Year End Post

So we finished up at Elite Retreat yesterday. It was a bunch of fun and I think it went amazingly well. Today I am flying out at 6 AM, and thus am sleeping on the plane flight (twice in 4 days). I am moving into my new place today, and will be trying to be as lazy as possible for the rest of the year, so this blog may go without any new posts. As a 16 year old kid it was not uncommon for me to make $150 to $200 a day selling baseball cards on the weekend. When I think of how small that marketplace was, how naive and ignorant to business and marketing I was back then, how much I have learned about search and marketing since then, and then compare my income to the size of opportunity the web offers, it seems silly that I don't put a bit more effort into blowing up a large bank account.

Next year I intend to heavily dip into the arbitrage and affiliate markets. I want to shy away from reading so much about search and put much more effort into manipulating many many many more search results.

I also intend to create a site or two which is the equivalent of this site, but in different marketplaces. I am getting somewhat burned out on this site because I get the same things over and over again, and part of that fault is that for many, the attraction of SEO is the idea of creating value out of nothing, but most of us who are making money from SEO do so because we couple it with other knowledge, and / or work hard. The other part of the problem is that if I am not learning fast I feel I am dying, and it is hard to answer hundreds of daily emails, track the markets, go to conferences, stay in decent shape, save time to read and learn, while still launching other sites and ideas.

Some of the more annoying things that make me cringe

  • random instant messages from people I don't know who immediately try to extract value from me or pitch me outsourcing services

  • the emails that start with something like bought your book and was too lazy to read it. teach me everything about SEO.
  • emails from people who got scammed by some packaged solution provider that starts there service calls by asking the all important question how much room do you have on your credit card
  • the emails that tell me that I must be a scammer and the only way I am not is if I give the emailer my ebook for free
  • the scumbags who buy my ebook and then do a chargeback (costing me their $10 more than their order price) when it is probably easier and quicker just to ask for a refund
  • the emails that start with something like bought your ebook. have not read it. want a consult RIGHT NOW. or can I schedule my 15 minute consult for 4 am Saturday 3 weeks out so I can ask you to wake weird hours, blow you off, and then ask you to schedule it again.
  • Emails from greedy business people who expect me to give them multi million dollar rankings for a couple thousand dollars. I love telling these people exactly what I think of them.
  • the automated blog comments that mention the Holocaust
  • politicians that try to undermine free markets and free speech under the guise of saving the children (while dropping bombs on thousands of them in other countries to try to gain control of their oil supplies)
  • a government that outsources the printing of its own currency and goes in debt just to issue it (allegedly to help maintain its value) which is compelled to try to legislate religious and moral values. If you can't be trusted to maintain the value of your own currency then what other values can you be trusted to maintain?
  • prentending that wealth is created independantly of poverty and inequality
  • politicians and media companies that lie about global warming and push us to live under blind faith or a love of material things at the expense of our future
  • being shallow and materialistic
  • realizing how far away I am from my potential and how the world deserves so much better from me
  • realizing that when I see deep faults in others, it is just a reflection of my own flaws that I am unhappy with
  • when I let little things or little people get to me and control my emotions and cause me to do stupid or self destructive things

If I can tell a person what I think of them in 3 words there is no reason to type 6 emails. I will do my best to be as happy as possible, and, where necessary, be more crass and curt to people who make me cringe.

People and things that make me smile

  • Giovanna

  • thinking of California and a snow free winter
  • learning
  • laughing
  • working out
  • Radiohead and other good music
  • partnering with many great business friends
  • thinking of all the cool things people have done to help me out
  • thinking of all the cool tips and tricks friends have taught me
  • reading feedback from and meeting people who say I have helped them
  • knowing that lots of cool people read this blog and leave comments that help teach me, in spite of me typing pure drivl from time to time

Blog Tag - 5 Things You Didn't Know About Aaron Wall

So there is a blog meme about learning things about bloggers. I was tagged by Dean, Jeremy, and Stuntdubl.

Here are 5 things you may not have known about me:

  1. I once emailed Tim Berners-Lee and he emailed me back.

  2. I met my first and only girlfriend through this blog. She bought my ebook. I love the interwebs :)
  3. I play sports too hard, and while being uncoordinated, I recently served in a game a tennis to my girlfriend at about 85 miles an hour. I won, and was feeling cool, until I realized I threw my back out. :)
  4. I am an air hockey lover, and last year I lost my ego and sense of self-worth when I lost at air hokey to my step father.
  5. I was a nuclear reactor operator before doing SEO. Just like Homer Simpson, but on a submarine.

I tag Werty, MrTurner, Simit, Neil Patel, and Andy Hagans.

Hear Me On Good Karma Today

I am going to be chatting with Greg Niland today on Good Karma about SEO and other fun stuff at 4PM Eastern.

Please tune in, and if you have something you would like to hear us discuss, mention it below and I will see if we can chat about it.

