Delayed Page Content Javascript Code Revealed . . .

July 30th, 2010

Been to any of the big “Internet Marketing” launch sales pages — you know, the ones with a sales video at the top (very possibly being the ONLY thing on the page) — lately?

If so, you’ve probably noticed how they like to “hold you hostage”, making you sit through most of their presentation before they give you the link to purchase the product.

I hate those things.

I usually know already if I’m going to purchase the product or not, and I don’t have time to watch these guys wax eloquent about their newfangled toy. Grrrr!

Usually I just look in their source code to find the hidden “Add to Cart” link. If they’re onto that kind of thing and use some kind of black-ops encryption, I often leave the page. The product will be back in some form sooner or later, right?

BUT . . .

I’m a techie and not like most people — apparently most will wait for the darn thing to show itself.  (In truth, I suspect they probably leave the room for 30 minutes to watch some syndicated rerun…)

AND . . .

I recently received an email from Brad Fallon, where he says some testing by Perry Belcher (Google “The Belcher button” if you’re not familiar with him) shows that the sell-through rate of one of these video sales pages is 157% BETTER when they hide the order button until some point in the presentation where the call to action is made.

That makes sense I guess . . . it means people have to listen to all the “benefits” of the product before they see the price. If they saw the price ahead of time, many would just leave, figuring there’s no way the price could be justified (after all, we’re usually talking about price points of $997 or $1997).

So even though I hate it when I encounter these things myself, I may have to concede they’re a good idea — like popups a few years ago, no doubt. But they should test the stick rate when they reveal how long the presentation is vs. when they don’t. I like to at least know how many minutes I can spend doing something else while they yammer on and on . . . ;-)

ANYWAY, I had a client a few days ago that wanted to hide his order button until some point in his video presentation, BUT he wanted to set a cookie so that if people came back to the page later, they could see the order button right away and not have to sit through the presentation again.

So I whipped up some simple Javascript code to do just that, and I’m giving it to you right now. You can download the sample page here:

If you view that page, you’ll see this line become visible after 2 minutes:

* * * Paste All Your Time-Delayed Content Here * * *

If you load the page, leave, and come back, you’ll see it immediately.

To see how it works, just view the source code.

You can take this page and edit it however you want — just leave the javascript code intact (there’s some at the top and some at the bottom) and be sure to put your “delayed” content inside the “hiddencontent” div tags, where the above line is now.

Let me know what you think!



Man vs. Woman — An eCommerce Analogy

September 22nd, 2009

About a year ago I had a funny email forwarded to me. The email had two pictures — one of a piece of electronic equipment labeled “Man”, and another of another piece of equipment labeled “Woman”.

Take a look — here’s “Man”:



And here’s “Woman”:


While these pictures were intended to tickle the funny bone, there’s quite an element of truth to them, wouldn’t you agree?

So how can I possibly draw an analogy between these pictures and eCommerce software? Simple.

The “Man” is like a PayPal “Buy” button. If you want to quickly start selling something, all you have to do is slap the button HTML code onto your sales page. Or paste the email link into your email. Voila! With a single step your business is “ON”!

This simplicity comes at the price of flexibility . . . no possibility of “one click” upsells after the initial order, no affiliate program, no personalized “thank you” emails or web pages. But it’s fast and it works — and sometimes that’s all you need. (Fast and working is always better than “still tweaking the system”!)

Now, the “Woman” picture is like one of the “do everything” eCommerce solutions. InfusionSoft and FantaSos (a.k.a. Delavo with all the plugins) come to mind, and there are others as well. These solutions are indeed powerful but to some people they’re just “too much”.

I’ve had clients who used one of the “do everything” solutions who dropped them in favor of a simpler solution — they just couldn’t handle all of the perplexing options available to them in the other system.

I’ve also had clients report to me that their “do everything” solution had a lot of features, but some of the fundamentals were plagued with problems.

Obviously it doesn’t do you any good to have 100 features when the most critical features like affiliate tracking or order processing don’t work — so make sure the fundamentals are covered, THEN look at the additional features.

Usually there’s a solution that lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and fits “just right”.

I’ll be releasing a new version of my eCommerce and product launch software soon — I think it’s a nice “middle ground”. It may or may not be what you need — but watch for it and judge for yourself!



Testing Results — Double Optin Vs Single Optin

September 16th, 2009

Here’s an interesting article by Daniel Levi about using confirmed optin vs single optin:

Test Results of Single- vs Confirmed-optin

New Alexa Features . . .

April 16th, 2009

Just happened to be on Alexa today and saw that they had some new features . . . made a short video for you using Jeff Walker’s “” site as an example of the new information available.

Check out the video here:

I think these new features can be useful when doing research on your own sites or your competitors . . .

Have fun with it!


My “Cliff Notes” from Cialdini Book . . .

April 15th, 2009

Not too long ago a friend of mine sent me Robert Cialdini’s book, “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive”. I already HAD the book, but because my friend had given it to me, I decided to actually STUDY it this time rather than just skimming through it like I had before.

I even took notes, which I’d like to share with you here. There were a few items that didn’t really lend themselves to a brief note, so I have less than 50 to share. And I will also concede that it would be helpful if you had read the book first before reviewing this list. Or after.

However, I still think there’s a great deal of value in this summary . . . so without any further fuss, here’s what I got out of the book:

1. “If operators are busy, please call again” — using this line in a commercial increased the call volume. The phones being busy is “social proof” that the offer is worth pursuing. With eCommerce, you might instead say something like “please allow our support staff at least 2 days to reply to your post-order inquiries — they’re swamped!”. You can certainly come up with something better, but you get the idea . . .

2. Use testimonials from people who are identical to your targeted “ideal” prospect (so what they’re saying they will resonate with those prospects).

3. Focus prospects on social proof supporting the positive action I want them to take. Don’t give them social proof that others are doing the opposite. For instance, don’t say “Only 5% of you morons were smart enough to get in on this deal”, but rather, “the phones have been ringing off the hook! . . .”

4. People are attracted to the “average” behavior. When using social proof, praise those who exceeded the average. Otherwise, they’ll lower their actions to meet the average.

5. Too many choices reduce sales

6. When offering free bonuses, prove their value. Nobody wants free bonuses that are worth $0

7. Offering a more expensive, superior product will increase sales of the next lower option.

8. When stoking fear as a sales tool, be sure to include clear steps on how to overcome or avoid the undesired thing.

9. Reciprocity — give something before asking for something.

10. Personalize and show some extra effort.

11. Gifts should be significant, unexpected, personalized.

12. Incentives should be given with no strings attached.

13. Value of a favor you give will decrease in the eyes/memory of the recipient over time. Sometimes a tactful reminder can restore that value prior to you asking for a return favor.

14. Ask for small commitments first, larger ones later.

15. Apply a label and ask prospect to act in a way that is consistent with that role model.

16. Ask for commitment. For example, “Will you please call if you need to cancel?” vs. “Please call if you need to cancel” significantly decreased no-shows in a restaurant.

17. Get active written commitments

18. Free prospect from previous commitments from competitors

19. If we ask someone for a favor, they’ll be more likely to grant future requests. (Is this consistency at play?)

20. To secure approval/action, use sentences like, “Even a penny will help”, “Just an hour of your time will help”, “Even a brief note will help”, etc.

21. In auctions, always start with low price

22. Let others brag for you

23. Damaging admissions add credibility. But always show the “silver lining” (positive benefits) of the “flaw”.

24. Take responsibility for mistakes; don’t blame external factors

25. Bring up similarities with the prospect.

26. Mirror prospect’s behavior. Repeat their words.

27. Search others for their virtues

28. Use scarcity. If information is relatively unknown, point out how exclusive it is. This increases value to the prospect. People want what they can’t have.

29. People avoid loss. Use “Don’t Miss Out”, “Last Chance”, etc.

30. Give a reason why. “Because . . .”

31. Make names simple to read and pronounce. Handwritten notes should be simple to read. Make it easy for prospect to read your material.

32. Use rhymes. People consider fluent incoming information to be more accurate, and rhymes increase the fluency. (Along the same lines — use small words.)

33. Use law of contrast. For example, compare your product with something much more expensive. But only give a little information about the competing product, and a lot of information about yours.

34. When using loyalty programs, reward programs, and so on, give your customers a “head start”. That way their psychological need to “complete” things will practically force them to continue patronizing your business.

35. Use unexpected and ambiguous names for products. These are more desired by consumers

36. Product packaging should remind consumers of essential images, slogans, characters used in advertising

37. Mirrors, pictures of eyes, asking their name — these things encourage people to act in a more socially acceptable way. (Might help reduce returns . . .)

38. If you say something distracting (like stating the price in pennies), then immediately followup with a statement about your product, the prospect will generally accept the statement as truth (they’re too distracted to evaluate it). This is also true for sleep deprived people.

