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Chitika’s Response to Stats Outage

Readers who have been trying out Chitika’s eMiniMalls will no doubt be aware that on 7 – 8 October they had some issues with their statistics. They reported in the stats area:

‘On October 7th and 8th our reporting system experienced an intermittent outage for a few hours. The problem has now been rectified. Due to this outage, you will notice that the stats for October 7th are missing. The stats for October 8th might also be slightly deflated. However, please be assured that we will make every effort to reprocess the stats, calculate and compensate for any lost revenue. We thank you for your patience and support while we iron out the reporting issues. Thank you.’

I’ve had a number of emails from readers asking what I could tell them about this outage and how they would be compensated.

As I have not formal association with Chitika (I’m just a publisher like the rest of us) I thought I’d approach my contact there for an official comment. This is what they responded with:

we had some log issues on the 7th and 8th.

There are two aspects to this:

1) Revenue: For this, we will compensate people in a “very fair” way. What is a “very fair” way ? Something like taking their revenue from their best day in the month or something like that

2) The actual stats for analysis: Some people are running tests and would like to know what happened. This is less of a priority.  If we cannot recover from the log issues, the stats for the 7th will remain blank. And the stats for 8th will remain deflated.

So there you have the official word for those of you concerned with those two days.

I would add that it’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re running eMiniMalls that you are participating in a beta test which means that while the product is working well that there is the risk of some instability from time to time.

Positive Blogging

Instablogs has been copping a fair bit of criticism in the past few days since its launch a week back. One of their latest posts – Why This Unfair Treatment? – takes a look at a blogger’s argument that they are spam, their latest post explains their Plagiarism episode and a post a few days back looks at the best of the criticism of their network.

I’d like to give the Instablogs team a little more unsolicited advice and feedback (if they’ll allow me to).

My impression of their main blog at this point is that they are getting sucked into the trap of having to respond to every criticism that is being leveled at them. This is something that I see many bloggers do – they get critiqued and feel the need to justify, defend, argue and explain every negative mention of their work.

While I know this temptation on a personal level (I used to get sucked into it too) I would advise all bloggers to be careful of this as it can really bring down the tone of your blog. This is what I sense is happening over at Instablogs. At the time of writing this post virtually every post (except for one that I can see) on the main blog of Instablogs has some mention of some negative aspect of the launch.

I would agree that their launch could have gone better (they definitely have needed to address some things on their main blog) but I would suggest that there is only so much negativity that people will put up with on a blog. There comes a time when a blogger (or blog network) needs to move past the criticism.

[Read more...]

Smart Online Marketing

Yaro has a good post on his experiment to buy a 100×100 pixel ad on the Million Dollar Homepage. The results were disappointing for the investment of $100 – especially when he compares the results of the ad to the results of writing a quality post on his blog that brought in much more traffic for no cost except for the time it took to write it. Yaro’s conclusion might not be rocket science – but it makes sense!

‘The clear answer to successful online marketing is that content is king. We know this. Looking at the big picture content maybe the most important ingredient but without consistency content is not a long term strategy. If you do not continue to produce fresh content then you won’t build on your efforts in the past. You must commit to building an audience using each new piece of content as a building block placed on the previous piece of content. Only by doing this as a long term strategy can you hope to build and retain an audience that will keep coming back.’

Does Yahoo Violate it’s Own Content Guidelines?

Angela from the Work at Home Blog has an interesting experience to share with regards to applying to become a part of the Yahoo Publishers Network.

Angela has a number of sites – one of which is called Herpes Help – a site designed to educate and raise awareness around the topic of sexually transmitted diseases. This topic is one that Adsense serves ads to but which on applying to YPN she was told that her topic violated YPN’s content guidelines.

Angela followed up her rejection notice and asked for more information and was told that her site was unsuitable due to its ‘sensitive material’.

I’m a little perplexed by Angela’s experience.

As I look over the topics not allowed in YPN’s guidelines I can’t really see what is wrong with her topic. One might argue that the topic is ‘Adult in Nature’ – but as someone who has worked as a youth worker for 10 years I can assure you that STD’s are not just for adults. The only other category that perhaps she ‘violates’ is the one that prohibits ‘Content related to human suffering or death’.

I guess STD’s fall into that category – but I would have thought that due to the educational nature of Angela’s site that this wouldn’t be a problem.

I decided to do a little digging into the Yahoo mega web of sites to see what I could find and was very interested to find that they too have an educational site on – yes you guessed it – Herpes. It is part of their ‘Yahoo Health’ section.

Picture 1-1Interestingly enough if you scroll down the page a little you’ll find a collection of links that looks remarkably like ads to me – all on the topic of Herpes.

