Lesson Learned – Buying Expired Domains

I love buying expired domains, but you have to be careful. In the past, it’s served me well, but I just had my first negative experience. The previous registrant apparently did a few naughty things and broke the AdSense terms and conditions:

From an AdSense rep:

Unfortunately, as you suspected, the ******.info domain was
previously found to be in violation of our program policies and is no
longer eligible for participation in the AdSense program.

Should have checked before registering, but at least it was a .info domain and only cost me $3 instead of an $8 .com.

I asked for an exception since I’m a new owner and have nothing to do with the previous violations:

I apologize for the inconvenience. However, as was previously mentioned, since the site was found to be in violation of our program policies, it is no longer eligible for participation in AdSense.

You are welcome to place Google ads on other sites which comply with
AdSense policies.

Drat. Oh well, looks like I’m just putting YPN on this one.

About Sponsored Posts on Egonitron.com

sponsored reviewsEvery once in a while I’ll get on a Sponsored Post kick in which every few posts will be sponsored from various sources. Hey a blogger’s got to eat, right? Well I’ve cut back on this a bit, partly because of Google’s Page Rank drop, partly because I’m going to be changing the format of Egonitron.com a bit.

Regardless, I may still do sponsored posts here, and I’d like you to know what my stance on them are.

I take sponsored posts from various 3rd-party companies as well as direct. My favorite places to take sponsored posts: PayPerPost, SponsoredReviews, ReviewMe, and LinkWorth (LinkPosts.) It’s a good stream of revenue, but they’re still too reliant on Page Rank. Fortunately, Izea (PayPerPost) is working on RealRank which has already been implemented in response to Google dropping the PR of a lot of blogs in their system to Zero (including mine,) so be careful.

Anyway, I don’t have anything against sponsored posts unless the advertiser requires a positive review, or no in-post disclosure. I believe it’s very important that for your blog to remain trustworthy, you need to be transparent. That means not recommending something that you don’t like just because you’re getting paid for it. Tell the truth. If the advertiser doesn’t like it, maybe they need to listen, and change the service. You did them a favor; companies pay tons of money for real customer’s opinions. Why would this be any different?

I once got a request to review a financial services company on an old blog of mine. I did the review, but there were a lot of problems with the site that I not only said was a problem in the post, but offered a good way to fix each issue. The advertiser didn’t like the fact that everything in the review wasn’t positive, so they didn’t pay me. I “nofollow”d their links, and never took another post opportunity from that post broker.

But I digress. My point is that I believe sponsored posts are great, as long as they’re honest and fully disclosed as sponsored posts. Each of these that I do on Egonitron.com is included in the Sponsored Posts category and also have a disclosure inside the post, usually at the beginning or end.

How do you feel about sponsored posts? Are you OK with not disclosing them as paid, and why?

Using TNX.net as an SEO Stategy

You Sell links on every page of your site to thousands of advertisers!may have seen TNX.net ads around some blogs; they’re attractive little 125×125 graphic blocks hanging out on the sidebars of some popular “blogger-blogs.” But what exactly is TNX.net, and why would you want to use it?

TNX.net is another link-back solution aimed at bloggers. So what makes it unique? it’s based on a credit system. Instead of purchasing links (which you can also do if you choose,) you earn credits by displaying other’s links on your site. The process is completely automated, all you have to do is place in the code on your sidebar or footer, and it takes care of itself.


From a blogger’s standpoint, you’ll just have another link or two on some of your pages, depending on your preferences. Each page will have a different link on it, and you can view the links from your control panel at TNX.net. To see an example of the links, browse my archive and click on some of the posts. Look at the bottom of the right sidebar for the links. Some posts have them, some don’t. The links on your pages will earn you points based the Google PageRank of that page (which may pose a problem,) and Yahoo Backlinks, which you can then use to place your own links or sell them for cash. They don’t offer much in terms of cash, so you’re better off using it for your own links; they’re cheap.

After you place the code on your site, you’ll want to keep an eye on what links are being placed there from the TNX control panel. I noticed a lot of unrelated links, which I delete, along with the whole campaign for that advertiser if it’s spammy. Google does penalize you for linking to low-quality sites, so make sure to keep an eye out.



From an advertiser standpoint, you’re in luck. You get points by both displaying links on your own site and buying points. Points are pretty cheap, and links cost anything from 6 points for a low ranked site, and go pretty high.

