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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS - MAY 2000

MAY 2000

  • May 4 - WORTH REPEATING, HOLLY's HINTS, KNOW YOUR TRAFFIC
  • May11 - HELP --- ANYBODY!, TRAFFIC DON'T COUNT --- SALES DO!
  • May 18 - AFFILIATES UNITE!,
  • May 24 > - STRATEGY FORUM
  • May 30 - ORACLE UPDATE, SHAMELESS PLUG, BARKING DOGS

May 4, 2000

Hello again Portal kids! Another pretty good week. We got all the text changed on the portal sign up page to reflect the new "try it before you buy it" program. It went up on the 2nd, (two days ago) and it appears to be working. Already we have started getting more orders for pluses and pros than we are for power portals. I'm counting on all you old timers, especially moderators, to keep a close eye on the forums because I'm expecting them to start picking up with portal newbies asking questions. Let's help them out so that we don't lose them just because the program intimidated them.

MY WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

This week was pretty much consumed with getting the site changed for the "try it before you buy it" stuff. I know often we forget how much work it is to make what seems at the beginning to be a few minor changes. Every change has to be gone through on every page on the site making sure that you're not confusing your visitors somewhere along the line.

I would appreciate any help I can get form the portal partners in taking a look at the site and making sure I haven't missed something. I also think it's a good idea for all the affiliates to breeze through the site and make sure you know how it works as well. It's obviously a pretty good little sales ploy and will make you more money by using it.
www.searchkingportal4u.com

We are almost finished with moving all the magic-city domains onto the new server. I didn't realize it would take so long to move them. I thought it was just a matter of typing in a few characters and hitting the update button. Wrong! There's a few more little steps to it than that. We are getting the hang of it now though and it is moving along a lot quicker.

As for getting the database moved onto the hyperseek program for Searchking, that's another matter entirely. It's pretty much killing us. We have to go through each listing one at a time because of so much crap in the database. We started with just over a million sites in the index, then we lost about 300,000 with the crash. Then we deleted another 200,000 due to 404's and bad submission data. That still left right at 500,000. It takes a long time to go through that many, I don't care what kind of process you use.

Anyway, we just keep plugging along and as long as we're making progress, I'm fairly happy. Patience not being one of my virtues, of course I wish everything would go faster, but I am learning that things take as long as they take and there is no point in me getting so stressed out about it that I make my wife's life miserable because as we all know, when the wife ain't happy, NOBODY is happy.

WORTH REPEATING

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

The last two weeks I mentioned that I would like to hear from our partners with any success stories or just about any information that any of you felt had merit to the other partners. I've had a few e-mails but I'm still looking for more. Here's my deal for this week.

I want some testimonials. Send me your testimonial, your portal url and your e-mail address and I will install it on the portal sign up site. The reason I want your e-mail address and your url is because I expect people to be contacting you by e-mail and asking you questions. With your url, it will send traffic your way but the price may be that you would have to respond to some folks in regards to questions about the portal program.

Finally, after asking for articles, I was pleasantly surprised to see our own advertising manager ask for some space. I gladly gave it because Holly Nelson can do a lot for all our portal partners as far as giving advice on how to best use advertising for promoting your portal. Here's is her 2nd contribution.

HOLLY'S HINTS

Attracting Advertisers For Your Site, Part Two

So you have a web site and your building traffic, and hopefully you're showing a profit from your own product sales and/or through affiliate programs. Now it's time to look at attracting advertisers who will pay you to run their banners and/or text links on your site (and in your ezine or newsletter, if you have one.)

Last week we talked about knowing your Visitors. This week we are covering:

KNOW YOUR TRAFFIC

Potential advertisers are also going to want to know how many unique visitors your site generates (and the subscription base of your ezine/newsletter, if you have one.)

Many hosting companies make available your site's statistics - either as part of your monthly fee or for an additional fee. If they don't provide this service, you can find outside sources such as superstats.com, who offer various packages, depending on what stats you wish to track and how much you're willing to pay.

At the very least, you will need to know your monthly unique visitor count for each page of your web site. Most services provide stats on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, and collect much more information than just unique visitors.

It is important to know how to accurately count your traffic also. There is a big difference between 'Hits' and 'Unique Visitors' your real statistic of measure.

Look at these definitions:

HITS---
1. The retrieval of any item, like a page or a graphic, from a Web server. For example, when a visitor calls up a Web page with four graphics, that's five hits, one for the page and four for the graphics. For this reason, hits often aren't a good indication of Web traffic. See page view.

2. Any time a piece of data matches criteria you set. For example, each of the matches from a Yahoo or any other search engine search is called a hit.

PAGE VIEWS---
The accessing of a Web page. Often used by sites to give advertisers a sense of traffic, a page view differs from a hit by counting only the number of times a page has been accessed, whereas a hit counts the number of times that all the elements in a page, including graphics, have been accessed. Page views, however, have become tougher and tougher to gauge, since pages can include frames that divide them into separate parts.

UNIQUE VISITORS---
A visitor that can be qualified as a unique individual within a given period of time. The period of time can vary, but is usually between a half hour and an hour. [TRAFFIC] This qualification comes through a tracking process of some kind that records the number of views a particular page gets from the same IP address or records the same information through some sort of mandatory registration process. (the last not being a very user friendly method of maintaining traffic).

There are many software applications out there that can log all of these types of statistics. If any of you have some favorites please email me at: ecomm@acninc.net and your suggestions will be featured in the 5 Minute Marketing Mailing List.

Next week we will go into HOW TO SET YOUR PRICES.

If you would like to contact Holly for personal help with advertising, (especially Searchking advertising), her e-mail is r>

ATTENTION AFFILIATES!

Now that the "try it before you buy it" offer is up at Searchking Portal 4 u, we could use some effective banners that will help make the close. I think the TIBYBI thing is going to really increase the heck out of our sales. Creating effective banners has never been my strong point so again I'd like to ask that some of you affiliates help me out in making some "hot" banners that push the fact that they can try a portal out at no risk.

