Archive for 2009

Coffee: A Blogger's Best Friend

I have a pretty decent home office setup.  But there's a problem:  sometimes I just can't write when I'm at home. 

I often find it helpful to go out to a coffee shop.  This seems kind of counter-intuitive--you'd think I get more done in the comfort of my own home.  The coffee shop, after all, is full of distractions (I often end up talking to new people).  But it seems the different environment gives me energy and focus.

This isn't just a blogging thing for me--it's a writing thing.  God willing, my second book will be out in 2010.  There's no telling how much of it was written outside my home office (the coffee shop, the rooftop of my apartment building, etc). 

What about you?  Does changing your environment help you to write new content (blogging or otherwise)? 

In case you are wondering, I'm writing this article over a cup of BK Joe (Burger King coffee).  They've got free wifi here. 

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Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner's Guide (Part 4)

Part 4: The Cons/Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

I discussed the pros/advantages of affiliate marketing in my previous post of this series. Now I’ll mention the disadvantages, or challenges of affiliate marketing.

1. No Sale, No Earnings: As I mentioned before, affiliate marketing usually requires something besides a click-through on an ad for you to earn. Generally speaking, you only earn when someone buys something. This may mean you go days (or longer, depending on your traffic) without earning any money. This may be a challenge for you if you are used to seeing money trickle in daily from cost-per-click (CPC) advertising.

2. More Work Required: Affiliate marketing will also require more work than other forms of advertising. Adsense, for example, automatically chooses ads based on the content of your blog. Affiliate marketing requires you to choose, research, and promote specific products.

These are the main two challenges I see with affiliate marketing. There may be others, but I think they would somehow fall under one of these two general categories. One issue, for example, would be your reputation as a blogger—it would be damaged if you promoted a product that turned out to be low quality. This falls under #2—the need to carefully research what you promote.

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Iron Man 2 Official Trailer

Iron Man 2 Official Trailer:
This is gonna be good . . .

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Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner's Guide (Part 3)

Part 3: The Pros/Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

Now it’s time for me to talk about the advantages of affiliate marketing. Keep in mind I’m referring to affiliate marketing from a blogger’s perspective, comparing it to other way of monetizing a blog (adsense, etc).

Two main advantages come to mind:

1. Profits: Generally speaking, affiliate marketing has much greater profit potential than other forms of monetization. The most my strength and fitness blog has ever made in one day with adsense is about 20 dollars. I can make more than that with one sale through affiliate marketing. Yes, there are plenty of people who click the ads and never buy anything. Yes, there are days that I don’t make a single sale. Regardless, it has been a much better use of advertising space for me.

2. Control: Affiliate marketing gives you (the blogger) control over what specific products you want to promote. This may not be an issue for your niche, but it was for mine. One major purpose of my fitness blog is exposing scams (bogus supplements, etc). I was getting tired of the “lose ten pounds in ten hours” ads showing up through adsense (I imagine most other ad networks would have given me the same dilemma).

These two advantages have produced a win-win situation: I refer my readers to high quality products and make more money doing it.

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Page Rank Reconsideration Successful

A while back I wrote a post about how stats can drive a blogger crazy.   I mentioned that my page rank had been dropped from 3 to 2 over at

Here's the latest: my page rank has been reinstated.  I requested a reconsideration through my google webmaster tools account. 

I never lost sleep over this, but it's nice to have it back up--especially considering all the work I put into getting good back links.  

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Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner's Guide (Part 2)

Here's Part 2 of  Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner's Guide

As I mentioned in the introductory article, I'm not an expert on this.  I just want to share what I'm learning--things I wish I knew when I first started blogging.

What is affiliate marketing?  Darren Rowse has described it this way at

"Perhaps the simplest way to explain affiliate marketing is that it is a way of making money online whereby you as a publisher are rewarded for helping a business by promoting their product, service or site."

So how does this differ from adsense and other cost-per-click programs?

Generally speaking, affiliate marketing requires something more than a click-through or an impression for you to earn money.

Most affiliate marketing programs work on commission--you earn when someone buys something you referred them to (there are some variations, which I will describe in another post).  This is why the earning potential tends to be higher than pay-per-click--you can earn a percentage of the money spent on the actual purchase. 

I'll talk about the pros and cons of affiliate marketing in my next post.

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Passive Income: Myth or Reality?

I think a lot of people are drawn to blogging by the lure of "passive income"--making money while you sleep. 

There's some truth to this idea:  your blog will be visited even when you are away from the computer.
But it takes a lot of work to create a profitable blog with decent traffic.  Passive income is only possible after you've invested a great deal of time and effort. 

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Save Your Facebook Account Scam

I keep seeing this "I have just completed my account verification" message in my feed.  It looks like this:

DO NOT CLICK THIS APPLICATION AND LOG IN.  It looks to me like a phishing scam--a bogus application designed to collect your password information.

Think about it--why would Facebook start deleting user accounts?


If you have already logged in to this application I'd recommend you delete it then change your password.  Make sure your facebook password is not the same one you use for bank accounts, etc in connected to your facebook email address.

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The New Friendster is Here

Friendster has made some major changes!  I'm not quite sure what to think of it.  I've used Friendster for several years and it's the first time I can remember seeing such major changes. 

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Making Money: The Multiple Website Approach

I've run across a few programs that are based on the idea of creating multiple websites.

Here's the basic concept: you do keyword research, build a small website around that one keyword (or key phrase), and you monetize it.  This seems to be what programs like Google Sniper and The Mini Site Formula are advocating.

Has anyone out there tried this strategy?  I'm assuming it could work if done correctly, but I'm not sure I'd personally enjoy it.

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Black Friday Deals at

It's Black Friday! Why not just shop at from the comfort of your own home? Click below for details.

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Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner's Guide

I'm about to start up a new series here on Beginner Blogger Tips: Affiliate Marketing--A Beginner's Guide.  This is a pretty exciting way to make money online. 

Like everything else in the blogging world, this is something I'm late in discovering.  I'm by no means and expert, but I'd like to share what I'm learning.  Here are a few questions I'll be dealing with:

*What is affiliate marketing?
*What are the pros and cons of affiliate marketing?
*Which affiliate programs would you recommend?

