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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS - JULY 2000

JULY 2000

  • July 12 - I NEED YOUR SITES, THANK YOU, THANK YOU GOOGLE
  • July 20 - EZ BUILDER, SEARCHKING
  • July 28 - ANYONE INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH ME TO MAKE A BUCK, BOB's "HOW TO SELL ANYTHING" TIP OF THE WEEK

July 12, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:
Weekly Portal Owner's Diary

I Need Your Sites!!
$100 Contest

Thank you, thank you Google

WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

Well Chicago was a trip! I had several misgivings about going when I did because there was so much happening with SK and the EZ Builder. I was naturally concerned with whether or not the world could actually keep spinning with me not sitting at my computer, but I had a couple of little consulting jobs that I had already been putting off for a while, PLUS the fact that I lived in Chicago for about 6 years and loved every minute of it and missed it a lot. So I went. To my surprise I discovered that yes, the world would keep spinning with or without me running it and I really did have a competent staff that knew their jobs and I could trust my business to. With the exception of only a couple of minor disasters, everything was fine when I returned.

In fact, everything was more than fine. By the time I got back, Searchking was up and running! After almost three years of frustration and heartbreak, the new database was actually built and I could see it working. Not just working, but working the way I dreamed it would work back in November of '97. It went online Sunday evening July the 8th and accepted the first submissions, added the relevancy points to place those submissions in the top of the results under the keywords that were CHOSEN and then added or subtracted the points according to nothing but the users' votes! OH MY GOODNESS! An honest, open and fair search engine that really does give everyone a fair shot regardless of how much money they have or whether or not the webmasters knew all the "secrets" of the search engines.

I realize that we have all come to pretty much take for granted what search engines do and my little gizmo may not sound like much, but I assure you that getting this thing built the way I wanted it, has been just about the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, (not to mention the most expensive). There is a lot more involved than you might think when it comes to custom features. It's clean on the other side of html!

I know it's a little ironic that I own a company who's income is generated by placing clients in the top of the search engines. In fact, Searchking was built with the money that was made by the other search services being so difficult to understand. On the surface it would appear that if I am successful at my goal of making some of the other major services use some of the features and philosophies that Searchking has developed, ultimately, it would put Magic-city and other placement services like mine out of business. So, in effect, I've taken a successful company that has provided me and mine with a pretty decent living for almost 5 years and invested a large portion of that to build something that could eliminate the market by allowing anyone to come up in the top by simply choosing their keywords. I mean if you can do that, why would you need to pay for a top search engine placement service?

For one thing, Magic-city will continue to do just fine. In fact, I'm expecting nothing but increases in revenues over the next few years, for the simple fact that I have never taken the approach that top search engine placement is the "answer" to web site success. All top placement does is get you traffic and if you're smart, you don't care nearly as much about traffic as you do about sales. Sales is what drives any kind of commerce, especially e-commerce. A million hits and no sales and you're going broke, (especially if your paying someone like me what I charge to get you that million hits), BUT, 100 hits and 25 sales and now you have a shot at success. So, because of my unique philosophy in this industry, Magic-city has become pretty good at helping our clients get targeted traffic and more importantly SALES and that is what will keep Magic-city as a leader in the placement industry.

The bottom line is that I just felt there was a need for someone, somewhere to be more concerned with not letting the spammers, con artists and the deep-pocketed corporations dominate the net and determine the direction it would take, than just concerned about how much money they could make how fast. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to make money from this venture, it's just that that is not the first priority. I believe that far too many of the major services have been so focused on fighting spam that they have forgotten that the vast majority of people out there are not trying to cheat anyone, they are just people who would be more than happy to be up front and honest about their sites if they were simply given the chance to do so and be treated fairly. My first priority was to provide a tool for people that would allow them to market their websites in such a way that we could all prove to the world that you really can be honest, not compromise your own principles and still succeed. The difference between Searchking and most of my competitors is that they assume everyone is going to try to spam them and set up systems to stop you. Searchking assumes that you are going to honest and set up tools to allow you to do so. We then leave it to the public to decide if you are spamming or not. Searchking does not judge anyone or anyone's sites. We let the public do that.

