the internet. And if you can’t update it or remember where you’ve posted it, you’re going to lose commissions.

In Linktrackr, you can set up your links to redirect through the domain, so for example the link would look like You can enter your long, ugly affiliate URL to cloak or you can use a URL from your own domain, such as any you’ve set up in your htaccess file already.

What makes this really cool though, is that once the link is set up in Linktrackr, you can track all of your affiliate links from whichever programs you’re in. You can group them however you’d like, for example I’m going to group mine by niche. Maybe you’d like to group by affiliate program. I’ve only just signed up for a free account to test out the service but if you upgrade you can also split test URLs and do conversion testing.

This is great stuff.

Once your links are added, Linktrackr will begin to collect stats and will show you things like how many clicks you’ve received, how many clicks have converted (if your link converts to a page on your own site), referrers, browser stats, and split test results.

If you want to add a viral bar to your website, they can help you with that too. The free account only gives you limited customization, but a pro account will give you more options. Other than being able to remove the LinkTrackr credit from the viral bar, I’m not sure what other options you get. With the basic account though, you can choose from two themes, you can change the colors of the background and the link text, you can change font styles and you can choose which social networks you want to show in your viral bar. You can also show a disclosure policy link.

They also have a WordPress plugin. The WordPress plugin will show you the links you’ve already set up in your Linktrackr account. You can’t add new tracking links through the plugin, but you can set keywords to those links, which will then go back through any of your old posts and add links where those keywords show up. If you choose a keyword such as “email marketing” and that phrase shows up several times on a post, you can also set the plugin to link as many times per post as you’d like. It can link all instances or just once for example.

What I like most about the whole service is that it’s going to help me be more organized. I’m not great at tracking my affiliate links and I’ve signed up for affiliate programs in the past which have links I’ve completely forgotten about. I think LinkTrackr will help me keep track of this stuff much better.

Lastly, the prices

  • Standard account (100 links) is $9 a month
  • LinkTrackr Pro (500 links) is $17 a month
  • LinkTrackr Xtreme gives you unlimited links for $27 a month

All upgraded accounts provide full stats and reporting and priority support.

They have an affiliate program too, so if you like the service you can promote it yourself and make some money in the process, which is why I’ve added it to the sidebar of my site. I’d appreciate it very much if you signed up through my link – even if it’s just the free account. 😀

Note: This post was created for the LinkTrackr February 2011 Contest where you stand a real chance to win a brand new Apple iPad 64G with 3G + Wifi worth $839.

Qirina for Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research and Link Building

Qirina is a new service which allows you to enter either a domain name or a keyword and will return site stats, keywords and a set of domains that are in relation to each other based on what you’ve entered. Anyone doing keyword research and competitive analysis should be able to see the benefit here.

The first site I entered is a major resort hotel/casino in Washington and surprisingly, Qirina came back saying it wasn’t able to identify the site because it seems to be in non-english. I think it’s probably because the home page is mainly in Flash and there’s really no text to scan or read. So I tried another one, my own site,

There we go!

It diagnosed my Title tag, the niche it believes I’m in, niche keywords (I like this), and a summary of the page.

It also includes a list of main keywords, key phrases, domain name keywords and the density of each.

On the right hand side of the screen, there’s also a list of my “neighbors.” I’m not sure how these other sites are discovered, but it looks pretty accurate and relevant. When I checked one of my other sites, I noticed that the list of neighbors that came back were perfect sites for building relationships, which are highly likely to turn into guest blogging opportunities or at the very least willing to add my site to their blog rolls.

Qirina is actually building an index, so if you check smaller, more unknown sites, it probably won’t have any information for you, but you can submit your site to their index and in about 60 seconds, the tool comes back with all the information you need.

Qirini is still in it’s early stages but it’s fast and sends back great info. It’s definitely going in my competitive analysis process.

Quick and Useful Site Reviews From Shoemoney

Shoemoney just released a new SEO site review service called Free SEO Report and just like anything that comes from the uber-cool super-affiliate, I was sure it was going to be great. I signed up for an account and tested it out on one of my own recently created sites to see how it holds up.

On a side note, I’ve been doing site reviews ever since I became a professional SEO in 2005. I’m an agency SEO so I’ve reviewed hundreds of sites and last year I even helped create a massive SEO review package for the company I work for called an seOverview, and when complete it comes up to around 45+ pages of information. I know how to do a thorough site review.

So anyway, back to the Free SEO Report. It’s really easy to set up. All you have to do is submit your website, your best keyword, what search engine you want the service to gather info from and the country you’re located.

When the report is done, you’ll get an email letting you know. The first thing you’ll find on the report is a report overview, which shows the pages of your site that have been analyzed, how many links you have, the Alexa rank and domain age. (I blocked out the URL’s because I don’t need anyone competing against me.)

There’s also a small section that compares your site against the averages of the competitors for your keyword. This is really useful for affiliate marketers who are contemplating jumping into a new niche.

