29 Sept 2007

List of companies that pay you to blog

Updated: 3 Oct. 2007

These are the companies that pay you to write sponsored posts on YOUR blog. Thus, I have not added About.com, Helium.com or Squidoo.com.

Despite what the critics have to say, sponsored posts are here to stay. I guess in the end, the companies that will survive will be the ones, able to attract the big companies to advertise with them (with big bucks of course) and able to keep their bloggers happy at the same time. A tough balancing act to keep up.

PayPerPost.com is clearly the market leader right now. However, I am wondering, whether it was also the earliest pioneer to introduce this form of blog advertising?

28 Sept 2007

Introduction to TNX.net

There has been a proliferation of link farms - a group of websites/ blogs that link to each other, all over the net. This was a very common search engine optimization (SEO) technique. It was hoped that increasing the number of sites that link to yours would lead to higher Google page rank. It did work for a while until the search engines started penalizing an banning sites on such link farms. I have to admit that I am also guilty of joining a few of them. After I learnt of that these SEO techniques were frowned upon by Google and other search engines, I deleted the links from my sites.

TNX.net is a new online advertising company that combines the benefits of contextual advertising, text links exchange as well as permanent non-reciprocal text links. They avoid the above problem by not placing many links on each page by default. Their link ads don’t have any unique HTML coding that would enable search engines to identify the links. If you do happen to buy links, they allow you have full control over the link ads placement speed. Having too many links to your site suddenly appear on the web may be considered suspicious, if you know what I mean.

Their system has over 30 thousand webmasters worldwide and a database of more than 33,500,000 pages, out of which more then 500,000 have PR>0. Anyone who's interested in increasing the volume of targeted visitors to their sites can join in. That was for advertisers. Besides earning money by putting up ads on their sites and from referrals, publishers can take advantage of TNX.net to promote own websites as well. Unlike other companies, a publisher is also an an advertiser automatically.

Registering was really fast and easy. After registering, you can then add your sites to the system. However, before your site can be recognised, you need to put up the TNX code on your site. It should be noted that the TNX code does not work on pages or websites that are hosted on servers without PHP and/or Perl support. Ad-links will show up as soon as your site is approved. Unfortunately sites not indexed by Google or with PR 0 are not accepted.

After your site is approved, you'll receive 5000 points as a bonus that can be used to buy links from up to 5,000 websites.

By now you are probably wondering how much it would cost you to join in. Well, it is totally free for webmasters who install the TNX code on their websites. In case you are interested in advertising, check out the advertising costs here: http://www.tnx.net/price.php

A lot of bloggers have a problem deciding how much to charge for putting up ads on the blog. Well the Income Calculator on the TNX home page should come in handy.

For a limited period they are also giving away 2,000 points to people who join in now. This would enable you to buy up to 2,000 links for a month. So, what are you waiting for. Give them a test run as you have nothing to lose.

23 Sept 2007

MySparks widget for your MySpace profile

Here's some fun stuff for all of you who are on MySpace - the most popular social networking site on the net. Called "MySparks", visitors to your MySpace profile can see how much they "spark" with you.

You can get yourself a MySparks widget here. Just add your profile name, sign up and copy the code provided. Once you have pasted it into your profile, you are done.

Check out the widget below. Just type in your profile name in the widget to see whether sparks fly between us.

click here to change the colour of your widget
click here to get your own widget

20 Sept 2007

Problogger answers my question

Sometime back, Darren Rowse, the original problogger, invited his blog readers to ask him questions. Of course, I did. Here's the question I asked:
I became a full time blogger early this year. However, unlike other people, I miss the work place and socializing with “real” people. Did you ever face this situation?

I finally got my question answered in a video on his blog: Getting to 1000 Visitors a Day, When to Go Pro, .Net or .Com and Lonely Bloggers - Reader Questions Answered. Thanks Darren. Yes! I was getting pretty lonely.

