Making Money Online | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 12

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Pixelotto Early Screenshot Revealed!

Yesterday I wrote about Alex Tew’s new “idea” which is at the time of the blog entry about 4-days away from launch. Today, someone has posted a screenie of it with a few pixels already sold. It looks like the MDHP, but really, really purple.

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Techcrunch is in a day late on the story here (that’s not a dig, just a fact). They think it’s stupid. We’ll see.

Alex Tew, the mastermind behind The Million Dollar Homepage is most certainly pressing his luck. Tew sold one million pixels worth of advertisement for $1 per pixel and made $1 million. It worked so well that he thinks he can do it again, this time for twice the price.

Tew is reportedly on the verge of launching a second site called Pixelotto. Instead of selling each pixel for $1, he plans to sell each pixel for $2, plus hold some kind of lottery where the winner who clicks the right advertisement will win $1 million.

I will gladly eat my words if Tew can pull this off but I just don’t think that lightning strikes twice. It was a good idea…once! Second time around, it’s not, as Michael Arrington calls it, “another stupid, brilliant idea.” It’s just a stupid idea.

I’m still intrigued, however, I agree with the commentors and buzz from most people that I wish he would have done something original, or at the very least not about pixels, which are so played.

Blatent sellout advertisement for myself: Go visit an original idea that is better than the MillionDollarHomePage.

Alex Tew’s Latest Project: Pixelotto

The buzz is brewing around an email that Alex Tew sent out to the previous purchasers of the MillionDollarHomePage.com from last year. Turns out that he’s launching a new program called Pixelotto, which is going to be some kind of pixel advertising and blog traffic thing that has a big promotional edge to it…

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He’s promising that someone who participates is going to win a million bucks! I have to admit, this guy caught lightening in a bottle the first time, and now he’s got enough clout to do it again, assuming it’s good. I think it will be.

The MillionDollarHomePage spun off countless other imitators, yet nobody could duplicate his success, not even close. I’ll admit, his concept got me thinking and that’s why I created AwesomeMillion.com, which is completely different and has nothing to do with pixels, we just borrowed the “million” part of it for the fun of it. Sounds better than “AwesomeHundred.com” eh?

Here’s the email that was sent out.

Next week, on 5th December, I am launching a new venture called ‘Pixelotto’.
It’s similar to The Million Dollar Homepage only this time I will be giving
away $1,000,000!

It’s all based around pixel advertising and generating big traffic for
advertisers. Visitors play for free – all they have to do is click on the
ads for chances to win the jackpot. The more they click, the more chances
they have – and the more traffic you receive.

As a valued customer of The Million Dollar Homepage, I’d like to give you an
exclusive opportunity to purchase advertising space on Pixelotto before the
site goes public. The world will be watching next week and this is your
chance to get on-board before everyone else.

If you visit the site now you just see a coming soon image. Can’t wait for next week to check it out!

How To Be A Thought-Leader, Garner Respect & Make Money… The Right Way

Read this from Marketing Pilgrim, then come back.

Andy says: “I try to be selective about which affiliate ads I run on the site, as I don’t want to fill the site with crap I would never use.”

What a mind-blowing concept! Oh wait, it gets better. Andy goes out of his way to fully disclose, in the very first sentence of his blog entry no less!

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Andy says: “Regular readers will notice the addition of Mozy as a Marketing Pilgrim advertiser.”

And even more… fully disclosing, and explaining why, his affiliate link to the product.

Andy says: “So “yes”, it’s an affiliate, but it’s also a great free tool that everyone should consider using.”

So let’s review, shall we? Andy has successfully promoted a product on his blog using the following attributes.

1. Full disclosure
2. Clear explanation
3. Promoting something he truly believes in (not just for a buck)

This is how you do it. This is how you become, and stay a thought-leader… respected in your community, yet still use your blog to make money.

Good work Andy. I’d be curious to see how many more signups you will probably get through your affiliate link just by being honest and providing value as opposed to trying to slide something in just to make a buck.

My cynicism for the day has passed, good night.

I’m An Online Marketing Snob, Because I Care, Do You?