Another helpful section is the analysis of the document title on your site and competitors sites. You can see how well your site title is optimized for the chosen keyword. As you can see from the image below, my site isn’t optimized well for the keyword I entered. It does rank number 1 for that keyword though 😉

There are also some other great sections such as analysis of:

  • headings (H1, H2, H3)
  • body text
  • URL structure
  • robots.txt
  • meta descriptions
  • internal linking
  • page load times
  • image optimization

In addition to all of that analysis, each section also includes helpful suggestions and recommendations on what you should do to better optimize your site.

One of the things that our company likes to do is to participate in local business and marketing events where we do free SEO reports for anyone who comes up to our booth. We can’t sit there all night looking at one site, so we have to limit how much time we give each person and I think using the Free SEO Report from Shoemoney would make a huge difference in the amount of useful information we can provide at those events. I also do a little bit of affiliate marketing on the side, so this would make an awesome competitive analysis tool to use before jumping into a new niche.

Another really cool feature is that you’re able to customize the reports so that it’s branded with your company info. You can change the header image, the custom text and the footer information, that way your customers aren’t confused about where the report comes from. 😉

When you sign up for the first time, you get one free report. If you want any more than that you can sign up for $19.95 per month, which gives you unlimited reports. If you don’t want to sign up for a monthly membership, you also have the option to run a report and then buy it for a one-off charge of $10.

After reviewing everything Shoemoney’s report offers, I still can’t say that it’s better than the seOverview that we sell where I work, because it’s just nowhere near as involved as our report. Our report is also not automated and has real input from our employees. I do think Shoemoney’s Free SEO Report is a great tool for other companies to resell and an awesome tool for any affiliate marketers arsenal. I would also love to have this tool available to me when going to small business meetups and other local marketing events.

How You Can Get Your Hands on a Chrome Notebook

Google Chrome Logo

Google just announced their new Google Chrome OS earlier today and from what I’ve seen so far, this is going to be totally awesome. An all online-only notebook is sweet because it’s going to make setup and computer maintenance so much easier. I have a feeling it’s going to feel a bit limited at first, but I’m positive that I can get used to it and will make it work.

And much to the delight of many Google nerds and tech geeks everywhere, they also announced that they’d be giving away Chrome notebooks to a select few people for testing purposes. They are searching for users in all areas; business, education, non-profit, developers and individuals. All you have to do is fill out their application form.

They also ask that you submit a video about why you want to test the Chrome OS, but that’s optional. It’s a goal of mine to become more comfortable with speaking to the camera and sharing my thoughts visually so I thought this was a great opportunity to get started.

This is why I want to test the Chrome OS. I hope they choose me to test. Fingers crossed!

P.S. I’m on an exercise ball so I’m a little fidgety in this video. I’ll keep that in mind next time.

How to Compare Two Lists in Excel

Knowing how to compare data from two different columns in Excel using the VLOOKUP feature is something that can be super useful for internet marketers or anyone who deals with data regularly. The other day I did some competitive research to gather backlink data from various websites, many of which had backlinks from sites I’ve contacted in the past. I wanted to make sure not to contact these sites again, so I needed to weed out the URL’s that matched in both lists.

I’m on a Macbook and using VBA code isn’t available in Excel for Mac, so I had to find a formula, which I did after a long search. Start by putting the longest list in Column A and the shorter list in Column B. In Column C enter =VLOOKUP(A1,B:B,1,FALSE) and copy the formula down to the last cell where data ends in Column A.

A1 = The cell being compared
B:B = The set of data Column A cells are being compared to
1 = Tells the formula to return a result from of data matches
FALSE = Tells the formula to return an exact match

Tip: If you’re using this to compare deep URLs but need to compare to domains, use Ontolo’s URL & Hostname Counter, set to Count Hostnames and click the button. Copy to Clipboard and paste into Excel.

My Review of Affcon 2010

I attended Affcon 2010 several weeks ago and I’m finally getting around to putting my thoughts about it on my site. This is the first time I’ve ever been to an affiliate specific conference, but I have been to a couple of internet marketing conferences before such as SES and Pubcon.

The conference took place over three days, the first two being free for all affiliates and the third day being a paid workshop day. Affiliates are sponsored by the various affiliate networks at the show in order to attend but there was a page for people to pay for passes too. Everyone I talked to there got in free, so I’m not sure who would have had to pay to get in, but as long as I got in at no cost, that’s all that matters 🙂

I didn’t actually network with many people because I was still trying to work during the short breaks between sessions when I could so that I wouldn’t fall too far behind at my job, but it seemed to me like most of the attendees were actually small business owners or people who were just getting into affiliate marketing. The crowd seemed to be fairly basic, except for one guy who kept raising his hand to tell the crowd about Gary Vanerchuk and his huge success online. It was probably Gary himself, who knows.