Anyway, I am now working in a temporary position in the University of Warwick and to tell the truth, I now realise how much I miss going to work to a real office. That's the reason why I haven't been able to update my blog that regularly.

15 Sept 2007

Get online marketing help from the experts - Intelligent Online Marketing Ltd.

Intelligent Online Marketing Ltd. is a UK online marketing company based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire. Led by Graham Baylis, Director and "SEO Guru", the Online Marketing Experts, help companies build the right traffic to their sites by covering almost every area of online marketing, namely:
  • Keyword Research
  • Pay Per Click Management
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Analytics Services
  • Linking Strategies
  • Articles, Blogs & PR
  • Newsletters & Email Marketing
If I were a business and looking for marketing help, I think a track record of the company is very important. I was pleased to learn that the company was formed in 1998 and was originally called "TheWebIsTheWay Ltd". Initially they were involved in producing websites, but totally moved into the present field in 2001.

Their success as listed on their "case studies" page is quite impressive. I would have appreciated it they had provided more detailed information as well as links to the client's sites.

I found the home page to be a bit over crowded with information. There were too many links to news stories and articles on the right side, which some how makes the website look odd because of the empty space on the left hand side. I suggest putting up only a few news titles inside a box, would give the site a more tidy and professional look. Talking about news, the site carries a number of useful and interesting articles on the site related to online marketing. You can also watch Graham in a series of videos on Online Marketing.

I had fun trying out their online quizzes as well. Learnt a couple of new things there while having a laugh at some of the possible answers given.

Get quantified with Quantcast

There's a new internet ratings service in town and it's called Quantcast. Touted as the world's first open internet ratings service, advertisers can use it to find reports on the audiences of millions of web sites. On the other hand, if you are a web publishers (or blogger), you can "Quantify your site" by tagging them for direct measurement. The best part is that this service is totally free.

In order to "Quantify your site", you need to sign up first. Cut and paste the personalized javascript tag provided into your site's page. They will start measuring your traffic immediately and within a few days you'll see new traffic statistics in your profile.

I am really curious to see how it differs from the statistics provided by Google analytics.

See what they have to say about the top 5 websites:
  1. yahoo.com 127M+ U.S. monthly uniques. The site caters to a more educated, slightly male slanted following.
  2. google.com 118M+ U.S. monthly uniques. The site caters to a slightly male slanted, more educated, more affluent audience.
  3. aol.com 59M+ U.S. monthly uniques. The site attracts a more youthful, fairly wealthy group.
  4. msn.com 59M+ U.S. monthly uniques. The site appeals to a more educated, very slightly male biased, more affluent group.
  5. myspace.com 52M+ U.S. monthly uniques. The site caters to a very slightly female biased, teen and young adult audience.
My ranking is nothing to shout about. It's ranked 8,205,628 as of today.

14 Sept 2007

Rate and share with Ratergators

Ratergators is another online social community where you get to rate and share practically anything and everything with friends. You also get to meet a lot of like minded people and share ideas.

They call ratergators.com a consensus engine, which means that once you have signed up, you can rate different products and services including books, movies, music, TV shows, etc. and create your own social network circle based on interest.

Creating an account (for FREE) is really easy and your user ID becomes part of your own page on the site. For example, my user ID is seoexpert and my page url is www.ratergators.com/seoexpert

To add a new review,
  • click "+ Add New Item".
  • Add the Title, Tags and add a description of the item.
  • You then choose a category with the option of creating a new one if the suitable category is not available.
  • You can also add a media file along with your review.
  • Finally rate your and add a comment and save.
Once you are done, invite your friends to rate the item.

You can also embed your ratings via a widget on any website or blog.

So far I have done only one review. Looking forward to doing more reviews and see what other people think of them as well.

12 Sept 2007

Is Google going to get rid of page rank?

At first I thought it was impossible but after going through all the rumours on various blogs as well as discussion groups, I am seriously wondering whether Google is actually getting rid of the page rank (PR) system. Read Goodbye Google PageRank? and Rumors about Google doing away with Pagerank?.