39. Getting/giving some personal information (getting to know each other) leads to a better end result in negotiating.

40. Speak their language.

41. Know their culture.

Well, I hope that gives you some good ideas. Think about how these things might be accomplished using the various marketing tools available on the internet — I’m certain the application of just a few of these ideas will have a significant effect on your bottom line!

By all means, tell me what you think of the above list and what ideas it generates!


One of my pet peeves . . . plus, your own social network software

April 7th, 2009

In recent months, I’ve witnessed a few software product launches that I can only describe as “irritating”.

And what caused this irritation? The promoter’s expectation that I would spend between $497 and $997 to get their supposedly “whiz-bang” software WITHOUT EVEN SEEING IT FIRST!

These guys go through their well-scripted pre-launch sequence, telling everyone how much money this software will make them, how much time it will save them, how all their buddies begged them not to release it, and on and on . . . never revealing the price of course (wouldn’t want to put a damper on people’s anticipation).

Then on the launch day, they repeat all of the above. They are sure to point out how this software should be selling for thousands of dollars, but for a limited number of lucky schmucks, they’ll release it for a bargain-basement price of only $497 (or $997, $1997, whatever, as long as it ends with a 7).

But they do NOT show us what the software looks like or how it operates!

No demo site to poke around in.

No videos showing how the software works.

Not even screenshots of the software in action.

Sometimes they don’t even tell you what kind of operating system is required to run the software.

It leaves me wondering, “What are they hiding?”

These guys have the “selling on emotion” concept down pat. They’re selling the dream of making lots of money quickly and with very little effort. But in my opinion they fail to give their prospective customers a way to “justify with logic”, which is also a key concept in direct marketing.

One such promotion is live as I write this, the “Niche Socializer” software. I normally don’t reveal guilty parties by name in my blog or emails, but I’ll make an exception here because despite their marketing sins, I think their product may still be worthy of attention (I just wish I could SEE the dang thing!) . . .

I emailed the support team for the Niche Socializer software and asked them whether it was a hosted service or software we install on our own server. I also wanted to know if the software could be used for multiple sites. It’s puzzling to me that they don’t answer these questions on their site!

They replied (quickly, I might add) that it’s software we install on our own server, and that it can be used for 3 social marketing sites. Additional licenses can be purchased at a discount if more sites are required.

Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me what web server platform is required — I’ve sent them a followup email and will update this post as I get new information.

It seems like a pretty good solution to me . . . BUT it’s not the “only” solution. Here are a few other links for you to check out if you want to start your own social network:

Kootali Software Software

Elgg Software (Open Source)

One of the advantages I see with the Niche Socializer software (and some of the software packages listed above) is that you can host it on your own server — I like having that kind of control. Imagine if you built up a social network and then had the underlying company go out of business — ouch!

On the other hand, it’s nice to let someone else worry about server scaling, bandwidth, network issues, etc. — as with most things, there are pros and cons either way.

Another thing I like about Niche Socializer is that it was created with monetization in mind — it includes an eCommerce module and allows you to have “paid” levels if you want. It also allows you to charge for classified ads. The other sites listed above didn’t have much to day about those kinds of things, so when choosing a solution be careful to make sure they have the functions you need/want.

That’s it for now, let me know what you think!



1. Thank You! 2. Do NOT get this software 3. Meet me here?

January 9th, 2009

Okay, the holidays are over, time to get back to work! (Especially since it seems like everyone else already has . . .  ;-) Three quick items today:

1. Thanks for your Generosity

First off, THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to help out the Gentemann family after their house fire. You contributed $1380 to help them out — WOW! :-) I didn’t deliver the money personally, but I’m sure they’re very grateful for all the help they’ve received. (For those of you who didn’t hear about this, it was a request I sent out via email about 3 days before Christmas . . .) Thank you so much.

2. Do NOT get this software.

Lately there’s been some emails promoting the “Placement Locator” software. ( As my readers, I want to let you know I think there’s something out there that’s more powerful and costs less — and it comes with a free trial version too!

The software is called “Site Sniper Pro“, and it was first made available about 18 months ago. It’s up to version 2.5 and I believe it’s much more comprehensive software than the “Placement Locator” software.

I don’t get any commission for recommending it — I just think it’s a better deal for you all around.

3. Meet me Underground?

When I was going to school in Provo, Utah, there was a restaurant called “The Underground”. It was a 1920’s mafia theme, and really was in a basement with exposed ventilation pipes and beams, etc. — and you could sit in 1920’s replica cars to eat . . . I really enjoyed that place! But I’m talking about a different kind of Underground here . . . Yanik Silver’s “Underground Seminar” in February.

If you have to pick ONE internet marketing seminar to attend, this is the one I recommend. I’m not going to try and sell you on it, just check out the web page for yourself.

Bob Parsons from GoDaddy is going to be the keynote speaker — I can’t wait to hear what he has to say! I’ve been a fan of his ever since I bought his “MoneyCounts” software for DOS some umpteen years ago (that was before GoDaddy — he had a software company called “Parson’s Technology” . . .)

And if you want to meet with me for lunch and pick my brain while we’re there, that would be fun too!

Yanik left the gate a bit late on this year’s promotion, but I’m sure he’ll still sell out the seminar – get in while you can!

I hope to see some of you there — definitely let me know if you’re going!



Simple Redirect Tool (Free Download)

November 4th, 2008

I was reminded of this tool when one of my clients asked me to install it on one of their new domains . . .

Basically it allows you to quickly create “redirect” folders on your site. For instance, say this was your affiliate link:

You don’t want to include a link like that in your email! If you have a website, you can create a simple redirect and then use a link like this instead:

That’s a lot nicer looking, don’t you agree?

(BTW, that’s a live link and goes to Yanik Silver’s latest venture, “Maverick Business Insider” — it looks like a heck of a deal and you ought to check it out.)

This redirect utility will allow you to create a redirect using HTML/Javascript or PHP. It will also allow you to “frame” the destination page rather than redirecting the visitor to it.

(To “frame” the page means the page shows up on the browser but it looks like it’s a part of your site, because your web site URL is still visible in the browser location window . . .)

Click here to download the script…

Using this script is pretty straightforward, as long as your web site is on a Unix or Linux server. Just unzip the file, upload the CreateRedirects.cgi script to your web folder, and change the permissions on the script to 755 . . . then point your browser to it whenever you need to create a redirect.

Let me know what you think!



P.S. My apologies if you use a windows web server. This script could probably work for you with slight modification — you could probably find someone on eLance to modify it pretty cheap . . .

New policy, plus 33 Designs for $125?

October 24th, 2008

Okay, it’s been almost a month since my last post. I’ve decided the reason it takes me so long to add new posts is because I wait until I think I have something substantial to say. Well, I’ve decided to put more emphasis on frequency rather than post size.

So here goes . . . if you’ve been here before, you may have noticed today that I have a new banner graphic at the top of this blog. (Which is to say, I HAVE a banner graphic now — I didn’t before!)

I went to and started a “contest” — cost me $40 to do so. Then I had a bunch of graphic artists competing for the contest. You can see the 33 designs that were submitted here:

I picked the one I liked most and paid the designer $125. There were a couple of other designs which I liked enough that I offered the designers $75 each for them — both accepted.

Personally, I think it’s a great service . . . for me it’s difficult to come up with a graphic design concept, so it’s nice to see the various designs these professional designers come up with.

Those of you on my mail list should get an email alerting you to this post — I just setup the Aweber RSS Broadcast feature. Within an hour of my posting a new message here, Aweber will detect the new post and will send out an email alerting my subscribers. Pretty nifty.

Of course, anyone who subscribes will get additional resource information not posted here — so if you’re not a subscriber, fill out the box at the top-right of this page and become one! :-)

Let me know what you think!


You Are Wasting My Time. Please Leave.

September 26th, 2008

Today I’m going to talk about the NOT SO FUN part of an online business:

Time Wasting Customers

Here’s the thing. I really go out of my way to help my customers. I call almost all of my customers to make sure they got their downloads okay. I spend way more time than the business experts say I should.

(If Rich Schefren was my business coach, he’d have a fit about the time I spend on non-productive tasks like customer support.)

So anyway, yesterday I got an order for a $47 product. I also got an email from the customer asking me where they could download the product. Apparently the email from my automated system hadn’t got through.

No biggie — email’s like that. So I called her up and told her I would personally send her the download link from my desktop email. I told her if she didn’t get it to let me know and I’d try sending it directly to her or figure out another way.

(In retrospect, what i should have done was read the download link to her over the phone. Next time.)

Fast forward to today. I get an email from the customer and she says the following:

You and I spoke yesterday about emailing me The Internet Marketers Little Black Book that I purchased; today is the 25th almost 9pm and I have not received it in my email. Can you please just refund me the money, I don’t think this is going to work out.

