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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS - 2000

MARCH 2000

  • March 1 - A LITTLE PREACHING AND HOW THE COW IS GOING TO EAT THE CABBAGE
  • March 8 - A LITTLE PREACHING AND HOW THE COW IS GOING TO EAT THE CABBAGE
  • March 15 - ON TO NEW BUSINESS, BANNER ROTATIONS WORKING -- TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT
  • March 23 - MY WEEKLY PORTAL DIARY, POWER PORTALS
  • March 29 - THE BIG SURPRISE,

March 8, 2000

Let me start off this week with an apology to each and everyone of you. Last week I did a very stupid thing and I've paid dearly for it and I am really sorry. When I sent the PPP out I put everyone's e-mail address into the CC instead of the BCC. Therefore, everyone could see everyone else's e-mail address. Well, I certainly can't promise to not make another mistake, but I can promise I won't make that one again. .

Here's one friendly little reminder I got from one of our ex-partners: .

How dare you send my email address to everyone on your list. You lost my respect because you have no respect for my privacy. Take me off, as I have requested before. Do not send to me any more and for heaven's sake stop prattling on. .

I especially got a kick out of the prattling on part. Remember kids, I'm new at this newsletter thing. Please give me a break. I'm doing the best I can. .

I also got a few responses to my little rant on spamming. Surprisingly, none of them that bad. I was expecting to get slammed pretty hard as I was afraid I may have stepped on some toes, but this is really the only one and actually agreeing with me. .

I am not sure what the harangue against spamming really was all about. Any entrepreneur who uses a web tool, especially if he pays for it, wants to get maximum exposure and make money. Why else get a tool if not to use it to the maximum. We all would like to see people be nice but I would also like to see people make money. Regarding the kid who shot and killed the little girl. That kid is only 6 years old and already he is a little monster. A six year old is old enough to know that you don't shoot someone. When I was 6 there was no television and even I knew not to shoot anyone. That six year old should be executed now before he grows up and becomes a menace to society. Truth be told, he is already one. His killing of the little girl is his responsibility. Its no one else's fault; not his parents, not society, not spammers, not capitalists, only his, and he should be made to answer for it, not slapped on the wrists the way this world loves to do. I said my constitutional piece. I love it when people see things differently than I and have the courage of conviction to speak up. There is nothing wrong with having an opposing point of view. .

I got many, many more e-mails like the one below. .

Hello,
Stick to your morals, it is such a good thing. .

I would have stuck to my morals no matter what, but it is certainly gratifying to me to know that I am not the only one getting just a little tired of all the crap we are all subjected to just because we are on the net. .

I truly enjoy hearing from all of you and please know that your comments are always welcome. .

ON TO NEW BUSINESS.

This is the first week in the last six or so that I have actually felt like I've made forward progress. First of all, we got the Searchking database working again. This means that now all the power portals can let people search without losing their hits. Every time anyone searches from a power portal, it opens a new window as opposed to just sending them to SK. .

BANNER ROTATIONS WORKING -- TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT.

Also, we have the banner admin program working again. We can now rotate buttons and banners throughout the site. To my knowledge, Searchking is the very first search service in the history of the net to offer a "try it before you buy it" advertising program. You can buy a million dollars worth of banner ads and we will run them for one month before we charge one dime. The idea is that we want our advertisers to be able to determine for themselves just what the value of the ads are. .

I know this sounds crazy, but it's not as crazy as you'd think. The one thing I have right now is inventory and a lot of it. The one thing I need is advertisers. Well, if only 10% of the try it before you buy people could justify the expense, that is more money than I'm making now. Even if no one could justify the expense, I could at least offer some advertising to people that may need it, (every little bit helps you know), and that's not such a bad thing. .

If any of you have any questions about advertising either on the portals or on Searchking, just ask Holly Nelson, our advertising manager. Her e-mail isecomm@acninc.net.

