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Volume 3 - Issue 1 4-1-08

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Table of Contents for this issue.....

1.          Authors Comments

2.          Q & A, Suggestions and Comments

3.          Protect Your Copyright

4.          Meta Tags

5.          eBay Changing from Commission Junction

6.          Changes at Google

7.          Demographics of Search Engines

8.          Microsoft Demographic Prediction Tool

9.          Sell Benefits not Features

10.     Need a New Computer?

 

 

Author's Comments

 

Notice the change in the volume number for this issue.  Yes, Boomer eZine is starting its third year.  The first issue was published 4-4-06 .  We have been a long way together.  Thanks for being a subscriber.  Please take time to send us any thoughts or suggestions for improving our eZine.

 

March marks the launch of my new Site Build It site, www.the-best-HDTV.com.  The fact that this is the fourth site I have built using Site Build It should remove any doubt about my conviction that Site Build It (SBI) is the best web host for hosting content driven websites.

 

I just received an email from a friend who is an Internet marketer selling a new product called sitebuilder1.com (sounds like Site Build It).  It costs $49.95 per month ($599.40 per year) for an "almost ready" website.  I looked it over and it does not come close to SBI which costs $299 per year ($24.92 per month).

 

If you want to start an online business and are willing to work to develop it (do not sign up if you think this is a get rich quick method) try Site Build It.  It will help you build a successful online business.

 

SBI has a 30 day money back guarantee so what do you have to lose?

I know that you are suspect since you know that I make a commission from selling SBI, but the fact that I am on my fourth website using SBI should convince you that I practice what I preach.

 

Don ’t waste your money and more importantly, your time, with other web hosts.  Start your 30 day trial now.

 

Q & A, Suggestions and Comments

 

 

If you have anything for this section or you have a suggestion for a topic for an article, please use this suggestion form to give us your suggestions or your input.  With your help, we can improve the Boomer eZine.  This link will open a new page.  Close the page to return to Boomer eZine.    

Protect Your Copyright  

Illegal use of copyrighted information is rampant on the Internet.  There seems to be an attitude that if it is on the Net, it is public domain.  This is totally wrong.  If someone creates something original or uses a picture or image that they developed or paid for, others cannot use the information or picture without permission.  

This last month is the second time that the Retirement Lane sign picture we use on Retirement Jobs Online.com has been used without permission.  

Originally, I put the picture of the Retirement Lane sign here, but Google redirected the traffic for "retirement" here instead of to retirement-jobs-online.com.  I have removed the picture from this location so viewers will be directed to the proper website.

See the picture at www.retirement-jobs-online.com.

I am flattered that people like the picture.  Google likes it since it is the number one search result on Google images for the keyword “retirement”. I have said before that I wish I could claim that I planned this, but it is pure, blind luck.  

Anyway, I guess people see it on the search and think it would work well on their site or blog.  

Every few days, I do what I call “a real estate check” to see where my websites are ranked on the various search engines by searching for my top keywords.  One that I always check is the location of the Retirement Lane sign picture on Google images.  

In February, I found that the picture was still ranked number one, but to my surprise, the site to which it linked was the blog of a real estate agent in Bradley Beach, NJ.  I double checked to see if the picture was on his site, and no, he was linking to the picture on my site which is copyrighted.  

I posted an entry in his blog asking to “cease and desist” use of the picture and he did within a day.  I also wrote Google and asked them to not allow copyright infringement of that image.  Unfortunately, Google moves slowly and it was a few days until the credit for the picture was changed back to Retirement Jobs Online.com.  During that time, I lost valuable traffic to the real estate blog.  

In March, guess what?  Same problem with an engineering company.  One of the employees wrote an article about hiring retired engineers for projects.  The Retirement Lane sign was linked into the article from my website.  

Google still ranked the sign number one, but credit was given to the engineering firm and the link from Google pointed to the engineering firm’s site.  Again, I had to write to tell the company to stop using the picture.  I did not write Google, but watched to see how long it took for Retirement Jobs Online.com to be credited for the image.  It took about two days which is about what it took when I previously wrote Google.  