Doing away with page rank would be a serious blow to various companies specialising in customer generated advertising. This includes PayPerPost, Review Me, Sponsored reviews and a host of others, as they all use PR as a means of ranking blogs that are registered with them. The higher the PR of your blog, the more higher paying opportunities you get.

If that ever happens - I mean In the absence of Google PR, I guess they would have to come up with alternative ways to rank blogs. Despite criticisms about it's accuracy, Alexa is already used by several companies and might become the default blog ranking system.

Another option is of course, the Technorati blog authority, the blog search engine or in their words,
the recognized authority on what's happening on the World Live Web.
View blog authority

The hugely popular, The Truth Laid Bear ecosystem may be another option. Said to be the "definitive weblog ranking system". According to their website,
TTLB receives an average of 1,535 visits and 3,846 page views per day.

Can you think of other blog ranking services?

8 Sept 2007

Command over English crucial for business

An American friend was recounting his encounters with some British clients: "I think they were speaking English but I could hardly understand what they were saying". We all laughed but it's not surprising because even though they all speak English here, there are so many English slangs and British colloquialisms that are unique to each place.

In the highly competitive world of business, good communication and command over language is extremely important. And we have to face that fact that English, is the International language of business. For example, when Malaysians and Japanese businessmen come together to work out a deal, the language they use to communicate is English. A good command over the English language is absolutely essential.

It might be wrong to assume that people in English speaking countries have excellent communication and written skills. Even here in the UK, I was looking through the work of some students at a local University and their papers were full of grammatical and spelling errors.

Anyway, if you are looking for English classes for executives, you might want to consider 'Executive Language Training'. They are said to be the industry leader in providing English language training to executives to companies in the US and around the world. The courses are tailored to your needs and is taught one-on-one or in small groups. Even your schedule and location is based on your individual preferences. Check out the site for more details.

5 Sept 2007

David Airey giving away more then $4000 worth of prizes

As part of his blog's first anniversary, graphic designer David Airey is having a anniversary prize draw, giving away prizes worth more than $4000.

The prizes are amazing. Three lucky guys will each win a Gold award, a Silver Award and a Bronze award. Each award is made up of a number of special deals brought together to make up a superb package. For example, the Gold award is "the ultimate business blog package", which has everything you would need to start up a new blog starting with a brand new Logo design from David Airey himself. You also get:
With loads of other amazing bonus prizes, the chances of winning is much higher than others competitions I have entered, where only one guy wins. I would be delighted if I can get a watercolour print from Ed Roach Watercolours collection.

Go to the anniversary prize draw on David's blog for more information.

Engadget is giving away over 100 gadgets

Engadget, my favourite Gadget site, is giving away hundreds of gadgets. There will be four rounds a day, once every six hours. I missed the earlier ones but was finally able to enter round 4.

Why I think this contest is the best ever?

1. There is greater chance to win. Hundreds of chances.
2. Open Worldwide. Not "Only for USA".
3. No reviews, links, etc. All I had to do was leave a comment.

So what are you waiting for?

Videos on energy and environmental issues

Yes! I am still continuing my green theme. I am sometimes bewildered by people who are not concerned at all with the on-going debate on climate change. In fact, I found some people to be against the very idea of changing the current energy policies to more eco-friendly ones, because that might mean paying a little bit more or a change in their lifestyles.

Thankfully, many are coming round to the idea that being environmentally friendly is a good idea and it is worth paying a little bit more or changing your lifestyle for a better future. The survival of the Earth may very well be at stake if we continue what we are doing without any change.

It may not necessarily be that costly to be eco-friendly as some imagine. I was watching a video showing Battelle, a major U.S. research organization, unveiling its new report, Global Energy Technology Strategy: Addressing Climate Change. It was really interesting.
...if the present suite of energy technologies is improved and key advanced energy technologies developed and deployed.

