You have heard of all of the positive things that can happen when you start an affiliate marketing website to make money online but have you heard the negative effects of it? There are a few things that can stop a website dead in the water if you don’t know what you are doing. Here are a few tips so that you will aid you in your search to find that perfect business for you and how to make it thrive in today’s sluggish economy because there is still a lot of money to be made and everyone wants to get apart of the money to be made.

One thing you have to make sure you don’t do is to not to pick a dead product. If no one is interested in the product you’re selling then no one is going to buy it. You want to make sure the product you are going to be selling is something you know a lot about and has a good market base. If the market base is there you are going to have no problems in finding the clients that you want. You need to be sure the product you choose is going to be demand for many years because you don’t want have a short term product that sales start dropping off in a month or so.

Another problem that people face in affiliate marketing is that they are trying to promote so many products that they are trying to sell that they can not keep their own merchandise straight. If you have a lot of products that you are trying to sell you want to keep the descriptions of the products short and to the point. The simpler you keep the description the more products you can have but you need to keep them straight. You don’t want to end up putting the wrong description on the wrong product.

Many people who are starting up an affiliate marketing website make the mistake of not taking advantage of the free marketing tools that are offered on the internet. Take advantage of all of the free internet marketing tools you can because it can create a whole new avenue of income that you might not have discovered otherwise.

The other thing that you should not do is to give up. Think positive and keep your head above the clouds because you can make a lot of money working from home and with the affiliate marketing programs that are scattered all over the internet.

Tell me what you think?


Facebook announced today the company will accept a $200 million investment from Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies. A couple hundred million nets Digital Sky just under two percent equity in Facebook at a $10 billion valuation.

Other companies with similar offers in recent weeks were rejected by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, primarily because Zuckerberg did not wish to lose control of the board of directors. Zuckerberg currently holds one seat and one empty one to secure control of the company.

Digital Sky agreed it would not be represented on the Facebook board or hold special observer rights. Half of the investment will be used to facilitate liquidity for current and former employees’ vested shares.

“A number of firms approached us,” said Zuckerberg, “but DST stood out because of the global perspective they bring – backed up by the impressive growth and financial achievements of their internet investments.” The CEO noted 70 percent of Facebook’s 225 million members reside outside the United States.

“Our investment experience in other regions reveals the tremendous value social networking companies create as they redefine how people communicate and interact,” said DST CEO Yuri Milner. “By every important metric – user growth and engagement, technological innovation and financial performance – Facebook is on a similar trajectory, though on a much more global scale. "

Milner has a habit of being profiled about once every ten years, which appears to be the rate at which he garners international attention, and the rate at which international catastrophe hits. His first appearance was in 1990 as the first Soviet student to attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Milner credited Gorbachev’s perestroika program for allowing him the opportunity and planned to take American style capitalism back to the USSR.

Milner said he wanted to be “like a bridge” between the US and the USSR’s developing market. Ten years later, in 2000, Milner’s Netbridge was featured in the Financial Times, hoping to generate $100,000 a month for his new company. Fast forward to 2009, and Milner is swinging $200 million no-strings-attached investments at a popular social network run by the new golden child of digital business.

Not bad for the kid from perestroika, eh?

If you’re cynical enough, you might have notice every time Milner shows up in the press, catastrophic events seem to happen simultaneously: the USSR collapsed in 1991; the Dotcom Bubble burst in 2000; and now a Facebook investor in the age of the US financial system collapse. Wonder what systemic panic Milner accompany in 2020?


Questions are frequently asked with regards to how social media and search engine rankings can be used together. In fact, I wrote an article on this subject a while back, in which I asked a few search engine marketing experts their thoughts about where social media fits into the SEO equation.

The general consensus seemed to be that social media is a good channel for people to discover your content and link to it on their blogs and sites. But what about just getting your Twitter page ranked on Google? Some think that social media profiles could take the place of corporate websites. If this is the case, you would certainly want your profile to rank well.

An article from Source Square looks specifically at SEO for the Twitter page. The author of this article details the five steps outlined here:

1. Use search engine-friendly keywords in your Twitter name.

2. Use reader-friendly keywords in your Twitter name.

3. Use keywords in your "more info" URL

4. Flood your one line bio with keywords (while maintaining natural readability)

5. Tweet quality contents, and build lots of links

In a recent interview with WebProNews, Dana Todd of Newsforce, who is a board member of SEMPO (the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), talked about how social media frequently accounts for up to half of the top ten search results on Google for any given query. Perhaps more attention should be paid to the optimization of social media profiles.

It stands to reason that similar tactics to those listed above could be applied to Facebook pages as well (or other social networks). It's all basically just good old fashioned SEO practice. Keywords, quality content, and links. You probably think about this for your website, but it is often overlooked on social media profiles.


Marketers say they are seeing an increase in online brand attacks driven by the down economy, according to a study by the Chief Marketing Office Council.

The study of 306 markets, sponsored by MarkMonitor, found that 29.5 percent of marketers are reporting a greater number of incidents of online brand fraud.

