Archive for January, 2008

Thought I Had An Evil Way To Make Some Easy Affiliate Cash

One of my best friends does a lot of business on eBay as he has some sort of a partnership with a family friend who happens to own a pawn shop. When I started Carbon Fiber Gear, I knew that a lot of my affiliate sales through the site were going to be done through the eBay Affiliate Program. For those not familiar with the program, it offers you 50% of eBay’s revenue on top of $25 per user registration. It drops a cookie on a user that has clicked your affiliate link, which lasts 30 days. This means if this person buys anything on eBay over the next 30 days, you will get paid out. I never really understood the power of this until I found out that the majority of the people I was referring to eBay from Carbon Fiber Gear were actually buying totally different things.

This got me thinking about how I can try and monetize on this a little better. The first thing I did was show Alex how to create an affiliate link with my ID and his tracking (so I knew it came from him). I told him to try and use the affiliate links as much as possible, for example when somebody asks him a question about one of his auctions, he could respond to the question and somehow get the affiliate link in the response. He doesn’t really get that many questions, so it’s pretty limited. I needed to figure out a way to do better.

This is when I thought of an idea where he could do something like link his pictures from his auction to the same auction, but using the affiliate link. More than likely a buyer would be clicking that picture, which would generate an affiliate sale for me. On top of that, anybody else that clicked it and bought something else would do the same thing. Plus, if any of them bought anything else over the course of the next 30 days, I would make money on that too. Genius!? This was going to make some decent money I thought!

Before acting on this great plan, I decided to check the affiliate programs terms & conditions just to make sure there was nothing in there about this. Was I glad I looked:

(5) Affiliate Links. You may use affiliate links to promote your own eBay listings or eBay Store, those of your Agents or those of anyone else with whom you are affiliated. eBay may terminate this provision at any time with 7 days notice. You may not include affiliate links on any ebay.com page or eBay-owned page, such as an eBay listing or eBay Store.

Unfortunately eBay does not allow this, and immediately stopped my evil plan dead in its tracks. I’m glad I looked, I could have potentially gotten kicked out of the program and forfeited any future chance to make real money with it. This is also a good lesson learned, always make sure and read contracts and terms & conditions docs…especially when you are doing something that you think might violate them.

Snowboarding Weekend At 7 Springs

Last weekend I went to 7 Springs resort in PA for a few days of snowboarding with 14 of my friends. Since there were so many of us, we got a 2 bedroom condo, a 4 bedroom townhouse, and a keg to stay at. Here we are on the first day, the resort is huge but you can see the main lodge:

7 Springs resort

Here I am on the top of one of the mountains, you can see more of the resort at the bottom of the hill:

Top of the mountain at 7 Springs

What’s a snowboarding post without a little action shot?

Doing a jump

After each long day of boarding we hit up the bars in the hotel, here’s a few of us at from Saturday night:

At the bars

This is my third or fourth time to 7 Springs, it’s always a great time and only a few hours drive. Next year I’d like to try snowboarding somewhere on the west coast though, I think I’m too used to icy conditions.

Deal: Free Health & Beauty Products From Walgreens

For the next four weeks you’ll be able to get these items for free from Walgreens as long as you can wait for a rebate check:

  • Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner 13 oz., Leave-In Conditioner 10.2 oz. or Conditioning Masque 6.8 oz.
  • Clear Care Travel 2 Pack, 2 oz. or Convenience Pack 4 Pack
  • Gillette Venus Embrace Razor System
  • 5-hour Energy Drink 2 Pack, Orange or Caffeine-Free Citrus
  • Softsoap Spa Radiant Body Wash, 18 oz.
  • Mennen Speed Stick 24/7 Antiperspirant/Deodorant, 2.7 or 3 oz.

Simply fill in the rebate form and mail it or fill in the online form which is probably a lot easier. Go here to find the closest Walgreens to you.

[Source: WalletPop]

Find Out What People Bought From Your Commission Junction eBay Affiliate Program

When I first started to generate some commissions from the eBay affiliate program, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to find out what somebody purchased in order to make me the commission. This data would be important as I could use it to better understand what I should promote. I went through the CJ help, then through eBay affiliate help…nothing. You’d think this would be a common question. FINALLY I found a way. I knew there was a way! I figured I’d document it here to hopefully help you others out so you didn’t have to go through what I did.

  1. First step is to login to your account manager on CJ.
  2. Click the run reports tabs
  3. You should automatically be in the “Transaction Report” page. Click the blue link that says “Report Options”
  4. Change the report type to commission detail, and the advertiser to eBay
  5. Select the date(s) you want to run the report, and then run the report
  6. You’ll see a page with all of your commissions. None of this data shows you what items were purchased…this area was the main reason I couldn’t figure out what was going on. At the bottom of the data, you’ll see something to download the report. Download the CSV, and save it to your desktop.
  7. Open the txt file in Excel and choose the options for a comma delimited file..this will break up the data into separate columns.
  8. In column P (order_id), you’ll see something like this:

15090839;350009584948;75545;20080101;20080103;1;29.72;000US;10504852553

Here’s what these numbers mean between each semi-colon:

eBay User ID; eBay Item ID; Leaf Category ID; Click Date; Bid Date; Quantity Sold; Total GMV; 000US (or 000EX); Record ID

Aha! The second group of numbers is the eBay Item ID! Simply paste that number into the search box on eBay and there is your winning item.

