Dec.07

Aug.09

Finishing the Affiliate Summit Nike+ Challenge

This week, I’ll be wrapping up the Affiliate Summit Nike+ challenge, and I’m on schedule to reach my goal of 250 miles by Friday (I’m at 243.26 miles, and it’s Monday, so I’ll finish up either Wednesday or Thursday).

Jangro quickly came up on me and passed by me, but then he took a month off and I was able to regain the lead. When Jangro returned, and I went away for a week, he easily took back the lead.

It was also a little disheartening when the AMGB crew finished their 40-mile march, and a few contestants took a huge lead on me.

After all this, I was able to finish in the top-10 (far, far away from #1, who’s coming up on 600 miles!).

Roswell Park Cancer InstituteI also made my $250 donation to Roswell Park today, as promised when I announced my goal back in March.

Although I ran so much, I hardly dropped any weight, but I still participated in Joe Sousa’s contest, and lost 5 pounds, so he’ll be donating $10 on my behalf.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to keep running, all my running buddies, and Affiliate Summit for starting the challenge!

Just Fun

Jul.07

A Tribute to Matt McWilliams

Since I decided to learn & master harmonica, Matt McWilliams has taken it upon himself to become my booking agent & signed me up as the entertainment for the ShareASale Think Tank.

Shortly afterwards, Todd Farmer (who’s using Learn and Master Guitar) inquired if I were available for a gig in Michigan around the 4th of July, so I dropped in on the 3rd and Todd and I had a little jam session, including a tribute to Matt McWilliams

Premiering today, here is Nagel & Farmer’s, Tribute to Matt McWilliams

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Matt McWilliams
AM of the Year
Matt McWilliams
He’s really awesome, so I hear

Chillin Poolside at the Farmer’s
A new FourSquare check-in for me
I hear the mayor’s quite a charmer
It’s the happ’nin place to be

Matt McWilliams
AM of the Year
Matt McWilliams
We can only play by ear

I wanted to make some money
And learn to play guitar
So I called Matt McWilliams
Now I’m a rich affilite rock star!

Matt McWilliams
AM of the Year
Matt McWilliams
We wish you were here

Legacy Learning Systems
Get your links from ShareASale
Make lots of money with ’em
‘Cause they convert so well

Matt McWilliams
AM of the Year
Matt McWilliams
Mention this song, and he’ll buy you a beer

Just Fun

May.21

Learn & Master Harmonica

Learn & Master HarmonicaI’ve been wanting to learn a musical instrument for some time… I played the drums when I was younger, but gave up on that (dumb decision!). I can goof around on the piano and play a couple songs, mostly by ear, but I’ve never been good at reading music (drums were different – I could read the length of a note, but not which key). The Scottish in me wanted to try Bagpipes, but that’s a huge commitment. So I decided on the harmonica.

Why the harmonica? Because it fits nicely in my pocket, and I didn’t think it’d be too hard to learn. I thought it’s be a fun thing to have at Cub Scout campouts, too.

So I picked up a Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica in C from Amazon and Instant Harmonica: Quick and Easy Instruction for the Beginner. I love the harmonica I chose, and the book was a good intro. However, now I’m stuck.

I’ve been bugging my friend Matt McWilliams on creating a Learn & Master course for harmonica, as they don’t have one now. To help to to persuade him, I wrote Matt a little song:

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I’m writing this little song
For my buddy Matt McWilliams
He’s a cool affiliate manager
For Legacy Learning Systems

But I’ve got a little problem
and even Matt can’t help me out
I wanted to learn to play the harmonica
But there’s no course for that

So now this is all I can do
Just 4 simple notes
And Matt’s got me booked
As the entertainment for the ShareASale Think Tank!

Hopefully Matt can show this to the powers that be, and they’ll make a Learn & Master Harmonica course 🙂

Just Fun

Apr.22

Being a Green Affiliate

On this 40th Earth Day, I wanted to talk about some ways that as an affiliate, we can be a little more green. Let’s start with what you may already be doing: working from home.

When you work from home, you obviously eliminate the energy it takes for you to get to / from an office, and the resulting pollution.

If the 40% of the U.S. population that holds telework-compatible jobs worked from home half of the time, – The nation would save 453 million barrels of oil (57% of Gulf oil imports) – The environment would be saved the equivalent of taking 15 million cars permanently off the road. – The energy potential from the gas savings would total more than twice what the U.S. currently produces from all renewable energy source combined.

wikipedia

But what else can you do?

Servers
One step you can take is to move your hosting to a green hosting provider, such as FatCow who uses 100% wind energy to power their servers. You’d think a feature like this would add to the cost of hosting, but it’s still only $3.67 / month. SuperGreen Hosting offers a similar set-up, now only $3.95 / month. While SuperGreen doesn’t utilize 100% renewable energy, their servers output 20% less CO2 than typical hosting systems and they are 100% Carbon Neutral Friendly.

