25 May 2016

How to complain and get your way effortlessly

No Comments Advertising, Dollar a Day

Hotwire make a mistake in my reservation.
Hey, service failures happen and customer service managers have attitude.

But this post is not about that– it’s about how to get your way without the stress of going round-and-round.

Here’s what happened, if you’re interested.

What matters is when you need to influence a few key people to take action.
It can be by shaming them, using peer pressure, or via copious praise– depends on the situation.

This tactic using Twitter ads is a derivation of the “dollar a day” tactic that has worked thousands of times for us over the last 8 years.

First, create a tweet referencing a link that explains what happened and what you want.

Next, look at the executives of the company you want to target.
I happen to like Bloomberg to get the Board of Directors, but use whatever you like:
Screenshot 2016-05-24 13.14.51

Then within the Twitter ads interface, enter these names keywords:
Screenshot 2016-05-24 13.15.31

Select that organic tweet for your ad campaign:
Screenshot 2016-05-24 13.18.33

Now whenever any of those names are mentioned on Twitter, your tweet shows up.

Run a budget of a dollar a day for 10 days, bidding 10 cents per engagement.
Don’t worry that Twitter says your bid is too low.

Sit back and let the social network do the work for you!

28 Apr 2016

Do you want to be famous?

No Comments Digital Marketing

Because if you do, Social Media Examiner doesn’t want you.

The founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, Michael Stelzner, is one of the few people in our space that I truly admire– an incredibly deep thinker who takes the long-term, systems-level view.


He explained to me that authors and speakers must meet specific criteria to even be invited to his community and conference– the largest in the online space.  You have to want to serve, produce great content, not be all about yourself, be known to others in the community, and a host of other qualifications.

And it’s this systematic, data-driven, vetting process for authors, staff, topics, room sizes, and whatnot that is the “secret sauce” to Social Media Examiner’s growth and vibrant community.

But what struck me most is one question he asks applicants who want to work for him…

Do you want to be famous or do you want to be part of a team?

  • The people who want to be famous are wanting to be on stage for the wrong reason.
  • They’re not there to truly serve.
  • They believe public speaking is a road to riches limited only by your confidence levels and connections.
  • They develop not people, but their wallets.

And while initially their message is fresh, after a couple years, they don’t have anything new to say.
Because they’re so focused on their personal brand, that there’s no time to keep up, to roll up your sleeves and do the work.
The busyness of keeping up appearances, going from show to show, and publishing books is tiresome.

I find myself guilty of being over-exposed.
Too many conferences, accepting too many random meeting requests for not wanting to be rude.

I have given 3 presentations this past year on “influencer marketing“, which is about creating validation simply for saying you’re an influencer.
They name their companies after themselves.
Every piece of content from them has their face on it– as big as Mao in the “Little Red Book” days.

No doubt people can make a handy living doing it– that I don’t dispute.

Even Brendon Burchard, the self-appointed leader of this movement, which is about “experts” (authors, speakers, coaches)– acknowledges that this industry is heading for a crash.


There are just too many people broadcasting themselves through whatever channel.

Are you old enough to remember the saying that “There are 500 channels, but there’s nothing on?”
Now there are 5 million channels– SnapChat, Facebook Live, Talk Show, YouNow, and whatever flavor.

Social media has created a whole new class of people striving to be famous– low on talent, high on ambition.

Have you seen “Leap of Faith” starring Steve Martin?
This sleazy preacher goes from town to town– selling hope, but delivering riches only to himself.
It’s the worst of the “prosperity gospel”– which is the latest get-rich scheme to fleece the ignorant.

The people I meet at conferences are selling ebooks on how to get rich with SnapChat, Pinterest, and whatnot.

Today I got an inquiry from someone who has no experience, but her name is “money coach” and her Facebook page sells secrets to living your dreams. She admits to having no revenue in her own business, no list, and no traffic– but hopes we can build her business for her.

In the last year, we’ve probably had 200+ inquiries from people who sell courses on how to build wealth, yet they themselves are broke, have no funnel, have no experience, and continue to position themselves as experts.

Many of you have done the Tony Robbins thing.
I’m not knocking that– some great stuff there in getting clarity, which creates motivation.

