How To Attract StumbleTrolls


What is a StumbleTroll?


In the fairytale a troll was a disfigured monster with a bad attitude who lived under the bridge and waited to hear the sound of someone crossing. A StumbleTroll is a, presumed, human with a bad attitude who cruises StumbleUpon while hiding behind a nondescript avatar, searching for articles that express an opinion they disagree with.


What do they do?


The fairytale troll would jump out from his hiding place when he heard someone approaching and attempt to "Eat them up!" The StumbleTroll leaps from the shadows swinging a big red "Thumb Down" club and leaves juvenile playground taunts in the review section about wishing you would get boils on your eyes and your entire family die of AIDs.


They compare you to Hitler or some other oppressive figure and claim you are trying to suppress free speech if you express concern or, God forbid, condemnation of their use of foul language and threats.


Amazingly and almost without fail, they will end their sophomoric, foul mouthed attack with an admonition similar to,


"Diversity of opinion is what makes the world go around. If you can't handle people disagreeing with you, get the F___ out of StumbleUpon, you (insert generic put-down name here)!"


Who  are they?


That's one of the beauties of the whole thing. The vast majority of StumbleTrolls hide behind marginally original, mostly generic avatars, leave anonymous blog comments and have messaging blocked on SU.


They simply pull up, hang their flame thrower out the window, fire at will and cruise away, comfortable in the knowledge they can't be followed and have the same thing done to them.


Why do they do it?


That one is hard to answer but I think it has to do with showing off in front of and being accepted by their friends. One habit I noticed while studying the analytics of the StumbleTrolls was they almost all click over to check the SU reviews before they thumb it down and give a bad review.


This tells me they are desperately seeking social acceptance from that peer group. I would imagine they meet periodically on a forum somewhere, compare hate-filled responses and give virtual high-fives for the most vulgar.


How do you draw them out?


This is easy. just do what I did and shine a light into the cave where they hide. Write a post on your blog about them and why you think they have no place on StumbleUpon.


Once the post is written, it needs to be submitted to SU, or Stumbled, preferably in the "StumbleUpon" category.


These steps if followed correctly, are guaranteed to bring the StumbleTrolls running.


But, why would you want to?


Ooops! Sorry, I just realized I'm out of time today. I'm truly sorry but I'm running really late. I'll have to finish this post up later.


'Till then, Happy Stumbling ;)


**If you like this post you'll LOVE this one!



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Of Blogs and Bird Feeders


My grandmother had a bird feeder that was the envy of all her friends. Well, not the feeder but the birds it attracted.

Oh, she had the garden variety sparrows and blackbirds but what was so impressive were the beautiful, brightly colored Cardinals, Bluebirds, Finches and others I don't know the names of.


It's not that she drew in a few of these special birds, they flocked.


Her friends loved coming over to sit at her breakfast table sipping coffee and admiring the birds through the bay window.


Her friends all tried, at one time or another, to put up feeders and attract my grandmother's birds to their yards but with no luck. They would always get the fanciest feeder at the store but still, no luck.

Eventually her friends all gave up trying to learn her secret. I watched many times as they would ask her what she did to attract all the birds. She would just smile and say, "I just feed them." This always baffled them. I always found it amusing.


You see, I knew her secret.


She did feed the birds, but she did so much more.




Her first rule was to never, ever let the feeder get empty. She said when a bird found your feeder empty it would go find another feeder and might decide it liked it there better and not come back.




She had experimented extensively with the bird seed combinations she would use. She never used anything "off the shelf" because as she said, that was plain and the birds could find that anywhere. She had developed a custom mixture of feeds that would attract the special beauties while keeping the mass of ordinary birds happy.




You see, her neighbors would make a fuss over the beautiful exotic birds and kill themselves trying to get them to come to their feeders. She, on the other hand, loved and valued every single bird that showed up at her feeder and would do everything she could to keep them all happy and coming back. 




She put in a lot of effort to hold "her flock", as she called them, and I never once saw or heard her try to get anything in return. She considered her reward to be being able to watch the birds..., and maybe being the envy of the neighborhood ;)




Your blog is your bird feeder and your content its seed. How seriously do you take it?



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Can Google Even Do This?


In response to the recent outcry, primarily from the blogging community, Google announced it has reworked the current PageRank policy toward paid linking.


As many people are already aware, the previous response to web sites that accept payment for linking has been to remove all PageRank from these sites, thereby removing all value from their links.


Google Executive VP of Blogger Relations, Allistair Paid, admitted this tactic may have been an over reaction.


"The initial response was probably a little heavy handed, a bit like swatting flies with a sledgehammer."