I've often been questioned about whether my system will actually do anything to improve the current situation, in fact I've questioned it myself on many occasions, and all I can tell you is that finally, at last, I can find out. I believe Searchking will do a lot to change the face of the internet and actually make things better for everyone and soon I will know for sure.

I NEED YOUR SITES

Along the lines of talking about Searchking, I do have a little problem that I could sure use your help with.

For a long time now, I knew that the main problem with SK not working was due to the fact that the tables in the database were not set up correctly from day one. After almost three years of problems and the solutions always being to just apply cyber band-aids to the problem as opposed to taking the time to just re-build all the tables right in the first place, I ended up with one big jumbled up mess! A mess that on some days can generate several gigs, (yes gigs - not megs), of error logs which if undetected of course can crash the server or at the very least slow down the server to the point that it is virtually useless as a search tool. This is what I have been dealing with on a daily basis now for a long, long time.

Once we got started building the new database right from the ground up it became apparent that the old database was not going to be able to be converted to the new. In order to make it provide the features that I wanted and insisted on, the information needed was not available from the tables in the old database. This left me in a position of having to make a very hard decision. It was kind of like having to choose to have your arm cut off or your eye put out. Not a good option either way.

The old database, in spite of the fact that it never worked right, still had accumulated over 750,000 urls, quite a little database. Now, with the new database, it's new, it's beautiful and it is completely and totally empty. What this means is that if I put up the new database, I get rid of the old and all the errors it is causing, BUT, now if anyone does a search even for the most common keyword, no results. Well, a search engine that can't give you any results is not going to impress anyone with the quality of the results so what can I do?

The best answer I could come up with was to use the new and then continue using the old as a default engine until I could get the new database built up to at least the 30,000 to 50,000 url range. Well, we have come up with a way to do this even though it looks a little weird and of course every time someone hits the old database, we start accumulating errors.

The bottom line is that I want that old database deleted so that we can stop all the errors, the server returns 5 second results and the quality of our results is superior to what you would expect from other engines. I can't do that until I get some more sites into the database.

I NEED YOUR SITES !!

The reason I'm telling you all of this is that I want the portal partners to be able to take the most advantage from a unique system like Searchking offers. If you submit your site now, any submission you make will come up at the very top of the results if for no other reason than the fact there is no one who can come up above you. If you will pick your keywords carefully and honestly, you will start getting yes votes which add points to your website across the board and that means that as we grow, the new submissions will always have to come below your listing and then try to get the votes they need to get above you. As we start to grow and the traffic starts increasing, this could end up being a real cyber feather in your web cap.

The submission form is simple. It's fast, easy and it adds your site and/or edits instantly. Please take just a couple of minutes to add all the pages you like, just remember that each page you submit should represent it's own set of specific keywords that relate to that particular page. Keep in mind that if you pick keywords with the intent of just trying to "catch" more traffic, you will get "no" votes and that will start pulling you down in the rankings under all your keywords. Pick very relevant keywords and phrases and your yes votes will start bringing you to the top of the results under all the keywords/phrases you picked.

Just go to http://www.searchking.com and click the link at the top of the page that says "add your site".

$100 CONTEST

Two weeks ago, I announced an affiliate contest paying $100 to the affiliate that had the most sign ups under their affiliate number within the month of July. Well the month is almost half over and I wanted to let you guys all know where it stands. So far, in the lead is affiliate Vince Doherty with 1.

I realize that those kind of numbers may scare the heck out of some people. "My gosh, how can I catch up when I'm already behind by 1"?, but I'm the kind of person that believes if I'm one behind and I really focus, there is always that chance that I might could catch up. I'm hoping some of you reading this feel the same as I do.

Vince is going to get the $100 even if he only gets the one as long as no one else beats him. That's the deal I made and I'll keep it. I just think that for a hundred bucks it would be worth the effort to try to get maybe --- 2. I'll reprint the article from June the 28th explaining the deal again in case anybody wants to try to use the rest of July to rip the lead from the grasp of ole Vince and get 2 sign ups. : )

(reprinted from June 28th)
$100 CONTEST
Searchking will pay $100 to the affiliate who brings in the most sign ups in the month of July. No big complex deal, no hold-backs, no restrictions. Which ever affiliate has the most wins the money!

