Video Games that Teach You Marketing

Not entirely search related here, but some good marketing, etc. (and of course the games are fun)

Grand Theft Auto

An uproar over hidden, sexually explicit scenes in the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" spread to the halls of Congress on Monday.

How much marketing $$,$$$,$$$.$$ is THAT exposure worth? Games are already going for over $70 on eBay.

You run around as a kid learning various psychic tricks, and you jump into the minds of various people to collect their thought figments, clear their mental cobwebs, and fix their problems.

If you pick up some of the trends it may make it easier to see what drives other people to do things, which would make link requests, writing linkable articles, and creating linkable tools much easier. Psychonauts is amazing.

What other fun video games help teach good marketing?

CJU - Commission Junction University - Worth Going?

Commission Junction is one of the largest third party affiliate marketing networks. Every year they hold a conference out in Santa Barbra. This year it is occuring from September 18-20th.

I have not done much affiliate marketing yet, but was wondering is there good value in going to CJU? I believe they sell out early, so anyone gone and recommend it? Is there value in going? Is it just for really new people? Do you think I would probably learn a bunch, or make good contacts by going?

New SEO Business Model? Search Engine Optimization Competitive Research Analysis Reports

So a person recently sent me an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing the top ranked sites for particular competitive keywords each month, stating why I think each of the sites are there (currently a large factor in that is of course linkage data, but some of the factors will change over time as SEO becomes more complex and search engines use user feedback).

Is there a business model in selling that as a general monthly subscription service? I can see a $20 to $200 monthly subscription fee for exceptionally in depth ones that cover why all the top ranked sites rank for a specific broad term. Perhaps the initial release could be free to build a buzz and backdated ones could also be sold one off for a greater amount to create another revenue stream and make the subscriptions seem like a better deal. Maybe even let subscribers suggest and / or bid to see what terms they would like covered.

Perhaps should someone sell specific competitive intelligence SEO reports? I am sure the specific reports could easily fetch anywhere from $100 to $30,000 depending on how they were marketed and how much care and personalization was placed in creating them. I know whatever I charged I could certainly deliver at least that much value to the right customers.

Is it bad karma to uncover the work of others and make it public? I could imagine that could make some enemies or legal fees quickly, but people have not been spending as much as one would expect on research and some of the competitive intelligence products are not exceptionally in depth for their prices. After paying a couple hundred dollars to try Keyword Intellignece I was less than impressed by the features and lack of depth of their keyword research information.

So the questions are:

  • Do you think there is a market for such a service?

  • Is it better to do a subscription generic service or a specialized one?
  • Do you think the risks and legal expenses outweigh the potential rewards? Top ranking sites for competitive broad phrases probably have lots of money and may have used at least some shady techniques to get there. I can't imagine people like their errors and techniques going public.
  • What would you be willing to pay for said services?
  • What all information would you want on the reports?
  • Does anyone offer any services like these yet? If not, why isn't someone doing this yet? There has got to be a ton of money to be made. There has to be some demand there for real time SEO competitive knowledge case studies.

The Affiliate List... an Interesting Thread

So a while ago NickW GrayWolf posted a thread about the affiliate list, which is a list of information related to top affiliate marketers.

The post in and of itself is not that interesting, but the conversation below it is. Nick GrayWolf threw something out there that might have been good or might have been bad, and the audience decided. From that thread it appears some of the things surrounding the affiliate list are a bit dodgy. Hate threads always suck (and I have been the featured guest of many of them), but this thread is prettymuch a how to guide on piss poor word of mouth marketing.

Jeff Molander, the creator of the Affiliate List, jumped in the thread to try to defend his product, but berates anyone who does not see eye to eye with his position. Some people on the list want off it and Jeff does not appear keen on letting them off. In escence he is selling contact data about people who stated they do not want to be contacted.

Jeff appears to be forgetting the memory of the web. At one point in time he talks of gaining access to proprietary data

If it remains a mystery as to where I've seen the data (that allows me to pass judgment on retail focused affiliates) after helping found an affiliate network, lead the sales effort at the leading affiliate data services provider and manage dozens of programs as an outsourced services provider to marketers

and soon he acts as though those words were never wrote.

There are many other contridictions in the thread, but the whole point is that if you are angering a large group of people you should know your words are going to be held against you. The best thing to do is either not participate in the thread, or be accepting of some of the feedback it offers.

You rarely are going to get criticised for playing new, naive, or empanthy cards; typing things like "well I guess I never looked at it that way" or "that's a good point" or "yeah, I probably should fix that. thanks for the great feedback". Whenever you lay the "you are all dumb and this is a bogus hate thread" card it is hard to win over supporters. It becomes hard to see your point of view.

Another important issue Lots0 raised in the thread is that if people have a legitimate opportunity for you then you should be able to seek it out. You shouldn't be ready, willing, and excited to work with most of the people who email or call you up with a deal out of the blue.

