See a Need, Fill a Need

Social media advisor Chris Brogan wrote in his article "Pursue the Goal Not the Method" about the important difference between method and goals. About goals, he wrote:

Seek the goal.
The goal is equipping people.
The goal is satisfying need.
The goal is seeking to better others.
The goal is to provide.
The goal is to make everything work better.

When you are working on your affiliate marketing efforts, you have to always keep your goals in mind. You have to be flexible as to the method. The method is not as important as the goal.

And not only do you have to keep your goals in mind, you have to think about the goals and needs and wants of your target market (see "So What Do People Want, Exactly?").

I'm reminded of a line from the animated film "Robots" (2005). The motto of the main character is, "See a need, fill a need." This succinct line summarizes all of Chris Brogan's "The goal is ..." statements. We should burn that bit of marketing wisdom into our minds.

So the next time you write a blog post or an article, or add something to your website, keep your goals and your visitors' goals in mind. In fact, even before you do any of that, ask yourself if that is the best method to reach those goals. Be flexible in your method and reach for the goal.

Remember ...

See a need, fill a need.


Pay-Per-Click ROI Calculator

When you run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ad Campaigns such as Google AdWords, you have to keep an eye on your Return On Investment (ROI).

With any ad campaign, there are four important "input" numbers that you need to know so you can calculate "output" numbers such as ROI:
  • Monthly Ad Spend: How much money you want to spend per month for ads. This is your monthly ad budget. You have control over this number.

  • Conversion Rate (%): How many clicks convert into sales, expressed as a percent. Calculated as: number of sales divided by number of clicks, expressed as a percent. For example, 3 sales from 250 clicks is a 1.2% conversion (i.e.: 3 / 250 * 100 = 1.2). You can estimate this number by looking at the past performance of your ad campaigns. Conversion rate will vary depending on a wide variety of factors, including the products you're promoting, your marketing efforts, your competition, SEO, search engine placement, the season, the economy, and more. Use a realistic conversion rate; typically, less than 2.0% for online sales. Note: Past conversion rate is not a guarantee of future conversion rate.

  • Cost Per Click ($): Cost per click (CPC) is how much you are being charged per click by the ad network. Typcially, when you create an ad, you set the maximum CPC you're willing to pay for that ad. You have control over this number.

  • Average Revenue Per Sale ($): How much money you make (on average) per sale. You can estimate this number by looking at your past sales history. You have some control over this number by promoting higher priced items. Note: Past sales are not a guarantee of future sales.
Once you have the above numbers, it is possible to calculate the following monthly estimated numbers (assumes that all of your monthly ad budget gets spent):
  • Estimated Clicks Per Month: Number of clicks in the month. Calculated as: ad budget divided by cost per click.

  • Estimated Total Sales: Number of sales. Calculated as: number of clicks times the conversion rate. For example, 250 clicks with a conversion rate of 1.2% would be 3 sales (i.e.: 250 * 1.2 / 100 = 3). Note: The number of sales is only an estimate and is not guaranteed!

  • Estimated Cost Per Sale: Cost for each sale. This number had better be less than the revenue per sale otherwise you're losing money per sale!

  • Estimated Total Revenue: Total revenue from the sales. Calculated as: total number of sales * revenue per sale.

  • Estimated Total Profit: Estimate of how much money you would make. Calculated as: Total revenue (income) minus monthly ad budget (expense). This number had better be positive otherwise you're losing money!

  • Estimated ROAS: Estimated Return On Ad Spend. If this number is greater than 100%, you're making money; if exactly 100%, you're breaking even; if less than 100%, you're losing money.

  • Estimated ROI: Estimated Return On Investment. If this number is greater than 0%, you're making money; if exactly 0%, you're breaking even; if less than 0%, you're losing money.
Keep in mind that the above numbers are all estimated numbers. Past PPC performance is not a guarantee of future PPC performance.

Rather than calculating all these numbers by hand, you can use this handy PPC ROI Calculator.

By the way, if you're using Google AdWords for your PPC ad campaigns, AdWords can be a great way of getting traffic to your website, but it can also get very expensive if you don't know what you're doing. I suggest that you check out Beating Adwords.


Recuva: Free File Recovery Software

Unlike my other posts, this one is not about affiliate marketing tips.

It's about a useful little utility program that I found that recovers deleted files on your Windows computer, Recycle Bin, digital camera card, or MP3 player.

It's called Recuva and it's free (the author does ask for a donation if you find it useful).


Recuva can recover pictures, music, Office documents, video, and all other file types too.

The thing is, you really should install Recuva on your Windows computer before you need. Because when you delete any file (whether accidentally or intentionally), the space that the file occupied is now freed up for any new files to use. So if you were to install Recuva at that point, the Recuva program itself might be written to that section on the hard drive thus overwriting the very file that you wanted to recover.

I have Recuva installed on all my computers just in case I need. And I recommend it to everyone I can.

