A Medley of Musings

Serious health and life changes, call for a serious name change to this blog. In the past I tried to research my blog name, so it wouldn't be a duplicate blog name that someone else might have. I won't be researching it this time around, so the name is subject to change without notice. Life is kind of like that.

The hand made toys, Mini-Me Jan, and Rolly the Octopus are also something I have a passion for. Making hand made items, especially toys.

Thank you if you're sharing this journey of written blog words, and various assorted written musings, with me by reading my blog now.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Remaining Unlisted

In Affiliate Marketing, one of the things many people recommend doing, is building a list. In fact they say to build two lists. People keep telling me the money is in the list.

One list is supposed to include my prospects. Those people who have expressed in interest in some of the products or services I'm trying to sell and promote. The other list includes those people who have moved from being prospects, or potential customers, to becoming actual customers. Those who have actually decided to part with their money to buy one of those products I've worked hard to promote.

So far both my lists are rather small. In fact they don't exist at all. Maybe I'm missing something here. Lots of people say, building those lists is a requirement, but I don't have specific details how I'm actually supposed to go about doing that.

I've joined two different safe lists. I've unsubscribed from one, and may soon unsubscribe from the 2ND one. In both cases I could only send out my promotional email one time a week.

I can't put these people on my two lists of prospects or customers, because they come from those original safe lists to begin with. Their email addresses, have something like "no reply" behind them. Or they have something that includes the safe list's name in their email address. So it isn't a direct email address, for me to be able to send them anything at all.

The same problem exists from the classified ad and community site that I joined, as a free member there. The people who paid to join that website, can much easier send me and many other people, email marketing messages about things that they're promoting. But as a free member, I don't have the same options as the paying members there have. And the same problem applies. Their email addresses come internally from that classified ad and community site, so I can't add those people to my lists either.

I tried to send something out manually to a number of people. It took some time for me to do that copy and paste thing, and I only sent it out to a small number of people. While I've looked at auto responders, I haven't gotten one yet. I'd prefer getting a free auto responder right now rather than paying for a service, I may later find, I'm not using or seeing any financial benefit from. What's the point of my having an auto responder, if I don't have anyone on my list to send anything to?

I'm not yet ready to develop my own newsletter or email course, to send out to other people. I have enough problems staying current with this blog or trying to write more articles, let alone doing even more writing of on ongoing newsletter to send to all the people on my non-existent lists. See my post about Disappearing Time. Well not yet having an auto responder, will save me time, not having to figure out how to use it.

Where are those names and email addresses supposed to come from that I'm supposed to be placing on my two lists?

Maybe if I had been more aggressive, I should have added the email addresses from the few inquires I received, about the products I'm tried to promote. Those inquiries came from the free classified ads I placed.

How excited I was to open those emails, when the subject line told me, that someone was actually interested in learning more about a product I was promoting. Only to find out those emails were from other affiliate marketers trying to promote their own products to me.

Or how about the few comments I've received on this blog so far? I guess I could have added those names to my lists. But they were also coming from a similar place that I was. One was an affiliate marketer, who recommended a good site for me to join, which I haven't done yet. The other was from a brand new blogger, just as I am. That's been the extent of my prospective customers so far.

It's nice to meet up with people I have something in common with. It just doesn't help my list building skills very much. There's an area, that doesn't seem logical to me at all, to be sending my email marketing promotion to other affiliate marketers or web site owners.

The affiliate marketers are trying to do the exact same thing that I'm trying to do. So while we might make each other aware of new products and services, the chances that we will actually buy anything from each other seem to me to be slim and none.

The web site owners, who are members of those safe lists or that classified ad and community site, are promoting their own web sites and products. Once again I'm on a shoestring budget, so it's highly unlikely I'll be buying any of their products. At least not until I actually make some money doing this, which hasn't happened for me yet,

I don't want to add my friends and family to my lists. My family might start asking me questions I'm uncomfortable answering. Such as how much money have you made? Or how much time have you spent doing this so far? Or they might make comments like, you're doing what? What about all the decluttering you're supposed to be doing? When are you ever going to get a real job? Then their next comments to me will probably be something like, don't email me this stuff anymore. So I'm doing my part to avoid potential family conflicts.

