Archive for February, 2008

The Viper Sold For Profit! GTS Coming Soon?

Back in May I wrote an article on how to get paid to drive a Dodge Viper for free for the summer. While I ended up having the car for quite a bit more time then just the summer, I still got paid to drive it :) I officially sold the car a few weeks ago (which is why I picked up the Corvette), and without getting into any actual numbers, I can say that after buying the car, paying all of the taxes registration, title, gas, insurance, etc…I ended up with about $1,000 profit. Who wouldn’t take a Dodge Viper supercar for 6 months or so, and get paid $1,000 to do so?

I will say this though, I only put about 1,500 miles on the car, but it was a blast! Even though I made $1,000, the new owner still got a decent deal on a pristine 94 Viper with only 16,300 miles on it. If you play your cards right, you could technically do this with any car (although it is a lot of work sometimes).

Now that I’ve had some time with the Vette, I’m actually starting to miss the Viper. While the Viper was on my list of dream cars to own one day, my actual dream Viper is a 96-97 blue GTS (hard-top) with white stripes. I’ve recently put the Corvette up for sale (no hardcore selling, but if it sells, I’ll sell it), and hope to profit about $1,000-$3,000 on it. For a 97 with only 36,000 miles on it, I should have no problem getting $500-$1,000 more than I paid at the minimum. Once that’s sold, I think I will start to seriously look for my dream Viper (They normally range in the $40,000-$50,000 range), and hopefully pick one up. I’ve already starting my search, but I don’t want to jump on anything until the Vette is gone.

The main differences between the Viper I had an the GTS I want are the following:

  • The color/stripes! This is my dream Viper combo
  • 450hp compared the 94 which had 400hp
  • Much nicer/updated interior. Let’s just say the 94 Viper interior needs some work…although it was cool back in 94
  • Much more practical. With actual windows and a button for the doors, it’s a much more practical car. Although who cares about practicality with a Viper? ;)
  • The hood scoops! This 2nd generation Viper has a hood scoop and two gills on the hood. It makes it look much more aggressive in my opinion.
  • The back of the GTS is just way sexier. I love the way everything is molded into the back, and am actually not too big of a fan of the rear of the RT/10.
  • The RT/10 I had was convertible, which I will definitely miss :(
  • The 1st generation Viper that I had, had side pipes. This means that the exhaust pipes came out of the side of the car…a very exotic thing. The GTS has the exhaust come out of the middle of the back of the car. While it still looks cool, side pipes were neat.
  • There are a bunch of other differences, but the above are the major ones that affect me

1996 Dodge Viper GTS blue with white stripes

A used 1st generation/2nd generation Viper is a great supercar to get if you can afford it. The car does not depreciate very much at this point in time. So if you want to drive a car that turns every head, and is a blast to drive, but don’t want to spend too much money over time…the Viper is your answer. There are a couple new reasons why the value of the Viper will either depreciate at an even slower rate, or may even go up.

There is a very good chance the 2011 will be the last year that Dodge makes a Viper. Dodge has already stopped making a lot of the parts for older Vipers, and there is some word that they will stop all together in 2011. My thoughts are that this should help out the value of Vipers already out there. That and the fact that they are so rare already will help out with keeping the price you paid up there. Remember, there are more Corvettes made and sold in one year than Vipers have ever been made since they started in 1993.

How I Took $106.34 From Derek Semmler

At the beginning of this month, my friend Derek Semmler made a post about a contest to win $106.34 by referring the most amount of people to his site by February 25th. The winner would be chosen by the most number of referrals shown in his Google Analytics account. As I was reading his post, I came across one line:

You??re free to use any means available to refer traffic to my site – as long as Google Analytics counts the visit I will consider it valid.

As I read this, the light bulb over my head went on. This was just asking for some sort of evil method of winning the contest. My plan was to use a 1 pixel by 1 pixel IFRAME on the footer of all the pages on my blog. For those that don’t know what an IFRAME is, it’s basically a website within a website. You can specify the size of an IFRAME, and then load another webpage into it…usually it’s another page on your own site. I decided to load Derek’s site.

I wasn’t sure if this would register as a referral on Google Analytics though, so I created a test page loading in my own site. I checked to see if it came in as a referral…it did. Score! So I added the below code to every page on this site:

<iframe src=”http://www.dereksemmler.com” height=”1″ width=”1″></iframe>

If you can see this little black dot below, this is what the iframe would look like that would load Derek’s site inside of it and generate a referral visitor.

After a couple of days running the code, I got an IM from Derek letting me know I was evil lol. He agreed that it was ok based on his terms, so I left the code on my site for a few weeks to ensure my win. I felt bad, so I made sure that I’d post about the contest, and I also made this little ad which you may have seen running on the sidebar:

Derek Semmler Ad

Yesterday Derek made a post announcing that I was the winner, and then PayPal’d me $106.34. Definitely goes up there as one of the easiest $106.34 I’ve ever made :)

Thanks for being a good sport Derek! If you don’t already read his blog, make sure to give it a chance. It’s good enough to make it onto my RSS reader, and I’ve been a subscriber and a commenter for quite some time now.

