Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Respect, Editorial & Worms

"The other day I got out my can opener and was opening a can of worms when I thought, 'What am I doing?!'" ~ Jack Handey, American Humorist
So you signed up for my e-letter and now you don’t want it?

No worries - I take no offense. Go ahead... unsubscribe? Use that link on the bottom of every email. Wait... wait... why do you have to click the "this is spam" button?

Have you had this conversation before? Perhaps yelling at your monitor?

I have... way too often.

It’s frustrating for marketers. We use best practices and then we are perceived as spammers. Not to mention the negative impact that a high complaint rate has on your reputation and deliverability. Remember… ISPs mainly base their decision to block your email on subscriber complaints from those "this is spam" clickers.


How do you get them to click unsubscribe vs. “this is spam”?

It goes back to relationship building... Trust.

A email that is interesting and relevant to the subscriber will be read. If you invite a new subscriber into your community with the use of valuable content you'll be respected. In other words, if the reader respects your practices they will give that respect back to you when they want to end the relationship.

Some subs will never join your community regardless of what you send them... be it relevant and valuable content, they still leave... and yet they'll play by the rules and use the unsubscribe link more times than not.

However, if you disrespect the readers by not using best practices, by sending irrelevant content, or by over mailing to the list they will give it right back to you by hitting the spam button. AND do it with glee.

Bottom line is... they really want to use the unsubscribe button more than they use the spam button. Just don’t piss them off.

Where is that line?

I can’t say... every list is different. It’s a trial and error, case-by-case determination.

I’ll tell you this… the threshold is low if your e-letter has little or no value. Perception is reality… (Read more about spam perception in the CVoD issue Spikes, But Sorry, No Mulligans) and your subs will define "spam" as anything they don't find interesting. That includes permission email from companies they pay to receive email from.

Don’t be too egotistical to believe otherwise.

Conversely, if your e-letter is benefit oriented, and relevant to them you can probably get away with sending twice as many emails before causing a spam complaint.

But that should not be your goal. We don’t want to “get away with” anything. We want to build a community of like minded subscribers. And your emails need to be received and looked forward to, as a benefit to the subscriber. That's CVoD.

If you run your business to believe that sender reputation is based on subscriber satisfaction levels, then you’ll strive to improve your e-letter at every opportunity and have greater opportunity monetize your names.

So be sure to offer a visible alternate to the spam button. Make your unsubscribe link prominent and easy to find - and be certain that it works! (test it often)

Better yet, keep complaints and unsubscribes down by improving your editorial.

One of the greatest factors subscribers take into account when deciding to open one email over another is prior value. Meaning they’ve already received a relevant email from you. Therefore...

If you write your editorial with the understanding that not only will your copy benefit the reader and make you money, but it will also keep your delivery, open, retention, and click through rates high... AND in turn keep your spam complaints low... why wouldn’t you spend more time on good copy & editorial?

That's a can of worms you DO want to open.


PS - one more from Jack Handey... best known for his Deep Thoughts, a large body of surrealistic one-liners. Many people have the false impression that Jack Handey is not an actual person, but a character created by Saturday Night Live or a pen name used by National Lampoon. I don't care - he's funny as hell.
"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Your Blog Is Locked

“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.” ~ Virginia Woolf, English Writer, (1882-1941)
Your blog is locked.

This was the message I got yesterday. It was Blogger's spam-prevention robots that detected that CVoD has had the characteristics of a spam blog. You believe that crap?

Perhaps it was because I just wrote about black hat techniques? Hmmm.... naw.

What's a spam blog you ask?

A spam blog (or comment spam) is a form of spamdexing. It's automatic posting of random comments and/or promoting commercial services to blogs, wikis, guestbooks, or other publicly accessible online discussion boards. Any web application that accepts and displays hyperlinks submitted by visitors may be a target.

Google's Blogger is a big target due to the ease of creating and updating its pages. In particular Blogger is prone to link spamming. Blogs engaged in this behavior are called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site.

Does this sound like CVoD?