I don't want to email my friends about products, they probably don't need, won't use, and can't afford to spend the extra money on anyway. I also don't want them to feel obligated to try any of the things I'm promoting, just because we happen to be friends. I think that will be a real good way of my losing their friendship or at the very least, having them get good and aggravated with me for emailing them with my promotions in the first place.

Some time back people were commenting, on how you could input your own or other people's phone numbers into Google's search box. Other info would come up, from that telephone number search, like the person's full name, address, etc. The people I learned about this from, weren't too happy, that Google, had put this into place.

Their concern was that the address could then be entered into map quest, and the less desirable people of the world, like criminals, perverts, child molesters, could obtain exact directions to people's houses, from map quest.

My phone number is unlisted, but sure enough when I entered it into Google's search box up popped my full name and address. My phone number is unlisted for good reasons, and I want to keep it that way. It should be my choice, if I want to give it out to anybody, rather then Google deciding they're going to do it for me for anybody in this vast Internet world to look at.

The reach of Google is far greater then my local phone book, where my name and phone number don't appear. Fortunately there was an option to have my phone number removed. Now when I enter it into Google's search box, no information appears about me at all and I like it like that.

With that being said, my phone number remains unlisted now. As for my attempts to be able to place anyone, on my prospect list or my customer list, in those areas I also sadly remain unlisted as well.

Disappearing Time

It's amazing to me that 14 days have passed by, since the last time I wrote anything to this blog. I find myself thinking about Judy Collin's song, "Who knows where the time goes", and how did this last two weeks go by me so fast? It seems as I get older, each year, flies by faster then the one before. I feel time slipping away on me, and I know I waste a lot of it.

So what was I doing the last two weeks? Well occasionally I do need to do things like dishes, laundry, pay bills. Sometimes I just want to relax by watching TV. Often I find myself reading all kinds of things that catch my eye, and before I know it, I've spent several hours doing that.

And of course my game addiction kicked in. There's only one game I tend to play a lot. It frustrates me, that I can only get through 3 or 4 levels each time, before I run out of time (there's that word again). But I keep playing anyway, hoping one of these times, (and again) I'll actually be able to proceed through several different levels. I can't figure out how some people have such outrageously high scores there. I guess I have to accept I'm just an average player and probably will always be an average player. But I still like playing it.

I've also been trying to declutter around here. Don't really want to do that, but I have to get rid of stuff for various reasons.

Why haven't I posted anything at all in those two weeks? Sometimes my writing runs dry. New ideas to write about, seem to be taking a break from popping into my head. I keep a list of articles I hope to write for Helium someday, as well as a separate list of things I want to blog about here. It's a scary thought that my list of topics to blog about isn't growing as large or as fast as I'd like it to. Some of the topics I've already blogged about here.

I'd much rather have a longer list of potential blog topics, then feeling like I'm catching up with it. I think part of the problem is the name of this blog. Since my blog posts are no longer only about affiliate marketing, my blog title of The Affable Affiliate doesn't seem to fit my blog anymore. I'm still working on coming up with a catchy new blog name, that would be a better fit. Eventually I'll come up with something that fits these wide range of topics. But your ideas, or suggestions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Search of A New Name!

It's been suggested that I should focus this blog on the specific target audience I'm trying to reach. I know that's good advice. But I like diverting off on those side roads from time to time. I'm not quite ready to start separate blogs for all the different topics I might want to blog about.

While this Blog started out about Affiliate Marketing, it's now become an assortment of different topics, including posts about my cats, writing, blogging, crafting, and various miscelleaneous musings of my oftentimes cluttered and confused mind.

I have a difficult time believing that some Affiliate Marketers might not also be pet owners, or that they might also enjoy writing. Or that some writers might like to craft. So in that way, one category could be related to another one. Well it's a bit of a reach I admit, but we don't all fit into one little box, or one little category, so why should my blog posts, or published articles have to be categorized that way? Besides if I started a separate blog for all these different categories, I wouldn't get much writing done. I can anticipate a big headache coming my way, at just the thought of doing that.

