Big Tom’s Awards 2

Big Tom’s Coveted Awards part 2

I’ve been at this for a while, and I have an incredible pile of notes on people and products that need to mentioned.  So this week will be given over to the awarding of the extremely rare BT Awards.  I hope you enjoy!

 Faces in the Crowd:  TE division

Jon Olson:  For those living under a rock, Jon is the ‘face’ of TimTech.  He is their ‘go to’ Video guy, writes 2 blogs, and hosts TE Live 5 days per week.  Incredibly visible and reachable, he is the ‘everyman’ of the industry.

Eric Goettman:  What to say?  Eric has some of THE most memorable ads anyplace on the internet.  Owner of 3 TEs, Technical innovator, Father, Husband, Good Guy.  Another ‘big wig’ that is very approachable and willing to help anyone.  Is there a trend here?

Marcus Wahl:  As Jon Olson is the face of TimTech, Marcus is the face of Legacy.  Video and more video, high energy and also very willing to be approached and help.  The trend continues.

John Bell:  Owner of multiple TEs and other programs, John is another one of the very good guys.  Quick sense of humor, keeps strange hours, my kind of guy.  His programs are noted for how well they work.  Another available guy.

Faces in the Crowd:  Open Division

Marian Gurowicz

An extraordinary blend of video and spreecast combined with good, solid advertising keeps Marian squarely in the public eye.  Just smooth and accomplished.

Nick Grimshawe

Yes, the guy in the orange sweater.  Nick has been building and improving his brand and exposure almost by the day.  His beginner series is probably the best of several new entries in the genre, mine included.

Patrick Griffin

Patrick is just around.  All the time.  An extraordinary writer, he shows up on twitter, Facebook, in the odd Newsletter, CTP chat, wherever.  A presence.

Traffic Exchanges:

This is a tough category for me to choose nominees, let alone a winner.  Remember this list is entirely subjective, and tell me my mistakes in the comments!

Team Division:  One entry per Team

Top Hits 4 U:  Eric Goettman

Legacy Hits:  Legacy Team (Ken Locatelli, Rodney Hage, Marcus Wahl)

Traffic Swirl:  John Bell

Sweeva:  TimTech (Justin Ledvina, Jon Olson, Tim Linden)

Solo Division

Surf Skeleton:  William Miller

Top Flight Traffic:  Randy Ritter

Social Surf for U:  Barry Langdon

Surfing Socially:  Matt Baker

Best Mailer:

Again, this is my list, and entirely subjective.  Use the comments to point out my obvious mistakes.

Mr. Safelist:  Jerry Ianucci

Adchiever:  Darren Olander

List Nerds:  TimTech

List Magnet:  Stephan Berg

Best Related Product:

Click Track Profit:  Tim Tech

AdKreator:  Barbara DelGiudice

Track Me:  Tim Tech

Make my Splash:  Rhonda Pizor

Banner Monkey:  Janelle Pineau and William Miller

Well, there are the nominees!  I will announce the winners on my Spreecast  12:00n PDT 3:00 pm EDT Saturday, June 1, and publish the winners shortly after.

Big Tom’s Awards

Big Tom’s Coveted Awards

I’ve been at this for a while, and I have an incredible pile of notes on people and products that need to be mentioned.  So this week will be given over to the awarding of the extremely rare BT Awards.  I hope you enjoy!

New People

There are a raft of new people that are having a notable impact on our industry.  The definition of ‘new’ in this case is ‘someone who has been on my radar screen for less than 6 months’.  All of these peeps are showing extraordinary hustle and grit, grinding their way toward making a living online.

Janelle Pineau:  She is on the outside edge of the 6 month qualifier, but the progress she has made in the last 6 months is extraordinary.  She has gone from ‘just another face’ to program (co) owner and more.  I really got to see what Janelle is made of when she suffered a huge setback with her not released program that might have stopped a lesser heart.  She got mad, then she got to work.  Banner Monkey was the result, a wonderful program.