Alternatively, Brandon Hopkins informed me about a neat little tool that automates this for you. The CJ report analyzer for eBay sales allows you to simply upload your CSV file, and they will output everything you need. Note that the way they make money is by revamping the links in the report they output with their own affiliate ID. That’s the cost of providing a free tool :)

Get Paid To Blog

A friend of mine is looking to hire a couple writers at $40 per post (about 1 per week). His new site that he just launched is called Most Listed:

A lot of the Internet is for sale, from domains, templates, and articles to complete websites. We aggregate the for sale listings from the popular listing locations for your convenience, and select a few listings we think deserve a little closer inspection.

He’s looking for good writers that can write about business type stuff like how to value a website, places to buy/sell websites and domains, etc. If you are in the field, or you think you can write good content about the field, get in touch with me and I’ll put you in touch with him. It’d be a cool way to make an extra $160/month with an opportunity to do more. It also gets your name out there. I think this blog has potential to grow pretty rapidly, get in early.

My New Home Office Setup

Back in May I made a post with pictures of my home office setup, and even a video. I’ve made a couple of updates to the office that makes it all just a little bit nicer, so I thought I’d post updated pics.

Picked up the 42″ Sony Plasma and mounted it on the wall. I haven’t moved the clock yet, but that’ll go up higher when I’m not so lazy. I also finally convinced Jason to upgrade his computer and monitor. He picked up a 24″ Dell LCD and a Shuttle XPC:

My new home office setup

Here’s my setup up close. I have two Dell 20.1″ monitors. Once you go dual-monitor, you can never go back. I would much rather take my 2 20.1″ screens over 1 24″ or even 1 30″. I like the separation of two monitors.

My new home office setup

The middle unit houses the phone, routers, and computers:

My new home office setup

Think you have a nice office setup?? Prove it!? Make a post on your blog, and show me what you’ve got.

Finally Part Of The Twitter Crew

Between seeing some decent traffic from Twitter over the past couple days, and Darren’s post about it…I’ve decided to try and join the bandwagon. My main gripe is that I can’t update using AIM…which is the only IM client that I actively use.

Anyway, we’ll see how it pans out over time…I can see it being useful to share little links and gripes here and there. If you are a Twitter, make sure to follow me:

http://twitter.com/davepit

For those that don’t know what Twitter is, it’s like a mini-blog. You can only post 140 characters at one time, so a post may be something as simple as “Off to the slopes for the weekend”. Short and sweet.

How To Get The A-Listers To Respond

Last week I had a post go live on the blog that generated a good amount of buzz around the blogosphere, What Do The Top Bloggers Drive?. As of right now the post has had 77 Diggs, 44 comments, and has been posted about on quite a few big blogs you may have heard of:

That’s not a bad list to get a few linkbacks from, huh? If you read the article you’ll know that I obviously had to get in touch with all of the bloggers…many of them get hundreds of e-mails a day, so how did I get them to respond to me? Read on…

How To Get A Response

I sent an e-mail to all of the bloggers I wanted to hear back from on Thursday, January 3rd. Here’s how quickly I received responses:

E-mail responders

As you can see, the majority of responses came within 1-2 days of sending. You’ll also notice the subject I used for some of the e-mails. I always personalized by the blogger name so that they knew it wasn’t just a spambot:

Scott – Quick Questions

I also used the subject “Quick Questions” because I wanted the blogger to know that I wasn’t sending an e-mail to waste their time. I needed an answer, and my e-mail needed to get right to the point. As I mentioned before, these guys get hundreds of e-mails a day…you cannot bore them with a long e-mail. Get right the point, or your e-mail will end up in their delete box. My e-mail almost always went something like this:

Hey John,

David Pitlyuk (http://www.davepit.com) here. If you have a free moment to answer a few questions, I’m compiling info for a hopefully inspirational post about what cars some of the top bloggers drive.

  1. What kind of cars/vehicles do you drive now?
  2. If you had to buy a new car today, what would it be?
  3. If money was no object, what car would you drive?

If you have any pictures of your vehicle(s) that you??d like me to use in the post, please feel free to send them my way.

Thanks for your time!
Dave

You can see that I got right to the point. First, I personalized the introduction, then I made a quick introduction, told them I had some questions, gave them a good reason to take 30 seconds to answer them (inspirational post), and asked the questions. Simple as that. Now keep in mind that the article I wrote and questions I asked were fairly unique I think…they probably don’t get asked that too many times. This generally will make them be more inclined to answer. If you’re trying to get some sort of interview, and you’re asking things that you can find answers to on 100 different websites with just a Google Search, don’t expect a response.