But to believe confidence is a substitute for competence is akin to declaring yourself a surgeon with no medical training.

Like Michael Stelzner and Brendon Burchard, I believe the current boom in self-appointed experts will yield a bust in this space bigger than we’ve ever seen.

It’s probably 3-4 years out.

We’ve got the confluence of another billion people coming online in the next few years, the ability for anyone to broadcast to the entire planet, and the systems to allow these people to peddle their wares effortlessly.

Already, we see the death of the “launch” marketers, part of a ring called “the syndicate”, who take turns cross-hyping each other.
Doors closing forever on Friday and only 10,000 copies available at this special price, as if somehow the supply of ebooks could somehow run out.

If you’ve endured this rant so far, now I’m going to give you the payoff of where I see things going.

Selling > Marketing > Courses > Certifications > Job networks

Shameless televangelist style selling is the first phase, since blind faith overrides logical reality.
The Shamwows and “where’s the beef” commercials entertain us.

Then the marketers are forced to personalize, since direct mail and wider distribution requires refinement.
Some jump on the “content marketing”, “native”, or “inbound” bandwagon, though after seeing a great movie, you don’t turn to a friend and say “Wow, that was amazing content!”

So the flood of “content” out there leads to the need to stand out– to structure the randomness into courses, backed by faux authority.
This is where the current crop of influencers proliferate– you can name your favorites here.

But like any sort of training, whether offered by a college, industry organization, or self-proclaimed expert, there must be apparent legitimacy.
Expect to see more companies and “experts” start to offer badges and certificates– using quasi-academic titles, as if they were colleges themselves.

Until finally, the system collapses under the weight of this nonsense, like a station wagon with too many bumper stickers.
The Turkish bazaar, with all the vendors hawking identically bogus merchandise, claiming to have the authentic goods at the best prices– gets shut down when the police come.

When there is a ratings system and true ability to measure business performance, the witch doctors can operate no more.
If you want to be a doctor, you have to get actual credentials, not the weekend course you bought to play Operation by Milton Bradley.

And there are x-rays, stethoscopes, and an array of medical devices to properly measure and help diagnose ailments, plus whether these doctors actually healed the patient.

I can’t wait for the day we can scatter the coins and overturn the tables of the money changers in the temple.
A number of us are building the system to do that– to measure the ROI of various business efforts, all completely free.

Because the people who want to be famous, for whatever rationalization, need to stop causing harm to good people.
It’s not just YouTube marketing, Facebook ads, or SEO (the original digital snake oil)— it’s anyone in this coaching/advice space that doesn’t have a track record of delivery.

Do you seek to be famous or do you want to be a team player?

31 Mar 2016

Your job will likely be eliminated in the next 5 years and I don’t see how to stop it

No Comments advice, Business

Meet Sophia, Hanson Robotics’ human-like robot that may embody the androids of our future.Read more: http://cnb.cx/1M8gFg1

Posted by CNBC International on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Obama warns that robots will take over jobs that pay less than $20/hour. And retail activists lobby for a $15/hour minimum wage. Both will get their way, with the unintended consequence of a slave economy. Halfway to The Matrix or Idiocracy, depending on how cynical you are.


Check to see if your job function is about to get automated, no matter how secure you think you are:

  • Analysts who spend more time making reports than actually doing analytics (figuring out WHY)– oAth and free report makers abound.
  • Advertising specialists who make campaigns as opposed to building creatives– Facebook and Google have partially automated campaign management.
  • Managers who spend more time scheduling or relaying information instead of coaching people– Personal assistant apps are smarter and have no attitude.
  • Customer service and call center specialists who speak words from a script instead of creating business logic for automated customer experiences– watch the bot messenger platforms do this flawlessly.

Don’t worry about FoxConn in China, cheap Fender guitars in Mexico or offshore workers who do semi-technical tasks- your competition is the robot. It’s not the Terminator or humanoids from Boston Robotics. It’s AI that lives within systems– not science fiction movies with armies of robots that enslave humans. Jon Bradshaw of TinyTorch has seen this future, and had this to say:

Oct 22, 2013 10-11-55 PMRobots are coming and they will force the majority of the workforce to completely retool and find new skills. The first example of this was in the 1800s when nearly 90% of the world’s population lived on farms. Society was forced to adapt as a positive consequence of the industrial revolution.