Study respondents said brand value, trust, integrity and reputation are being significantly damaged because of gray market knock-offs, phishing attacks, cyber squatting, email scams, trademark abuse and copyright/patent infringements.

Donovan Neale-May
Donovan Neale-May

"Sophisticated and savvy brand extortionists and cyber scammers on the Internet are boldly preying on unsuspecting consumers with bogus brand name email/web sites, deals and inducements that entrap, extort and expose consumers to financial loss, identity theft, and viral infection," said Donovan Neale-May, the CMO Council's executive director.

"Marketers have awakened to not just the threat to bottom line business issues posed by trademark trespassing, but also the costs of lost brand value, integrity and consumer trust."

Only six percent of marketers have official brand protection departments, while over a third said they don't know the business impact of knock-offs, gray market product or bogus brand cloning on sales.

Among the key findings of the study:

  • The top six market segments with the highest prevalence of abuse are digital media, luxury goods, software, footwear and apparel and Internet ecommerce (tied), and consumer electronics.
  • 30.3 percent of respondents said their company has a specialized brand protection group with another 17 percent choosing to outsource those efforts with a third party provider or leaving it up to their industry trade organization.
  • 27.4 percent of respondent reported they spend less than $100,000 on brand protection annually and the same number reported they have no budget allocations. Another 29.1 percent report they don't know. 9.8 percent say they're spending more than $500,000 while 2.7 percent say they're spending more than $5 million.
  • The value and integrity of brand assets suffered the greatest impact from counterfeit products, knock-offs or online brand hijackings, with 41.2 percent of marketers rating this highest followed by 35 percent blaming it for undermining revenue and margins and 26.7 percent saying the activities raised unnecessary customer concerns and anxieties.

"Brand attacks, whether through online scams, phishing or cybersquatting, impact brand integrity and reputation immediately because the malicious activities are customer-facing and affect the heart of what contributes to underlying brand value - customer perception," said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor.

"This expanding use of the digital realm to hijack and misuse brands is unchartered territory for many marketers who have been focused on optimizing their online strategies to communicate brand value and now realize that they must also elevate their efforts to protect brand assets online."


Google's search options were designed to allow users to refine their searches. That means users will use these to weed out irrelevant results and better find what they're looking for.

It also means that there is a whole new set of guidelines that search engine marketers will need to think about...or does it? Perhaps it's just the same guidelines, only emphasized to the user more now, thereby making it more important than ever for marketers and web site owners to consider them. How do you intend to handle your SEO efforts with the new changes?

I asked a few search engine marketing experts if they think the options will affect SEO. Here are a few responses I got:

Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski of SEO By the Sea says: "Web Options have the potential to impact SEO by offering a much wider range of ways to find information. Whether or not they will may have to do with whether or not searchers will take the time to click on the 'show options' link, and explore the many new ways that they can find what they may be looking for."

Lee Odden Lee Odden of Top Rank Online Marketing says: "Yes! But it doesn't change the SEO advice we give: fresh content, digital asset SEO..."

"From what I am seeing, the 'search engine optimization' industry is actually turning back around to what it used to be: good old fashioned website marketing," says WebProNews Blog Partner Bill Hartzer, commenting on an SEOmoz post.

Bill Hartzer "It's not only 'optimizing a website' and 'getting links.' SEO is involving more nowadays: you have to get your site in front of real people and real traffic," he continues. "It's also about using social media marketing techniques, as well. If you're successful in social media you'll be successful in search. If you can get lots of real people to a site then you'll be successful in SEO."

In other words, it's all about optimizing for people. That's all the search engines have ever wanted, and that's all the searchers have ever wanted out of content - to be able to find what they're looking for. It's easier said than done, but all you have to do is help them find you.

So considering that, why not take a few moments to examine just what these new search options are that are available to users. Let's think about what it would take to have your site show up for each option.


Videos Option is on Top Obviously, ranking for searchers using the video option is going to require the use of video. Though online video adoption has certainly grown substantially in the last year or two, many are still quick to doubt its importance despite the search engine ranking implications that have been discussed in the past. To me, it looks like it just got even more important, given that sorting by videos is the top option in Google's new search options (just below "all results" - the default option).

Based on several test queries, it looks like it's going to comedown to relevant keyword use with videos. Whether that be with videos on your own site, YouTube, or other locations. Doing video interviews with other content providers will likely work in your favor here as well.

Within the Videos option, you have the sub-option to see videos of all durations, short ones, medium-length ones, or long ones. This tells me you will probably do well to produce videos with a variety of different lengths.


The next option is to sort by forums, and this appears to be another obvious one. Participate in forums. It just so happens that I

discussed online forum participation about a week ago. To me, it's just part of the overall social media marketing package. Forums might as well be social networks, whether they are called so or not. Now that users can easily search Google by forum results, it makes more sense than ever to participate and gives you a better chance of promotion.

Just like any other form of online marketing, ethics should always be considered. It's not going to make you look good if you just go into a forum and spam it. It's about participation. Discussing topics related to your business should provide the natural flow of keywords, and potentially help you rank well in this section.


