Money Making Ideas Learned From I Love Lucy

My girlfriend loves I Love Lucy so I caught an episode with her the other day and discovered another way to make money. It might not be ethical, but it could work.

Ricky had a business trip to go on in Europe and of course, Lucy wanted to go too, but it would’ve cost too much to take her. So Ricky told her that if she could come up with enough money to pay for herself, she could go.

Cue Shenanigans.

Lucy came up with the idea to create a fundraiser for her “cause”. Lucy and Ethel then contacted a local TV salesman and asks if he would be interested in donating one of his TV’s for a raffle, of which the benefits would go to sending two needy women on a wonderful trip.

The TV salesman happily agrees and gives them a TV set.

Now things get a bit screwy for Lucy and Ethel. They were accused of fraud and threatened with imprisonment.

Maybe you can work out a way around this?

So here’s the process;

  • Start a fundraiser
  • Contact a local company for prize donation
  • Run a raffle for your prize
  • Give away your prize to a lucky winner
  • Use your raffle money for a trip to Europe

In the end, Ricky was able to clear things up and get all of them on a ship to Europe for free.

If you’re life is anything like a 1950’s TV show, it just might work out for you too!

Black Hat Tip: Dapper Content Scraper

So you’re into some black hat stuff? If you’re more into the idea of setting up a blog that you won’t have to update yourself, you might want to take a look at a service called dapper.

dapper is actually an ad network, but they also have a little side service that will let you copy content from any website on the internet. It was created as a tool to help them create targeted ads for their service, but there’s a much funner way you can use it.

I definitely recommend watching a demo on creating a feed using dapper, but I’ll go through a few steps here.
If you want to see if there are existing dappers already, enter the URL of the website you want to grab some content from.

Dapper Content Scraper
In my example I chose Then you can choose which type of format you want it to output. If you plan to autoblog this content on a WordPress install using a plugin such as FeedWordPress, you should probably choose RSS feed.

Dapper Content Scraper
If you want to make a customized feed, choose “Create a Dapp.” The site you’ve chosen will show up within the dapper internal browser.

Dapper Content Scraper

Here, you’ll have the ability to choose pages from the site that you want to copy. When you find a couple of pages you like, click the button, “Add to Basket.”

Dapper Content Scraper

In order to get the best results, you should stick with pages that have the same template or dapper will get confused.

Now that you have a couple of pages, click “Next Step” over on the left side of the screen. dapper will analyze the pages and then provide you with the content it found and will then let you choose blocks of content from the pages that you want it to extract.

Dapper Content Scraper

All you have to do is select the areas you want and if it selects areas you don’t want just click on them again to remove the selections.

Dapper Content Scraper
When you’re happy with your selections, select “Save Field” at the bottom of the screen.

Dapper Content Scraper

Give your feed a name and Save.

Dapper Content Scraper
Click “Next Step” on the left side of your screen again and you’ll be able to preview your feed. If you like it, save it.

Dapper Content Scraper

On the next screen you can give it a name, description, some tags and the option to make private if you want.

Dapper Content Scraper

Now hit the check box next to the feed you want and hit the RSS button that shows up below it.

Dapper Content Scraper

There’s your feed, do with it as you wish.

Of course it’s against the TOS of dapper to copyright infringe so be careful not to get your account terminated or anything.

Valentines Day 2009 at the Search Engines

Another holiday post highlighting the various logos that the search engines have updated in accordance with the holiday of love. Valentines Day is the day to show your love to your significant other, but how many search engines have decided to show their love to their users? Lets check it out. (click the images for a full size pic)

AOL Valentines Day 2009

AOL brought out the Valentines Day theme by changing the entire page to pink in addition to adding some roses to their logo. It sent out the love vibes instantly. Nicely done. Valentines Day 2009 always goes all out on their homepage for special holidays. This is a great photo. I really like this one.

Dogpile Valentines Day 2009

Here’s the home page of Dogpile. This is probably the only smaller search engine that actually participates in these holiday homepage / logo changes. I like the big ugly bulldog cartoon at the top. Valentines Day 2009

The home page over at with a picture of two seals kissing is sure to be my girlfriends favorite. She loves animals and this page is obviously very “cute.” Good job Microsoft, you’ve made my girlfriends day. 🙂

MSN Valentines Day 2009

Here’s the search bar over at They didn’t do a theme on this page, but at least they added a nice little logo to the search bar at the top page.