Any killer banner you make just send to Mike at webmaster@searchking.com and he'll get it installed on the affiliate banner page at www.searchkingportal4u.com/adbanners.htm

HOW ABOUT SOME MORE GOOD IDEAS?

Check this out!

Bob,
I put up a page www.healthybiz2000.com/portals.htm with some ideas for portals.
Art<

CLOSING

Well, that's enough out of me for this week. Believe it or not, I try very hard not to write these things too long. It's hard because I think I must have been a Baptist preacher in a former life or something because I CAN go on, but I know we're all busy people. I mean, after all, we run internet portals.

Keep those stories, testimonials and tips coming! See you next week.

YOU KIDS SETTLE DOWN! DON'T MAKE ME COME UP THERE!

Love ya'll
Bob

Publisher -- Bob Massa

May 11, 2000

Whew, what a week! Sorry the PPP is a little late, it's just that I've had a hard time finding the 30 minutes or so it takes to write it. I'm always a little surprised that anyone is actually wanting to read anything I write and that makes me tend to not place the importance of getting it out on time that it deserves. I'll try to do better in the future.

MY WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

This week has been pretty much consumed with working with the Oracle people. I've been wanting to hire this database consultant company that has been a partner with Oracle for a long time. We made a deal this past week and I would dearly love to make it happen but I'm a little short on money. I've had to spend a lot of time developing a strategy of making money appear from nowhere. It's a little exhausting.

Ever since the split between Searchking and Sarge of the Worxco and of course the hard drive crash back in January of this year, most of the features that made SK a unique search service have been unavailable. I desperately want those features back and Oracle and the software people I'm working with can make that happen.

My feeling is that many of the established services are having a hard time determining how best to determine what relevancy is and how best to display relevant sites to best increase their user base and of course translate that into profits. This is causing a lot of confusion in the industry and I believe that a unique service such as SK has a very good chance of capturing it's share of the searching market. I'm not saying that SK is any better, just different and just as good at determining relevance as any other system.

I believe there is a market share to be gained by simply letting people choose the keywords they want to be found under and then letting the public votes be the only thing that determines their placement. With the old SK, you could submit your site, CHOOSE your keywords and regardless of what was in your html or meta tags or anything else for that matter, you were instantly added to the database. In addition, we would add enough relevancy points to every submission so that we could guarantee a top 20 placement in the engine for at least some of the keywords you picked. From there, every vote your site got either raised or lowered your relevancy points across the board. Every time you got a vote, (we tracked IP's so that one person could only vote once every 60 days), we would send you an e-mail telling you the results of that vote. The purpose of this was to "train" webmasters how to best satisfy the public. In other words, if you were getting no votes on one of your keywords that would be pulling down the points for all your keywords. So with instant editing, (I forgot to mention that we also offered instant editing), all you had to do was tweak your keyword selection until you started getting yes votes for all your keywords which would eventually put you and keep you at the top for all your keywords.

As for the voting, we did not send people to a site via the links in the results. We actually went and got the site for you and then we could leave a very small window at the bottom of the screen that had the voting feature. Every time you voted on a site, that site would either raise or lower depending on how you voted before you could hit the back button to the engine. This did a lot for keeping spam at a minimum because you could spam Sk all you wanted BUT the first time you got a no vote you're site started dropping and most spammers rely on submitting a lot of pages fast and our system made it a waste of a spammers time so that eventually they could not afford to take the time to keep resubmitting unless we turned them into honest webmasters and they actually started providing quality content. We had several filters to keep you from re-submitting the same page so eventually, all the sites at the top of any keyword return were all reviewed by the public. In the 12 months or so that we actually had all these features working right, we were able to prove that you could assume all submissions were honest and that the public CAN actually determine quality and relevance as well, if not better, than any single human reviewer or any computer program. Fair, honest and relevant. Huh what a concept. That's why it's so important for me to get those features working again.

All this brings me to the point of this. I made the deal with Oracle but I'm about $20,000 short. I need to raise some money pretty quick. Here's a post I made in the forums a couple of days ago.

I need some help and wonder if some of you might not be able to help a little. I've been working with Oracle for over a year now to try to get it for Searchking. We've finally made a deal BUT, I'm about $20,000 short. After pacing the floor for a couple of nights I have something in mind of how to raise the money without having to sell off my stock. One of my assets include over 200 domains. These are all promotional domains that we have accumulated over the last two or three years due to clients canceling, (just because you're #1 on AV doesn't mean you're making enough money to keep paying me). So, if I could just sell a few of these for about a grand, I'd have the money for Oracle without having to sacrifice too much. Now, you can buy domains all day long for less than a couple of hundred bucks so what am I going to do to convince people that paying me over a thousand is a good deal? First of all, I've got domains like stockmarkettraining4u.com that's #1 on AV under stock broker. I've got web hosting sites, gambling sites, home based business sites etc. So not only can they get the domains but they can keep the placements as well, (at least until they change everything and lose their positions). I wasn't sure that was enough so I added another little goody. Searchking has been running text banners above the results for about a month. These banners are kicking butt compared to the old graphic rotating banners that we've all seen and can't remember. To see an example just go to Searchking.com and type in hotels or credit cards for example. See the listing with the little red dollar sign? Google and about.com have also started offering these kinds of ads. Direct hit does it kinda but they list them to the right of the results. NO GOOD! I had over 8000 impressions for my sponsorship and 3 click thrus. The text banners HAVE to go right above the results because that's where searchers are looking. Duh. Also we are starting to run this script on our partners' portal sites. So I'm going to throw in 10 keyword text banners with every domain FREE for a year! Once we get Oracle installed, all the old Searchking features will actually work again and I think we will quickly start hitting that 2 - 5- 10 million page views a month. With the features working, the speed issues addressed and our 1500 portal partners, I think this is a very attainable goal making this a pretty incredible deal. My problem is I'm not sure how to get the word out quickly. I can't wait for 6 weeks to see if DMOZ will list a time sensitive site so I don't think search engines are my way to go other than just putting banners on SK. I need help and I need it quickly. I need ideas. Also I'll pay a 20% commission to any moderators here if you have a client that may be interested, just be sure to let me know who it came from and I'll get you your money. I put up a quick page at www.searchking.com/domains4sale.htm and I wouldn't mind some input on that either if you think you may know of a way I can improve it. I would also consider any serious private investment.