Paid said that, in coordination with Junior VP of International Ad Sales, Shaniqua Poorly, a new system has been developed. This new rank designation system will run in tandem with the current PageRank system.


Initially called the PaidPoorlyRankingSystem, the title eventually became, simply, PaidRank. This title was determined to cause the least disruption and could be easily integrated into the current system.


How is PaidRank different?


Link Strength


The old algorithm of measuring incoming links and content quality will still be used to determine a site's rank, however, the new algorithm will not assign as much value to the site's outgoing links.


Bar Colors


The new PaidRank designation will be noted by a subtle, yet easily recognizable, difference in the toolbar field. Where PageRank is displayed with a Green Bar, PaidRank will be displayed with a Red Bar as seen below.




Improvement with AdWords and AdSense


One of the most unusual differences will be the ability of publishers to improve their site's PaidRank through participation in the AdWords and AdSense programs.


By bidding on Keyword Advertising through AdWords, the site will receive a double benefit. Not only will participation in this system allow the ad links to contribute to the organic PaidRank, but the PaidRank will also be improved in proportion to the AdWords bids.


In an effort to help the small publisher who has limited funding, another option was also developed. The site owner may choose to run AdSense ad blocks and accept a reduced payout, thereby improving their PaidRank proportionately as well.


By fully utilizing both of these options, a publisher can improve the PaidRate of a site to the point that it passes along as much downstream link strength as a site under the PageRank system.


Opting In


Inclusion in the new PaidRank program is strictly voluntary and requires the publisher to specifically request inclusion by email.


Simply send an email to requesting the opt in forms. The forms will arrive in PDF format so you can easily print them for your records and then email them back to the proper address depending on which program(s) you choose to participate in.




Chief  Executive of Media Relations, Mujibar Kandlewhozit, had this to say about Paid and Poorly's new program;


"The Google team hopes this compromise will be seen as a fair and equitable middle ground between the owners of the internet and the masses trying to gather a few crumbs from the passing traffic."


That pretty much says it all!



*On Edit*


It has been brought to my attention that some or all of this information may not be completely accurate. My advise, as always, is to do as I do and research it yourself and stop believing everything you read on the internet.



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* Thank you to all of you Stumblers and Sphinners!

This article went HOT at 9:51 am!

Camping Pros & Cons


Back to the real world... at least for a while.


I've got one more post on the camping theme. For those of you who never escape the concrete jungle, sorry. All I can say is, you really should try it sometime. At least once.



 Pros & Cons of Going Camping


Pros Cons
No Computer/Blog/Email No Computer/Blog/Email
Coyotes Singing Bugs
Sunrise/Sunset Getting Up Early
Cooking Out Cleaning Up
Eating Junk Food Shower/Toilet Facilities
Time To Think  
Camp Coffee  
Admiring Nature  



Pros & Cons of Coming Home from Camping


Pros Cons
Comfy Bed Feed Reader (OMG!)
Cat & Kittens Back to Routine



There you have it. Back to regular blogging tomorrow.



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10 Life Lessons Learned While Camping


I love to go camping in the woods. I look forward to Autumn every year because that's when I get to spend some quality time out doors. is running a group writing project/contest of lists. I decided to participate with a different kind of list. It has nothing to do with blogging but much to do with life.


Here is my list of 10 things I would not have learned without going camping.


  1. How to roast the perfect hotdog.
  2. How to survive on my own with almost nothing.
  3. How to build a fire.
  4. To be a conservationist.
  5. To accept and relish solitude.
  6. Why aerosol cans say "Do Not Incinerate". (Don't ask)
  7. I'm tougher than I think I am.
  8. How to toast a marshmallow so it is perfectly brown (Not Black!) and crisp on the outside and completely soft on the inside. (Mmmm!)
  9. How to make do with what you have.
  10. To truly appreciate the wonder and beauty of God's creation.


There you have it. 10 things I would not have ever learned if I had not gone camping.



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What I Am Thankful For


At this time of year we Americans like to examine our lives and express thanks for the blessings we have accumulated. We go to great lengths to gather with friends and family so we can often put ourselves in ultra-stressful situations we can only bare once or twice a year for no better reason than a sense of tradition.


I'm sure you've already read countless posts enumerating the usual thanks for family, health and fortune. Here is mine.




I'm thankful for my faith. My faith gives me the strength and wisdom to know that my financial success or failure in life is only marginally important in the end. It keeps me grounded.




Is it wise to claim to possess wisdom? I think I am mostly thankful for the wisdom to wish for and pursue more wisdom.




I am deeply thankful to have been blessed with American birth. America isn't perfect but I am as free as any person ruled by a government. My American birth has placed me in a position of possession such that the whining about a few dollars of advertising income is just plain silly.