YouTube Valentines Day 2009

YouTube never really goes all out for any holidays, but you can be sure that they’ll update their logo. Todays logo with a rose laying in front of it certainly is classy. I like it.

Google Valentines Day 2009

Last but not least, the logo I’m sure all of you have already seen; Google’s. I actually really like their logo this year. The bright red color and the X O is great. I actually saw this new late last night, and forgetting that the next day was Valentines Day I thought the logo had something to do with a serial killer. Great logo though.

I think all of the search engines that participated in the Valentines Day theme did a great job. I wish more sites would’ve joined in the fun, because these posts are always a good time to research and write up.

Happy Valentines Day!!

911 Symbol on Google Hot Trends

I don’t know how this is done, but somehow a symbol of an airplane hitting the Twin Towers has made it’s way onto Google Hot Trends today (as you can see at the 20th position if you click the image). It’s been there since this morning.

I think this has something to do with someone gaming the Google Trends algorithm, possibly searching for these symbols in Google rapidly from unique IP’s?

Obviously from the pic below, you can see that there is no other related information about the search term, probably because there is no real way to determine relevancy to symbols. Interesting.

How is this symbol made anyway? Wingdings or webdings probably, but I just copied and pasted. ✈ ▌▌

Update: There’s some more info about how this happened over at ISEDB. Looks like the users at 4chan got it going.

What Do Your Site Visitors Want to Read?

Are you fresh out of article ideas for your website? If so, Wordtracker has just provided the boost you need to get some more great content cranked out. They’ve just released a free tool on their website called Keyword Questions, which allows you to enter any keyword or short phrase into a search box and they’ll return with a list of questions that people have searched for using that specific keyword. How cool is that?

You can come up with all sorts of new articles with this, and obviously if people are searching for it, it’s something that you want them to find on your website. Of course, some of the terms can be extremely competitive, but hey, it’s still good content and keeps your site fresh. Dig deeper to make sure it isn’t too competitive if you’d like. Check out a screenshot below.

The Real “Porn Mode”

With all of the talk about Internet Explorer 8’s controversial “porn mode” I thought I’d help all you internet junkies out there take it a step further. The Invisible mode in IE8 has been dubbed “porn mode” and I don’t really see why. It hides all your cookies and browser history and stuff, but that isn’t a big deal. Any internet user can figure out how to get rid of this stuff.

If you really want porn mode, why don’t you check out a site called Vanishd. This is the real deal. All you have to do is go to their website, log in, and enter two different domains. One is the site you’re trying to hide, and the other site is what shows up on top of it. Now all you have to do is move the mouse around the page and a small area of the website beneath it will show up. If you hear someone coming, move the mouse off the screen or right-click and nothing from the underlying page will be visible. Happy “working!”

Analyzing Your Competitors Metatags Quickly

If you’ve ever wanted to do a little competitive analysis, you’ve probably had the misfortune of having to view the page source of many pages on a particular website. Searching meta tags isn’t the best way to find the right terms to target for your own website, but it’s a good indicator of what other people are targeting and it’s a perfect start for your keyword research.

You’ve probably done this before, and realized how tedious and boring checking pages of one site can be, so after searching the web for something more automated and not finding anything, a coworker mentioned a program called GSiteCrawler. It’s works fairly well actually.

Note: If you are using Microsoft Vista, you have to right click the program file and choose “run as administrator” or the program won’t work properly.

Here’s how to set it up:

a.) Set up a new project by clicking the “Add” button on the bottom left corner of the screen. Use the New Site Wizard and hit Next on the next screen.
GsiteCrawler Screenshot

b.) Enter your website URL and give your project a name and click Next.
GsiteCrawler Screenshot

c.) On this screen, you can leave everything as is, or you can choose the check box next to “URLs are case-sensitive” if you’re on a Linux server. Change anything else if you wish, but I left the rest the same. Click Next.
GsiteCrawler Screenshot

d,) This program was created to be sitemap generator so the next step offers to upload the sitemap file to your website via FTP. Just skip this and click next.
GsiteCrawler Screenshot

e.) You can read through all of the options on the next page, but I just checked them all. Click the finish button and the program will begin to scan your website.
GsiteCrawler Screenshot

There are lot of cool things this program can show you, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we’re only going to look at the Titles and the Meta tags of the website.

