Social Bookmarking – What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Now, I’ll apologize first for putting that song in your head, but when I read this comment over on a guest post by Trent Hamm at Darren’s blog, I couldn’t think of any better title.

4. Immerse yourself in a social bookmarking site

Many people have a hard time getting their foot in the door with social bookmarking because they just try to use it without giving back. Most social bookmarking sites are a community of people who enjoy interaction and discussion – if you just pop in long enough to toss up some links and then wonder why you’re not successful, you’re simply fooling yourself.

Why do we look at Digg and and all the other bookmarking sites out there and just blindly demand they shovel traffic our way? Why do we look at our precious readers and subscribers as something that can be just forced toward our sites?

We shouldn’t be asking what Digg or can do for us, how about what we can do for them? OK, maybe that is going a little loopy, but when’s the last time you went to a community site and just wanted to throw your link out there and hope someone was stupid enough to click it? Is that fair to the community? Who are you helping with this sort of behaviour? Really, you’re not even helping yourself, because traffic that comes from spam is rarely helpful to a site owner. In fact, it usually results in traffic slams and no advertising payoff or subscription increase. Why do we bother?

Well, in all walks of life, people think there is a free and easy way to success. Perhaps I can just write a few posts, slather on some Adsense and then throw my link at whoever will listen, and then I can sit back and count my money. If anyone reading this is really waiting on that to happen, I wish you luck with that scheme.

That’s why I loved the way the author mentioned that social bookmarking sites were helpful to him because he was a helpful member.

If you want to be successful on a social bookmarking site, get involved. I’m involved in several – I post links to both my own articles and to other things and I’m also involved in many discussions on what others submit. Over time, people start checking in on what you submit on those sites and tend to be predisposed to voting them up, which can in the end merit you a lot of legitimate attention.

Years ago, when I started a small cloth diaper company and sewed and sold cloth diapers for young mothers, the ONLY way I marketed the product was through forums and chat rooms. And, it wasn’t by spamming all of the people! I just took part in the discussions going on, like How to Wash Diapers, How to Waterproof Diaper Seams, etc. and was a helpful part of this niche community. People sent me emails to ask my advice and I wrote articles online for the sole purpose of helping people. The only way that people knew I had a business was because it was in my signature of my forum posts and in my email signature.

Was I successful with this limited advertising? Well, within the first month we had $25K worth of orders and I had to contact a manufacturer to take over, and these darn diapers cost $8.95 each! After a year, the work was so intensive that I stopped taking orders and shut the company down once the last orders were filled. My small, home business, was so busy that it was removing me from my family, and that was the whole point of my working from home at the time, so I canned the business. Don’t believe me? Look at the Way Back Machine for Also, I still have links in for this domain that focus on cloth diapers.
That diaper business taught me that people don’t want to be marketed TO, but they want to learn from people, make friends, and be treated as if they matter. My business, my site, was successful not because I knew how to spin things or because my diapers were better than anyone else’s diapers (although, they were heh heh), but because I cared about people and I was known as a helpful and knowledgable member of the cloth diaper community.

Who do you think about when you write your blog? Who do you think about when you submit your link to every site under then sun? I’m not saying social bookmarking is wrong, I do it occassionally, but I do think you should do your level best to focus on what your readers want (or potential readers), rather than just selfishly spamming all the community sites you can find.


Crafting a new site isn’t hard though it does require a lot of time. With a wireless broadband connection working does become easier. There are many sites which offer people good packages to buy domain names and hosting services. As the site grows and years pass load balancing is required amongst different servers and online backup for all the data is essential. A site that is about a year old should give off decent money through affiliate programs. Though during this entire process the marketing of the site is important to increase the traffic, hence comes in social book marking.

Live Blogged The Arbitrage Session

Yesterday I live blogged the Super Affiliate Panel. Today I’m live blogging the 3:30pm Session, The Confluence of Search and Affiliate Marketing – Kristopher B. Jones, President and CEO, Pepperjam

Specific case studies and examples of working strategically with PPC affiliates and SEM Firms to cover more real estate and capture more market share through search-engines.

Jones says there is considerable money to be made outside of the traditional 3 affiliate networks
-Specifically look at Azoogle, Digital River, ClickBank, Linkconnector, ShareASale, XY7, etc.