HELP --- ANYBODY!

That's the post. Now, just for Portal partners. I will offer any portal partner a top spot text banner ad on SK and all the new portal pluses that come in for 10 keywords for the next 24 months. Two years - top spot - text banner - $1000. That works out to just $4.16 per month per keyword. If you like, you're welcome to call me at 405-386-4806 and I will help you pick good keywords. This is a VERY limited time offer. Trust me as soon as I rake up the $20,000, this offer is over.

The hardest working man in search business.

Ok, that's the deal. the part of this deal that I wanted to elaborate on is the 10 keyword text banner ads for 2 years exclusive to the portal partners. I realize it's a lot of money in web dollars BUT, in the opinion of this portal owner I think it's the one thing that makes the most sense. For one thing, the script displays ads for the plural and the singular so book gets you books as well. This means that you are actually going to be getting more than the 10 keywords. It also makes sense because they are working even at the traffic level we're at now. I've spoken to several of our partners that took the $10 a month keyword deal last month and so far I've not had a single complaint. I can't believe that other services have not figured this out yet. When someone does a search, they aren't looking at the top of the page for another banner with a flying monkey on it, they are looking at the search results! Duh! That's where that text banner goes. We are hearing numbers like 90 an 95% click thrus!!! Well it doesn't take a million impressions to make a few bucks with those kind of click thrus.

Are you a gambler? I realize that you may be asking, "so how many hits am I gonna get?" The answer is I don't have any idea. We may not grow much at all, however I think that it is pretty unlikely at the rate we're signing up new portal partners, (the try it before you buy it thing seems to be working pretty well), but what if I'm right and we get SK features all working again and now two years down the road we're doing 20 or 30 million page views a month. What if I'm wrong and there's not a market on the web for a more honest and fair search service BUT, what if I'm right?

Finally, I will go one step further with the portal partners only. I'll offer a half for half deal. In other words if $1000 is simply out of your price range, but you could swing half of that, I'll take $500 for 10 keywords for one year. I'll even take $100 for 10 keyword banners for two months.

Now the drawback is for the $100 is that you are going to be impressed with the results and when the two months are up, you are going to want the year deal. No dice! After the two months, if you want to keep the ads running, it's going to be regular price right off the price list. (You can see the price list at cronus.safe-order.net/magic-city/holly/ then just click on the price list link.

Now, if I've hit the magic button with anybody and convinced you that maybe now is the time to trust somebody on the net and just do it e-mail me personally at bobking@searchking.com and I'll send you an e-mail with the "deal" in writing and get your ads running.

TRAFFIC DON'T COUNT --- SALES DO!

You kids all know me. I'm always beggin' for help. Well I get a lot of it. Jim Raleigh for example sent me a very cool letter giving me a lot of really great tips. I was planning on running his e-mail to share his ideas this week but then just yesterday I got an e-mail from a partner from Canada and it blew me away. In my opinion, this person was SO on the money about our portal sign up page that I feel I would be doing all my portal partners a dis-service by not sharing it.

He's referring directly to searchkingportal4u.com, the sign up page, but his advice is very easily applied to any commercial web site. I urge you to read it carefully, (I read it three times myself), and learn how to apply as many principles as possible to your own site. It's a little long but it's well worth the read.
Here ya go.

Hi there BobKing, My name is ******* from Montreal, Canada. Portal partner WebBiz.SearchKing.com (sorry, I haven't had much time to work it yet but I will start it very soon, a lot is on paper already). I can tell you however that I truly believe in the full potential of your portal directories concept. At your request in the Press, I took the time to visit your new www.searchkingportal4u.com and thought that since you give so much of yourself, and your time to help your peers, I could at least take the time to give you some feedback about your hard and nice work. I hope I can be of any help. Ok, here we go...I click on the link, I'm connected with a 56k modem and my actual speed is 44000bps, the page loads fast enough, about 6-7 seconds for the principal and up to 10 seconds including the top banner. Colors and layout are very nice looking, well matched, good choices of font face and size, easy to read, the SearchKingPortal 4 U top graphic is simple, clear, and attractive. Unfortunately though, the top banner keeps my eyes away from the top graphic, it may take a few seconds for the visitor to find out where he exactly is. Let me ask you a question Bob. Do you desperately need that banner on the top of *this* particular page? Another one. What is the _most wanted response_ you do expect from the visitors on that page? If it includes to send me away, which I think it's not, then keep the banner there. However, I believe that you want to tell me something here, right? You want to SELL me something here, so please don't get my attention away, and bring me right to the point from the start. Grab my ATTENTION! instead... From a portal partner's point of view, reading a "personal message from the CEO" might be interesting, we all already know what we're talking about, and quite frankly Bob, I know that you always write from the bottom of your heart and it's always interesting to read you. From an outside visitor's p-o-v though, I mean at first, why would I want to read a message from this CEO? Because this is exactly the headline I see, right under the "banner". Umm... and why would this CEO want to tell me something? Before you tell me your personal message, why don't you tell me _right up front_ what's in it for me here? Grab my attention up front, by asking a question or two or providing a few answers. Then let me know you have a solution, and provide me with a short (bulleted) list of the most powerful benefits I'm gonna get here. For example, think about your pre-message, the message you'll use to bring people here. Is it a question? Then, answer on the spot when they click. Is it an affirmation? Then provide a confirmation when they click. Let's say you have a banner somewhere that says: "Yahoo! You can have it too!" You can start your main page with:--"Welcome, That's right, now you can profit from the new trend on the Internet. Start building your own community around your own specialized portal directory, using the same technology as Yahoo!..."--Ok, now I've just read your message (on the main page) and it's straight from the heart as always. However, the message assumes that the reader already knows what we're talking about here, which is not yet the case. This message would perfectly fit at another stage of the (sale) presentation, mostly near the end, or as P.S., or at the top of a FAQ page. Ho, and btw, since you're talking about it in your message, what if I'm interested and want to know more but I'm in a hurry, may I subscribe to something somewhere, right there, under my eyes? I do that often when I see something of interest and I just don't have the time to look through it at the moment. If I see a form offering a newsletter, I subscribe! I'd put a subscribe form right on the top left position of your pages, and right bottom. This way, even if they don't sign-up now, for a portal, you can still send the Portal Partner Press to these folks to keep them informed about developments, and have them sneak around the Forums and fellow partners' portals, they'll sign-up, if they get the message of course, it's just a matter of time. ;) Don't lose the focus that this specific page is for *sales*, this is NOT a portal page, don't let me choose from a bunch of links, I might also choose to click away. YOU, provide the sale presentation about what you have to offer, guide your visitor (me) through the presentation, make me click here, and here, and then there, tell me what to do next, and lead me to the signup page. If you're to provide me with a menu to jump elsewhere on the site, don't put it in a manner to keep me away from focusing on the main presentation (your message). I'm talking about the left menu blue bar, I'd put this menu at the bottom of the pages, and also add a scrolling menu at the top of the other pages, but the main page. One last thing. Now I notice that you've put some benefits at the bottom of the page, as I explained above, this is not where they belong, you should put them a lot higher in the presentation. And you should be more specific with these benefits. For example:- Listing in the SearchKing Web Directory exclusive to Portal partners.- Be listed on a X zillions page views per day. (Exclusive to Portal partners, from SearchKing Web Directory.) See my points? :) Applying these principles, you will, at least, double your responses, positive. Please excuse my English as my mother tongue is French, I'm learning here... :) Keep up the good work, Bob, I like what you're doing. Warm regards,