With the robotic revolution, the same thing is happening yet again. Within 10-20 years the majority of all truck drivers, taxi drivers, cashiers, accountants, attorneys, government employees, and primary-care physicians will need to find new employment.

And within 40-50, the artificial-intelligence revolution will be in full swing, replacing the vast majority of the workforce. It will be fascinating to see how we the human species will adapt and survive, when so much of our self worth is defined by our employment.

Jobs will be great, if you can get one. We are already facing growing, systematic, irreversible unemployment. The smarter the machines become, the higher the bar becomes for employment. And it’s not just the self-driving cars, supermarket scanners, toll booth takers, and automated ordering systems. The robots are taking over the high-end algorithmic trading on Wall Street and a good chunk of marketing activities.  They’re doing a lot more than beating experts at board games.

But before you throw out your smart fridge for being too smart, consider what Jesse Stay thinks about robots and their ability to show emotions:

10830629_10152663421762887_8236657105422254737_oI think just like Data in Star Trek, getting a robot to experience “feelings” will always be one of the last things humans are able to accomplish. For that reason I still think there are a lot of jobs that won’t entirely be automated for quite some time. In ads for instance, catering an ad to elicit the feelings of a particular audience will not be accomplished nearly as well by a robot as it will a human. I’m not a huge fan of ad automation software for this reason (and I’ve found, at least thus far, that my team can usually outperform these tools)

But the post-secondary education system is not graduating students with modern, employable skills. The for-profit career-focused schools are faring better than four year universities, who have the baggage of meeting the modern expectations of shopping malls, movie theaters, and sporting arenas. But they all struggle.

Were it so simple as to bash the value of a balanced, liberal education or to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about dystopias ruled by technocrats. The problem is more nuanced. The private sector doesn’t coordinate with schools with minor example, as Derek Bok, former president of Harvard explains in his landmark book.

Regulators mean well through individual rules that “protect” students from predatory lending practices and ensure “gainful employment”. But the unforeseen effect of these rule combinations penalize teachers, students, and businesses. Jesse stay provided some insight here as well:

10830629_10152663421762887_8236657105422254737_oI do think politics as we know it is about to change. It’s very likely that the President we’re electing now, if still around within the next 8 years, could be leading decisions such as what we do with all the jobs being displaced by robots, and how do we protect mankind as we know it from artificial intelligence.

They’ll need to know how to work with other countries to set rules and boundaries around this. No longer will it be what do we do with all the jobs being outsourced overseas – it will be, “What do we do with all the jobs being displaced by robots?” and “What do we do now that an entire factory can be replaced by a single 3D printer?”

Ultimately, the skills that we must equip young adults with are in the hands of practitioners, not in tenured faculty, hamstrung by curriculum councils that are too slow to change. The risk averse administrators don’t want to jeopardize their federal funding. Continuing education programs, especially in the realm of digital and business don’t have the depth or legitimacy of certifications provided by medical schools or even the local auto mechanic.

The World Economic Forum in “Future of Jobs” said that 65% of kids entering preschool today will work in job types that don’t exist yet.

One my favorite books is “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” by Cory Doctorow.

Click to read "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom"

Click to read “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom”

Hilarious, insightfully-scary read about a future that’s not far away, when people won’t need to work. They deal in a currency called Whuffie, automatically calculated and transferred in a karmic way. Technology is perfectly melded with humans.  Same for “Snowcrash” by Neal Stephenson, Engines of Creation, and The Singularity.

If we want to solve this pending crisis, I believe we need to read a few choice science fiction books that are more science than fiction to deal with challenges that must be solved at a higher level than those who have created the problems.

Ultimately, we must “outsmart” the machines by building our systems train up and mentor young adults. Robots and AI can play Go and drive cars, but they can’t provide true mentorship and genuine love for one another, any more than a cleverly-programmed animatronic can truly feel.

We weren’t designed to be better calculators, anyway.


15 Mar 2016

Do you want to be “acquired”?

No Comments Leads

I’m not talking about your company being acquired. I’m talking about looking at the language you use in your marketing campaigns. You have customer “acquisition” campaigns, email “blasts”, and other military conquest terminology. But put the shoe on the other foot and see how this looks from the customer perspective.