I am thankful for much, much more. These are just the things that well up in my heart the most right now. I hope you have many things in your own lives of which you are overwhelmingly thankful.



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Something About The Pilgrims You May Not Know


This post will give a brief explanation of the origins of the holiday we in the U.S. call Thanksgiving, while pointing out a detail of the story many Americans are unaware of.


The Story


The Pilgrims were members of the Puritan faith who fled England in the early 1600s. The church of England, under the rule of King James I, was hunting down, imprisoning and sometimes even executing those people, like the Puritans, who refused to submit to its rules.


They initially established a community in Holland. Several years later, forty of these Puritans made a contract with a group of venture capitalists to finance their travel to the New World and on August 1, 1620 the Mayflower set sail with the forty Pilgrims and their families totaling 102 people led by William Bradford.


They arrived at Plymouth Rock in November of 1620 to what Bradford's journal refers to as, "..a cold, barren, desolate wilderness..." There was no shelter and the first winter was devastating. Almost half the original group, including Bradford's own wife, died from either starvation, sickness or exposure.


In the spring an English speaking Indian, Squanto, helped the Pilgrims by giving them food and teaching them how to build shelters, catch fish, grow crops and other survival skills. With these newfound skills, the settlers were able to survive, but only barely.


The Pilgrims eventually became prosperous but few history books explain why.


What You May Not Know


You see, the Pilgrims' original contract with the European merchants stipulated that the Plymouth Plantation would operate as a collective, with all production going into a common store and all land cleared and buildings built would be commonly owned. In short, a socialist commune.


I'll let Mr. Bradford's journal explain.


"The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God. For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort."


 This proved to be a disastrous plan. There was no incentive for the able bodied to work to their potential. In fact, the young bachelors greatly resented having to support the older men's families.


"For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice."


The settlement began to truly prosper only when Bradford scrapped the original contract and assigned each family a parcel of land to farm with the understanding that any surplus they produced was their own.


This scrapping of communism in favor of capitalism ignited the entrepreneurial spirit and brought about great gains. In fact, they soon found themselves with more than they could consume. Trading posts were established to barter with the Indians and the debt to the European investors was paid off early.


The success of the Plymouth Plantation was so profound it attracted more European settlers and began what came to be known as the "Great Puritan Migration".


That's right, centuries before Marx, Lenin or Mao, the Puritan settlers in the New World had proved that communism stifled the individual's desire to excel while capitalism encouraged it with obvious results.


Thanksgiving - Yesterday and Today


The Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving feast was to give thanks to God for helping them to survive as well as a celebration of the first harvest. On October 3rd 1789 President George Washington signed the first Thanksgiving Proclamation and the holiday was eventually codified into law by congress on October 6, 1941 as the 4th Thursday in November.


Today's Thanksgiving celebration is quite different from the first Pilgrim feast in many ways but in many ways it is similar. We gather with friends and/or family and remind ourselves of the many ways we are blessed.


We feast and overindulge as we prepare mentally for the coming shopping season when we take part in the very system of capitalism that helped found this country.


I truly hope that you, no matter where you live, have many blessings in your life to be thankful for and hope you take the time to recognize those blessings in life money can't buy.


If you are traveling, please be safe but, above all, have a Happy Thanksgiving!



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StumbleUpon - No Place for Bullies


While some social media sites like Digg have become known for users with arrogant attitudes and sharp tongues, eager to belittle an author for content unworthy of their time, this seems to be a relatively new phenomenon on StumbleUpon and it should be nipped in the bud.


The Problem


I realize the internet is a rough and tumble place but the meanness and venom I have seen recently should be unacceptable. I have actually witnessed a StumbleUpon user wishing an author to "die painfully" because they didn't like the article.


Excuse me? You didn't like the blog post so you felt it was OK to wish it's author to "die painfully ... and don't forget to blog about it..." in a public forum? A public forum known to be used by children?


The History


There have always been bullies on the internet, hanging around chat rooms and trying to dominate forums. It only stands to reason their kind would gravitate to and flourish on the social media sites as well.


They use the anonymity of the internet to push people around in ways they never could in a face to face environment. People who get bullied warn one another privately, "Be careful, you don't know who or what you're dealing with."


The Solution


The first responsibility for policing behavior on a site always falls to the site owner and that should be the case here. StumbleUpon should not tolerate obnoxious and abusive behavior from its users and should have an easy method to report it along with a system of penalties for it.


Partial responsibility belongs, however, with the community as well. As long as we, the community, sit by and quietly ignore the behavior, we can be guaranteed it will continue to get worse.


If we point out the intolerable behavior and demand action, we will have, at least, done our part. It is then up to the powers that be to correct the situation.