E-MAIL IS FINALLY WORKING.

Also, the e-mail is finally working again. WHEW! This one has been a bugger. This is going to be an incredible feature. We'll be installing it on all the portal pros first and then move to the portal pluses. Remember if you have a portal plus, you need to let us know that you want your own vanity e-mail. I'll be starting some threads in the forums about the e-mail because there are some issues that are going to have to be addressed as to how I am going to be able to pay for the resources consumed by hundreds and thousands of users. If 1000 sites have their own e-mail accounts and they each have 100 users and that is all free, I've got a problem with hardware, tech support and bandwidth. I'm counting on all of you that care about your portal to join us in the forums and help me figure this out. Remember that if you don't participate, you can't blame anyone but yourself if it doesn't go the way you wanted. .

One thing I want to point out. The old program is up now but that is not the same thing as the new program. The main reason we put the old mail back up is so that people who were using the old mail could go and retrieve it. I urge you all to get all the data you want to keep out of your folders and address book. We are planning on archiving the data, but the way my luck has been going, it would be a good idea to get it while it's hot, (if you catch my drift). .

RAID NET SERVER.

We also got our replacement hard drive from buy.com Monday and the controller came in as well. They are installing all the pieces today and we should have the raid online by this Friday. That means the new and permanent chat program for everyone and the affiliate program. I believe I'll be chatting to affiliates by the end of next week. .

DUKE, DUKE, DUKE, DUKE OF EARL.

I started writing this issue about 2 pm this afternoon, but as usual, it's after 8 pm now. I get a lot of interruptions throughout the day as I'm sure most of you do as well. I had to stop at about 7 and eat my supper. As is the custom in my house, I usually watch TV while I eat. .

Tonight I happened upon a public TV broadcast called "Doo Wop, the 50th Anniversary". I really hope some of you caught it too. It absolutely blew me away! .

My very first record, (a 45 of course) was Come Go With Me by the Del Vikings. I used to listen to it over and over and over in the privacy of my room. (Even though I shared it with Phil my younger brother, it was stilled called my room. I was much bigger and could beat him up, which I did regularly for no apparent reason that I can recall). One of my most embarrassing moments was when I was caught by my mother and grandmother doing my little fantasy dance to this song. They had snuck down the hall and quietly opened my bedroom door for the sole purpose of catching me and then making sure the entire family knew just how silly I looked. .

As I watched 4 of the original 5 members of the Del Vikings, all of whom had to be in their late 60's if not 70's, I found myself a little sad at the fact that obviously one of the 5 had passed. It made me realize just how long ago getting caught doing my silly dance actually was. .

The performance was simply incredible! When they had finished the song the audience gave them a well deserved standing ovation. All of a sudden I realized that I had been sitting straight on the edge of my chair and was now applauding right along with the audience. I'm not really sure if what made it so great was the performance or all the childhood memories that came flooding back as I listened, but whatever it was, the same feeling had to have been going through the whole crowd. .

Thinking to myself that it just doesn't get any better than that, the next artist was none other than "The Duke of Earl" himself. As his back up singers started doing the duke-duke-duke-duke of earl ditty on stage, he suddenly appeared at the back of the auditorium wearing a flawless tux complete with top hat, walking stick and red velvet lined cape. He looked absolutely fabulous and sounded twice as good. I was awe struck! .

The thought occurred to me how lucky this man was to still possess a talent like he had and to be able to perform for an exceptionally appreciative crowd after 50 years. It must have been a real highlight of his life. Here's a man who did what he loved, did it very well and earned a reward for himself that no amount of money can buy. I was very proud of him. .

My wife walked into the room and asked me "what's wrong, you look sad". I suddenly realized that I was so awe stricken that I had become a little emotional. I was so blown away by this man, the previous band and the TV show in general that I had tears in my eyes. I wasn't sad at all. I was just overcome by all the memories flooding over me and feeling how lucky I was to have had these people and these songs in my life. .