I'm super-busy this week, so it may be next week before I'm able to write more articles.  More coming soon . . .

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Blog Stats Can Drive You Crazy

I'm still having a great time with my Strength and Fitness blog.  It still isn't a significant source of income, but that's OK--it's just a hobby.

But I don't know exactly what to make of my blog stats at (from statcounter and google analytics).  They are contradictory:

*I'm getting pretty decent traffic, averaging 600-700 unique visitors a day.  I'm quickly approaching the 200,000 hit/impression mark.  Not bad for a year-old blog. 

*Almost 90% of my visits are new visits.   

*65% of my traffic comes from search engines, but I've just learned that google dropped my pagerank from 3 to 2.  I'm not sure exactly why--I pretty much stick to google-approved pagerank strategies.  I've sent a reconsideration request to them.  My traffic from search engines is pretty good, so I'm not sure this drop really matters (I read conflicting information about this).

*The average length of time per visit is one minute, 42 seconds.   I don't know if this is good or bad, but it seems visitors at least take the time to read the post they come across.

*My bounce rate is 72%.  This is supposed to be terrible, but I'm guessing it just comes with the large % of my visits that come from search engines.

Here's the bottom line:
I try to watch stats to get a general idea of how my blogs are doing.  But I'm not going to spend much time analyzing this stuff.  I'd rather spend my time developing high quality content.   I would advise you to do the same.

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Blogspot: Problem Posting Pictures in Blogger

Looks like blogspot has updated their add images menu (picture loader).  It looks great--there's an option to attach a link to pictures.

Just one problem--I can't post any pictures.  I'm getting some kind of error message, even though I know I'm trying to upload a valid image file.

No need to panic.  I'm sure they'll fix it soon enough.

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Nigerian Scam

Here's a classic example of the Nigerian scam.  I found this email in my spam folder:


Our Ref: CBN/ICBPLC/WB/IMF/BFSA/#31/09                                                                 16TH/11/2009 









Foreign Operations Supervisor,

These con games are designed to get direct access to your checking information or get enough personal information to commit identity theft.

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Trying Entrecard Again?

I'm signing up for Entrecard again.  I will not use it for all my blogs, but I'll start with this one and see where it goes from there.

I know a lot of the hard-core droppers like to hit EC and Adgitize, killing two birds with one stone.  I'd put all the banners in the same place and make it easy for them.

I will not be investing nearly as much time on EC as I did before, but I'm willing to see how it's working under the new management.

Posted in | Leave a comment Blogging is Rocket Science

Another guest post of mine was accepted over at the  Here's the link: Blogging is Rocket Science. 

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Adgitize Prices Go Up

OK, I just noticed Adgitize has raised prices to 24 dollars a month. 

I'm OK with this.  Their service is growing, so I expect prices to go up as demand goes up--simple economics.  The increased prices will also result in more earnings for Adgitize members (since profits are shared among the bloggers based on points earned). 

And let's be real--under a dollar a day is dirt-cheap advertising for the number of impressions you get.  

Posted in | 6 Comments Get Rid of Twitter Spam

I've previously mentioned the dilemma of twitter spam

Today I found a really useful website from a friend's blog:

Here's how it works: 
You simply allow it to log into your Twitter account, then it scans your account for potential spammers.  It gives them a score (higher score=more likely to be a spammer).  Once the suspicious profiles are found, you can either delete them leave them as your followers.

It works pretty well.  I ran it and got rid of some pretty nasty profiles.  It did pick up a few "false positives" (legitimate profiles), but I just left those alone.

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Another service I'm using right now is CMF Ads.  One day I'll try to write a more extensive review. 

For now I'll just say this: you can get a very low CPM (cost per thousand) and your ads will run for a whole month on the blogs you choose.  I prefer to use the network ad option, in which you just set your budget, decide what CPM you want, and advertise across several blogs.   

Just click this link to check out CMF
CMF Ads - 30 day ads starting from $0.01

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Epic Blogger/Blogspot Fail

Looks like blogger/blogspot had a major meltdown.  It lasted for two or three hours, and twitter was buzzing with messages. 

I got a bX-59cppw error when I tried to open my custom url blogs (this blog and

I got a bX-kn2493 error when trying to access the blogger dashboard.

Everything seems OK now.

Posted in | 5 Comments

Working at the Google Complex (Googleplex)

A video on what it's like to work at the Google office complex (known as the "Googleplex").

Leave a comment Forum Review

Just wanted everyone to know I've joined the forum.  It costs two dollars a month (1.95) and I think it is well worth it.  The fee is just enough to keep the "trolls" from spamming the forum.

There are some really good discussions going on there.  I have a feeling this forum will be the first place I go when I have a question about blogging, SEO, etc.  I've already received answers to questions that have been on my mind for months.

One more added benefit:  you are allowed to have your blog links in your signature.

So far, so gets my endorsement.

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Four Major Roles of a Blogger

I’ve identified four major roles of a blogger. This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but I’m hoping it will give you some ideas on developing your content.

Needless to say, the vast majority of blog content is written. There are countless articles about improving your writing skills, so I won’t elaborate any further. Let’s move on to other roles.

Blogging and tweeting have revolutionized the way we get our news. Let’s say you attend a convention or seminar related to your blog topic. Who would your readers rather hear from: you or a local news reporter? A blogger has a special connection with his readers, and he is in a unique position to share news related to his blog’s topic.

Blogging has also completely changed the availability (and speed) of consumer reviews. Whether it’s the latest movie or a major purchase, many of us go online to see what other consumers are saying. This, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful aspects of blogging—a way to help consumers wisely spend their money and other resources.

Information Broker
A good blogger is always on the lookout for high quality content related to her topic. Such content can include YouTube videos, news articles, helpful links, etc. Her blog can become an information hub of sorts—she finds the best “stuff” on the net, which saves time for her readers.

Summing it up:
I’m sure many of you are already doing all of the above. If not, maybe I’ve given you some new ideas. Remember—high quality content is the goal (regardless of the type of content). Keep this in mind and you’ll continue attracting a loyal audience of reader.  Maybe I'll expand on these roles as I have time.  

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Entrecard: Paid Ads Coming Back?