P.S. If you have any specific questions regarding, marketing, affiliate marketing, Internet and communication technologies, feel free to ask.

P.S.S. Nice picture there Bob... why don't you look at the camera? ;-)

CLOSING

Well, that's it for this week. Sorry this issue ended up being so long, (I bet I get a few unsubscribe requests this week), but I kinda got into it this week.

Love Y'all

BobKing

Publisher -- Bob Massa

May 18, 2000

Hello all y'all. Hope everyone is doin' fine as frog hair!

After reading back thru last week's PPP, I felt it may have gotten a little long-winded, so this week I'll try to shorten it up a bit.

MY WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

This week has been wheeler and dealer week. For those of you that actually read the PPP last week, you may remember the "deals" I was offering. The top placed domains for sale and the text banner keyword advertising for $4.61 per month. For those of you who have no idea of what I'm talking about, I'll repeat the offer again later in this issue. If you don't know what I'm talking about now, then you're caught and I know you didn't read last weeks issue and you might as well scroll on down now because you will probably find the next few little paragraphs a little confusing.

As all you good little portal partners know, I announced in last week's issue that I was wanting to raise $20,000. I've sold three domains and two $1000 advertising deals this week. That puts me at about 25% of my goal in just one week. Not too shabby! (actually only 5 days. Remember I was two days late in getting the PPP out last week).

Also, I've focused a little harder on Magic-city this past week and we also picked up several new accounts. However, that doesn't really help me with my goal because, while it's my pen that writes the checks for both companies, Magic-city is Magic-city and Searchking is Searchking. They are two separate companies with different principles in each. It does help in some respects in that now this week Kathi and I can eat taters with our beans and even a little side-meat, (not everyday of course but maybe for our Sunday supper), but outside of a little extra gravy on our plates, I still need to hit my goal for Searchking and that doesn't really have anything to do with Magic-city. I'm just braggin' a little I guess cuz I'm as proud as an old hog with new mud on me at the performance of everyone concerned. Of course, I think the people who took me up on my offers are the smartest people on the planet, but I'm also really proud of how all my staff jumped in and went the extra mile for me. Actually, just about everyone that works around me has already walked so many extra miles they're all bound to have holes in their loafers by now, it's just that I often get too involved in my own little world and don't give them enough credit for all they do for me and you.

As I've said before, the reason I do this little weekly portal owner's diary is because I don't see your portal as any different than mine and because I've been doing it longer, made more mistakes and lost more money than most of my portal partners, I want to think that some of what I've learned the hard way may make your row a little easier to hoe. This whole thing about raising money has gotten me a little flack. I've had a few letters this week telling me that I shouldn't talk so openly about needing money because it makes me appear desperate. I don't see it as being desperate. I simply see it as being determined.

You see, even if you don't sell a product or service on your portal, you still have expenses. Your computer, your connectivity and your time all are an expense and the hard to swallow fact is, if you don't generate enough revenue to pay those expenses, you will be gone. Just don't pay your measly $35 a year renewal fee to Internic and see how long it takes to become cyber history. I've owned several businesses over the years and one thing I know for a fact --- YOU CAN ALWAYS DO MORE WITH MORE MONEY!

I don't care what kind of income your website generates, I can promise you that there will come a time that you wish you had more money so you could get that new server or that new program or the new shoes or the etc, etc. Well, that time is just about everyday for me and my guess is that there are several people reading this now, (assuming of course anybody really reads the PPP), that just today wished they had more money. I'm not as much of a wisher as I am a "let's go do it" kind of guy. Remember the cartoon of the two vultures sitting in a tree with the sun beating down on them and one vulture looks at the other and the caption reads, "patience my ass - I'm gonna go kill something"? Well, I guess I'm a little like that vulture. I believe God helps those that help themselves.

With all of that said, I want to repeat the offer again this week. I still have 3/4ths of the way to go so I'm going to keep pushing.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL!