StumbleUpon is a wonderful community and the Stumble Bar is a wonderful tool. Together they allow us to discover and share items online in ways we didn't even dream of only a few years ago.


It would be a shame for a disruptive minority of users to be allowed to create an environment where people were not comfortable participating.



* If you enjoyed this post you might be interested in this follow-up.



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Black Friday Bargains Search Tool


If you're like me you're getting a little bit overwhelmed by all of the ads for special bargains this Friday morning. After a while the flyers start piling up and I can't remember what was on sale where and for how much. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a search engine just for Black Friday Bargains?


Have no fear, Ol' Ad Tracker has got you covered. That's right, dear readers, I have built a custom search engine that only searches for Black Friday Bargains.


I have combined the largest Black Friday Bargain sites I could find into one database for you to search.


Do you want to find out if that camera you were going to buy is on sale cheaper somewhere else? Just search for that specific camera and it will show up everywhere it's on sale. Cool huh?


Since you will be searching through literally thousands of ads, I recommend trying to be as precise as possible. In other words, search for "DVD Player", "Digital Camera", "GPS" or "HDTV" not "electronics".


Do you want to know what a particular store has on sale for Black Friday? Just run your search by store, such as "Old Navy", "JC Penney" or "Wal-Mart" and see the ad flyers or specials from each store.


This search will return online bargains as well as in store bargains so you can find things that aren't listed in the ad flyers.


Go ahead, give it a try. It's totally free to use. My Christmas shopping gift to you.




Tracker's Black Friday Bargains Search Tool

Google Custom Search





If you notice any sources you feel should be included in the search database, let me know and I'll get them added.



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Thnak God For Splel Chceker


Aoccdrnig to rscheearch, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not rraed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


All I can say is, thnak God for splel chceekr!


I'm not responsible for what this says in a translator ;)



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Saturday Sweep-Up


You know how, as you go along making your blog posts, you have to leave those little tidbits out. You know the ones I'm talking about, they're important enough to write about but not big enough to deserve they're own post.


I like to think of it as doing a little housekeeping and sweeping up those little jewels periodically and putting them into a post.



Thanks, but I need more.


Thank you very much to those who have given me your input for a Content Managing System but I would really appreciate some more ideas. If you agree with what someone has already said, say that too. I really need some help here.


Also, what's a good software for making screen capture videos?





I've been meaning to say I'm sorry about the captcha in the comments. Captcha is the squiggly letters you have to decipher and enter into the box. I had to turn it on after some nere-do-well individual found out I was a DoFollow blog and sent the spam bots out. I was deleting 30+ spam comments a day and it was getting worse so I had to do something. I know it's a pain but I hope you'll understand.



Thanks for your patience.


I know I've really been cramming the sponsored reviews in for the last week and I appreciate you guys being tolerant of me trying to scrape up a little Christmas cash. I'm sure the advertisers will slow down pretty soon but right now they're offering some decent money so I have to jump on it. Thanks for understanding. Which brings me to my next point.



Keep Your Eyes Open


I'm planning to unleash a multi-part post series either next week or the following week. Post topic; writing. It's almost polished up and I think it's going to be a good one.



The Rookie Blogger


There's a new kid on the block who calls himself, of all things, The Rookie Blogger. Well, he may be a rookie but he doesn't act like it. He's starting off with a $50 cash prize contest. Now, you know how I love a good contest so I'm definitely in on this one. It's one of the easiest contests I've seen to enter, so check it out and get in on it too!



Nspeaks Contest


Wouldn't you know it, I found another cash contest. Nspeaks is running what amounts to two separate contests at once. Each contest pays $50 by Paypal and has it's own method of entry.


To enter the first contest you have to subscribe to his RSS feed and wait for a secret code, then email him and get in the drawing. The second requires a blog post like this one describing the contest and linking back. The post is supposed to be about 100 words long but I don't think I'm going to make it no matter how verbose I get. Sorry, Navjot.



BlogAboutYourBlog Contest


BAYB is running a contest and giving away ad spots. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to the RSS feed by email. It doesn't get any easier than that.



Garry Conn Stuff


Viral Video Fever


The hard working Garry Conn is at it again with a new contest (Conn-test?). He has made a deal with Charles Trippy to offer an entire Viral Video Fever set to one lucky winner. That's almost $300 worth of instructional videos that will help you learn to move into the next arena of web marketing; video. Entering is easy, just click over to this post and get in on the drawing for the Viral Video Fever collection.


Money Listers


This one is not a contest and Garry didn't ask me to write about it but I wanted to introduce this new site to you guys. Money Listers, a joint venture of Garry Conn and David Cooley, is a mash-up website of make-money-online content. It takes the feed streams of all the big sites and, through a system of filters, distills them down to the real information articles.