It's comical... but truth be told I may have triggered the robot due to a posting error. Nonetheless, when I was locked out as a suspecting spammer and petitioned to get my access back Google wrote...
"Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

You won't be able to publish posts to your blog until one of our humans reviews it and verifies that it is not a spam blog. Please fill out the form below to get a review. We'll take a look at your blog and unlock it in less than two business days."
Needless to say, we do not approve of spamming here at CVoD.

We understand that it's a tough job to police spam and we can see Google is doing the best it can to prevent it. I was only locked out for a little under two business day - as promised.

So... even if it means I get locked out of my own space for a few days... for the pursuit to end spam, I truly believe, the end does indeed justify the means.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just Say No To Black Hats

"If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” ~ Yoda, a fictional character from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Do you remember those spam emails that used to come around saying that you could buy a CD of one million email names for $99?

All opt in buyers... Yeah, right.

I’ve always told people that if it sounds too good to be true that’s because it is. You can't cut corners in marketing. It’s hard work to build a good list and a high ranking website. No getting around that.

Yet people try. They try everyday. They all fail.

Sure you can fool the engines - for a while - but those short term gains become long term losses.

Take for example "keyword stuffing" ...this is the idea of loading one of your landing pages with keywords in an attempt to manipulate your ranking in Google's search results. The "clowns" who do this use hidden text and links to jump above the competition instead using useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.


I know black hatters who have done this going back years. While some were caught immediately, other profited. Today… I can tell you they are ALL out of business.

Don’t be that marketer.

CVoD is all about creating value. Real content for real people. I have learned over the past 9 years how to successfully work the system… not work against it. The fact is you can’t beat City Hall!

Translation: You can’t fool Mother Google!

If someone in your office wants to do black hat tricks like hidden text or links... kick him in the arse and send him on his way. I’m serious.

Don’t enter the dark side of web marketing… don’t put on the black hat.

To better educate you as to what NOT TO DO let's talk about some of the black hat techniques… you just have to promise me never to do them… promise?

Good… I am going to limit this discussion to hiding text and/or links.

First off, hiding text or links in your content will 100% cause your site to be perceived as untrustworthy. Why?

Because it presents information to search engines differently than to visitors, and that’s a Google no-no. Where’s the value? What have you created for the visitor?

Zip, Nada... ‘Nuttin honey. It’s pure manipulation and it doesn’t help answer a query.

What do I mean by hidden text and links?

You can load a page with multiple keywords by creatively hiding them on a landing page. This can be accomplished a couple different ways... using white text on a white background, putting text behind an image, using CSS to hide text, and/or setting the font size to 0.

You can hide links by putting the link in hidden text (the text color and background color are identical), using CSS to make tiny hyperlinks, as little as one pixel high, and/or putting a link in a small character, (a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph.)

Clever, eh?

Yeah, like watching a car crash.

The marketer that does this, is the marketer that get his site removed from the Google index. If that is your goal – then go for it.

For me… I am here to create value.

Let me repeat this again... if Google perceives that your site contains hidden text and/or links your site will be removed from the index, and will not appear in search results pages. It’s plain and simple.

There is no gray area here – just black and white. If your site has links and/or text that a visitor can’t see or is there solely for search engines – then you’re going to be banned by Google.

If you have this on your site now fix it. Remove any hidden text and/or links ASAP or, make them easily viewable.

Oh... AND if you get banned from Google... you can submit your site for reconsideration... but come on... do you really want to have to do that?

Is a quick high ranking worth losing your business?

Absolutely not... it's about creating value or die - not cheap tricks and dying.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Seek & You Shall Sell

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." ~ Mark Twain, American humorist & writer, (1835–1910)
Did you know that the search function on your website is a very important tool for both your readers and your marketing.

Oh yeah... searching on a content rich site for just that one article is beyond valuable. It's obligatory.

Nothing is more troubling for potential clients than to find a good site with a poor search tool. After all... if you can't provide good service for the free material you'll never convince them to upgrade for the paid material. Remember, you're not just building a business, you're building a community.

But this happens all the time... a business spends big bucks on creating and promoting their website but they forget the costumer experience. They forget the importance of the search function.

