Letter from Phil issue 392 – Blood and Boobs

Because I’m itching to get back into full productivity, and get more done in less time, I bought this book “Blogwise: How to do more with less”, released a just a few days ago.

It’s a look inside the heads of nine successful bloggers including Leo Babauta of Zen Habits fame, Brian Clark from Copyblogger, Darren Rowse from Problogger, and Gretchen Rubin the author of The Happiness Project and a Psychology Today magazine expert.

Blogwise is inspiring and had me scribbling lots of notes in the margins of the copy I printed out. And I should imagine it’s going to do the same for you too.

The added bonus is good. It’s a pdf covering 21 common productivity problems bloggers face, with some quick answers from the interviewed bloggers to get you on the right track.

Well it’s obviously worked for me because here’s the second Letter from Phil in a week instead of the one a year I’ve managed for the past couple of years.

It will probably boost the amount of work that you can do in a week too. Recommended.

# # #

More on Curation Soft.

It’s hard to admit this publicly, but in the past week I’ve made a grand total of 5 sales of this excellent tool. And 1 of those came from someone reading my online review ‘before’ I mailed out the newsletter last week

481 of you clicked the link in my email to read the review.

328 people have clicked my affiliate link on the blog (though some of those would have been before I mailed the newsletter)

This tells me one of 6 things.

# you’re not interested in content curation, though obviously interested enough to click-through to the review.

# the curationsoft sales page doesn’t convert (and I’ve got no way of measuring this, but I doubt that’s the case because I believe it’s selling very well)

# you believe content curation is unethical or wrong (but then surely you wouldn’t be one of the people clicking the link)

# you (in the broader sense of you, I probably don’t mean you in particular) changed the Clickbank affiliate link to your own.

# you’re too broke to invest in it / you thought it was too expensive.

# adding content to your site is not a sexy enough subject and I’d be better off writing hyped up promo’s and sending you to sites that sending you promo’s that promise to bring you automated, instant riches.

So which reason is it?

Can you please do me a favour and post a comment about it on the  CurationSoft review on my blog, or on this newsletter post. If you tell me that you changed the aff link to your own before buying, use a fictitious name and email address so I don’t get mad at you J

By the way, this week’s stats on the site talked about in my review have risen again this week. They’re already higher than last weeks record high, and look like they’re going to fly past it. This is probably due to 2 new articles being added to the site. One of them connected to a topic in the news, and both of them complete with CurationSoft added tweets and paragraphs from other on-topic sites.

Quite a few people have emailed and asked me to give the URL of the site the stats are from, but the answer is no. For one thing it will warp the stats, and more importantly it will increase the competition.

# # #

Un-boring snippets from a boring book

A few weeks ago, with the thoughts of getting back to action in my head, I lay in bed reading a book about making $100k in 100 days. A thin, printed book picked up in the library, about the methods used by the Aussie entrepreneur Mal Emery.

Even though it was only 60 something pages long, after falling asleep a few times, lost interest in it. Not saying it was boring, but the targeted readers were people operating local businesses like hairdressers, small deli’s, etc.

But I do want to share a couple of snippets with you, one’s you should pay attention to.

“I would rather be a WEALTHY MODELLER, than a BROKE ORIGINAL THINKER.”

In other words copy what works, what’s been proven to work. If someone is making decent $ from something that doesn’t need a particularly difficult skill-set, so can you.

Find out what’s selling, work out why it’s selling, and how it’s selling. Copy the ideas, add a twist, modify and try to improve on the sales and marketing techniques they’re using.

Another is

“The most stunningly successful entrepreneurs seem to share one special quality – they are profoundly stubborn! Put another way, they are persistent and they take action – and then they are more persistent and they take more action!”

It’s true, you’ve got to slog your guts out. And keep doing it. Keep trying things, tweaking things until they work. And then doing it all over again.

