This moment is bittersweet. I have sold QualityScores.com to the amazing crew at GetFoundFirst.com!
I had a big hairy audacious goal for advertisement quality scoring, measurement and improvement here at QualityScores.com. The analytics side of the product was in the pre alpha stages and definitely showing promise. That product was housed here…and it is still here at QualityScores.com. It is simply under new ownership and management.
I couldn’t have asked for a more win/win/win situation than this. I’m incredibly blessed to be where I am right now but it is always hard to have to make the choice to cut a great project out in order to focus on other dreams.
That is why this is bittersweet. It is bitter because I don’t have the capacity for such a major undertaking when I am already on another project just as big, in my opinion. It is bitter because I finally came to the realization that to make the biggest impact in the space, I had to stop hanging on and let this go to a group who can make something big happen with it. It is sweet because I can now focus on my current project(s) without straying from those projects to push this along ever so slightly each time I touched it.
Quality can not wait a moment longer. Advertisers NEED the toolset behind QualityScores.com YESTERDAY!
The sweet part also comes in knowing that I am making the right choice for me, my family and my future. It also comes in knowing that the team I sold to is paying a fair price for the deal and I have wanted to work with Stuart Draper and his team for a long time. While I don’t get to work with them too much, I have committed to blogging a few times over the course of a year while striving to help them grow this asset by coaching a little here and there – and that is very exciting to me! It will be sweet to see this take off!
As for what I am doing now: I am focused on growing a business named Branded Holdings. We buy, build and brand million dollar exact-match domains (EMDs.) All of the domains are in-house and part of our portfolio. It’s a lot of fun!
I will be blogging more on my personal site and would love to connect with you there: jameszol.com.
Thank you & I’ll be catching up with ya’ll again soon!Read More
Lately I have found myself getting less willing to share knowledge, insights and tricks in the ppc space or even some of the cool stuff I have learned in the SEO space…and to that end, I feel like I have chosen to hide underground for quite some time. This is clear by the amount I wrote last year…this year I would like to turn a new leaf, but we’ll see what I feel like I can share vs not.
I like sharing, but I have to admit that I’m not going to share super edgy secrets or expose any awesome loopholes that I find unless I’m physically with somebody and we’re chatting over lunch or if somebody has me in their IM list…I help as many people as I can via IM.
That’s where the ‘code’ comes into play. Lot’s of people know the code, but it needs to be repeated again and again, especially with so many awesome conferences just around the corner:
DO NOT SHARE anything “secret” that you learn from somebody else over lunch, via IM or email or at ALL without their explicit permission.
Why am I calling this the Code of the Underground Marketer? Because these secrets are supposed to stay on the down low – in the ground – so they can be exploited as long as possible without having search engine employees, engineers, algorithms, spiders or contracted reviewers learn about it or know about it.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to communicate with some awesome link builders, ppc rockstars and more over the past few years. I shared some secrets and not others. Of the secrets I haven’t shared because of ‘the code’, few of them have been found out by the sites themselves or the search engines as of yet – only a handful have been exposed.
The code has a hidden side to it…if somebody shares something golden with you and you blast it to the world via Twitter, Facebook, blog or any other medium where dozens of people find out about it at once…you get black listed and hated on for quite some time. It’s rare and difficult to get back into the ‘inner circle’ so to speak.
I wish I could truly call myself part of the ‘inner circle’…but I am far from it. Perhaps I am at the fringe. Maybe not though. I still have to find out a ton of so-called secrets on my own through rapid/vast/expensive experimentation. Buy a link to one website, wait and see what happens to that site before getting a similar link to another website in my portfolio that is more important. I have had a few websites penalized and banned in the past few years and the exercise of removing the bad and learning more about the good has been purely fascinating…at the same time, if I were part of the ‘inner circle’ or the ‘underground marketer’ I probably could have avoided all of the stupid tests I did.
Part of my experimentation, and what I think the real underground marketer is doing too – maybe to a MUCH MUCH greater scale, is managing a nice portfolio of several websites, bank accounts, adsense accounts, ebay accounts, servers, hosts, other affiliate network accounts and more. In my mind, one of the only ways to discover some of the most powerful techniques being used today is through sheer intelligence and a world of experience that came through testing and learning the hard way. Most places don’t allow multiple accounts (except banks, they’re always willing to open accounts for you) so you get creative and use relative’s names and account information if you can.
The bottom line, or what I want to call the Code of the Underground Marketer, is definitely that of not sharing what others share with you…and not sharing everything you learn…and always be testing.
Good luck in 2010 and have a Happy New Year living the Code!Read More
I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since June…well, I guess I can believe it.