By having the feeds separated by category and then run through the filters, you get to avoid all of the chatter about non money making topics and find exactly what you're looking for. Check it out, you'll be impressed.



There we go. I think that pretty well cleaned the joint up. I'm sure I've missed a couple of things (I always do) but it's much tidier around here now.



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Shine Geek Shine


This is the opportunity for all you geeks to strut your stuff and impress everyone with your awesome knowledge.


I need some professional advice. I have been trying to figure out what content management system would be best for a non-coder like myself. I need something for small to medium websites and it needs to be relatively easy to use and understand. It would also be a plus if there were some free templates/themes/layouts available for it.


I know WordPress has the ability to do some but I'm a little concerned about the flexibility and it seems to be getting hacked a lot recently. I've looked into Joomla, it seems OK but pretty complicated and, once again, I don't know about the flexibility.


I know for a fact I am blessed with some great programmers and coders as readers here, that's why I'm asking for your input. Please make a suggestion and, if possible, why you feel it would be a good choice.


I want to thank you in advance for taking the time to help me out on this one.

Weight Loss Weapons - A Review


The internet is awash in too-good-to-be-true schemes and plans that, for a fee, will show you the easy secrets to help you finally succeed. No, I'm not talking about making a fortune with AdSense. I'm talking about weight loss.


Today I'm going to introduce you to a site full of information and tools to help you win your war with weight. The difference is they don't offer any secret tool for only $19.95. They offer good, common sense advice. For Free!


This is the 3rd review in the four part series that resulted from the contest a couple of weeks ago. Steve, the author of Weight Loss Weapons, won this review by answering the question, "Why Blog?". His response is below.


"Here is my entry:

When I lost weight my friends and family were impressed and came to me for advice. Of course I helped them get on track and in shape.

That is a very rewarding experience, I feel like I had made a difference. But at the same time it wasn't enough of a difference for me.

Blogging serves 2 purposes (well 3 if you include any income I make from it).

1. I can hopefully help make a change in other peoples lives. Talking one on one is very time consuming and at the end only 1 person is affected. Blogging allows me to reach dozens to hundreds of people a once.

I know what it's like to overweight and everything that goes along with it. So I can better relate to people still stuck in that situation on a broader scale.

2. Blogging keeps me motivated and inspired to keep learning and improving on what I have achieved so far. I have a ton of ideas and opinions that are just easier to express in a blog. Spell checker and the backspace button are my secret weapons.

The key for me is to keep getting out of blogging as much or more than my readers.

I think that is why a lot of bloggers give up. Their needs are not being fulfilled.

If you just stick with it long enough, you'll find your online voice and others will begin to listen.

Anyway that's why I blog. Sounds a little sappy but it's true."



Weight Loss Weapons Blog is an interactive extension of the parent site, (How Web 2.0!) and is authored by the aforementioned Steve, who is on his own personal journey to conquer weight.


Even though the blog has only been around since late September, the regular postings have built up a nice library of content. I can only imagine how well-stocked the shelves will be when the New Year's Resolution rush kicks in.




In my research for this review I looked the site over and checked the "About" page only to find the WordPress template text was still there. C'mon Steve! All the work you put into this site and that? Doh!


Yeah, I was kinda disappointed with that but then I read his 1st post. Excerpts from that are below.


"My name is Steve and over the past year or so I have finally dropped those 35+ lbs of ugly unwanted fat. I’ve struggled for the past ten years to lose weight and every attempt has failed, until now. I have tried almost every popular diet out there including the South Beach Diet, The Abs Diet as well as following the Weight Watchers Points plan.

So what changed? Why have my efforts paid off this time? The answer was not that there was a problem with the diet plans I followed. They all work and plenty of people have lost weight with them.  The answer for me was information and motivation. I have learned so much about how to lose weight safely, through proper nutrition and a regular exercise program."


Steve, copy & paste that into your "About" page. It'll be better than template text.


It's obvious from that entry Steve is blogging with a passion. The same passion, I suspect, he exerts towards his weight control.




The main thing I liked about the blog is the content. The articles are rich in tips, tricks and suggestions. The best thing, however, is the articles are written in a down-to-earth, common sense tone. He speaks strait and honestly with no sugar coating.


With article categories like Exercise, Motivation and Weight Loss, you know what the primary focus of the blog is. How many blogs, however, have you seen with a separate category for Your Questions? This just shows the dedication Steve has for his readers and his interest in their success.




If you are even remotely interested in losing  weight, maintaining your present weight or just staying fit, I highly recommend you make a trip over to the Weight Loss Weapons Blog as well as the parent site, Weight Loss Weapons.