Pretend you’re the customer to see how silly this is.

I was “acquired” through a social media “campaign”. After getting hit by your email “blast”, I was converted.

If you believe in relationship marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, public relations, or word of mouth, you know that you’re dealing with humans on the other side of your marketing cannon.

Imagine if you were actively dating and told an attractive prospect that you’d like to “convert” her on your first visit. You’re practicing your “call to action” on various women, but find that they get turned off by that. So you resort to increasing the frequency of your pickup lines.

And you heard that 127 characters is the ideal length for your copy at that you should say it at precisely 10:35 am on Tuesdays. Then any random female you meet will convert then for sure. It’s just not working and you’re having trouble.

There are so many bars out there and it seems like a new bar opens every minute– Snapcrap, Faceboogers, Instahookup. You buy these special tools (an overpriced copy machine) to print out your flyers since they promise immediate conversion. But that works about as well as that exercise equipment you bought on late night TV– you still don’t have six pack abs, and can’t even climb a small hill.


So you hire a dating coach (digital marketing consultant or agency) who have been to these places to “blast” them on your behalf. Now your messages are all over every random telephone phone and on the backs of those free magazines you pick up on the sidewalk, and it becomes nothing but noise that passer-bys barely even glance at (spam).

Further, you’re an expert in X, which is what your company produces. But the agency (an expert in social media and advertising) doesn’t know about X, so they just apply the same broad matchmaking strategy because they don’t have anyone who meets your criteria (goals). They’re hoping that by wading through every match and wasting your time and money on dating (campaigns), you’ll somehow land on the perfect one (targeted audience), and you’ll be perfect together.

Long story short: you won’t. You fear you’ll be forever alone, so in your desperation, you turn to Facebook and look for people who are single, and  call them out of the blue to ask for a date (Cold calling). The majority laugh and hang up, though maybe out of the thousands, you’ll find that one person who will say yes.

Analogy aside: It’s all about nurturing your relationships, and never trying to sell. The antithesis to this is cold calling, which you should avoid at all costs.Without clearly defined goals and criteria, you’re wasting time and budget on serving a message to irrelevant people who won’t care and won’t convert. 

Always keep the GCT triangle in mind from our 9 triangles framework when working on these campaigns, and that when you find your “WHY” and have a strong personal brand, there’s no need to ruthlessly sell.

So, would you want to be “acquired”?

26 Jan 2016

How I think about hiring and developing people

No Comments advice, Hiring

We’ve recently tried out some new analysts at BlitzMetrics. Great way to test our 9 level analyst system.


Most applicants are college-aged teen-to-early twenties, but people of all ages can join the program. However, it’s designed for students still in school, since we have college and classmate support.  Harder to go through the program without joining a team for mentorship.


We’ve considered eliminating the $10/hr starting position, which handles training and apprenticeship- which requires “hands-on” time from Senior analysts and above. This raises the starting pay to $15/hr, and means we have a higher expectation of skills. We’d have fewer “apprenticeship” type positions and young adults would have to qualify at a higher level to join the company.


But once they do get in as a Level 2 Analyst, they have a “better” position as a digital professional. And our self-guided training is getting better and better. We offer the training at no cost, regardless– subsidized by our awesome clients.

If we keep the Junior Analyst spot as paid and raise to $15/hour, then we have to increase our prices, though we already operate at just above break-even.

Know the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Imagine that the person you’re wanting to hire is set in their ways, and is actively refusing to learn your system (be it out of pride, or that they think their experience stands on it’s own). It’s happened to us before, and has cost us thousands while we tried to coax them to cooperate. Forget being old dogs, these are horses we’ve lead to water, but refuse to drink.

So, in our situation, who would you consider hiring: The 20-something year old social media generation who grew up on the internet and is still apt to learn, or someone who still types with two fingers, does things “their way”, and are afraid of change?

I’m not attacking older people. If you have the necessary skills and the willingness to adapt and learn, regardless of your age, then you would excel in our system. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a certain category of worker doesn’t understand the new job economy– which is based on performance and upward mobility, as opposed to having to “negotiate” a corporate job right out of school.

