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12 Hours To Go to Win a Flip in the BlogMastermind Competition (plus a new bonus)

36 hours ago I announced the re-launch of Yaro’s BlogMastermind Blog Mentoring program.

As part of my promotion of it I offered any ProBlogger reader who signs up the chance to win one of six prizes.

First prize is a Flip Video Mino Series Camcorder (worth $179) and 5 runners up will win a copy of the ProBlogger book. The deadline to be included to win was 48 hours from when BlogMastermind opened it’s doors. This is in 12 hours from now.

So – to be in the running to win the Flip or a book you need to sign up soon.

What are your chances of winning?

To this point I’ve referred around 20 people to BlogMastermind – so you’ve got better than a 1 in 4 chance of winning at least something and a 1 in 20 chance of winning yourself a spiffy little new video camera.

Yaro tells me that over 200 people have already signed up – so BlogMastermind is truly cranking again.

Another Bonus – Get an Hour of My Time If You Sign Up for Six Months

Yaro offers three options at three different price points to invest in the BlogMastermind Program. For anyone who signs up via my affiliate links for option 2 (the six months all at once) or option 3 (the six months plus access to his next course) I am going to throw in one hour of time with me.

You can use this hour in a number of ways (happy to negotiate something that works for you):

  • I can write a short report/review of your blog (I’d recommend that you have this done after you’ve been in BlogMastermind for a month or two and have implemented some of Yaro’s strategies)
  • We can spend an hour on skype with each other in a consulting session (again – probably best after you’ve been in BlogMastermind for a while so you can implement things.
  • I could write a post for your blog (subject to whether the topic is one that I feel able to write about) or be interviewed on your blog (again subject to whether it’s a topic that I feel able to respond to questions on)

Signup for BlogMastermind here to qualify

The only conditions that I’ll put on this ‘one hour bonus’ is that you need to signup for BM by the end of August to get it and you need to stay in the course for 31 days before claiming it as Yaro does offer a 30 day money back guarantee (which he honors) so if you don’t end up paying for BlogMastermind it’s not really fair to get the bonus.

Update: This competition is now over. I’ve chosen winners and will announce them on the blog tonight (my time). The bonus 1 hour consulting offer is still valid til the end of August.

UPDATE 2: My 1 hour coaching bonus is now also closed. You can still enroll for Blog Mastermind – but the bonuses that I mention above are no longer valid.

Add These Plurk Users as Your Friends

Today the Social Media Love-In here at ProBlogger continues with a list of 145 bloggers who use Plurk.

So far we’ve presented you with bloggers who use Digg, some that use StumbleUpon and a lot of them who use Twitter. Today’s list is smaller than the others but I think it is just as worthwhile as Plurk has become a key part of my daily social media interactions and is a place of wonderfully rich conversation and networking.

As usual – if you didn’t get your profile in the list – all is not lost because these 145 profiles are a great place to start and you can benefit from adding them as they’re a great bunch of people.

Win a Full Conference Pass at Blog World Expo!

Blog-World-ExpoOne of my biggest regrets of 2007 was not being able to attend Blog World Expo.

The reports that came out of BWE from thousands of bloggers were quite amazing. Rich networking, great teaching, showcases of services and tools for bloggers and much much more.

This year Blog World Expo is on again (20-21 September) in Las Vegas.

I’m hoping to attend this year (I’m 50/50 at this point as we’re waiting to see how our new baby settles before I travel again) as the list of people that I know who are attending is quite amazing. They’ve started compiling a list of speakers here. If I’m going I’ll be involved in at least one panel and probably another session.

I emailed the Rick Calvert CEO of BWE earlier in the week and asked him if they’d be willing to put up a couple of free passes to attend – he generously agreed.

The passes are worth $400 each – there are two of them to go to two separate winners.

So here’s how we’re going to give them away – it’s time for a commenting competition.

Before entering – you need to know that these passes do NOT include travel or accommodation they simply give you free access to the conference once you’re there. Please don’t enter if you’re not willing to cover your other expenses or be there as I’d love for someone to win them that are actually certain to use them!

  • In comments below I’d like to invite you to leave a comment telling us why you’d like to attend Blog World Expo in 250 words or less.
  • Rick and his team will select two comments that they think are deserving of winning. They’ll judge the winners based on your comments.
  • This will run for one week from the time this post goes live. I’ll then close off comments and get Rick to select the winners.

Looking forward to reading your entries and the possibility of meeting you in Vegas later in the year!

update – entries for this competition are now closed and we’ll announce a winner shortly.

Blog Hosting Recommendations – Who Hosts Yours?

“Can you give me advice on which host to go with to host my blog?”

It’s a question that I’m asked a lot – but one that I can’t offer a lot of personal advice on as my blogs have been successfully hosted on b5media’s servers for a couple of years now. We use LogicWorks at b5 but I’m interested to hear who you use and recommend to host your blog?

Who do you use to host your blog? Why do you use them?

No affiliate links in comments please – they will be deleted.