Believe in yourself, and stop watching TV so much and put some work hours in instead. And that doesn’t just mean being on your computer or iPad reading newsletters like this :)

It means creating. Doing. Perfecting. Marketing. Selling. Then repeating the cycle. It means keep taking action until your eyes burn.

# # #

Kitchens, Amazon, and Pinterest.

Last week ago our ilve electric/gas cooker / range made a loud bang, did something nasty to the house electrical system, and blew up my computer. Well it was time for a new computer anyway, so I didn’t get too worked up about. And seeing that (after previous disasters) I’ve got everything important backed up on 3 separate external hard-drives, including an encrypted one I keep in bubble wrap in my car in case the house burns down, I didn’t get too worked up about it. (I can’t back up to the cloud because of my awful and limited Internet connection)

So the next morning I went out and bought a speedy new laptop (it would have been nice for the stove to have waited for Intel to release their new top end processors, but I didn’t really fancy getting by with just my iPad for a few months, and you wouldn’t have liked it either because my newsletters would have been packed with errors from the iPad’s terrible autocorrect)

Anyway, this computer stuff hasn’t really got anything to do with what I started out to write. We’re supposed to be talking ranges/stoves/cookers here.

A week after the big bang (we got by on bbq’s and eating out until then) I forked out $155 for a man from an appliance repair place to come and fix it. Except he couldn’t. After 15 minutes with his head in the innards he said “you need a new fan mate. It won’t cost much”

Turns out not much was $830, on top of the money I’d already paid. So yesterday, after thinking about it for days, we went out to buy a replacement range instead, and were shocked to find that we’d been boiling our eggs on an $8500 model (It was already in the house when we moved here) and that price is without the $3k plus extractor chimney hanging above it.

“You’re looking at the Rolls Royce of cookers, “said the salesman when he saw us gawking at it “The oil might need changing sometimes, but it’ll keep going for ever.”

Well I quite like the idea of having an old Rolls Royce, so he talked himself out of a sale and I’ve ordered the new fan instead.

And all this brings me, in a long, rambling, and roundabout way, to saying that I did a search on Amazon (and if I lived in the US that’s where I would have looked to start with) and it seems that expensive ranges like mine have potential as a lucrative subject for an affiliate site. An updated version of mine is US$6500, 2 grand cheaper than I’d be paying here.

But what shocked me most of all is that I haven’t got the Rolls Royce after all. Type the word Ranges into the Appliance Department on Amazon and then sort from high price to low, and you’ll find one on sale for a whopping $46,000 with 23 more selling for over $20k each.

A lot of the ultra-expensive ones link from Amazon to external stores, and before you clever clogs tell me that Amazon doesn’t give commissions on goods sold on external sites, I know about that. However, follow some of the Amazon links to those external stores and you’ll see that several of them have affiliate programs of their own.

The one selling my ilve, Ajmadison has an affiliate program, though it only pays 3% which is around $200.

Katom Restaurant Supply, which is selling some ovens for $20k+ pays 6% commission, so sell one of their Wells WVOC models and you’re looking at a tasty $1200 in your pocket (their aff program is run through shareasale).

Instawares, which sells $19k + cookers has an affiliate program with Linkshare. And Shortorder.com with some $15k prices are also though Linkshare.

The appliancesconnection.com store, which sells $15k ranges, run their aff program through Commission Junction. And of course there are quite a few high end models $10-$15k sold directly from Amazon.

And the list goes on. Much better than earning a commission on a $20 toaster J

Thinking about this, expensive kitchen equipment like this could also be worth promoting on Pinterest.

Take a look. Lots of women, and it’s predominantly women, post photos of their dream kitchen’s and the stuff in them. So once you’re an affiliate of a company either direct link using your aff link, or save some of their product photo’s to your own affiliate promo site and then link from Pinterest to the page on your site promoting that particular product.
(not sure what value the search engine’s give to a link from Pinterest, but it can’t hurt)

Personally, if I was going to promote kitchen equipment on Pinterest (which I’m not) I’d go the mini site option, getting the women to click through to my site. The main reason is because Pinterest uses a service called Skimlinks to change affiliate links to their own.