I need some help and wonder if some of you might not be able to help a little. I've been working with Oracle for over a year now to try to get it for Searchking. We've finally made a deal BUT, I'm about $20,000 short. After pacing the floor for a couple of nights I have something in mind of how to raise the money without having to sell off my stock. One of my assets include over 200 domains. These are all promotional domains that we have accumulated over the last two or three years due to clients canceling, (just because you're #1 on AV doesn't mean you're making enough money to keep paying me). So, if I could just sell a few of these for about a grand, I'd have the money for Oracle without having to sacrifice too much. Now, you can buy domains all day long for less than a couple of hundred bucks so what am I going to do to convince people that paying me over a thousand is a good deal? First of all, I've got domains like stockmarkettraining4u.com that's #1 on AV under stock broker. I've got web hosting sites, gambling sites, home based business sites etc. So not only can they get the domains but they can keep the placements as well, (at least until they change everything and lose their positions). I wasn't sure that was enough so I added another little goody. Searchking has been running text banners above the results for about a month. These banners are kicking butt compared to the old graphic rotating banners that we've all seen and can't remember. To see an example just go to Searchking.com and type in hotels or credit cards for example. See the listing with the little red dollar sign? Google and about.com have also started offering these kinds of ads. Direct hit does it kinda but they list them to the right of the results. NO GOOD! I had over 8000 impressions for my sponsorship and 3 click thrus. The text banners HAVE to go right above the results because that's where searchers are looking. Duh. Also we are starting to run this script on our partners' portal sites. So I'm going to throw in 10 keyword text banners with every domain FREE for a year! Once we get Oracle installed, all the old Searchking features will actually work again and I think we will quickly start hitting that 2 - 5- 10 million page views a month. With the features working, the speed issues addressed and our 1500 portal partners, I think this is a very attainable goal making this a pretty incredible deal. My problem is I'm not sure how to get the word out quickly. I can't wait for 6 weeks to see if DMOZ will list a time sensitive site so I don't think search engines are my way to go other than just putting banners on SK. I need help and I need it quickly. I need ideas. Also I'll pay a 20% commission to any moderators here if you have a client that may be interested, just be sure to let me know who it came from and I'll get you your money. I put up a quick page at www.searchking.com/domains4sale.htm and I wouldn't mind some input on that either if you think you may know of a way I can improve it. I would also consider any serious private investment.
HELP --- ANYBODY!

That's the post. Now, just for Portal partners. I will offer any portal partner a top spot text banner ad on SK and all the new portal pluses that come in for 10 keywords for the next 24 months. Two years - top spot - text banner - $1000. That works out to just $4.16 per month per keyword. If you like, you're welcome to call me at 405-386-4806 and I will help you pick good keywords. This is a VERY limited time offer. Trust me as soon as I rake up the $20,000, this offer is over. The hardest working man in search business.

Ok, that's the deal. the part of this deal that I wanted to elaborate on is the 10 keyword text banner ads for 2 years exclusive to the portal partners. I realize it's a lot of money in web dollars BUT, in the opinion of this portal owner I think it's the one thing that makes the most sense. For one thing, the script displays ads for the plural and the singular so book gets you books as well. This means that you are actually going to be getting more than the 10 keywords. It also makes sense because they are working even at the traffic level we're at now. I've spoken to several of our partners that took the $10 a month keyword deal last month and so far I've not had a single complaint. I can't believe that other services have not figured this out yet. When someone does a search, they aren't looking at the top of the page for another banner with a flying monkey on it, they are looking at the search results! Duh! That's where that text banner goes. We are hearing numbers like 90 an 95% click thrus!!! Well it doesn't take a million impressions to make a few bucks with those kind of click thrus.

Are you a gambler? I realize that you may be asking, "so how many hits am I gonna get?" The answer is I don't have any idea. We may not grow much at all, however I think that it is pretty unlikely at the rate we're signing up new portal partners, (the try it before you buy it thing seems to be working pretty well), but what if I'm right and we get SK features all working again and now two years down the road we're doing 20 or 30 million page views a month. What if I'm wrong and there's not a market on the web for a more honest and fair search service BUT, what if I'm right?

Finally, I will go one step further with the portal partners only. I'll offer a half for half deal. In other words if $1000 is simply out of your price range, but you could swing half of that, I'll take $500 for 10 keywords for one year. I'll even take $100 for 10 keyword banners for two months.

Now the drawback for the $100 is that you are going to be impressed with the results and when the two months are up, you are going to want the year deal. No dice! After the two months, if you want to keep the ads running, it's going to be regular price right off the price list. (You can see the price list at cronus.safe-order.net/magic-city/holly/ then just click on the price list link.

Now, if I've hit the magic button with anybody and convinced you that maybe now is the time to trust somebody on the net and just do it e-mail me personally at bobking@searchking.com and I'll send you an e-mail with the "deal" in writing and get your ads running.

AFFILIATES UNITE!

We are now up to 50 affiliates. Some of you should have your checks by now. They went out on the 15th just like I said they would. The problem is that not enough of you got one. The problem is not getting traffic. We have one affiliate who had over 175 hits this past month, but no sales.

We are all faced with the fact that we need to educate the public. I'm afraid most people on the net simply aren't familiar with the terminology. I think they simply don't know what a portal is or what it can do for them. Your job as an affiliate is to educate them. Remember that being a successful affiliate and actually making money requires a commitment on your part as well as mine.

I think we can all agree that a year from now, there are going to be literally thousands and thousands of people running their own portals. So where are they going to get the tools to do that. Well, they should be getting them from us. We're one of the portal pioneers. We have an excellent program and an excellent pricing structure and let's not forget that no one is able to offer more experience in the running of your own portal than we are. We were one of the very first!

I'm looking for a motivated affiliate to show the other affiliates just how much you can make from this. Someone who will make some posts in forums, run some ads, and most importantly write and submit some articles for e-zines of course using your page as a link so that you get credit for the sale. Basically, just tell people about the benefits of the program. Remember that there are a lot of programs out there that you can join and simply run a banner on your site, BUT, only you can decide whether to actually make any money from it or just wait and see if anything happens.