In my test searches, "Reviews" results seem to come from pages that indicate that they are just that - reviews. This leads me to believe that you want to get your product reviewed as often as possible, or conduct reviews of other products on your site in order to show up in these results. It also tells me that you want reviews to be clearly marked as such. This tells Google that they are in fact reviews. On a sidenote, this might be a very important option to monitor from the online reputation management standpoint. If people are out there reviewing your product, this is a good place to see those reviews.

Sort them by date, and you will be able to see them from the most current, which will help you keep up with new ones. Just hope that whoever is reviewing your product is clearly marking their reviews as reviews. Pages in these results tend to say the word "review" on the page or in the title tag.

Sorting Options

Google Sorting Options Google gives users the option to see results from the past 24 hours, the past week or the past year, in addition to anytime. They also give you the option to sort by relevance or by date - a long overdue option if you ask me, and one that has been available on Google News for quite some time.

I would say that these sorting options indicate that frequent content and updates are in order if you want your content to appear here. How else are you going to rank for time-sensitive results?

Images from the Page

Users have the option to have their results show images from the page right on the SERP. This option (at least in some cases) brings up different results than if the option is not enabled. I'm going to have to make an educated guess and say that providing plenty of relevant and optimized images will help your cause when optimizing for this search option.

Images from the Page

More Text

Under the "Images from the Page" option is the "More Text" option, which basically just provides the same results as a regular search, but includes longer snippets. I think this is just going to comedown to classic use of keywords and just good-old-fashioned good content, because just like any other snippets, keywords are bolded.

If there are more keywords within a longer snippet, that means there will be more bolded words, which could make the result stand out, but if that good-old-fashioned content isn't surrounding those keywords, they will be worthless because now the user will have more to read before they click through to your site. If it's not relevant to what they're looking for, they have a better means of realizing it before the click.

Standard Resutls
Standard Results

More Text
More Text

Related Searches

As with the sort-by options, I'd say frequent content again is key again here. Optimize for items that are related to other topics you rank for. Basically just optimize for a broad spectrum of topics related to what you do while staying relevant (btw, being deceptive will hurt you in the long run, ranking or no ranking).

Related Searches

Wonder Wheel

Similar to the related searches option, the Wonder Wheel gives the user a way to navigate through related searches in a more visual way. It's a graphical representation of related search terms, though they are not always the same as the ones found in "related searches." From an optimization standpoint though, I would say the same tactics would apply here.

Chinataown Search Wheel


The Timeline groups results by dates referred to on actual pages. What this says to me is: include dates in your content when relevant. Another good thing about this is that it gives you the opportunity to get older content viewed, and in its right context. If users are using the timeline and select older dates, they're most likely looking for content from that period.

This reflects better on your site than if your older content was showing up in a regular web search, where a user might be confused into thinking the content is more current than it really is, which could ultimately have a negative impact on your reputation depending on how time sensitive the data is.

Wrapping Up

To be clear, these are just theories. To the best of my knowledge, there is no concrete answer for how to get ranked in any of these sections. We are after all talking about ranking on Google. I feel like these strategies will only increase your chances of getting found with each option though. It comes down to providing what people are looking for. Search options from Google should be applauded and embraced, because as a content provider and/or a business, you also have more options with regards to which Google results your content will be found in.

Also, keep in mind that paid listings still appear in the results for these options. The same paid listings appear regardless of which option is selected however. And don't forget that users have the ability to use multiple options at the same time. For example, reviews can be listed from most recent to oldest.

Do you feel that search options will help or hurt your chances of potential customers finding your listings? Do you like the features or do they irritate you?


It's not much of a secret that Facebook has been looking over Twitter's shoulder and imitating the occasional feature for quite some time. Now, it seems that Google may be doing something similar, as Larry Page made an interesting comment about real-time search recently.

Page put in an appearance at the Google Zeitgeist conference near London, and Loic Le Meur, the founder and CEO of Seesmic, asked his opinion of Twitter.

Page responded by saying, "I have always thought we needed to index the web every second to allow real-time search. At first, my team laughed and did not believe me. With Twitter, now they know they have to do it. Not everybody needs sub-second indexing but people are getting pretty excited about real-time."

Google Zeitgeist

Photo via Loic Le Meur

Page added, "People really want to do stuff real time and I think they [Twitter] have done a great job about it. I think we have done a relatively poor job of creating things that work on a per-second basis."

So, although Google's foray into real-time search may turn into just another example of Google throwing spaghetti at a wall, it sounds as if the search giant is going to make ultra-fresh results available under certain circumstances.

Google has come to the realization that real-time search may eventually become more important than its current search index. When an earthquake happens, it's Twitter that has real-time information about it. When someone famous dies (or is even rumored to have died as in the case of Patrick Swayze), it's Twitter that is the relevant search engine. Not Google or even Google News.