This link change happens almost immediately, but there is a way around it. You can edit the link to change it back to your own aff link, as long as you do so before your Pin has been reppined.

BTW the few pins I’ve made about travel have already started driving traffic to my main travel site, TravelFoodandWine.com. Early days yet, so I’m not sure how much traffic it’s going to send, but clicks from Pinterest are already showing in the stats after several of my travel pins were repinned.

In case you didn’t get to see last week’s issue here’s my Pinterest board, or whatever they call it.

# # #

Blood and Boobs

And now for the bit you’ve been looking for

I read an interesting story in The Times this week, about photos of crushed heads and deep flesh wounds being less offensive than photos of breastfeeding.

On Facebook that is. It seems they’ve come firmly down on the side of violence over nudity. A leaked document called ‘Abuse Standards Violation’ reveals what photographs users can post.

“Deep flesh wounds are OK to show. Crushed heads, limbs, etc, are ok as long as no insides are showing.”

But nudity is banned, including pixelated nudity plus “mothers breastfeeding without clothes”, and “people using the bathroom”

The bit that made me laugh though, said that photographs of ‘snot’ are ok, but not earwax.

A strange world indeed.

Here’s my Facebook page, which I’ll probably get a bit more active on as energy permits. Guaranteed, no snot pictures.

# # #

Ok, that’s it.

And if you want to copy me and get more done, and faster, and also get to sleep 12 hour nights, get that Blogwise book I talked about at the top. For the next few days it’s 25% off making it a real bargain

Comments

  1. Hi Phil,

    I was one of the click thrus to Curation software. However it turned out they write the software in Adobe Air format which is completely inaccessible to my speech software. Wish they had written it using normal software.

    Will show it to my wife though and see if she is willing to use it.

    Dale.

    • It’s the only product I’ve used using Adobe Air but it seems to work well. Obviously not for people who are blind though, seeing it doesn’t do speech to text.

      Are you personally moving to Tasmania, Dale, or is it just an affiliate site of yours?

      phil

  2. Two posts in one week! Wow, I’m impressed LOL.

    Don’t wear yourself out buddy -

    • Wearing myself out is a distinct possibility, but I’m going to get one out every Friday or Saturday for a while I hope. Got to get people talking about me again and, more importantly, reading it.

      They’re taking ages to write. It’s going to be a while before I’m back up to speed.

      If someone else had bragged that they’d managed to do two posts a week, I’d probably have made a joke about it. So I can’t really tell if you were trying to be funny :)

      phil

      • If I didn’t do anything else I could easily to SOLID post each couple of days… but amongst everything else… it’s one a week (or so) – which is why I now allow Guest Posts.

      • If I didn’t do anything else I could easily do a SOLID post each couple of days… but amongst everything else… it’s one a week (or so) – which is why I now allow Guest Posts.

        • Yeah, but I’m asleep most of the time. Don’t know if you’ve played much sport, but if you have, do you remember how it feels when you’re so totally tired after a hard game of something, and you ache all over, and all you want to do is rest?

          Well that’s how I feel most of the time. You get used to it, but sometimes it’s hard to do anything except sit on a sofa and stare at thr wall.

          Otherwise I’m sure I could manage a few more :)

          Luckily I appear to be getting better with every week that passes. I still hurt, but I’m sleeping less. And my mind is certainly clearer and a fast flow of ideas is streaming through it.

  3. The reason could be that there are so many things that hit the market place on a regular basis that it is information overload. A second reason is what many call the “shiny new object” syndrome. People get distracted from what they are dong by the latest new tool, seminar, whatever that will make things work faster and easier than the last thing they bought a week or two ago. Just before they get time to implement it, boom, they see another shiny new object. The only way to break this trend is some real hard self control, lack of funds, or just getting burnt out on IM. Maybe they are looking at the offer and seeing the same thing that is wrapped up a little differently. All of these could be why people aren’t responding. The unfortunate thing is that until you can actually focus in on one thing, it is easy to be pulled in again.