We don't care if you get those sign ups by calling friends, posting in forums, taking the order form to shopping malls and signing up people as they walk by! Short of spamming people, we encourage you to be creative and get those affiliate trackers rolling.

Run some free ads.
Put something on your website about it.
Write and submit articles about the portals to some of your favorite e-zines.
If you publish an e-zine write an article about it.

In fact, I'll pay $50 to anyone who writes an article and it gets it ran in e-zines that reaches at least 10,000 readers. I don't care if that's one e-zine or 20 as long as you can show me that it went out to at least 10,000 -- 50 bucks! (If you go for the $50 I would encourage you to use your affiliate link).

If you haven't signed up as an affiliate yet, DO IT! Go to www.searchkingportal4u.com/affiliate.htm and sign up before July 1st.

The $100 will be paid in addition to your regular commission, so here's your chance to make a buck just by doing what I love, (was that a typo?) getting new portal partners! Hurry and don't miss out on your opportunity to become a hundredaire!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU GOOGLE

As many of you know by now, a little over a week ago Yahoo announced they were going to be dropping Inktomi for their web pages results and using Google. Google is a search engine that uses link popularity for a large part of it's algorithm in determining which site to rank first for keyword searches.

About a year-an-a-half ago, I saw link popularity being used by some services such as Direct Hit. I really didn't think it would end up being a big deal because I still say that links going to a site does not necessarily indicate a level of relevance or quality for that site. However, since I was in a position of controlling a few hundred domains, I decided to have the staff set up a system of links where we basically recommended our clients sites from all of our other clients sites thus producing a considerable amount of links to every domain we controlled.

Over the next several months, we all saw link popularity becoming more and more of an issue. Now along comes the Google deal and WHAP, all of those people who had been focusing on link popularity all of a sudden see their traffic skyrocket simply because they had good placement on Google and now they had good placement on the Yahoo web pages. As far as I was concerned I couldn't have done better if they had let me place my own sites where I wanted them. Almost every client we have now is getting anywhere from 25% to 200% more traffic this week than they were last week. After talking with a few of my placement industry peers, it seems the same thing has happened to just about all of them that had their link popularity issue addressed.

Now I hate to say I told you so, but almost two months ago I tried my best to encourage all portal partners to learn to work together a little and develop a system of linking portals to other portals. I got a few people who could see the value in this but for the most part, the project didn't take off like I had hoped it would. A couple of partners went to the trouble to set up specific pages and scripts to make it easy for other partners to join in and then made some posts in the forums about it, but it just didn't get a very good response.

I'm not chastising anyone. Those portals are yours to do with what you will and there is nothing in the rules that you have to listen to me or take my advice or the advice of anyone for that matter, BUT, had you listened and got involved when we were encouraging you to do so, you would have had at least a few links going to your site and under some keywords at least, a few can make a lot of difference. Had you had those links, you would be saying the same thing that me and most of my clients are saying now "THANK YOU - THANK YOU GOOGLE!"

CLOSING

Ok, one final thing. The EZ Builder is being tested by a few dedicated souls as we speak and getting rave reviews. It's going to work kids! I still think I'll be able to offer it to everyone by next week. Oh what a difference it is going to make.

Well, that's it for another week.

Love y'all
Bob

Publisher -- Bob Massa

July 20, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:
Weekly Portal Owner's Diary
EZ Builder
Searchking

WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

Well, the biggee this week was in upgrading the portal server. We were sitting on a 550 mhz machine with 512 meg of ram memory, not a bad little machine. Then early last week one of my partners informed me that she was getting a lot of error messages when trying to access most of the portals. She also informed me that when they did come up, they were often very slow.

My first reaction was to blame her browser, her connection, her computer, anything that would give me an excuse not to have to deal with this. Remember it's been less than 6 weeks since we just went through Internic hell getting all those portals moved and that new raid server isn't even two months old yet.