I decided to put “ John Howe , Inc.” on the picture so if people copied it or linked to it, it would show.  I wanted this to as subtle as possible so it would not detract from the impact the picture makes.  Using Adobe Photoshop, I put the copyright message in the bottom right of the picture which is the last place the eye falls when looking at an object. I made the letters small and white.

Bottom line.  Make certain that you have your copyright notice on your website and on your pages.   Read an article about copyrights at http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I29_102706.htm  

Meta Tags  

Speaking of copyright, do you know there is Meta Tag in HTML to specify copyright?  I don’t see it used often, but it is available.  

First, let’s define Meta Tags for those who are not familiar with HTML.  It is a special HTML tag (statement) that provides information about a web page.  The Meta Tag does not affect the way the information on the page is displayed, but rather describes the page.  Meta Tags are found in the heading section at the top of the page.  

The most important Meta Tags are:  

        Title

        Description

        Keywords  

These are the Meta Tags that Site Build It (SBI) focuses on for search engine optimization of your SBI pages.  If you use the block builder feature of SBI to build your web page, you fill in the blanks and SBI generates the Meta Tags for you.  These are very important in getting your page ranked high with the search engines.  

Here are the Meta tags for Retirement Jobs Online.com home page.  I have taken the first “<” out of the statements or your browser would interpret them as live Meta Tags and would not display them.  

They occur in the head section between that the start and end “head” tags.  

head>  

title>Retirement Jobs for Retirees (Or Soon to Be)</title>

META Name="Description" Content="Retirement Jobs for Retirees (Or Soon to Be)">

META Name="Keywords" Content="retirement jobs, retirement jobs online, part time jobs, retiree, retired">  

/head>  

If you build your own web pages, you make certain that you always fill out the minimum of these three tags for every page.  

We started this article by saying “Speaking of copyright”.  Well, here is the copyright Meta Tag:  

META NAME="copyright" CONTENT="Copyright John Howe , Inc. 2008">  

To learn all about Meta Tags and to use a Meta Tag generator, go to  

http://www.submitcorner.com/cgi-bin/tools/metagen.cgi  

That wraps up this “quickie” on Meta Tags.  Some people maintain that Meta Tags are obsolete.  I credit SBI with much of the success that we enjoy with our websites and SBI says that the Title, Description, and Keyword Meta Tags are important.  I am not going to argue with success.  I believe in them!  

eBay Changing from Commission Junction  

For years, eBay has paid its commissions through Commission Junction which is one of the largest affiliate programs on the Internet.  

Since I am an affiliate of eBay in several countries, I received an email from each of them (in the native language) that eBay was changing over to handling its own affiliate program.  

Here is the email if you are an eBay affiliate and missed it.  

Dear John Howe:  

We are excited to announce eBay’s new global affiliate platform: the eBay Partner Network.  

The new platform will go live on April 1st, 2008 PST, at which point eBay will no longer be running its affiliate program through Commission Junction.  Beginning April 1st, affiliates should register with eBay Partner Network and migrate their links from CJ to the new platform.   

While CJ and ValueClick have been valuable partners to eBay throughout the years, we’ve decided to give our affiliate community a customized experience for eBay affiliates.  

All the great tools and benefits of working with the eBay program will remain the same – access to the Editor Kit and affiliate API, the flexible destination tool, the great payout structure.  In addition, the eBay partner network will provide several new features:

           Easy global registration to multiple countries simultaneously

           New, targeted banners and rich media creatives

           New landing page optimization and geo-targeting capabilities

           More detailed reporting capabilities for eBay’s programs  

The eBay Partner Network and Commission Junction will run in parallel for one month through this process, so please plan to complete your migration by May 1st, 2008 .   

You can receive an additional 5% bonus for all traffic tracked through eBay Partner Network in April 2008 (bonus applicable to traffic sent to Half.com and US, UK , Australia , Canada , Italy , India and Spain eBay sites).  The sooner you migrate, the more you’ll earn!  Just:

           Register with eBay Partner Network on April 1, 2008

           Confirm your registration, and obtain your new identifiers

           Update your links with your new identifiers.

           Reminder: Please plan to complete migration by May 1, 2008 .  