My mother was only 15 when I was born so naturally, 50's Doo Wop was the first music I ever heard. It was the music of her generation and luckily, it was mine too. Of course the majority of my album collection later on consisted mostly of the Stones, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, etc, but to this day it still amazes me how many of those songs I still know the words to. .

I love music. I played professionally for close to 15 years. I listened to rock, played country and enjoyed just about all types of music. Even today, now that I've somehow turned into an old fuddy duddy and don't "get" most of the music I hear the younger generation play, I still think it's great that they do "get it", but you can take all of your techno rock alternative hip slump jive rap and stick 'em in your hat because Doo Wop -- Man, that's music. .

I can't remember when I've enjoyed a TV show as much as I did tonight and it just makes me feel so grateful for all the incredible things my life has been blessed with. It's kind of a shame that TV has become so dominated by the all mighty dollar and that finding really great stuff on TV is hard, but, for all the complaining and whining I do about how the quality of TV is really dismal and how much I hate all those mind-numbing ads after ads, I still thank God for giving mankind the sense to invent something that can make me feel so good so easy as TV. I feel exactly the same way about the internet. .

CLOSING.

Well, while you all know how much I love to prattle on, I will shut up for now. .

WE TRY SO HARD TO GIVE OUR KIDS WHAT WE DIDN'T HAVE THAT WE SOMETIMES FORGET TO GIVE THEM WHAT WE DID HAVE.
(a line from some stupid TV sitcom that I just happened to overhear while flipping through the channels) .

Love Y'all
Bob
Publisher -- Bob Massa

March 15, 2000

Howdy partners. I hope this letter reaches you all in portal heaven today and not portal hell. I've been having a little of the latter myself this past week. .

MY WEEKLY PORTAL DIARY.

This week has been filled with more delays for me. The biggest thing bugging me has been the mail. We have it installed on one of our test portal pluses but we keep finding tiny little obstacles that we need to overcome and it's a little frustrating at times. .

The problem I keep having is the same one for the mail and just about everything else I try to get done. I have a lot of very talented and highly qualified people on my team BUT, I'm learning that there are not very many people who can "do it all". It takes a team of people to accomplish the things that I feel need to be accomplished. .

The problem is the old catch 22 circle. For example:
Me - "Shane, will you re-install the classifieds for me?"
Shane - sure but the webzone has to get the dns numbers set up first.
Me - Ok I'll call them. .

Me - Webzone, will you get the dns numbers set up for classified.searchking.com please?
webzone - Sure but we have to wait until Sarge moves everything from spike to Cosmo.
Me - Ok I'll call Sarge. .

Me - Sarge, will you move everything over to cosmo for me please?
Sarge - Sure but I have to wait for Grant to install a script. .

Me - Grant, will you install that script so Sarge can move it to cosmo so webzone can set the dns numbers so Shane can install the classifieds?
Grant - Sure but I need to get the URL from Shane
Me- ok I'll call Shane.

Me - Shane, Grant says he needs to get the url from you.
Shane - yes but you have to get that from the webzone.

Here I go again. .

Now this is just an example and is not identifying the actual conversation, so there's no need for anyone to e-mail me with an answer to this specific problem. I made it up for the sole purpose of trying to express the feelings of frustration that go along with trying to run multiple servers and working with multiple script jockeys. Anyone who comes along later and attempts to replicate my efforts may not experience this exact conversation, but I bet you'll experience the exact feelings. .

My point is that when I started this little project, I way underestimated the level of organizational skills required. It is quite a trip. I'm getting better at it all the time but only because I'm determined. Some days, I would shoot somebody, but I have no idea of who to aim at. .

