Why You Should Get Netflix

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Try Netflix DVD Rental FREE for 2 weeks

Try Netflix DVD Rental FREE for 2 weeks

I've had Netflix for a couple of months now and, in fact, I'm watching a movie with the 'Watch Instantly' feature right now. It's by far my favorite feature of Netflix, but certainly not the only one. There are thousands of movies you can watch instantly on either PC or Mac, as long as you have IE or Firefox.

Here's a description of the 'Watch Instantly' feature straight from the Netflix site-

With your Netflix membership you can watch movies and TV episodes instantly on any Windows XP or Vista PC that has a broadband internet connection, or via any Netflix ready device.
Movies available to watch instantly appear on the Netflix web site with a "Play" button and an "Add to instant" Queue button.

On compatible PCs, the first time you click Play, you'll be asked to to download and install the free Netflix Movie Viewer software; after that, playback will start quickly - usually in 30 seconds or less.

Netflix ready devices can play any title that you choose to add to your instant Queue.

Just recently, they made the viewer available for both Firefox on both PC & Mac, and also- playback has never taken more than a few seconds to start. Besides that, it's been a great experience.

Not all of the titles on the 'Watch Instantly' feature are recent, so if you're interested in actually receiving recent DVDs, they do that as well. They'll ship them and they get to you in about one or two days once you have them queued up.

Personally, I like being able to watch movies whenever I want as much as I want. Plus, when you watch movies on Netflix, they're usually widescreen and you can fast forward with a preview.

Right now, they're offering a free 2-week (14 day) trial. That's more than enough time to figure out whether you like it as well. I highly recommend it.

How does $660,000 in profit sound this month?

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If you haven't heard the story, then hold on to your socks. I just read over at Jonathan Volk's blog that super affiliate Jon Fisher, after taking a two year hiatus from the industry, made an amazing comeback over the last month.

Using social media advertising and a couple hot offers, Fisher raked in an amazing $2.2 million in revenue over the last 30 days, apparently profiting at 30%. For those of you without calculators, that's an average of $73,333.33/day in revenue and $22,000.00/day in profit.

While this kind of revenue isn't unheard of and is certainly not outside the realm of possibility. The amazing part is how he pulled it off after being out of the loop for so long:

I?m completely floored by the results, its pretty unreal. A month ago I was scrounging around for information because after taking a 2 year hiatus from the industry, a lot has changed and left me feeling very newbie?ish. Total revenue, especially from the Free Credit Report offer put me at a little over the $2.2M mark. If those damn keywords weren?t so goddamn expensive to bid on, even on the content networks, my profit would have been well over the $1M mark, but I?m definitely not going to complain, because I never thought in a million years I would comeback so strong within the first 30 days alone. Two powerful niches, with great traffic sources, and even better friends around me for support and advice make me truly happy and glad I didn?t quit and just leave.

It just goes to show, if you don't give up, you can see big results. Also, don't ignore the power of having good friends and connections in the right places.

Tracking202 – Why You Need It

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First and foremost, this isn't any kind of incentivized promotion for the Prosper202 team. Although Wes and Steve are great guys, I wanted to let people know I'm doing this for my own greedy reasons.

This post is for anyone who has never tried Tracking202 or anyone who has kinda-sorta tried it but gave up on it early on. A while back, I fit snugly into the latter category. Sure, I tested it out to give you guys a proper review but I didn't stick with it because I was perfectly happy with my crappy little scripts I'd built to do something similar (or what I thought was similar).

This time around, I installed it on one of my domains and I've been testing it out on my less successful campaigns -- those that I just can't get an edge on. What's amazing is that I'm able to tweak them properly because I get visual feedback and lots of it. Once I get a handle on those campaigns, I'll start doing to the tedious work of moving my bigger campaigns over to make them even more profitable.

Now besides being free, Tracking202 is awesome for several other key reasons: spy mode, graphs, automatic post-back/pixel updates, secure tracking ids and instant reporting. At least, these are the features I care about.

Spy mode is where I'm sure most people spend their time. It's where you get to see clicks and leads happening live which, by itself, is worth a ton of money. Sure, you can see the trends on your reports but when you actually get a feel for when leads occur and from which keywords cause leads to happen, you can instantly see the value-add. Even better than spy mode alone is its ability to filter by numerous properties: campaign, keyword, ad, etc.

Graphs are another great feature and another great way to view the same data. I won't go into detail here as they're pretty much self-explanatory, but suffice it to say that it's extremely helpful.

The automatic post-back/pixel updates are somewhat difficult to get working properly, but once you do, it's highly enjoyable to watch via the spy view. You can watch clicks happening in real time, sure but until you see your leads converting in real time, you haven't lived. If you aren't sure how post-backs/pixels work, essentially they tell you when leads convert. Sometimes they're instant but most of the time, there's a 5-10 minute delay. In any case, they make it so you don't have to do as much work in tracking your leads.