If you need help, let me know and I will do anything I can to help. I WANT to see you making money because that's how this whole thing works.

The "try it before you buy it" strategy is working. It's only the middle of the month and our sales have doubled last month already. Naturally, the free portals are way down, but the pluses and pros are way up! That is exactly what we were wanting. Try it before you buy it is a great way to go. The customer has absolutely no risk! It's honest, fair and up-front. It works! So, let's tell the world about it and let me see some affiliates start making some real money!

CLOSING

I promised to keep this issue shorter so I guess I'll stop here. I get this mental picture of some of your faces looking like a chicken laying a turkey egg and thinking, "Jeez, will this guy ever shut up?" Well, the answer to that question is --- probably not, but I will show a little mercy and let this be it for this week.

See you next week and keep those letters with ideas, suggestions and complaints coming. I love getting them!

Love Y'all
Bob

Publisher -- Bob Massa

May 24, 2000

Happy Memorial Day to all. Memorial Day is an important holiday to Americans. It's purpose is to remember our fallen war heroes, those who have fought and died in the name of freedom and the American way of life. I think if we were really honest, it's importance to Americans has more to do with the fact that it is a 3 day holiday more so than a day of remembrance. I know that during this 3 day holiday you will be able to find a lot more people at lakes and amusement parks than you will at any cemetery or memorial.

I would like to encourage everyone to take this time to not only remember the ones who have given so much for so many in military service, but to also remember all the heroes who did their part without benefit of rank or uniform. Especially the women. I would venture to guess that we have far more heroes that were never in the service that deserve our respect and remembrance, than we do soldiers.

I'm certainly not saying that our fallen service men don't deserve a lot of credit. It is an incredible thing about humans that they will lay down their most precious possession, their own life, for an ideal, a cause, a belief. It's one of the things that makes me have so much faith in the basic goodness of mankind.

It's just that I feel that most of the time, we overlook the contribution of the people who kept those home fires burning. People who sacrificed every bit as much as the men in uniform. I'm talking about our grandmothers, our sisters, our daughters and of course our moms. While you're saluting the flag at parades or laying wreaths at the grave of a husband or son who has passed on, try to also remember the sacrifices made by the ones who cooked your meals, who kept you in clean clothes, who provided you with love and nurturing even when they needed those same things themselves just as bad as you did.

I know that most of the women in my past were some of the hardest working people I've ever known. People who toiled all day, every day and never even expected any recognition. Well, whether they expected it or not, they certainly deserve it. I think it is so important for us to remember our past, our roots and our heritage. Those things come from the women in our past every bit as much as they come from the men. I believe even more.

MY WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

As portal owners, in fact, as web site owners, we are always looking for ways to improve our sites and thereby improve our business. Often the ideas we come up with and the services and features that we would like to add, require scripts or programs. A very small percentage of us are blessed with the ability to write custom scripts and programs on our own. I am not.

Like most of us, I am forced to trying to figure out how, and where to find a script that I want. First I try to think of what a program like what I think I want might be commonly known as. I then hit the search engine circuit and start typing in what I think I need to look for. Of course since it's probably a unique idea, there is not a term for the program I'm looking for. So now what?

Obviously I need to find someone who has the ability to write custom programs at a price I can afford, (that is usually the tricky part. The price thing). So, how do I go about finding that someone? Trust me -- it ain't easy. Even when you do find someone that says they can do it, how do you know that you can trust them? That they really are able to provide what they said they could? Believe it or not, I've had a lot more problems in finding people that actually deliver than I have had in finding people who said they could deliver. Remember, guaranteeing results is not the same thing as actually delivering results. I may very well hold the record in Oklahoma City for hiring the most people for the most money with the least results.

I have had a need for a custom script for the portal program from the very beginning. Almost from the day the portal program signed up our first portal partner, I knew that this program needed to be much easier to operate in order to appeal to the general public. Searchking has always been known as a webmaster-friendly search engine, but the whole idea of offering topic specific portals to the general net community had very little to do with your skill level as a webmaster and much more to do with your skill level in the specific topic you chose to build your portal about. I made the deal with Hyperseek because I believed, (and still do), that it was the absolute best program of it's type available. I knew the power it had and I also knew how challenging it could be to actually run for someone who was more concerned about running their business than they were about learning cgi.

So I thought, "well, I'll just find someone to build me a simple interface for the program". It makes me smile thinking back to then. It seemed at every turn I kept running into more and more problems with being able to actually get this script. I talked to dozens of people. I searched dozens of search engines. I posted in dozens of forums. I whined, I cried, I pouted, I promised, I begged, and I threatened. This was important enough to me and my business that I was determined to not give up. I didn't and that's when I discovered the key to success with installing custom scripts and programs. DON'T GIVE UP!

In this new cyber world of ours, all things are possible. I firmly believe that you can not come up with an idea for a program that can not be done. If you can't find one already available, it doesn't mean it can't be done. It just means that it hasn't been done yet!

One tip I would like to pass along to all you portal owners is that when looking for a custom program, be as specific as absolutely possible. The more vague you are the more likely it is you will not get what you want. The job of a programmer is to take what you tell them and write a script to do what you said you wanted it to do. The programmer can not read your mind and it's not his job to figure out what you want. So when you get these ideas, don't just start contacting programmers and asking them what it would cost for a script like you envision. Actually sit down and go through the process, so you can tell the programmer exactly what you want and how you want it.

I have found the biggest complaints that programmers have is that clients won't spend the time to figure out what they want. They are always getting calls with people giving them some very general overview of what killer app they have in mind only to discover down the road that they forgot to mention that the script also needed to track IP's or something or it wouldn't work. This program not working the way you want is usually not the programmers fault. It is usually yours because you didn't spend the time or do the work to be able to tell the programmer what you wanted. I'm as guilty of this as anybody. How do you think I learned this little tidbit?