I feel certain you will be able to find plenty of useful information and encouragement in your quest for a healthier life.

Hunting Season


I'm sure most of you know we are rolling into the heart of the marketing season when everyone with something to sell is trying desperately to get it in front of their potential customers.


What you may not be aware of is, it's also deer hunting season in most of the country. I've never discussed that I am an avid deer hunter but I am. I always have been.


I sat in a deer stand most of last weekend which allowed me lots of time to think. As I sat there patiently waiting for Bambi, it occurred to me how much deer hunting and internet marketing have in common.





The successful deer hunter scouts the land to find where the deer are staying and the paths they follow before any stands are built. The successful internet marketer checks keyword popularity and search traffic before building any sites.





A successful deer hunter plants and tends food plots to get the deer accustomed to coming around. A successful internet marketer provides quality content and keeps it updated.





A successful deer hunter clears their shooting lanes and does maintenance to the stands in the months before the season. A successful internet marketer builds their Christmas affiliate sites in July and has it fully tweaked in September.





The successful deer hunter has multiple stands in different areas to accommodate different conditions and behavior patterns. The successful internet marketer has multiple sites with multiple opportunities to get the click/action/purchase.



Traffic Directing


The deer hunter uses geographic features called "natural funnels" to help put the deer in a clear shooting lane. The internet marketer builds virtual sales "funnels" on their site to direct readers to a purchase/action position.





The deer hunter uses camouflage and cover scents to blend into the environment and not attract attention. The internet marketer camouflages the ads on the page so they blend into the content and navigation links.





The successful deer hunter knows it takes countless hours of preparation and a lot of effort to be successful. They know it takes a long time to develop a successful hunting area. The successful internet marketer knows you can't throw a site together and wait on the millions to roll in. They know it takes time and nurturing to build a successful and profitable web site.



Sure, I know it can happen differently. Once in a while somebody slaps a site together and it turns into a goldmine, just like once in a while, a guy buys his hunting license the day before the hunt, uses a borrowed gun, sits in a borrowed stand and gets a wallhanger. These are, however, the exception not the rule.


The bottom line is this, you get out of anything only what you are willing to put into it. If you jumped out here on the internet with plans of making your fortune, more power to you. You just need to be prepared to work your butt off to get it.



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Straight From The Heart


Once in a while, as you troll the blogosphere, you come across a blog written straight from the heart. As you read the posts you realize the author believes what they say and is speaking from real experience. Telling It Like It Is is one of those rare gems.


Lin, the author, participated in a contest here a while back and won a review of her blog, Telling It Like It Is. To enter the contest she had to answer the question, "Why blog?", her answer is below.


I've been "writing" for many years, although kept hidden away in handwritten journals, boxed up in the garage. Deciding to go online with my writings, for all the world to see, is a decision I've pondered for quite some time before taking the blogging plunge.

For me, blogging is an outlet like no other, where I can express indignation about many important issues facing society today.

Whether it be by my writing about personal experiences of abuse as a child, spousal abuse, or other aspects of relationships, blogging allows me to help others know they "are not alone".

I spent a great deal of time searching the internet for others who had experienced similar things as I had, but found near to nothing.

I knew I could make a difference, for others who can relate to what I experienced, as some abuses are extremely difficult to talk about, let alone plaster it across the internet.

The primary reason I began blogging online is to help others find their voice.


I know the normal site review follows the standard, "this is what it looks like, this is what it's about, I liked this, I didn't like that", format. Not this time.


Lin is one of those truly rare writers who can open her heart and let the words flow. When she gets on a roll and pours herself into her writing, the discussion of font size and widget placement is thin and almost silly. The heartfelt prose that flows during these times could be scribbled in charcoal on old cardboard and be just as moving.


You don't believe me? You think I'm exaggerating?


Go read this article, then this one, this one next and finally this one.


Go ahead, it will take 10 minutes and when you come back you'll be as much of a fan as I am.


In my opinion, if she never writes another word, she has locked my support down. Fortunately for all of us, she does continue to stand up and she does continue to write.


Also, fortunately for us, she doesn't have to scribble away on old cardboard. She has a very clean and easy to read blog. Lin, I like the look of your blog and, if you are happy with blogger, I think you should stay put. It looks very nice.


For me to continue blathering on would just be a waste of time you could better spend reading Telling It Like It Is. If you don't have time to spend over there right now, just grab her feed and read at your convenience.


As for the other winner; be patient, your time is coming ;)

Funk Off!

Go read the title again then come back.

I've been in a bit of a funk for a few days and have been dealing with writers block.

