Business Technology

Google Apps Removes Free Version Completely

I just got an email from Google stating that they are removing the free version of Google Apps completely. This is not going to effect existing accounts but new users will not be able to sign up for the free version. I am a heavy user of Google apps and use it on 20+ domains. This is a sad, sad day…

Hello from Google,Here’s some important news about Google Apps—but don’t worry, there’s no need for you to take any action. We just want you to know that we’re making a change to the packages we offer.

Starting today, we’re no longer accepting new sign-ups for the free version of Google Apps (the version you’re currently using). Because you’re already a customer, this change has no impact on your service, and you can continue to use Google Apps for free.

Should you ever want to upgrade to Google Apps for Business, you’ll enjoy benefits such as 24/7 customer support, a 25 GB inbox, business controls, our 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited users and more for just $5 per user, per month.

You can learn more about this change in our Help Center or on the Enterprise Blog.

Thank you for using Google Apps.

Clay Bavor
Director, Google Apps

Business Technology

App Idea – Turn iPhone’s into Public Hot-spots

So you already know that you can turn your iPhone into a hotspot, but a PUBLIC one? that anyone can use?

Here is the idea.

Its an app that allows you to create a public hotspot that anyone can access with NO password. But for the user to access the hotspot, they need to watch a 10 second video advertisement.

Video ads pay anywhere form $30-80 CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

The app provider can organize rev share with its users, so that they get a percentage of the advertisement revenue (say 50/50).

This could be a great additional revenue stream for cab or bus drivers, or just a great way to offset your phone bill costs.

Business Technology

The Future of Video Storage

Imagine free, unlimited, unmetered video storage service for all your video needs.

A service where you could quickly upload, download and watch all your own private videos for free with no restriction on size, quality or content. And a service that was 100% redundant meaning that you could never lose your data, an important factor because there is no way to get back those home movies of little Timmy as a toddler if the house burns down.

  • For the father who has all those CDs he doesn’t know what to do with
  • The professional video editor who has hundreds of hard disks full of data from old projects
  • The local convenience store owner who has to erase his CCTV footage every month due to lack of space
  • All the way up to big corporations who might have thousands of cameras running at once.

Is it really such an unrealistic service?

YouTube already hosts hundreds of millions of videos for free, not to mention the plethora of other free video hosting sites out there.

Dropbox is giving 10gb+ away for free to its users.

The costs of data storage are reducing while the capacity is increasing all at an exponential rate.

That being said, it’s still not cheap. Building a service like this would likely set you back in the hundreds of millions of dollars. So how could you afford to build such a service?

Since the data is not for public viewing and you won’t have large amounts of traffic you can’t sell advertising.

The one asset you are building up is all the data you are storing. Data is information, if you can turn that information into knowledge, into usable data, you may be able to turn a profit from it.

I could guess that most people reading this post probably have either a Google, iTunes or Facebook account. If you have any of these, you’ve probably accepted a privacy agreement that allows these companies to use all of your personal information. To analyse your browsing activities, monitor your interests, what you talk about, what you read and who your friends are.

Many speculate these companies already sell your information to other corporations and even the government including intelligence divisions like the CIA and FBI.

I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with this. If you don’t want your information shared, don’t use the service. Nobody is forcing you to.

So assuming you create a privacy policy drafted in a way that allows you to do analysis on the videos that you are storing for free, here are a few ways I think you could use that data. There is probably thousands more I haven’t thought of.

1. You could use the data from cameras in certain locations to collect and analyze data about the real world. For example how many cars drive down a road per month or how many people pass a shop front each day. You could even go deeper and use it to analyze demographics. How many men vs women vs children pass a particular shop each day. How many cars above $50,000 drive down this road each day etc… Many companies can use this kind of data.

2. You could use it to find people around the world. Easy examples would be for agencies to use. Maybe to find a kidnapped child or a wanted terrorist.

3. You could sell the data to universities for human behavioural analysis

4. You could sell (some) footage to MTV/Funnies Home Videos – this may cause issues but I’m sure you would capture a bunch of hilarious shit.

5. You could provide video data analysis for your individual clients as an upsell service. Companies who want to know the behaviours of their staff or customers in their stores.

Of course all the above would be done by an autmated software product that was able to find results in near realtime.