Now, this is just plain irritating to me. Maybe I’m getting cranky in my middle age. Here’s what I wrote back:

Maude (not her real name!),

I have refunded your order as you requested, but I would like to comment somewhat on this.

My system sent you an email with the download link the day you ordered. For whatever reason, you didn’t get it.

Then I again sent the download link to you (manually this time, from my desktop email client), and again you didn’t get it.

I think you need to ask your internet service provider why LEGITIMATE emails are not getting through to you.

I told you on the phone that if you didn’t get it, I’d be happy to attach the file to an email and send it to you directly. Perhaps you would have got it, and perhaps not, but you apparently decided it wasn’t worth the effort. This is very frustrating to me as a merchant who goes out of his way to help my customers.

You stated you “don’t think this is going to work out” — the only reason it didn’t work out is because you weren’t willing to give it a chance. I would have even read the download link to you over the phone had you given me the opportunity.

Had you allowed me to find some other way to get you the eBook and then decided it “wasn’t for you”, I would have been fine with that. But to just give up in this situation like you have shows a lack of respect for me and the time I have spent (and was willing to spend) in your behalf.

You have wasted my time — please do not order anything else from me unless you are willing to work with me in getting around the limitations of your email system to get the product you ordered.



Now I have to confess, there’s a part of me that feels bad for sending this “nasty-gram” but the bigger part of me feels justified in doing so (even though I realize it’s probably counter-productive). What do you think? Did I go too far? Am I just irritable?

So what’s the lesson here? For me there are a couple:

  1. I should probably start placing a download link right on the “thank you” page after people order. I resisted this for awhile, because I figured if the download link is only in the email, I guarantee that nobody will get it without a valid email address. However, I believe we’ve reached the point where the inherent unreliability of email outweighs the security risks of providing the download link right on the thank-you page.
  2. I should probably let someone else handle THIS kind of customer support for me. It’s one thing to answer technical questions, but this is very basic customer support (providing a download link) and something I obviously don’t have the required “patient and long-suffering” attitude to do myself.

If you’re in a similar situation, consider these services:

And since we’re on the topic of customer support, let me say one more thing . . .

I’ve been “behind the scenes” on a LOT of launches — some of the biggest in the internet marketing circles. Quite frequently the people doing the launch are unprepared for the customer support. I want you to keep this in mind — if you’re going to do 2 years worth of business volume in 7 days, you should be prepared to provide 2 years worth of customer support in the same time frame.

This means you should hire extra help — lots of it — and have them trained before the launch begins. I have yet to witness a perfect launch. (On the last launch I was involved with, we had problems with the payment processor, the BACKUP payment processor, AND the email service. Yikes!)

There’s always something that goes wrong, so make sure you have people in place to handle the huge influx of customer support emails and calls.

That’s it for now!


Waaaay Coooooool . . .

June 30th, 2008

I was looking at a website tool on this company’s page and saw something else interesting . . . went to check it out and it’s COOL!

I think it’s going to help me be more organized and productive, but if not, it’ll still be cool to show my brother when he’s visiting — that’s worth the price by itself.

Anyway, I had to share it with you! First, check out my little demo video showing how it works:


Then if you want to try it out for yourself they have a free trial), just click on this link . . .

In other news, I’ve decided to go ahead and try having a “chat night” on Wednesday at 9 PM central time. It’ll be text only (the voice broadcast system isn’t that great with the system I’m using), and the system only allows a maximum of 25 people. Let’s try it out and see how it works!

And finally, for a bit of inspiration, check out this video about “Team Hoyt”. I thought I was a good father, but I this guy taught me a few lessons . . .


That’s all for now my friends — I hope to see some of you on Wednesday’s chat!


P.S. Comments, I need comments!! ;-)

After Committing The Unpardonable Sin, I’m Back . . .

June 24th, 2008

Wow, 6 months since my last post! That really is unpardonable in the world of blogs.

I won’t bore you with my various excuses, but I’m back now . . .

Even though I’ve been up to my eyeballs in product launches and other client work, I’ve still been buying all kinds of internet marketing stuff. I’m frequently amazed at the low cost for resale or private label rights these days. 20, 45, 100, or even 300 products with resale rights for just a few dollars.

Now sure, lots of the offers include products we’ve seen before, and much of it it total garbage. But there are definitely some diamonds in the rough. So I keep collecting it and someday I may actually get some sites up there and start selling the stuff.

Last week I found a pretty nifty tool for “Link Effects“, and was surprised to see it was selling for just 5 bucks, so I dashed off a quick email to my list. It had been 6 weeks since I had emailed my list, so I was curious what the response would be. I also tried a split test of a straight-text email vs. a text/html email. Check out the stats from my Aweber account:

Stats from Aweber

Now remember that Aweber can’t track the “open rate” of a straight text email. But the clickthrough percentage was pretty comparable for both versions. What I found interesting was the number of complaints — the text-only email resulted in almost double the number of complaints as the text/html email.

That may be because the link was visible — it was an Aweber-tracking link, which is pretty ugly and has a certain “commercial” feel to it (in my opinion).

Aweber recently added the ability to track clickthroughs while using your own domain for the link URL — you do this by adding some Javascript to your page and notifying Aweber via your control panel there, as shown in the video on this page.

This is a step in the right direction, but Aweber still tacks some tracking code onto the end of your link, something like this: “?awt_l=9YfeG&awt_m=8WL4Mnm0rvusc”. So it still looks a bit on the ugly side, as links go.

Another thing to consider is how this appended code will affect your affiliate links. If Aweber’s algorithm is intelligent enough it will detect an existing query string in your link and just append to it with the common ampersand divider.

For instance, if this was my affiliate link:

Then Aweber would make it like this:

But even that might mess up the afiliate tracking system, depending on what it’s expecting to see.

So if you’re going to use Aweber’s new tracking system with an affiliate program, make sure it’s not going to mess up the affiliate tracking!

One more thing about Aweber I discovered a little while back . . . they allow you to collect “custom” data fields on their optin forms, and merge that data into outgoing emails. That much you probably knew. But what I found out is that you can’t include that merged data into a URL if you’re going to have click tracking turned on — the merge code is not translated to the correct subscriber value in that case.

That’s a shame, because we don’t always use their “meta_adtracking” form field to hold the affiliate ID — but that’s what you’ll have to do if you want to include the affiliate ID in the URL and at the same time use Aweber’s click tracking system.

With the new tracking system via your own domain URL, this may not be an issue . . . check with Aweber to find out for sure.

Okay, now I need your feedback . . .

I’m working on a book (to be published by Wiley this fall) and while I was reviewing various online communications tools, it occurred to me that it might be fun to have an online chat with my readers. I was thinking maybe every Wednesday night from 9 PM – 10 PM central I could open up my chat lines and we could talk — any question goes . . . is that something you’d be interested in?

Let me know!



P.S. In case you’re interested, here’s the latest (about a month old, actually) picture of our latest addition:


Affiliate Tracking Technology Comes Full-Circle

December 29th, 2007

It’s been about 10 years now since I wrote my first affiliate “script”. And it really was a “script” – not a full-blown application.

I was an electrical engineer at Motorola at the time, trying to sell direct marketing books (hardcopy, not ebooks) over the internet for some extra income.

In order to add some interactivity to my own site, I learned the predominant web-server script language of the day, “Perl”, and I was on my way. Soon I started getting requests from other webmasters to write scripts for them

One of the first people to actually PAY me for a script was Allen Says, of “Internet Marketing Warriors” fame. As I recall, he wanted a script that would take an identifying code (“affiliate code” in today’s vernacular) and propagate it from one page to the next so that it would eventually be inserted into a hidden form field on the order form.

If I remember correctly, the script was 280 characters in size, and Allen paid me $250 for it – that was almost a dollar per character, which at the time was heady stuff indeed! (Actually, it still is – I don’t think I’ve ever been paid that much per character since!)

This was shortly after Amazon started their affiliate program, and it seemed like a great idea. So I decided to create a full-blown affiliate program system, which I started selling in 1998.

Back then, browser cookies weren’t used for affiliate tracking. Either the affiliate code was propagated from one page to the next, or static copies were made of the site pages for each affiliate – so their affiliate ID was hardcoded in these static pages. This was done automatically when the affiliate signed up.

The problem with both of these approaches is that affiliate site “templates” were required. They were just standard HTML pages with some “merge codes” added. For instance, if I wanted the affiliate ID to show up in a certain place on the page, I’d use the merge code of AFF_NUM in that location in the template page. Or for the affiliate’s name, I’d use “AFF_NAME”

It wasn’t difficult, but it was more than most people wanted to deal with, especially if they had a lot of pages on their site.