I can't explain it.

Nonetheless, if you have a good search function not only will you have happy visitors, but you'll gain insight into the behavior, wants and needs of your visitors.

In other words, you'll make more money!

Think about it... if you can see what people are searching for on your site then you can learn what they find relevant, what they want, and what they need.

A good search function tool will give you all this data for review. You'll get a list of searched for words, a.k.a. keywords... keywords that you should own... keywords your paid campaigns should go after.

These words may be familiar, but you may also be surprised. You may find a niche within your niche that you did not know existed. That's of tremendous value to your business.

Site search technology is not rare, in fact it's quite common and easy to find. Yet, often the search function associated with most CMS systems is... crap.

So what to do?

Don't settle for poor functionality; go get the best search technology you can find. I've used several different companies in the past few years, but there is something new afoot...

Last week Google released Custom Search Business Edition, a hosted site search solution that provides Google-quality results for your website. You'd think if you're going to find the best search tool, then Google’s would be the gold standard, right?


They claim it's fast, relevant, reliable, and flexible. The pricing starts at $100 per year for searching up to 5,000 pages.

I'm going to test it myself... I'll let you know results. Here's more about the Custom Search Business Edition:


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Study Your Audience

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, English Writer, (1892-1973)
SEO is not voodoo. CVoD is not a cult. Let's just get that out of way...

Seriously now... I've had some conversations recently with some old school business folk and, to them, search engine optimization is some form of magic. It's too foreign to grasp, but they see it as a hot "buzz" word that needs to be invested in.

Funny, eh?

That got me thinking... wouldn't it be great if you had such "magic" powers?

With just one wave of the wand you could have high Google rankings. (Yes, you guessed it... my son and I just saw Harry Potter, so I apologize for the magic reference.)

In reality SEO is more common sense than anything. Consider this scenario...

A new client comes to you and says they want to rank high for a list of 100 keywords. But they only have 12 pages indexed in Google. Yikes. Not very realistic of the business owner, eh?

Kinda hard for the search engines to index and rank a companies pages high for 100s of keywords when they don't have any content, right?

Like I said common sense, or in other words, "Create Value or Die."

Not magic nor rocket science, just simple numbers really. The more relevant words you post the more relevancy the search engines will find in your pages. But I digress...

Today I want to talk about a interesting email study I came across from a Portland e-marketing agency eRoi.

They found a decline in "read rates" as more email clients are adopting the “images off” default setting on email browsers. They found only 4% of users changing their default settings.

In other words, for subscribers that use browsers with a default setting of “Images are not displayed” only 4% of users actually ever change the setting. Subs can normally change it to either “Display images below” or “Always display images from XXX”.

I find this to be extremely low and troubling.

It tells me that if you are sending an email in HTML you need to be on notice that 96% of the subs using those browsers may never see your images. You should concentrate on making sure your message is conveyed even if no one will see any images.

Don’t let a filter kill your message. Consider cutting down on the number of images sent in an email messages, leaving more room for editorial content. I've previously discussed the danger of HTML emails in the CVOD issue Clarity, Not Chaos.

A quick aside re “read rates.” I am not sure how this company is using this phrase. I’ve seen "read rate" used in direct mail as the rate the envelope is opened. So perhaps what they mean is an “open rate.” I find it troublesome that a professional email marketing firm is using the term read rate instead of open, but I'll ignore that for now.

But don’t you be confused. Just because someone “opens” an email does not mean the person has read it. It can be opened and deleted, and/or opened by the preview pain by accident. The open rate metric is full of both false negatives and false positives. Remember, both a text browser and text emails will never register an open. So don't put too much weight into the metric.

Moving on...

The study also found that Monday, Wednesday and Thursday have the highest open rates, while Wednesday and Thursday lead the way in click-through rate.

In prior studies they saw above average open and click rates on the weekend, however, recently weekends are not performing as they are in the past. This could be seasonal as it is normal to see dips in performance.