I got this email today from Entrecard:

We are pleased that many members are taking advantage of Entrecard services and that Entrecard is able to help users increase traffic to their blog. However in order to continue providing this free service, we will be taking 15% of our entire ad network inventory for sponsors as of Sept. 28, 09. This is a standard business model used by free advertising networks. The revenues generated by our sponsors will help cover overhead expenses and keep our service free to all our members for years to come. To keep things simple and fair, all ads will be distributed evenly in our network. We are currently working on a feature that will allow users to disable sponsor ads that may conflict with their blog. This will be available in a few weeks.

Please be assured that we will screen all sponsor ads to ensure that they meet our guidelines. All sponsor ads WILL be family oriented, and will not promote nudity, violence or anything illegal.

So paid ads are coming back? I guess it's better than that 50/50 split they had before, but I'm still not coming back to EC anytime soon.

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Blogging T-Shirt

This one would be really fun to wear to a blogging seminar or conference.

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The Future of Beginner Blogger Tips

I'm still not sure exactly what to do with this blog.  There are so many "blogging blogs" out there that I doubt I'll ever get ranked up there.  I also doubt this blog will ever get significant traffic or make money.  I could be wrong--we'll see. 

What I've done so far is just write down things that I've learned about blogging.  I'll probably continue to do that.  And I don't think I'll drop this blog--it's actually been a handy place to store information, such as solutions I've found to blogspot glitches. 

If you can't beat 'em . . .

But getting the guest article posted over at has given me some ideas.  I may use my future blogging ideas as a way to get traffic and page rank "juice" for my fitness blog.  Here's what I mean: I may try submitting more blog articles to other blogs with a link to This may be more useful to me in the long run than trying to compete with all the blogging blogs.

Just thinking out loud.  

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FaceBook Light

Interested in checking out Facebook Lite?  Here's the address:

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Mobo Ergonomic Computer Station

This little invention comes from a former high school classmate of mine. Here's the product website:

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I ran across while checking the stats for my strength and fitness blog.

It's a pretty interesting concept--a dynamic blog directory which automatically "surfs."  The site also gives you perks for mentioning it on your blog (which is why I'm posting this).   

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Ivy Bean, 104, World's Oldest Twitter User

Ivy Bean, 104 years old, has seen a lot of changes in her lifetime. But she's embracing new technology and connecting to people all over the world.

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The Glamorous Blogging Lifestyle

Blogging has been good to me.  Work hard and you, too may live in luxury like me. 

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Facebook Acting Weird

Anyone else notice some strange happenings in facebook right now?  I'm seeing old post re-appearing.

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Public WiFi and SideJack Attacks

Just in case you don't read my personal blog, I posted an article about "sidejacking."  It happened to me a few days ago--I was using wifi at a mall and someone gained access to my gmail account. 

Just click here to learn more:
Using WiFi at the Mall?  Beware of Sidejack Attacks

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Blogging Mistake: No "About Me" or Contact Information

Here's another blogging mistake I see sometimes:  no "about me" or contact information, or said information is very hard to find on the blog. 

Visitors often like to "meet" the person behind a blog--don't make it too difficult for them.  Some basic information about you (including contact information) should be just one click away from your main page.  It also shouldn't be too hard to find.  If you use wordpress, you can create a "static page" with your contact information. 

Blogspot makes this pretty easy--there's an "about me" widget that is often automatically linked to your new blog.  But there are other options.  You can great a blog post with your information, or even a separate page (like a free google page). 

Here's another suggestion:  you may want to put your email address on a picture file like this:

This will keep the spam bots from finding it but makes it easy for people to see it.  

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Entrecard: No Credit for Receiving a Drop

Got this email today from EntreCard:

We have noticed that the total number of Entrecard credits in the system has grown rapidly. This has been due to the fact that more credits are being created than credits are leaving the system. If this inflation continues, Entrecard credits will be worth less and less. To ensure a stable credit economy and reduce the outstanding credits, Entrecard will no longer give Entrecard credits to the person receiving a drop. In other words, instead of awarding 2 credits for each drop (one to the dropper and one to the blog site owner), only 1 credit will be given to the dropper. This change will be effective September 1, 2009 and will last until further notice.
I didn't spend much time dropping back when I was using EC, so this further confirms my decision to leave. 

It seems EC just can't get rid of the credit inflation problem. 

Posted in | 1 Comment

Blogging according to

Here's what has to say about blogging:
"Never Before Have So Many People With So Little To Say Said So Much To So Few."

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My fitness blog ( has passed the 100,000 hits mark!

I started that blog in November of '08.  Things started off kind of slowly, but then they really took off the last few months:
I do have one theory as to why the traffic shot up around May/June (but I don't know if it is accurate).  I've always heard that google will not assign a page rank until your site is about six months old.  It seems that's when the traffic really started coming.  But I'm not an expert in SEO and blogging, so maybe someone else can explain it.

Regardless, I hope this will encourage all bloggers out there to stay with it.  If I had given up before six months I never would have reached this point.

Note:  By "hits," I mean page views.  

Posted in | 2 Comments

Blogging Mistake: Pop-Up Ads

Someone commented about annoying pop-up ads in my previous post (re: background music).  I agree--I would never advise a new blogger to use this kind of advertising. 

I don't think anyone really likes pop-ups.  We may tolerate them if there is a website that we really like, but even then, most of us would rather not deal with them.  In my opinion, a new blogger simply cannot afford to annoy his/her readers.   

Back in the day I used a software called pop-up stopper (or something like that).  Most browsers have them built in now. 

Posted in | 5 Comments

Blogging Mistake: Auto-Play Background Music

Here's a mistake I encounter among new bloggers: adding background music to your blog. 

It is rarely a good idea to have music automatically playing when someone opens your blog. 

I imagine 90% of readers will immediately find it annoying and try to figure out how to turn it off.  It also wastes bandwidth and slows down your page's loading speed. 

If you really want to ad music to your blog, don't set it to auto-play. 

Posted in | 5 Comments

Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 5

I was fairly new to using forums for traffic when I first wrote this series.  It's been a few months and I'll like to share something else I have noticed:

Forums are a great place to get content and ideas for content.