Enough complaining. The good news is that we ARE making a lot of progress, it just takes a little time. Every time I speak to any sales people about any kind of program or script and they tell me it can be up and running in minutes, I always chuckle to myself now finding humor in the number of times I have fallen for that line. The cliche about how fast everything on the net is kind of a misconception. Yes, some stuff can be set up really fast and easy. The trick is in getting it to work with the system and features that you already have that slows things down a little. As I said before though, I really am very lucky to have the caliber of people behind me that I have. Each of them brings a lot to the table and it will get done. It's just my responsibility to figure out the process and use each of the resources available to me to their best advantage. .

Let's move on. .

POWER PORTALS.

We have over 400 power portals now. My biggest question is why aren't they more active? .

The power portals will always be the bulk of our partners and the contribution they can make to us all is extremely important. We need to get the power portals involved. These little "freebies" are going to generate a ton of traffic and it's important that SK and all it's partners give them all the support they need to make their sites successful. .

We have a forum set up devoted to the power portals. We also have a very good moderator for this topic in David Galyon. Dave can do a lot to answer you questions about how best to use the power portal, for placement, for delivering content, to building traffic and to making a little money from it. This is a really great asset and you should be taking advantage of it. .

Keep in mind that power portal partners have just as much say in the decisions that get made at SK as any other partner. I have always relied on the input of the people in the forums when it came to having to make policy decisions and I always will. If you've been to the forums, you know the level of support that can be given there. The vast majority of moderators and people posting there are committed to helping each other. If you would like to help a little too, DO IT! We need you. We need you talking about the power portal. I need to know are they working right? Are they doing what you expected? Is there something I can do to make them better? Is there something YOU can do to make them better? .

I just keep thinking about how many people have web pages from Geocities or Angelfire, Free Yellow or about 100 others. The forums alone should add more value than those services. Anything you could do with a free web page, you can certainly do better with a free portal. So come on power partners, get involved. I can provide the tools but if you're serious about your site, you have to provide the effort. .

Searchking has always had the philosophy that if you care about your site, I'll bend over backwards to help any way I can. That holds just as true for you as it does anyone else. Get into the forums and tell me what you're thinking. At the very least I would think you would have some questions about the affiliate program. .

RAID SERVER UPDATE.

Well, you know how last week I said they had told me the raid server would be up by Friday? Guess what! We had a problem. SURPRISE! .

Actually, they did get it up on Friday just like they said they would, BUT, now we discover some kind of problem with the hard drive adapters. Order one overnight delivery on Friday so that we can be sure that is the problem. It gets delivered on Tuesday, (It seems I don't understand the concept of "overnight" delivery.) and it works! Order three more on Tuesday, (again overnight of course), supposed to be delivered today so the word now is that the server will be set up and running on Thursday. .

I feel pretty confident that it really will happen this time, (is that the net gods I hear laughing at me?), because there isn't a whole lot left on the server that I could replace. Maybe a couple of buttons on the front or something. Anyway, the affiliate program is just waiting on the server, so again, for the third week in a row, we should have the affiliate program ready for sign-ups next week. .

ONE LAST THING.

I know that this program is a little more advanced than some of you care to deal with. This is a huge concern for me because I don't want anyone to miss out on the opportunities this program can provide because of a few challenges in the beginning. It is hard and there is no reason to feel bad or disappointed about having problems in the beginning. None of us were born knowing this stuff. .

With that said, my problem is how to address this problem. My best solution so far has to been to enlist the aid of a few of our more experienced partners to offer their personal attention to getting you set up and running. Of course, these people are busy and not able to do it for you for free so, I've set up a system where you can get your portal running and get a little personal training for $100. That money will go to the staff that provides the work and not me. .

If any of you are just stuck and can't seem to get over the hump, I hope you can see the value in being willing to pay for a little expertise. Just send me an e-mail at bobking@searchking.com and let me know you need help and I'll take care of it! .

Well, I could go on, (as usual) but I'll save the really big news for next week. .

Love y'all
See ya in the forums!
Bob Massa.

YOU KIDS TURN THAT CRAP DOWN! I CAN'T HEAR MYSELF THINK.

