May 192008
 

The folx over at WebHostingRating gave me a sneek peak at their new template earlier today and I gotta say it’s far nicer than their current site design. It’s just as clean as the old interface, but has a much slicker ‘feel’ to it which I think will help them go far. For those who haven’t heard of WebHostinRating.com, they’re one of many sites that list the features and prices of various webhosts in order to make shoping for a new place to host your domains a little easier.

But they’re more than just a ‘catalog’ as they also provide an extensive article directory full of articles on domains and hosting topics including an excellent recent article on multiple domain hosting.

May 132008
 

I’m not sure why the idea struck my mind earlier today, but I am once again considering starting my own Paid To Read (PTR)/Paid To Click (PTC) website. I already own a domain name that could work for it (and is currently underutilized) and I’ve got free webhosting thanks to Top Hosting Center, so I figured why not. Well, that’s what I’m here to ask all of you: Why Not?

With the domain and hosting already covered my only real expenses will be advertising (which will primarily be handled by the members looking to increase their referral downlines) and the PTR scripts themselves. Cash Crusader seems to be the most stable of the PTR scripts so I’d be going with them. Cash Crusader costs only $75 and I could see myself spending about another $100 on various plugins. All of these software licenses are for the life of the site so they’re one-time startup costs.

Other than the scripts and some minimal advertising my only other recurring costs would be member payouts and the time involved in operating the program itself. The payouts shouldn’t be a problem at all as long as I set reasonable rates for incoming ads. Again, since I have almost no recurring costs this should not be too difficult. It’s the time involved that is my real concern.

I’ve tried to locate a forum for Cash Crusader admins but have been unsuccessful thus far. I used to know of several when I got started in GPT about a decade ago, but had no luck earlier today. Again, that’s why I’m turning to you, dear readers. Does anyone have any experience running GPT programs? Comments or emails would be very much appreciated!

Feb 122008
 

By definition, yes, PayPerPlay is a scam-

American Heritage Dictionary
scam
n. A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.

On their website for publishers (GetAudioAds.com) they promise that “Publishers (website owners) will earn revenue on 100% of their traffic…“. This is simply not true. Many publishers are reporting tens of thousands of hits without a single penny earned. Personally, I’ve only earned on less than .001% of my traffic. Their “official” blog (I’ll get to why official is in quotes shortly) actually came out yesterday and admitted that they have no way to live up to that promise-

NetAudioAds can only serve approximately 220 million paid ads per month based on current advertisers. This means that at full throttle only 1 out of every 5 hits (shown in the stats system) will trigger a paid audio ad.

[…]

Now we can’t say that website owners will get paid on 100% of their web traffic because we don’t have enough paid ads to cover it all.

And yet, all of their recruiting pages still say that “website owners will get paid on 100% of their web traffic“. In fact, they hired hundreds of bloggers (myself includedtwice) to advertise that claim despite knowing that it was false. The first advertising commission I received from them in cluded the following line-

Our advertisers will buy ad plays on websites for 100% of visitors. You’ll have 100% conversion rate. 108 million sites have joined thus far.

and the second said –

Publishers (website owners) will earn revenue on 100% of their traffic… no clicks necessary!

I could accept this as a mistake except for two things: 1) they’re still spreading this false advertising, and 2) the second offer arrived on February 4th, three days after their official launch and at a time when they were already not living up to that promise.

They also continually state that they are “backed by one of the BIG 5 search engines” though they refuse to state which one, citing contractual obligations that were set to expire 11 days ago. Can you even name the “Big 5 search engines”? I canonly think of 4 I’d call “big”.

About that “official” blog. I assume it’s their official blog because its linked to directly from all of their webpages. But the blog’s author, Charles Heflin, keeps changing his story about whether or not he works for the company. Some days he swears he’s “just like everyone else” and at other times he talks about the inside info of the company as if he’s an employee (using “we”, etc). He also refuses to answer any questions on the “official” blog, instead referring people to the “official” forums (which also aren’t registered to the company. In other words, the company doesn’t communicate with anyone except its “insiders” and counts on them to spread the word. This gives them a perfect cloak of deniability should legal issues ever arrive.