But, despite the obvious choice, did you know it’s illegal to discriminate against hiring someone based solely on their age? Careful about making those old-timer / dinosaur jokes! It could land you in trouble.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination based on age with respect to employees 40 years of age or older. Here’s a few key points to remember:

Work Place Fairness

Here are some examples of potentially unlawful age discrimination:

  • You didn’t get hired because the employer wanted a younger-looking person to do the job.
  • You received a negative job evaluation because you weren’t “flexible” in taking on new projects.
  • You were fired because your boss wanted to keep younger workers who are paid less.
  • You were turned down for a promotion, which went to someone younger hired from outside the company because the boss says the company “needs new blood.”
  • When company layoffs are announced, most of the persons laid off were older, while younger workers with less seniority and less on-the-job experience were kept on.
  • Before you were fired, your supervisor made age-related remarks about you, such as that you were “over-the-hill,” or “ancient.”
  • Workers who are 40 years of age or older are protected by the ADEA from employment discrimination based on age if the employer regularly employs 20 or more employees.

Are all older workers protected under the law?

No. The ADEA contains several exceptions:

Executives or others “in high policy-making positions” can be required to retire at age 65 if they would receive annual retirement pension benefits worth $44,000 or more.

There are special exceptions for police and fire personnel, tenured university faculty and certain federal employees having to do with law enforcement and air traffic control. If these exceptions may apply to you, check with your personnel office or an attorney for details.

The ADEA makes an exception when age is an essential part of a particular job — also known by the legal term “bona fide occupational qualification” or BFOQ. For example, if a company hires an actor to play the role of a 10-year old, or a teen’s clothing store needs models, the ability to appear youthful is a necessary part of the job or a BFOQ.

Can an employer ask my age on a job application?

Nothing in the ADEA specifically prevents an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, because such inquiries may deter older workers from applying for employment or may otherwise indicate possible intent to discriminate based on age, requests for age information will be closely scrutinized to make sure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for a purpose prohibited by the ADEA.

What do I have to prove to prevail on an ADEA claim?

Claims of unlawful discrimination on the basis of age can be difficult to prove. To be successful, the employee must show that some adverse action was taken on the basis of his or her age. Such an adverse action can be shown by direct evidence, but such evidence is not usually available.

It isn’t enough for an employee to show that he or she was replaced by a younger person, although this fact can serve to strengthen a claim under the ADEA. An employer can only be held liable for age discrimination if the employee can show that an intentional action was taken against the employee because of the employee’s age.

It’s considered age discrimination if you directly told applicants you were looking for young workers only or if you stated in job application / job posting that the job was only for young adults.

You can, however, tell a person that they do not meet the job requirements or are overqualified during an interview. A lot of companies hire at job fairs where they can meet potential candidates face to face before interviewing or they require applicants to bring in the resume and can meet the person before interviewing. You can not commit age discrimination if the applicant has not even been interviewed for the job because they were never a potential candidate.

Source: http://www.workplacefairness.org/age-discrimination

What about Failure to hire cases?

So-called “Failure to Hire” cases is notoriously hard to bring and even harder to prove. As long as the organization ends up hiring someone who is qualified for the job, how could you ever prove that they were rejected because of age? It’s not as though the organization is going to publish the new hire’s age for all the other candidates to see.

It’s unlawful to reject a job-seeker because s/he’s over forty, but it’s perfectly legal to decline to hire someone because he or she is a Capricorn, a knitter or a Golden State Warrior’s fan. It’s legal to refuse to hire someone because they’re Republican or because they’re vegan.

You can say to a job-seeker “You’re too ugly to work for me” without breaking any laws. In other words, older job-seekers aren’t the only ones being discriminated against.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2014/01/31/the-ugly-truth-about-age-discrimination/#2715e4857a0b50c15a211f1e

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.

Harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s age. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/age.cfm

Special thanks to Tymber H. from FancyHands, who compiled the list of articles and extracted the useful information.

16 Sep 2015

How borrowing a projector turned into a dream calling

No Comments Networking

6 years ago, JD Lasica, a high-power journalist who runs socialmedia.biz, reached out for an interview.
I was so busy running Facebook ads that I was pondering whether to do the interview or get an hour of much-needed sleep.