I'm not suggesting you use other people's posts/articles without their permission--I've never done that and never will.  But here are some ways forums help you write/generate content:

Questions:  You can see some of the most commonly asked questions about your topic.

Videos, pictures, etc: You may find a youtube video or other free content that you didn't know existed.

Guest posts: Other forum members are often good candidates for writing guest posts for your blog.

News/Announcements: News articles, research and events related to your topic are often posted on forums.

These are a few ways forums have helped me with content.  

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Facebook Pictures, Third Party Advertisers, and Viral Messages

I've been seeing this viral message spread on facebook:

Facebook has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures without your permission. . . .

I decided to do a little investigation.  Here's a quote from the Facebook blog:

The advertisements that started these rumors were not from Facebook but placed within applications by third parties. Those ads violated our policies by misusing profile photos, and we already required the removal of those deceptive ads from third-party applications before this rumor began spreading.

We are as concerned as many of you are about any potential threat to your experience on Facebook and the protection of your privacy. That's why we prohibit ads on Facebook Platform that cause a bad user experience, are misleading, or otherwise violate our policies. Along with removing ads, we've recently prohibited two entire advertising networks from providing services to applications on Facebook Platform because they were not compliant with our policies and failed to correct their practices.

So Facebook has already gotten rid of the networks/ads that caused these problems.  And according to this article, changing the ad settings (as prescribed in the viral message)  will not help one bit.  

Keep something else in mind: if someone really wants to use your picture, there's not much you can do to stop it.  Grabbing up pictures is as easy as doing a google image search. 

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Entrecard: Goodbye, Paid Ads

Just as I leave EC, paid ads disappear.  They announced it on their blog a few days ago. 

So should I put all those widgets back on my blog?  I'm not planning on it right now.  I'm open to the idea of using EC again, but I'd really like to see what the new management does first. 

Posted in | 1 Comment

SEO Experiment

Hey guys,

Have any of you ever done an SEO experiment?  Have you ever written a post or started a blog just to see if the search engines will give it a high rank?  I'm trying it--I've started a blog based on one of the more popular search terms that brings traffic to my strength and fitness blog. 

I'll let you know how it turns out. 

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Entrecard has been Acquired by Ziprunner

Got this in my email:

Dear Entrecarders,
It is with great excitement that I announce, Inc. has
been acquired by Los Angeles based ZipRunner Inc.

ZipRunner has the resources, vision, and dedication to Entrecard that
will allow it to grow in pursuit of the vision I laid out nearly two
years ago.

Moving forward, my relationship to Entrecard will be that of an
adviser, and I will help the good folks at ZipRunner take the whole
project to the next level. Expect a follow up communication from them very soon.

ZipRunner Inc. was chosen out of a number of potential suitors because
of the resources they can dedicate to the project, their exciting
vision for the company's future, and their understanding of social
media and the blogosphere.

I urge you all to look forward to a bigger, better Entrecard, and I
couldn't be more proud to bring it to this point before passing the
torch. I've heard first hand all the great things that are in store
for the company and it's members, and needless to say it has me quite

If you would like to keep in touch with me in the future, your can
find me at my new blog where I look forward to
sharing my stories of entrepreneurship and starting/running internet

Whether you love or hate the decisions I've made for Entrecard in the
past, I always did the best I could to move the company forward given
the resources I had, and I always had the best interest of the members
in mind. Now, with new management and ownership stepping in, I urge
anyone who has left the service to give it another chance, and I urge
those who have been loyal members for days, weeks, months, or years to
look forward to a brighter future, a reliable and stable service, and
great new features and strategic direction.

Signing Off,
Graham Langdon
Founder of Entrecard

So what does this mean for EC?   I have no idea.  I'll try to keep checking their website.  If any really good changes come about, I'll consider rejoining (not holding my breath). 

Posted in | 4 Comments Darren Rowse's Extraordinary Blog

One of my favorite blogs is Darren Rowse's  I follow his blog on my igoogle page.

One of the main things I've learned from him is to be persistent and don't expect huge traffic/profit overnight.  There's a wealth of information over at his site, so check it out.

Will you ever come back here after visiting his site?  I hope so. is not really meant to be an exhaustive pro blogging site--it's just some simple articles about things I've learned through trial and error.

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Goodbye, Entrecard

Well, I've officially said "goodbye" to Entrecard--at least for now.

This is not a rant against Entrecard--I still think it is a pretty good (free) way to get some extra traffic if you are a new blogger or don't yet have much of a following.   I also appreciate the blogs I found through EC.   
I tried to be optimistic about the changes.  I thought the paid ads would mean we'd keep more of our credits.  But it just seems I'm getting less and less from EC. 

I'll give you an example:

My fitness blog now gets between 800-1000 hits a day. My ad value never seemed to go up with the traffic.

Speaking of traffic, here's a sample of some of the clicks I got from advertising:

30-40 hits per ad just doesn't seem like a good exchange for a premier spot on all of my blogs (especially when you don't get to run an ad every day).

Here's a sample of "organic clicks"--clicks received directly from the EC website:
Again--not very high.

I'll admit that some of this is my fault--I have done very little clicking lately.  But that's another reason I'm leaving EC--I don't have time to click and earn points.

In short, using EC was feeling too much like working for someone else's profit.  I completely understand why they started running paid ads, but the changes haven't been good for me.

Goodbye for now, Entrecard.  Maybe some day I'll come back. 

Soon I'll try to do a post comparing several of the 125 banner exchange programs.

Posted in | 6 Comments

Traffic is Traffic (part 2): The Bounce Rate

I recently commented on Entrecard's plan to cut down on users' bounce rates.  For those unfamiliar with the term, bounce rate is the rate at which users "bounce" to another site instead of staying and visiting more posts within your blog.  Having too high of a bounce rate can apparently have a negative affect on your page rankings.

So what I think about banner exchange programs and bounce rate?  I still think traffic is traffic.  Here's what I mean:  you are probably not going to get a huge number of hits from banner exchange programs.   If banner exchange is giving you a really high bounce rate, then you probably don't have that much traffic in the first place and need all the help you can get.

