John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?  Competitive Web & SEO
August 9th, 2006 by john andrews

Wanted: Craig’s List Manipulators

WANTED: Junior level Scammers and Spammers as apprentice Craig’s List Manipulators

Background: Craig’s List is a community classifieds web site with city-specific sections for most major United States cities. Within each city are sections for free classified ads in everything from real estate to computer jobs to pet adoption. Craig’s List has replaced the local classified newspaper for many local markets. Ads can be placed via a simple web form, and posted to Craig’s List within minutes by even the least sophisticated web users. The Craig’s List community is self-policing, with every reader able to “flag” ads as inappropriate. If enough users “flag” an ad it is removed by Craig’s List staff. Our testing has shown that Craig’s List classified ads work well in certain markets, for certain products and services. They work especially well in markets where there is little relevant competition.

We have clients in many market sectors signed on for ad placement on Craig’s List. We have determined that it takes but 21 sincere Craig’s List Manipulators to control a category within the typical US city on Craig’s List. Twenty one people collaboratively “flagging” competitor ads can effectively control a category, keeping the desired ads prominent while removing any competitive threat. We have several openings for Craig’s List Manipulators in several cities right now.

Position description: This is a collaborative position. You should have some knowledge of proxies if you want to work multiple cities, but any public access point will work for your local market. You do not need to be clever nor ingenious – you simply need to know how to recognize a partner ad, and flag everything else. SEO skills are unnecessary. This is an excellent opportunity for the stay at home mom or disgruntled small business owner with too much free time on his hands. Can’t get business? Mess it up for everyone else on Craig’s List and, in turn, our collaborative network of Craig’s List Manipulators will promote YOUR AD and KILL YOUR COMPETITION in the Craig’s List Classifieds system.This really works, and might be your best opportunity for success on Craig’s List.

Think about it: you’re either WITH US, or WE’RE AGAINST YOU. How long will your ad survive on Craig’s List once we move our manipulators into your market? Our research shows NOT LONG, because all we need are a couple of dozen lazy, low-quality product and service providers who can’t get customers the legitimate way, to join our collaborative network of CL Manipulators and SPAM! your ad is GONE faster than you can say “but…but….but…”

Apply today, as there is virtually no ceiling to this opportunity for participants, and a very, very strong incentive for every Craig’s List advertiser to join before they get shut out of their local market niche. Leave a comment with your qualifications and favorite Craig’s List market experience.

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August 1st, 2006 by john andrews

Top Eight AdSense Mistakes Webmasters Make

I just read one of the many “Top Ten” lists telling people how to make money with AdSense, and how to avoid getting banned by Google. I was inspired to make my own “Top Eight AdSense Mistakes Webmasters Make”.

1. Don’t do anything that won’t make Google richer.

Google is greedy. It’s all about the revenue, and that revenue comes from your web site visitors. So if you want to remain in the good graces of the Almighty Google, do everything in your power to send your traffic over to the Google advertisers a.s.a.p. You can hide the Google ads inside your content, making them look just like real links. You can lower the quality of the content on your page so there is no reason to stay on your site, and offer Google ads right in the middle were they become the only thing worth clicking. No matter how you do it, be sure and send all of your QUALITY traffic to Google.

2. Don’t do anything to remind your visitors that they are being monetized.

So don’t talk about the ads, don’t suggest people click on them, and if you couldn’t successfully bury them in your content (see the above item) then at least avoid talking about click thru rates or ad revenue. Google wants all that stuff kept secret. Like the brain surgeon that drives a volkswagon while he saves up for his early retirement to the French Riviera, best not to remind people someone’s making gobs of money off of them.

3. Don’t violate the Google TOS

That’s the “Terms of Service”. The Google Contract. The Final Arbiter of AdSense Success. The Source of The Ban. Yes, the Google TOS is your bible for success with AdSense, so follow it exactly. Don’t do anythng that violates it. Oh, and since it is a living document that can be changed at any time, be sure to read it every morning and again every afternoon. And, since it refers to another document called the “Google Guidelines” you need to keep up on that one, too. Don’t do anything against the Google guidelines. Oh, and since that guideline itself may be adjusted by Google at any time, be sure to read it every few hours as well.

4. Don’t Talk about Fight Club

The First Rule of Fight Club is… yeah you got it. Don’t tell anyone about your AdSense earnings. Google wants that secret, ok? I suppose legal proceedings like subpoenas would be exceptions to the rule, but I am not sure. Since you risk complete and total financial shutdown with no questions asked and no opportunity for rebuttal every time you violate one of the Google Rules, you should probably just refuse to comply with such things until your lawyer can chat with Google. That might take a while to set up, so I recommend every AdSense pubisher have a safe house ready just in case. A secret room in grandma’s house would be perfect, as long as it has an active Internet connection so you can check your stats. Nobody will find you there so you will be safe from outstanding warrants until you hear back from Google.