I like to write or blog about a variety of topics. I've started to categorize some of my different published articles. So if you have an interest in reading my articles about Affiliate Marketing, or cats, or knitting, they now each have their own separate category heading.

Of course that means The Affable Affiliate might no longer be the best title for this Blog. I've yet to come up with an alternative creative title. My creativity in that area, seems to have currently gone on vacation. So if you have any suggestions, as to what a better appropriate title might be here, I'm eager to know what they might be.

You're always welcome to leave your comments and feedback, suggestions and tips here on this blog, whether it's currently named The Affable Affiliate, or some other name that it might become, that is yet to be determined.

The Sting of Rejection

I recently started to submit articles to The People's Media Company, otherwise known as Associated Content. This is another writing site I put off joining. How exciting when one of my very first articles, Knitting Without Needles was accepted for publication there. I even received an offer of $6.04 for it to be published.

This was the first time, that I received money into my Paypal account, except for the small test deposits that Paypal and Google initially made to my account. But I've frequently paid out money of my Paypal account. I hoped to see more money coming in for me, instead of the money that so quickly goes out!

No $6.04 isn't a vast fortune, but it's a start. I've also been writing at Helium, another online writing site for some time. So far none of my articles earned me $6.04 immediately. But at Helium, my articles earn a residual income. That means as long as I stay active on the site and Helium stays in business, I'll continue to receive some small amount of income from all my published articles.

I've finally gotten to my first $25.00 payout from Helium. Granted it took me several months to get there, but now my earnings are building there, towards my second $25.00 payout.

Many, not all, of my articles have received high ratings from other writers at Helium. My very first published article there achieved a #1 rating, and I'm proud to say it has remained at #1 to this day, even though the number of writers, who wrote to that particular topic has doubled, from when I first submitted it.

I was about to rush in and start declaring the virtues of Associated Content. I started thinking if I even made $6.00 on each article I submitted there, soon I would have surpassed that $25.00 much quicker then I was able to do so far at Helium.

With the excitement of receiving my first payout from Associated Content, I quickly submitted 3 more articles. Rejected, rejected, rejected.

I wondered what was so bad about my writing this time around, when Associated Content, had accepted my article before, but wouldn't accept them now.

In comparison, at Helium my articles get published immediately, unless I'm starting a brand new topic, that no one else has written to yet. Then Helium needs to approve it. But articles that I submit to already established topics at Helium, never get rejected. Perhaps Helium has spoiled me because of that.

Still having my articles rejected by Associated Content, isn't much different then if I had submitted them to a brick and mortar publishing house, as opposed to an online writing site. I just had forgotten what that rejection feels like. The possibility certainly exists that the brick and mortar publishing house would have rejected my articles too.

As I looked again at my articles at Associated Content, I couldn't see much wrong with them. It's hard to get my writers ego out of the way and look at things from Associated Content's viewpoint. It's hard not to take it personally when your writing is rejected for various reasons.

But Associated Content will allow me to change the way I've submitted my articles, instead of waiting and hoping for an upfront payment, like that $6.04 I was so excited to receive. They have what's called Performance Payout. For every 1000 views of one of my articles, that I've submitted towards Performance Payout, I'll earn $1.50.

I'm trying to stop listening to my bill collectors laughing at me in the background.
One article that I've submitted for Performance Payout at Associated Content has already gotten me 9 page views, and I haven't yet done much to market it to the masses of people who I know are just dying to read what I write about!

I only need 991 more views to that page before I'll hit that great big payout of $1.50!

Right after I received that $6.04 payout, I was tempted to start singing, "I'm in the money!" I was guilty of counting my chickens before they hatched; guilty of jumping the gun, or putting the cart before the horse. I guess I better not yet count on making my quick overnight fortune from the articles I might submit to Associated Content. The articles that might get rejected.

I supposed I should thank Associated Content for bringing me back to earth, and giving me a reality check, but I'm not yet ready to do that. I'm still feeling that sting of rejection from them.