Kathleen Van Beekom:  Kathleen has been around a lot longer than 6 months, but not in the circles that I have traveled.  I started noticing her promotion of EZ Wealth Solution, and then she turned the List Nerds referral competition completely inside out.  She forced a number of the ‘big dogs’ to buckle down and go to work.  A terrific showing.

Bradley Anderson:  Bradley is the newest of the nominees, has been dynamic in CTP chat and in prosecuting his personal brand.  He seems to be tireless and relentless, always there or right nearby.

New Traffic Exchanges

TE Racing League:  Owner Robert Arnold has a unique format and design that works really well.  Actual racing is available, to go with a great surfing experience.

Grapevine Traffic:  Very new, but I think owner Glenn Murray has a winner on his hands.  He is certainly personable enough to make it work.

Just Good Traffic:  Steve Ayling is back in the TE business, and positioned to do big things.  The one I am watching most closely.

Cuppa Traffic:  Russell Stockley has a new TE that is so smooth it doesn’t seem to be new.  Australian import that is making waves.

+1 TE:  From Derek Gibson, if hard work and willingness can carry a traffic exchange, this one will move up!

Best Remade TE

Surfing Socially:  Matt Baker did a complete overhaul of a TE that was only 10 months old.  Clearly raised the bar for everyone.

Ninja Surf:  The Legacy team bought an old TE and have breathed new life into it.  A great remake!

Social Surf for U:  Barry Langdon whipped a tune up on a pretty good TE ‘because it was getting stale’.  Really good stuff!

Best New Mailer

List Viral:  Matt Baker brings out the first TimTech product outside of company walls.  A serious good new mailer, less than one month old.

List Adventure:   Very solid new mailer.  Clean, well designed, easy to use.  All the ingredients to make a winner.

List Nerds:  TimTech.  So successful and well done that it is hard to remember that it is only 3 months old.  Could be the new industry standard in it’s first 6 months.

Best New Product:

Sweeva Tips and Built 4 U:  A joined entry from Sunny Suggs.  Built 4 U is an all in one Website service and Sweeva Tips is everything you want to know and then some about the Sweeva Traffic Exchange.  Sprung on the world about a month apart.  Both are terrific!

Ninja Mailer:  John Bell released his personal Mailer Handler and it works.  Very well.  Gets a ‘You should use this” recommendation from me.  It’s that good.

Nominees in the ‘experienced’ category on Thursday, winners will be announced on my Spreecast at 12n PDT (3:00pm EDT) Saturday, June 1.

 

Mining for Gold

Mining the overlooked

One of the best offline gigs that I had was servicing a compressor set up for a small time mining company.  I got a chance to get real personal with some enormous equipment, and the 4 guys on the job got a half day off.  Everybody was happy.

These guys were reprocessing tailings from an old mining operation and were not only making a living, were often taking more gold per ton out than the original miners.  Literally finding nuggets that had been discarded.

There is a Lesson here

As a small time entrepreneur I don’t have the time or the resources to mine the main vein of the market.  That takes big organization and big investment.  I can make a living going through the scree pile to pick out the nuggets.  What?

Many, maybe most of the people that come to this business need money right now.  99% of them leave unfulfilled.  Some come and see the possibility and potential of a long term life and living here.  The big guys get most of these, and a significant fraction of them stick around for a time and at least dabble in the industry.  Some stay and flourish.

It’s a Numbers Game

The miners I mentioned needed to pop 2 ounces of gold from a ton of material to pay expenses and minimal living.  They had to work HARD to process three tons of tailings per day.  6 ounces of gold per day to pay the bills.  This crew was averaging 8 ounces of gold per ton.  Eureka!

But I’m not mining Gold

Ah, but I am.  I am sluicing the tailings from Click Track Profit, and other sites.  CTP does a very good job of bringing the raw material in, then refining it until there are trained and hungry members looking for something to sink their teeth into.  Most of them move on in the company to other things, but a certain small fraction wants and needs my help and assistance.  If I can process .001% of the signups at CTP, I’ll be just fine.  In fact, I’ll be just like the miners at 8 ounces per ton!  Eureka!

But wait, there is more!