Here is a quick summary of what I have been up to:
1. Growing the affiliate marketing side of my personal income…and have been doing quite well with it. In fact, I have launched or am in the process of launching 12 more websites in my personal portfolio. I must admit that affiliate marketing is very time consuming but I have effectively replaced my income from the agency so it is a full-time passion right now. I do not take on any clients anymore and haven’t for quite some time because of the affiliate side of things. Yay!
2. Playing around a lot more with the SEO side of things. Several of my sites are now in the top 3 for several competitive phrases…believe it or not, I do NOT do any ppc on my affiliate sites yet – although I am successfully moving into that side of the income stream given that it is something I think I’m great at. As far as SEO goes, I started practicing it quite a while ago…3 or 4 years I think. My very first ‘ranking’ was for ‘Internet Marketing Professional’ and the plural version too…that’s what got me hooked. Lol!
3. I was also recruited in-house for a couple different companies…they made offers that I didn’t want to refuse. I love both companies and the people there – so I’m still going strong with one in the home based business space (super competitive, i love it!) and the other helped me make a lot of great connections plus jump started me into the scrum engineering process and gave me major insights into growing a company really fast. It was and is really cool to have some ‘in-house’ experience…now I really can see and understand the benefits of agency AND in-house arrangements.
4. Thinking of all the people who are leaders and participators in the community. I can’t believe I ignored the urge to write so many times…but hundreds of you are still subscribed to my blog and I am honored to be in your company. There are so many genius people out there writing and sharing information freely! Don’t worry though, I have been lurking through over 100 blogs daily and 6 or 7 forums…I’m around, and appreciative of your work.
Other than that, I feel like it’s time for a vacation.
So, that’s what I have been up to! How about you? What have you been up to for the past few months?Read More
I’m writing this post to formally announce my imminent and inevitable death. Or at least that’s what it feels like since I am officially leaving QualityScores today. For the better part of two years I’ve been writing ads, designing and redesigning landing pages, and throwing Arby’s sandwiches across the office at James and the occasional intern. It’s been a lot of fun, but I am sad to say that there will be no more sandwhich throwing anymore. Well… for the last year I’ve been telecommuting from Honolulu… so the sandwich thing is a metaphor anyway.
I am entering a master’s program at the Columbia University School of Journalism this August, and I’m taking the rest of the summer off to surf and move to Manhattan. I’ll still be hanging around QualityScores-ville every so often, but things at the company have been changing, and James himself is taking QualityScores in a little bit of a different direction, as he will shortly be explaining. Additionally, I’m pursuing some of my own work with my web design company more heavily, including the promotion of my new social gadgets and products sharing website www.Scordit.com, and my new site where you create your own quizzes and earn prizes at www.Quizzem.com. Of course, I’m also helping James Zolman with Click Walrus, which is a revenue and click attribution web analytics tool that is WAY AWESOME.
So good things are happening all around, and I’m excited for what’s to come for me at Columbia and with Scordit et. al., and also for a new era at QualityScores. I’m sure I’ll make an appearance at the occasional web conference here and there (or more likely at the occasional punk rock show in NYC), so maybe I’ll see you there. Until then, goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow!
[Note from James: I personally recommend Shane for his design skills, his website creation skills, his superior and engaging writing style and most of all his ability to educate and teach. If you ever attend a conference where Shane is presenting, you should attend his session and I kid you not, you will be blown away - he is literally the best presenter I have ever encountered...I have attended at least 50+ "big name"conference sessions. Shane's presentation and speaking skills blow all of that out of the water. Shane has been independent for quite a while - building up the projects he mentions above, building out his design portfolio a little more and wrapping up ambassador projects for QualityScores. Shane is going to pursue his dreams - and I am honored to have played a tiny role in helping him along his way. We're going to miss him a lot!]Read More
This year Matt Cutts, the guy at Google who makes sure spam doesn’t happen, said on his blog that he’s going to be RickAstley for Halloween this year (You know, that awesome 80s singer that shows up everywhere these days?). He says he’s going to be RickRolling everyone who comes within 10 feet of him this Halloween.
Well I happened to take a peek at James’s Halloween costume this year (you know, the big boss at QualityScores?), and it looks like he’s got a surprise in store for Mr. Cutts. He’s going to be spamming everyone within 10 feet of him.
Hopefully Matt & James don’t end up at the same party, or there might be trouble. Happy Halloween everybody!Read More
Holy crap! I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of weeks and I just found out that PPC WhizÂ has broken the record for best click thru rate ever! Â At a rate of 92,233,720,369,547,776.00%, he has challenged anyone to beat his CTR, and he says he’s got $50 to give if it gets beat.
Unluckily for PPC Whiz,Â while I was moving everything I own to Honolulu (although it’s not actually that much!), ads on my business printing website were running, and one of my ads got the following CTR:
Coincidentally, this CTR is .01% greater than PPC Whiz’s, meaning that I now have set the record! I can’t wait to spend my $50! You can pay me via paypal or personal check…Read More