ShoeMoney wrote a good post, “10 Reasons I Delete Your Email“. Who better to hear from in terms of what will get deleted then from an A-Lister himself.

They’ve Responded, Now What?

First of all, I want to note that not everybody responded. I e-mailed a lot more bloggers, so don’t get discouraged when you don’t get a response. For example, Leo Babauta from Zen Habits responded saying this:

Hi Dave … normally I would try to help you out but at the moment I’m swamped. Would you mind if I respectfully declined?

While it was nice of him to respond, he could have easily just not responded (Thanks Leo! – Although he could have probably answered the questions in the same amount of time he took to write that ;) ). You never know what the situation is on the other persons end.

I didn’t respond to everybody’s e-mail as soon as they responded. I waited until my post went live so I could give them a link and thank them. I did this for three reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to send thanks AND another e-mail with a link…I haven’t said it enough, these guys are already extremely busy
  2. I wanted to send them a link to the post so they could see, and also with any sort of hopes of them linking back (which worked of course)
  3. I’ve now created a relationship or contact with each blogger. This can be useful for future scenario from both my end and their end. For example Guy Kawasaki and I went back and forth several times…he even showed me a new project he was working on that isn’t public yet!

I hope this information helps you get in touch with an A-Lister should you need to…just make sure you need to. Nobody likes to have their time wasted.

Deals: Free 1GB USB Flash Drive With Your Order

NothingButSoftware.com is offering a free 1GB USB flash drive with any order over $50. They have all kinds of software on the site (Nothing but!), so if you were planning to get something, you may as well pick up the free flash drive. Now is a good time to get something like Turbo Tax so you can do your taxes. Or, get Microsoft Money to manage your personal finances, like I do.

This deal is valid until the 28th of January.

American Gladiators Monologue

New American Gladiators logoFor those of you that were caught up in the hype of American Gladiators re-launching, just to be disappointed, join the club. I had a ton of complaints about the show when I finally saw my first new episode. Then I happened to check my e-mail inbox where I saw the subject “AG Monologue”…and it was from one of my good, hilarious, friends Elliott Antal. This should be good I thought to myself. As always, Elliott didn’t disappoint…so I asked for his permission to repost it on here to share with the world. Let us know what you thought of American Gladiators by posting your comments.


Monday Morning:

  • 45 minutes I’ve been at work
  • 25 emails
  • 1 coffee run

Sounds like I’m ready to run down some observations about the greatest comeback since Michael Jordan playing baseball…that’s right…the AMERICAN GLADIATORS!!! Or the ‘AG’ as NBC likes to slang it. If you have watched any of it so far this e-mail will make sense, if not then I hope this e-mail will make you search YouTube for any clips supporting or denying my claims.

  • First off NBC played the celebrity card to try and get viewers tuned in, I don’t know how many people I ran into before the first episode aired that said, “Hulk Hogan is going to be a Gladiator” just to find out that the Hulkster is actually a glorified sideline reporter, and because the job is too big for one ex-WWF wrestler, they had to find him a partner in Ms. Ali.
  • Second, I don’t remember the first ‘AG’ having so many damn in game interviews. I don’t care to hear the philosophies of some random blue contestant, I tuned in to see someone with a name like Titan sit on your head!
  • Thirdly, the Gladiators. I think they grabbed these guys in a San Fran court house, I believe these are all witnesses in the ongoing BALCO investigation. And in Barry Bond’s defense, steroids by themselves do not increase an individuals ability, and not in Canseco’s defense, they do tend to kill some brain cells. Case in point, the Gladiator named Wolf…I’d hate to meet this guy in a dark alley….until I saw him in the rings event and learned that if I do meet him in an alley, all I would have to do is look for the nearest gym apparatus to climb on. The guy they call Titan looks like he’s been posing for the cover of romance novels chipping away at Fabio’s profits. By far my favorite Gladiator is Helga…I have $50 that says even the guys can’t get by her, I also have $100 that says she celebrates a victory by chugging a keg and smashing it on her forehead.
  • Fourth, the new event. Instead of trying to fight a Gladiator out of a ring, like traditional wrestling, the ring is now elevated and rotates called EARTHQUAKE. This is another event in which steroids don’t help the Gladiators much, a sense of balance is something you don’t expect from a jungle living Gladiator called TOA.
  • Fifth, where is the classic event. Am I the only one that noticed that the new ‘AG’ doesn’t have that human ball rolling event anymore? You know the one where they tried to roll into a pod and wait till smoke shot up their butt to record a point. NBC lost some major points by not bringing that back.
  • Sixth, the Eliminator. This event can hardly be called the Eliminator, this is nothing like the original. Contestants get to frolic through some obstacle course that looks about as hard as any event you did during Field Day in Middle School (if your school had those). There are no Gladiators like in the original and it doesn’t even look as long. Which makes me wonder why these contestants are always so winded and cannot run up the damn escalator at the end of it…did anyone screen these contestants for athletic ability before they applied?

Well for those of you who waited for the return of a classic 80′s show and were disappointed…you don’t have long to wait. NBC will soon be destroying the legend of Knight Rider next.