In order to prevent “affiliate abandonment”, the entire site would need to be templated, OR a portion of the site would need to be templated and designed such that no links led to pages outside the templated pages.

With the widespread adoption of cookies, these things were no longer a concern. You merely “tagged” the visitor with an affiliate cookie when they entered the site, and then read it back again at the time of the order to determine which affiliate got credit for the sale.

At least that’s how it worked in theory . . . as long as someone had their cookies enabled (which most did).

But in the years since then, the browser environment has become more and more hostile to cookies. The default security settings are more discriminatory and various applications designed to “protect” the consumer delete cookies on a regular basis.

In this day of dynamic IP addresses (I’ve seen my own DSL IP address change while in the middle of a shopping session!) using the IP address as a cookie-backup system is hit-and-miss at best.

It seems that as soon as new tracking methods come out (such as the “flash cookie”), new methods are devised to defeat them for the consumer’s privacy and security.

Natural consumer behavior is another factor to consider. For instance, in a recent high-profile promotion, I tracked the orders that didn’t get attributed to the correct affiliate. I actually picked up the phone and called a couple of the customers, asking them about the circumstances surrounding their order.

One person had received the promotional email on their work computer, but had waited until getting home to place the order. The 2nd person had used a different computer for their order as well. What kind of affiliate tracking technology is going to overcome that? Ironically, it’s the “old” technology.

If you want to make absolutely sure the correct affiliate gets credit for a sale, provide them with a static page hard-coded with their affiliate ID. And have that page link to an order page that is also hard-coded with the affiliate’s ID. Make sure their affiliate ID is coded visibly on the order page for cases where they FAX or call in the order. And don’t have any entry or order pages OTHER than the affiliates’ – that way it’s not possible for someone to make an “end-run” around your affiliate.

In this case your promotional home page (e.g. “”) might have something like this:

Oops, you didn’t type the complete web address! Your link should be something like this:

Please enter the correct web address exactly as shown in your email (or on your postcard)

This of course means that your own promotions will need to link to an “in-house” affiliate account rather than linking to the home page itself. And you can’t have any links on your home page to the “widgets” promotion – if you want to guarantee accurate affiliate compensation you must force people to use the affiliate links to access the product.Now I understand it’s not practical to create static pages for each affiliate when you have 10000 of them unless your affiliate system has that feature built in. So this might be something you offer only to your best affiliates or JV partners.

Alternatively, you could create static pages for all of your affiliates for a particular promotion using one of the available “site replicator” scripts. You’ll have to do a bit of work to import your affiliate list and “replicate” the promotional pages for each one, but using a replicator script should at least make it feasible to do so (doing it by hand is NOT feasible if you have more than a couple dozen affiliates).

In fact, I just remembered I created a free “feature limited” version of my affiliate software some time ago – it will replicate pages just fine, and in fact is very similar to what I used for a couple of past high-profile client launches to create static pages for the VIP JV partners. You can download it here:

This will probably be part of a paid package at some point in the future, so download it now while you have the opportunity.

Note: Please don’t ask for support for this free software unless you’re willing to pay for my time ($150/hour, 1 hour minimum).

Keep in mind that this software was designed to replicate pages in real-time as people filled out and submitted a “signup” form. If you already have a bunch of affiliates that you want to replicate pages for, you will need to populate the affiliate data file first, then run the “Update” utility to create the replicated pages.

If you’re handy with a text editor, you can sign up using the included signup form, and then examine the “adm-dealers.txt” file to see how the data is stored. You can then add your existing affiliates to that file using the same record formatting.

The above “home page” example can also be used if you’re using standard cookie-based affiliate tracking – at least you’d make certain the customer comes in through an affiliate link.

But there will still be “breakage” in cases where people have cookies disabled or have their browser security set to reject cookies – so if you can capture and propagate their affiliate ID from one page to the next, that would overcome the cookie deficiencies.

The free software provided above will also do this kind of propagation for you, even without importing your affiliate list – just read the section on “dynamic pages” on pages 22-24 of the user guide.

I don’t know about you, but I’m very curious about where affiliate tracking will be in 10 years. I really will not be surprised if using old, boring “static pages” is still the most reliable way to track, even then!



New Baby Has Arrived!

December 26th, 2007

Just a quick announcement that our new baby girl is finally here!

Name: “Sierra LaRae Galloway”
Born: 1:38 PM Central Time, Dec 22, 2007
Weight: 8 lbs 8oz
Length: 19 inches

Baby and mother are doing great — here’s a picture I took when Sierra was about 2 hours old:

Sierra LaRae Galloway - Dec 22 2007

I guess it’s time for me to rename my “” site! (I can’t tell you how happy LaRae is to not be pregnant anymore!)

Thanks to everyone for their support this past (long!) 9 months!


My First Web Video . . .

December 14th, 2007

If you’ve been following some of my emails, you know the arrival of our new baby is imminent — she’s due on Dec 19, which is less than a week away!

The last two pregnancies all went over the deadline, but my wife is REALLY hoping that doesn’t happen this time. And I have to admit, I’m anxious to greet the little one too. :)

Okay now let’s get down to business . . .

I’ve created some “screen capture” videos before, but yesterday I created what I consider to be my first “real” video. It’s got motion and the last half even has a soundtrack! I think the first part is actually a bit cheesy, but it’s all tongue in cheek and I had a fun time making it.

Check it out here:

Obviously the video is promoting the “Underground” seminar, but the biggest reason I created this video was to get familiar with the process. And I learned a lot. This video took me several hours to create, but the next one should take me half the time or less.

Here’s the tools I used to create this . . .

To create the movie, I used “Adobe Premiere Elements” software. Now keep in mind that Windows XP comes with “Movie Maker” which includes lots of neat transitions (different screen wipes between scenes) — but I believe the Adobe software gives you greater control over the various elements, such as volume fading.

For the narrative during the first half of the movie, I used Audacity from Sourceforge.Net.

I simply recorded myself reading the script (which I had previously written down) and then changed the pitch of my voice to make it sound “masked”. I was then able to remove all the extraneous sounds (my breathing, sniffing my nose, etc). Audacity is great (I hadn’t used it much prior to this), and I’m once again amazed at the quality of software you can get for free these days.

For the background music (last half of the movie) I used music from “” — I bought their “Theatrical Impact” CD.

Note that thesse CDs don’t contain standard audio files — you can’t play them in your CD player or even with your media player on your computer. They are in “smartsound” format and require smartsound-capable software. I believe there is a plugin for Adobe Premiere that will allow it to use SmartSound files directly, but I used the software provided by SmartSound (it was free with my CD purchase).

The nice thing about smartsound music is that each piece contain separate tracks — so if you want to change just the “drums” track, you can do that — they are designed specifically with modification in mind.

The little “encrypted message” sequence was done using some Javascript I had saved from who knows what/when — I think it was something I had planned on using for Yanik’s first “Underground” seminar. It was based on the free random text script you can get from Jeffrey Sanders.

I got the “Underground Agents” pictures from Yanik’s past sales pages (cropped them all to be the same size using Paint Shop Pro). The three video sequences (black-masked guy, moving people/landscape, and falling money) and all of the other people pictures were purchased from iStockPhoto.

Getting the content together actually took more time than anything else . . . there were a total of 54 images, plus the video clips.

Once you have all your content, it’s just a matter of dragging/dropping things on a timeline and adding the text elements — not hard, but it does take time to get everything lined up (especially when you’re trying to sync pictures to a music beat).

It was actually a lot of fun . . .

Take a look at the video and let me know what you think!


P.S. And by all means — if you’re thinking about going to the Underground Online Seminar, use my affiliate link at !!! ;)

Internet Marketing Resources, and a Request . . .

October 26th, 2007

I don’t have anything too meaty for you today, but here are a half-dozen internet resources I’ve collected since publishing my “Internet Marketer’s Little Black Book” . . . I bet you find at least one of them to be useful in your own business! :-)

Here they are:

BlackList Monitor – RepCheck — I’ve been behind the scenes in a lot of the “famous” internet marketing product “launches”. One common concern is whether or not your site has been blacklisted by the various spam-monitoring services. I recently ran across this “RepCheck” service that not only monitors blacklists for your server IP addresses, but also for your domain name(s).

Instant Messaging Manager – Meebo — Okay, this has been around awhile, but it’s surprising how many people don’t know about it! Not only does Meebo allow you to access the most popular Instant Messaging systems online (no software download necessary!), but it merges the “buddies” from several of your IM services into one list. Definitely a “must-see” for any of you IM junkies out there!

Voice broadcasting – VoiceShot — Record your outgoing message and upload your customer/prospect phone list, click, click and you’re off! It’s amazing how the internet has simplified communications these days! This service includes automated “do not call” list management and way too many features to list here, so go check it out. The cost for US calls is $0.12 per completed call (60 seconds or less). To the UK is $0.15, Australia, $0.16 . . . amazingly powerful service.