Outside of monetizing the actual data, you could also:

6. Create a Freemium model where the higher users pay for more bandwidth

7. Create a Freemium model where users can pay so that their data is kept private and cannot be used for analysis

Many companies collect a large amount of data but don’t monetize it correctly. This is a crying shame because in today’s information age there are so many different ways to monetize data at generally little to no cost.


Business Featured People Technology Travel

99 Abstract Life Hacks – Make your Life Easier Today!

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The Death of Broadcast Advertising…

It has been a topic of discussion for some time now that broadcast advertising has been losing its effectiveness. I mean seriously, when was the last time you saw a billboard on the side of the road, picked up a phone and called the number displayed?

Maybe recently, but it was probably a fluke. Broadcast advertising is basically the same as spam – untargeted advertising to the masses.

Not that spam doesn’t work, it does. But it is not the most effective method of advertising.

Examples of broadcast advertising include:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • Billboards
  • Cold Calling
  • Junk mail
  • Etc…

These methods, while targeted to a small level (like you know that mostly females watch The Bachelor so you advertise female oriented products during the airing of that show), in modern age of today, you can do so much better.

With the technology and data that exists today, it is much easier to find, track and target your audience down to an almost exact science.

Here are some targeted advertising options to consider:

Search Advertising

I’m sure most of you know what search advertising, most people in the world have probably clicked on a Google search advertisement at some point in their lives. But you know why you clicked on it? Because you were searching for it, it works.

Facebook Advertising

Most people tell Facebook what their likes and interest are. So target people who are interested in what you have to offer…

Sponsored Emails

There are email newsletters in EVERY single market in the world. Instead of broadcasting to your general demographic, why not purchase an advertisement on an email list from people who have already indicated they are interested in what you have to offer?


Retargeting or behavioural retargeting is genius. You may have seen this happen to you already, but basically if you visit a site of a certain type (say a stock trading website) you can then follow that same customer across different sites showing them the same advertisement until eventually they buy.

Needless to say, there are many other methods of targeted advertising that all work very well. And a good combination of broadcast and targeted advertising can work wonders too (think broadcast advertising to determine your target market, then retargeting that customer until they buy). But if you find yourself stuck in the old school mentality of broadcast advertising only, you need to get with the times…


$2,000 Black Jack Hand – #ASW11

Here is the video of the $2,000 Blackjack hand I did at Vegas.

Here is the story in case you missed it:

Video of the $2k Blackjack Hand

Awesome time, thanks Shoemoney!

Business Travel

Affiliate Summit West #ASW11 – Recap, Video and Photos

Its been more than a week since I have gotten back from Affiliate Summit West 2011 (#ASW11) and wheels are turning. I am thinking it may have been the most productive few days of my life, even though all I did was get wasted all night and wake up at 5pm each day.

Here is a video of my time in Vegas. (click here if you cant see the video)



You may notice there is very little of the ‘actual conference’. That’s because I didn’t really go to much of the ‘actual conference’…. Hell I didn’t even use my free breakfast’s, lunches and I think I used about 2/10 of my drink vouchers…

Some people may say that I wasted the time there because I didn’t go to any of the sessions and didn’t learn anything (which I know is what many of the others who entered Shoemoney’s Contest wanted to do.

But I beg to differ.

I learned HEAPS. But what I learned, will never be told at a session or keynote. Its the real shit. I also made some deep relationships. I went to Affiliate Summit knowing nobody. Like literally nobody. But I have gotten very used to rocking up to places knowing nobody and quickly making friends. It is kinda necessary when you are a solo traveller.

I left ASW with a bunch of new contacts. But not just business cards. Real projects that are in the works. On top of that I made new friends.

It is really hard to really befriend someone when you meet them during the day at a networking event. Sure you may have things in common, sure you may have an interesting conversation, maybe even go for lunch or something. But it is still surface level.

To build a relationship and you need to have shared experiences. There is almost no way around it. So how do you do this?

Well… going out partying until 8am is a good start. Doing stupid shit helps too:


My goal at ASW11 was to make some solid connections. I didn’t want to come back with a bunch of business cards and no follow up plans and I didn’t want to come back having not met anyone but listed to a bunch of speeches which I could learn in a few hours of research on my own (no disrespect to any of the speakers).