It’s not like I am stealing members from CTP.  It’s not like TimTech doesn’t want this to happen, they encourage me and others like me to do so!  It’s in their best interest, too.  Happy money making members are happy money spending members, it’s pretty easy to figure.

And in the End

I’m going to grab my shovel and head on down to the mine.  It takes long, hard work, but the gold is there for the mining.

I’m just sayin’

 

It’s Not Fair

Not now, not Ever

No, it’s not fair.  Nobody  ever said it was going to be fair.  Around here, Fair comes in April, if you start saving your money now, you’ll be sure to have a good time…

Fair is a great concept for sports.  The rules should be fair to both sides with nobody having an advantage before the competition begins.  After the game begins, fairness goes out the window, everyone is seeking maximum advantage all the time.  That’s why there are penalties, to keep the game fair all the time.

Fair Life

Life, though, is not fair.  Someone will always have the advantage on me and I will always have the advantage on someone else.  Many factors play into life, family, education, intelligence, luck.  All these can impact any situation or event, and the distribution of these are not fair.  Sorry to bring this to your attention.

What to Do?

I could sit around all day bellyaching that ‘it’s not fair’.  I tried that for a time in my life, it didn’t take me very far.  In fact, in the overall picture, I lost ground, steadily.

Work.  The great equalizer in any situation or business.  If you outwork the competition at whatever, you can often come out ahead.  It’s NOT fair, but usually, the only way to tip the scales in your advantage is Work.  Hands dirty, back hurts, brain fatigue, work.

In the Long Run

Just plain hard work is no guarantee of success, but it’s not a bad way to bet.  You just can’t overcome some situations no matter what you do, but if you outwork everybody, you will win more than your share.  It’s not fair, but it’s an advantage that we can all use.

And In the End

I’m not going to outwork everybody, I know that.  I will outwork all the lazy one’s and a goodly percentage of the middling people.  That alone will put me in a high enough percentile to win more than my share.  It IS Fair!

I’m just sayin’

 

Snatch and Grab Morality

Morality in the Real World

There is no doubt who owns the rights to any piece of writing, the author does.  But when it comes to Ad copy, there is a little more grey area.

Most companies that promote themselves using affiliates have ad copy and e mails that are there for the taking.  Uncredited, these were usually written by an anonymous writer that sold his work to the company, along with all claim to the copyright.  Many of those freebies are written as if that were the case, too.

But Wait

What about the product owner who writes her own copy?  Does she own the rights to it as if it were a draft of Moby Dick?  Yes, no doubt.  But what happens when that copy is used to promote that product?  What if said copy is delivered by email to an affiliate that also promotes that product?  Do you own the content of email delivered to you?

And the Answer Is

Maybe.  Almost certainly, the author controls the content.  In the real world, product owners are probably happy to see their product promoted with the content that they wrote.  The morality of the situation comes into play with crediting and permission.

Give Credit, Seek Permission

There is an easy answer to this morality play.  Give credit when it is appropriate, and even more important, get permission to use the copy.  It’s really that easy.  Even if it arrived in your inbox, there is undoubtedly a way to contact the author and get permission.

Don’t be a Schlub

If you steal copy from somebody else, you look like you are either too lazy to write your own or too stupid to write your own.  If you get permission to use great copy, you look like a brilliant marketer.  Which would you rather be?

And in the End

This whole topic is a direct result of a conversation at TELive (every weekday at 4:00pm EDT) featuring Brad Webb and Jon Olson.  I think that the very best thing that might come out of this is a regularly scheduled discussion of morality and ethical issues in the industry.  I would welcome that with open arms.

I’m just sayin’

Commission Parable

All Commission Structures are Not Equal

Nervous Times

“And an affiliate asked the master ‘What of commission payments, Master?”

And the Master answered thus

“Some companies are entirely above reproach with their commission payments.  Seek them out to do business with, and you will find happiness.  They pay everyone owed a commission on a routine and regular basis.  These companies consider commissions owed as a liability against their basis and work constantly to keep that ratio low.”

So the affiliate asked “But what of the other companies, Master?  Can we not do business with them?”