Let me give you an example.  I've been using Adgitize for my fitness blog for a few months now.  I get an average of about 50 hits a day on that blog from Adgitize campaigns.  Does it affect my bounce rate?  I doubt it, since my fitness blog has been averaging 700-1,000 hits a day.  In other words, those 50 extra hits just don't make that much difference.

This blog, on the other hand, is a different story.  I get around the same number of daily hits from Adgitize (maybe a little less), but this blog gets under a hundred hits a day overall.  The bounce rate may hurt this blog's rankings, but its either high-bounce traffic or no traffic for now.  I'll take the high bounce traffic over no traffic. 

I'm not an expert on this kind of thing, but this is what I'm thinking for now. 

Posted in | 1 Comment

Using Feedblitz for Email Newsletters to Promote Your Blog

I use Feedblitz to send email updates for my blogs.  I've been using it for years, and I see no reason to switch to another service (yes, I've looked into other rss to email newsletter services).

Here are some of the things I like about Feedblitz:

*You get to choose when and how often your newletter goes out.

I don't see the point in sending out daily emails with updates--those who want daily updates will usually just ad your feed to their google page (or whatever option they use to follow feeds).

Feedburner may have this option, but I never could figure out how to set up anything other than daily emails. 

*You can send out "newsflash"--a mass email to all of your subscribers.

Occasionally I'll want to send an announcement to all of my subscribers.  I don't do this very often (people don't like to have their email boxes cluttered), but this feature is really helpful when you need to send a message to all your subscribers.

*You can manually ad subscribers.

I have the opportunity to meet thousands of new people every year through speaking engagements.  Sometimes I collect the email addresses of those who are interested in following my blog.  Feedblitz gives you the option of manually adding/importing addresses.

*It's pretty simple to set up.

You just create an account and ad the code to your blog.  You'll end up with a nifty little form on your blog where folks can enter their email address.

*It's automatic.

Once you've set it up, Feedblitz will automatically send out emails with your latest posts according to the schedule you set.

These are just a few of the reasons I use Feedblitz.


Entrecard to "Take Action Against the Bounce Rate"

One thing that's always been a concern with EC is the high "bounce rate"--people stopping by your blog just long enough to earn a click.  Entrecard has just made this announcent on their blog:

Starting soon, “dropping and running” will no longer give you credit. We are developing a proprietary algorithm to determine whether or not you engaged in the blog you visitied in some way. If you did not engage in the blog, you will not get credit. We won’t be disclosing exactly the algorithm we use, so that people can’t game it easily.

You can read the whole post here.

I'm not really sure what to think of this.  As I've mentioned before, traffic is traffic--I don't think it is EC's job to make sure people hang around one of my blogs.  I'm afraid this technological intervention is going to cause more problems than it resolves.

I'm still not sure how much longer I'll keep using EC.  I thought all the changes would mean we (the bloggers) would be able to keep more of our credits.  It still hasn't happened.  Right now I don't really see that I'm getting much traffic out of EC.

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Three Reasons You're Not Making Money on Adsense

1. Low Traffic

Generally speaking, the more traffic you have, the more profitable your website will be—it’s a simple numbers game.  Only a small percentage of visitors will click ads, and you’re not going to make big money per click.  If you want to make more money through adsense, one of your primary goals should be to increase your traffic. 

2. Poorly placed ads

Obscure ad placements will also hurt your chances of making money through adsense.  Below is a graph from the adsense help page.  The darker the color, the better the ad placement:

I’ve also read that large rectangles tend to outperform other ad sizes. 

Let’s put this together: you should put a large rectangle ad directly over your content.  The next ad or two can be placed alongside or under the content.

By the way: blend the colors with your blog—making the ads too gaudy will just irritate your readers.

Here’s how this looks on my fitness blog (

The ad above my content always makes the most money.  Ads on the side also make some money (that "5 Tips To" is another adsense rectangle), but the top rectangle out-performs all other placements. 

3.  The topic/theme of your blog just isn’t conducive to making money on adsense.

This one is a little harder to explain, but I’ll try.   I’ll give to you a personal example.  My first blog ( has now received over 400,000 hits (I’ve been writing post on it since 2006).   But it isn’t profitable, and probably never will be.  Adsense only helped slightly offset some of my advertising costs.   

Here are a couple reasons isn’t great for adsense:

1. It tends to draw ads from religious websites, which don’t seem to pay that well.
2. The content tends to be a bit random since it is my personal blog.

I basically just gave up using adsense on  It was more trouble than it was worth (I found myself having to block all kinds of religious whacko websites). 

It doesn’t mean I stopped blogging—I just gave up on using adsense for my personal blog.

Here’s where I’m going with all of this: if you have a personal blog that just isn’t profitable (despite decent traffic and well-placed ads), you may want to consider starting up another, more focused blog.  Perhaps you have a hobby you could start blogging about.  The possibilities are endless, so feel free to experiment. 

I hope this article helps you with more profitable blogging.

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Twitter Spam

I've been using Twitter for a few months now (see Twitter: Three Benefits to Bloggers).  It's a quick way to promote blog content, and it allows me to write quick updates that I wouldn't want to do a whole blog entry for.

It was pretty cool when people started following me.  But I've realized some "followers" are just spammers in disguise.  They'll set up a profile, put an entry with some kind of spammy website (sometimes a porn site), and then start following whoever they find.  I guess the idea is to get me to visit the site, as well as others who may check out my followers.  Needless to say, I'm now having to check every profile that follows me and make sure it isn't Twitter spam.  I don't want my Twitter account to have questionable profiles on it.  Just another way spammers make our lives miserable. 

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Should I Try CMF Ads?

I'm seriously considering trying CMF Ads on some (or all) of my blogs.  You can click here to see a review and comparison of CMF with Entrecard (EC). 

Does this mean I'll stop using EC?  I haven't decided yet. 

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Register your User Name on FaceBook

Don't forget to register your own user name on facebook:

Are you a Farmville Addict?  Here's something to fuel your addiction: Farmville Secrets.

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Entrecard Updates

If you've checked the Entrecard blog you've noticed a couple of new things:

1.  They are cashing out credits.

My thoughts:  I'm glad to see this, but when will EC be able to give us full credits for ads purchased on our site?  I thought the cash-out would elliminate "credit inflation" and allow all credits paid to go to members.