The Sessions and the Presenters

The very first session of the conference started with a keynote from Joel Comm. I’m not normally a fan of keynotes and I had originally planned on skipping it, but I’m glad I didn’t because it was really good. Joel Comm is a great speaker and kept things interesting the entire time.

I was actually really excited for the keynote on the second day too, because I knew it was going to be Shoemoney talking. To my disappointment, it was Shoemoney asking questions of Aaron Baker of Atrinsic Interactive. It wasn’t bad, but I would have preferred it be the other way around. They covered a lot and answered a lot of interesting questions related to affiliate marketing. Aaron Baker kept getting really quiet at the end of each sentence so that kinda sucked. He starts loud and gets quieter and quieter as he speaks.

I saw Shoemoney out-and-about with other conference-goers after his keynote too, so that was really cool of him. That’s one affiliate marketer that you could learn a ton from, I’m sure.

Tim Ash also had a really good session about conversion optimization (his specialty) on the second day. He’s just as entertaining as Joel Comm was, so that session was a lot of fun. He also mentioned a whole bunch of really cool tools to use so I think everyone got a lot out of that one. One guy even got $20 just for answering one of Tim’s questions.

Jordan Kasteler of Search and Social (now Blueglass Media) had one of the best and most interesting presentations I’ve seen at any conference. He went through lots of ideas and tactics and wasn’t afraid to talk about black/grayhat stuff. That’s rare. Most people are afraid to let anyone know that they’ve even dabbled in the grey hat side of marketing.

I Would Have Liked to See…

While there was some talk about the Colorado affiliate tax (in Shoemoney’s keynote and various other sessions), nobody really seems to completely understand it yet. This is definitely something that affiliates need to gain knowledge on still, myself included. There actually was a session about this but from what I heard, even the CO. State Representative on the panel didn’t really get it. Sad 🙁

One session titled “Building The Best Model For Your Affiliate Business” was the best session I attended and was probably the first one that focused almost entirely on affiliate marketing. The discussed in-depth the various business models available to marketers such as membership sites, email marketing, review sites, etc. I really learned a lot from this one.

Too be completely honest, a lot of the sessions were pretty boring. Most of them were presentations that were about SEO and didn’t really relate to affiliate marketing at all. I understand that affiliates need to do SEO too, but I was really hoping for this conference to hit on advanced topics in the affiliate marketing industry. Maybe I just made bad choices in the sessions I attended.

There is one session that I really wish someone would have covered. I would’ve loved to see a session about managing taxes, payroll, income, etc. as an affiliate marketer. I’ve never seen one presentation on something like this, perhaps due to legalities of the topic, but I think even general info would be helpful to a lot of marketers.

One last gripe. There were no freakin’ plugins in the session rooms!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun at Affcon 2010 this year and hope to go again next year. I think I’ll choose sessions that are the opposite of my first choices. Just like George Costanza did to get his job at the Yankees.

Fortitude Online Mag Getting a Reboot

Turns out that new memberships at have come to a halt, which you can see from that link that they haven’t had a new signup since May 21st. This is requiring that they take a look at their processes and figure out what needs to be done to keep the online magazine going, meaning some changes are going to take place as of today.

The previous algorithm they had in place didn’t allow many articles to reach the front page, which made a lot of people hesitant on submitting their articles. If you put a lot of work into an article and it never hits the front page, you don’t get paid…much. To remedy this, they are now increasing front page chances to 50% of articles submitted. That gives you much better chances to get visibility and cash.

I think this is a great idea and is sure to get me posting more as well.

I originally signed up for a pro account at Fortitude to get paid for writing, and the strict review process sounded like something that could help me strive to write higher quality content. This is still true for me, but now I see it more as a way to get more visibility to the sites that I link to in my articles. Although the nofollowed links provide little or zero SEO value, they can still drive traffic to the sites of clients or even a few of my own.

This means that from now on, I’m going to look at Fortitude not as a place to make money, but a place to drive traffic to my sites. Because of the registration fee (which I’ve already earned back by the way), only quality articles make it to the front page of the site, so your article isn’t going to get shuffled in with a bunch of crap.

I only have one complaint about Fortitude right now, and that’s the character limit. For some people 3,500 characters isn’t a lot, but this depends entirely on what you’re writing about. For example, they state that they take poems, but how many people write 3500+ word poems? Do you know how many characters this post has right now? 1,672. I’m not even halfway to the requirement.

A quality article should not be judged by the amount of characters it contains. I typically write articles that come out to be around 2,500 to 3,000 characters. It will have everything I want to say and I will not fill it with fluff to meet Fortitudes requirements so most of the time I submit my articles elsewhere or on my own sites. Which is still fine with me, but bad for Fortitude.

I really like the business model that Fortitude has put in place and hope they are able to keep going. There is a lot of really good stuff on there right now from all sorts of different niches, all very linkable. Maybe they should invest in an SEO company who can help them create a marketing strategy for the user generated content everyone is creating for them 😉

If you want to sign up to Fortitude, please do with my affiliate link. I’d appreciate it very much!