Category Archives: General
Everyone seems to have a personal “got screwed by a ‘paid to’ site” story. Mine is fairly standard: I joined a new “paid to read emails” site a few years ago, and about the time the first crop of new members hit the payout minimum, it was allegedly sold (the “new owner’s” emails came from the same IP as the “old owner’s” emails … cough) and the “new owner” said he was zeroing everyone’s accounts because there had been “lots of cheaters.” It was just five bucks, but it was wasted time and effort and the burn stayed with me for quite awhile.
I avoided “paid to” sites after that for years. I only really took another look when I noticed that Brian Rooney had started a Paid To Click site (GetBuxToday). I’m a very happy Trafficwave autoresponder customer of several years, and Rooney’s reputation carries a good deal of weight with me. So I decided to dip my toe back into “paid to.”
As an advertiser, I’m favorable to Paid to Click so far. I don’t know how the results will pan out in terms of direct tracked signups and sales, but if nothing else it’s relatively inexpensive from a branding standpoint.
But from a membership standpoint:
First things first: You are not going to get rich by joining a bunch of Paid To Click, Paid To Read, etc. sites and clicking the ads every day.
I have a few friends who say they use PTC to pay for their upgrades and join fees in other opportunities. I’ve heard of a few people who make reasonably good money by building large referral downlines in PTCs. But for the average member, these sites produce low-single-digit incomes per month at best. And given the time it takes to really work a PTC site or become a “super affiliate marketer” in that niche, I don’t find them very attractive. In fact, the main reason I’ve been futzing with them is because I’m considering owning one.
Second, and this seems to be even more true of PTC, PTR, etc., caveat emptor. If it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. I see some sites offering $200 per click, $100k payout. Sorry, but if you fall for that, you deserve to get taken. None of the programs you’ll find advertising in PTC can make money paying more than $200 per click (and if the site is paying you $200 per click, it has to be charging the advertisers more than that, right?).
If you see a site paying more than a penny or two a click — if even that much — something is going on. It’s either an outright scam, or it’s using “play money” where your redemption gets you advertising or a “profit share” in the real revenues. I actually belong to one of the latter – Superstar PTC — and the jury is still out on how well it works (I joined as the referral of a trusted friend and haven’t reached the first payout/profit-share juncture yet).
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from joining a “paid to” site. If you’re interested, you can find a bunch of them advertising on the traffic exchanges. I’ve linked to a couple of them here and naturally would welcome you as a referral. But don’t put a lot of effort into PTC/PTR without first knowing what you want to accomplish and whether or not PTC/PTR will help you accomplish it better, faster and cheaper than other programs.
The one “paid to” project I want nothing to do with is “Paid to Sign Up” stuff. As a traffic exchange admin, I consider that a major pain in the keister — PTSU is banned at my TE. Here’s why:
Someone who signs up for a program to get 10 cents is highly unlikely to really use that program, unless it’s another program that pays them 10 cents to sign up for stuff. Big Bad Hits runs monthly referral contests with cash prizes, and those prizes are intended for members who do the real work of really promoting the site to real users, not for people to spend $5 on ten-cent do-nothing signups and win a $10 prize.
This is just common sense, folks. I’m not paying out cash prizes for referring just to fatten up my alleged membership numbers. I expect the referrals brought in by REAL PROMOTION to more than pay for themselves over time in site activity, upgrade sales, etc. One real member who actually surfs the exchange and maybe upgrades or buys credit is worth more than a thousand members who join to get a 10 cent PTSU payment and never visit the exchange again.
I just sent this to my list, but it’s worth blogging too:
You know what I’m talking about: The red screen that warns you the site you’re about to see may be hosting malware.
I’m NOT going to tell you to ignore those warnings, but I do urge you to take them with a grain of salt and to actually read the diagnostics page that the warnings offer.
In the context of traffic exchanges, most of them are nothing to worry about, and you’ll be able to tell for sure when you look at those diagnostics and see something like:
Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?Over the past 90 days, [site url] did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.Has this site hosted malware?No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.
Here’s what’s going on:
Site A got infected with malware. So there’s a warning for Site A. That’s all well and good, and of course you want to protect yourself.
Then Traffic Exchange B got tagged with a malware warning because material from Site A was running in a surf frame at some point. Chances are the TE owner banned the malware URL as soon as it was reported, but it may be days before that stops the malware warning.
It gets worse: Suppose that on Traffic Exchange B, someone is running a rotator, and once every 100 or 1000 times that rotator shows, it has a banner ad at the top from malware-infected Site A? Yep … more malware warnings, and they’re very hard for the TE owner to track down, because even if a user reports that rotator, when the TE owner brings it up, there will be no malware warning and nothing suspicious … it’s a different banner this time, not one connected to Site A.
Quite a few TE admins are pulling their hair out trying to swat this stuff. I’d be one of them if I had any hair to pull out. But it’s like a swarm of bees. You may swat one, but there are 100 more waiting to sting you.
So, pretty, pretty please: Be patient. And don’t freak out. If you get a malware warning, by all means check it out (through the diagnostics page that most malware warning service pages link to). 99% of the time, you’ll find that the site being blocked is not hosting, and has never infected anyone with, malware. That 100th time, please report the site to the TE admin. They don’t want to infect you any more than you want to be infected.