I’m so grateful I chose to forgo that hour of sleep.
And when you look back on your life journeys, you’ll find the small choices that made all the difference.

That interview to share expertise on how Facebook ads led to his invite to speak at the Social Media Club in Oakland.
We didn’t have a projector, so JD asked his buddy, Kenny Lauer, if we could borrow his projector.


In meeting Kenny, I had much respect for the guy who ran events such as DreamForce and Oracle OpenWorld.
And unforeseen to both of us, a few years after that, he ran digital and marketing for the Golden State Warriors.

And then he pulled me in to help him with social ads and analytics, even gave me the wonderful compliment of “Dennis has not only been amazing with us at the Warriors but someone I consider a great friend” – wow!
All based on that seemingly random encounter 6 years ago to ask someone if we could borrow a projector.

Kenny was then able to hire Daniel Brusilovsky, founder of Teens in Tech, and co-founder at Ribbon and Imoji.
That led to me being able to work more closely with Daniel, which brought me into his network.


And that’s how I met Christine Stoffel, founder of the SEAT consortium, the highest power network of sports executives and tech.

Then being able to share our experience with the Warriors— how we used social to drive provable ticket revenue.

A close friend of mine, Spencer Taggart, who I also met because of these experiences, has spoken of similar encounters. Spencer once told me…

“I randomly met a famous chef at a trade show and we quickly became dear friends. (Chef Art Smith) Because of this one relationship, we each have new friends, and business partners that have dramatically changed the course of our lives; more than once. I have no clue where my life would be if I hadn’t been willing to step out of my comfort zone and befriended this mountain of a man. Chef’s life has changed in phenomenal ways as well. Follow your gut, eliminate fear, and believe in the power of relationships.”


unnamed (1)

The chain of events, butterfly style, goes on.

Every decision you make creates your domino destiny, amplifying your future in ways unforeseen to you now.

So the moment you think you’re amazing, consider the folks who have made your journey possible.
I sit with awe and gratitude of the mentoring and friendship I’ve been so lucky to receive.


Yet had I not gone all in on Facebook ads— to literally spend thousands of hours making campaigns,  JD Lasica wouldn’t have reached out.
So it starts with you openly sharing something you’ve learned, investing time to get good at it, and building your personal brand.

Share what chain of events created something amazing for you.

31 Aug 2015

Good people and good profits- my secret revealed

No Comments advice

I’ve labored 20 years in business. Two decades.

PicMonkey Collage

And here is a simple lesson I learned the hard way…

The quick buck from shortcuts is a mirage.

I’ve dabbled in affiliate marketing, toolbar installs, online gambling, dating sites, and many perfectly legal, but questionably ethical endeavors.

Made millions on a couple, but usually lost my shirt and created heartache. Certain fields draw certain people. And soon you find what was supposed to be easy is now a complex mess with unsavory people out to cheat you.

We were doing over $80,000 a day in revenue selling questionable products on Facebook years ago. But eventually got shut down when Zuckerberg himself got mad.

It didn’t last. It never does.

I was at Disneyland with Neil Patel and Harrison Gevirtz one day. We were joking how we were making $10,000 in the hour that we stood in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean.


Even the 5 minutes that it took to go the bathroom and come back- well, that was about $500, you figure.

I bought our guys cars as bonuses.
Flew them first class to New York to celebrate.
Spent money on stupid things just to show off, like other teenagers with sunglasses and gold chains- I had neither of those, by the way.

The campaigns ran by themselves on Facebook pushing the IQ quiz and reared mobile offers. Totally legal, but still ethically wrong.

And I regret ever wasting the years playing in that space. I’ve made a number of enemies since then in the affiliate space. You can imagine what the various people said when I exited years ago.

How I cost some people a lot of money by writing articles about how spam works and consulting for the FTC. How I was holier than thou, but no better than them. That I was rich and deserved to be robbed or killed. I had death threats.

Not worth it.

Wrong industry and wrong people.
Learn from my mistakes.

So save yourself the pain. There are many ways to make a profit. Choose the right people and the right areas.

If you’re doing it for the money, that’s a sign something is wrong.

If you are trying to please someone else to be who you are not, reconsider what you are doing.