I sure don't want to believe that it was a fluke that they accepted my first article for publication and for payment. I sure don't want to think that Associated Content won't accept any future articles from me that I might submit there. It might take me awhile to get over this feeling of being rejected from Associated Content. And who can I talk to to protest their actions? How can I try to reason with them, and get them to see the error of their ways in rejecting my three articles as they did?

If you as my reading audience, decide to read any of my published articles at Helium, or at Associated Content, you'll be helping me to earn a little bit more money in either place.

For you it's free to read those articles. Doesn't cost you a thing to go look at them, from Helium or Associated Content. Both sites are free to join, if you also feel a need to write. I'd love to invite you in as a writer at either place, and obviously that might benefit me as well.

But if you read any of my articles from Helium or Associated Content, you'll be helping out this starving writer. You'll be easing the sting of rejection I received from Associated Content. It might take me all of a day or so to get over it!

As for me, I'll try not to spend my $6.04 all at once!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Emails I No Longer Read

When I first joined a safelist, I read practically every email that was sent to me. I found many other sites that are helpful, that I would not have otherwise known about. I spent a lot more time reading then writing. Now there's some emails I just don't look at at all anymore.

Like the ones that tell me I'll make a large amount of money in a short amount of time, with little work needed to accomplish that task. They just have a feeling of unreality to me. Tell me I might make $100.00 and I'll look at your link. But tell me how I'll be making $30,000 or some other outrageous amount, in half an hour, and I'll quickly be hitting the delete key, without reading your email at all.

As I got behind in reading my emails, sometimes I'd sort them by subject. There I could easily see when I had several that had the exact same subject line. Delete, Delete, Delete. I realize these are probably coming from web site owners trying to promote their sites, but after awhile I'm not going to keep reading the same email over and over again. And if I'm not reading it, and I'm new at affiliate marketing, do you really think those more experienced then I am, will keep reading the same old, same old emails?

You need to change things up once in while. You've probably gotten so used to just letting your autoresponder handle things for you automatically, that you forget how boring it can get to me your reader, to see the same email that you just sent me yesterday. If you're not going to change the contents of your email, then maybe you shouldn't send them to me as often. The delete key has now become my best friend.

Then there's the emails that got goofed up. Instead of addressing me as Hi Jan, they address me as Hi Firstname! When did I change my name? Why didn't anyone tell me I did that? And why do I have the same Firstname as everybody else on your list? They provide me with amusement value.

There were also emails, that seemed to be a bit behind the times. They'd say something like now that the holiday season is upon us. I don't think they were referring to Valentines Day. So hello, it's February now! Better pack up your out of date emails about the holidays, so you can start sending them out again next November or December.

Even with another safelist I've joined, I've learned how to work around it. I open my email in Mozilla Firefox, then I open several tabs. As those emails are loading, by the time I get back to the first tab, the 15 or 20 seconds I'm supposed to be staying at that link from that email has passed, and I've collected more credits, for when I send out my once a week promotional email.

I still don't have any kind of list to speak of, but at least I have lots of credits there. They may come in handy some day.

Affiliate Marketers are marketing to other affiliate marketers, which seems to defeat the purpose of those safelists. I don't think too many of them will buy the products I'm trying to promote to them, anymore then I'll be buying from them.

And you have to wonder, if I'm reading less and less of those promotional emails, and I'm relatively new at all of this, then how much is anybody else reading all those emails?

The Abbreviated Version

It’s now become common practice to abbreviate things. I don’t know where this idea first started or why. Perhaps there just wasn’t enough room across the paper, or invoice forms, so a shorter abbreviated version became a more efficient way of doing things. Then there’s all the time that can be saved in reading the abbreviated version.

Maybe if writers had to meet specific minimum word or character counts, it became faster and easier to write things in an abbreviated fashion. If they used the full written word instead of the abbreviated version, maybe they’d go over that suggested character count, and their writing wouldn’t get accepted and published. Or they might appear long winded if they didn't abbreviate some of their words. They might appear like they're trying to fill up their copy or padding their articles.

Think how much more time the cavemen might have had to spend if they had to chisel out the full words on their tablets of stone, or on the cave walls of their homes. Spending time chiseling out words like Doctor, Junior, or even longer words like Corporation, or Television, could have become an all day event back then.