After a pause, the Master answered “You must choose carefully in these companies, my son.  If they have no clearly stated commission policy on their website, probably best to leave them alone.  If they have an unreasonable threshold for receiving commission payments, further questioning from you should be followed.  Do they have a separate account where ALL their commissions owed reside?  Do they have oversight on their commission funds?  Do they consider commission payments as simply a part of the general fund?  All of these should be avoided.”

“But Master” the affiliate wailed “some of these companies offer a significantly higher commission rate than the others.  Up to 100% commission rate.  A poor affiliate can make more money on less sales.”

The Master answered very slowly, so as not to confuse the affiliate  “The plum of higher commission rates is often an illusion my son.  Simply an offer made to cause the unsuspecting affiliates to do a volume of work for the company without any intent to pay the commissions.”

“But Master”… the affiliates voice wavered.

“If you are so stinking smart, why don’t you write the book and then you can sit here like a fool answering the same stupid questions day after day? “  The Master sighs…..

I’m just sayin’

And in the End

I had this partially written and was prompted to finish it after listening to friends complaints about getting paid.  So blame Jon and Justin for this

I’m REALLY just sayin’

 

Content is KING

Content is RARE

I read.  I read a LOT.  Books.  Articles.  Blog Posts.  Advertisements.  Tweets.  I read it all…

I had a light bulb moment, the real head slap ahhHaa.  It came to me with the suddenness of a gunshot, not in time like the rising sun…

Most people don’t want to read content, most people don’t want to generate content.  Most people want to BE content!

There is this girl, you see…

Jacinta Crough.  @croughie  She is Australian, and I follow her on twitter.  She tweets links to great content day after day, hour after hour.  EVERY day, new and fresh and interesting and readable.

I have shared her with my followers, I have tweeted and re tweeted.  Near as I can tell, to no avail…

And so the light bulb.  The vast bulk of the people that follow me on twitter don’t care a lick about content, they care about getting their message out.  And only that.

Big Tom’s Great Twitter Corollary

Here it comes, the secret sauce of twitter, guaranteed to bring you amazing success and fame…

“Tweet others as you would be tweeted”   Revolutionary, I know.  Off the edge of the table.  But, alas, not unique to me.  You can even find references to this offline if you look hard enough.

Follow this one simple rule and Twitter can once again become a great place to share information and sources.

Probably not happening, is it?

I’m just sayin’

 

 

Spam is in the Eye of the Beholder

Expert Commentary

Seth Godin wrote a terrific post on the matter yesterday.  You can read it here.  I’ll wait while you do.

Is it really Necessary?

I get at least 50 spams per day from program owners that want to remind me to come check out their program.  I really don’t need daily (even less, multi daily) reminders that you exist and that you want my visit.  Really.  Almost all go directly to the trash with out opening.  Why?  Because it hasn’t changed significantly from yesterday.  If you want me to notice you, send some fresh content once in a while, not prepackaged every day or more.

I get another 200 or so spams that make it past my spam filters (which grab about 500 per day) from people that have bought my name from a ‘double opt in contact list’.  Yes, I did the double opt in for what ever I wanted to see, but not for yours.  Most of these get the un-subscribe treatment, but my name just keeps being re sold.  Ugh.

It’s more than email

My website is gaining in popularity, and that is a great thing.  But the spam comments are gong way up…10 per day or more, much more than the legitimate comments.  I have one IP that tries it at least 4 times daily.  Had a really creative guy today that posted a link to his blog post.  Hubcap City.  No blog to be found.  Yes, I check every one.  If I don’t know you, and you don’t have a picture, your chances are less than average for leaving a comment on this site.  Don’t take it personal, get with Gravatar and have a picture you can use.

My Part

I send a newsletter type e mail to my contact list about every 10 days.  I try real hard to put some content that will interest people in the piece as well as telling what I’ve been up to and how it’s working out for me…My unsubscribe numbers are very good so far, it must be working….