Publisher -- Bob Massa

March 23, 2000

Howdy again partners. This is my fourth year marketing online and every year at this time I have noticed a decline in the numbers. I think it is simply a seasonal thing. As the weather starts to become a little nicer, people start spending a little more time outdoors, (some people. Not us of course), enjoying the first signs of spring. The only bad thing for me is that Searchking may not hit that 1 million page views this month as the numbers indicated at the beginning of the month. This is not that big of a deal as it still looks like we will hit the 700,000 or so range and that is just a heck of a lot of people. .

Remember that the directory is there strictly for portal partners. While we have a long way to go before we can challenge Yahoo, 700,000 page views is nothing to sneeze at and you guys are increasing those numbers everyday. Why not take advantage of your hard work and let Searchking send you some of that traffic. The directory is small enough that there is no way you will not have great placement. Surely if there was any other service out there that you knew you would be on top, you'd be submitting to it. So why not get your site into the Searchking directory as well. It just makes sense. .

MY WEEKLY PORTAL DIARY.

This is the first week I have actually felt like I have made some real progress since the hard drive crash on January 23rd. We have the new mail installed. We got the affiliate program installed. We have the raid server operational and we finally got a new "top of the keyword results" text banner script running on the main Searchking search engine. I'll discuss each of these new developments in more detail a little later. .

Most of this last two months, I have basically felt like I was involved in a strategic battle of wits and I was completely unarmed. Now I am finally seeing some results from all the pushing, whining, threatening and complaining I've done. It feels pretty good actually. .

THE MAIL.

We've been having some really great discussions in the forums about the new mail and being able to place it on your portal pluses and portal pros. We had a lot of helpful input and I think we have been able to use that input to make some decisions that should do the most to provide the most benefits to the most amount of our partners. .

The mail is installed now and we just have to modify the MX records and it will be live. Everyone that wants a Searchking e-mail account will need to go and sign up for it. For everyone that already has an account, we will leave it up so that you can retrieve your last e-mails and move the info from your old folders to your new ones. The way it is supposed to work is that if you go to mail.searchking.com you will pull up your old account but if you go to www.searchking.com/mail you get the new one. I'll do my best to have it set up so that you can register from Searchking's front page for the new mail. If any one has a problem, please let me know so I can get it fixed. .

Remember also that for your portals, if you want your own e-mail you need to let us know by sending an e-mail to bobking@searchking.com. We will only install it on the portal pluses and the portal pros that request it. .

THE AFFILIATE PROGRAM.

Ok, I've been getting a few test mails from the affiliate sign up page today so I know they have it installed and working. There seems to be a few minor procedural details I need to work out but it is up. .

I've started a thread in the SK forum under the "announcement" topic and I posted a tentative terms agreement. The reason I did this is, again, to get input from our partners. I invite everyone to have a look and make any comments, suggestions, complaints or praises there in the forum. Remember, if you don't get involved, don't blame me if you don't get everything you wanted. I can only do the best I can and often I rely on your help to do better. Such is the case here. .

You need to hurry though as I have every intention of starting to sign you kids up no later than the middle of next week. .

One thing I want to point out in the PPP, (so that I'm not the only one with a copy of it), is that I want to make it VERY clear, that I am NOT an affiliate expert. This is my first dive into the affiliate pool. This will be in effect a beta test. I intend to deal with everyone as openly and honestly as I possibly can and I expect the same from all of you. If there is a problem, don't freak out. Contact me and give me the opportunity to take care of it the best I can. I can't promise everything is going to be perfect and just the way you want it. I can only promise to do the best I can. .

TEXT BANNER AD SCRIPT.

In my opinion, banner ads simply do not work for the vast majority of people. I think the net has been so flooded with them that most people have become desensitized to them and don't even notice them. Being in the search engine placement business for almost four years, one thing I know that does work is being in the top of a search services results for a keyword. That is highly targeted traffic. .