Twitter has given people an appetite for real-time information that blows away Google's search results, which are at best hours old. If Twitter won't sell, it's certain that Google will integrate a Google-built, real-time, Twitter-like service into its search results or possibly even create a seperate product to compete directly with Twitter. The success of Gmail gives Google access to millions of beta testers, which enables a competing Google real-time search service to easily hit a critical mass almost immediately.

What Is Real-Time Search to Google?

For now, Google's definition of real-time search is limited to indexing the "conversation" that is happening now and including this content within its search results. This doesn't necessarily mean Twitter, and in fact it probably won't be its real-time search centerpiece. However, one thing is certain: Google believes that real-time search is important to its future and this could change how a search result looks forever.

(Note: WebProNews Publisher Rich Ord contributed to this article.)


Is there anything that Google doesn't do? Seriously. Today the company has announced the first partners for its PowerMeter Tool.

Essentially, the PowerMeter (available as a Google gadget) shows consumers how much electricity they are using right from their computer. The idea is of course that when you can see how much electricity you are using on an appliance-by-appliance basis, you can make the necessary adjustments to reduce the amount of energy you are using/wasting. This clip has more:

"Unfortunately, many of today's smart meters don't display information to the consumer," says Google on the Google PowerMeter site. "We consider this unacceptable. We believe that detailed data on your personal energy use belongs to you and should be available in a standard, non-proprietary format. You should control who gets to see it, and you should be free to choose from a wide range of services to help you understand and benefit from it."

The Google PowerMeter was discussed earlier this year, but now we get to see who's using it and where. The following partners have been announced to start with (with more planned for later this year).

- San Diego Gas & Electric® (California)
- TXU Energy (Texas)
- JEA (Florida)
- Reliance Energy (India)
- Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (Wisconsin)
- White River Valley Electric Cooperative (Missouri)
- Toronto Hydro–Electric System Limited (Canada)
- Glasgow EPB (Kentucky)

In addition to utilities, Google is also looking to create partnerships with companies that can enable the implementation of the software. The first company to enter into a partnership is meter and data management company Itron.


Microsoft is set to introduce its new search service Kumo next week according to sources familiar with the matter.

Microsoft will likely unveil Kumo at D: All Things Digital, a technology conference held in Carlsbad, California, according to the Wall Street Journal. Kumo has been internally tested by Microsoft employees for a number of months.

The company hopes Kumo will help it better compete with search leaders Google and Yahoo. Microsoft has remained a distant third in search engine market share and advertising revenue.

Kumo Screenshot

"In spite of the progress made by search engines, 40% of queries go unanswered; half of queries are about searchers returning to previous tasks; and 46% of search sessions are longer than 20 minutes," wrote Satya Nadella, senior vice president of research and development for Microsoft's online services division in an internal memo in March.

Besides gaining search share Microsoft aims to use Kumo to reduce the length of Web searches by grouping the results into categories and display related discussion forums and videos.

Google led the U.S. search market in April with 64.2 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo (20.4%) and Microsoft (8.2%) according to comScore.


Sometimes Google has some very interesting timing. Just as Texas litigants are filing for class action status over trademark keyword bidding, the search giant swings the door wide open and announces US advertisers will now be able to use trademark keywords in ad text.

For years Google was the only major search engine advertisers could bid on trademarked keywords to trigger their ads. Until today, though, advertisers were not allowed to actually use those trademarks in the ad text.

Google Adwords
Google has set down some clear rules for trademark usage (except the first one--it's kind of murky), as legal precautions:
  • Ads which use the term in a descriptive or generic way, and not in reference to the trademark owner or the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term.
  • Ads which use the trademark in a nominative manner to refer to the trademark or its owner, specifically:
  • Resale of the trademarked goods or services: The advertiser's site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the goods or services corresponding to a trademark term. The landing page of the ad must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the goods or services corresponding to a trademark from the advertiser.
  • Sale of components, replacement parts or compatible products corresponding to a trademark: The advertiser’s site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the components, replacement parts or compatible products relating to the goods or services of the trademark. The advertiser’s landing page must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the components, parts or compatible products corresponding to the trademark term from the advertiser.
  • Informational sites: The primary purpose of the advertiser’s site must be to provide non-competitive and informative details about the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term. Additionally, the advertiser may not sell or facilitate the sale of the goods or services of a competitor of the trademark owner.
The changes take effect today, but approved ads will not appear until June 15. Though the legal debate over whether search ads constitute a “use in commerce” of a trademark is far from settled, Google appears confident the company will win that argument.


Sometimes one has to state the obvious: You’re in business to make money. You make money by convincing lots of people to give you some of their money. Success depends on making this process as painless as possible*.

But many online businesses may be making it too difficult for customers to hand over the cash, which is a bad business practice by any account.

Here’s what people are used to:

I go into a store. I see something I want to buy. I give money to the salesperson. I leave with the thing I wanted to buy.