I watched this video on Energy Policy TV's climate change Channel. Energypolicytv.com hosts your videos relating to energy and environmental issues, totally free of charge. These can include speeches, seminars, presentations, news conferences, etc. However, they do not accept video news releases or product or service video ads. This site should interest policy makers as well as any one interested in these issues.

4 Sept 2007

Eco friendly web host

I read this rather interesting piece of news in a local newspaper last week. It was about a local entrepreneur who has launched an Eco-friendly web hosting company. Solar Host is a subsidiary of 'Floppynet Ltd', both owned by Tom Willianmson (22). According to their website, their servers are 100% powered by solar energy. That might appeal to environment conscious people.

Some of the energy efficient technology used by their data center includes the use of solar tubes to bring in natural sunlight during the day and water cooling systems.

The hosting packages are not that bad either with hosting rates starting from £30 annually for 100Mb space and 1GB monthly bandwidth.

I really love their web site design as well. Quite unique.

3 Sept 2007

Useful USB temparature sensor

There are so many amazing gadgets that can be connected to your computer via Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. One of them is the
Temperature@lert USB Sensor with Email Alerts. This gadget monitors the ambient temperature and will alert you via email if it falls below or climbs above a preset range. You can have Realtime graphing and XML support with temperature measures in both degrees Celsius or degrees Fahrenheit.

The device was primarily meant to be used as a alarm if the air conditioning in a server room failed. However, people have found out several creative uses for it. I was thinking of a crazy use for it. I drink a lot of coffee and have had my tongue burnt a few times. However, if you leave it to cool too long, it won't be tasty to drink. I was thinking that the 'Temperature@lert' would be a great way to test the temperature of the coffee in the cup everytime I want to drink it. However, I have to make sure that it is covered in a waterproof plastic bag and make sure that I have some tissue nearby.

2 Sept 2007

No 1 Tip to make money online - act like a millionaire

Every day I browse through the blogs of the so called Dot Com Moguls, looking for tips on how to further improve my blog and of course new ways of making money (or cari duit in Bahasa Malaysia) through blogging. Famous blogger John Chow once wrote about the requirements to be a dot com mogul.

However he failed to mention one very important point. To be a Dot Com Mogul, you must act like one. You must show that you make loads of money from your online activities. That you are about to become the next Internet millionaire.

If you don't believe me, just go though the blogs of some of the A-list bloggers starting from Darren Rowse, the Problogger himself. I guess the reason is very simple: Nobody wants to listen to whining from a loser.

Even if you are struggling to make a dollar a day from your blog, don't write "only earned a lousy dollar today". Instead reword it to "Yeah! Made some money. I am going to be the next net millionaire".

There is nothing wrong in marketing yourself but just don't go overboard and start making false claims like, "I made $400 this month from Google adsense", when you actually only made $4. People are not stupid and it won't be long before a blogger writes a disparaging post about you.

Another useful tip from the Dot Net Mogul.

Logging on to Bloggerwave

Customer generated advertising via blogs is widely accepted today. Of course there are some detractors who are against sponsored blog post, but they can't stop this new wave because companies have realised the power of this new advertising medium. Bloggerwave is one of the newest companies bringing bloggers, advertisers and agencies together. I am among the thousands of bloggers to sign up with this them - offering our opinion about products and services and getting paid at the same time. This is my second opportunity with them and I am hoping for more to come.

FYI, Bloggerwave.com is owned by IQ Division Company, a interactive media and marketing company with a wide client base across Europe.

1 Sept 2007

Hundreds of Blogger blogs carrying bobby trapped links

According to a BBC news report, a number of Blogger blogs are carrying fake entries with bobby trapped links which downloaded viruses on clicking. These were first noticed by security researcher Alex Eckelberry from Sunbelt Software on Blogger blogs on 27 August.

Blogger has responded saying that:
the blog posts are from bloggers whose machines were compromised by a Trojan horse.
Apparently, the trojans exploited the mail2blogger feature that lets users post to their blogs directly via e-mail.

Read more on Blogger Buzz: Blogger and malware.