And in the End

I really like Spam…the product that is made from pork, that is.  The rest, I really dislike.  I promise to try not to be part of the problem…

I’m just sayin’

 

Urgency

I GOTTA Get This Done

I always write with a certain urgency, because I know from past experience, that one day the words won’t run out of my fingers.  It happens to me from time to time, and seems nothing I can do for it.

Nothing to be Done

Nothing to do for the day when the words won’t come…or is there?

I can have some words pre written, I call it having a post ‘on the hook’, ready to go when nothing happens.

I can (and do) write at a regular pace, regular time.  0300 local time seems best for me, so I sit down and try to mangle out a set number of words every day.  They don’t always have to be the right words, but need to be pointed in the right direction.

I can edit.  Some days it is just best to go through the task of editing mangled words into usable content.  If the thought is pure and good when I write them, editing will often turn them into something legible and readable.

Urgency Revisited

So.  Why am I sitting here at 0400 urgently trying to get today’s blog post into useable shape?  Several reasons, all of which sound like excuses to me right now.

I finished a project yesterday, the end could have been postponed until today.  Sorta.  The flow was real good yesterday, I really like what I wrote, and I wrote a lot.  Fuhgit about yesterday.

I could have used my ‘hook’ post, except I was fired up on Wednesday and used much of the material in the ‘hook’ file on that post.  It’s still there, but I won’t be able to use it for at least a couple of weeks.

Change the Things I Can

What to do?

I can write at least one more ‘hook’ post this weekend.  2 would be better.

I can adapt my urgency into a little better schedule, where I have a day or two of cushion left in every project.  Editing days or something.

Add one or two days to every project, so I’m not left with a huge percentage near the end of the project.  Try to spread more writing into the earlier parts, where I am typically researching and taking notes.

And In the End…

Urgency is a part of how I work.  I need to accept that.  Worry about the urgency is a part of my make up.  I already know that.

I realize that this is mostly personal to me.  I hope someone, somewhere, can get something usable out of this…That will make two of us very happy!

I’m just sayin’

 

Copyright Infringement

 

It’s Easy and it’s Cheap

Pretty impressive title, right?  Two words that total 20 letters?

No big deal, if it’s on the web it must be mine to use, right?

Music and Film

Copyright infringement costs the business billions.  Many billions every year.  But it’s just taking a little from the big studios, right?  I mean they’ll never miss it if I just take a song or movie or two…besides, they are big, evil corporations that try to keep entertainment out of the hands of legitimate fans.  Right?

Printed Media

So much stuff is available online, it can’t be a problem with my reading or posting something that someone else has written, can it?  Copyright Infringement just doesn’t hurt a thing here, because it is so available, right?  If one site prints it, another should be able to, right?  It’s just the public flow of information, after all.

Images

All the pretty pictures.  Copyright infringement surely can’t come into play here.  That Gecko is so cute, and looks so good on my website, how can that be a problem?  And the pretty girls, you know they look good wherever I put them.  One little cartoon character on my mail?  What does that hurt?  I mean they look good!

Not So Much

Let’s cut the bullshit.  It’s not copyright infringement, it’s THEFT.  You are stealing something that another put her heart and soul into.  My sweat, your gain?  Really?  You think that’s OK?  You put the cartoon character in your email signature, your are a thief.  You read copyright book for free and it’s theft.  You ‘use’ a song or film from a ‘sharing site’ and it’s theft.  THEFT!  What did your mother tell you about stealing?

Person to Person

Copyright infringement is taking food off MY table.  I am always dumbfounded when one of my photographs shows up somewhere without my name on it.  Here’s the thing:  You like one of my photos?  I will gladly grant permission for you to use them if only you credit me for the photo.  You don’t even have to request permission, just credit it.  That easy.

You want to read my book, but can’t afford the four bucks?  No problem.  Contact me through my website, tell me, I’ll send you an author’s copy for free.  Really.  Be glad to.  Industry estimates are that more people have read my book (and many others) illegally than have purchased it.  Food.  Table.  Mine.

And in the End

You are going to do what you are going to do, I know that.  For crying out loud, please call it what it is.  Theft.  You are stealing from me and countless others, at least have the decency to use the right words.

I’m just sayin’