But what they’re experiencing in online shopping is often different. It goes more like this:

I see something I want to buy. Salesperson asks if I’m a registered user before I can buy thing I want to buy. I don’t remember if I’m in their special club or not, so I try many usernames, emails, and passwords. None of them work. Did I forget my password? Maybe. I’ll tell them my email address and then I’ll go check my email to see if they sent me the magic words that will let me buy the thing I want to buy. I check my email, but regardless of whether the magic words are there, I’ve now lost interest in (run out of time for, been distracted from, irritated about) buying the thing I had wanted to buy because they made it too much trouble to give them my money and leave with the thing I wanted to buy.

Okay, here are some concrete numbers:

  • 75: The percentage of those clicking the “forgot password” button that don’t come back to finish the purchase.
  • 23: The percentage of those abandoning the checkout process at the first sign of a registration prompt.
  • 45: The percentage of registered customers who have bad memories and register multiple times, some as many as 10 times, meaning sites requiring registration might have inflated data.
  • 300 million: The number of lost dollars one major retailer found after taking away the registration button.

Here’s a money quote:

"I'm not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something." – Customer wanting to give money to retailer to buy the thing they wanted to buy.

Best course of action:

Make it easier for people to give you their money by not requiring they register to do so. Give them a choice to register so that it’s easier for them to give you their money more often in the future or to proceed to checkout where they can give you their money immediately without the hassle of becoming your friend.

Don’t believe me? Read these posts and decide for yourself:

The $300 Million Button
Required Registration Lowers Online Conversion Rates
Top 10 Online Retailers
Checkout Inspiration From Top Converting Sites


Spammers have found a new way to use Twitter. This one lets them harvest email addresses easily, and use these addresses to do their dirty business. The good news is that you can avoid this practice by simply not tweeting your email address. Have other tips to avoid being spammed?

I was having a talk with Twellow's lead developer Matthew Daines, and he pointed out that a simple query on Twitter Search can return large numbers of email addresses that spammers could potentially exploit.

Ed's Note: WebProNews Does Not Condone This Type of Behavior!

"You can sit and just watch the email addresses steadily trickle in," he noted. "I wouldn't doubt it if spammers are harvesting these."

Results for such a query might look something like this:

email query on Twitter Search
"It would be trivial to write a script that gathers these addresses," he added. "They could have several hundred thousand over a few weeks at the rate they trickle in."

The ability to search for email addresses has always existed on search engines like Google, but Twitter and it's real-time updates brings a whole new element to the matter. They come in fast, and they're always going to be up to date. This is why it could be enticing for spammers.

"The Twitter stream really weeds out all sorts of irrelevant data and cuts right to the email addresses within 140 characters, so it's a lot less intense, and would require very little coding skill," says Daines. "The thing is this makes it just too easy to get email addresses."

Warren Riddle at Switched makes a good point about the threat. The retention rate among Twitter users has not been the greatest, and the potential for spammers to harvest users' email addresses might turn some off too, although the ball is in the users' court on this one.

Twitter may want to consider taking some kind of precautions to prevent this kind of abuse. Spam is already a huge problem plaguing email and the web. When a service continues to grow in popularity the way Twitter continues to do, such abuse should be a great concern.

The lesson here is: Don't throw your email address in your tweets unless you want it to be searchable. That means it will be vulnerable to this kind of practice.

Some are probably thinking that this is common sense, but looking at the query that the above screenshot is lifted from makes it pretty clear that people are not really thinking about this. And if they are, they must not care.

Are you worried that spammers are getting your email address on Twitter?


Even though many affiliate marketers have made money online without a website, you should realize that having one increases your potential to earn huge amounts of money. It will help you build a professional reputation as well as brand your affiliate marketing business. Apart from that, having a website will give you a venue for building a community of like-minded people that will form your customer base. Keep in mind that having a community within your website means encouraging repeat visits. Repeat visits will then translate to an increased potential to make money.

If you study affiliate marketing websites that have proven to be successful, you can get an idea of what elements, in terms of content, design, and user-participation, are crucial.


To make your affiliate marketing website interesting and useful to your target market, you need to publish tons of unique and relevant content on a regular basis. What works best is publishing reviews for affiliate products. This would allow you to pre-sell them and entice your visitors to make a purchase. Other than product reviews, you can publish information on other things that are relevant to your offerings as well as to your target audience.


Apart from the content that you publish yourself, you need to provide space for your readers to publish their own content. You need to allow them to participate in your site so that they will keep visiting it and spend more time there. What you can do is create a forum and encourage your visitors to discuss issues that are relevant to your offerings. This way, you can get more of your visitors to build interest in your business and gain insights from what they have to say at the same time.


A website suited for affiliate marketing is not only pleasing to the eyes and easy to use. To make your website successful in getting leads, you need to make sure that the most important information is easily visible to your visitors. Apart from that, you need to make your affiliate links accessible no matter where in your site a visitor is. Just be sure that you don't overdo it or you might just end up annoying your readers.

Keep these things in mind when developing a website suited for affiliate marketing and you can be sure to have a website that generates and converts leads.