Keyword tools:
Traditional: Yahoo Suggestion Tool, Google Suggestion Tool
Non-Typical: Rapid Keyword (highly recommended), Keyword Discovery, KeyCompete (most recommended

Stay away from direct linking to keep out of trouble with Google and to make sure your ad shows.

Made-For-Adsense Search Arbitrage=Garbitrage
Don’t waste your time or money

“Sophisticated Affiliate Marketing Search Arbitragers provide significant value to search users and merchants.”

Strategies for Success

– Approach the merchant with a strategy. Build your case. Make your case stronger (ask them to share their internal research data). Convince the merchant of your expertise.

– Develop an Aff Mktg strategy that works. Replicate it. Scale it. Ex. $50 per merchant per month. On CJ alone (2K+ merchants) you can generate $100,000 per month

Arbitrage Resources:
Webmaster Radio

Best tip of the day:

How to get around Yahoo’s (and MSN’s) rejected keywords issue.
Because no real human will look at your list, go into it knowing that roughly 30% of your keywords will be rejected. Reupload your rejected list of keywords, and 30% of those will be rejected. Keep going until you are satisfied.

Another good tip:

Your landing page’s quality score can be very important, in determining your cost. Make sure it is valuable to the user. Seems like a common sense suggestion, but I know some people seem to not get this.

Increasing click-through in ads:

Obvious: Use keyword in the headline and in the body of the ad
Multiple ads: Don’t forget to use a combination of ads for your keywords. Don’t put all your hopes in one or two ads.

Blogger Has RSS 2.0

Atom 1.0 support may not be forthcoming, but a Google engineer pointed me to this post on a blogspot-hosted blog announcing a RSS 2.0 feed.  The engineer also indicated Google was aware of the issues with Atom 0.3.

If you have an RSS feed for your blogspot blog, it will look like this:

Let me know if your blogspot blog is RSS 2.0 enabled.  I’m taking an informal poll here.  You can email me at or leave it in the comments.

Blogger and Atom 0.3 vs Atom 1.0

Since mid last year, Atom went through the growing pains of going from version 0.3 to version 1.0. In the fall the feed validator began noting that any blog still on 0.3 was outdated and might have errors, but didn’t actually call the feed invalid/obsolete until April of this year.

Some third party apps, including feed readers, Blog This, Performancing, etc. are not recognizing the outdated version of Atom, purposefully, as the decision was made to stop supporting it across the board. Even the feedvalidator calls the feeds ‘invalid’ at this point.

I actually was digging through the Google groups archives and learned that Google reader was rejecting the feeds just recently. When a problem goes this deep, what does it take to fix it???

UPDATE:  Apparently, the reply to that message indicated it did work.  Read the comments below.

Unfortunately, though Blogger knew this was coming, they chose to continue along with Atom 0.3. So, most Blogger blogs are now having such problems that they can’t even run them through Feedburner to covert them to RSS 2.0 (which is universally recognized like Atom 1.0). When the source feed is that mucked up, there is little choice on the site owner than to make the switch to another blog platform.

Get ready to see Blogger either 1-fix this or 2-lose many, many blogs. Of course, if they were looking to find a way to turn the sploggers away, this may be it. Unfortunately, it’s the real bloggers that will suffer in this…

Stupid Decisions

illustration by james donnelly, click through for brilliant thesis on stupidity

Business people and consumers are often accused of stupidity. All of us are guilty of it. And, though I love the song/video Stupid Girls, I try my best not to be one.
While I was trying to figure out why Blogger feeds were not validating, I came across this post attempting to explain the problem.

Some people, such as Dave Winer believe Google is engaging in such user unfriendly behavior for malicious reasons but given that Google doesn’t currently ship a news aggregator there doesn’t seem to be much of a motive there (Of course, this changes once they ship one).

Now, I think it is only fair to warn you that the decision to make 1.0 the ONLY valid standard was made long ago (we’re talking atom), and the discussion thereby is closed, but the fact that blogspot blogs are not valid feeds is disturbing.

Now, is that just the 8 blogs I just tried or are they not valid across the board? And, if that’s the case, what can the individual user do about it?