Charles also seems to make up numbers at will. Yesterday he wrote that “at full throttle only 1 out of every 5 hits (shown in the stats system) will trigger a paid audio ad” but the day before he claimed “[t]he NetAudioAds servers are clocking 9,000 hits per second triggered from audio ad code in our distribution network” which works out to 32,400,000 ads being served every hour or 23,328,000,000 or more than 10 times their available ads if we’re to believe Charles.

You’re probably wondering what NetAudioAds and PayPerPlay are doing to even attempt to meet their promise. I certainly was. Well, it turns out they’re a re doing nothing, zero, zilch. Instead, they sent out their pet shill once again-

After discussions with NetAudioAds over the weekend, I have created a plan to fill the void. This plan includes you. You have the opportunity to create your own advertising agency through which to sell audio ads.

In other words, they now expect you to go sell the ads for them. So, let’s see. the publishers are getting the advertisers and serving the ads. What, exactly, is the service that NetAudioAds is providing again? Oh, they’re also going to stop accepting new publishers into the program… on Friday. Why not shut down right away?

All of the above smells like scam in addition to meeting the actual definition of the word. The most common retort to the accusation of NetAudioAds being a scam provided by Charles’ supporters (since he refuses to defend himself) is that it hasn’t cost anyone any money so it can’t be a scam. But these people are overlooking the fact that NetAudioAds (or maybe it’s Charles – the lines are so blurry it’s hard to tell) is charging people $70 to build a “SEO optimized” website to promote the program. This makes the scam smell even worse.

If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering why I’m still using NetAudioAds, given the points I raise above. Well, I do believe it’s an innovative concept. And I do believe that it has the potential to be bigger than Adsense… eventually. I have not paid any money into the system and I’ve only included the code on a few pages that get relatively few visitors (less than 1,000 per day combined). If it takes off, I’ll be all set to be part of the next big thing. If it doesn’t I’m out a few weeks of effort. I’ve invested much more and received nothing in return in the past, so it’s worth it to me.

If it’s worth it to you as well, be sure to sign-up before this Friday because that’s when the doors close (assuming Charles and PayPerPlay are telling the truth on that).

Feb 042008
 

Last week I introduced y’all to Pay Per Play advertising from Net Audio Ads and told y’all that they would start playing ads on Friday, February 1st.  Well, it’s now February 4th and my sites have yet to serve a single ad.  Apparently they’re doing a “slow rollout” of the ads only serving them to some websites immediately and then slowly adding more sites over the next 30-60 days.  There’s no word on what system is being used to determine who gets ads and who doesn’t though.

The good news is that despite serious problems with their stats reporting everything in that department seems to be worked out at this point.  My stats  even seem to be accurately reflecting my page views which is more than I can say for some recent program openings.  So now it’s just a matter of them getting enough ads ready to serve to my pages.

I’m still up in the air on Pay Per Play ads as far as wether or not they’re going to be a long term solution to my revenue needs.   I like the fact that the ads are contextual just like Adsense, but I’m concerned about forcing audio on my visitors.  Overall, they’re still earning a neutral rating, so check them out for yourself.

Feb 042008
 

Reuters’ Oddly Enough headline RSS is probably one of the most subscribed to feeds on the web. So getting your website plugged in one of their articles can generate thousands, if not tens of thousands, of visitors to your site. Well, today I clicked over to check out the latest world oddities only to find a (rather weak) article on “The dumbest ever quiz answers” and, being unimpressed overall, clicked over to their source site to see if there were any better offerings. Unfortunately, the webmaster at www.jumpingjacksbar.com allowed the domain to expire just a few days ago. Ouch!

Whoever they are just lost a huge amount of traffic, and its accompanying revenue. All over a $15 domain registration fee. So, consider this a warning to all webmaster’s out there. You never know exactly when your site’s going to receive a massive traffic influx, so be sure to keep the domain registration up to date.