Lastly, mailings sent and received between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays were found more likely to be read or clicked on, however, mailings sent between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. have the highest overall “read rates” (40% to 45%). Mailings sent during the weekday have a 24% to 30% read rate. (I really think they mean “open rates.”)

Interesting stuff...

But please take these results with a huge grain of salt. I can't say any of the results are statistically valid, nor can I endorse the company doing the test.

But... I love the fact they are doing these studies. You should do a similar study for your list and establish baselines for these same areas.

It makes so much sense. Study your audience, learn their behavior and market to them like... like smart marketers. Use the data collected to learn what you should be doing instead of just doing it.

It's the "ready, fire, aim" theory enhanced. Which means... it's great to get out in the marketplace as soon as you can, not waiting till everything is perfect but making mistakes and learning as you go. But once you are in the market, put away the shotgun, and start making some strategic strikes!

With these studies you’ll improve the performance of your list... and it sounds like fun too.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lucky Bastard Hits 100

"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." ~ Bob Dylan, American Musician & Poet
Congratulations CvoD!

It's our 100th issue.

Life is a funny thing... I never expected to have a blog, to be a writer, nor have people call me a marketing Guru... but here I am. And there is no place I'd rather be.

The CVoD blog has been more work than I'd have ever imagined. But I love it. Why do I do it?

I started this so I would have a place to discuss web marketing for and with colleagues. A place to put up slides from presentations... and follow up on current industry trends. But it's grown well beyond that.

It's become it's own entity, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Bottom line: I do it for me, for you and for baby Ella. One day she'll ask,"What do you do Dad?"

And I'll give her the CVoD URL and say, "...read this."

Trust me, it's easier to forward a CVoD link than to explain this crazy thing we call Internet Marketing in a simple sound bite. My expertise requires too many specifics, too many intangibles, and too many late nights with the laptop.

Like I said, no place I'd rather be.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

FBL: What's Not To Like?

"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after." ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, US Author, and Pioneering Aviatrix, (1906-2001)
If I told you there was something as important to marketers as getting whitelisted, that would improve the communication between you, your subscribers and the ISPs... would you do it?

Of course you would... what's not to like?

If you haven't guessed it, I'm talking about feedback loops, (FBLs).

FBLs not only help with list hygiene and deliverability but are an invaluable communication tool and source of additional data on your subscribers.

It's a very simple concept...

A feedback loop, as the name suggests, is information about the result of an action that is sent back to the original source in the form of input data. Simple right? (SIC)

For email marketing we're talking about a mechanism whereby an ISP will let you know when one of its subscribers reports problems with your email. In other words, spam complaints. List owners finally can get data on spam complaints sent to ISPs.

For example, if an AOL member clicks "this is spam" when it receives your e-letter, you normally would not know about it, nor would you know what individual subscriber wants off the list. Oh sure you'll learn about the number of complaints when AOL blocks you, but you would've never known who the complainers are.

Puts the list owner between and rock and a hard place, eh?

But that's par for the course in today's online world... even if your list is 100% "opt-in", you're still going to get a substantial number of spam complaints.

Remember spam is more about perception than reality. And don't be surprised when you learn from the FBLs that your complaint rates are much higher than your list's unsubscribe rate. I'm talking scary high...

Side Bar: Have you ever wondered why readers don't just unsubscribe?

Subscribers often don't unsubscribe because they either are afraid of a virus or don't what to validate the email with an "open." So in the alternative they just hit the "this is spam" button. Either way, it's the list owner that takes the hit, even though the complainer did indeed sign-up for the e-letter.

BUT if you had a FBL in place you would be notified when a member clicks "this is spam". You would get an AOL email that will contain the complete email and header information which will allow you to unsubscribe that complainer.

How do you get an FBL?

You must register for it just as you would a whitelist. Some ISPs compel that you use their FBL as a requirement for whitelist approval. Reason being that this will assure the ISP that you, the list owner, are aware of complaints against your email and that you are taking steps to correct them.

Sounds good, eh?

It gets better.... smart marketers use the FBL data in differet ways. Here are four way I incorporate FBL data:

First is for list cleaning.