Secure tracking identifiers are a fancy way of describing Tracking202's numbering system for SubID tracking. Each click gets its own unique ID and that's what the tracking system uses as the SubID on your affiliate links. Simple, yet effective. This way, no one will steal the keywords you're using to generate leads. Not easily, anyway.

Instant reporting is Tracking202's ability to show you at any time what your profit is and compare it to past data. This is an obvious feature that you'd expect such a suite to have but I wanted to note that the Prosper202 people did it well.

I'd also like to note that when I've had ideas or noticed anything I thought was buggy, the guys have instantly responded to say either "yeah, that's already on our list" or "hey, you're an idiot. it's right here." That's the kind of customer support I need and they give on a consistent basis.

So great job, guys. Sorry I didn't check it out further before, but you've already saved me hundreds. If I'd been using you when I started, I would've saved tens of thousands.

Recent Updates on Affiliate Toolbox

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Over the last month or so, The Affiliate Toolbox has been undergoing some changes, so I thought I'd share them here.

  • Removed Kontera Ads - it was taking away from readability, plus it was ugly
  • Removed Forum - too much spam
  • Became a site authority on Google for 'affiliate toolbox' - kind of cool, check it out here
  • Staying strong at 500 RSS Subscribers
  • We're starting to get more and more guest posts. If you're interested in guest posts, please let me know
  • Got ranked #254 or so on the Internet Marketing Top Blogs - Not sure why we're so far down the list. Bastards!

Since the original purpose of the site was to be a toolbox for affiliates (hence the name), I've noticed we're severely lacking in that department. If there's anything you'd like to see more of here, please let me know.

Ringtones Just Went Global

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Ringtones just went Global

Ringtones just went Global

Not sure if you're aware, but Ringtones.com just went global.

Cellular-news.com just released a story a few days ago about how the company expanded the service to the world:

Mobile content vendor, Mobile Streams has announced that its direct-to-consumer portal, Ringtones.com, is now available to customers around the world following recent launches in Germany, Australia and Argentina.

First launched in the UK in 1999, Ringtones.com offers thousands of pieces of content from a myriad of content suppliers including leading international media companies such as Home Box Office (HBO), Sony BMG, PA Photos and Turner Broadcasting.

With over a decade of experience, Ringtones.com has compelling customer conversion rates and lifetime subscriber values and is the one-stop-shop for quality mobile content downloads. The intelligent retailing capabilities of the site ensure customer loyalty through advanced features such as: arrival reactivity which creates a personalised store for each customer based on their route of entry; dynamic content generated by order, relevance and time sensitivity; as well as a clear and simple click through purchase process.

Of course, other carriers have long offered ringtones in various countries, but I felt this was notable as it was about ringtones.com. Also I thought it would be neat to make a global ringtones graphic, however cheesy it may have turned out.

Great Book: The 4-Hour Work Week

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The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

Lately, I've been extremely busy but I did stop by Borders to take my mind off of things and I saw a book I remembered someone mentioning -- The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.

To be honest, my last post (Goal #1: Automation) was inspired by this book and with good reason -- this guy is all about outsourcing. In fact, if I were to sum this book up in a nutshell, it would be about removing all your repetative tasks that don't necessarily need you to be involved and outsourcing them to your virtual assistants. This leaves time for you to do the other things you want to do: start new businesses, travel, work on your hobbies, spend time with your family, etc.

Ferriss even goes into detail about getting rid of actual employees and talks about hiring staffing firms in places like India and China to do your work. Rather than outsourcing to individuals in those countries, staffing firms allow you to split test your distant assistants to see who can provide you with a better hourly ROI. Yes, you can even split test your employees. Also, staffing firms come with the added benefit of someone watching over your workers as an added guarantee that things will get done.

There are numerous other great pointers in the book that I won't divulge here but I will say I am thoroughly impressed with the information the guy is handing out. I've been incorporating it into the business and I must say, it does help. I love my assistants and wouldn't go a day without them.

Definitely give this book a read if you want to save yourself thousands of dollars and even more in time and effort.

Goal #1: Automation

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When you start a business, no doubt you have several goals in mind: profit, volume, brand recognition, more family time, automation, etc. This is pretty universal, no matter what line of business you're into but what happens when you want to take a two or three week vacation?

Sure, you could put off the technical details until the time comes and it may or may not work. Chances are, it won't. So my advice to you is to move automation into the first slot in your goal list.

The reason for this is that automation comes packaged with several of those goals already covered, most notably profit and family time. Without profit, it doesn't make sense to have an automated business. So while family time is a benefit, profit is a sub-point to automation.

What Is Automation?

Essentially, if you can walk away from your business tomorrow, not check on it for a couple weeks and when you return, everything is running smoothly, then your business is running on auto-pilot. If not, you need to figure out what it takes because life happens and you should be prepared.

In order to put your business on auto-pilot, there are several key factors you need to take care of:

  1. Payments (will they get deposited and cleared without you?)
  2. Employees (will they get paid and will they work without you around?)
  3. Shipments (will the product get delivered properly while you're away?)
  4. Customer Service (will your customers' questions get handled efficiently while you're away?)
  5. Products (will they stay in stock if you're not around?)