You will receive more information and step by step directions for the transition on April 1st.  A special help desk to answer your questions about migration will also be available starting April 1st.  You can find more details, including a list of programs that will be affected, at http://affiliates.ebay.com.  

Thanks for being a valued partner.  We’re excited for a successful transition, and the opportunity to grow your business through even more innovations, information and communication moving forward!   

Sincerely,  

eBay’s Affiliates Managers  

How do you make money as an eBay affiliate?  Refer your reader to eBay so they can join (if they are not already a member).  If you then refer them to purchase an item on eBay, you get a commission on the sale.  

We published an article about eBay affiliates in  

http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I10_061606.htm  

You can also read how to become an eBay affiliate at  

http://affiliates.ebay.com/?_trksid=p3907.m36  

Changes at Google  

eBay is not the only giant changing things.  If you have an A dw ords account with Google, you have seen this message when you open up your account.  

Google URL Notice  

This is another Google upgrade to ensure the Google users get what they want.  

When you create an ad, you specify the display URL and the destination URL.  The display URL is the fourth line in the ad and appears to the viewer to be the URL where they will be directed when they click the ad.  This is not the case.  The destination URL is where they will actually be directed and the viewer does not see the destination URL.  

Some advertisers are using the display URL to trick the viewer into thinking they were going to land on a certain website when they were not.   Here is an example:  

Display URL – www.amazon.com/LNT4061-Best-Deal

From this display, you would assume that if you clicked on it, you would be directed to Amazon.  

Destination URL – http://www.the-best-hdtv.com/LNT4061F-Best-Deal.html

This would land you on a webpage in my HDTV site which would ultimately send you to Amazon.  

I agree with the Google change.  This will eliminate the deception that is hidden in some of the Display URL’s and give the viewer a more truthful idea of where the click will take her/him.  

If you have a pay per click campaign running on Google, this must be changed effective April 1, 2008 .  

Demographics of Search Engines  

I never thought about the users of each search engine having a different set of demographics.  In a conversation with a very helpful customer service rep from Microsoft AdCenter, I asked her about the long list of keyword misspellings that I had in my AdCenter campaigns and told her that they were not getting many impressions.  

She told me about the demographics for MSN.  The average salary was around $72,000 and most had college degrees.  She said that most of the users were very targeted and spelled search words correctly.  So much for the work I did generating misspelled keyword combinations is not effective on MSN/Live.  Oh well, I will use them to see how well the users of Google can spell.  

Read on to the next article to see what I found about the demographics of the other search engines.  

Microsoft Demographic Prediction Tool  

In the process of writing the previous article, I searched for “adcenter demographics” and found a tool on Microsoft AdCenter Labs that predicts the demographics of the searching population for a keyword or the viewers of a website.  

Here is a picture of the results for the query for the keyword “retirement”.  I was surprised that there were more females searching the word than males.  

MS Labs

I tested it with other keywords and they seemed to track what I thought.  “Wii” was mainly for the young males.

 

MS Labs

I will use this tool to start demographic targeting on some of my pay per click campaigns (PPC).  I have not been too specific about this before, but why waste click cost on a segment of the population that probably does not have the money to pay for the item that you are promoting like an expensive HDTV?  Setting some demographic parameters on the PPC campaign will prevent the ad from being shown to that person.  

As far as demographics of the different search engines, here is what the tool showed:  

 

Numbers are percent

 

Google

Yahoo

MSN

Live

Ask

Male

46

48

50

64

32

Female

54

52

50

36

68

<18

       9.35

       5.64

       4.39

       6.16

       4.55

18~24

     23.23

     23.51

     17.11

     28.62

     22.73

25~34

     23.43

     27.20

     17.54

     38.77

     27.27

35~49

     21.89

     26.06

     29.39

     22.83

     31.83

50+

     22.10

     22.66

     31.58

       3.62

     13.64

Check this tool out at http://adlab.msn.com/DPUI/DPUI.aspx  

Sell Benefits not Features  

This is one of the prime rules of copywriting and is a rule that is most often violated.  It is so easy to list all the great features of the gizmo that we are selling since we are passionate about how great it is.  