I have lots of post ideas but every time I try to explore one I just can't get it going.

I don't have any reason or excuse for being in a funk but I am. I really need to shake it soon though, I feel it is to blame for my leaving ill-tempered comments here, here and here over the last few days. Pearl, Bush and Christine, I apologize for my tone. I haven't changed my opinion, but I should have expressed it more politely.

So, what's a blogger to do when every time they start to write they get hung up? Write a post about it, of course!

How do you push yourself through these types of writing hurdles? Do you get them? (If you don't, I hate you. Just so you know.)(Not really. I don't hate anybody many people.)(Today)

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Tips For Winning Blog Contests


Contests I've Won In Last 2 Months


What Approx. Value
Daily Moolah SEO Book $79
Top Secret Blogger $100 Cash $100
Blue Jar $62 Cash $62
David Airey Custom Logo/Header
One Hour Consultation
Revolution WP Theme
Blog Review
$50 ?
Avg Joe Blogger Text Link Ad $5
John Cow Nintendo Wii
Game Voucher
Rhys Wynne Ad Icon $2
Contest Blogger "The Secret" book $13.17
John Cow 300 x 250 Ad Block $75.00


I've been on a bit of a streak lately, winning quite a few blog contests. Several people have asked, "How do you do it?" Well, I decided to share my methods in a post instead of 23 email responses.


Follow The Rules


Bloggers who run contests put rules in place for a reason, usually SEO related. If a blog post is required for entry, there will usually be rules for how many links are required and the anchor text to use. These linking requirements accomplish a few different objectives.

  1. Increase traffic to the blog.
  2. Increase exposure of the contest.
  3. Improve the contest sponsor's Search Engine Ranking.
  4. Gain exposure for the contest sponsor's website.

Contests are run for business objectives not just for funzies. If the entries don't receive the required links they usually will not be counted. Make sure you link properly.


Sometimes larger contests have additional requirements. The John Cow contest for the Nintendo Wii required the contestant to sign up as an affiliate of the sponsor. The reason for these requirements is obvious but, I guaranty you, a lot of the people who thought they had entered did not get counted because they didn't sign up as an affiliate.


Use Every Entry Method Allowed


It's very common for contests to have multiple methods of entry. Often the rules will be something like this:

  1. Comment on the contest post for 1 entry.
  2. Mention the contest in a post for 3 entries.
  3. Write a full blog post about the blog or contest for 5 entries.
  4. Subscribe to RSS feed for 2 entries.

Surprisingly, a lot of bloggers will leave a comment for one entry and forget to do anything else. In every contest I have won, I have used every opportunity available for entry. If the prize is worth winning, why not make every effort to win it?


Take The Time To Actually Enter


I know this seems simple and I certainly don't mean to insult your intelligence, but have you ever seen a post about a cool contest and thought, "Cool, I need to enter this one."? I know I have. Don't you feel like a moron when you realize you missed it? I know I do.


The way to avoid this issue is to go ahead and write the post. Save it as a draft if you don't want to post it right away. If you wait, you stand a good chance of getting busy and forgetting about it until the winner is announced.




If you don't feel it's worth your effort to enter blog contests, the totals above show at least $750 in winnings over two months. I don't know about you but that beats the snot out of anything I ever made with AdSense. If you will follow these simple tips I guaranty you it will increase your odds of winning the next blog contest you enter.


Good Luck!



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Winners Review - The WWW Observer


Last weekend we ran a contest where the entrants had to answer the question, "Why Blog?" As you may recall, we didn't have very many entries, so I decided to award the prize of a blog review to everyone who took the time to enter.


Through a super-secret, ultra-complicated and high-tech method involving a quarter, my hands and a special algorithm, I determined The WWW Observer to be the first blog to go under the microscope.


Why Blog


Jug's response was, by far, the most concise but, informational just the same.


"My motivation for blogging? Well, my subscribers, I think (and maybe some of the cash they're bringing).. Without them, I'd stop blogging right on the spot. I just really want people to be able to know what's on my mind."


You Gotta Love Timing


As luck would have it, The WWW Observer had just rolled out a new design when I showed up with my magnifying glass and cool, blue, CSI flashlight. I've got to say, it looks very good. Nice, clean 2-column WordPress theme with a thin header and lots of white space. Very Web 2.0.


SEO and Beyond


The WWW Observer provides a lot of informative articles in the SEO catagory, as well as a tremendous amount of quality information in the Internet Marketing, Webmastering and Make Money Online fields, with a fair amount of Meta Blogging thrown in.


There is enough good information and advice on The WWW Observer that I found it difficult to get this review finished. I kept getting distracted reading posts.