Courtesy of Google, quite a few artistically inclined young people are going to have a great summer. The search giant has announced a new phase in its annual Doodle 4 Google competition, and it's also started a Google Photography Prize contest.

The Doodle 4 Google challenge has reached a point at which there are only 40 regional winners left. All of their designs will be shown in the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum between May 21st and July 5th, which is neat.

Google Contests

In the meantime, a public vote ending May 18th will finish off process of picking a winner, and said winner will get a $15,000 scholarship along with a few other prizes.

As for the photography contest, entrants are supposed to supply five photos that will make up an iGoogle theme, and a post on the Google Photos Blog explained, "Winning submissions will be available for millions of Google users . . . and will also be part of a special exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The overall winner will also receive 5,000 ($7,500) and an invitation to spend a day with renowned photographer Martin Parr."

The Google Photography Prize is open to college students and will run until May 31st.


Nearly half of Internet users who respond to display advertising eventually do a search related to the ad they viewed, according to a new study from iProspect.

The study found search engine marketing and display advertising have a closer relationship than many marketers have thought. The study shows that Internet users initially respond to the medium as follows: 31percent responds by directly clicking on an ad; 27 percent respond by searching for a product or brand on a search engine; 21 percent respond by typing the company Web address into their browser and visiting the website; and 9 percent respond by using social media. Overall, 52 percent of Internet users actively respond to display advertising.

Robert J. Murray

"The key message from this study is that online display advertising is far from dead -- its 31% direct response rate confirms that," said Robert Murray, CEO, iProspect. "However, it is interesting to see that almost as many people initially respond to display ads by performing a search as those who actually click on an ad. In essence, search becomes an alternative mechanism for Internet users to respond to online display."

"Considering that, this finding has an important message for marketers -- if they are going to invest in online display, then they should leverage search marketing to help them capture the demand that display advertising creates. In other words, they should consider search as a form of insurance for their display investment."

One third of Internet users (33%) who respond to display advertising eventually purchase from a company with which they are familiar - more that twice the number who eventually purchase after learning of an offering/company for the first time from display advertising (14%).

"At the end of the day, the findings from this study closely tie search and online display advertising together," said Murray. "Overall, they tell a story of improved efficacy, which is a message that marketers should find particularly compelling during these trying economic times when they are being asked to do more with less."


There's a short but interesting blog post up on Google's official Public Policy Blog, which states six principles the company holds with regards to competition and openness.

Adam Kovacevich"As Google has grown, the company has naturally faced more scrutiny about our business principles and practices," says Google's Senior Manager of Global Communications and Public Affairs. "We believe that Google promotes competition and openness online, but we haven't always done a good job telling our story."

He notes that the company has been meeting with policymakers, think tank reps, academics, journalists, ad agencies, and trade associations in the US and Europe.

1. Help other businesses be more competitive.

2. Make it easy for users to change.

3. Open is better than closed.

4. Competition is just one click away.

5. Advertisers pay what a click is worth to them.

6. Advertisers have many choices in a dynamic market.

Google actually has a 53-minute webinar available for download

on the topic of Google competition and openness. The webinar took place back on April 9th, but presumably in an effort to be more open with this, Google is throwing it in the spotlight so others can learn from it.

The posting of these materials appears to be a response to recent media coverage of antitrust concerns regarding the company. Earlier this week the FTC launched an inquiry into whether the overlap of directors on the boards of Apple and Google violates antitrust laws. CEO Eric Schmidt sees no conflict with the Apple Board seat.


Being a subscriber to WebSite Magazine has its advantages. I have received recently an email from them that features 50 of the top affiliate networks on the Internet.

In this list, they have intentionally left aside two popular programs in the sphere of affiliate marketing. Google Affiliate Network and Amazon (Associates) are programs that very few can match and while this is so, it doesn’t mean that they are right for you. What is really important is the trustworthiness of the network (whether they pay, and pay on time) and the number and quality of merchants and their offers.

While there are other choices out there that may make their through this list, Website Magazine has included only pure-play, first tier affiliate networks — those that cater to both merchants and publishers.

Research for this report comes courtesy of Ranking.com, the Web’s largest provider of website popularity metrics and detailed website information on more than one million Internet destinations.

Top 50 Affiliate Networks:

Network 1 - 25Network 26 - 50
1. ClickBooth.com26. MaxBounty.com
2. OurFreeStuff.net27. MotiveInteractive.com
3. Copeac.com28. ROIrocket.com
4. XY7.com29. ShareResults.com
5. RevenueLoop.com30. PlatinumPartner.com
6. CJ.com31. Rextopia.com
7. ClickBank.com32. IronOffers.com
8. FriendFinder.com33. ClickXChange.com
9. ShareaSale.com34. LeaderMarkets.com
10. Zanox.com35. MarketHealth.com
11. Fluxads.com36. TriadMediaNetwork.com
12. LinkShare.com37. OfferWeb.com
13. Axill.com38. ClixGalore.com
14. TradeDoubler.com39. Convert2Media.com
15. AffiliateFuture.co.uk40. PepperJamNetwork.com
16. HydraNetwork.com41. iLogins.com
17. AdsMarket.com42. PrimaryAds.com
18. AdValiant.com43. CandadianSponsors.com
19. WebGains.com44. Affiliateer.com
20. InstantDollarz.com45. AffiliateWindow.com
21. MarketLeverage.com46. LogicalMedia.com
22. PantheraNetwork.com47. AffiliateFuel.com
23. LevelClick.com48. MoreNiche.com
24. aZoogleAds.com49. Affiliatebot.com
25. DirectLeads.com50. LinkConnector.com