Since this is a long trusted friend, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and though I didn't want bad news, I started doing a little checking myself. I first asked a few select people to verify that there was a problem and of course the response was, "I hate to tell you this Bob, but yes, there is a problem." I then started pulling up portals myself and sure enough, a lot of errors and taking as much as 2 minutes to load, (remember I live out in the middle of nowhere and can't get all those fancy DSL deals that normal people do so I'm stuck with a dinosaur of a 56k modem). This, I was forced to admit was unacceptable.

At this point it still didn't enter my mind that the server was maxed. I just figured my host was doing something wrong. So I called Rackspace, (whom I strongly recommend if you're looking for the best and not the cheapest). We checked the logs and found that Apache, (the name of the server), was running at almost 90% capacity at about 1 pm central. I've been told by many people that your server should never exceed 60% or it will start slowing down. "Well, there's the problem", he said. I replied, "so what's my answer"? "More server, more money", he told me. "BUMMER!", I said to myself.

After several minutes of discussing my options, he talked me into upgrading to a dual Pentium 750 with 768 meg of memory. He assured me that this is the kind of server I need if I'm going to be using it for this type of hosting. Those search engines and especially all that cgi stuff, uses a lot of resources. A lot more money, BUT a LOT more server. Since I trust the people at Rackspace, I bit the bullet and went for it.

They sent me a proposal and guaranteed a down time of no more than two hours and allowed me to pick the time. I chose 3 am until 5 am central, knowing that that is about our slowest time and likely to cause the least problems for the least people. Well as with all things bobking, MY server didn't take two hours, it took 15! OUCH. Of course by 9 am the e-mails and phone calls started flowing in. Being down SUCKS.

Rackspace has some very talented people working for them and ended up having three of them working on my server and of course finally got the problems figured out and got me running. Their problem is the same as the ones we all keep running into. They are not doing server hosting for anyone trying to do what we are doing. It's just as new to them as it is to us. There are no instruction manuals for how to run a portal partner program. Of course with us blazing the trail, there will be soon, but WE will have written it. Had it not been for the talent and the dedication to customer service that Rackspace has, I would have been in real trouble.

Well, it's been up for just about a week now so I called them yesterday to check on the new server. It was about 10 am central. Not a peak time but pretty darn close. We checked the logs and at that time we were running at less than 1% of resources! I'm convinced.

So now I'm in the process of trying to figure out where to get the money to move and upgrade the Searchking server too. I'm hosted with a company here in OKC and they are a really nice bunch of guys. They just don't know what they are doing. I'm having all kinds of little problems with SK and they just don't know how to help me. They can't even identify the problems.

Now with Searchking's features all working at last, the traffic is starting to climb BUT, it won't ever climb the way it should if people can't pull up the site fast and they keep getting errors, so, I've got no choice but to give up or move. Well, I'm moving!

I'm already negotiating with Rackspace to lease me a Sun server with the dual 750 and a full gig of memory. In addition, I will have them install and support, Linux Redhat 6.2, apache, mysql, java, sendmail and a variety of other little goodies so that I know they'll be installed right from the beginning and I know that if I have any problems, they will be able to help. It's a lot of money but I know that for me to ever reach my goals, the servers have to come first. I should have taken care of this kind of stuff first and maybe I wouldn't have had to deal with all that I've had to deal with up to this point. I look at it as the "Field of Dreams" factor. If you build it -- they will come. It's just that if you build an infrastructure to handle 1000 hits, then that's all you can expect to get. If you build an infrastructure that can handle a million hits, that doesn't mean that they WILL come, but it sure means that they CAN!

EZ BUILDER

I'm a little nervous about announcing this right now. Dave Donlinger has done an absolutely incredible job of building the EZ Builder and it is up and running, but Dave's on vacation until the first of next week and if anyone needs some support with it, it ain't gonna be there 'til he gets home.

I will tell you all where it's located because Dave has built the thing so that you can switch back and forth from the EZ to the one we all have now without any problems. So, I think it might be a good idea to turn you all loose on the thing now so that when Dave gets back, some of you will have had some time to pick it apart and then he can answer any questions or identify any problems with it. Just keep in mind that if something looks like it may be a problem, don't take a chance right now, wait until Dave can help us in the forums the first of next week.