BlogMastermind Launches

Blog-Mastermind-1As this post goes live the doors at the BlogMastermind blog mentoring program are opening again for the first time in many months.

When he first launched BlogMastermind I was really impressed by what Yaro had put together. He didn’t just rely upon the fact that he earns a six figure income from blogging to draw numbers into his site – he put so much work into developing a teaching site that delivered students amazing value.

This has been confirmed to me many times over from the feedback that I regularly hear from students that enrolled last time around. It was so popular last time that Yaro closed the doors on the program so as to be able to give students the attention that they deserved and to stop it being overrun.

Please don’t be put off by the sales page (that has to be the longest one I’ve seen for quite some time – the video at the top is probably the best part) – Yaro’s training content is first rate.

You can get a great feel for the the type of content that Yaro offers students with some of the free videos and reports that he’s already released:

Those five links alone give bloggers some great insights into profitable blogging and will give you a taste for what BlogMastermind is all about and how Yaro teaches.

You’ll notice as you listen to Yaro teach that he’s not into hype, he declares on his sales page that this isn’t about getting rich quick, his lessons are clear and that he gives concrete strategies. I know from the numerous times that Yaro and I have met in person that he’s a genuine guy and just loves to help people learn how to blog.

As a result I’d highly recommend the program and hope that you enjoy the experience as much as I have in the time I’ve spent in BlogMastermind. You can sign up either on month by month basis (getting a taste in the first month) or get the full access to the program all at once for six months at a discounted rate.

Sign up for BlogMastermind here.

Performancing Ad Network

PerformancingAdsIn the last week a new ad network has launched – PerformancingAds.

Bloggers who have been around for a while will know that this isn’t the first time Performancing have ventured into the ad network space – they previously launched a network back in 2006 but closed it down last year during a period where they when through a management restructure and ultimately were sold.

I was sad when the network closed last time as I thought it did have promise and love to see new ad options launched specifically aimed at bloggers.

So this week when I was told it’s back I was really excited.

Here’s How It Works

  • The ads are based around the popular 125 x 125 pixel banner ads that you see on many blogs (including the ones you see in ProBlogger’s sidebar).
  • It is a self service system where advertisers sign up, submit ads and pay for them all via Performancing and then they send you your share of the revenue at the same time each month.
  • You can book your own ads for free – might seem a little silly but if you have spare spots and want to fill them with ads pointing at affiliate programs or even key parts of your blog you can fill them with internal ads.
  • Publishers are put into a Marketplace where your blog will be shown to prospective advertisers looking for blogs to advertise on.
  • They have a traffic exchange system where you allow other blogs to show their ad on your blog in exchange for credits which can be used to display your ad on other blogs. You also earn credits by selling ads.
  • The Revenue Share – You earn a minimum of 60% of what the ads sell for – Performancing takes the other 40%. This will be tiered up as high as 90% for publishers for ‘better performing publishers’ (not sure if that is based upon sales or traffic)
  • You have control over where the ads appear, how many are shown and even some control over how they look (like spacing between them)
  • You can create multiple regions on your blog so have the ads appear in multiple positions
  • You can filter out ads you don’t want to appear by adding words for keywords and/or domains that you don’t want advertisers from
  • Advertisers buy ads based upon weekly increments
  • They have a premium program where if your blog has over 250,000 US pageviews per month they can sell ads on your behalf in different size ad units (728×90, 300×250 and 160×600).
  • You have control over what ads are priced at. You can also set ads to be no-follow ads (or not).
  • There is a WordPress Plugin to help manage these ads if you’re a WP user

PerformancingAds are new and as with any ad network I believe you shouldn’t expect too much too quickly from it as it takes time to get them working to optimal levels for both advertisers and publishers.

The success of this network will depend upon their ability to sign up advertisers. Last time around PerformancingAds did manage to sell quite a few ads on ProBlogger – but it took time for them to get to that level.

Looking to Advertise on Blogs?

Performancing is looking advertisers at present and are offering $25 off your first ad purchase of $100 or more.

PerformancingAds

Last time Performancing had their ad network I actually used it to advertise my blogs quite a few times. There were plenty of bargains to be had around the blogosphere and it was a pretty cool way to increase the exposure of my blogs to new audiences. I suspect this will be the case again looking at the current marketplace of bloggers who have already signed up.

Conversations On Relational Blogging Continue

A week ago today I published a post asking ‘has Blogging has lost its relational focus?

It was a post that generated some great conversation in comments and one that sparked other bloggers to pick up on the thread and write about it on their own blogs. Today I thought I’d point out some of the conversations that are going on around this topic in the hope that it’ll extend an important topic:

I’m sure there are others – if you’ve written on the topic of late feel free to share your links in comments below.

PS: I should reemphasize that in my original article I didn’t conclude that blogging had lost its relational focus. I did muse about whether it was harder to find and suggest that it is more evident in some niches than others – but by no means have I given up hope in the medium of blogging or its social media.