It had to have been much faster, much more time saving for them, if they abbreviated those words to be Dr., Jr., Corp., and TV. Oh that’s right, they didn’t have Television back then. The Corporation of Cavemen, Limited, or should that be The Corp. of Cavemen, Ltd, probably went out of business a long time ago.

You see abbreviations in many different areas, and they become the accepted way of writing things. Refrigerator became fridge. Super Sonic Transport became SST. Long Playing Record Albums got abbreviated to become LP. Those are record albums of music that actually used to get played on record players or turntables back in the day. Then along came 8 tracks, cassettes and CDs.

The abbreviation for CDs could mean either Certificates of Deposit, or Compact Discs. How do you know which meaning someone else is referring to? That depends on the context where you read that abbreviated word of CDs. In areas of finance it would probably refer to Certificates of Deposits. While if you're reading about music, chances are good CDs there would refer to the discs that musicians have recorded their music on.

Maybe CDs actually means music that makes money to be deposited somewhere, to combine both possibilities?

Instructions for knitting and crocheting patterns are written using standard abbreviations for those two crafts. Those instructions might look like a foreign language if you're not familiar with what those abbreviations mean.

In some areas people become so accustomed to using abbreviations, that they start to take their use for granted. They forget, that someone new to that particular area, may not have any idea what those abbreviations stand for. Those readers might be standing there scratching their heads, wondering what in the world is that person talking about or referring to? They might not even be able to understand the sentence, if they don’t know what some of those abbreviations actually mean.

With the growing use of computers and the Internet, abbreviated expressions such as lol, rotf, brb, become commonly used and well known by many who use them in instant messages, emails, message boards and forums.

In the area of Affiliate Marketing, you might see abbreviations such as: html, href, B2B, ROI, CSS, or WYSIWYG just to name a few.

But what if you don’t know what all those abbreviations stand for? As new words become created, the online dictionaries, might not recognize that word as something, that many of us commonly use. Many times, my spell checker will highlight the word blog, or blogging for me. It politely suggests to me that perhaps I meant to type bog, or log, or ogling instead of the words blog or blogging, that I did type, and actually meant to type. So back off spell checker!

If you don’t know what certain abbreviations might mean and that writer hasn’t decided to enlighten you about them, then where do you go to look up the meanings of those unknown abbreviations?

I could perhaps do some research, for the abbreviations I’m not very knowledgeable about, but right now I'm not going to do that. Some people might end up sawing logs, or snoring in the back rows of my reading audience if I did that here. I know you’re out there somewhere, my reading audience that is.

I thought I'd have some say so about where my blog would be located, when those burly blog movers came around to place my blog at it's current location. Who knew, that my blog would be placed on some rural road out in the middle of nowhere, where little if any traffic ever passes by. But I will persevere. It's just a matter of time before you discover my blog on this untraveled road it must have been placed on. I still hold out hope that you will become part of my reading audience.

Back to the topic at hand. If I researched and wrote a post here as to what the actual definitions of html, B2B, CSS, or WYSIWYG, stand for, that writing might be rather dry and boring. That certainly isn't the type of impression I want to leave with my current or future reading audience!

So I propose to write my own creative version of those abbreviations.

Html on my B2B, could mean Hold The Mustard, Lettuce on my Burger to Burger. Or Maybe html stands for Have To Make Land, or Have The Monster Leap or Help The Man Leave. Maybe ROI, really means Relish, Onions, Indigestion or Really Over It! CSS probably stands for something like Could of, Should of Said or Cats Spit Synonyms.

Maybe rotf, really stands for Revenge Of The Frogs, or Right On The Forehead, instead of rolling on the floor. Perhaps WYSIWYG once meant Words You Submit Irritate Writers Youth Groups or Why You Should Instantly Water your Geraniums, or Wrap Your Senses In Wickedly Yearning Gazes instead of What You See Is What You Get.

But think how much time would it take you to read things, or to write them, or to come up with creative versions, like I’ve tried to do here, if we wrote words without abbreviating any of them. Look at all the time I’ve saved you now!

I hope you use that extra 2 minutes and 47 seconds wisely and well.