So after almost six months of very frustrating experiences, I've got my script!! I can't wait because I truly believe it is the single most important factor in making the Searchking portal program a huge success with thousands and thousands of portal partners. I'm going to be going into specifics a little further down in this issue because I want to announce it to the affiliates first and foremost but my point is simply that when you decide to add some feature that is going to require a custom program, you can save yourself a lot of grief if you:
#1. know what you want and how you want it
#2. DON'T GIVE UP!

One other thing I'd like to pass along. We all have a tremendous advantage over the rest of the world. We have the forums and the portal partners. This script that I am talking about was written by a portal partner. We have a lot of VERY talented people involved with us as portal partners and all of us should be very open to discussing ideas that will improve our sites because what is good for one of us is good for all of us. Searchking has provided us all with a very valuable resource that is not available to all those poor folks out there who don't have a portal. The partners and the forums. Use them!

AFFILIATE UPDATE

Are you ready to start making some money??

As I've discussed many times before, I believe the secret of real success with this portal program is in making setting up a portal as easy as setting up a geocities homepage. It's been a long hard road but I finally have the script. We're testing it now and it should be installed and online within a couple of weeks.

With this script, when you first log into your admin, you will be presented with two links. The EZ builder and the advanced. With the EZ builder, simply type in your title and text, type in your categories, sub-categories, hit enter and you're in the portal business. All the features that hyperseek has will be set by default so that basically the only thing you can do is add and delete sites to your engine, BUT, you can do that in minutes. Also you can switch back and forth from the EZ to the advanced with a mouse click. This means that a new portal partner can have their portal up running in about 15 minutes and then start "playing" around with the advanced stuff so they can learn it a step at a time without having to risk losing their database or any of the settings they already have.

This was the thing that I was most concerned about. It appeared in the beginning that once you selected the EZ, you could not use the advanced and you were on your own. Thanks to the talents of one of our own portal partners, the script now is much more valuable in the respect that you can learn to use all the features at your own pace and without your portal being down.

With the EZ builder and Oracle getting installed on Searchking, it's going to be a whole new ballgame with a lot more home runs. We will start making buttons and banners proclaiming the virtues of the world's only 15 minute portal!

STRATEGY FORUM

You guys know how I'm always begging for input from the portal partners on different issues. It's not just that I want all the partners involved, it's often that I am faced with decisions that I'm simply not sure about how to make.

I would like to start a private discussion forum by e-mail of not less than 4 and not more than 10 partners for the sole purpose of discussing and implementing strategy for the portal program. There are so many opportunities starting to open up for Searchking. The phone is ringing off the hook with people wanting to "partner" with us. It looks like usually "partnering" means a way of getting our traffic without having to pay us anything for it but I do sense that there are some of these things that are worth looking into. I'd like the input of some other savvy net partners to help me decide which are of value and which are not.

Also, and this is the most important, I have a lot of options as to how to make this program grow. Most of this stuff comes down to marketing decisions. Should I offer the portal plus for free? Should I develop a paid portal pro that is less expensive by limiting some of the features? Should I offer web hosting plus? A web host that gives you all the features of a low cost hosting solution PLUS your own hyperseek engine? These are just a few of the questions I need to make decisions on.

If any of you would like to be a part of deciding which way it goes, please let me know. Within a week or so, I'll set up a kind of e-mail discussion list. I know there is software out there to do this kind of thing but I'm not familiar with it and I don't really have the spare time to learn it right now so in the beginning at least, it will just be me forwarding the messages. Simple but effective. Just send me an e-mail letting me know briefly why you would like to be on this discussion list and what you feel you could contribute. The list will be compiled by the three founding members voting on the people who apply. The three founders of course are me, Shane Dolby and Mike Rotter.

I think this is going to be the year of the Searchking and the more help I can get, the better off we'll all be.

Finally, I'm still offering the keyword text banner ad deals.
10 keywords - top spot 2 years - $1000
10 keywords - 1 year - $500
10 keywords - 2 months - $100

Well, that's it for this week gang.

Love y'all
Bob

Publisher -- Bob Massa

May 30, 2000

Well the holiday is over and it's back to work. I don't know about you, but it seems like those three day weekend thingees make it a lot harder to get back in the swing of things than just the two day ones. Of course I'm not talking about me. Memorial day is a work day just like any other day for me and Kathi. With the Magic-city office being closed that just meant that we could do some work without being interrupted by phone calls. It just seems to me like anytime there's a holiday, the week before and the week after, business gets a little off track. Oh sure everybody keeps drawing a check, it's just that not a lot of work gets done.

I'm not complaining, (yeah right!), because everyone I'm involved with all work very hard and I think it's important that they take the time to play hard as well. Living good is all about moderation and balance and a little goofing off now and then never killed anybody. Well, except for all of the alcohol related accidents, drownings and occasional domestic squabble.

Down to PPP business.

MY WEEKLY PORTAL OWNER'S DIARY

This week's diary has nothing to do with tricky scripts or cgi or perl. It has to do with people. Real living, breathing, THINKING people. I may have very well just pulled off one of the best deals in the history of the internet. I'm talking about the Strategic Planning forum I mentioned last week.

Over two years ago I made some posts in some forums about trying to put together an internet marketing super-group whose purpose was to identify problems and come up with solutions in regards to applying traditional business practices to the internet. It appears to me that the vast majority of even the most successful websites are having a very difficult time in getting their sales to click thru ratios above the single digit mark. That makes me believe that someone needs to learn how to make a website effectively address the 4 key steps to making a sale. That is
Feature
Benefit
Action
Overcoming Objections

I've been in business for myself for over 30 years in several different types of businesses from the rent-to-own industry to a commercial printing company to a toy manufacturing business. With each business, there were always problems specific to that product or service that had to be addressed and solutions devised in order for the business to generate income. The key to coming up with those solutions was always Strategic Planning.