2.  Only EC blogs are allowed to be paid advertisers.

My thoughts:  I really liked this move.  Not only does it award loyal EC members, but it seems it would help with click-through-rate on ads:  I'm more likely to check out an ad if I know I can earn a click point.

But I've noticed something else:  it seems the credit value of my blogs have gone down lately.  In other words, people just aren't willing to "pay" as much to advertise--even on my fitness blog, which gets about 1,000 hits a day.  Anyone else notice this, or is just me? 

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Seth Godin: How to Get Traffic for your Blog

Here's an article from Seth Godin's blog that you might find helpful. I read it a long time ago when I was relatively new to blogging.   Seth has some good ideas for writing traffic-generating content.

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I've had a nasty infection on my PC--the Trojan.vundo.H trojan horse.  I had Mcafee but it didn't seem to help.  Mcafee was disabled every time I booted up my computer.

I looked for a solution on several forums and tried to follow their instructions--nothing worked.  The programs I used would find and (temporarily) remove virus, but it would be right back as soon as I rebooted the computer.

After a few hours of this I decided I'd be better off just reformatting my PC.  I've rebooted and installed AVG (and superantispyware as an additional layer of protection).  Both of these are free--I don't see the use in paying for a Mcafee subscription again this year. 

This issue has made me appreciate my MacBook all the more.

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Entrecard and Adgitize: Traffic is Traffic

More thoughts on Entrecard and Adgitize.

One criticism of banner exchange programs (such as EC and Adgitize) is that members drop by your blog only to earn click credits.  I do understand this concern.  But here's the way I see it:

*For a brand new (or obscure) blogger, any form of traffic is better than getting just a handful of hits a day.

*If someone visits my blog and has no incentive to stay, that's my fault--something is lacking in my content.

In other words, EC and Adgitize do a pretty decent job of bringing extra traffic to your website.  But high quality content is what will keep readers there, and that is your responsibility.

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Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 4

Using Forums--Part 4:  Staying Involved

Once you've chosen your forums, you'll need to participate and stay active.  Keeping up with several forums can be a bit time consuming, so here are some pointers:

*Keep some kind of schedule:  visit every forum you've joined at least once a week--more if you can.  The more active the forum, the more opportunities you'll have to participate.  Try to follow threads you have posted in.   

*Use Bookmarks:  I use bookmark tabs in my browswer to organize the way I visit forums.

*Email Updates:  Some forums automatically send updates to your email (updates on specific threads you've posted in or a updates from the whole forum).  For this reason, you may want to create a new email account specifically for your forum participation. 

*Quick Links:  Most forums will have a link to new or unread posts along the top (sometimes this is under the "quick links" tab).  This is very useful for finding "fresh" discussions to join.

I think I've covered the basics of using forums.  I'm still learning, so just let me know if you think I've missed something.

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Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 3

Using Forums—Part 3: Links, Signatures, and Moderation

One Problogger article encourages bloggers to “do nothing” when you first join a forum.  I disagree.

Let me explain why:

I’m not going to waste my time on a forum that will not allow any form of link/signature, and I would not advise you to waste yours.  If all links are banned, I want to know fairly quickly.  After all, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other forums to choose from.

Think about it:  most forums make money from the traffic they create (through adsense, online stores, etc).  If my participation helps the forum make money, why shouldn’t I at least be allowed to have a signature or an occasional link?  A strict, “no links” policy basically causes forum members to invest their time, energy and (in some cases) expertise for free—no fair!   

Here’s more information on my process of finding forums with reasonable moderation policies:

*Some forums require a certain amount of posts before you can have an address in your signature.  No problem—that’s a good way to reduce spam, so I don’t mind earning the privilege.  Just post a few times a day until you've earned the right to have a signature. 

*Sometimes I’ll just send a direct message to a moderator, telling him/her that I’m new to the forum and I’ll probably be putting a link in every once in a while.   That’s a quick way to know how strict the moderation will be (if the moderator likes your blog, he/she will be more likely to allow you to post links). 

*Sometimes I’ll just include a link or signature to a post and see what happens (remember: I am talking about a relevant link to a high quality blog or post).  This my last resort, but I'll do it if I can't figure out the forum's link/signature policy.  If a moderator warns me or removes the link, I’m gone and never coming back.  I’ll just move on to the next forum. 

This strategy is more assertive than the before mentioned “join and do nothing at first” approach.   But I don't think it has hurt my blog's reputation at all. 

Remember:  the key is to participate meaningfully and only post relevant links.  If moderators will not allow any links (or at least a signature with your blog address), then don’t waste your time working for someone else’s profit. 

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Using Forums to Promote Your Blog

Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 2--The Basic Steps

Let me tell you the steps I’ve taken in using forums to promote my blogs:

1. Go to a search engine and type in your keyword, plus the word “forum.”  Let’s say your blog is about archery: you would search, “archery forum.”

2. Visit the forums you find and choose which ones you want to join.  Here are some criteria to consider before joining:

*Relevant discussions: you want to join forums with discussions related to your blog’s topic.

*Posting dates: an active forum should have at least a few new posts every day.  If the latest post was a year ago, you’re obviously on a forum with little activity (and little value to your blog).

*Signatures:  Ideally you want a forum that allows you to put your blog address in your signature.  See if other members have signatures with their website addresses.

*Links/Link Policy:  Look for forums that allow you to insert links in your posts.  Unless it the moderation is very strict, they will allow you to insert links (I'll be talking about this in further detail in part 3).

3. Participate in the forums you’ve joined:

*Respond to a few threads.

*Create your own new thread/discussion.

*If you have a blog post that answers a specific question on the forum, insert a link to that article/post.  But use this privilege wisely—your goal is not to see now many links you can put in the forum, but to put appropriate links when the opportunity arises.   

4.  Repeat this process.  You can continue to join forums you find with step one.  You can also search different keywords to find more related forums.
Those are the basic four steps.  Next post I'll give you more details.

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Using Forums: Introduction

Using Forums to Promote Your Blog

Part 1: Introduction

Blogging guru Justin Brooke considers forums “the most underrated traffic strategy of any other free traffic method.”  Darren Rowse also mentioned using forums a recent post at  Last and least, yours truly wrote about it here on my blog.