Just go to the admin panel like you always have. Your portal url then /bin/admin2/admin.cgi

You will be the very first human beings on the face of the earth to experience the world's first EZ Portal Builder! This is trailblazing stuff.

SEARCHKING

I want to remind you all of the advantage of getting all your sites submitted to Searchking. In case you don't already know, we are completely re-building the database and will soon be deleting the old one. The old one is so corrupted that there was virtually no chance of being able to put it back together and be able to offer the features that we needed, so it's out with the old dog and in with the new.

Being a brand new database relying solely on the public's votes to determine rank, there is an advantage in getting in early. If you choose your keywords carefully and honestly, you have the chance to accumulate relevancy points from user's votes first, which of course means that the more points you have, the closer you will come to the top of the results for any given keyword or phrase.

A couple of hints on how to best use the unique features of SK. First, choose your keyword/phrases carefully because you will be having the public vote on whether your site is relevant to the keywords you pick. Enter the word or phrase exactly as you expect it to be typed in and separate each word or phrase by a comma. Don't use spaces as you are limited to 250 characters. If you type in shoes, footwear, women, it will not come up under women's shoes! Your site will display ONLY if they type in the exact phrase. If you want to come up under women's shoes AND shoes, type in: shoes, womens shoes, women's shoes.

Don't worry about caps. It will pull up Shoes, SHOES or shoes.

Limit your keyword/phrase selection to about 10 to 15 phrases and words. More than that and you run the risk of getting no votes on the least relevant words you pick. Remember that all votes are calculated across the board for ALL the words/phrases you pick for that page. So, let's say your shoe site doesn't really have much content about women's shoes but is VERY relevant to tennis shoes for example. You will get yes votes for the keyword phrase tennis shoes and shoes, but because you were trying to get a few more hits by also using women's shoes, people vote no on that specific keyword phrase and since the no votes subtract more points than the yes votes add, your site starts coming down in the ranking under shoes and tennis shoes because the women's shoes keyword phrase is lowering your total points, which means that your other keywords/phrases are all dropping too.

Submit as many pages as you like. Just make sure that each set of keywords and phrases you pick for each page actually reflect the content of that page. That is how you come up on top and stay on top of many keywords. Not by trying to get one page to "catch" everyone, but by supplying highly relevant quality content to a highly targeted audience. (A new concept, I know).

Use the edit feature to watch the votes on your submissions and if you see one keyword phrase getting no votes, edit that keyword to something that is more relevant so that you continue to get mostly yes votes. That is the only thing that will keep you in the top.

Click throughs to your site add some relevancy points as well, so your title and description are extremely important too. Write your titles and descriptions to reflect your site as honestly as you can. Trying to "trick" people into coming into your site will be disastrous. Remember, we're not like Yahoo or Alta Vista. If you get a page that is just spam or low-quality and obviously doesn't belong where it is listed, there is something people can do about it other than just send an e-mail to customer support and never get a response. We make it VERY easy for people to take action right then and it does make a difference.

Finally, remember that with SK, we give every submission enough relevancy points to make sure that every site has a very good chance of coming up in the top of at least some of the keywords you pick. So, if you pick your keywords and phrases honestly, your site will start moving up even under the most competitive keywords.

So, you need targeted traffic and I need your sites, let's both do what we can to help each other.

CLOSING

Well, that's it for another week portal kids. You guys have fun with the EZ Builder and I'll be back atcha next week.

Love y'all
Bob

Publisher -- Bob Massa

July 28, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:
Weekly Portal Owner's Diary
Affiliate Contest Update
Anyone Interested in Working With Me to Make a Buck?
Bob's Sales Tip of the Week

WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

Something happened this past week to make me realize a mistake I've been making. A good friend pointed out to me that the PPP could be of more service to my partners as more of a motivational tool than a forum for me to whine about tech problems. Well, in my defense, I try to let all of you know what I deal with in regards to tech issues because I felt I was doing you all a service by letting you know the challenges I face in the hope that you would be able to avoid some of those challenges yourself. After being honest with myself I realized my friend had a very good point and as hard as it was to admit, he was right.