Roast Me, Please!

Here is your chance to roast me. :)

I just did a pretty big update to SEO Book, and am having a guy who goes by the nickname the grammar hammer edit my ebook at the moment. What parts of it could use some improvement? The feedback I have been getting covers a wide range, but usually it is biased toward being positive. In fact, so much so, that I was recently criticised for not having enough easily accessible negative feedback.

I was stoked when I was recently carbon copied on this email from one of my friends who recently purchased my ebook for a friend of his:

Merry Christmas ____,
SEO Book download link

My advice: don't read it on the clock while working for me :-)

Here are the steps:

1) Read the book, straight through
2) Make a web site, rank it, and make $100
3) Read the book again

Then talk to me, and we make a site together. That's when you get rich. Do 1, 2 and 3 first though.

But it is much harder to get negative feedback outside of grammar criticisms (which hopefully the grammar hammer will fix and help prevent me from making going forward). Rarely do people who ask for refunds want to give any feedback. And while I have been trying to keep up with email, I still have to mix it up now and then to prevent getting burned out, and most of my email feedback has been positive.

If you have read the newest version of SEO Book what parts of it do you think could use some improvement? What parts could use some contraction or expansion?

Also many customers have asked me about shifting to a business model where I offered something like a monthly newsletter for a recurring subscription fee. Does that sound like a good or bad call?

Brian Clark helped me rewrite my salesletter. The new salesletter will be published on Thursday, and the old sales letter will be placed on a different URL so people can see a before and after of the sales letter. In the near future I will also interview him about copywriting, and he will use my salesletter as a before and after test case on his blog. His readers have been critiquing my current sales letter.

Broken Technology

I hate when technology or forms of communication break or are unreliable...yet as I try to do more faster it keeps happening more and more. Maybe it is just operator error. Recently...

I accidentally labeled a ton of emails as spam in Gmail and now real emails are mixed in about 30,000 + spam emails. In spite of clicking undo afterwords Google didn't undo it.

Google's Gmail spam filters must be using me as the test user who filters out all spam for everyone else. Thanks Google.

I haven't responded to a lot of email recently. I hope to catch up before the week is out. Not sure if I will ever dig through all the mislabeled spam though.

Some jerks have comment spammed some of my blogs so bad that I had to block letters of the alphabet on some of them.

Last weekend I threw my back out playing tennis with my new girlfriend. I have only ever played about a dozen times ever and was serving some serves at about 85 miles an hour with a cutting spin on them. I won, but I wasn't able to walk until today, and it still hurts. Who knew I was such a typical alpha male idiot when it comes to sports? :)

I am bad at talking to San Fransisco area realtors...sorta regret even wanting to rent a place instead of just waiting a year to buy one.. I don't understand how some of them have issues with your credit if your credit scores are nearly perfect, you have no debt, and can pay a whole year lease upfront on a one year lease (even if that is like $40,000). I hate moving when I know that I am just going to move again soon.

A friend of mine had a host that didn't support custom .htaccess. I moved her site and her email worked intermittently off the start. The next day it worked all the time.

I added a ReviewMe ad to Threadwatch yesterday, and it only showed up intermittently until randomly it started showing up all the time today (editing Drupal is not my skill).

I am almost done updating SEO Book. Hope to have a new version out today.

What have you broken recently? What has been broken for you? What do you wish was better or easier?

When is Too Much Too Much?

I feel a bit guilty about blogging with a bit less passion recently, and perhaps coming off as a bit infomercially, but that is largely a function of me taking on far too many things at once while also changing my life REALLY fast. So some of the things I am doing right now include...

  • rewriting my ebook (which has been tougher than expected...not so much due to market shifts, but due to how much I have learned about marketing playing on the social web and reading books about linguistics, history, markets, value / authority based systems, and business. when my book first was created it was moreless "here is how to spam google" but as time passes it is becoming "everything you need to know about internet marketing"

  • working on the ReviewMe launch (and reading endless streams of feedback that we need to integrate into improving the system)
  • working on Elite Retreat (check out the flames I got here)
  • speaking at Pubcon a couple times this week
  • answering about 100 or so emails every day
  • fighting off about 300 blog comment spams a day - how low is the person who comment spams about the Holocaust and doesn't even check if the links stick? WTF?
  • learning a lot about the social web
  • keeping up with search news (this is getting more difficult daily because Google wants to make any and every type of communication and advertising a free service which runs through Google)
  • helping run Threadwatch (thanks to the editors and community members over there for kicking ass)
  • working for larger corporate clients with the Caveman
  • working on about a half dozen large content websites (including implementing associated viral marketing ideas)
  • I mention some of the viral marketing ideas heavily on this site because to me showing examples really helps solidify what I am trying to say...some people learn much better by seeing or doing than just reading about a concept.