Experts (and amateurs like me) agree: forums are a great way to bring traffic to your blog.  They give you access to a concentrated audience who are already interested in your topic (assuming you choose to join appropriate forums).  

The next few posts will explain my process for using forums.  Problogger already has an anonymously written post about this.  It's a pretty good article, but I don't agree with it 100% (I'll tell you why in Part 3 of this series).

Tomorrow I'll explain the four basic steps for using forums (Part 2 of this series). 

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Another Perk to Adgitize: More Entrecard Drops

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems my Entrecard drops have gone up since I started running Adgitize campaigns.  I think it's because many bloggers like to click both Adgitize and EC (the proverbial two birds with one stone).  Anyone else noticed this?

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My First Adgitize Payment

I've officially received my first payment from Adgitize:

Not huge money, but Adgitize never claims to send big paychecks--it's more of an advertising network with perks. The main benefit to Adgitize is inexpensive banner advertising.

Having said that, it's always nice to earn a few bucks from my blogs--nice to see some of my investment coming back from the very service I advertised with. 

Feel free to try it--just click this banner:

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Entrecard: Random Thoughts

Entrecard is still working pretty well for me.  Some of my ad placements still get a pretty good number of clicks--free traffic is always a good thing.  I also get "organic" traffic (traffic from the EC website itself).

Here are more completely random thoughts on EC:

*I've noticed less paid advertisers since EC went up on their rates.  I wonder if they'll eventually have to go back down a bit.  I'm glad I ran a little campaign back when it was 2 cents per click--that was a steal.

*I've declined a few advertisers, but not that many.  So far I'm fairly pleased with the quality of paid advertisers.

*I really hoping EC will keep buying up credits and get them out of the system.  This should reduce inflation and allow us to keep more of our credits earned through advertising (vs the current system in which 75% of your credits just "disappear" in transactions).

*I still find some pretty neat blogs/bloggers through EC.

*I haven't spent as much time dropping lately.  It doesn't really have much to do with the changes--I just haven't made the time to do it. 

What about you?  How have the changes at EC impacted you?

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Can You Make a Living Blogging?

Apparently over 400,000 people in the States claim to be professional bloggers.  A news station took a skeptical look at this.  You can see the report HERE. 

It reminds me of my first piece of advice I give to bloggers.

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Fake FBI emails: (Egyptian Inheritance Scam)

Internet scammers never cease to amaze me.  Here's an email I got yesterday:

We believe that this notification meets you in a very good present state of mind and health. We the federal bureau of investigation (FBI) in conjunction with some other relevant investigation agencies here in the United States of America have recently been informed through our global intelligence monitoring network that you presently have a transaction going on with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) as regards to your over-due inheritance payment which was fully endorsed in your favour accordingly. . . .
The email warns me only to only make contact with the included emails/numbers, lest my million dollar inheritance be delayed. 

Who would have thought my Egyptian inheritance was an issue of national security?  Who would have thought the FBI would use a email address instead of an official .gov address?  Too funny.

This is a remix of the old Nigerian scam. 

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Blogging: Building Momentum

As I've mentioned before, it takes time to build a good blog.  But if you stay with it, post high quality content, and take practical steps to increase traffic, you should build some momentum.  Your readers will grow, your reputation as a blogger will grow, and (hopefully) you'll see more traffic coming each month. 

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Fast Blog Finder: Review and Tips

Before I give you my Fast Blog Finder review, let me disclose something:  the links below are affiliate links which I get commission for.  If my review is helpful, I would appreciate you using the link below so I could get a commission.

Fast Blog Finder is basically a SEO-building tool.  Here's how it works:  FBF looks for dofollow blogs.  When you comment (with your website address) on these blogs it helps you build your page rank.  Here's a screenshot:

When you search a term, you get a list of blogs, the blogs' page rank, the specific post's page rank, and number of outgoing links.  Posts with a high page rank and fewer outgoing links are the best options for building up your own page rank.

I've used this program for a few weeks.  Let me give you the pros and cons.

*It is user-friendly.  I was set up and running very quickly.
*It has found blogs I never would have otherwise known about.
*The theory behind it is sound in terms of SEO.
*You'll get traffic from the links you build.

*A search takes several minutes to complete (even with a pretty fast connection).  This is not a defect--it's just that the software has to search and process a lot of information.
*So far I haven't found "hundreds" of blogs each search--I normally only find a handful.
*Sometimes I don't see the connection between the blogs I find and the search term I used (though this gets better as I learn how to use the software).
*It is time consuming--you do have to go through the trouble of writing a coherent comment. 

So do I recommend it?  Yes.   I think this software is very helpful--I'm not aware of anything else that can give you this kind of information.  It would take thousands of hours for me to find this many blogs and know their pagerank, etc--Fast Blog Finder does this in minutes. 

Here's how I use it:

I have Fast Blog Finder on one of my computers.  I'll start a search and let it find blogs while I'm doing something else (or using my other computer).  Once a search is complete I'll start looking through the search results. 

As mentioned, sometimes the page doesn't seem to match the search I did.  This is where having more than one blog comes in handy.  If a page doesn't match the blog I had in mind for the search, I'll see if another of my blogs more closely matches the post.

In summary, I think Fast Blog Finder is a worthwhile software.

Want to try it? You can download the trial version by clicking HERE.
The trial version only gives you about 50 results, but you'll get the idea of how it works.

You can also go directly to the ordering page HERE. 

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10,000 Unique Visitors Scams

I see websites offering to give you 10,000 hits (unique visitors) for 8-10 dollars.  Please don't fall for this. 

Usually about the best you can do is a penny per click--that's the lowest most advertisers (adwords, etc) will allow.  I've been able to get cost down to half a cent per click by running some flat rate ads on high traffic websites (through adbrite).  But a penny per click is dirt cheap in terms of internet advertising, and it's about the best you're going to do.    

10,000 hits for ten bucks would mean you get one thousand hits per dollar; a tenth of a cent per hit.  There's that old saying, "If something sounds too good to be true . . ."  Well, it definitely applies here.

I made the mistake of trying one of these scams years ago.  I think I paid about 8 bucks and received no traffic.  I complained to paypal and won, but I don't think I ever got my money back (don't fall for money-back guarantees).  