An FBL allows for prompt purging of complaining subscribers from your list. It's urgent that you stop mailing to these names even though you have evidence of permission and they have yet to request to unsubscribe.

You are asking for trouble... no, you are asking to get blocked and/or blacklisted, if you don't make the removal of these names a priority. AND don't mess around with the complainers. Don't try to save them, or do a special mailing to them - you'll just get more complaints. Just get rid of them quick ...it will save you time and money.

The second is to establish a historic complaint rate. Too many marketers dismiss complainants as troublemakers, when if fact there's a wealth of data in who complains and what they complain about.

Create your own base line, (% of complaints per mailing), and stay below your chosen threshold. If you can do that, you'll avoid being disabled from certain whitelists, and be clear of future blocks.

Now that you have a base line of complaints, third, you should establish goals to reduce that number... and how do you do that?

Write better copy.

I've found that most complaints are caused by a failure to meet expectations. In other words, the subscriber either didn't know they were going to get your email, or they didn't recognize it. As such, there may be a problem with the language you are using to sign people up.

Take this as an opportunity to improve the clarity of the sign-up process. Each name you collect must know what to expect from your e-letter... they must know what they will get, when they will get it, and how often.

For more on avoiding the perception of spam to new-to-file names, read the CVoD issue entitled: Spikes, But Sorry, No Mulligans

I promise... if you improve the copy at the time of sign-up your complaint rate will decrease.

And that brings us to name collection. The FBL data acquired will not only help you evaluate your sign-up process but will also help review your name accumulation process. If your complaints are high, the source of your names are no doubt poor. You'll need to re-evaluate where you are getting your names.

That is an issue worthy of a CVoD post of its own... as such, I'll leave it at that.

So... what do you think of FBLs?

Establishing AND applying the data from FBLs will result in more satisfied subscribers, happier ISPs, improved deliverability, and ultimately more revenue.

Like I said, what's not to like?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Join The Club

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member." ~ Groucho Marx, US comedian, (1890-1977)
Hey we just got our Yahoo whitelist approval.

They rejected us the first time but we resubmitted and passed. The reason they rejected us?

It was a mistake. A simple error that would have gone unnoticed had we not reapplied. What am I talking about?

You mean you're not whitelisted with the major ISPs?

Let me start over...

A "whitelist" by dictionary definition is a list of accepted items or persons in a set. An inclusionary list confirming that the item being analyzed is acceptable. It is the opposite of a blacklist which confirms that items are not acceptable.

For email, Internet service providers (ISPs) have whitelists that they use to filter e-mail to be delivered to their customers. If a whitelist is exclusive, only e-mail from those on the whitelist will get through. If it is not exclusive, it prevents e-mail from being deleted or sent to the junk mail folder by the spam filter.

The bottom line is that whitelists assist in blocking unwanted messages and allowing wanted messages, often paid subscription email, to get through.

Can you see how important this can be?

Whitelisting will increase your email revenues by increasing your overall delivery... but ISPs don't make it easy to get in the club.

Think about it... if ISP whitelisting were easy it would lose it's value. (Right Groucho?) If spammers could do it there would be no value to it at all.

The underlining purpose is to set yourself apart from the spamming community. You want to show these ISPs that even though you send millions of emails that you are a legitimate email marketer, AND that your list is clean and that it's permission based.

As such, a lengthy application process is just the beginning. ISPs research your company and your practices. They evaluate your e-letter and how recipients respond to it. And most importantly, how you respond to your subscribers, i.e., complaints, unsubscribes, etc.

If you are clean and follow the best email practices you should get whitelisted. But let's put this in perceptive. A whitelist inclusion does not give you licence to then be a jerk, or a "black hatter."

Don't get over aggressive thinking the whitelist will protect you.

Don't resurrect old "held", "bounced" or "cleaned" names to build your list back up. Such behavior will be seen as spam and either get you blacklisted, or blocked.

AND yes... the whitelisting will be removed without chance of reinstatement.

Let's make sure we understand this... whitelist club membership is NOT permanent.