What can you do with 20,000 TNX-Points?
In case website characteristics are not important (YahooBacklinks [YB] below 500, category “Fun and Games”), then you can buy a month (in case spots are available) of static links to your site:

– 20 000 different PR0 pages from different websites
– 400 different PR1 pages from different websites
– 200 different PR2 pages from different websites
– 100 different PR3 pages from different websites
– 40 different PR4 pages from different websites
– 20 different PR5 pages from different websites

When you start a new campaign, you’re taken to the first step in which you name your campaign, choose it’s categories, chose the Yahoo Backlink count and Page Rank, and languages of the pages on you want to display your ad. The main suggestion I have here is that they expand their category choices significantly. They often lump what should be multiple categories into one, such as “Family, Home, Beauty, Nature, Health, Food” all in one category. They should be separated.

The second step is to actually create the ad, and this is where they shine. You can stick with the simple editor, but I go right to the new Advanced Ad Generator. Check out this DigitalPoint thread for the conversation about it. In short, it allows you to create literally thousands of variations of ads fairly quickly, all linking to your chosen URL. This really helps to keep links looking natural to search engines because no two ads are identical. You can create variations of anchor text, as well as the text before and after the link.


Those 10 lines used to make the ad above actually create a total of 270 different ads! Adding just one line with no variations creates a total of 324 ads. It takes a minute to get used to, but you’ll get the hang of it. Hint: only use one variation per line or you’ll drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why they won’t generate. This tool is very helpful, and hopefully they can fine-tune it to make it even better.

During the last step, you choose the amount of links you want for each category/PR/YB combination you chose in the first step. They recommend choosing 30-100 links for each combo. You’ll also want to make sure that you change the “Limit number of links that will be displayed on the same website” to 1 or 2 (they recommend 2,) otherwise you’ll have a bunch of links on one domain instead of distributing them out to other sites, and you don’t want that.



As far as using the website, there are quite a few things I would like to suggest. First, there are times that I’ve spent 20 minutes or so creating an ad, try to move on to the third step, then an error appears and I lose the ad completely. It’s very frustrating. Part of this is due to the fact that they do a database backup at a certain time throughout the day for about one hour and do not recommend that you create ads during that time. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you when that time is going to be, and worse, it says nothing about it on the site, so you kind of just have to guess. Basically you have a 1/24 chance of getting screwed while creating ads. Not good.

Another annoying thing about it is that you cannot actually edit the ads in any way after you’ve created them, so make sure the ads are perfect before you submit them. But don’t take too long, otherwise your session will time out. You can’t even rename the ad, and neither can customer service. You have to delete it and re-create the ad from scratch. Same thing if you mess up the URL or ad variations. You also cannot view your settings after creating the ad, so you just have to remember the specifics. Fortunately, you can view and edit where your links are placed, and you will want to do that. Make sure your ad isn’t placed on any spam sites, etc. It’s time-consuming, but so is any other method of link-building.

Customer Service comes in two forms – Live Chat, and the forums. I’ve used live chat a few times, and they are very helpful, although with limited abilities (not being able to change the campaign name or links, etc.)

Affiliate Program

TNX.net has a referral program which earns you 13.3% of all TNX points generated by your referral’s websites, as well as 5% of all their payments via Paypal. The very convenient thing about their referral program is that you can add URLs to the system and instead of adding an affiliate link, you can just link to tnx.net and when someone signs up, it detects that the click came from your site and gives you credit. No affiliate link cloaking required. So this link just links to the main page (not an affiliate link,) and if you sign up through this link: TNX.net – I get credit as your referral (hint)This is also useful in forums, as you can add the thread URL to your TNX page and get credit for any click-throughs without looking like a jerk, adding your affiliate link to forums.

TNX has a few different graphics to use to promote the program, including two 125×125 ads, one 468×60 banner, and one 468×49 banner.

As an SEO Strategy

So is TNX.net a good strategy for SEO? I’m no SEO guru, but it seems to me that it’s a great way to gain some cheap back-links. I just started a few campaigns for various sites, so I’ll keep you updated with any noticeable changes in SERPS results or Page Rank increases. Of course nobody really knows what’s going on with Google right now, so these links (as with any other link program) could be quickly devalued. It’s definitely worth a try though, and I look forward to setting up some more campaigns.

Go register with TNX for free and you’ll get 2,000 points right away to test out some links. Also be sure to check out this DigitalPoint thread for 5,000 bonus points.

Have you tried TNX with good or bad results? Keep me updated on any of your results, I’m interested to see how this works for others.

Get Your Networking On with Blogger Business Cards

Thought about getting business cards for your blog? It’s a great way to network, promote your website off-line, and get a few (possibly many) more readers. Having a business card at BlogWorld was invaluable, and I’ve received a lot of follow-up from folks who I otherwise wouldn’t have heard from again. Even though the cards were just quickly thrown together and didn’t look too great, they had my info on it, and that’s the important part.