In addition to doing all of that online I have been doing quite a bit offline. And this is what presents the real pinch point because up until a couple months ago just about everything I did revolved around telling myself that it was OK for me to work on the web 18 hours a day. But out of that I was in terrible physical shape, depressed, and quite lonely. I was making comfortably over $1,000 a day, but in spite of sitting in a sweet Aeron chair and having a Tempurpedic bed my back was hurting... I was anything but comfortable, so I decided to start living again. In the last few months:

  • I decided I am moving to San Fransisco bay area before the year is out

  • I started eating healthy (cut the drinking, junk food, and sugar - did you know just how much sugar acts like a hardcore drug?) and started working out (about 3 hours a day) and lost 40 pounds
  • I went from always depressed self destructive guy to always happy guy (and it is really hard to balance how much you work when your motivation, outlook, and perspective on life suddenly and totally flip)
  • I met a kick ass kick ass girl (who played a large roll in all of the above items)

So sorry if I have been spotty with blogging or email responses and for the delay in updating my ebook. Am trying to do more offline in conjunction with doing way too much online. Thanks for reading this post and even reading my blog at all (especially after the recent uninspired / infomercially blogging). It is you who reads this site that makes all of my happiness and other opportunities available. If you see me in Vegas please do say hi and let me buy you a drink...but don't buy one for me...I usually drink too much and I am on a diet! :)

Too Much To Do...

So I need to rewrite my ebook and finish writing another website this weekend and throughout next week.

When I started this site I never imagined that it would get as much traffic as it does. When I first wrote my ebook I never imagined customers would buy as many of them as they have. When I placed the consulting button ad on my site I never imagined that I would average over 1 a day. But recently I have been wrong many times over ;)
Thanks for helping to make me so wrong. :)

I put a notice up at the top of the consulting page that I can not do any more consultations until October. If you already paid, or I have already worked with you, I can squeeze you in, but I can't take on any more new clients and still be able to do all of the other things I want to. There are only 7 work days in the week!

Plus I need to make sure my book is as good as I can make it. I don't want to do so much stuff that I am stuck putting out bad product. If I do not post much for the next few days it is because I am trying to catch up with non-blog stuff.


So I am going to Europe for a couple weeks. Most of the time in Amsterdam. Which should be fun.

I am going to try to stay off the web for two weeks. Start your blog spam scripts. Or hopefully, please don't!

Hear Me on GoodKarma Radio Today

I believe that at 4PM Eastern today I am going to be talking on GoodROI's Good Karma webmaster radio show.

Not sure what all we will talk about just yet, but hopefully it is a bunch of fun.

Tax Time...

So, tommorrow I have an appointment to go over my taxes. I haven't started putting them all together yet, so I may not be blogging much today or tomorrow ;)

I make most of my profits from this site, but in many ways this site has thrust so much opportunity on me that it is mind boggling. In the past I wasted many great opportunities by lying to myself about what I am good at and where I should focus my efforts.

Recently I decided to expand my business and web presence significantly beyond this site, realizing that I can't do everything I want to if I do it all on my own, and that having a vested interest in many other ideas will help me learn. The main desire to expand comes from wanting a broader knowledge base and experience base. While I could do really well by just focusing on this site I think the stuff I will learn from getting a much more broad experience set will increase my understanding of the web, marketing, and business in general.

Here are some of the cookie jars I have put my hands in over the past few months (most cookie jars involve at least 1 friend partnering):

  • buying a few old websites (been doing this on my own, though got some cool ideas from chatting with Jim Boykin and Stuntdubl)

  • creating lots of content for them (hired one friend to make some content, hired another friend to fix broken links and write content, and partnered with a friend for some of the other content)
  • starting 2 content networks (this is going unfortunately slow, largely due to resource limits, especially when compared to the instant ROI provided by the older more established sites)
  • buying Threadwatch and then taking DaveN on as a partner
  • trying to learn affiliate marketing a bit more aggressively (while he doesn't talk too much about it in public, Andy Hagans is a bad ass at it for being somewhat new to that market)
  • partnering with a friend to try to make a social network (I think I have a good idea with this, and a good viral marketing idea)
  • partnering with a friend to try to make another network (this one is just a bit out there. I would be a minority stake holder in it. Am chatting with the majority guy to try to make it pretty innovative, but they are being a bit more traditional than my uber idealistic - and perhaps a bit flawed for being a bit too idealistic - original idea.)
  • hiring a programmer - I think it would be cool to have a full time programmer to make lots of random fun or good ideas. I am sure eventually as I get further into the affiliate stuff he will help come up with some cool content ideas.
  • ownership stake in 3 companies (one of which may already be in the hurt locker, but the second and third could not be looking any brighter)
  • that second company has more potential profit in its first month than I made in all of 2004, largely because I joined up with an absolutely kick ass partner
  • the third company could be much larger than the second
  • working on some rather large client projects

So hopefully I will post saturday...think I am going to turn IM and email off so I can start on taxes ;)