Another thing that I know works is simply saying what you want to say. That does necessarily mean having flashy images or anything other than just an honest frontal attack worded the way you would want to say it. .

Well for two years I've been trying to find a script I could use, (and afford), that would allow me to place paid text banners at the top of my results. I wanted to display them in such a way as to not be trying to mislead the public and let them know it was paid for and yet offer my advertisers much more bang for their buck. Well, I think we've done it. .

Go to Searchking and do a search for cgi, ecommerce, online database, web page design, music, books, movies, videos, california, redding, search engine positioning, search engine placement, ranking, online game, multi-player game or games. You'll see a little red dollar sign in front of the paid result and the rest should be pretty self-explanatory. .

The reason I mention this here is two fold. First, I think this is an incredibly useful tool for not just the portal partners but the entire internet and I'm trying to negotiate a deal with the programmer now to be able to offer this program to my partners both for use on their own portals and as an affiliate product as well. Secondly, I'm trying to chalk up a few sales. The way this thing works is, there are only a total of 400 keywords available. The script will display up to four listings per keyword. Some of those words are going to end up being extremely valuable, (especially the adult stuff), and I have no idea of what the value is going to be. So, we will lease these keywords on a monthly basis for unlimited impressions based on bids. The minimum bid is $10 per month. On the last day of the month, we will take the highest bid and put them on top. The next highest placed next and so forth for the four listings. .

The procedures are a little vague right now as I have a lot of questions regarding exactly how to handle the administration of this new program. So for the time being, I will have to run it by hand, (reminds me of an old joke). The reason I'm telling you all of this right now is that I don't have a single customer. Every keyword there is, is available for $10 per month. I would like to offer those keywords to my portal partners first because it may be weeks or even months before someone would bid your word up higher. Of course the more popular the keyword, the quicker someone else is going to want to beat you out of it but there should be a lot of keywords relevant to your business that you may keep for a long time for just the $10 per month. .

If I've been able to "sell" anyone on this, contact Holly Nelson at ecomm@acninc.net as I don't even have an order form up yet. I know Holly is planning on being out of town for a while and I'm not exactly sure when and for how long, so if you can't get a reply from Holly right away, contact me at bobking@searchking.com and let me know and I'll take care of it for you. .

POWER PORTALS.

Last week, I begged and threatened to try to get our power partners involved in the forums. No luck! Still nothing. I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to get all the power portal partners to realize the opportunities this program offers. You'd think getting a top listing in a search engine directory for a free site alone would be enough to get you to care about your site, but if you don't care about your site and only took it because it was free, then I or Searchking can't help you. .

Searchking's motto has always been if you care about your site, we will go out of our way to help you and that is going to apply to this program as well. We welcome your input, we need it and we beg you to participate, but that decision is up to you. .

CLOSING,.

Finally, I know I mentioned last week to look for me announcing a Big Surprise. Well, I'm still working on it and am not ready to announce it yet. Sorry. Oh well, I guess you'll just have to keep reading the PPP. .

Please participate in the forums folks. There will be a lot happening fast over the next few days and weeks and I want you all to be able to take advantage of the new stuff coming out as well as the help and support of all the old-timers. It really is a nice place to be and I need your help. .

Love Y'all
Bob
The hardest working man in search business.

WHO LEFT THEM LITES ON? YOU THINK ELECTRICITY GROWS ON TREES? I HAVE TO PAY THAT BILL! .

Publisher -- Bob Massa

March 29, 2000

Bob here. How're ya doin' this week? Great I hope. Well it looks like I was a little premature in bragging about hitting one million page views this month. I was just taking the average of the first few days of March and I forgot about the little seasonal decline in numbers around the middle to the end of March. Oops. Not too disappointed though, we will hit right at 700,000 page views this month so I'm counting on April being the month for confetti and champagne. As I said, we have a long way to go but 1,000,000 page views a month is nothing to sneeze at.