Ask yourself if your labors are creating wholesome value for people or if you’re tricking people somehow.

If you’re in the affiliate space, which is a mix of good and bad (like anything), it’s easy to just call it marketing and justify it.  Beer commercials promise the girl of your dreams while that free credit report isn’t really free.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

The test is if you would feel okay if your grandmother or significant other clicked on your ad and bought.

Would you feel guilty?

It took me over a decade to realize that using my skills to teach young adults how to optimize digital traffic, then applied to sports teams, lead gen, and whatever, was far more rewarding.


Whether it’s more profitable in the long run doesn’t matter, since the pleasure is in being with good people.

In part 2, I’ll tell you about how I learned to do PPC, what tactics generated profits, and some crazy things that happened when I started my first business.

24 Aug 2015

7 things I learned at ESTO about social media

No Comments Thought Leadership, Travel
  • Attendees love micro-brews in Portland. Why have a travel conference in Little Rock, Arkansas?  Just kidding.
  • Social media has advanced to where influencers matter– and you can’t treat them like ad networks. You must cultivate content in their voice to appeal to their audience authentically.
  • Henry Hornecker is a 21 year old up and coming social media star that will work for one of the NBA teams by this time next year.
  • DMO (destination marketing organizations) know they need to be on social and to connect with influencers, but they don’t know what to do, how to do it, and how to measure it. There is fuzziness around how much to pay influencers or whether to just give out free travel, hotel stays, and the like. We released a guide at blitzmetrics.com/esto.
  • CPM is a good starting point to measure earned media value, since we’re looking at traffic to the properties. However, we need a qualitative measure for relevance and perhaps to sales where quantifiable.
  • Influencers, who are content marketers with distribution, too, need to create their own material to resonate with their fan base.  The management and organization of these influencers is loose, so agencies like Instabrand and others are creating networks to enable the buying and selling of influence.
  • There is fear of “selling out”, since influencers legally must disclose they are getting paid. But with strong branding, meaning influencers being picky about who they choose, fans won’t be disappointed.IMG_0194

Thank you, Bill Karz, VP of Digital at the LA Tourism and Convention Board, for the invite to the panel!

30 Jul 2015

On This Day – Facebook

1 Comment local advertising

Dennis Luggage Post
I awoke from a dream and didn’t know where I was. The hotel room looked like any ordinary Hilton, but when I peeled back the curtains, I saw the sprawling, dirty metropolis of Beijing.

And I remembered that I was 13 hours ahead– how far I had come, literally. Jetlagged, disoriented– not like the fantasy George Clooney in “Up In The Air”.

Another time, I’m in Minneapolis in my own bed, but it takes a few moments to wipe away the slumber and realize where I am. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes like a horror film that you don’t know the ending of, nor can publicly admit is scary.

My TravelPro carry-on remembers these cities and experiences, but is forever silent.

The “On This Day” feature of Facebook helps me relish the journey. It gives me balance– low moments when I need a dose of humility and reminders of past success when I need cheering up.

One year ago, you were doing something you probably don’t remember well today. But when reminded, the details come back in full HD.

It’s better than the times you move, pausing to rummage through stuff you hadn’t seen in a while. You cherish these memories and remind yourself to follow up on them.

Are you getting these flashbacks from Facebook more frequently in your newsfeed? Do you wish life was not a slideshow that would only accelerate faster and faster with no pause button.

Go to facebook.com/onthisday and remind yourself of how far you’ve come, my friend.

28 Jul 2015

I am still waiting for your reply

1 Comment email marketing

Thus said friend.seocompany@gmail.com, who wants me to post their blog in exchange for a token payment.
Apparently, I didn’t respond to them within 2 minutes, so they had to follow up.

So I was curious what sort of spam they engage in.
Googling that email address (you should use your domain, not a freemail address, by the way, if you want to be treated seriously), we find:


Looks like “Anna” is buying and selling links on her site:


And doing this with a lot of folks:


Notice the keyword stuffing in the blog sections and tags.

Anyone who has to cold-call to drive business doesn’t have enough to keep them busy.
It means they can’t keep clients or care more about growth than quality.

Be an inbound marketer, not a desperate pitchman.