Making sure payments get deposited automatically is somewhat simple: set up direct deposit with your merchant account or the entity where your payments come from and let the payments take care of themselves.

On the other hand, making sure employees get paid is another matter. There are companies you can hire to outsource your payroll to that will ensure that your employees get paid on time, every time. Knowing that your employees will continue to get paid even while you're away will ensure that they're able to keep working and to keep the business running smoothly. This ties directly in with #3, #4 and #5 -- shipments, customer service and product stock. As long as your employees work well without your supervision, you should be OK.

What helps the process along is outsourcing employees from an overseas outsource firm. This way, you can test numerous individuals and use those employees that benefit your company most, and as a side benefit -- they work while you sleep and you can arrange for them to work while you're awake as well. And the best part is that you can hire them for a fraction of the price you'd pay for such an employee in the United States. It's truly beautiful. Look for outsourcing firms on sites like www.elance.com.

Once these things are taken care of, you should be able to walk away from your business tomorrow and know it's in good hands until you return. Not to mention, now you can decrease your overall workload by more than half by delegating to your new, more cost-effective overseas employees. And that, my friends, is why automation should be goal numero uno in your business model.

Breaking Into Small Niches

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Scott recently wrote about saturated niches. If you missed that post, make sure and read it, especially the last paragraph. Niche marketing is without a doubt the way of the foreseeable future. Google makes that perfectly apparent. Gone are the "Wal-Mart" days of sites like Buy.com that stock everything but specialize in nothing. Here to stay are the small sites that sell a few of the best products at good prices, so how do you break into those niches?

Here are a few pieces of advice from someone who has successfully broken into niches with no budget and competed against companies that spend thousands per day.

  1. Start with something you know. The easiest way to build a presence in a niche is through expertise. While you may not be an expert in the niche you've chosen, it's easy to fake if you know something about that niche. You may not have ever purchased office furniture, but if you've sat in it and used it for the last five years, you know something about different chairs, desks, layout, filing systems and more. Start with something you know and writing for and promoting in that niche is much easier.
  2. Build a strong base before showing your colors. It is a common war tactic to try to lure the enemy into a trap. With your niche, your website is your trap, it's what wins the war (generating you a profit). So before you try to get those visitors to your website, have something to show them. If you're starting with an empty website and paying for customers, they'll leave without giving you a chance. I always have 5-10 pages of the website ready and waiting before doing any kind of marketing. This gives new customers something to look at and gives you a professional presence.
  3. Never stop writing. While 5-10 pages of good content can get you a long way in your niche, you can never outgrow any niche. You might disagree, but I have been writing in one niche for 4 years. To date I have nearly 400 articles on a niche that is pretty small. Most of them are long tail keywords but just about all of them brought in a few visitors, and that is what you want.

In niche marketing you may never have the advertising budget of a Fortune 500, but that doesn't mean you can't compete with them and steal some of their customers!

Brandon Hopkins has websites dedicated to over 100 different niches and is currently working on a free website hosting project called 22 Gigs.

Saturated Niches: Are They Worth Your Time?

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Saturated Niches: Not For The Weak

Saturated Niches: Not For The Weak

From weight loss to payday loans, there are certainly some niches that are nearly impossible to break into without some serious dollars up front. That is, of course, unless you're clever.

As you know, I've been doing a fair amount of research into organic affiliate marketing (AKA bum marketing). Quite obviously, the people who do the best with this type of marketing are the ones that have websites that already have a huge amount of traffic to a niche keyword and another thing I've noticed is that these sites are typically service-based vs. information-based.

Sure, article sites have their place but service-based websites keep people coming back and they bring people back in. And these days, service-based websites are also lucky enough to feature user-generated content. That means a lot less work for whoever's operating the website itself.

Now that's great and all but the thing is, not all of us are able to create social networking websites and even if we are able to, even fewer of us could market it well enough to make it work for us the way I'm talking about now.

So what's left? You've got viral marketing, which is never as easy as people like to make you think it is. You've also got things like e-mail marketing, putting banners on other peoples' sites (banner arbitrage) and, of course, pay per click. Only one of these is strong enough to do any kind of volume and it's the most difficult of all previously mentioned, so whether you want to spend the money to make it worth your while is up to you. For some, that could mean tens of thousands before they start doing real volume sales that bring them any kind of ROI. And even then, nothing is forever.

With that said, it's really up to you whether you think saturated areas are worth your attempts. While there's definitely money to be made (or it wouldn't be saturated), breaking in is far more costly than many are willing to bear. My advice? Focus on smaller niches from the start. Master two or three spins on products and once you have the money, THEN break into the more saturated markets. Hell, you can even pay developers to make you a social networking site and market the hell out of it. Saturated markets aren't for the weak as they are naturally the most competitive.

Keep that in mind.