The After Effects of a Cat Fight

There are times when changing things isn’t such a good idea. After I made the mistake of trying to reintroduce my two cats Skitzy and Cole to each other, I would have been better off if I had left things the way they were.

I have no choice but to go back to my cat rotation system, and my cat separation system. For awhile, after their cat fight, when it was Skitzy’s turn to be out, and Cole was confined behind a closed bedroom door, Skitzy went under my bed, and wouldn’t come out. Before she would freely run through the rest of the place, scampering along the top of the couch, in the living room or she’d plop down in my lap to help me with my latest knitting project, or curl up to nap in the recliner.

I couldn’t even entice her out, when I opened a can of wet cat food. Usually she’s eagerly waiting to be served. The only way to get her out from under my bed, so Cole could have a turn roaming about the place, was to move the bed. Disgruntled Skitzy went to the bedroom, she knew she would be confined in for awhile. Before she’d run in there voluntarily, as if to say to me, ok I’ll let him have his turn at being out and about for awhile.

Of course how many cats in America, or anywhere else for that matter, have the luxury of having their own room? They should both be grateful that they weren’t being confined to the small area of a bathroom or closet or a cage.

Cole is a lot bigger then Skitzy, and more aggressive, towards her, Skitzy would have gotten the short end of the deal if I left them to their own devices.

No when it was Skitzy’s turn to be out and about, she wasn’t taking advantage of it, because the only place she wanted to be now, was under my bed. Cole was becoming the only cat that I could pet or play with, as Skitzy made herself unreachable to me.

One day I was able to get a hold of her, and we watched ice skating together on TV. I think she enjoyed hearing the music that the female skaters, were doing their routines too, as well as the attention she was getting from me. It was a pleasant time for both of us. I had missed not being able to stroke her soft fur, or hear her purrs of contentment.

After their cat fight, I noticed that Skitzy seemed to be walking gingerly. She made sounds of discomfort when I tried to touch her tail, or her back paws. I saw a few clumps of fur on the floor. Then I saw there was a gash on the underside of her tail.

I’m afraid to even attempt to reintroduce them again. Since I had heard that Cole didn’t get along with the cat from his previous home, I had hoped his aggression would be less, with Skitzy, after he was neutered. And I had kept them separated for so long, that maybe it was impossible to reintroduce them now.

Sadly I’m now starting to contemplate that things might be better for all three of us, if I start to find Cole another home. I’ve grown attached to him as well. I hate the idea, that he might have to get shuffled off to yet another place.

He’s a sweet cat to me, and he talks quite a bit. Maybe Cole just needs to be the only reigning cat, of his cat residence. Maybe Skitzy needs to be the solo cat living here as well.

The ironic thing is I got Cole, to keep Skitzy company after Misty died. There was no way of knowing then that things would turn out the way they are now.

If only I could convince Cole, that it would be much more in his own best self interest, to leave Skitzy alone, and to start treating her with the cat courtesy and respect that she deserves to have.

But cats, like humans, don’t always get along with each other or like each other. I wish I knew what they were both thinking about all of this. I wonder if at times, if they had previously been telling me, to stop keeping them separated and let them work things out themselves as cats do.

Still the hissing, snarling, spitting I heard from them both, the keening noises I heard from Skitzy when I did let them out together, never sounded like just a friendly little cat tussle to me. It sounded much more intense to me, then two cats just playing, or having an occasional cat spat or disagreement with each other. Maybe it sounded much worse to me, then it ever was to either one of them.

But if Skitzy was getting injured, from these cat fights as she now appeared to be, I certainly didn’t want that to continue., .

I feel a rip to my heart at the thought of having to find Cole another home, so I’m back to my cat separation system and my cat rotation system. I know it’s not greatest solution for the three of us, though they both seem to accept that at times they are going to be confined to one room for awhile. I’ve read that other people have had to keep their cats separated

I wish I could find another way, to make this a peaceful two cats, one human household for all three of us. Maybe if I hadn’t tried to reintroduce them to each other, it wouldn’t have become as big a problem to me, as it is now.

While often making changes can be a good thing, there are other times when it’s better not to change the way things are, and to just leave well enough alone.