Visual Website Visitor Analytics – Crazy Egg — Cool stuff — gives you a “heatmap” of where your visitors are clicking on your site. Also allows you to break the clicks down relevant to other visitor information, such as their referring URL, search terms used, etc. This will definitely give you insight regarding the effectiveness of your web page.

HTML Scrambler — Hey, sometimes you just want to keep the honest people honest. It’s not going to help protect state secrets, but this HTML scrambler can be used for obfuscating email addresses, links, payment form code, etc.

CD/DVD Duplication/Fulfillment – Kunaki — I believe I read something about this outfit awhile back, but just recently checked them out. Nice service — not only can do they duplicate and deliver CDs and DVDs, but if you want they can take the orders for you (using THEIR credit card merchant account) as well.

I also found out about a script called “DVD Automator” that’s designed to dovetail with the Kunaki service — you take orders via PayPal and the customer data is automatically sent to Kunaki for fulfillment. They claim to make the selling/fulfilling of CDs and DVDs as simple as selling downloadable products, and I think they’re onto something . . .

Now I have a request for you — it’s simple . . . just leave a comment here and let me know what kinds of things you’d like to see me write about here. What kinds of solutions are you looking for? What “how to” knowledge would you like me to share here? Thanks!


Adding Urgency With “Credible” Countdown Timers

October 8th, 2007

If you’ve been in the “Internet Marketing” circles for any length of time, you’ve no doubt been exposed to sales pages which include some verbage similar to this:

This discount price only good until Midnight, October 8, 2007!

Or maybe they say something like this:

Because you’re ordering today, October 8, 2007, you also get these bonuses!

If you leave the page and come back the next day, you will see the deadline has magically moved. It’s a simple Javascript trick that’s been used for years to create a “sense of urgency” in the reader. The problem is, it’s an old trick, and most IM-savvy people know the “deadline” is a moving target.

I don’t know about you, but when I see something like that, my first reaction is “Yeah, right!” — and the credibility of the author is immediately put in the “questionable” category in my mind.

However, as I’ve worked behind the scenes for other marketers, I’ve seen the power of a REAL deadline — it’s quite fascinating to watch a slew of orders squeak in just prior to an advertised deadline!

Deadlines have power. In fact, many old-school direct marketers don’t consider an advertisement to be complete unless it includes a deadline, and they include an expiration date on all their “offline” advertising.

The problem with a fixed expiration date on your website, though, is that it’s so easy for your visitor to say, “Oh, I’ve got until Friday — I’ll think about it and come back . . .” — and once they’re gone, there’s a good chance they won’t be back.

So we try to get them to opt in to a list, so we can keep nudging them and reminding them about the deadline that’s looming . . . but we usually only get a minority of our visitors on the list.

So what to do?

How about a much shorter (but still REAL) deadline to force them to make a decision NOW rather than “thinking about it for awhile”? And we will reinforce that deadline with a running countdown.

I’ve actually seen these before, but in some cases all you have to do to restart the countdown is refresh the page. That’s no good. Sometimes the countdown timer will run to 0:00 and the offer remains the same — not good either. The page/offer MUST change when the timer runs out, or we lose all credibility with the reader.

You can see a simple example of this here (opens in new window):

Sample Countdown Timer

If you load that page and wait two minutes, the page will redirect to another site. In your case, you’d set the redirect URL to another page on your site with a modified offer (higher price, fewer bonuses, etc.)

If someone reloads the page, the countdown timer doesn’t start over — it maintains its “state” and continues to count down. The countdown “cookie” is maintained for a year, so if the visitor comes back anytime after the 2-minute deadline, they will be immediately redirected to the 2nd offer.

Now sure, if someone wants to reset their cookies, the timer will start back at the beginning. But let’s face it, anyone who’s really determined to cheat the system can open up a different browser or go to a friend’s computer and visit your site from there — so it’s not worth our time to try and create a cheat-proof system.

(If you really want to make it cheat-proof, you’ll have to go back to using a specific date as your deadline and change the offer when that deadline is reached.)

To use this script on your own page, just open up the source code on the example page (do it before the 2 minutes timer expires!) and follow these three steps:

1. Copy the Javascript from the HEAD section of the page into the head section of your page.

2. Just before the closing body (“</body>”) tag, add this Javascript:

<script type=”text/javascript”>

(Make sure the “WindowLoad();” command is on a line by itself . . .)

3. Where you want the countdown timer to appear, insert this line:

<span id=”CountDownPanel” style=”color:red; font-size:20.0pt; font-weight:bold”></span>

(You can of course change the style attributes . . .)

Obviously the 2 minute timer used in this example is too short — you’ll want to change the “seconds” variable to some higher value (right now it’s set to 120 seconds — 1800 seconds would be 30 minutes . . .)

And you’ll also need to change the “redirect_url” to your “2nd offer” URL

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty (or hiring someone else to), you can do all kinds of fun things when the timer runs out. For instance, instead of having the whole page redirect to a different page, you could dynamically change the content on your page (see my previous article, “Dynamically Personalized HTML“). The change(s) could include the prices, bonus section, order links, etc.

Or you could get really fancy and have a pop-over window that says something like “Sorry, you missed the deadline; the price is now $X.XX and bonus #1 is no longer available. The price will go up to $Y.YY in 20 minutes. ” and start the timer again . . . that would REALLY add credibility to your deadline, in my opinion.

Questions? Comments? Let me know what you think!


More Stealth Links Fun — Questions Answered

September 10th, 2007

After my last post some people observed that if the opt-in form were submitted with incomplete or invalid information, the “thank you” message would still be displayed, and the only way to get the form back would be to reload the page.

Good observations. :-)

Now, comprehensive “form checking” Javascript code is beyond the scope of this blog, but I did create a simple example of how it could be done on the form I showed you last week.

To see the new version, click here to open the page in a new window. Then open up the source code and follow along as I explain the changes I have made

First, not the opening FORM tag — it now includes “name” and “id” attributes, both set to “aform”. There’s nothing special about “aform”, any value would work, such as “theform”, “coolform”, “irock” or even “whatever”. But you’ll see where we reference the form name in a minute.

Now, look at the end of the page (source code), just before the closing BODY tag. You’ll see this little line of Javascript code:

formcode = document.getElementById(‘formdiv’).innerHTML;

With this code, I’m just saving the “original” HTML code in the formcode DIV, so I can restore it after it’s been changed by the rmform() (“remove form”) function.

The rmform() function has changed slightly — the HTML code that I assign to the formdiv DIV’s innerHTML now includes this code:

<font size=-1><center>(<A href=”javascript:void” onClick=”document.getElementById(\’formdiv\’).innerHTML = formcode;”>Resubmit Form</a>)</center></font>

So if someone does get a bad value through, and they realize that and want to change it (resubmit the form with a good value), then they just have to click on the “Resubmit Form” link to bring back the original form HTML code.

Now, to minimize the likelihood of a bad value getting through, I added some form field input checking to the “wait” routine. Originally, these were the only two lines there:


But if you look at the source code, you’ll see there’s a bit more to it now . . .

And lastly, I changed the form “onSubmit” attribute from this:


to this:

onSubmit=”return wait(3000);”

This makes it so the form is only submitted to Aweber IF the “wait” function returns a “true” value. Which won’t happen unless the name and email fields pass the input checking I added.

So there you are . . . if someone submits obviously bad data (blank fields or invalid email format), they will get an error message from their browser. If they submit what looks like legitimate information, but get an error from the Aweber service, the form fields MAY still be replaced with the thankyou message, but they can click on the link to get the form back.



P.S. Yanik has a couple more content videos on that site now — check them out here:

5 Hooks Videos

More “stealth” form fun . . .

September 4th, 2007

Wow, almost a month since my last post. That’s partly because I’ve been out of town visiting family for the last 3 weeks. But it’s also because I am not going to post something here just for the sake of posting something here! I want my posts to be worth your time to read them.

Now let’s get to it . . .

Back in June I published a little post titled “Tiny Scripts for “Stealth” Form Submissions“. Then last month I talked about dynamically personalized HTML — which talked about making your web page change according to some user input such as a radio button selection.

Today I’m going to show you how I combined those two ideas for a client . . .

The thing about web forms is they usually take you to a new page when you submit them. But using the “nonewpage.php” file discussed in the “Tiny Scripts . . .” post, we can prevent that from happening.

But we still want people to know their submission was successful. One way of doing this (as shown previously) is to set the “onClick” attribute on the submit button so a little Javascript “alert” pops up when the form is submitted.

This works okay, but the alert box doesn’t allow for any formatting, and it’s kind of intrusive. Plus, it comes with an audio alert, which can be somewhat irritating in my opinion. So what’s one to do? We just use the same principles outlined in the “Dynamically Personalized HTML” post and “replace” the input form with a nice HTML thank you message!