In fact, for me, it’s so social that at times this little introvert can barely cope!

The reason for my post was simply to remind bloggers of our social/relational roots.

One of the stimuli for the post was recently witnessing a couple of new bloggers go about attempting to build up blogs in ways that I could describe as anti-social. They came to me for advice after months of blogging in a very insular way, not linking out and not wanting to interact with other bloggers in their niche – in fact they viewed other bloggers in their niche suspiciously and purely as competitors.

My counsel to them was to consider that while other blogs might be competitors in one sense – that there was amazing opportunities in interacting and working together.

As I look at my own experience of blogging and that of bloggers that have been far more successful than me I see that often it’s those that are most social and willing to interact with other bloggers that rise the highest. I don’t see this changing even if the technology behind what we do does.

Call for Prizes – Group Writing Project Coming Soon

200807281643.jpgIt has been a while since I’ve run a group writing project here at ProBlogger so I thought it might be time to another one (if you’re new to ProBlogger and don’t know what a group writing project is I’ll describe it below).

While I’m getting things ready I’m looking for prizes from up to 3 sponsors.

Last time I ran a competition like this we had a lot of prizes and as a result didn’t give sponsors as much of the limelight that they each deserved – this time I’m limiting prizes to just the three best ones.

What do you get for the prize you donate?

  • You’ll be linked to and have your site/service described in the announcement post of the group writing project
  • You’ll get promoted with a thank-you to on each daily update through the week of the project
  • You’ll be promoted again on the final day of the project and again on a compilation page of all entries.

All in all you’ll be mentioned and receive promotions each day for a week on ProBlogger. You’ll be one of 3 sponsors receiving this treatment so your exposure will not be diluted.

Last time we did one of these projects we had 893 entries and it got a lot of buzz around the blogosphere. It’s a great way to get word out to bloggers about your site, product or service.

What prizes am I looking for?

Previously we’ve had prizes that have been anything from trips/accommodation through to Nintendos, to laptops, to cash, to iPods etc. Really anything goes – however if you’re going to submit a prize idea you need to know the following:

1. the prize needs to be deliverable to people internationally at your cost. Please consider shipping costs or be willing to offer a cash prize to an equivalent value if you can’t ship outside the USA.

2. last time I did this I had 100 or so submissions for prizes. This time I am only choosing 3 – so those prizes selected will probably be among the most valuable. While it’s not all about how much the prize is worth I want to give my readers the chance to get the best thing that they can out of participating. It’ll also get you more attention if you do.

3. please no blog hosting packages or ebooks. While these are relevant to bloggers I get hit with 30-40 or so offers for this type of prize every time. While I’m grateful to it I find that readers respond well to fun prizes (think gadgets, cash etc).

How to Submit The Prize You’re Willing to Donate

If you’re willing to donate a prize please do so via my contact form with the following information:

  1. Please include the word ‘prize’ somewhere in the email so I can filter the emails and make sure I see them all
  2. Your name and email address (address will remain private)
  3. Your Company/Business/Blog Name
  4. The Site that You’d want to promote if your prize is chosen
  5. The Prize
  6. The value of the prize
  7. Confirmation that you’re willing to ship it internationally

You have 48 hours to submit your prize suggestion (I’ll close this at 8pm Wednesday night Melbourne time). I’ll then contact the 3 that I’d like to use with further details.

What is a Group Writing Project

Put most simply a Group Writing Project is a group of bloggers all are challenged to write a post on a similar theme on their blogs. The themes are broad (we’ve done things like ‘Top 5′, ‘reviews and predictions’, ‘lists’) so that bloggers blogging on a wide range of topics can participate. Once they’ve published their post they come to ProBlogger to let us know where it is.

The project runs for a full week. On the first day I announce the topic and then on each day during the next week I publish a list of bloggers that participate. At the end of the week random participants are selected to win a prize. You can see the last project here.

Surprise Surprise – Google Knol Ranks Well in Google!

Last week Google announced their ‘Knol’ service and I (among others) questioned whether it would have a significant impact upon smaller publishers ability to rank well in Google’s search results.

Initial results show that Knol articles are already ranking very well (here and here for example) – and with as little as a link or two from other sites are even capturing #1 search results for certain keywords.

Aaron wall from SEO book has added more fuel to the fire with some of his own testing.

Update: What I think irks me the most about Knol is Google’s insistance that they’re not a media company.

They host content, they pay those who write it income when that content makes money, they keep part of the money for themselves, they distribute the content….

If it looks like a media company and acts like a media company – I got the feeling that they are one.

Of course this is Google’s right to do – they can set their own business plan – but I guess they need to be willing to be up front about it and name what they are doing for what it is.

They also need to be willing for other publishers (many of them who are their partners in many ways) to react against them. I’ve been hearing murmurings from a few fairly large independent bloggers and web publishers today of talk of a move away from using AdSense out of protest. I’m not sure what impact this would have unless a lot of large publishers did it – but it seems like there’s growing discontent around the online publishing community around this issue.