A Nissan Is As Good As The Best 911 Porsche Ever Made

For those of you that have not yet heard of the new Nissan GT-R, it’s time to take a look:

Nissan R35 GT-R front quarter panel

Nissan R35 GT-R rear quarter panel

This is the first time that the GT-R has ever been brought to the US, and there are a lot of enthusiasts that are unbelievably excited about it. Only 2,500 will be brought in the first year (2009), and with a base price of only $69,850, you can bet that dealers will be marking them up beyond belief. What is there to get so excited about? The $70,000 Nissan will beat a Porsche 911 on the track. A 911 can easily cost of 2-3 times the price of the GT-R!

The GT-R has a 3.8L V6 with a pair of turbos boosting the car to 473hp and 433 ft-lb tq. Did I mention it is all wheel drive, does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, runs the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds and gets 21mpg? That’s something to get excited about.

Autocar did a comparison video between the new e92 BMW m3, the Porsche 911 GT3 (which they believe is the best Porsche 911 ever made), and the 2009 Nissan GT-R. What did they find? I think the title to this post gives it away. Check out the videos:

I have two good friends that are planning to pick up 1 of the 1600 being brought to the US…I’m crossing my fingers that they get one so I can get a test drive. You can bet I’ll make a post on that if they do!

Monster Jam Baltimore

Last Saturday a couple friends and I attended the monster truck show (Monster Jam) at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore. I had never been to a monster truck show before, and the fact that I’m being into cars, I thought it’d be a fun thing to do. My first impression when I walked in…the place was tiny…how are they going to drive these huge trucks around in here? 1st Mariner Arena is way too small for this sort of even in my opinion, the trucks had to slam on their brakes after jumping over a few cars. This was nothing like I had seen on TV.

The trucks are all pretty awesome, running with open headers, they are super loud. They also tried to have a little WWE style fun by having 3 races on quads, Baltimore vs. New York. Of course being in Baltimore, they was a crowd favorite, and when NY lost there was a big fight…it was pretty comical. Other than that, I thought it was pretty fun…but probably not something I’d do again unless it was at a huge place where they are jumping through semi’s and flipping the trucks. I’m glad I was able to check this off the things to do in my life list though.

Here’s a few pics of the event, sorry for the bad quality:

Monster Jam in Baltimore

Monster Jam in Baltimore

Monster Jam in Baltimore

How Much Of Your Traffic Is From Google Images?

I’ve always noticed that a large portion of my Google traffic comes from Google Images. I’m sure that part of this is because I do generally post a good amount of pictures in some of my posts, and I am usually pretty good about naming the file and alt tags correctly from an SEO perspective. What I want to know is how much of your search engine traffic is from Google Images?? Is it a lot compared to the rest of your traffic?

From December 1st-Today I’ve had over 4,800 referrals from the images.google.com domain and over 11,000 uniques since the start of this blog. Let’s take a look at the charts since the blog inception:

Google Image Referrals

We can see that it took quite a few months before Google starting to index anything in Google Images. I literally went from 1 visitor on July 10th, to 30+ everyday since July 11th. Now I’m averaging over 80 uniques a day in February.

How useful is this traffic though?? Based on the stats, not very (although every bit helps of course). From Google Images the average person only see 1.24 pages, meaning 1 of every 4 people is looking at one other page (or 1 of every 100 people is looking at a ton of pages, however you want to look at it). The average person only spends 24 seconds on my site. More than likely they are doing what I do with Google Images…Search for the image, find it, click it, click to enlarge it…bypassing the site itself. Rarely do I look at the site.

The majority of the traffic is looking at a lot of my off-topic type posts also, so it’s not bringing too many targeted readers. Mainly a lot of car-related stuff.

Take a look at your analytics software and respond in the comments or make a post on your blog to let me know how its working out for you. If anybody needs help being able to pull this info out of Google Analytics, just shoot me an e-mail or respond and maybe I can make a post about it if enough need help.

A Preview Of Things To Come For eBooks?

I just got an e-mail from Aaron Wall, author of SEO Book that I found interesting:

Over the course of the past couple years it became obvious to me that the perceived value of ebooks was dropping, the field of SEO was getting more complex, and many people who purchased my book wanted to be able to interact with me and ask me many questions. This caused me to need to change the SEO Book business model away from selling a downloadable ebook, and toward selling a web based information product backed by a community forum that helped turn it into a service more than a product.

I already have affiliate tracking in place for the new affiliate program. On February 20th at midnight I am going to shift the default affiliate traffic location to pointing at the new landing page instead of the old landing page, as we have no further plans to sell the SEO Book ebook.

For those that haven’t heard of SEO Book, I’d say the majority of people in the industry would consider it the bible when it comes to search engine optimization. I’m personally still working my way through the book, trying to learn as much as I can about SEO…it’s an excellent resource. I knew it was popular, so this e-mail surprised me to find how Aaron was changing the business model behind teaching his SEO expertise.

Aaron mentions that the perceived value of ebooks was dropping, and I could agree to that…but they still do sell. For example, FreelanceSwitch’s “How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer” book did about $20,000 in sales in the first month. “Getting Real” by 37Signals has sold over 30,000 copies, and I’m sure SEO Book has done a decent number as well.