The client I did this for was Yanik Silver, and I don’t think he’ll mind my linking to the page in question. Here it is:

InfoPlayers WorkshopVideo

Once the page has loaded for you, take a look at the source code for the form — notice the <div id=”formdiv”>and </div> tags that surround the input fields. These mark the HTML code that will be changed when someone clicks on the submit button.

Now look at the opening FORM tag — you’ll notice it has an attribute, onSubmit=”wait(3000);” — this refers to the Javascript “wait” function that’s in the HEAD section of this page. The “wait” function just waits for 3 seconds (that’s what the 3000 is for — it means 3000 milliseconds, which is 3 seconds). Then after 3 seconds, it executes the “rmform” function. I’ve copied both of these functions here:

function rmform()
document.getElementById(‘formdiv’).innerHTML = ‘<center>Thank You!</center>’;

function wait(delay)

I actually shortened the HTML message being displayed by rmform() for brevity, but if you look at the source code can see the whole thing.

Why not call rmform directly instead of calling on “wait” to wait 3 seconds first? Well, that’s what I did at first, but it appears that the input field information is lost when you replace the input fields with something else — so I have to give the browser time to submit the data to the target script before replacing the form contents with other HTML code.

One last critical thing — notice how I set the hidden “redirect” form field to point to a “nonewpage.php” page — this is so the browser window won’t redirect to another page when the form is submitted (again, this was discussed in June’s post).

So now you have everything you need to keep people on your sales page after they opt in to your newsletter (or to get your free report, or whatever). And you can give them feedback letting them know their submission was successful, without using an annoying Javascript alert.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty slick . . .



P.S. Tell me what you think!

P.P.S. Also, you ought to check out Yanik’s page I’ve linked to above. I’ve seen this course, and it IS impressive.

Dynamically Personalized HTML

August 9th, 2007

Lately I’ve been playing around with what I refer to as dynamically personalized content.

Basically this means the visitor enters some piece of information and one or more things on the page changes as a result. For instance, they select from 3 radio buttons describing their current employment situation, and the text of the page changes according to that selection.

The idea is almost as old as the original Mosaic web brower, BUT in this case I’m talking about having it all done by Javascript and not using any server-side computing power or CGI processes.

I have created a simple utility to illustrate how easy it can be to have your sales letter change depending on a user selection (specifically, a radio button selection).

Click here to create your own dynamically personlized sales copy

Now, this utility will allow you to do dynamic personalization in the simplest way — you can expand on this idea to the nth degree. For instance, check out this “Affiliate Tools” page I did for the ClickBank version of “The Internet Marketer’s Little Black Book”:

Affiliate Tools Page

Observe the little box with the “Generate Link” button next to it. When someone enters their ClickBank nickname (affiliate ID) in the box and clicks the button, all the hop links on the page change so that they include the affiliate ID.

Some of the instructional text also changes (no more need to tell people to “replace xxxxx with their Clickbank ID”) . . .

A year or two ago there was somebody selling some software that allowed you to have dynamically personalized salesletters — I’m pretty sure this is the way they were accomplishing that.

It’s a powerful concept because it allows you to customize your sales copy (to some degree) to the individual needs of each of your visitors.

Try out the tool and let me know what you think!


SpeedPPC Overview . . .

July 27th, 2007

If you’re on the same email lists I am, then you’ve probably received a lot of emails about the “Speed PPC System” . . .

I haven’t said anything before now because I wanted to try it out for myself first. I am NOT a PPC (pay per click advertising) authority by any means, but I have “dabbled” in it for awhile. So I think I was a pretty good test subject . . .

I downloaded the software tonight, viewed the instructional videos, and tried it for myself . . .

The “short of it” is that I was able to create 50 ad groups containing 8700 keyword phrases, and 300 keyword-loaded text ads in about 30 minutes (hey, I know the site claims to do a lot more in just 12 minutes, but I’m still getting familiar with this software!)

But that’s just the beginning of what this software will do . . .

I recorded a short “Overview” video you can watch to get my take on the whole thing . . . just click here to view . . .



P.S. Or just read about it by clicking here . . .

Advertising Meanderings

July 24th, 2007

Hmmm, “meanderings” — an interesting word. While I intended it to refer to my own meandering, I suppose it could also be interpreted as “those who meander”, just like “earthlings” are those who are from the earth.

Anyway . . . I’ve always liked that word. ;)

Last week I told you about a new AdWords tool, “SiteSniper Pro” — as you may recall, I had only about a 0.2% clickthrough rate on those ads, and I assumed it was because of the poor quality of my image ads.

However, after going back to my AdWords account, I found that almost 100% of my ad impressions were text ads — and 95% were from the home page of the same site. AND when I looked at that site, I discovered that the text ad was clear down at the bottom of the page. So very few even saw it.

So I consider myself just plain lucky for getting that first $297 sale. But I’ll take it. :)

Squidoo Offers

Earlier this month, I also purchased a 4-week “Squid Offer” as a test. The idea is that you have your “offer” in a given category, and people “vote up” the ads. If my ad is one of the top 5 ads, then it appears on ALL Squidoo lenses that display Squid Offers for that category.

It’s an interesting concept, and I figured I’d just give it a go to see what happened . . .

Mine was in the “Computers, Gadgets & Tech” category . . . I was offering software resale rights (the “Pregnancy Sale“, I believe I’ve referred to previously), and I figured this category might be viewed by people who put together websites. This product would be a natural for professional webmasters, in my opinion.

Well, my month is almost up. I checked today and my ad IS in the top 5 (with only 10 points!). BUT, so far this month I’ve received a whopping 43 visitors from the ad (at a cost of $100).

Now here’s the problem . . . I have no way of knowing the reasons behind this low visitor count. It could be any of the following:

  1. It’s a poorly targeted ad — put in the wrong category
  2. The ad itself is poor
  3. The ad is getting very little exposure

I have no idea what kind of exposure the ad is getting, because Squidoo doesn’t offer much of anything in the way of ad stats . . .

So keep this in mind . . . you may want to try Squid Offers yourself, but when you’re done all you’ll be able to give is a “pass/fail” grade based on your visitor and/or sales counts — there’s no way of determining impression or clickthrough stats. Still, for only $100, it may be worth testing with your own offer.

BTW, Squidoo is okay with you promoting your Squid offers and soliciting people to “vote” for your ads. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see some “Squid Offer Clubs” popping up, where you would get everyone in the “club” to “vote up” your Squid offer. If I had more time, I’d form one myself!

As long as we’re on the topic of advertising . . .

ClickBank Marketplace Ads

I just found out that ClickBank is going to be adding more paid advertising to their site, starting August 1.

If you have a product you sell via Clickbank, this could be a golden opportunity for you. There are only 8 ad spots available for each of the 9 Clickbank marketplace categories, and the current pricelist shows they’ll sell for $300-$700/month . . . go to the ClickBank “Advertise” page for details (you’ll have to send an email to the address listed on that page).

Have a great week!


Neat Text Button Trick, Cool New Tool For AdWords . . .

July 5th, 2007

Just a couple of items real quick . . .

There may be times when you want a submit button to NOT look like a submit button, but rather look like the blue underlined link text everyone is programmed to click on. Here’s an example (this is actually a submit button):

All you have to do is use a bit of CSS code on the submit button, like so:

<input type=”submit” name=”submit”
style=’font-size:12.0pt; border:0; background:white; color:blue; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;’ value=”Click Here To Order Now!”>

(Note: You can copy/paste the above code, but will need to make sure the quotes are the right characters — Wordpress is converting the double- and single-quote marks to some other character set…)

This CSS code (the “style” settings) does the following:

  1. Makes the button background white
  2. Gets rid of the border button border
  3. Makes the button text blue and underlined (like a link)
  4. Makes it so the cursor changes to a “hand” as you would expect to happen when you put your cursor over a link

That’s it — pretty simple, but it can be very nice to have when you need it.

I recently recommended the “Adword180” book. The really interesting part of that publication was its treatment of site-targeted Adwords ads. The problem with site targeting is that it takes a long time to build up a good list of URLS to target — there’s just a lot of manual research required.

Well, no more — enter “Site Sniper Pro“. I wish I had an affiliate link for this puppy, but no matter.

Basically this tool does all the hard work for you, and identifies all the pages that come up in the search engines “natural search results” (and are relevant to your keywords) that have adwords ads on them.

I used it to target several “resale-rights” web pages to promote my “Software Resale Rights” package — it took me about an hour to get everything setup in Google Adwords. After two days I’ve had about 11,000 impressions and 20 clickthroughs.

Doesn’t seem that great, I know. The clickthrough conversion is about 0.2% — I attribute this to my AWFUL image ads — they’re basically just text banners. Very plain. No creativity or imagination whatsoever. Ugly. My bad.