I made a post in the forums this past week about how much I can't wait for the day when many of you start hitting the numbers and actually find yourself in my shoes. The e-mails, the advertising questions, the tech questions, the scripts not working, the staff not being there, the phone lines going down, the paperwork getting lost, and on and on and on and on. It's a lot of work and I'm going to have a big kick when I get calls from you guys pulling your hair out and letting me get to say those immortal words, "I told you so".

Actually, that's the only reason I keep providing the weekly portal diary, in the hopes that when some of the problems that are confronting me now start confronting you then, you will know that there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and that all the work is worth it.

MY WEEKLY PORTAL DIARY.

Well, this week has been another pretty good one. Wow, two in a row! This week Sarge got all the edit your site stuff fixed and now Mike is working on getting all the links going to the right pages. Once we have that accomplished, the only thing left is the little feature that adds that award icon to the listings automatically and if that's going to be a big problem, then I have something else in mind. We should be back to normal operating procedures with Searchking in the next few days. Whew!

We also have the new mail installed on Searchking now and it seems to be working all right. We've already signed up close to 200 users and so far no complaining e-mails. This is one area where no news is good news. We all have a tendency on the net to take all this stuff for granted. We all surf sites and check e-mail and buy products with very little or no thought to what kind of effort goes on behind the scenes to make all that stuff work. But boy oh boy, let it NOT work and we're e-mailing somebody to let them know that their site is screwed up. Believe me, I'm the same way. So, with not getting any bad e-mails about the mail, (I still get plenty of other ones), that makes me think it's working all right.

Now, we're in the process of getting the program moved onto the raid server so that we can start installing it on your portals. Grant was doing this yesterday but with the server being brand new, it had the bare minimum of programs installed so Grant couldn't just move the entire mail program, he had to first install some modules which of course takes more time. It should be moved by the end of this week. Then I have to spend a little time with Mike and Shane changing some of the lay-out and then we're ready to start setting everyone up. We're hoping to have the first ones done by the time you read the next portal partner press.

The big step was getting the affiliate program installed.

THE AFFILIATE PROGRAM

It is online and ready to take sign ups. Remember this is for portal partners only. The url is www.searchkingportal4u.com/affiliate.htm

Like everything else we've had to do, it wasn't quite as easy as the website made it sound. However, we have gotten excellent support from the company we bought it from so the few bugs we thought we had, they helped us through. The problem right now is that I haven't had time to modify the welcome letter, (which some 16 or so of you already know). We're getting some banners ready now so that I can put the link to the banners url in the welcome letter. I'll send an e-mail to all the affiliates as soon as we have that done. Should be in the next day or two. so, if you sign up as an affiliate and the welcome letter doesn't sound quite right, not to worry. I'll be sending you an e-mail very soon.

One thing we are having fixed on the sign up form is that the place for the social security number does not say required. We are seeing that most of the sign ups aren't putting their ss# in. I wouldn't either. However, if you make over $600 in a year, we can't pay you unless we have your ss#. Searchking is responsible for notifying the IRS of any US resident who makes over $600. Since we are assuming that EVERYBODY is going to make more than that, we need those ss#'s. For those of you that have already signed up and didn't put in your number, please send it to the person who will be keeping track of your money. Yvonne Brownfield at yvonne@searchking.com

I'm also having Curt add another topic to the forums. Searchking Affiliates. This will give us a place to discuss the ins and outs of the program.

THE BIG SURPRISE

The big surprise that I promised two weeks ago is that I am going to give away some free portal pluses. As much as you've had to listen to me whine about money, I figured that would come as enough of a surprise to most of you that I could consider it a BIG surprise. So Bob, what's the deal?

The deal is this. I'm very proud of the community we're building here and I want to see it keep going in the direction that it is. What I like about our community is the feeling of family that has developed and I think that is very important. Well, a family needs grandmas and grandpas and it needs kids. I want more seniors and more kids involved with Searchking and I want them as our portal partners.