It's not a "free pass" to Inboxes. Your perferred status can be revoked by the ISP at any time, and for any infraction.... and of course, it's most likely that they won't tell you when you're kicked out of the club.

So how do you get approved?

You need a good reputation and you must follow all current best email practices. The ISPs look at such things as:
  • Recipient feedback... (spam complaints) and how many do your campaigns generate?
  • Traffic patterns... do you follow a regular mailing schedule or do you batch & blast?
  • Domain/IP longevity... are you new or an old timer? Newbies are given a much shorter leash.
  • Unsubscribe behavior... How long does it take you to remove an address?
  • Spam trap hits/blocklists... Are your mailings seen as spam to the major ISPs and anti-spam groups?
So go get whitelisted..

And if you're turned down?

All is not lost. It doesn't mean the ISP will automatically block your messages. But understand that they will scrutinize your mailings more closely, apply more filters, and limit the number of messages it will allow through its servers at one time.

It could also mean your messages are delivered to the bulk folders more often if they haven't already added you to their personal whitelist.

Also, if they say no, ask... why?

Hey, you never know they may tell you how to get in. You won't know unless you try, right?

If you don't get in I'd guess you need to bring your spam complaints down and clean your list. I'd also suggest you review your name collection practices too!

Then try again. It's worth the extra effort.


PS - For no other reason than he makes me laugh, more Groucho Marx. This time from "Animal Crackers", (1930):
Capt. Spaulding: Well, art is art, isn't it?

Still, on the other hand, water is water.

And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.

Now, uh... Now you tell me what you know.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Google Hell

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." ~ Aldous Huxley, English Writer, (1894-1963)
Your site is up and visitors are on the way. But you notice your indexed Google pages have the phrase - Supplemental Result - across from the link.

Uh oh... what's that?

It's called the Supplemental Index and it can be a serious problem for your online business.

Google Giveth, and Google Taketh Away...

Google created its supplemental index in order to remove superfluous pages from its search results. These pages labeled as "supplemental" are deemed lacking in viability. They are seen as unnecessary, unneeded and/or redundant to answer a search query. As such, these page only appear for organic searches when no other results are available.

AND as you can guess, this is seldom the case.

Here is Google’s official definition from their webmasters page:
Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index.

The index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way for you to select or change the index in which your site appears. Please be assured that the index in which a site is included does not affect its PageRank.
The official Google position is that the supplemental index is not a bad thing nor a punishment for your site.


The supplemental index is the death of organic search for that page... I call it Google Hell.

How do you know if you have pages in the supplemental index?

Google it. Type the following query into the Google search field.
site:www.sitename.com ***-sljkf”
This will list all your supplemental pages that Google has deemed not important enough for the regular organic searches.

How can you to avoid this Google Hell?

First, check your tags...

One of biggest factors and easiest fixes involves your meta tags. They need to be narrowly tailored to each page. Often when loading content for a large site, I myself, input "dummy" info in the tags. The same title, keywords and description tag for each page. The idea being that you'll come back in and change it later... when the page is actually published.

But alas... we forget, the page goes LIVE, and the tags are a duplicates.

Not good.

Pages with the same tags are not liked by the Google bot. It sees this page as redundant and thus, with nothing new here, doesn't rank the page high for organic results. It gets a supplemental ranking.

To avoid this scenario, make sure all tags are current, independent and properly descriptive for each page. Keep in mind that your tags must show the Google Bot that the page is content driven and worthy of proper organic indexing.

Next... if you sell stuff on your site and you are required to use an exact manufactures product description, yikes... that can be troublesome. The use of that same copy, over and over again, on multiple websites will not be seen as valuable.

Sounds like it would be classified as stale, worthless duplicate content and of little value, eh?

To fix that... make sure all sales pages are content rich, with proper meta tags. And for that manufactures copy? Open it in a new window, thereby keeping the stale yet legally required copy separate from the page.

Make sense?

If you are a loyal CVoD reader, you should understand the power and value of fresh content. As such, you won't run into the problem of duplicate content, which is another reason pages are sent to the supplemental results. New dynamic copy will distinguish your site and establish the validity of your pages.