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Conficker Image Test

Want to know if your computer is infected by conficker?  Just click the link below.

A non-infected computer will look like the image you see below.  But if your computer is infected, the worm won't allow images from the security websites (top row).  There's a chart on the website to help you interpret the results.

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How to Choose Your Blog Topic-3 Questions

I’ve read quite a few articles on choosing a blog topic.  What I’d like to share with you is a more simplified, intuitive approach.  I think just three questions will have you well on your way.  Here goes:

1. What are you passionate about?
Almost every pro blogger I’ve read says the same thing—be passionate about your topic.  Think about it: you may spend the rest of your life making weekly (if not daily) post about your chosen subject.  It better be something you really care about.

2. What do people ask you about?
This question is a great way to figure out what you already know that others are interested in.  What do friends, family, or acquaintances ask your advice on?  This can be anything, from recipes to investment tips.  I started my fitness website because I’ve been giving training advice for years. 

3.  What are you learning?
Is there something you’ve been learning?  Blog it!  You don’t really have to be an expert—just invite others along your journey.  You may offer fresh insights the “experts” have overlooked. 

I hope these three questions will help you get started.    

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Conficker worm hits 700+ University of Utah Computers

From Yahoo News:

University of Utah officials say a computer virus has infected more than 700 campus computers, including those at the school's three hospitals.

University health sciences spokesman Chris Nelson said the outbreak of the Conficker worm, which can slow computers and steal personal information, was first detected Thursday. By Friday, the virus had infiltrated computers at the hospitals, medical school, and colleges of nursing, pharmacy and health.

Nelson says patient data and medical records have not been compromised.
 "That's secured in a much deeper way because of the implications," he said.

Nelson said the virus is mainly attacking personal computers and could be siphoning login and password data, credit card numbers and banking information.

My Response:
Haven't these people heard of anti virus software?  Was two weeks not enough warning?

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Entrecard Paid Rates Go Up

Entrecard has doubled their paid rates.  In order to be fair to existing customers, they have doubled our balances.  This is fair enough and makes sense to me--I'll still get the same number of clicks.

I probably won't run another campaign--4 cents per click is a bit steep for me.  But I don't blame EC.  They are simply following the rules of supply and demand, and 2 cents per click was a steal.

I think the more profitable Entrecard becomes the better it will be for the users.

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You don’t have an inbox…yet

Apparently hotmail was having some major problems--people with existing accounts getting the above message.  Anyone out there experience this?  Is it resolved? 

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Adgitize Review (Follow-Up)

About a month ago I started using Adgitize.  I decided to run an advertising campaign, figuring 14 bucks for a month is not a bad deal.  It turned out to be a great deal--the first 30 days aren't finished, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up with over 1,000 hits from the campaign.  From a cost-per-click perspective, that's under 2 cents per click--not bad!  I've already renewed the ad for another 30 days. 

My recommendation for Adgitize still stands.
Click Here to Join:
Adgitize your web site.

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Twitter: Three Benefits to Bloggers

I've only recently jumped on the Twitter bandwagon.  I didn't really see the point of "micro-blogging."  It just seemed like a bunch of drivel--who wants an hourly update of what you are doing?

Two things changed my mind.  First, I joined FaceBook and got used to updating my status.  Second, I notice viritually all of the serious bloggers were using it.  So I finally decided to start my own twitter account.  Now I see how beneficial it is for bloggers. 

Let me share just a few ways Twitter can help:

1.  Advertising multiple blogs in one place: Twitter gives you one place to share updates from all your blogs (or from other blogs if you like).  What most bloggers do is use a website like to shorten the address, then post updates on their twitter account.  It looks like this:

You can also sync your Twitter account with FaceBook--Twitter updates automatically appear in your FaceBook status.  This allows you to advertise new posts on two major networks.

 2.  Gaining followers: Twitter is an online community.  Users often search for other users with similar interest or related posts.  The more followers you get, the more potential blog readers you'll have.  Note: think of the keywords you use when you post updates about your blog--this can help people find you. 

3.  Finding content:  Following other members can help you find useful content for your blog.  As mentioned they often post articles, links to videos, and other links which can help you.

I'm sure there are more benefits to Twitter, but these three are the most significant for me. 

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Paid Campaigns on Entrecard

I'm going to run a paid campaign on Entrecard.  2 cents per click is really a good deal, especially for banner ads.  But there's another benefit I didn't even think of--free traffic and clicks!

Here's what I mean:

As soon as I started running my ad I saw this when I checked statcounter:

If I understand this correctly, these are clicks from members deciding whether or not to approve my ad.  I imagine they clicked my EC button before they left (that's what I do if a potential advertiser is an EC member).  I assume these clicks don't count against my pay-per-click, so it's extra free traffic.

I never thought about this before, but this is another nice perk of running a paid campaign on EC. 

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Friendster Profile Redirecting to Linkbuck

My friendster profile was redirecting to some kind of linkbucks website.  I figured out how to fix it:

This problem is caused by a comment which had some kind of malicious html code. 

Here's what you do.

1.  Go in your SETTINGS.

2.  Find SAFE MODE and click "YES".  This will disable the html codes in your comments and keep your profile from forwarding to the website.  But you still need to fix the problem.

3.  Look at your recent comments.  One of them is causing the problem.  Look for and delete a code that looks something like this (the code will be visible since you are in safe mode):

4. Go back to SETTINGS and turn off safe mode.
5.  Go back to your profile and see if you got rid of the malicious code.  If your profile keeps forwarding, you didn't delete the comment with the code that is causing the problem.

By the way, you should have your comments set to "never" for approve text comments automatically. 

Manually approving comments will not prevent all problems, but it will help a great deal.

I hope this helps.  Now, do you need some advice on your lovelife?  May tanong ka ba sa lablyf? Visit

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Entrecard, Monetized

Looks like Entrecard is now monetized.  It's easy enough to reject ads--there's a column where you can choose.

So far I've only rejected one paid ad.  I think EC won't have a big problem with too many ads being rejected.  

You can also go into your advert settings and set it to run only ads you approve.

I hope this works out for the folks at EC.

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