5. Avoid Excessive keyword Stuffing

Oh sure keyword stuff much, much more than you would on a regular page meant for humans, but don’t over do it. Remember, Google wants money, so the more search engine referral traffic you can get to a dead-end web page with minimal content and tons of AdSense ads, the better. Google feeds on profits and we all know that a big, fat, satiated Google is much nicer than a lean, hungry Google monster. You get SE traffic by ranking in the SERPs. And you rank in the SERPs by keyword stuffing, plain and simple. (Warning: this only applies to pages heavily laced with AdSense ads. If you don’t expect to place AdSense ads allover your site, do NOT keyword stuff. Your page will get dropped from the SERPs. I repeat: Only get keyword spammy with made for AdSense pages. Everybody else buy AdWords).

6. Don’t Rat out AdSense Publishers

This one is not hard fact, but it sure seems wise given the evidence I have seen. Never, ever rat on a publisher who monetizes with AdSense. On a related note, it’s seems to be “SEO Best Practice” these days to rat out everyone above you in the SERPs by reporting them to Google for even the most minor quality issues (see the item above about the Quality Guidelines that can change at any time… a great source of grey-area material to report as spam). So rat on everyone who ranks, *except* avoid the MFA sites because, well, Google likes money and if you’re really looking to get a share of that AdSense kitty, don’t rock the boat, right?

7. Don’t Bank on Your AdSense Bank

This is a big one, and the subject of more than one “SEO Secret“. You see those “earnings” in your AdSense report page? Well, tecnically they are not yours yet. They won’t be until a few days after you physically deposit the Google check in your bank accunt, and it clears. That’s at last 30-45 days from now, depending on your situation. Oh, and with all of the click fraud and related lawsuits, it might not stay yours. Can it be taken back? Sure it can. Unlike the RIAA which looks for a few grand from each person they target, Google gets rich taking nickels and dimes away from individual people, one coin at a time. It’s covered in hthe TOS as well. My suggestion? Multiple layers of corporations, some of them offshore, with a few rotated out via backruptcy and dissolution every 6 months or so. Better safe than sorry.

8. The Legs Feed The Wolf, Gentleman

Or something like that.If you have a site that earns something like $4 per day with AdSense, don’t try too hard to boost that. The Legs Feed The Wolf, and the little guys are making the Big Boys rich. As a LittleBoy, you represent a steady stream of revenue for the BigBoys as they skim their share off the advertising revenues. How many incentives are there to impose “Smart Pricing” on your site so you get peanuts for showing ads? Plenty. Somebody has to get the low-paying ads. How many incentives are there to actually hand you a lion’s share of those “earnings”? I can’t think of any. So be happy with your pennies and shut up, ok? You can make another 2,000 of those sites and make serious coin, right? That’s $8000.00 per day, for a mere 2000 times your hosting costs. Oh sure that sounds like a break even (at $4 per month hosting costs) but you can find a way to trim that. I know you can. And so does Google.

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July 28th, 2006 by john andrews

Mark Cuban asks for ideas?

Mark Cuban asks for ideas on getting people to go see a movie in his post “The Movie Business Challenge“. I have some ideas, but they are not brilliant ideas. They are basic concepts of business. I think his assumption that people don’t want to go see movies is flawed. They do. Or at least I want to go to movies. And my family does. And most of my friends do. So why don’t we?

Well, partly because the movies suck. But I even want to go to a sucky movie sometimes, for the fun of it. I sat almost half way through Lara Croft: Tomb Raider because I really really really needed to escape from my environment for a few hours and just immerse myself in something different.  That movie was truly aweful. Lucky for me after I left that theatre I wandered into School of Rock and caught almost the whole thing. That was a good movie.

Mark Cuban asks:

How do you get people out of the house to see your movie without spending a fortune. How can you convince 5 million people to give up their weekend and go to a theater to see a specific movie without spending 60mm dollars.

You do that by making it safe, for one. I can’t send my kids to the movies because it’s not safe for them to go alone (even together).  If it were safe and the movies were good, they’d go often. OFTEN.

You also can do that by making it respectful. To offer me a fountain coke for $6 is to disrespect me. Ditto for an $8 box of popcorn. And a theatre that is not much bigger than my home theater? With seemingly uncontrolled audio levels and air conditioning? Or how about when the movie next door bleeds into your movie… completely inexcusable business practices.

And while we are  on the topic of respect, how about the 20-30 minutes of commercials? And the product placements! Tody’s theaters seat so few comfortably, you have to arrive early to get a decent seat and then sit through all that nonsense. You know you’re being nickel and dimed. Nobody likes that. It’s disrespectful.
So sorry about the lack of originality Mark but I honestly believe you simply need to improve the movie theater if you want movie goers. We stand in long lines on opening night because we want to BE THERE, sharing the limelight of opening night, seeing neighbors further back in the line, and telling stories the next day about the new movie we saw last night. After that, wait for the DVD. Going to the movie theater is simply not a fulfilling entertainment experience.

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John




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