    One other reason is that some people like to review web sites to see what offers are good or bad from a pure marketing view point. They are students of the industry. They want to see what others are offering to see if there is something they can use in the type of offer for their own site. Not copying the product, but carefully watching the sales funnel that the site takes a prospect through.These people will click through all sorts of links to see how it works.

  4. Hi Phil,

    Great that you are back doing your stuff, you seemed to drop off the radar for a while.

    Anyway look forward to your emails and blogs

    All the best

    Mike

  5. Welcome back to the grindstone, Phil :)

    Got your newsletter today but not the one of a few days ago. Will need to check my white lists.

    The “I would rather be a WEALTHY MODELLER, than a BROKE ORIGINAL THINKER” quote notwithstanding, I like original content for my blogs. However, I did click the curation link in your blog post. Curiosity, mostly. To see what kind of software would call itself a curator. Because they had an ad-supported version, I decided to download it to see how it worked. Until I found out I would have to install Adobe Air. Sorry, but Adobe is not getting on my computer any more than the minimum to read PDF files. I would remove their Reader, too, and use my other reader exclusively, but I need it to test PDFs I create on software others will be using.

    Have a great 2012!

    Will

    • Did you find my previous one in your spam folder Will?

      Sorry you’re anti adobe, as a long-time Photoshop user (right from when it first came out many years ago) I’m used to their memory hogging ways. Though I must admit that I long ago wiped Acrobat Reader. Currently I’m using Nitro Reader from an Australian company.

      I guess that next time I create my own pdf for sharing I’ll have to install the Adobe one to see if it works in it.

      phil

  6. glad that you’re back

  7. Hey Phil,

    Thanks for the honest review again. The fact of the matter is, that CS is not another shiny object or a flash in the pan software. It’s been around since 2007, but we called it differently: Utility Poster. Since then we have revamped it, re-branded it, started to take steps to move into the mainstream software market, we are in the middle of designing a more robust web based version and raising venture capital to fund this much larger scale development. The present sales letter converts pretty consistently around 2-3% depending on the quality of traffic. If you want ot check it out, just simply download the free version. And do let us know if we can assist you guys further. Thanks. Peter.

    • Yea I bought both Utility and Video poster and got hung out to dry when it quit working. Ya’ll decided to roll it into some blogging product or something while deciding to quit supporting the stand-alone products.

  8. Hey Phil

    I have not purchased CurationSoft but I did take a look at it again as I reviewed it once before. And, yes, if I should buy it, (I will admit it) I will buy it on my Clickbank ID. I would never change your ID to mine, but, I would set up a promo on one of my blogs and buy it there. (Not that it makes much difference).

    That is one of the reasons I really don’t like promoting Affiliate Clickbank products to IM people as I really think most everyone of them will order on their ID to save 50 to 75%. I only like to promote Affiliate Clickbank products to the general population who generally don’t have Clickbank Id’s. It seems to work better for me.

    • Yes, I’m not keen on promoting Clickbank products to people who understand what an affiliate link is. I’m sure that a high percentage get changed. You’re definitely not alone .

      phil

  9. I’m impressed with what you’ve offered. I like this approach! There are times when it is difficult to manage/to get through all of the e-mails I receive. It is nice to have a summary and to be able to choose to spend time with a wonderful newsletter. You’ve taken an intelligent approach that will benefit your subscribers (IMHO). Thank you.

    • Still not sure which way I’m going to go Virginia. I’m probably going to do some more testing.

      I might try sending out a full one, then following it up the next day, or maybe just hours later, with a summary and link to the website.

      Just posting it on my blog sort of feels different, like I’m just writing another blog post rather than a newsletter.

      So it’s almost as if I’m dispensing with the newsletter and just trying to attract people to read the blog. And I put more effort into a newsletter than a blog post.

