Blogger Suggests Combatting Splogs with Click Fraud

I’m a bit surprised by Mitch Ratcliffe’s suggestion on how to get Google to fix the BlogSpot Splogs problem. He recommends click fraud:

‘The solution to the problem it to click gratuitously and never make purchases on the links at blogspot sites and to keep doing so to drive down conversion rates. This likely will be interpreted as click fraud by the system and, if it isn’t, the advertisers are going to be so angry about the costs of these clicks that turn into nothing that they’ll drop the program or exclude BlogSpot from their placements.’

While I understand his reasoning (create a pain and Google will have to make changes when it starts to hit their hip pocket – and those of their advertisers) I definitely don’t agree with the method.

For starters if you do this and you’re an Adsense publisher (as Mitch is) it’s likely to get you banned through Google tracking your IP address. Keep in mind that Google has sued people caught for click fraud over the past year.

I also have an ethical problem with clicking on ads for non genuine reasons. Perhaps I’m going to get accused of being a goodie two shoes again – but click fraud is theft. Not only that – it takes money from innocent advertisers, puts it in the hands of spammers themselves (I can’t think of any way to encourage them to start more splogs faster) and can only harm the prospects of other genuine publishers as advertisers leave the system and/or decrease the amount that they are willing to spend on advertising.

I do acknowledge splogs are a problem – but I’m not convinced that click fraud is the answer.

found via seo book

How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs

I’ve been reflecting this week about the amazing diversity of opportunities that are opening up for bloggers to earn an income from or through their blogging.

I’ve long advised that bloggers seeking to earn an income from blogging spread their interests across multiple revenue streams so as not to put all their eggs in one basket.

The wonderful thing is that this is becoming easier and easier to do 2005 has seen many options opening up. I thought I’d take a look at some of the ways that bloggers are currently making money through blogs.

Income Streams for Bloggers

Advertising Programs – Perhaps the most obvious changes in the past few months have been with the addition of a variety of viable advertising options for bloggers. No longer are bloggers only presented with the Adsense and/or BlogAds choice – instead they now have a massive array to choose from. Getting the most publicity recently have been Chitika’s eMiniMalls of course but there are just so many other options now that also include:

Adgenta, CrispAds, Text Link Ads, Intelli Txt, Tribal Fusion, Adbrite, Kanoodle, AVN, Pheedo, TextAds, Fastclick and OneMonkey (to name just some of the options – I’m sure I’ve forgotten some) and there is a smorgasbord of options. Of course there is more to come with MSN Adcenter and YPN both in beta testing and with a variety of other advertising system currently in development (so I hear).

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Blogging as ‘Normal’?

It’s been a frustrating few days – this morning I got up ready to get back into some serious blogging only to find that my blog’s were no longer online. The problem was with EV1Servers who seem to have come under some sort of data center attack today which caused my server to be out of action for 6 or more hours putting me even further behind after a weekend of being offline.

I guess these things happen from time to time and we just have to roll with the punches. Apologies for those who’ve been frustrated with this blog in the past few hours – hopefully things will be sorted now.

Healthy Blogger

I just got a phone call from a ProBlogger reader in the UK who was ringing to see if I was out of hospital.

I was very grateful for the call – it’s nice to know that people care.

However there was one surprise in the call – I haven’t been in hospital.

So just to clear up some rumors that have been circulating thanks to someone with a vivid imagination and a bit too much time on their hands.

  • Yes I have been unwell
  • No I haven’t been in hospital
  • No I have not lost sight in one eye (or two for that matter)
  • No I am not on my death bed
  • No my blogs are not for sale (I don’t know where that one came from)

Thanks to the many people who have emailed or left comments on my blog with well wishes. I do appreciate it. I am doing quite a bit better and just needed a couple of days off.

Blogging will resume as normal tomorrow.

What happens when a ProBlogger gets sick

I’ve had one of those 24 hours.

Last night I went to bed with sore eyes after a long week of work.

This morning I woke up unable to look at anything brighter than my clock radio without my right eye bursting into tears.

Going outside was painful – watching TV uncomfortable, looking at a computer screen almost unbearable (here I am blogging with sunglasses on! If only you could see me now.)