BUT, I’ve only spent about $22 (average CPM of about $2, average cost per click of just over $1.00) and have already had a $297 sale. I know it’s not statistically valid, but it’s definitely a good start.

I’m going to work on my image ads (actually, I’ll pay someone else to — I don’t DO graphics!) and we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out SiteSniper and if you didn’t check out Adwords180 before, get that too — I DO get an affiliate commission on that one :-)


Amazing Response to Last Week’s Party Post!

June 26th, 2007

All I can say is “Wow!” and “Thank you!”

When I added the “Why I am NOT Attending RJ’s Party” post last week, I knew it would be controversial, and I wondered what backlash I might experience.

Usually I get from 3-5 “comments” on a post within a week of posting it. I published that post Saturday morning, and by lunchtime you (my readers) had left 119 comments! That’s amazing! As I write this post, there are 192 comments . . . it was obvious I touched a nerve with this one.

The VAST majority of you were supportive and shared my dim view of pornography and its damaging effects. Some of you argued that pornography wasn’t a bad thing, but still agreed that people who disagree with pornography shouldn’t be promoting this particular event. And a few of you told me (basically) I was completely wrong on this one.

I thank you ALL for leaving your opinions here. For those of you who disagreed, I respect your opinion and especially your courage for posting here in full knowledge that the majority of comments were not in agreement with your own. Bravo! :-)

Some of you lamented the fact that I had identified myself as a “conservative Christian”. Please understand I only shared this information so people would know where I was coming from personally. I do not for one second believe that “morality” and “family values” are limited to Christianity. In fact, I believe most religions share this common thread.

Also, it was not my intention to call into question the integrity of the people promoting this event. Most of them I don’t know personally. Perhaps they don’t share my sentiments about the evils of pornography. Or they sincerely believe the Playboy Mansion is just a fancy “venue”, no longer associated with the other Playboy enterprises. Or maybe they just didn’t think it through.

One person I DO know personally is Yanik Silver. I’ve worked with him for years. We’ve exchanged gifts when our children were born. I consider him a friend.

He is a man of high integrity. He cares for his customers and one of his primary concerns whenever he does a promotion is that his affiliates get credit for whatever sales they generate.

He and I come from different backgrounds and obviously think differently on the issue of what the Playboy Mansion represents, but that doesn’t change my high regard for him and the integrity he’s displayed in all the years I’ve known him.

I thought it was “important” to take a stand on this and publish my thoughts. I think it’s good to “step back” and talk about the really important things in life sometimes.

But this blog is supposed to be about “business tools”, so that’s what I’m going to get back to in my next post.

If any of you wanted a personal reply to your comment (there’s just not enough time to answer every one), then please copy it to me in an email (just click on the “contact me” link on the right side of this page) and I’ll be happy to reply.

See you next time!


Why I am NOT Attending RJ’s Party at the Playboy Mansion

June 23rd, 2007

I’ve thought a lot about whether or not to post this — I know posting it will most likely result in some lost business. I expect some people will say I’m being “self-righteous” or trying to force my morality on others. This is not my intent.

But sometimes I think it’s important to take a stand and let the chips fall where they may.

I’ve received many emails over the past few days about the “Rich Jerk” and his upcoming “Internet Marketers Party” at the Playboy Mansion. It’s being promoted as the hottest networking opportunity ever — and that’s probably not far from the truth.

I was in fact personally invited to this party by Ryan (RJ’s front man), as their guest (no cost) — this was right after the Affiliate X-Ray launch (which I helped with) –  before most people even knew about the event.

But I respectfully declined. I wouldn’t even go if they paid me, BECAUSE it’s at the Playboy Mansion.

From a purely business standpoint, it’s a great example of marketing the “event” — something Dan Kennedy harps on continually. I’m sure in terms of dollars and prestige, this will be a very successful event for RJ and many others.

But I don’t think you can go to that event without, in some part, putting your stamp of approval on all that “Playboy” stands for — and as a conservative Christian who considers pornography to be one of the plagues of modern society, I could never entertain the idea of setting one foot inside that place.

Frankly, I’m surprised at how easily self-professed “family men” are justifying their attendance. They say they’re going there strictly for the business networking, and I believe them. But I wonder if they’ve really thought this through from any angle besides business.

My friends, you can’t go to the “Playboy Mansion” without associating yourself with “Playboy” and ALL that it stands for — going to the Playboy Mansion is the same as placing an advertisement in Playboy Magazine. You can’t play in the mud without getting dirty.

Think about it . . .

Now obviously some people don’t have the same views on pornography as I do, and for you there’s no conflict of interest. But if you think like I do that pornography is wrong, that it’s harmful to society, that it increases sexual abuse and violence against women, that it breaks up marriages and causes irreparable harm to families, then how can you go to this thing?

I invite your comments — I will print all of them (as long as there’s no personal attacks or profanity)  whether you agree or disagree. Let’s talk about it! :-)


Tiny Scripts for “Stealth” Form Submissions

June 20th, 2007

I was actually going to make this part of the last post, but decided it deserved it’s own title . . .

By virtue of the TAFPro and Synergyx software I sell, I do a lot of custom web form code.

Here’s a couple of tricks that have really come in handy lately . . . these aren’t “new”, but are still generally unknown.

Usually when someone clicks the “Submit” button on a web form, their browser loads a new page. But there are times when it’s advantageous to keep them on the same page.

For instance, when someone purchases my resale rights package at (and YES, that page is all true, not just some made-up story), they are taken to a download page. On that page I ask them to sign up for my “Updates” list so I can let them know when new software is released.

But I don’t want them to be taken from the download page just to see a “Thank you, you’ve subscribed” message. So what I do is set the “redirect” URL (this is a hidden field in the web form used by Aweber) to a tiny little PHP script on my server called “nonewpage.php”

This is the contents of that script, in its entirety:

header(“HTTP/1.1 204 No Response”);

This script simply tells the browser, “Nothing to see here — don’t load a new page, stay where you are.”

So all you have to do is copy/paste the above code into your text editor and upload it to your webserver as “nonewpage.php”. Then in your web form, set the redirect URL (most form processing scripts allow you to define where the person goes after they submit the form) to the full URL for that file (e.g. “”).

Now, if you use this, you will WANT to provide feedback to your users when they click the submit button — because if they don’t see the page change, they’ll think that nothing happened. So add an “onClick” attribute to let them know their input was sent . . . something like this:

<input type=”submit” value=”Submit” onClick=”alert(‘Thank you! Your feedback is being sent now. \nPlease continue reading (no new page will display’);”>

The “\n” in the message is optional and will simply put the 2nd sentence on a new line.

Now, here’s another trick that has been very useful . . .

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you would like to have a form submit WITHOUT the user clicking on anything.

For example, imagine that your shopping cart displays an interim “confirmation” page requiring people to click the “Continue” button before their credit card is actually charged — and you’ve determined this extra required “click” from the customer is costing you sales (which is very likely BTW).

So you opt to skip the confirmation page and have a “one click” order process instead. Assuming you control the HTML code on the confirmation page, this would be simple to accomplish. Just make all of the form fields on the confirmation page “hidden” and add this bit of javascript directly beneath the closing form tag (“</form”>) :

<script type=”text/javascript”>

This example assumes the “name” given to the form is “orderform” — if it’s something else, then use that name in the example above instead.

Or if you don’t have that level of control over the page (you can’t change the form name), you can do it this way:

<script type=”text/javascript”>

This assumes that it’s the 1st form on your page. If you have multiple forms on the page, and the form you want to “auto-submit” isn’t the first form, then you’ll need to change the [0] to [1] or [2], etc. (0 for the first form, 1 for the 2nd form, etc.).

Now, in MOST cases (not all) you’ll want to include a visible submit button even if you do use the auto-submit code, as some people may have javascript disabled in their browsers. You could just have it say something like, “If this page doesn’t refresh in 5 seconds, please click this button to continue . . .”

Now, think about the combination of the two above scripts . . .

If you had the desired data already, you could post that data to a page without the visitor doing anything.

For instance, you could send out an email to your list and link to a page on your site. The link would include the person’s name and email address, like this

That page would include PHP code to grab the “e=” and “n=” parameters, and stuff them into hidden form fields on the page. Then your auto-submit Javascript code would submit that data to your autoresponder service or software. And the “nonewpage.php” script would prevent that form post from loading a new page — making the whole process a “stealth” operation.

This would basically allow you to “segment” your general list into several special-interest lists with a single click from each subscriber.

Now, whether this is ethical or not depends on what you tell people in the email before they click the link — and I would definitely encourage full disclosure. But I’m just using this as an example of what you can do with these simple little scripts.

Love it or hate it — let me know what you think!