Once the scanning is complete, you can navigate to the “URL list” tab on the main screen and then click the “Refresh List” button to show all of the URLs that the program found.
GsiteCrawler Screenshot

You can click on any of the URLs and it’ll show you the URL, Page Title, Description, and Keywords for that page. The one downfall is if the Title, Description, or Keywords fields are too long, it’ll just cut it off, so you won’t be able to see the whole thing on some sites, but it’s still a good tool for some quick analysis.

Google Suggest Out of Beta, Now On

Google Suggest

Have you been to Google today? If you do a search, you might notice that once you begin typing, Google automatically starts providing real-time suggestions, as well as how many results each of those keywords have. This option, Google Suggest, was previously available as a Google Labs opt-in but it’s now gonna be default for all of your Google searches. According to the Official Google Blog, everyone might not have this functionality yet, but it should be available within the week. It shows up for me off and on right now.

If you notice the results they provide though, they seem to be only showing very popular queries. Will this hurt sales coming in from long-tail searches? I guess it depends on how closely searchers look through the list, but I’m leaning towards yes. How much traffic it really takes away from a site though will probably be minimal. It’s a really helpful service to searchers, though, I have to give ’em that. I like it.

The Day I Was Attacked on Sphinn

I’m gonna start with letting you know, that I know,  I probably should have let this go, but that’s just not who I am 🙂 Anyway, the other day, a friend of mine, Troy, who I used to work with sent me an email about a new site he just launched. He mentioned that he put a post up on Digg and if I was interested in Digging it, he’d appreciate it. I thought the site was cool, so I had no problem helping him out.

Basically the site was created very similar to the famous Million Dollar Homepage, only Troy’s was focused on helping the environment. Visitors to the site can donate $2, one of which goes directly to the Arbor Foundation to plant a tree, the other goes to paying for a spot on the main page, which is designated by placing a virtual tree in the space payed for with a link back to the owners site.

I figured that since it was for a good cause and website owners could get a link out of it, Sphinn (“Digg” for Internet marketers) users might also be interested, so I posted the site in the Link Building category. This may have been the worst idea I’ve had in my history of working in the SEO industry, because the Sphinn community went into assault mode on both Troy and I.

I’ve decided to speak out on a few of the comments and get my thoughts out. Since the Sphinn community didn’t want to listen to anything Troy or I had to say and had already basically labeled me a spammer, I decided to do it on my blog instead of in the comments section, so here we go.

2 dollar backlinks sphinn post

DarkMatter: “if I were the admins I would delete this. it’s been done before and there’s no value for search marketers here.”

How is there no value here? You get a link back to your website.

NickWilsdon: ” This is just another take on the MillionDollar Homepage, it shouldn’t be advertised on the front page of Sphinn.”

Hmmm, and Digg, I mean Reddit, I mean Sphinn is completely original, huh? What’s wrong with taking an idea and reworking it?

Gab: “Nick Wilsdon clarified that this was an advert. We don’t need ads going hot.”

So Nick Wilsdon knows all now? He clarified it, so it must be true.

There were also some comments about Troy using the environment for his own greed, taking advantage of people who really want to help, etc. Well the fact is, he was trying to help. Even if he is making money off of it, any possible way to get people to help donate to the Arbor Foundation is helping. A few people even decided to protest my post on Sphinn and directly donate to various charities. Would they have done that otherwise. I’m betting no. Not to say that it was mine or Troy’s doing that got those people to donate, but people need inspiration to donate and that’s what Troy’s site is trying to do. He’s not forcing people to put money in his pocket either. If you want a link, donate $2 and plant a tree, and go to the Arbor Foundation and donate $10 more. It’s as easy as that.

That’s pretty much the jist of it, but there were somewhere around 40 more comments.  I wanted to pull out some more of them, but the post was removed from Sphinn, so I could only work off of a cached version on Yahoo. Anyway, everyone had a similar comment and just wouldn’t let me or Troy get a word in. Once it was “clarified” everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

To the people who DID Sphinn my article, thank you. I think anyone who Sphunn it, knows who I am and understands that whatever the commenters of the post said wasn’t true. I have never been a spammer and don’t ever plan to be one, so that wasn’t my intention.

I’ve told the entire truth in this article, and after everything is said and done, you can believe what you will. Basically, I was just trying to help a friend out. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience though, it’s that I’m no longer comfortable at Sphinn and I’ll just continue using it as a resource and not a social community. I’m guessing the users over there would prefer that anyway.