Barry Parr of Jupiter Research says it loud and clear. “Our research shows that consumers see social news sites as less trustworthy than news media or portal sites — by a fairly wide margin.” Source.

Let’s backtrack. I am an online marketing snob. Anything that helps “game the system” is in direct conflict with my prime directive of working to keep online marketing as a legitimate business in the minds of the “outside world”. Why? Because I care. I work in this business and I’m sick and tired of seeing the scammers drag our brand into the mud.

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Today I’m refocusing on Digg, or any other social networking site. Amy Gahran, over at The Right Conversation gets into it with a piece about social network spam. In her article she points to Naill Kennedy who “diggs” even deeper to outline the entire mystery.

Here’s a summary: People have figured out a way to get exposure on social media sites like Digg in order to push bogus content/sites that make them money either by CPA (cost per action/sale) or CPC (cost per click).

Naill’s conclusion (dead on):

I believe social media accounts are currently available for rent or for sale, rewarding active users with paid placements or account resells in much the same way as a World of Warcraft character might be resold on eBay. Social media sites and search engines need to stay on top of this new form of content creation, continually analyzing data and scrubbing out the dirt. Sites overrun with web spam quickly lose their utility and might be banned from search engines.

Social media sites continue to change the way we interact with data but expect more activity and content shaping in the future from marketers targeting the social media space for a quick link injection.

So, what are we gonna do about it? Education is the key, so keep blogging the positive fight.

My Apology To John Chow, Dot Com Mogul + Branding Advice!

I admit I’ve been a bit too snarky in the last week or so in the comments over at JohnChow.com, and for that, I do apologize John. As Kramer said, “I need to learn to control my rage”. Alright, I didn’t go to quite that level of disgusting rage. :o

Here’s the deal John. It’s not that you don’t have a good blog, you do for the most part. It’s not that I don’t think you offer some decent information that helps people, you do.

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My Problem With JohnChow.com – To Be Taken Constructively

I’m a snob when it comes to online marketing. I admit it, I tend to look down on things like multi-level marketing, and get rich quick schemes. Some may work, but most don’t, and to me they make our industry look scummy. Those things are the underside of real online marketing as it exists as a legitimate business model. Again, I’m a snob.

So when I visit a site like yours John, I tend to get very antagonistic, and here’s why.

You are a thought-leader, like it or not. You brand yourself as one at least. You have a semi-large subscriber base, and you have positioned yourself as an authority. That means that people listen to you, especially the vast majority of newbies who are trying to learn their way around our industry, or simply trying to find an honest way to make a buck online.

As a thought-leader, I believe it is our responsibility to educate these readers without gaming them. Sure, it’s good to make money because of our readers in many ways… but not at their expense.

Case in point, your push on Agloco. You have the right to blog about whatever you want, and push anything you want, of course, that’s not my issue. What bothers me is that by pushing this multi-level system to your audience, you’re essentially gaming them for your own personal gain.

“I have ads on my blog too Jim, and Adsense, what about them, isn’t that gaming my readers?”

Answer: No, here’s the difference. You get ad money because you’re a thought-leader, and you offer helpful advice. There’s a line (in my opinion), and you cross it with your readers (in my opinion) when you continue to push somethink like Agloco that benefits you directly through a downline.

So again, I apologize. Now at least you understand where I’m coming from.

I only ask you this…

Do you want to be known as a thought-leader, well respected in your community… or that internet marketing guy who pushes stuff just to make a buck?

There is no right answer, either is fine. Just pick one.

Edelman’s Lack Of Creativity Sinking The Ship

I fully expected a big-time PR agency like Edelman to bank hard into the turn and speed up when they got bumped with this entire Walmart fiasco.

To me, this wasn’t something you tried to let fade away as a tactic. But then again, what do I know? I’ve never run a madison avenue type PR firm. However, I know bloggers, and blogs, and I know how they think/work, and this was a blogging issue. So perhaps maybe I’m even more qualified than they are?

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I contacted Richard Edelman shortly after the story broke to present an idea to him, which he replied and said he thought it was good and he forwarded it to Steve Rubel for consideration, but I never heard back about.

