Adsense, ad-rings and ad-scams

After my article ‘Adwords and Adsense’ I received a few emails from people who were making a lot of money (or so they claimed) from being in a click ring with 100,000 other members.  They all used false email addresses so I couldn’t reply to them individually so I’ll have to do it here.

Don’t you people all realise that you are stealing??  I’m a person who used adwords to advertise my web site and I can tell you that you are STEALING my money!  There is no other way to describe it as it is theft, pure and simple.

From the tone of the emails I don’t think they really care though, as long as they get their money;  I for one hope that google find out who is in this ‘click ring’ and ban the lot of you, do you really think it’s that hard to work out who is in it from the inside?  And please don’t try to convince me that ‘google will never discover us because we are too smart for them’ – Bulldust – you only need one google person to infiltrate it in order to finish it off.  The laws of probability says that google has already infiltrated your ring and is busily gathering info.
And 100,000 members?  I don’t think so, someone would have told google waaaay before you hit that mark.

I actually went through my old adwords account today – did you know that there are some key words that are GUARANTEED to be clicked on?  I have the proof!
Nigerian letter scam, 419 scam and Nigerian scam all had a 100% click through rate!  How good is that?!?
As I have stated before though, not one person clicked any further than the home page so I’m guessing that it was the Nigerian scammers that actually find these sorts of ads and click on them in order to get them off google; or at least push our advertising expenses through the roof (which they succeeded to do with my account, I had to shut it down).
Never fear though, my account will be back.

EDIT : My account didn’t come back; google refuse to give me any information or allow me to get my account back.

Finding a bargain on ebay

Found a bargain on ebay? It’s a nice feeling when you find what you want for a good price. Before you buy though there are a few things you should look out for.

I remember once I was searching for a Digital Video Camera and found one on ebay for $5.
Bargain of a lifetime I thought.
A lesson I learnt from experience though is to always read the fine print; and in this case it threw up a few surprises.

I’ve sold over 3,000 items on ebay so I know a bit about postage costs and I estimated that the item would cost about $12 via registered post or $9.70 express post. So you can imagine how shocked I was when the local postage cost was $80!!
So this camera is now $85 instead of the $5 I thought it was.

I kept reading though for any more unpleasant surprises – and found one more.
This item required insurance – $20!
When I insure my items I pay about $1.80 to $3 depending on the item. So where is this $20 coming from??
So now this camera costs $105, not what I expected!

So why the high postage costs? The item was supposed to be located in Sydney but in the fine print the item is coming from Asia, hence the high postage costs.

So, is the item worth $105? Reading the feedback for this item I would say no, nobody was happy with it for the price they paid.

But the description states that if someone is unhappy with the item they can return it for a 100% refund – so if buyers are unhappy they should simply return it shouldn’t they?
Read the description more carefully and you will see that a 100% refund only covers the BUYING price (Please note that this is in line with ebay’s policy). You don’t get a refund on the postage or the insurance, so you get a refund of $5 only. And to rub salt into the wound you need to pay the postage cost to send it back to Asia!!

So what are the Golden rules for looking for a bargain?
Read the fine print.
Check out the postage costs, are the items combined? Is there a postage cost?
Should you insure it? Remember that Australia Post delivers 98% of items quickly BUT the flip side is that 2% of items get held up and maybe lost.
Don’t assume anything!! Don’t assume postage will be combined unless it says so in the description, if there is no postage cost then don’t assume they will charge a reasonable cost (some people make their living on ebay by overcharging on postage).
Check the feedback of the person, this is critical to find out how honest they are and how happy buyers have been with their service.

Don’t get all paranoid after reading this article though, 99% of transactions are as honest as the day is long. Happy ebaying.

Learn from porn

The Internet started for the general public in about 1994 (it had been around since the 1960’s but only for academics and military personnel).

When I started in 1996 I often compared my first five years on the Internet to the old Wild West of America; the more I think about this claim the more accurate I believe I am.

Since then the Internet has evolved into order with people having wised up to the tricks and pitfalls of being online.

In the old days people believed that running a store was easy and that the old rules of retail didn’t apply.  Most people believed that the store with the lowest price would ‘win’.

They were WRONG!

Stores simply wanted you to send them money and they would send the goods.  If you sent a seller an email to ask if the item had been sent yet then you were considered a nuisance! 

It took about 6 years (from personal experience) before things got better on the Internet and customer service improved.

And where did this ‘revolution’ start?  It started in an online industry that was making a $10 billion yearly profit.

And this industry is?  … Porn.

Love it or hate it Porn is the most profitable industry on the Internet, far outselling anything else.  In fact it makes more profit than Microsoft!

Pornography was profitable from day one, which caused a lot of competitors to appear; and there were a LOT of competitors.

The irony of this is that porn kept making huge profits while the industry experts claimed that nobody would ever make a profit on the Internet (that comment now ranks up there with the head of the US patent office claiming that man would never fly).

So all those that were not in the porn industry were not making money, but some wised up and realised that if porn could make money then why couldn’t they?  They proceeded to look at the porn industry in order to work out how it was making money; and came to the startling realisation that the porn industry was using ‘real world’ tactics to remain profitable.

The main lesson learnt was that ‘customers’ aren’t very profitable – it’s ‘repeat customers’ that make you the money!  You always encourage new customers but the old customers are the ones that are the most profitable.

So how do you turn a ‘customer’ into a ‘repeat customer’?  Simple – Customer service.

Customer service was really missing when the Internet started.

Companies realised that if they had a customer service department it raised the cost of business but it took them a while to realise that the increase in sales was worth it.

Morale to all this – treat your online customers the same way you treat your real customers.