My Opinions


I like the look of The WWW Observer. Of course, there are a few things I would recommend.


While they do offer a text link to the RSS feed at the foot of each post, the actual subscription button is easy to miss at the very top of the page. On the subject of RSS, I would highly recommend using FeedBurner and offering readers the opportunity to sign up for email updates.


The "About" page is pretty thin. (Like I should talk.) The author goes by the pseudonym Juggler but the site offers virtually no information about them, though the content shows they obviously posses a decent amount of knowledge on the subjects presented.


I get the impression from my reading, the author may not be a native English speaker. If this is the case, I would recommend getting it out in the open. The grammatical mistakes that catch the attention of Americans would more likely be overlooked. John Chow is up front about his language issues and people cut him a lot of slack. If this is not the case, I recommend paying closer attention to grammar.


I might switch some other stuff around but, in reality, that stuff is all just personal preference.




Along with the new design came some new advertising opportunities which are available at some very attractive introductory rates. With a Google PR of 3, an Alexa rank of 97,487 and daily unique visitors in the hundreds, it might be something to look into.




The WWW Observer provides a clean look and good information. Posts come on a regular basis with information from a position of knowledge. When you stop in to visit, be sure to leave a comment. The WWW Observer is DoFollow. Who couldn't use a little PR3 Google juice?

Giveaways and Other Things


What are plans for, anyway?


Changing I guess.


All of my wonderful blogging plans went totally awry this week for a few reasons. I'll discuss the big ones in the next post but there are a couple I'll share here.




I was sitting here minding my own business reading my feeds when I came across Sharing My Two Cents who's having a giveaway. Now look, you guys know I can't let a drawing pass without entering, right? Well I stopped to enter this one and the post described a big giveaway carnival called "It's Fall Y'all". I had to go check it out and, OMG!, there are almost 600 giveaways listed on one page!


Now, that's just not fair! What else am I supposed to do? I started entering them. I've entered somewhere around 200 so far. Yes that's what I'll be doing tonight also. There are giveaways for everything from chocolate to custom blog headers up for grabs. You better hurry though, they all end by this weekend. You know how my luck runs with drawings but there are still about 400 I'm not in yet ;)


Speaking Of Drawings


I was the lucky winner of a copy of "The Secret" from Contest Blogger. You can't win that one but you can go over there and get in on The Love Contest or The Make Money Contest.


The Other Things


We'll talk about the small miracles that have kept me away in the next post.



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Small Miracles





One of our cats is a terrible mother. She goes through a constant cycle of heat, pregnancy, loose the litter. Before you start chewing me out about getting her fixed you need to understand she is a stray. Please believe me when I tell you, there is no way to catch this cat.


Anyway, she had another litter of three, that I know of, 3 or 4 weeks ago. Amazingly she managed to keep them alive. She kept moving the kittens every time we found them. We hadn't seen or heard them in over a week and had given up on them assuming, like so many times before, she had lost them. I kept holding out hope because she didn't seem to be going into heat and yesterday morning I was proved right.


After feeding the cats (we only own one, several kind of came with the house) I heard the distinct cry of a kitten. It was coming from a crawlspace under the garage but I couldn't find a flashlight (that worked) and I had to leave, so I took off, pleased with myself for finding them and being right about them being alive.



Around noon I found a working flashlight and happily went out to see the cutiepies. As I approached the opening to the crawlspace I heard the crying again. This opening is about 18" x 24" and about 30" off the ground. I stuck my head and flashlight into the hole and, sure enough, there was a beautiful little fur ball crying like mad. It seemed to be in a little bit of distress but not bad. But where were the others?


Upon closer inspection I could see the other two and it didn't look good. The all white one was almost within reach but wasn't moving at all and the dark one was about twenty feet away and still as well. The crier came straight to my hand but the only way to even see if the others were alive was for me to climb through the hole and go under the garage.



Believe me, it's dark in there without the flash but I went in and, amazingly, the other two were still alive, but only barely. The white one was so close to death I considered not even bringing it out but, of course, I had to. The dark one was only slightly better, almost totally unconscious and very cold.


I brought the three of them in and went to work trying to warm them up and scratch up something to feed the crier because she was starving. I was the only one home so you can imagine the fun of trying to save the two critical ones while the other one is crawling around screaming from starvation.


The white kitten didn't make it. She died within an hour.


I'm happy to report, however, the other two are doing great. After getting warmed up and being force fed, the dark one is showing dramatic improvement. The lighter colored one probably had another day but the dark one only had another hour or two at best. Don't even ask me how many times I've kicked myself for leaving them for those four hours. It almost certainly would have been the difference for the white kitten.


There's a lesson there.


Now what? Anybody want a cat?



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