I didn’t even try for a high-profile launch of Master Resell Rights of Your Very Own (it’s not an earth-shattering concept), but I think it’s a pretty cool idea.
MRRoYVO is a plain-Jane site without bells, whistles, memberships, etc. Just a simple concept: A new product — with master resell, or even private label, rights — each week, for $1.87. Over the years I’ve built up a decent collection of MRR/PLR material … hey, might as well do something with it!
Last week was the first week, and the product was a fairly well-known e-book. This week, it’s something called 1009 Minisite Graphics Package, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — a bunch of graphics for your marketing web sites. Buttons, opt-in boxes, icons, banners, etc., with resell rights (and a reseller web template and so forth).
I think I paid $7.99 for the package a year or so ago, and a little Googling showed it still being flogged out there for prices ranging from $4.99 to $37. I don’t think it was ever worth that higher-end price, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say $1.87 is a pretty darn good deal for 47Mb of pretty decent web graphics that you can not only use but re-sell.
Anyway, check out the site. Nothing revolutionary going on, but I’ll try to send some bargains your way.
Tim Linden popped up a very informative and educational video blog post yesterday on results — click-thru rates and conversions / signups / sales. Lots of good scoop there. Check it out.
A lot of new Internet Marketers don’t realize just how big the numbers-to-sales gap can be.
They get discouraged, and eventually give up, because they’ve been led to believe that it’s a matter of spending a few spare minutes a day clicking up 50 or 100 traffic exchange views and watching the sales, list signups and affiliate referrals roll in.
The really bad thing about that is that many of those marketers would have done the extra surfing or spent the extra money on upgrades and credits to build their businesses if they’d known they needed to. The steady diet of “guy smoking expensive cigar, driving expensive car, lazing by the pool with laptop” videos encourages them to think that they’re doing something wrong when the biggest problem is that they’re just not doing enough of what they need to be doing (they may be doing something wrong too, but that’s a different topic).
After the jump, I’ll share a test case from the last 12 hours with you.
… you move on to the next plan. But not before thinking about what went wrong.
I confess, I was expecting big results from my Pizza Plan video/squeeze campaign. By “big results,” I meant that I hoped for double-digit list signups and one or two “rebrand” program affiliate commissions.
24+ hours into the campaign, I’ve seen, well, bupkis. No list signups. No ebook downloads. No affiliate commissions.
The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the program you’re promoting, but I don’t see that that’s the issue. The Pizza Plan is a well-done e-book with a catchy premise. It’s been an Internet Marketing staple over the years, but at the same time I haven’t seen it promoted a lot lately, and thousands of people flood into the traffic exchanges, etc. each week. And finally, I boosted out the program itself with a big badge promoting a very cool prize drawing. All else being equal, it should have moved a few copies, given an effective promotion.
So, the promotion wasn’t effective. That could be for any number of reasons:
Technical: Maybe the splash/video didn’t load properly for many viewers. But I’ve talked to several viewers, and haven’t heard that from any of them. So I don’t think it’s that.
Venue: If I only promoted it in one place, that might make sense. For example, if I only promoted it at Sweeva, and Sweeva’s crowd had recently been thoroughly exposed to it, etc. But I’ve been promoting it across a wide range of traffic exchanges — the Timtech sites, yes, but also a number of independent TEs and at least one Kinder-Rash site — and to tens of thousands of safelist email readers.
Creative: Folks, I think we have a winner. For whatever reason, the video squeeze just didn’t make people want to give me their email information in return for a free e-book download and entry in a prize drawing. Maybe my video just, um, sucked. Maybe I didn’t put a strong enough “take action” prompt in there, so people didn’t take action. Maybe the colors I chose just didn’t tie things together.
So, back to the old drawing board … but you won’t see the results for a few days.
When I do a promotion, it’s the kind of thing that can’t just stop on a dime. The majority of those thousands of safelist emails still haven’t been opened yet. Most never will be (that’s the nature of safelist advertising), but I need to give them another 24 hours or so, just in case.
And since I have to give them another 24 hours or so, I can’t change my list’s welcome message text and download links, which means I either keep promoting the same thing on the TEs, or stop promoting my list altogether.
So, there’s still time for this failure to turn out to have been a success, although I’m not expecting that. While I’m waiting it out, I’ll be putting the next thing together, trying to apply lessons learned with this one.
Update, 08/15: OK, that’s a wrap. Rough stats: 4,500 impressions. No list signups. One click, one referral — but not to the target program (The Pizza Plan); rather to Traffic Ad Bar, which is one of the add-ons I ran this thing through.
Speaking of running ad campaigns through various services, one technical point I’m beginning to appreciate is that the more sources you draw from, the more opportunities the thing has to fail at the network/load level.
This campaign was a YouTube video running on an AdKreator squeeze page, which was plugged into an Affiliate Toolbox tracker and piped through Traffic Ad Bar. Oh — for the purpose of getting people to submit a TrafficWave lead capture form. All five of these are great services which I highly recommend. None of them are perfect … and any one of those five sites being down or slow at any given moment could derail me in my advertising purpose.
How big was the technical angle in this campaign’s failure? In my view, very small. I did see one mention of non-loading/slow-loading, so the angle was there, but I also saw lots of comments that indicated people saw the ad, liked the video … and didn’t take action. And that, I think, was a result of my failure to give them a real push to do so.
Back to the drawing board …