At the time I had just released my BlogKits Blog Honor Badges, built to help raise awareness for bloggers who want to be able to make money, but who won’t try to fool their readers in the process.

My idea: Let’s work on an official set of badges for PR firms, independent of the WOMMA, who by the way is now considering kicking Edelman out of.

If done right, this would have been, could have been, a classic lemons to lemonade story. Instead of hiding from the story, why not embrace it, take your lumps and do something to proactively make a change for the better? Something that proves you are repentent.

There’s always a way to make things better if you can think creatively. Would this have worked? Not sure, but done right it would have won back the bloggers. But maybe they simply don’t care about them?

The Copyblogger Is Right, Keep It Simple, Tell A Story

If you’re not already reading Brian Clark’s www.copyblogger.com, then you should go there now and subscribe.

Side note: I know two Brian Clarks. That one, read up, and the Brian Clark who is a founder of ReveNews and runs Indiewire.

Back to the Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com. Today he writes a great post entitled ‘The Five Essential Elements of an Influential Blog‘.

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    What makes a blog influential?

    Influence is often attributed to traffic and readership levels. But in reality, those are actually benefits that are symptomatic of something that precedes them.

    How do we get people to pay attention to what we say in the first place?

    Ultimately, a blog catches on just like any other idea spreads—it must somehow speak to people in a way that they want to hear. Your posts must fill a human need, and that will most often be at an emotional level, no matter how practical we think our subject matter is.

You know, I’m already into this newly revamped blog for 24-hours or so and I believe I’ve already lost a bit of the simplicity I was going for. I suppose I could write that off as me learning my way here, but in reality, I’ve been blogging long enough to know that’s an excuse.

So what is this blog supposed to be about? Let me try to explain using Brian’s five points.

1. Simplicity
JimKukral.com is built to give me an outlet to talk about online marketing. But specifically, I want to talk about creative and outrageous online marketing ideas. I want to be able to help small businesses and other bloggers learn how to think like I do to better market their companies. To me, that’s fun. Somehow I simply have to get that into the content.

2. Unexpected
I don’t believe a lot of people have as many crazy ideas that I have. So I’m a bit of wild card when it comes to thinking in such a manner. After all, I did invent the AwesomeMillion.com, and the soon to be released Big Brown Box project (not adult related people, move along).

3. Concrete
Got to stay on topic with information that makes sense for your specific audience. For this blog, that’s small businesses and anyone else who wants to think, I hate to say it, “out of the box”. Yuck, I hate that phrase, but it works.

4. Credible
I think I have this covered, but I need to prove it even further with this new blog.

5. Story
Keep the information flowing in a way that tells a story, and is still valuable. I get it. I think also that integrating your personal “style” into your blog brings our your personality as well. I always go by the mantra you “should write like you talk.” Fortunately for me, I talk very frank and conversational. :0

Referral Marketing Better Then Affiliate Marketing?

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Zachary Rodgers at the ClickZ news blog picks up on a discussion we’ve been having over at ReveNews that I started last week about renaming affiliate marketing.

Craig Danuloff chimes in with a good option: Referral Marketing. What do you think? I think I like that the best so far.

This is a hot topic in the affiliate marketing circles. I’ve been approached by many people privately to discuss it even further. Is it truly possible to change it? Who knows? But it’s worth talking about.

Online Video Still Has One Big Problem

Sam over at Costpernews writes that Valueclick has officially launched their video network.

Ok, so, it’s a network that streams videos, right? Here’s the problem I’ve been talking about for over a year now.

It’s still not that easy to make good videos. So if you don’t have the capability to create an entertaining, not boring, video, it really doesn’t matter if you can stream it as an “ad”, does it?

Nothing against ValueClick. I think that this is a needed solution. However, when I look at the world of performance marketing, I see only a few small top brands even trying to give video a shot, then even being able to do it well. I do believe that affiliates would kill for video content however.

I still think we need more ways for the small business owners to get into the video business. Personally, I think companies like Rovion are doing the right thing in terms of pricing and technology. However, even then it’s still a jump for many small businesses.

Overall, I think this is a niece portofolio piece for Valueclick shareholders mostly. Will it get used? We’ll see.

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