From now until April 30th, I will waive any fees for a portal plus up to a total of 10 for the first people that request it that are over the age of 60. I will do the same for anyone under the age of 16. Now the only place on the order form that they could put their age is in the comments section, so the only way they would know is if you tell them.

The idea is here is to try to get you involved with your own family as well as introduce them to the Searchking family. Call your Mom and tell her you'll help her with her genealogy site. Call your Dad and offer to help him get that WWII site he's been talking about doing. Spend a little time with your kids helping them put together a portal about their school, their sports team, their art class. Your kids will probably teach you a little something in the process.

I'll tell you what got this whole thing going in my head. As most of you know, my mother works for me as Searchking's lowest paid employee. She started out just doing some filing because she only wanted to work three days a week to supplement her so-called social security, (speaking of which I just can't believe that anyone, even the government, could expect anyone to live off of that). Well in less than two months she has become involved. She took over the affiliate program and has virtually set it up on her own. She is now doing most of the daily work sheet, she handles a lot of my calls, she runs the charges and she reads the forums. She has been bitten by the bug.

For the first time in 20 years, my Mom is like her old self. She is an incredibly intelligent woman with over 25 years experience in the banking business as a supervisor of the loan department, overseeing about 12 billion dollars in loans for the Bank Of Oklahoma. She has almost single handedly raised 4 kids. She has a great sense of humor, an inner strength that I totally envy and a unique way of gaining the respect of everyone she comes into contact with. She is beautiful, smart, witty and I am very proud. She has a lot to offer this world and I bet someone close to you does too.

The other day, while we were sitting outside, out of the blue she said, "you know I've been reading your forums and I would love to do one of those portals for my genealogy". This is how I found out that she had been reading the forums and I don't know why for sure, but I was surprised. She said, "I just don't think I could get it going and I don't understand how all those people got so smart". She went on to ask, "how did you ever learn to do all that stuff?" "You've really been working a lot at this thing and have really turned it into something big". She then reached up and gently brushed my hair back from my forehead. It was her way of saying she was proud of me.

All of a sudden I became aware of my chest swelling and a grin reaching across the breadth of my face. I have been lucky enough to receive literally hundreds of letters from all kinds of people thanking me for this, that or the other, and it's not that I don't appreciate each of them, but none of them have ever come close to making me feel the way she did when she touched my forehead.

Like most Mothers and Sons, Mom and I have had our ups and downs. Most of the downs were from me thinking how smart I was and how behind she was, and most of the ups came from her having the good sense to let me think it and learn for myself what a jerk kids can be. To get to this point in my life and be able to consider my mother one of my closest friends as well as an advisor and a partner has got to be one of the greatest blessings a human could ever receive. If this little scheme of mine gets even one person to get that same kind of feeling from one of their family members, I'll consider this endeavor a huge success.

So, get your Dad and Mom, your Grandma and Grandpa and your kids signed up for a portal plus and have them put their age, (no hedging now), in the comments section and the fee is on me but you will be the one getting the most out of the deal.

I'm going to do my best to get Mom into the forums, maybe moderating the affiliate forum. She's a little shy and intimidated by the whole thing but I think I'm going to win her over. Look for her soon, and I'll be on the lookout for your mom'n'em.

Love Y'all
bob massa

THERE AIN'T NOTHIN IN THAT CLOSET TO BE SKEERED OF. NOW TURN OFF THEM LIGHTS AND GET TO BED!

PS: Steven Camp, my cousin and Mom's nephew passed away Monday night at the age of 40 from an apparent heart attack. My Mom is on her way to Houston today to attend his funeral and not able to be here to edit the portal partner press as she does every week. That's the only reason I could get away with talking about here like I have in this issue. So please excuse my inevitable typos and grammar glitches.

Publisher -- Bob Massa
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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS 2000

 


 

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