So, install it now, before you need it. Check it out... Recuva

Blocking Bad Bots and Scrapers with .htaccess

Why block "bad bots"? Well, first let me say what a "bad bot" is. It is a search engine spider or email harvester spider that downloads pages from your website and does not obey your robots.txt file. The major of bad bots are a useless waste of your server's bandwidth and resources. That's why I ban them from my websites.

Most bad bots can be identified by their User-Agent value. By making your server check for known User-Agent values of bad bots, you can block those bad bots. Some bad bots forge their User-Agent value and pretend to be web browsers such as FireFox or IE; those bad bots cannot be blocked based on User-Agent (you may be able to block them based on IP address).

The testing for bad bots goes in your website's .htaccess file. If you have a dedicated server, you could put the testing in your webserver's http.conf file for greater efficiency.

I have the following statements in my website's root .htaccess file before all other Rewrite statements:

#--- 403 Forbidden file ---
ErrorDocument 403 /403.html

#--- enable Rewrite engine ---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /

#--- block bad bots ---
# see: http://www.askapache.com/htaccess/blocking-bad-bots-and-scrapers-with-htaccess.html

RewriteRule ^403\.html$ - [L]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(aesop_com_spiderman|alexibot|backweb|bandit|batchftp|bigfoot) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(black.?hole|blackwidow|blowfish|botalot|buddy|builtbottough|bullseye) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(cheesebot|cherrypicker|chinaclaw|collector|copier|copyrightcheck) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(cosmos|crescent|curl|custo|da|diibot|disco|dittospyder|dragonfly) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(drip|easydl|ebingbong|ecatch|eirgrabber|emailcollector|emailsiphon) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(emailwolf|erocrawler|exabot|eyenetie|filehound|flashget|flunky) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(frontpage|getright|getweb|go.?zilla|go-ahead-got-it|gotit|grabnet) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(grafula|harvest|hloader|hmview|httplib|httrack|humanlinks|ilsebot) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(infonavirobot|infotekies|intelliseek|interget|iria|jennybot|jetcar) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(joc|justview|jyxobot|kenjin|keyword|larbin|leechftp|lexibot|lftp|libweb) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(likse|linkscan|linkwalker|lnspiderguy|lwp|magnet|mag-net|markwatch) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(mata.?hari|memo|microsoft.?url|midown.?tool|miixpc|mirror|missigua) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(mister.?pix|moget|mozilla.?newt|nameprotect|navroad|backdoorbot|nearsite) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(net.?vampire|netants|netcraft|netmechanic|netspider|nextgensearchbot) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(attach|nicerspro|nimblecrawler|npbot|octopus|offline.?explorer) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(offline.?navigator|openfind|outfoxbot|pagegrabber|papa|pavuk) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(pcbrowser|php.?version.?tracker|pockey|propowerbot|prowebwalker) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(psbot|pump|queryn|recorder|realdownload|reaper|reget|true_robot) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(repomonkey|rma|internetseer|sitesnagger|siphon|slysearch|smartdownload) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(snake|snapbot|snoopy|sogou|spacebison|spankbot|spanner|sqworm|superbot) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(superhttp|surfbot|asterias|suzuran|szukacz|takeout|teleport) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(telesoft|the.?intraformant|thenomad|tighttwatbot|titan|urldispatcher) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(turingos|turnitinbot|urly.?warning|vacuum|vci|voideye|whacker) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^(libwww-perl|widow|wisenutbot|wwwoffle|xaldon|xenu|zeus|zyborg|anonymouse) [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^web(zip|emaile|enhancer|fetch|go.?is|auto|bandit|clip|copier|master|reaper|sauger|site.?quester|whack) [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^.*(craftbot|download|extract|stripper|sucker|ninja|clshttp|webspider|leacher|collector|grabber|webpictures).*$ [NC]

RewriteRule . - [F,L]
(download this file)

The statement "ErrorDocument 403 /403.html" causes all banned users to be redirected to /403.html so you should create a simple 403.html file that just reports the user has been banned. Keep it simple without any images or external CSS references (those files would be blocked).

<head><title>403 Forbidden</title></head>
<h1>403 Forbidden</h1>
<p>Access forbidden.</p>
(download this file)

This .htaccess file is based on a post at AskApache.com. The same concept is also mentioned in a post at JavasSriptKit.com.

It is also possible to ban spiders/spammers/users based on their IP address. For example, you could ban access from IP addresses located in China. I'll cover that topic in a subsequent post.

Redirect www.domain.com to domain.com

In my post "Redirect domain.com to www.domain.com", I described how to redirect requests of domain.com to www.domain.com (note the addition of www.).

It's also possible to do the reverse. In this post I'll describe how to redirect requests from www.domain.com to domain.com (note the removal of www.).

Twitter.com uses this "base domain" technique. Try it... access http://www.twitter.com/c3scripts and you'll see that you're redirected to http://twitter.com/c3scripts

Note: Throughout this post, I mention domain.com (without www.) and www.domain.com (with www.). They are different. Be very clear on that point.

