Archive for September, 2010

Click to Enlarge - OneMillionPeople.com

One Million People – a big con or great concept?!

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Click to Enlarge - OneMillionPeople.com

One Million People is the brain child of One Million Dollar Homepage creator Alex Tew.

What’s the idea behind this?

The project revolves around the concept of capturing the faces one million people who are part of the digital generation!  You pick a square on the 1250 page virtual book, pay your $3 and upload your photo.

Woah, so this guys going to earn $3,000,000 if he fills the book up?!

Yup, great concept eh!  You’ll have noticed if you clicked the first link in this post that I’ve already splashed out my $3 to appear on page 1 on the book and am keen to see how quickly this project goes viral like his previous project.

Can I buy lots of spaces to put a bigger picture on?

Please read the sites FAQ before buying as the rules on what is and isn’t acceptable are all laid out.

What about buying lots of spaces up to re=sell as the book gets full?

Great idea but unfortunately that’s banned too!  You can reserve spaces for loved ones / family members but these must be assigned within 30 days of purchase.  I’ve bought 4 other spaces which I will invite friends and family to take up later!

So once it’s full then what?

Alex is planning for the book to then be sent off into print with an estimated retail price of $100.  If the book ever does get completed and into print I would expect that the price of the book would have to be significantly lower to sell well!  Hell even if I’m on page one I’m not going to pay that sort of price to show the book to everyone who visits my home….or maybe I will!

So brilliant idea or giant scam!?

Having seen how the media and world took to Alex previous venture I decided for $3 it was worth investing in!  In marketing people still talk about the original venture created by Alex and there is every sign that this project can go down the same route!

If you are on One Million People then please feel free to leave a comment below and tell us where you are!


evernote

Work Safely When Driving at 70mph!

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If you’re like me and spend a good portion of your day commuting to and from your main place of work you’ll realise what a waste of creative time this is.  My current daily commute is usually around an hour each way, mainly dull motorway driving.

I often sit at the wheel brainstorming new ideas with myself and considering my next plans on various other personal and work related projects.  I was looking for a way of better utlising this “dead” time and came across a website and associated applications to enable me to jot down my ideas without danger to myself or other road users!

An acquaintance mention the website and apps available from Evernote. Available in 2 flavours, Free and Premium, Evernote allows you to capture and store a myriad of media types including:

  • Text Notes
  • Audio Clips
  • Web Page Clips
  • Screenshots
  • Photos

Evernote will create searchable and taggable notes that you can let Evernote organise or you can take control over how and where your content is stored.

Ever been out shopping and spotted a bargain that you wanted to investigate when you get home?  Snap a picture with your phone camera, upload it to Evernote and look at it when you get back to your computer.  Had a car accident, grab as much information, including photos at the scene and uplaod it to Evernote whilst the facts are fresh in your mind.  Bought an expensive item and are rubbish at filing receipts?  Take a photograph and upload it to Evernote to your “Receipts” notebook, simple!  For more uses check out the examples under Infinitely Useful

By using the Blackberry Evernote App I can now record voice memos of ideas and thoughts as I’m driving to and from the office.  Then when I get 5 minutes at the computer I can listen back, tag accordingly and action as necessary! Starting and stopping a recording is no different to change the radio frequency in your car, hit a button to start recording and button to stop recording!

Comparison of account features:

Free Premium
Access to all versions of Evernote Yes Yes
Synchronization across platforms Yes Yes
Text recognition inside images Yes Yes
Note allowance Unlimited, upload 40MB/mo Unlimited, upload 500MB/mo
File synchronization Limited: images, audio, ink, PDF Any file type
Search within PDFs No Yes
Access to note history No Yes
Offline notebooks (iPhone/iPad/iPod) No Yes
Notebook sharing via Evernote Web Read only Allow read and edit
Max single note size 25MB 50MB
Support Standard Premium support
Security features Standard SSL encryption
Priority image recognition No Yes
Hide promotions No Yes
Cost Free $5/month or $45/year

Here is their promotional video:

So readers, have you used Evernote, how do you rate it? Want to recommend alternatives? Use the comments below to give me your feedback!

Simnel Cake Tin

New theme and the second chapter!

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I’ve re-skinned the blog as I was receiving reports of people getting headaches! (Not Good!)

Anyway to follow on from my first post I thought I’d give you all a bit of background on the first sites that we created.

After some reading around about affiliate marketing and what works we looked for niches that we could exploit and dominate!  Lisa (my wife) is a fully qualified chef and so went off looking for an idea in the catering / cooking sector whilst I went off to pursue an idea in automotive car parts!  The key thing for this exercise was products costing less than £50 with good search volumes.  We used the Google keyword tool (GKT) to each identify a two word product combination and then began investigating domain names.