The PPP isn't for me to complain and whine about my problems. Many, (in fact most), of you are much more capable of dealing with tech issues than I am and I'm likely doing nothing more than boring you to tears and making a bigger ass of myself than usual. I slipped into the me - me - me trap and forgot one of my most valuable business philosophies. That is - What I do is not important. What YOU do is. I can provide tools, BUT, if you don't use them I fail. I can build a website, BUT, if you don't use it, I fail. I can sell a product, BUT if you don't buy it, I fail. See what I mean? What I do is not important, what YOU do is. So, I'm going to refocus myself to dedicating this PPP on helping you, motivating you, sharing secrets of success with you and helping you realize the value of this program with YOU running it.

Some of you old-timers may remember some months back when I was sharing e-mails I would get asking my opinion of different ideas and business models and how the portals would help with those ideas. I enjoyed that and enjoyed the response I would get from other partners giving their opinions and feedback. I want to encourage that again. If some of you have some ideas that you would like to have "market tested", the PPP can do that for you. Send them to me, (I'll not use your name unless you want me to), and I'll publish them for our almost 2,000 readers to think about and respond to. It was fun. Don't be afraid to look foolish by asking anything. Remember, even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn and who knows what the right person with the right idea could do?

Also, I WANT testimonials! I WANT success stories. I WANT you to share good news about you and the portal you run. Did you get an e-mail thanking you for a wonderful site? I want to put that in the PPP. Did you make a great sale from your site? Have a great day? Find something really cool? Get your name in the paper? Your kid win an award? I WANT our partners to know that. I also want them to know that this thing is not just a job, it's changing the world for the better. I want to focus on the fact that what we are all doing here is a GOOD thing and it can have great rewards for all who care enough to be willing to build an honest, quality site.

I promise from now on to focus on the good things about running Searchking and stop whining. Since I don't have any of those great portal partner stories for this week, I'll tell you mine.

Searchking sold more advertising this last 4 days than it's sold in the last three years AND all from the website. You can sell from a website!

The two factors that played the biggest part in this was:
1. Keyword Text Banner Ads
In my opinion, the biggest reason that most generic graphical banners get such a dismal click thru rate is because the vast majority of them are being run in places where the potential customer is not looking. The second biggest thing is that the graphical banners are far too often too cluttered an/or busy. Often it is much easier to impress someone with simply saying what you want instead of trying to impress them with flashy colors and dancing monkeys.

2. Try it Before You Buy it.
Once I was able to accept the fact that inventory I had and customers I didn't, it was also easy to realize that it cost me just as much to simply keep the site running with no paying customers as it did with paying customers, and once I realized that I could live 30 days without getting paid and I didn't HAVE to have the money today, and realized that if it was really worth what I was charging then why was I worried about not getting paid and realized there really wasn't much of a better way to be more up-front and honest about a sale, it was easy writing the text and building the order from. That's what I did and it worked! No point in missing a chance to make a few sales here so, to have a look at this miracle of marketing go to www.searchking.com/advertise1.htm

The old Searchking office has been a busy place this last week but a happy one too.

AFFILIATE CONTEST UPDATE

Well, the clock is ticking away on this month's affiliate contest but there is still time to come from behind and capture that $100 prize for yourself. the contest runs through the end of this month.

As it stands, things have improved pretty drastically since last week when the leader was sitting in first position with a whole ---- 1.

This past week we've had one affiliate zoom ahead with 5 for the week. Fortunately for you guys that affiliate is Kathi Chesnut who has matrimonial ties to the head of the company and therefore, (much to the dismay of the aforementioned affiliate), has been disqualified. I do get a kick out of the visual image I get of the look on all your faces if I announced next week, Congratulations to the winner --- MY WIFE!

So that brings us to the second runner up who is actually now in first place to get the hunk of cash. (I'll probably get a few raised eyebrows from this one too). Mike Rotter has now had 3 sign ups this past week. He is not disqualified because he has been given no edge whatsoever other than the fact that he has been behind me and the Searchking concept from almost day one. He likes what he does, he's proud of what he does and he does what he says he will do.

In a close second is Karen Weber with two sign ups.