So do you think this is a sign of things to come for eBooks?? Are authors going to have a lot more trouble selling books, and having to figure out different alternatives to make money?? Or is this a one-off because of the fact that Aaron’s readers wanted to interact with him and other SEO-interested people?

New Toy In The Stable: Corvette

For some time I had been talking about picking up a new generation C6 Chevrolet Corvette as my next “fun car”. Last week I found out that the Viper will be sold this week, and I started getting the itch for something new…I don’t want to have just the Accord for an option :)? I decided to spend half the price and a get a C5 (1997) so I wasn’t tying up so much money:

1997 C5 Red Corvette

I found the car locally on Craigslist. The car only has 35,000 miles on it, which means it has only been driven 3,500 miles per year on average. It was definitely owned by an enthusiast, who got the car with 3,000 miles, had it garage kept under a car cover next to a 68′ Camaro. The owners manual had all of the maintenance records in it…the car was obviously taken care of extremely well, and with the right price, it was a perfect buy!

The car has a few modifications done to it already, which bump the horsepower up pretty significantly:

  • ?Z06 Clutch Assembly
  • Dynomax Ultra Flow Exhaust
  • BBK Shorty Headers
  • WCC X-Pipe
  • Vortex Ram Air
  • Modified Throttle Body
  • BBK SSI Intake Manifold
  • Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator
  • Upgraded Wheels
  • B&M Short Throw Shifter

On top of that, the car is fully loaded with cool things like an adjustable suspension. Take a look at all the fun toys in the household at the moment:

All of the cars

For the full list of my progression of vehicles, take a look at my progression of vehicles post.

Book Review: Affiliate Millions – Make a Fortune Using Search Marketing On Google And Beyond

Affiliate Millions BookI’ve recently been trying to learn as much as I can about affiliate marketing. Not only are a bunch of people I read on the internet making a ton of money doing it, it’s also helpful knowledge for my own pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns that promote my various businesses. As of right now, I’m like a sponge, just trying to read as much as I can about it since nobody I personally know can show me the ropes. One of the affiliate marketing blogs I read is The Affiliate Toolbox, which is done by Scott Weaver. In a recent post, he reviewed a book by the name of Affiliate Millions which he quotes:

Much like the last book I reviewed, Moonlighting On The Internet, this book is all about Affiliate Marketing (as you might have guessed from the title). The major difference is that this book is completely geared toward the newbie. In fact, the authors divulge full knowledge about various campaigns

I’d consider myself a semi-newbie when it comes to affiliate marketing! Therefore I decided to head to my local Borders and give the book a shot.

The book is a pretty easy read, I finished it in pretty much 2-3 days of reading…and I don’t really read books all that too often. So my impressions of it is that it is in fact geared very much towards newbies…those that don’t really know anything about affiliate marketing or pay-per-click. The book is semi-outdated, which is somewhat reasonable considering how quickly things change on the internet.

I found some of the personal stories intriguing, but I got the book to learn some new things….and I walked away not really feeling like I learned too much. I could see how it would be extremely useful for somebody that knows nothing, as it even goes through the steps of making accounts to advertise on the three big contextual networks (Google, Yahoo!, and MSN)…but as I mentioned, I only consider myself a semi-newb. The main thing that turned me off slightly was the author had done most of his PPC campaigns by making ads that go right to the company’s landing page…and not his own. From what I’ve been learning, you pretty much have to make your own landing pages.

Final Thoughts: While I didn’t feel like I learned too much, if you are just thinking about getting into PPC and affiliate marketing, but know nothing..consider this book. If you know some stuff, or consider yourself fairly internet savvy (Like I would hope most of my readers are :) ), I would just do research online and find the basic information out. There are plenty of blogs and forums that cover many of the basic topics for free. Note though, that the book was intriguing enough for me to read through the entire thing, and you always do learn a couple things here and there.

A Snowboarding Subaru?

My business partner for Tri Megatech drives a Subaru STI when he’s not managing or setting up a network. He sent me a video this morning which I thought was worthy of sharing with you guys…they take a Subaru STI out snowboarding…you just have to watch and see:

This should have been an ad for the Super Bowl, I wanted to go out and buy an STI after seeing it. Eric took his STI snowboarding with us last a couple weekends ago, here’s his with the snowboard rack:

STI with snowboard rack

Here’s a video I did back in college featuring a buddy’s WRX tearing it up through the snow:

Thinking About Starting Up A Company? Know Your Expenses.

Many of us have ideas for starting a company up, but for those of you that haven’t done it yet…there are a lot of costs that you may not be thinking of. A post over at DigitalMediaWire that was written by Glenn Kelman of Redfin and Guy Kawasaki covers just this topic. There are two parts, the first covering all the numbers, and part two is the lessons you need to know. The numbers are really interesting because it covers what they estimated the costs per employee were to launch Redfin, and then what it actually costs.

It turns out they actually spent less, especially on some of the bigger expenses such as accounting and legal. If you are thinking about starting a company, or actually going through with it, make sure to give this article a read.