P.S. If you’re a TAFPro user, this “nonewpage” capability is built-in. It’s an undocumented feature. Just add a hidden form field to your TAFPro form with a name of “nonewpage” and set its value to “1″.

Two “Up and Coming” Tools

June 20th, 2007

Okay, here’s the deal . . .

I wanted to wait until these tools actually “launched, but the developers are taking their own sweet time and I’ve run out of patience (what little I have).

Check this out:

Once you get to the page, move your mouse pointer to the middle of the page or so, then move it up to the top of the window as if you were about to click “Back” or “Next” (or “Home”) on your browser. You’ll see one of the “effects” these guys have come up with to stop people in their tracks when they’re getting ready to exit your page.

Very cool, says I.

Now check out this one:

Click on the “Play” or “Replay” button and the nice actress will tell you all about it. (I think you should visit this site to see a good example of using a spokesmodel, if nothing else…)

I can’t tell you how much of my life I’ve wasted trying to find a website I ran across previously — THIS tool would surely have come in handy!

And it’s free, which is also cool, naturally. ;-)

Let me know what you think!


Aweber List Data Extraction

June 1st, 2007

A few months ago Aweber (the autoresponder service I recommend to all my clients) came out with a new backup function — allowing you to download a backup of all your lists in one fell swoop.

For any of us who had been laboriously exporting our data one list at a time, this was real cause for celebration! I have one client with, I swear, over 100 lists at Aweber, and downloading the data from all of them was tedious, mind-numbing work. After the first time, I refused to do it anymore.

Anyway, I digress.

The only fly in the ointment is the way the data is exported. You get a zip file, and this zip file contains a folder for each list. That folder contains three MORE folders, “broadcasts”, “followups”, and “leads”. Inside the “leads” folder there are two files, “active_leads.csv” and “inactive_leads.csv”.

So if you want to have all the leads in a single file, you need some way of extracting data from this hierarchical file structure. Doing it manually can be very time consuming, especially if you have more than a half-dozen lists.

Remember that client I was talking about with over 100 lists? Scary!

But fear not, a simple solution I have for you! :-)

Just click here to download my “Aweber Data Extraction” software tool — you should probably “right-click” and “Save Target As” (or “Save Link As”) to save the .exe file to your hard drive.

Now, let’s say you downloaded the export file from Aweber. When you unzip it, you’ll have a folder with a name similar to “yourlogin_2007_06_01 ”

It’s important that the .exe file be placed in this main Aweber data folder, on the same level with all of the folders which consist of your list names. Drop the “extract_aweber_leads.exe” inside that folder and click (or double click) that file to execute the program.

This program will then extract all of the data from all of your lists, and will create three new files, “active_leads.csv”, “inactive_leads.csv”, and “all_aweber_data.csv”(which contains both active and inactive leads).

If you choose the option of only extracting the email addresses, then the software will remove duplicates — so you won’t have more than one instance of the same email address, even if that lead has subscribed to several of your lists.

Enjoy! :-)



P.S. If you download and use this utility, please let me know how it works for you!

Data Backup Solutions

May 1st, 2007

I know, I know — what a mundane subject! But if this little post prods you into action, you may thank me later.

We’ve all heard horror stories about people who have “lost everything” in a computer crash and for whatever reason did NOT have a good backup of their most important files.

And backing up the data on your web server is equally important (sometimes MORE important) than the files on your office machine.

So, how safe is YOUR web server data? Do you have a backup process in place?

You may be surprised to hear that many hosting companies don’t backup the data on their DEDICATED servers — they leave that to their clients. If you’re on a shared hosting account, or if you have a dedicated server and know the data is being backed up regularly, you may be feeling pretty good right now.

But unless that data is backed up”offsite” (to another system in a different geographic location), don’t get too smug . . . you could still lose everything.

To start with, make sure everything you have on your server is also on your local machine. One of the resources in my “Little Black Book” was the CP SiteSaver software. If your web server uses the Cpanel administrative control panel, you can use CP SiteSaver to backup all your account files — including MySQL databases — to your local hard drive.

I bought it myself the other day (I realized I hadn’t put a backup plan into action for my new dedicated server yet — yikes!) and I have to say it’s pretty nifty. It was $27 and that’s way underpriced in my opinion — you just can’t put a price on the peace of mind it brings.

Call me paranoid, but I also like to have a 2nd backup in a different geographic location — so I decided to also use an online backup service (which allows me to backup data from my local machine to one located elsewhere).

Again I turned to my “Little Black Book” and reviewed the online backup services there . . . I really liked the “Altexa” service, and I stumbled upon a way to get it at half price!

I was actually looking at the Amazon “Simple Storage Service” (S3) web service as part of a programming spec. I clicked on the link to the Altexa “customer spotlight” and at the bottom of the resulting page, there was a link to Altexa. Apparently Altexa is looking at the referring URL because at the top of the page it says:

Special Offer for visitors from Amazon! 10GB space, for $60 per year instead of $120! 50% off!
This special offer is available on the “subscribe” page, only for visitors coming from

Now, a typical user will get 50% compression on the files they backup, so we’re talking 20GB of storage for 5 bucks a month — I don’t think you can beat that anywhere.

Well, I take that back — right now you can get a 120GB web hosting account at 1&1 for $3.74/month. But with Altexa you also get the backup software that automates the compression and online backup of all your selected files. Everyone has their own preferences, but for someone like me with no time (more like none of the required discipline) to manually do backups, Altexa seems like a good solution.

Take it from me, having your data backed up in multiple locations will help you sleep better at night — so click on the links above and get going before something bad (nay, “unthinkable”!) happens!


“Track Everything” Isn’t Just For Advertising

April 6th, 2007

I recently had a client who had a very big product launch. In fact, it was so big that the servers couldn’t keep up!

Consequently, there were many people who “signed up” for his service but never received the “activation” email. And inside the activation email was a link that activated the customer’s account.

Fortunately, my client’s software logged the email address for every “signup” AND for every “confirmation”. So all he had to do was extract the emails from the “signup” list that were NOT in the “activated” list, and re-send the activation link to those people.

This is a perfect illustration of the necessity of logging data for every stage of your process. Any time someone fills out a form or takes an action of any kind, you should be keeping a record of it.

If you have a privacy policy, make sure its verbage takes this into account.

Speaking of Privacy Policies, it’s sometimes interesting to see what a merchant’s machine readable “compact” privacy policy is saying. I created a little tool that translates the machine-readable code to human-readable format — you can plug in your website of interest and see what they’re policy is. Just click the link below to open this tool in a new window:

Analyze A Site’s “Compact” Privacy Policy

Now do me a favor — let me know what questions you may have about internet marketing technology in general — just leave a comment or click on the contact form link on the right side of this page.



Super-Tuesday — A Bevy of Internet Marketing Tools

March 20th, 2007

It seems I picked an extremely busy day for my first blog post . . .

I’ve seen countless emails promoting “The Rich Jerk” and his “X-Ray” product a few for ViralShock, several for “My Viral Spiral” . . . and it seems Marlon Sanders is pitching a new “coaching” program for his “Affiliate Dashboard“.

Oh, and for you jaded internet marketers out there, none of these are affiliate links (just so you know)!

There have been a few emails about other products as well . . .

It’s obvious the Internet Marketing crowd listened when somebody (was it Jeff Walker? OR someone before him) said Tuesday was the best day of the week to launch.

But it’s been awhile now and I wonder if that’s still true? There are so many hyped-up promotional emails coming in on Tuesday’s now — the signal-to-noise ratio is definitely trending downward.

I’m not a marketing “guru”, I’m just thinking out loud. But it seems to me like a good time to test that “Tuesday mailing” rule of thumb . . .

Speaking of testing . . . I did an interesting split test of an email headline when I first told my list about my “Internet Marketer’s Little Black Book“. I wasn’t measuring the “open” rate, but did measure the ‘clickthrough’ rate, with these results:

Here’s Your Little Black Book . . . 33.8% clickthrough

[Biztools Brief] Here’s Your Little Black Book . . . 28.8% clickthrough

[BizTools Brief] 1001 Insider Resources For The Serious Internet Marketer . . . 26.2% clickthrough

1001 Insider Resources For The Serious Internet Marketer . . . 22.9% clickthrough

I think the first headline did the best because of the curiosity factory. Any copywriting experts care to comment?

Now this blog is supposed to be about online tools, so let me point you to one just about everyone can use:

Eric Graham (The “Conversion Doctor“) recently showed how he was able to increase his response rate by almost 50% just by changing the look of his submit button!

I put together a simple “button creator” on my “utilities” page which you are free to use . . . I took what Eric did and added some enhancements like the ability to specify text color and bold text.

It also allows you to have multi-line-text buttons . . . I’ve tested with MSIE 7 and Firefox 2 and everything seems to work . . . enjoy! :-)