We forget that our readers are interested in the features, but they are most interested in what the benefits are that the features will give them.  

Always remember that your readers are asking the question, “What will it do for me?”  

“Make Your Words Sell” (MYWS) by Ken Evoy and Joe Robson is the best book on copywriting I have read.  It taught me the “so what method” of copywriting.  

The “so what?” method you ask?  

Imagine that you are telling a person about a product.  You tell them about a feature of the product and they say “so what”.  Now you have to explain the feature in more detail.  Again, they say “so what”.  Now you are forced to dig deeper and describe the item in even more detail.  

If you keep digging deeper to the “so what” response, you will finally reach the point where you are telling the reader about the benefits they will get from the feature rather than the feature itself.  

Example:  The Samsung LNT1953H is a 19” flat screen 720p HDTV.  

“So what?”  The 19” size is great for your kitchen.  “So what?”  It will fit on the counter top.  “So what?”  Now you can watch HDTV while you fix dinner.  “So what?” The flat screen will fit back against the back of the counter and still leave you room in front of it.  You can replace the old tube model TV and gain counter top room and watch a much better picture.  

This TV has 720p resolution.  “So what?”  This makes the picture about twice as clear as the old analog picture you are watching on your tube TV.  “So what?”  Just think of the increased viewing pleasure you will get from this extremely clear picture and you gain room in your kitchen. Doesn’t your kitchen always seem too crowded?  

This HDTV sells on Amazon.com for $369.98.  “So what?”  This is one of the lowest prices for this HDTV.  “So what?”  This price includes free shipping.  It will be delivered right to your door.  “So what?”  You don’t have to go to the big warehouse store and fight the crowds.  You don’t have to wait in line to check out and then wait in line to pick up the set at the delivery dock.  

You get the idea about features versus benefits.  Benefits derive from features.  Lead the reader from the features to the benefits.  

Need a New Computer?  

The computer in our Church office is an old Dell Optiplex 1 running Windows 98 that I bought used on eBay several years ago.  It has served us well, but we have to upgrade to Quickbooks 2008 and guess what?  QB 2008 does not run on Windows 98.  

I am the finance director for our Church and the computers and accounting is my responsibility.  When I found out that we would have to get a newer computer (notice I did not say new computer), I went to my favorite computer store www.ebay.com.  

I am a dyed in the wool Dell Optiplex user.  That is what Linda and I have at home and that is what I buy for my company.  I buy all the computers on eBay.  I have never had a problem with any computer I have bought on eBay.  

The computers sold by the large sellers on eBay are usually computers that were on lease programs to large companies that kept the computers for a couple of years and turned them in for an upgrade.  

I do not have to have the biggest, fastest machine on the market.  I am looking for value when I buy a computer.  

I logged into eBay and searched in the Computers and Networking category for Optiplex.  The query returned 2,668 items.  

I looked for the right configuration and started bidding.  I saw a seller that was selling the same configuration Dell Optiplex GX260 about four hours apart.  I placed a watch on the first one and waited for the auction to end so I could see what the selling price was.  It sold for about $132 plus shipping and handling of $55.  

I placed my bid on the next one to end and waited.  The bidding ran up past what I set as my target purchase price so I bid on the next one to end.  I missed that one too, but I was finally successful on the fourth one.  

I bought a Dell Optiplex GX 260 Pentium 4, 2.0 MHz, 512 MB RAM, 20 GB Hard Drive , 10/100 Network card, DVD R/W, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and Windows XP SP2. The price was $129 with $55 shipping.  I feel the shipping is high and I could have probably done better if I had looked a little more.  However, I consider my time too valuable to spend a couple of hours trying to save $15.  

My idea of a computer is that it is a tool for doing your work.  It does not have to be the biggest, fastest, meanest computer available.  It just needs to do what you need in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable price.  A two year old computer can be purchased for a very reasonable price and it can serve you very well.  

Try buying your next computer on eBay.  You will find some extremely good buys.  Buy from the larger eBay sellers that have a good rating and are selling volumes of computers.  

That wraps up this issue.  Until next month, stay tuned.  

John and Linda Howe  

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