The doctor thinks its a virus or allergic reaction and ‘hopes it will pass’. I’m sure it will but it got me thinking…

It’s been a bit of a freaky experience – lying in my darkened room this afternoon my mind began to wander towards some ‘what if’ scenarios – ‘how would a pro-blogger survive without sight?’

It’s a bit of a fatalistic and depressing train of thought to follow but it’s worth considering I guess. We take our health for granted so much. Working for yourself means there’s no sick pay, no health cover etc – luckily we’ve been putting some money aside for such emergencies – but I’d like to see some discussion around what provisions other solo-entrepreneurs put in place to cover long term illness/injury etc.

I’m fine – don’t worry. You’ll probably not hear from me for the rest of the weekend – but I’m interested in your thoughts.

Customizable background colors for Chitika eMiniMalls

One of the more common complaints that I heard about Chitika’s eMiniMalls is that publishers are unable to change the background color of the ads. This made it very difficult for publishers with any other color background to their blog than white.

In the last couple of ours this changed and Chitika added the ability to change the background/tab color by using the following code.

‘ch_color_bg = “#CCCCCC”;’

Publishers can either insert this manually into posts or use the eMiniMall code maker to do it.

I’ve also been told that the engineers at Chitika have been working on getting rid of a few bugs that were meaning the ads struggled to be shown on some browsers. The word is that they are now much more compatible on the latest release of firefox and other browsers. This could lead to better CTR if you have a significant amount of readers using such browsers.

Reflections on the Six Figure Blogging Course

A number of bloggers have asked me to write my reflections on being involved with running the Six Figure Blogging course over the past couple of months. Yesterday Andy and I did the last of six calls and today I’ve been reviewing how I felt it went.

While there are a handful of things that I think we will do differently in future runs of the course – overall I’d have to declare it to be a success on a couple of levels.

Business – Firstly it was successful in a business sense. We had 1100 or so people sign up for the free preview call (which indicates it’s a pretty popular topic) and 80 or so enroll in the course. This exceeded our expectations and made doing it worth our while. Some have commented that we must be rolling in cash as a result of it – I would encourage them to remember that half of the fees were paid to affiliates, there were then expenses of calls, transcripts recordings etc and that lastly Andy and I shared the revenue.

I’m not saying we made a loss or anything – it was worth our time – it just wasn’t at the level that some have written about :-)

I would also add that while it was worth while it was also a lot of work. Between preparing content, answering questions between calls, proof reading transcripts, keeping the course blog up to date with content and moderating comments – it was a pretty busy six weeks on top of my normal schedule. It was definitely fun – but not something to be entered into too lightly.

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Targeting Secondary Keywords on Your Blog

Jamsi has published a worthwhile post over at workboxers on how he used the Overture tool to find a keyword that was less searched for but also less competitive to target his blog on. He explains it a lot better than I do:

‘I noticed that the keyword “Funny vids” (which I had used) was very popular, however I entered the keyword “funnyvids” and saw that it was being searched for A LOT LESS than “Funny vids” BUT still enough traffic to pursue.

I decided to start easy and aim for a top 3 spot using the keyword “Funnyvids” .. and it worked. On the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) I achieved a rank in the top 3. My website statistics quadripled and whilst nothing to rave about, I was relatively pleased. 90% of my traffic was now coming from search engines. (1.2% from the US Military. Should I be worried?!?)’

Take home point – sometimes it’s better to target keywords on your blog that are not the most popular ones. The problem with popular keywords is that everyone is targeting them – pick a less searched for term and you might just find yourself on a winner.

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Shiny Media launches Propellerhead and Catwalk Queen

UK blogging network Shiny Media has just announced two news blogs – Propellerhead and Catwalk Queen.

Catwalk is a being billed as ‘your own personal online stylist’ and takes a look at how to look like your favorite celebrity. It complements the other fashion blogs that Shiny already has – they’re building quite a reputation in that area now.

Propellerhead is a tips blog for those with PC Problems (and what Windows user doesn’t?) with hints, tips and cheats galore.

Both sites feature Adsense ads, Propellerhead also has Chitika ads (something I think would do well on Catwalk Queen as well).