But hey, that was just my strategy going in knowing nobody. Next time it will probably be a little different as I will arrange to meet people in advance now that I know a few people.

What is your general conference strategy?


A Day at Affiliate Summit West 2011 #ASW11

4:50pm – Woke up at the Wynn overlooking Las Vegas Blv.

4:55pm – Got out of bed to check my phone that kept beeping. Had message to go to lunch – 4.5 hours ago… Organise to meet a friend downstairs for food and to watch the BCS game.

5:45pm – Get downstairs and get in line for food.

5:50pm – Realise Shoemoney is launching his new product in 10 minutes, so run off to the announcement room for the only event/speech I will see all ASW.

6-7pm – Watch product launch of Link Control and get a free lifetime pass. C ya later Hypertracker.

7:30pm – Roll with Shoemoney to play my $2k blackjack hand. I get dealt a 13 against a 10, land an 8 on the hit for 21. Dealer is 18. Winner winner chicken dinner!

8:00pm – Eat dinner/breakfast with Shoemoney and crew at Switch.

10:00pm – Head over to the Affiliate Ball at Rio with a VIP ticket. Watch 3-6 Mafia rock the house.

1:00am – Head over to the Veniusian for a drink

1:30am – Head over to XS at the Wynn

3:00am – Have a ‘drink’ with a nice young lady in my hotel room

7:00am – Sleep time

It’s a tough life…

Photos and video to come


Winning the Shoemoney Crazy Affiliate Contest – P1

So as you may know by now, I was the winner of the recent Crazy Shoemoney Affiliate Summit Contest that finished up a couple of days ago.

Here is the prize as it currently stands:

  • A platinum pass to Affiliate Summit West.
  • 2 nights hotel accommodations paid for at host hotel.
  • $500 Airfare Reimbursement.
  • $2000 to gamble on 1 hand of blackjack (can you handle the pressure?).
  • Roll with me at Affiliate Summit.
  • A pass to the Epic Advertising Playboy Mansion Party this fall.

Very epic prize.

It was a long road with many hours invested. To win, you had to write a post on your blog stating “why you should win the contest”. 10 finalists were then selected by Shoemoney’s staff. After that it opened up and the winner  had to acquire the most votes over the course a 5 day period. In the end, I emerged triumphant with 43% of the total votes.

Over the next two posts, I will give a break down of exactly what I did to win the competition.

The Finalist Post

First things first. Before anything else you had to get selected by Shoemoney’s staff as a finalist. This meant a killer post.

The first thing I did was assess the competition. I immediately understood that there would be no point attempting this thing half hearted. Just whacking up a useless post on my blog isn’t going to win me a prize easily valued at $5k but it will deteriorate the quality of my blog and brand. So before even deciding whether to enter it or not, I had to do a quick analysis on reward/ratio.

If I my chances of at least getting into the finalists were slim to none, I wouldn’t even bother entering. That decision would be made solely based on the competition. In the end, there were 92 Comments with probably 70 entries to the competition. But when I made the decision to enter, there was less than 40 entrants.

Firstly, this low number was very surprising. I guess that it was the holidays and what not probably meant less people were aware of the contest. Any way, I started reading through the other comments and was fairly shocked at what I saw.

There were a number of entries that were 1 paragraph long, broken links and posts with clearly no thought put into them. Yes there were also a few good posts, but most of them were below par.

Low numbers and low quality? Shit yeah, bring it on.

When I first read the post there was two days left to enter the contest.

Knowing that I had two days, there was no reason to rush the post. You should treat it like any other piece of writing you are trying to get right and write it out, let it sit, edit it, let it sit some more (something I usually don’t do because it takes to long and editing is annoying but it definitely is the most effective technique).

The Essay Approach

When it came down to writing the post, the first question I had to ask my self is “What is this post trying to achieve?” this is something we all had to do in school when we were given one of those annoying questions and told to discuss it. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to argue a point? Solve a problem?

In this case, the point was to be selected. To be chosen. So I started thinking about other types of documents that have a similar purpose. The first that came to mind was a resume, something I have lots of experience with as an ex-recruiter.  A resume is a document you create so you are selected. But getting hirired for a job is not usually just from your resume, you need to do a good job selling youself to secure the position.