We've had a total of 18 affiliate sign ups this month so that leaves 8 other people with one each, so my advice to you guys is to see that you only need two more to at least tie. By the way, in the event of a tie, I will pay everybody that has the highest numbers. So why not buy some TV spots this last two days? Maybe take out a full page ad in Sunday's paper? Or maybe just call a couple of relatives, friends or clients and let them know what a good time it is to get in on this deal now.

ANYONE INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH ME TO MAKE A BUCK?

We all get offers all the time like, "after reviewing your site, we would like to partner with you". Then of course, at the bottom it says something like, "this is a one time mailing", but you notice 5 more in your inbox from the same address. Well, I get them too, however with being the owner of a portal like Searchking, I do tend to get a little higher number of "legit" offers, or at least there aren't 5 more just like it in my mailbox.

I usually don't pay a lot of attention to the majority of these offers. Recently though I've been thinking I may be being a little hasty in dismissing them all. For example, I was recently contacted, (by phone no less), by TravelNow.com, one of the biggest travel sites on the net, making me some type of referral offer. He seemed quite impressed when I told him that we hosted some 500 portals.

Then just today I got mailed from the vice-president of a company that claims to be offering instant online credit cards and they pay $15 for each application. Not approval, application. It sounds to me like there may be a market for a product like this. Anyway, I get these kinds of deals coming to me quite frequently.

I also know how hard it is to make a buck off a website and since I want very much to see my partners make money, I thought it may be a good idea to ask all of you if you would be interested in setting up some type of system where I could try to finagle some kind of a deal for us as a community of portals as opposed to me just blowing them all off?

If anyone has some opinions on this, why not send me an email. If I get a few and it makes me think there is an opportunity here, I'll start running this "make a buck" thing as a weekly column and we could all discuss it, figure it out and implement it.

What do you kids think?

BOB'S "HOW TO SELL ANYTHING" TIP OF THE WEEK

This is going to be another weekly feature of the Portal Partner Press. I've been in sales and marketing for many, many years. I'm 46 years old and I started out selling lawn mowing and bags of fruit door to door when I was about 8. I've been in some type of sales position just about ever since, usually in the capacity of running my own business. That gives me close to 40 years experience in sales and marketing. I don't claim to be any expert or the world's greatest salesman or any thing like that, but I do know a little about selling and specifically selling on the web.

I will start this weekly column by giving you the undisputable "secret" of how to make sales. TELL THE TRUTH! Don't try to mislead, lie, cheat or oversell. Define your customer's needs and desires and then try to meet those needs and desires the best you can. You are not going to sell everyone, but you can sell everything as long as your concerned more about the customer than you are about making a fast buck. Of course it's true that you can lie to people and sell them things, but it is also true that we have prisons and even without them, to take a dishonest approach to sales means that you are always looking for another sucker and not building a life for you and your family. Ok, now that the secret is out of the way, I will focus each week on one piece of the sales from a website puzzle.

This weeks' tip is:
FEATURE
BENEFIT
ACTION

Keep in mind that as portal owners, every page is not for sales. The front page of your portal for example should not be used for sales. It should be used to offer topic specific information. Only after a visitor clicks on a link or banner or does a search should the sales process begin. Once it does begin though, that is where effective web selling should take over. The first step in effective web sales is:

FEATURE - what we offer, what it does
BENEFIT - how what we offer will benefit YOU
ACTION - what to do to learn more, see something, or order

When someone clicks on a banner for example, that says, get out of debt now, right off the bat, he isn't interested in what ELSE you have. Don't take him to a page that has dozens of other offers on it. Take him to a page that tells him in 2 seconds, You found what you're looking for!

WE CAN LOWER YOU'RE MONTHLY BILLS NOW! (feature)

Free up your monthly income fast and easy so that you can spend more on the things that you and your family really need. (benefit)

Click here to see how we can save you money NOW! (action)

Now I've made this overly simplistic and there should be things taken into consideration like the look and "feel" of the page, but I can just about guarantee you that this page I just wrote above will get more sales than a page with 15 banners on it and 20 paragraphs of text.

CLOSING

Well, that's it for this week kids. Now get out there and get to work and send them success stories!

This Bob's for you !

Publisher -- Bob Massa
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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS 2000

 


 

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