Simnel Cake TinFirst up was Lisa’s keywords “cake tins”.  At the time the GKT identified that 66,000 searches where conducted each month on the exact term “Cake Tins” in the UK.  As we where aiming our site at a UK audience we wanted a UK domain extension as these have been observed to perform better in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)  With the .co.uk already registered but undeveloped we decided to plum for the .org.uk extension.  We’d researched the competition and thought that with our .org.uk extension we could still out rank.  Our cake tins site was therefore born and we began to get things together.

This time we went for a free wordpress theme although this has now been switched to a theme we created ourselves.  Lisa began writing the content for the site whilst I got the domain and hosting hooked up.  We had an idea how we wanted the site to be structured and so we set about getting some graphics created and started with free version of Easy Content Units to get products onto our sites.  We concentrated on adding good unique and useful content to the site so Google would be a big fan of our site and see that we were a fresh site with a regular update of content.  With a good deal of work and perseverance we should be ranked at position #1 on Google.co.uk for the 2 word phrase cake tins, a great result for our first effort!  Our cake tin website really opened our eyes to the Amazon Associates programme and although it has some irritations like 24 hour cookies and reporting that is only updated once a day, we probably send the most of our traffic to Amazon from all of our sites!

Not to be out done by Lisa I came up with “windscreen wipers“.  Search volumes weren’t as high for me but the item costs could reach £75 for a pair of wipers.  Again the .co.uk was being sat on by another retailer who wasn’t using it other than to push it to their other website.  I decided I could take on the might of the main wiper companies and Halfords and got cracking.  Due to me having a day job I sub contracted my writing out and within a couple of days had my site content done.  I had come across a few windscreen wiper merchants and so once signed up- I looked at their ranges, prices and affiliate friendly tools.  The winner hands down was Autobulbs Direct who also offered the longest cookie length and a great commission percentage!  Autobulbs had a rather nifty web application that allows you to put your car details in and it returns the wipers that fit your particular make and model of car.  I contacted the affiliate network to ask whether I could get access to the php so that I could embed it directly into my site.  Unfortunately as a brand new affiliate making such requests lead to the expected no!  Remember in life if you don’t ask, you won’t get!  Although I got a no I looked at ways to incorporate the functionality into my website and with a bit of javascript coding I had the search tool working in a similar way to the Autobulbs original and I was ready take on the world!  You’ll never forget your first affiliate sale and when I saw my affiliate account credited with £2.38 I was over the moon!  I’ve been working with Autobulbs Direct for over a year now and recently negotiated a unique discount code for visitors that I refer.

I held the #1 spot again in Google after a good deal of hard work but in recent months I have slipped down to position 2.  I shall be making a push on the run up to Christmas to leap back to pole position and reclaim what I feel is rightfully mine!  Winter is a particularly busy time for this website as the bad weather causes a lot more requirement for new windscreen wiper blades!

The Big Bang

Where did it all begin?

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So Jon, where did it all begin?

If only I’d had a pound for the number of times someones asked me that, I’d probably have about £2 by now!  In a previous work role I worked with an exceptionally talented marketing guru called Lee who was fresh out of marketing college and chomping at the bit for success.  Lee’s drive and determination led him to setting up his own company providing marketing services.  Lee also started a successful discount portal called www.discountedorfree.com which opened my eyes to the online world of affiliate marketing(AM)!

Although our professional lives moved in directions we still stayed in contact and following one of our usual e-mail conversations Lee offered me the chance to borrow one of his domain names so that I could give AM a try!  Lee picked a domain that he thought should do well and so I took the first step into AM with Edinburgh Airport Parking

I had read about wordpress being a superb SEO friendly CMS platform so found a web developer to create me a unique wordpress theme.  I had looked at the myriad of free wordpress templates but nothing really ticked the clean look I was after.  The initial template cost a reasonable £40 and for having a unique looking site I hoped it would make the site stand out.  From my time creating The-Pier I already had a content writer whose rates and service I was happy with.  I commissioned some articles on topics that I saw as being relevant to this particular subject and sat back and waited for people to complete their necessary tasks!

With the content and theme completed the next thing was to find some web hosting that I could put the site on.  I was already using tsohost for my existing sites so merely upgraded to their clustered hosting platform.  This would give me more resources than I needed at an incredibly reasonable £9.99 per month!

I uploaded the wordpress installation, created the MySQL database, installed the theme and published the content…we were now cooking with gas!  The site looked a little plain so I splashed out on some suitable stock images from iStockphoto and we were up and live.  I joined some affiliate networks to find which merchants were available and settled on was now ready to earn my online fortune.  The idea of earning hundreds of pounds while I slept or was out with friends sounded like a dream lifestyle!

Despite my hopes and dreams I found the subject of Edinburgh Airport Parking to be less than inspiring!  My apetite had been whet and now it was time to explore niche markets that I had an interest in!  I had worked the site up to the second page of Google but with earnings of a few pounds I knew that this site wasn’t for me and so Lee and I did a deal and the site switched back under his control and today is sitting up on the first page of Google!

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