While this list gives you the possibility to narrow done your choices of Affiliate Networks, it is always recommended to do your own research to find out more about each program. Better safe than sorry:)

If there are other networks you wish to suggest, please leave them here. If you had any experience making money online with any of these affiliate networks, your views and opinions matters and will be great appreciated.
In my opinion Market Leverage does not deserve 21 place...It must ne on number 1..scratch ClickBooth...believe me.


If you didn't hear - Google unveiled DoubleClick Studio, a free rich media production and web-based workflow tool that promises to help users develop and produce rich media ads.

A post on the Official Google Blog provides an explanation of the advantages of this move by saying that the company hopes to "expand the number of advertisers that can make these useful formats part of their marketing strategy."

What is Rich Media?

The post describes Rich Media as follows:
To describe rich media, it helps to think about other ad formats that we're all familiar with, starting with the simplest: text ads. With just a few keystrokes, anyone can create simple messages in a standardized format, and place them on a site like Google.com in minutes. Then we have standard display ads, ads that usually include text with a visual such as a logo or a graphic. These can be in formats we're all familiar with like .jpg, .gif, .swf and more. Standard display ads can either be static or animated with tools like Flash. They typically have only one interaction, meaning that when you click on them, you'll be taken to a destination site. And then at the most complex level, from a design and interaction perspective, we have rich media ads. With rich media, you can have ads that expand when users click or roll over, for example, and there are extensive possibilities for interactive content, such as HD video or even the ability to click to make a phone call.
Here is an orientation video that outlines all sorts of ideas and possibilities.


They conclude: "This is also a good thing for Internet users; rich media capabilities make advertising even more useful, letting a viewer interact with an ad and learn about a brand without having to leave the page they're on. And, advertisers have an expanded creative canvas within the ad itself, allowing for deeper, higher-quality content in the ad itself. At Google, we believe that ads at their best are useful information."

What do you think? Will this tool help us as intended by Google? In you want to create your own video ad, this tool might just be right for you. Access DoubleClick Studio with your existing Google account and find out more.


So many affiliate programs out there - which one really works? It may seem a difficult question to answer and once you start looking through the affiliate websites, you may get lost in a sea of attractive promises. How do you then decide which is the best one for you and how to make money online with affiliate programs?

Make money online with affiliate program has become an extremely popular source of making money on the internet. The basic idea of affiliate marketing is based on links. You put up links on your website to lead traffic to another website. If they make a purchase from the site, you get a percentage commission.

1. Payout rates and Payment Structure

Some affiliate programs are single tier ones while others have multiple tiers. This means that if anyone you referred to the program makes a sale, you get a commission from there too. To make money online with affiliate program, try and look for such an affiliate program, as the payout will be higher. You must also check out the program's payment structure before joining. Always look or a program that pays a high rate of commission.

2. Reliability

An important aspect to consider is reliability. Run a few quick searches and check how reliable the website is, its credibility etc. Also see if it pays on time, frequency and if it clears its dues fully.

3. Upfront fees

Affiliate programs that charge a registration fee or any upfront payment are best avoided. C'mon - if you went looking out for a job, you wouldn't pay the employer to allow you to work! Another advantage is that you can opt out if it doesn't seem to suit you. Those who talk of refunds usually drive you crazy before they return your money, if at all. A company confident of working well will definitely not charge you anything.

4. Statistics

Look for an affiliate program that gives you a clear and comprehensive statistics page. You should be able to view your statistics 24/7. A good statistics page will show you the number of clicks you have received, where the majority of clicks are originating and how much cash you have earned from your links. The system should be transparent and your stats should get updated immediately.

5. Conversion Rates

Look into the conversion rate of the affiliate program. This will give you an idea of how many people actually make a purchase after clicking on the link. For example, a conversion rate of 1% implies that for every 100 visitors who clicked on the link, the website made one sale. 2% is a reasonably good conversion rate. Be wary of those who claim to have abnormally high conversion rates, as more often than not, they are scams.

6. What the site sells

All said and done, a key factor and narrowing down your list of affiliate programs is the product or service that the website offers. What is it? Will people pay for something like that? Only if the product or service is impressive, will people shell out money and actually buy it.

A reliable affiliate program can turn out to be a great source of easy income for you. To make money online with affiliate program, it requires no long hours, no angry bosses, no traffic snarls to get caught in - what more could you want?! If you've found a good affiliate program with a high conversion ratio and a reliable payout rate, half your battle is already won. Now you just need to sit back and watch your money tree grow!