This train of thought brought me down the path of a sales letter. Really the purpose of this post was to sell myself. Really, this post was to be a sales page.

The Sales Page Post

I am by no means an expert copy writer. But I know a little. I know what some of the key elements of a strong sales letter are. These include:

  • Telling a story
  • Building Trust
  • Emotional stimulation
  • Focusing on the benefits

I started telling my story. People like dealing with people they know, so the more of a story you can tell the more trust you will build plus it makes for an enjoyable read. I continued with emotional stimulation by writing the post in a very casual manner and by sprinkling humour through the post. I then wrote a section on how I can give back and what the benefits would be of hiring me. Whether they are tangible benefits for someone like Shoemoney or not is irrelevant. They just have to be better than the benefits the other contestants were offering. Some is better than none.

Additional Elements

On top of the above elements which appear in every post I added two more of my own for this particular post:

  • An element to show I had done my research
  • A gimmick to stand out from the crowd

If you see down the bottom of the post, there is a picture of a girl in a grey shirt with a CLICK HERE underneath her. This was not chosen by accident. Actually Shoemoney talked extensively about this picture in his video on Facebook advertising. By adding this element is showed that I actually knew who Shoemoney was, followed his stuff and paid attention. Plus it was slightly humours, at least I thought so anyway.

The last was the tattoo gimmick. To be honest, this was chucked in right at the end. I was basically reading my post thinking shiit, I need a gimmick to close this deal and maybe more importantly, to win the votes. Sure I had a strong post, but it didn’t jump out at you, there was noting overly special about it. If you see Donny Gamble’s post he included the elf video and Danger Brown had a cool video of his own plus he was going to shave his head. These are two other fantastic examples of utilising a gimmick to get attention which resulted in both these guys making it to the finals.

I don’t know why I chose to get a tattoo. Basically I just thought it would be something that the judges would notice, people would talk about and it would make a funny story. No real reason besides it was a straight gimmick.

The End Result

Here is my winning entry. I probably spent a good 4-5 hours on it, possibly longer. Lots of that time was just reading it over and over correcting little bits and pieces. But every couple of times I read it I would get another big idea and chuck it in. As I said the tattoo idea didn’t come until the very end, maybe the last or second last re-read so it definitely pays to do this.

Next up securing the most votes.


Bring on the Controversy

Electron plumber just released a post on his blog ripping into me for using Amazon Mturk as a marketing tool in the Shoemoney Affiliate Competition.

Its true, I wont deny it. I did it. And kudos to him, we all gotta do what we gotta do to win and attempting to eliminate the competition is an age old strategy to win a fight. But the truth is, I didn’t really have much of a choice…

I worked VERY hard on this competition, not only on the entry post but also on gathering votes. I spent the good chunk of my New Years Eve and every waking moment hustling for votes until Jan 2nd untill I saw this…

Those are tweets coming from a post on John Chow’s blog. For those who don’t know, John Chow is a very successful blogger in the Internet Marketing space whom I greatly admire and whos blog I regularly read. The only problem is, he has 118,000 readers!!! 118k wtf? that’s like more than some celebrities.

El Plumber was right. I am not a super star, I don’t have the Alexa rankings to control the masses. I thought I had a compelling entry that would naturally attract votes, but in a situation like this that means jack. After all the work I did, blasting out to my lists, hanging on Facebook asking everyone to vote for me for 2 days straight, asking friends to post on their walls, pulling thousands of emails from every conversation I’ve ever had on Gmail and of all my social network connections. Even asking random girls in bars to vote for me on their smart phones. I thought I was doing pretty well and used a number of interesting marketing methods that I will post about later.

While I cant see my votes, I can see the clicks from the links I was marketing and things were going pretty well. But now that a post had gone out to 120k readers the competition had been taken to a new level.

After seeing the tweets, I started doing some investigation. Oh and by the way, its not just tweets, there is syndication and a whole bunch of other ridiculous stuff that happens when someone posts on a blog of that size. I wasn’t sure if this was a legitimate friend-helping-a-friend-out post or if it was a brilliant paid advertisement (which I am not against by the way). I had read last years winners post as he talked about how he won the competition. He too had bought a post on John Chows blog to help him win votes. Here is his excerpt:

Enter John Chow

I’ve been following John and Jeremy for a long time.  I’ve watched them compete against each other (to see who cold get the most RSS subscribers in an allotted time frame) and promote ZK in the Internet Marketer of the year contest.