Well now, ooprint.com came up with a great idea to design business cards specifically for bloggers – tag cloud and all:


What a cool idea. And the best part is, they’re free. Just pay for shipping. But if you do a PayPerPost article about it, you can get a voucher for free shipping, so the cards don’t actually cost you a dime!

Get your 100 FREE business cards, blogger style by going over here to ooprint.com

After looking around the site a bit, it looks like ooprint could even be a good competitor to VistaPrint. Some of their free designs are more attractive, but I’m not sure about the prices yet for the premium cards. I’m going to order a set of these blogger business cards, I love the tag cloud thing.

Ah, crap. Yeah, I know…

Yeah, so I didn’t participate in CSS Naked Day yesterday like I said I would. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?

Thing is, I was really REALLY busy yesterday, and I didn’t have the time. I know, no excuse. I installed the CSS Naked Day WP plugin, but it didn’t work, and I just didn’t have the time to go in and fix it. Sorry about that. I know you really don’t care, but still…my bad.

CSS Naked Day – Tomorrow!

CSS Naked Day 2007

Tomorrow is the second annual CSS Naked Day. Remove your CSS and see how well your website falls back on it’s code. The idea of course is to promote proper web standards. Don’t have a properly coded site? I don’t recommend participating. You can check to see how your site will look tomorrow by installing the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox.

Wanna participate? Make sure to use the sign up form. If you’re using WordPress just install the CSS Naked Day plugin and it will automatically disable your CSS on the 5th. Otherwise, go to the official Naked Day page and follow the instructions there.

You better bet I’m doing it; I’m confident my page will still look good. Be sure to come back and check!

The ThinkGeek 8-bit Tie

For April Fools day, Thinkgeek.com (one of my favorite stores) supposedly offered a really cool new tie design they called the “8-bit tie.” Understanding it was only a joke, many people wrote Thinkgeek saying they really wanted the tie (myself included,) and to produce it.

After a ton of requests, Thinkgeek finally folded, and said that they are going to make it. Here’s the message on their site:

Hey! You! Quit emailing us to make this for REAL already  We promise, we’ll make it. In fact we are already working on it. You’ve just forced our hand! Click the ‘email me when available’ link above to get notified! Thanks! I guess the joke is on us this year :p

Hilarious. If you like it, be sure to pick it up for $20 when it becomes available from ThinkGeek

BritePic – Monetize Your Site With Pictures

With so many services out there to help you monetize your website (specifically blogs,) this is no surprise. AdBrite seems to be on the leading edge of monetizing multimedia on blogs; first they released InVideo to get you making money on embedded videos, and now they’ve just released BritePic, which makes your pictures highly interactive.

It’s surprisingly simple to use, and you just need an AdBrite account to use it. Instead of inserting a picture with the <img> tag, you use a special code that they give you. You can insert the code yourself, or go to their interface, where you just enter the image URL and it creates the code for you:

BritePic Step 1BritePic Step 2

So after you enter the URL, you just copy the given code into your page. To show you the end result, here’s a bunny with a pancake on its head:

As you can see at the top, there’s the ad. Non-intrusive, and only shows if you hover-over with the mouse. Ads are completely optional, so you can still get the added functionality without advertising.

As you can see at the top, there’s the ad. Non-intrusive, and only shows if you hover-over with the mouse. Ads are completely optional, so you can still get the added functionality without advertising.

At the bottom-left there’s a Menu item, and if you click on it, you get some cool options. If for some reason you want to see the bunny’s nostril really close, you can zoom in up to 1000% (10x) by clicking the “Zoom” option from the menu. The Menu also allows you to Email the picture, Link to it, or even embed the same image into your own site. So if you want to embed the bunny picture into your site, I’ll still get revenue from ad clicks from your site as well; the tracking information remains with the picture. The next menu item is “Subscribe to RSS.” AdBrite sets up an image RSS feed for you with the pictures that you use with BritePic. This is super-useful for photographers who run photoblogs.

BritePic embed image

BritePic optionally lets you automatically add a watermark to each of your photos that appears in the lower right-hand corner of the picture. You’ll also notice that when you hover over the image, it scrolls a caption from the top right of the picture.

Another really nice feature is the picture loads before any of the flash, so users with a slow connection can still see the picture before the flash loads. This also lets people without flash see it.

Altogether, this is a really cool new technology that not only makes the publisher money, but finally gives boring ol’ pictures some interactivity and provides some very useful functionality. They also plan to add more features in the future like image rating, view gallery, photo discussion, and visually impaired accessibility. JPEGs are so 2006.

Helping Geeks Make Money Online