Note: Some web servers are configured to only handle accesses to www.domain.com and will not accept accesses to domain.com. Try accessing your own domain http://domain.com (without www.) and see if your server can handle it or not. If not, ask your hosting company to configure the server to accept domain.com (without www.) accesses, otherwise you cannot use this redirection on your server.

Adding two statements to your root .htaccess file is all you need to do. Add these statements near the top of your .htaccess file before all other Rewrite statements.

#--- remove www domain prefix ---
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*)
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

So what do these two lines do?

The RewriteCond (a rewrite condition) tests the HTTP_HOST (what domain is being accessed) to see whether it has www. at the start. If that condition is met, then the next statement is evaluated. If that condition is not met, then the RewriteRule is skipped.

The RewriteRule takes whatever path is being accessed and redirects to that path at the base domain. For example, http://www.domain.com/something.html would be redirected to http://domain.com/something.html (without www.). In the RewriteRule, the %1 is substituted with what the RewriteCond matched in its parentheses, and the $1 is substituted with what the RewriteRule matched in its parentheses. So %1 has the base domain, and $1 has the path. So, http://%1/$1 is the URL of the base domain and path.

Note: If you have no root .htaccess or it has no RewriteRule statements, then somewhere above the preceding RewriteCond/RewriteRule statements, you also need these two statements to ensure that the Rewrite engine is enabled:

#--- enable Rewrite engine ---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /

So, if you are using one of our DySE scripts, such as DySE::StubHub, then your .htaccess file might look something like this:

#--- enable Rewrite engine ---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /

#--- remove www domain prefix ---
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*)
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

#--- DySE::StubHub at root / ---
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^.+$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ cgi-bin/dyse/view.pl?merch=stubhub&dir=&path=$1 [L]

The order of these three blocks of statements is important. You want the test of the domain name to be done before all other RewriteCond/RewriteRule statements.


So What Do People Want, Exactly?

Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation". Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs consists of: Deficiency needs (Physiological needs, Safety needs, Social needs, Esteem), and Self-actualization (Acceptance, Problem Centering, The need for privacy, Morality and discrimination between means and ends, Sense of Humor, Imperfections, The desires to Know and to Understand).

So what do people want, exactly?
People want to ...
  • feel safe and secure
  • feel comfortable
  • be free to do what they want
  • be cared for and connected to others
  • be desired by others
  • feel that they matter
  • grow and become more
  • be surprised and excited
  • serve others and give back
  • believe there is a higher purpose
The more of these needs that the consumer believes our promoted product/service satisfies, the more successful our marketing efforts will be.

Big brands spend over $450 billion each year to influence consumers. They wouldn't spent that much if it did not work -- they know what they're doing. Learn what they are doing to satisfy consumers' needs. Apply some of those strategies in your own affiliate marketing efforts to be more successful.

It's also important as marketers that we realize there is a difference between need and want. A person may need a car, but they may want a Mercedes or BMW or Lexus. And the person wants that expensive car to meet their needs (e.g.: to be desired by others, feel that they matter).

So remember, focus your marketing efforts on what people want.

Remember to Give Them What They Want (It's Really Very Simple) describes these needs in greater detail and illustrates them with brands that successfully target those needs. Check it out.

Must Identify Yourself as an Amazon.co.uk Associate

Amazon.co.uk will be requiring you to clearly state on your website that you are an Amazon.co.uk Associate.

The upcoming March 1, 2010 version of the Amazon.co.uk Operating Agreement contains the following section:

10. Identifying Yourself as an Associate

You will not issue any press release or make any other public communication with respect to this Operating Agreement, your use of the Content, or your participation in the Programme. You will not misrepresent or embellish the relationship between us and you (including by expressing or implying that we support, sponsor, endorse, or contribute to any charity or other cause), or express or imply any relationship or affiliation between us and you or any other person or entity except as expressly permitted by this Operating Agreement. You must, however, clearly state the following on your site: "[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Europe S.à.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk/Javari.co.uk."

Notice the sentence that I have highlighted in yellow.

You should include the required sentence on your website before March 1, 2010 so that you will remain in compliance with the upcoming Amazon.co.uk Associates Programme Operating Agreement.

A summary of the all changes between the current and next version of the agreement can be seen here: Amazon.co.uk agreement comparison.


How To Become A Super Affiliate In 5 Easy Steps

I just watched a new video on Jeff Johnson's UndergroundTrainingLab.com blog.

And it's terrific!

How To Become A Super Affiliate In 5 Easy Steps

I can't believe this ...

In this 30-minute video Jeff tells you exactly which products he's promoting... and how much money he's making with them... and it's a lot!

Jeff literally hands you his best money-getting affiliate promotions on a silver platter.

Here's your free...

"How To Become A Super Affiliate In 5 Easy Steps" video



You don't have to give your email to watch it or anything like that.

But I'm on Jeff's mailing list and he sends out great content and free software all the time.

Watch the video and if you like it ...

Join his list.

You'll love his stuff.

Here's that free video. Check it out ...
How To Become A Super Affiliate In 5 Easy Steps