Btw:You can check my post where i put different ways to make money online with affiliate programs.


Beginning today, people who sign up for YouTube will be given a Google account. Given that Google has owned the popular video service since 2006, it is a little surprising that this happened in the past, but it certainly makes sense that they would do it sooner or later. Note: I am not yet seeing an indication of this news on the YouTube sign up page, but I assume it’s in the process of rolling out.

YouTube Sign-up Page

It's a smart move because it opens the door to other Google services that YouTube users may not have otherwise been privy to or taken the time to acknowledge. Things like iGoogle, Google Reader and Google Docs for example.

Really, the move could provide a tremendous boost to Google's social media efforts, which it has seemingly been taking much more seriously lately. As I've discussed before (though I cited Gmail as the central point), Google itself has kind of been a social network for years, and many just haven't realized it.

Now in recent weeks, they have put much more emphasis on the Google Profile, which is now showing up in search results, and offers the option of vanity URLs for easier visibility. YouTube has long been a huge social network (not to mention the 2nd largest search engine). Why not incorporate that more into the rest of Google? It's arguably the company's biggest and most well-branded social media entity.

Users can still sign up for YouTube with any email address, and they'll still pick a unique username. "So why are we doing this?" asks James Philips of the YouTube Team. "We feel that by jointly connecting accounts, you can take greater advantage of our services both on YouTube and on Google, especially as we start to roll out new features in the future that will be powered by Google technology."

Those who already have a YouTube account but no Google account will still be able to enjoy YouTube just the same, but Philips says they will be rolling out features that will require a Google account in the future. Such features are not elaborated on, but I am very eager to see what these will be.

I would not be surprised to see a prominent YouTube link start showing up on Google alongside things like web, images, maps, news, and Gmail. There is already one for video that goes to Google video of course, but I have often pondered why YouTube would not be featured here. It's obviously the more popular video engine.


The "what is Twitter about?" article is not a new concept. It's been discussed frequently pretty much since Twitter was launched. Yet people still have a hard time grasping the concept. In fact, Twitter has had a hard time with user retention most likely because so many people try it based on all of the hype, and then don't return because they don’t "get it." What is Twitter about to you in one word?

Social Network Reach
The truth is, it often takes a while using the service to "get it." The more you use it, the more you start to realize the benefits that are there. I (with a little help from Mike and Tiffany) asked a whole bunch of people what Twitter is "about" to them in one word. A handful of them responded, and here are some of the answers I got:

- Updates
- Egos
- Networking/Networks
- Relationships
- Represent
- Connection
- Possibilities
- Instant
- Marketing
- Speed
- Noise
- Inane
- Communication
- Contrived
- Aggrandizement
- Useful
- Spammy
- Conversation
- Open
- Freedom
- Useless
- Awareness
- Chat

Going into this thing, the word I was clinging to in my mind was microblogging. It has always been described with this word, but what does that mean? Small blogging. To me, Twitter is not a whole lot different than a collection of blogs, only all of the entries are really short (140 characters or less).

Is there a lot of noise? Sure. Could the same thing be said about the Blogosphere? Absolutely. You read blogs because they are written by people who talk about topics you are interested in reading about, or because you're interested in what the blogger has to say because of who they are. The same could be said about Twitter. You follow those whose thoughts you are interested in hearing, whose links you are interested in sharing, whose company's you are interested in staying informed about, etc.

Company Twitter accounts are no different than company blogs for all intents and purposes. The same goes for personal accounts and personal blogs. Do you care what I ate for breakfast? Probably not, but someone might. And I could've just as easily posted the same info on my personal blog. The difference is that on Twitter, I would've got right to the point - I didn't have any breakfast this morning. A blog entry might have taken several paragraphs to explain the reasoning behind this. If these are the only things I blogged about, you'd probably stop reading my blog.

If these are the only things I tweeted about, you'd probably stop following me. If twitter accounts are like blogs, then Twitter is like its own Blogosphere (or microblogosphere) combined with a feed reader. You select the ones you want to follow, just as if you were selecting what blogs to subscribe to.

To me, this is what Twitter is about. That’s not all it’s about, but that’s how I get the most use out of it. That’s probably why I am not an incredibly frequent Twitterer per se. I read Twitter a lot more than I write on Twitter, but that’s still using it. Neville Hobson recently wrote about how Twitter is for listening. For some of us, that is the biggest part of it, but still for others, it’s speaking. We couldn’t listen if nobody was talking.

It is clear that Twitter is about a variety of different things to different people (and nothing to others). One person's microblogging service is another person's networking platform. There is certainly plenty of crossover as well. It doesn't have to be about strictly one thing. It's whatever you want it to be. And if you don't want to use it, nobody's putting a gun to your head (hopefully).

Thank you to all who participated in my little survey. I’m not sure if we’ve helped anyone “get” it or not, but either way it was interesting to see the different words people came up with. Somehow, I didn't get many repeats. Twitter obviously fits different molds for different people. But we already knew that.

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