Affiliates and marketers should usually chose their products rather than letting affiliate program managers try to chose you. If someone has a great opportunity it is only a matter of time until you should run into it if you are truely interested in the topic.

More than any thread I have read in a long time that thread demonstrates how web conversations are different from other conversations, as the people in the thread gain knowledge and better perspective from each additional post. Jeff is trying to invoke Nick into butchering the thread, but I hope Nick sees past Jeff's juvenile attempts.

Evil SEO Business Models: Hate Site Networks & Mafia Styled Ranking Manipulation

So like Google's motto, usually I try not to be evil. Sometimes I think of random evil thoughts though. I can't help it, sometimes I forget to wear the tinfoil hat... ;)

I have been contacted by an increasing number of corporations who want me to bury negative websites. Some general feedback sites with good root authority have inner pages which are ranking for a wide variety of business names.

What would happen if a person set up a network of sites to collect feedback about various companies, knowing that they would get mostly negative responses? Throw in a dash of promotion and a link to us reminders and you are ranking for many business names.

Have someone else inform people of the hate sites and maybe there is a subscription SEO business model burying the bad news. If they stop paying for your services you go about removing links for some sites and build a few for the negative site.

Of course if the businesses are too well connected and some stuff is sold in the wrong way I think it could be extortion or something, so I am not trying to promote that.

There has to be a way to make money leveraging the ability to bury bad news. Then again, depending on what bad news you were trying to bury that could be evil too.

Marketing is a Scam Part 38 - Renewing Wedding Vows

Looking through keyword research databases it is funny to see how much more volume there is for wedding vows than there are for people renewing their weddings.

People sell weddings as being the perfect day, even though most of them end in divorce.

Normally I wouldn't look at that sort of data, but an old client wants me to rewrite their meta tags. A total waste of time, but if it makes them happy, oh well...Meta tags? I do.


On another funny note, I have a strange desire to put gay wedding vows next to Christian wedding vows in their meta keywords tags...but I resisted.

Yahoo! Search DMCA, Copywriting Advice, Google AdSense Supports Warez Sites

Yahoo! DMCA Policy:
bogus, removing sites without ANY sort of notification. They really ought to work on that. (from TW)

Bad Copywriting Advice:

You can also use copy from the site (no links), like the section where it says, "The only current SEO Book on the planet. Buy the industry standard #1 ranked SEO Book. What do the search engines think?" Etc.

Especially copy on this page:

How can a copywriting professional offer such advice on an open forum?

Google AdSense Feedback:
Questions for AdSense...

  • Why are many WAREZ sites use AdSense as a business model?

  • Is it proper to use the AdSense spam report feature on WAREZ sites?
  • What if Google ignores that feedback?
  • Is Google telling webmasters that stealing is fine, and they support fraud?
  • Do they want people to run clickbots on their system to get them to actually accept feedback?
  • Are clickbots and other scam software products the only way to force quality into the AdSense program?

The One Campaign

A friend of mine emailed me about a campaign aimed at erradicating debt, poverty, and hunger in many of the poorest nations. Official sites:

Some musicians are also supporting the campaign with free concerts. In a week, during the G8 meeting, there are going to be 5 free concerts around the globe. Another friend said Pink Floyd is getting back together for the concert in Hyde Park London.

Legitimate Guerilla Marketing Forum Advertising Threads - Google Site Targeting and Forums for Viral Advertising Success

Another idea as an extension of creative ways to use the new site targeted AdSense idea...

Go to a forum and participate for at least a few days to make it seem like you want to participate in the community. Make a few friends, and maybe ask them what they think of your new tool, product, idea, or offering.

When the pump is primed:

  • Have one of your new friends post about your new tool on the forums or community site.

  • Create an advertisement that looks like it is from the forum site owner that does not look like an ad. Using good tact you could almost make the ad look like an endoresement without offending the site owner.
  • Link that ad at the thread about your new product.
  • Collect feedback and participate in the thread with a few friends to guide that thread along to a happy ending.

Ads that do not look like ads...taking it one step further :)

Google Site Targeted AdSense - Killer Market Research Data

So some of my site targeted ads started running today.

Within the targeting there will be biases of the audience personality, and the bias of how well people know you or the product you advertise, but right now with the site targeting not having a ton of competition I can get a glimpse into how effective various AdSense formats and ad positions are, creating my own real world tested AdSense heat map.

Although I should, I do not have many AdSense sites yet. I have been pouring most of my time into this one.

Some markets are absurdly expensive in search, but poor in content.

Mesothelioma is a term which is so expensive that people joke about it, yet when you look at content pricing people end up making little off it. Why? Because many people want those large ad dollars, so there is a ton of junk mesothelioma sites, and limited ad spend to go around them, combined with a fear of click fraud.

If you create scraper sites then there is little sense spending time and money to test the markets. You can just put up a site and see how it works. If you are debating creating legitimate long term content sites the new site targeted ads is an excellent way to see how well certain niches pay.

Simply join an affiliate program or two, run a few ads, and see how much they cost you per impression.


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