It only seemed natural I enlist the services of John Chow and so I contacted him about the possibility of a sponsored post.  It seemed like a good fit, the Shoemoney and Johnchow audience is similar and John Chow has a big following (71000 RSS subscriber and 51000 twitter followers).

I felt it would be a solid investment as it would likely bring in a lot of votes.  I figured if I lost there would still be some value in the links from John Chow and some of the attention it generated.

Five bills later I had a post up on John Chow promoting me and I was feeling pretty good.

I almost when onto sponsored tweets and tried to buy a tweet from Shoemoney himself but I assumed he would decline in for conflict of interest reasons.  Probably should have done it for the potential attention/linkbait anyway.

Not sure if 5 bills was $500 or $10k but either way, that’s lots to spend. And since John Chow’s following is up significantly from last year, it would probably be even more expensive this year. I still wasn’t sure if Donny had done the same thing so I dug up his post on John Chow’s blog.

This is what it looked like:

Now see Donny Gamble’s Post: 

Look familiar?

After seeing this I thought F*(%… I cant win this doing what I’m doing. As El Plumber said, I simply don’t have a big enough following. But it seems that a media buying frenzy was about to begin. Technically speaking, if I had the funds I should have been able to buy advertisements all across the internet. Make Facebook ads with the criteria of “ages between 10-99” and plaster them up. Create PPC campaigns on every keyword and buy the front page of MSN. Buy spots on Google TV, hire a professional producer to make me an emotionally stimulating, NLP filled commercial causing people to emotionally connect with me and have a strong call to action to resulting in votes on promise of donating a billion dollars to starving children if I won…

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have those kind of resources….

There was no way I was going to win without some form of paid marketing approach so I started looking around at the different tools and marketing channels I have at my disposal as an internet marketer. I looked at various media buys, sponsored posts, sponsored tweets etc… But if I am going to be spending money on advertising, I am going to look for the channel that is going to bring me the best return on investment. The tool I chose is one that I have used a few times provided by Amazon.

Enter Mturk

Mturk or Amazon Mechanical Turk is basically a service where you can find people to complete a small task for a small price. You can have them do things like comment on a blog, bump up a post on Digg or vote for you in some competition.

I thought about running a PPC campaign and paying anywhere from $0.10-$2.00 per click and not be guaranteed a vote. Sure if I threw enough money at it, I would get the same results but it didn’t seem like something that a smart internet marketer would do. Why pay more for the same results?

With Mturk, you can have an action completed for you for a set price. Depending on the difficulty of the action, you might pay anywhere from $0.05-$2 per HIT (Human Intelligence Tasks). Since this task was a very simple one “go to a web site and click vote” I created a campaign paying $0.05 per HIT.

Not sure what Donny’s ROI will be on his John Chow investment, say he paid $1000 and got 1000 votes (less than a 1% conversion) its still pretty expensive. I figured 118k readers, even if he had a 1% conversion that would be 1180 votes. So I structured the hit to be 909 votes, with fees that worked out to be exactly $50. Pretty good investment I thought plus I felt I had already done pretty well in the natural voting part, I just needed something to counter the big influx of votes Donny would get from John Chow.

The Results?

Firstly, nobody knows where they stand so its all very exciting. It’s completely up to Shoemoney and his staff on how they choose a winner. I didnt do anything illegal, there are no rules stating what marketing tools can and cannot be used. But this isn’t a democracy that is going on here so my fate and that of the other marketers lies in the hands of Shoemoney and his staff.

I’m sure if someone had access to Oprah they would ask her to do a shout out for them. If that were the case all the Mturkers in the world probably wouldn’t help.

It is clear that the final portion of a competition like this is not about the quality of your entry, but about who you know, your ability to leverage marketing channels and the resources at your disposal. Much like business in the real world.

All I can say is that I really want to win this competition. I needed a paid marketing channel to stay in the game and this was the most financially viable channel to use.

Good luck to the other contestants, I hope your marketing efforts don’t work as well as mine, but if I don’t win, I hope you post about how you did so I can learn and grow.