Lastly, to avoid Google Hell... get links.

Fresh in bound links, are like a blood transfusion for your site. You need these incoming links for page ranking. Links cure many a problem... such as the supplemental index. Why?

Think about it... pages with links coming in tell Google that there is value on the page. Otherwise why else would you find links?

Links are not often found on dead, stale static pages. On the contrary, in bound links are on the pages with the most sought after content. And if you have them, Google will reward you.

These links are not easy to get, I know, but it's worth the trouble to try and get them. The more inbound links you can get the less likely chance you'll end in Google Hell.

Look at it this way... with all the crap that is published on the Internet each and everyday I guess Google has to put it somewhere, eh?

Just make sure you create value for your site AND that you stay out of the crap pile. CVoD.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007


"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." ~ Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988), American Author
Welcome to Create Value or Die... or as I affectionetly call it CVoD. If you just joined us let me tell what this site is all about... CVoD is a platform to discuss my time tested model of value driven Internet marketing.

It's not the only way to market online, it's just the way I think it should be done.


Because I've seen it make millions. Hundreds of millions over the last 7 years.

I've called this "Direct Mail on the Web", some call it the "Free Content Model" but for the purposes of this blog it's CVoD. What am I talking about?

Here it is in a nutshell:
Step One: Create Value
Step Two: Give It Away
Step Three: Build An Email Opt-In List
Step Four: Build a Community
Step Five: Convert Names to Buyers
Step Six to One Hundred: Test, Test, Test!
Give what away? My content... free?

That's right...

Free... but don't think of it as a give away, think of it as creating value for your business. Online you must Create Value or Die. (CVoD)

We are not giving away value with no expectation of something in return... we are giving up something of value and what we get is something of value—an email address. An extremely valuable business asset that we use to build an email list.

"How much should you give away?"

Give everything you can think of, and only hold back premium information. Look at it this way in the context of your web site... if the information on your home page doesn't change, why would someone come back?

Ahh... but give them something of value each time they visit and they come back... they stay... they come back again... they buy... they buy again.

Better yet, send them interesting information via an email newsletter and you keep up the relationship on your terms. Plus, if this means you need to come up with new idea or services or products—good! It will only improve your business. It will make you develop a deep and profitable "back-end".

As you build their trust with an email newsletter, your free names will move closer to purchasing something from you.

Many business owners see only up-front dollar signs when they formulate their online strategy. They cannot see why anyone would offer all of this great information or these services for FREE. They want to charge people to access tips and information or charge a membership fee for visitors to participate on their site. This owner asks "How can I make the most money with my site?"

The question that should be asked is... "How can I best serve my market?"

Don't focus on the short-term sale. Concentrate on the long-term benefit to the business. The money is in the name, and marketing to its lifetime value.

Will you earn more money selling your Special Report? Or will you earn more money giving your Special Report away free AND building a large mailing list of people who are specifically interested in your topic. A list that you can market your high-end services to on a long-term basis? We hope the answer is clear to you.

Your goal should be to serve your market. To create value and strategically organize your information and your offers so that you are able to funnel your visitors directly into your mailing list.

Do what makes sense. Instead of what makes quick cents. Like I said, CVoD.


PS - Google topped four billion searches in May 2007, up from 3.8 billion in April. The Google-Monster continues to grow... God bless 'em.

As an FYI... here are the top U.S. search engine rankings by search share. (Provided by Nielsen//NetRatings)

Google, 4,033,277 - (56.3%)
Yahoo, 1,540,949 - (21.5%)
MSN/Live, 605,400 - (8.4%)
AOL, 381,961 - (5.3%)
Ask.com, 142,418 - (2.0%)
My Web Search, 61,784 - (0.9%)
Comcast, 34,908 - (0.5%)
EarthLink, 33,461 - (0.5%)
BellSouth, 30,122 - (0.4%)
Dogpile, 26,295 - (0.4%)
Other, 275,365 - (3.8%)
“We [Microsoft] don't have a monopoly. We have market share. There's a difference.” ~ Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft
Google is the next monopoly...