It seems to me that they do accept advertisements on the topic and that they are more than willing to run them on their own sites. I wonder what advertisers would think if they saw YPN rejecting site’s where their message could be shown in a very relevant context?

So the question that I’d like to see the Yahoo Publisher Network answer for us is ‘are they in violation of their own content guidelines?’ Or have they made a mistake with Angela’s application or at least the way in which they processed it and responded to her? The only explanation I can see to this that might be true is that YPN might argue that these advertisers come from a different pool/system to the YPN ones.

There could be merit in this argument – but to me it doesn’t look too good that YPN are in the business of rejecting sites that seem to honestly be trying to be a service to the wider community on an important issue.

What do you think?

Verisign buys Moreover

PaidContent has news of another acquisition of new media by Verisign:

Moreover, the online news aggregation and business information service, is being bought out by Verisign, and the reported price is about $25 million. The sale has been in works for a long time and puts to rest all the money and management change the company has seen in about 7-8 years of its existence….’

Their update says that the figure is closer to $30 million and that Google actually put a late (too late) offer in at a higher figure.

Why Reveal Your Blogging Income?

Dane Carlson emailed me an interesting question today which I thought might make an interesting discussion topic. He asks:

Other than to toot my own horn, what real incentive do I have to tell you whether or not I’m a six figure (or five figure, or four, or seven or whatever) blogger?

I can understand why you disclose parts of your income; it builds your credibility and stature in the “pro blogging” niche. But, what about Manolo from ShoeBlogs? What could he possibly have gained from the coverage?

As Dane says – I reveal my income from blogging (in part) because it helps to build my credibility as someone who writes and teaches about making money from blogs – after all who would trust someone to teach them something about a topic that they had not proven themselves in.

However others regularly reveal their blog earnings (I see posts doing this every few days) and I too have often wondered why? Perhaps some of the reasons might include:

  • Attention Getting/Exposure - there is little doubt that talking about money get the attention of others
  • Bragging Rights – I suspect that some do it just because they are proud of their achievement and want others to know
  • Transparency – maybe some do it because they want their readers to know that they make money from their readership
  • Inspiration – I know of some bloggers who do it partly because they want to inspire others to do the same

I’m sure these are not the only reasons bloggers reveal their income but am sure they cover some of the main ones.

The question of ‘why’ bloggers reveal their income is a good one – but perhaps as equally useful is to ask why bloggers shouldn’t reveal their income? Again there are probably numerous answers to this question (feel free to give yours below) but the main one that comes to mind to me is that in revealing your blog’s income you set yourself up for others to copy your blog’s topic and approach to blogging. This is a risk bloggers revealing their blogging success will take.

I’m interested to hear your opinions and experiences on this topic. Do you reveal your income? Why or why not?

Nick becomes Five Figure Blogger

Nick from Nicked Up has just emailed me to let me know that he’s been implementing the tips on this site with regards to Adsense and in doing so has doubled his income and become a five figure blogger.

‘With Darren’s tips I’ve taken my Google Adsense revenue to levels I never imagined making from blogs. I’ve earned more from advertising in the past 3 months than I had in the previous 6. Here is a chart of Google Adsense earnings for the past 12 months. ‘

Congratulations Nick! I’ll be around later in the day to collect my 10% commission.

I’ll finish this post with Nick’s advice for people wanting to do what he does:

‘If you come up with an idea, don’t be afraid to go with it. Get a site up and running. With domains registrations at $6/year (sometimes less) and some hosting packages in the $10-$20/year range you don’t have much to risk except your time and effort.’

Nick is so right – he’s articulating my philosophy exactly – give it a go!

Google Adsense Tips for Forums

Forum Heat Map-761099

The official Adsense blog has just posted some useful tips for those of you with a Forum.

Forums are notoriously difficult to convert with Adsense so these tips might be quite useful. They’ve included with the tip a useful heat map which points out the ideal positions from their experience. As per usual the top left hand sidebar area is the hottest with horizontal ad units between the first two posts also being important.

They also advise allowing image ads.

The only other tip that I’d add to their list would be to try rotating the colors of your ads. This is a strategy that attempts to overcome ad blindness from repeat readers which is a big problem for forums.

Read more at Inside AdSense: Six AdSense optimization tips for forums

Google Reader

Google has launched a News Reader called Google Reader which allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds and news sources. The interface seems pretty simple at a first look.

If this system is anything like Yahoo’s MyYahoo it might be worth subscribing to your own RSS feeds to make sure they are in the system.

Don’t forget to add ProBlogger’s Feed to it too!

Update:

- Read a review of Google Reader at the RSS Weblog.
- Learn how to export your bloglines feeds to Google Reader.