      Anyway, I’ll keep trying various methods until I see what works best and which way people prefer.

      phil

  10. Phil:
    Starting to read your blog and then was experiencing the feeling of walking in to the middle of a conversation. My understanding is there is something somewhere named creationsoft that isn’t selling. Many IMers seem to constantly assume that every body has been on the blog forever and there is nobody that they are losing by the constant use of possessive pronouns, secret codes and geek talk. If everybody that drops by knew everything, they would probably do something else..

    I liked your quotes a lot.

    Best wishes.

    • Thanks for liking the quotes Mike, and sorry you felt like you were waking up in the middle of a conversation.

      I suppose you ‘were’ in the middle of a conversation if you didn’t read the previous weeks newsletter. Also some of the people commenting have been reading for over 10 years. So there is a certain familiarity and not everything is spelled out.

      Maybe you’re not a subscriber? If you were you’d have read about CurationSoft the week before in the emailed newsletter which is online at http://philwiley.com/newsletters/letter-from-phil-issue-391/ , and seen the CurationSoft review here http://philwiley.com/seo/curation-soft-review/

  11. Phil,

    I just found this article from Shawn Collins regarding the relationship between Pinterest with Skimlinks and thought you might be interested in seeing it.
    Break Up of @Pinterest and @Skimlinks

    Alan

  12. Hi Phil!
    Two in one week! Great to have you back.

    I have not purchased the curation software, but I fully intend to this week when back in my office. I think curation is an awesome way to build and or supplement content blogs. I think it could be easily adapted to local business promotion even.

    Thanks for another great newsletter.
    -bryan

    • Thanks for the kind words Bryan.

      So did you get it? Are you happy with it? Anything you don’t like about it? As you can see from the comments, Peter, one of the developers, reads this so he’ll be able to take note of any positive or negative things you have to say, changes you’d like to see, what you like about it and don’t like about it.

      phil

  13. Great to hear from you and have you back!!
    I bought Utility Poster a while back and then bought the upgrade a while back also. I use it and like it. It is great for research, too.
    Please keep your posts and newsletters coming!

    • Thanks Maxine. I used Utility Poster too, for a while, and at first I thought Utility Poster wasn’t much different, but it’s much slicker and posts the curated content in a much nicer to the eye way.

      phil

  14. Myra Totten says:

    Hi Phil,

    Wow two newsletter in one week! It is so good to have you back!

    I did drop a line last week as well.

    I am curious to know how your daughter is doing. Last I heared she was (I think) trying to find direction in her life.

    Take care,
    Myra Totten

    • Thanks Myra

      I found your email eventually, so many people emailed me rather than commenting that it took days to answer everyone.

      Kate, my daughter, is now happily married and living in Newbury, England and she’s mum to a one year old girl, Ellie. She’s also on the board, and a founder, of a new USA based charity MDF (when you type that into Google you get search results for ‘medium density fibreboard, so I’d better use it’s full name)

      It’s the “Metabolic Disease Foundation”

      They’re still working on the site, which had to be put together quickly and has been done in flash so it doesn’t work on ipads or iphones. They’re looking for help with a redesign, but Kate hates the look of my sites so they don’t want my help.

      They’re also desperate for donations, and/or for people who have a child or relative with a metabolic disorder, to become a member.

      Anyway, check them out here
      http://www.metabolicfoundation.org/ and on Facebook
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Metabolic-Disease-Foundation/304713652902338

      Kate’s metabolic disorder is called Phenylketonuria, but babies are born with many different genetic diseases.

  15. Hi Phil,

    I’m one of the five that purchased Curationsoft after reading your review. I downloaded the free copy for a few days to see how it works and then proceeded to upgrade yesterday. I love it! I actually bought it for my husband’s financial blog but I’m having fun using it on a couple of my own websites.

    Another great use for Curationsoft is the ability to use it to draw information snippets from a website that you find informative. Say you run across a website that has a lot of interesting information that you would like to curate. You can enter in the url into the search box instead of a keyword and CS will pull up snippets you can utilize on your own blog. Very cool!