If you don’t want to move your hosting set-up, you can offset your carbon footprint by working with carbonfund.org. For $29.90, I can offset the carbon footprint of my home office & 2 servers. Of course that’s just my small business – if I wanted to offset my family of 5’s entire lifestyle for 1 year, it’d be close to $1500! There’s other things I do around the house to be a little more green.

Around the House
Compost binSome of these things I discussed in an interview with Murry Newlands, but since the day I moved into our 100+ year old home, I’ve been trying to make it more energy efficient. We only purchase renewable energy, use mostly CFL or LED lights, have replaced all the windows in the house (which reduced our gas bill by 50% this past winter), and collect rainwater for our gardens. Oh, and we also compost, with our compost bin in the kitchen showing off my Green Affiliate pride 🙂

This past year, we’ve also added a Smart Power Strip to our entertainment system, so when the TV is turned off, power is cut to the home theatre, subwoofer, DVD player, Wii and Xbox, eliminating any phantom power these devices would otherwise draw.

Making Green off Green
If you’re an affiliate looking for green programs to promote, browse ShareASale’s green category, or take a look at LinkShare’s green merchants. CJ makes this a little more difficult, as they have multiple green subcategories under their main categories.

While I don’t promote merchants specifically because they’re green, based on my own life experiences, I’d say green took a backseat the past few years as people focused on a weak economy and simply surviving versus living green. However, as the economy turns around, I predict green will make a come-back.

The best time to get into a niche is before it’s hot. It’s at times like this where an affiliate can enter a niche, build up quality content, grow their mailing list, and (with low competition) establish a high CTR on PPC ads (which will give you better position & lower bids when the competition tries to move in).

Just Fun

Mar.05

Running for Boobs

Running for BoobsIf you follow me on Twitter (which you should) or are my friend on Facebook, you’ll notice I’ve been doing a lot of running this week. Well get used to it, because I’m participating in the Affiliate Summit East 2010 Nike+ Challenge, where Affiliate Summit will donate $1 to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade for each mile run (up to $5,000).

This actually works out perfectly for me. First, I’ve been meaning to run more, and now I have a reason to. Second, if you put a challenge in front of me, I’ll probably take it (except for the Ole 96er – I will not participate in eating contests anymore).

Finally, there’s been too much breast cancer in my family, especially lately, so anything I can do to help raise funds for awareness, access to care and finding a cure, I’ll be sure to help.

My goal is to run 250 miles over the 24-week period. While outside, I’ll be using my Garmin Forerunner for accurate recording (then converting the Garmin tcx file and uploading it to the Nike Running site) and while inside (treadmill running), I’ll be using the Nike+ kit.

In addition to Affiliate Summit’s donation on my behalf, I’ll be donating $1 for every mile I run to Roswell Park here in Buffalo. Roswell Park is America’s first cancer center, founded in 1898. The people at Roswell Park do great things for their patients and are focused on their mission to understand, prevent and cure cancer.

Your encouragement is greatly appreciated! There will be plenty of days I don’t want to run, and my running buddies have already been a great help this week. 🙂

Just Fun

Dec.23

Thanks, Copeac!

Friday was a crazy day for me, but right before things got out of control, I opened a nice gift of chocolates from Danny over at Copeac – thanks! There’s a few left, but the girls got to them before I did.

Merry Christmas Danny & Copeac!

Just Fun

Aug.12

What I Do

A lot of people ask me what I do, and I tell them I build websites. Jason says, “my Dad builds the Internet.” I’ve been using that answer lately, too.

But it’s all a lie.

Well, maybe not all a lie, but I don’t build websites. I work on certain parts of websites, but I don’t do it all. And, to further complicate things, I’m getting rid of all my clients.

So, how do I run a website business, without building websites, and without having clients? Simple: I’ve shifted my efforts into affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing isn’t hard to understand: it’s a commission-based sales position. My job is to sell things for other people. When I do, they pay me.

So let’s say I decided there was an opportunity selling pet medications online. I’d partner up with 1-800-PetMeds or another online store and we’d agree upon a commission rate (12-16%, depending on the item purchased). I’d then come up with a marketing plan, and earn money whenever one of the customers I send to them makes a purchase. To be profitable, you simply have to spend less money than you make.

There are lots of people that do this as their sole source of income. I’m the “techie” for one of these guys (Paul, ShopperUK.com) so I manage the projects as they’re implemented. Paul does the marketing and idea generation.

So these days, 10% of my time is spent on clients whose projects I’m wrapping up, 5% spent on my own affiliate marketing, and the rest on ShopperUK.

So there – now you know what I do. Steve wanted me to write about some affiliate marketing tips, which I’ll soon start. The first one will be about a little feature in Google AdWords, which I found to really screw up your ROI. I was getting like 130% ROI on a project, then activated this “feature” and dropped to 30%. OUCH! So much for technology… I’m going back to the old-fashioned way to do things… I switched things up yesterday, and am heading back up, with an 85% ROI yesterday.

Stay tuned…

Just Fun