Well, I could not get the super group idea off the ground two years ago. Maybe the net wasn't ready but my guess is that it was me that wasn't ready. Well, I'm ready now!

I had a small group of people with incredible qualifications respond to me asking to be a part of the forum. I made some very strict rules, outlined a basic procedure and developed a code of ethics that I insisted had to be signed and I am very happy to say, we have our Strategic Planning forum. The goal of this forum is to develop effective internet marketing techniques that we can apply to virtually any internet business and then provide the training and the tools to make these techniques available to our portal partners. What we are going to attempt to do is nothing short of changing the way the internet works!

For example, banner ads are everywhere we go on the net. Studies show that the vast majority of these ads pull less than a 1% response. That is dismal. Somebody, somewhere needs to swallow the pill and accept the fact that these things don't work and that the advertisers lose, the website owners lose and the internet surfer loses. All we are doing is wasting bandwidth. Now, some old fart from Oklahoma starts offering text banner ads above the results on a search engine and BINGO - 85 - 90 and 95% click thru ratios. Put the ad where the potential customer is looking, make it targeted and relevant to the keyword and guess what - it works!

That is the kind of stuff that we will be dealing with in the Planning forum. We will be focusing on how best to get Searchking and the portal program exposed, growing and profitable. With each step we will be passing what we learn on to all of you. It's one of the most exciting things I've ever gotten involved in and I'm chomping at the bit to get started.

The reason I devoted this issue of the PPP to this topic is to encourage all of you to follow suit. Planning is the single most important part of determining whether your web business is a success or a failure. Our search engine placement service, Magic-city, has represented over 2000 clients in the last four years and the vast majority of those have gone out of business. We got every single one of them traffic but being #1 on Alta Vista is not the same thing as making deposits into your bank account. Most of those sites went broke from lack of planning. Their sites weren't functional, the order forms were confusing, the text didn't match up to the keywords they selected and so forth. All of those problems could have and should have been addressed in the planning stages. Far too many people just throw up a site thinking if they just get traffic, they will get sales and nothing could be further from the truth.

A lot of people don't really understand the concept of planning let alone the value. That's why this forum is going to have such an incredible impact on all of our sites. That's why this article is so important to you as a portal owner. If you don't understand strategic planning -- learn! Get people involved with you that can help. Research, surf the net, ask friends, visit forums and above all focus on it. I want all of you to see your dreams come true and it is not very likely to happen if you don't plan for it.

ORACLE UPDATE

I've been as busy as a cat tryin' to bury poop on a frozen pond again this week trying to raise the capital for Oracle. I'm half way there! Whew! Honestly I thought it would be a little easier than it's been but still, raking up almost $10,000 in a little over three weeks ain't too shabby. It's just a little hard thinking about what I've had to give up so far and still only half way.

I can't give up! Searchking has over 30,000 submissions that have not been indexed yet. They're just sitting there waiting for me to get everything fixed. Traffic is going up very nicely, (I can't really understand why), in spite of the fact that the features aren't working. If I can just get this thing put together, I believe it will double the traffic in about 30 to 60 days. That would put us at 2 million page views a month. Once I do get Oracle installed and the features working, I strongly urge you to take the portal directory more seriously and get your portal listed. We are already getting over 30% of our traffic going into the directory and as more of you get in there and more people come to realize the value of getting back a portal about a keyword as opposed to just getting a list of url's, I can promise you this is going to be one of the best things about having an SK portal.

If your portal is not in the directory, get it in there now!! Remember the directory is for portal partners exclusively so the url is not available to the general public. I always have the url at the bottom of each PPP but for those of you who don't read down that far, (I don't really blame you, I usually don't either), here it is: www.searchking.com/bin/add_url.cgi?C=

SHAMELESS PLUG

I'm still wanting to sell those promotional domains I own. As I said before, I've got domains covering just about every industry that's popular on the net. They are well placed, they come with personal consulting from me, they come with the 10 keyword text banner ads and best of all, you'll start getting traffic immediately instead of having to build a page, submit it and wait for weeks and weeks to see if you got lucky enough to get good placements. When you compare the cost of your time in trying to get those top placements and consider the value of my personal help with keeping them in the top AND the keyword ads, $1500 is cheap! And don't forget that I pay a 20% commission, (that's $300 for everyone reading this from Oklahoma), to any portal partner who sends me a customer who buys a domain! C'mon kids help me out here. I know you're probably not doing anything anyway :) and if I could sell just 7 more of these, the program I'll buy is going to help you out too.

Finally, I really hate to sell anymore of the 10 keyword ads for two years for $1000 because I know there will come a time very soon that I will cry over this deal. Naturally stuff like credit cards and e-commerce, the keywords that can really generate some good revenue for a search engine, are the ones that are getting taken first. Take a look at Goto.com and see what the top bids for those kind of keywords are.

I know that long before the two years are up, I'll be sitting there needing money again, of course, and have to tell some one that I can't take their $1000 a month for that keyword because I've already sold it for $4 a month. I'll be about as happy as a skinny hog at a 4H show. BUT, I said I would offer it until I raised the $20,000 I need and I will. Doesn't anybody need some keyword ads for stuff like electric shock treatments or hair removal or maybe adult diapers?? Those wouldn't sting so bad.

BARKING DOGS

Well, the dogs are barking, the wife is pouting and my dinner is gettin' cold so let me close with just saying that I honestly hope that what I am doing here with the PPP is helping at least somebody. The idea is to show you how I see things so that maybe you can see some things that may apply to you and your portal business. Money makes the world go 'round and most of the net-heads I know are working for about $1.50 an hour if they figure in their time, and that's the lucky ones. I want to see that change for my portal partners and myself. That's why I'm so excited about the Strategic Planning forum. I hope by next week I can start sharing some things with all of you that start to really make a difference in your money, your business and your life!

SEE YOU AT THE TOP

Bob

Publisher -- Bob Massa
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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS 2000

 


 

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