    I have always been interested in curating but it seemed so time consuming. Not anymore! I found the price of CS to be very affordable and their website is very professional. I would think that it converts well for those interested in curation. Thanks so much for your review. I, for one, am very happy you did.

    Hope this helps!

    Judie

    • 8 children and you still look like a movie star. I don’t know how you do it :)

      Glad you like it so much. So do I. It’s a very useful tool for quickly adding interesting content to your site.

      I’d not thought about putting a url into the search box, but just tried it on this site and it works well. Something I had tried was adding rss feeds, using the button top right, and that’s good too.

      I think it’s unbeatable for the price, and is a very quick way of making any of your websites more interesting and useful to your readers.

      phil

  16. Hi Phil, nice to see you back.

    I’m also an original content kind of guy, along with being a curious fellow, who clicked the curationsoft link.

    You might find this of interest regarding Pinterest http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/. It took forever to load but interesting none the less.

    Also read somewhere that Pinterest’s TOU states everything posted on Pinterest becomes the property of Pinterest. Not sure that’s the case though.

    • That’s a very interesting link Shawn. I read every word, including all the many comments. One interesting one, towards the bottom (at least when I looked at the page) talked about fair use.

      I agree that Pinterest’s terms of use, written by lawyers no doubt, are not good, and I also read they’re going to be changed.

      By coincidence a photographer contacted me about a photograph I’d used on my travelfoodandwine.com site and then pinned here to help promote the post http://pinterest.com/pin/73605775129790684/

      I thought, at first, he might be complaining because the pin linked to my site, not his (though it doesn’t link to his flickr page via my blog post) but he wasn’t

      Here’s what he said:

      “Thank you sir for the very rapid response. No problem on the comment or Pinterest. I’m a believer in “Creative Commons non-commercial with attribution” as a means of driving as many people as possible to my site that may want to license my photos for commercial use.”

  17. Hi Phil,
    Great to see you back!
    I bought the productivity guide too (very soon after receiving notice from Darren R.), and loved it!

    As for CurationSoft – I think it looks awesome, and there is a pretty good chance I will buy it. Remember though – it DOES have a free trial version (which I am currently testing out) so that may be partially why so few bought right away.
    I also found myself thinking, “looks cool – but HOW exactly can I use this to increase my bottom-line?” – which is why I wanted to learn more about it and try it out before buying. Perhaps it would help their conversions a bit more if they had some case studies or better examples of ways people are using the program.

    Anyway – thanks very much for letting me know about it. Like i said, I will almost certainly be buying it at some point – and will make sure to do so through your link!

    Cheers!

    Bentley

  18. Chuck Martin says:

    Phil, I love your writing style. It’s so natural and personal. Your newsletter was one of the few I looked forward to reading ten years agao. I’m glad you’re back.

    I think I prefer to Youread your newsletter in straight text email form. I think it enhances the personal nature of your message and is quickly and easily assessable – no extra clicks or time lapses to start reading.
    I think this is probably more true for those rieading you email on mobile devices.

    The blog does have the advantage of preserving the newsletter, drawing in web traffic, and encouraging comments.

    You might consider offering your newsletter in both formats. Just
    put a link to your blog version at the top of the email newsletter. You’ll just have to remember to invite email readers to click to the blog to enter feedback.

    • Thanks for reading my newsletter for so long Chuck. And for liking my style. Never think of myself as having a certain style, I just bash out the words as they flow, then go back and do a quick rewrite to correct any mistakes and change a few bits.

      After working for so many years on newspapers and magazines writing (and doing it fast) comes naturally to me. Though I do wish I had deadlines I had to meet. It would make me far more productive. Self imposed deadlines, when no one is breathing down your neck for it, is so much harder.

      Like I said in a comment higher up, I’m still not sure how I’m going to mail it out. The full version or a link or a mixture.

      phil