COPEAC is dead.

January 10, 2012

COPEAC owes in excess of $200,000 to affiliates. That is just the amount that is being claimed by affiliates on the WickedFires. No reason to believe anyone is wasting their sweet time and lying. No reason to believe that there isn’t another $200,000+ out there that has yet to be publicly claimed.

Strangely enough, other affiliates are reporting payments that are timely and usual.

Not sure about this pick-and-choose methodology they’ve got going, but something bad is going on.

ASW just ended and several affiliates went to pay them a visit at their booth. Here is what their booth looked like:

Empty, with a garbage can sitting on top of it.

Throughout this long-winded crisis, COPEAC AMs have continued to send out notices of new offers and asking for traffic. They’ve continued operations as normal. They’ve just refused to address the owed payments.

If you keep up with industry news, you know about Mike Krongel and COPEAC’s recent problems with the FTC (and even Bank of America). Even patent trolls are beginning to after COPEAC. Despite all of these failed payments, Mike Krongel sure does seem to love affiliates!

And here’s an interesting (though unproven) note tossed in by a WickedFire member:

COPEAC stands for COmmunicate, PErform, AChieve. For years, they’ve stood by that. Right now, all shit has hit the fan and the ship is as good as sunk. Krongel and COPEAC may be in a bad position, but you can not steal people’s money. Only time will tell what happens next, but it’s not going to be pretty.

Tumblr appears to have swaggerjacked me.

December 15, 2011

Not cool.

Best Times & Days for Conversions

December 15, 2011

Ryan Bukevicz made an awesome post today over at his Bevo blog that I felt was worth sharing over at my own. Please note that all credit goes to Ryan for this data and work.

This information is based on several million clicks from old, US-based campaigns, dug out from the trenches on a variety of niches and traffic sources. I have found these statistics to be pretty much on par with what the industry generalizes as “hot converting hours,” however if you ever find yourself on a low budget, and need to pick and chose the time of day to push your offers on your traffic sources, this could be of some help.

Days

  1. Monday (20%)
  2. Tuesday (19%)
  3. Wednesday (15%)
  4. Sunday (13%)
  5. Thursday (12%)
  6. Saturday (11%)
  7. Friday (10%)

Hours (EST)

  1. 12 PM
  2. 1 PM
  3. 11 AM
  4. 10 AM
  5. 3 PM
  6. 2 PM
  7. 9 AM
  8. 4 PM
  9. 8 PM
  10. 5 PM
  11. 9 PM
  12. 10 PM
  13. 8 AM
  14. 6 PM
  15. 7 PM
  16. 11 PM
  17. 7 AM
  18. 12 AM
  19. 6 AM
  20. 5 AM
  21. 1 AM
  22. 2 AM
  23. 4 AM
  24. 3 AM

This is some really valuable information. I’d have never thought that the difference from Monday to Friday was so drastic. According to these numbers, you’re twice as likely to convert on any given Monday. The hourly data is not too surprising. Hitting people at the start of their work day is effective.

Take this information for granted. This isn’t some set-it-and-forget-it data. Dating traffic, in my experiences, is likely to convert better during nightly hours.

The Role of Attractive Females in Affiliate Marketing

November 24, 2011

Before I have the NOW or SlutWalk , or any other feminist and/or man-hating group or organization misconstruing this post right out of the gate because they read the title alone, let me get this out of the way: The role of attractive females (and females in general, unopinionated)  in affiliate marketing is no different than the role of males. Or it shouldn’t be, and if it is then it’s an individual and personal choice that has been made. This is is a post typed up based on personal experiences and observations. I’m not trying to lump everyone together. I was just trying to write a headline.

This is a subject that I have a strong opinion and stance on.  Fairly recently, Arikka Greene (an attractive female close to affiliate marketing) made a post in her Online Media Q&A Facebook Group that gained my attention and had me thinking about the issue more. Here is her post:

What really captured my attention here was the fact that she chose to include the phrases “highly powerful” and “huge client” when introducing her hypothetical scenario. That alone seems to suggest that it is more “acceptable” or excusable to get flirty at that opportunity. I’m not going to be the dude to tell you that it’s right or wrong for a female to do that because it’s her choice and it’s a two-way street.

Barman has published two posts that are dangerously similar to what I’m about to get into. One of them seems to state that there is a portion of women in the industry who are money-thirsty, parasitic wenches. He also throws around phrases like “pussy trap”  and “sweet elixir of punany,” very hilarious stuff. In the other, he points out the blatant attempt of an “affiliate assistant” trying to leverage boners for traffic.

To open up the issue a little more, I’ll review just a couple replies to Arikka’s post.


Susan’s reply is very commendable. I’d have replied the same way in her shoes (or heels). Overall, it’d be a personal decision. If you’re confident in your industry-specific skills, I can’t see why a female would want to entertain that type of thing unless she was single and otherwise interested.


This post surprised me. Maybe “most” was an exaggeration from her, but if this is true then I am completely puzzled. I can’t imagine cutting ties with a network or having a fallout with an AM because she won’t return my winks on Skype.


Again, “most” may be an exaggeration here, but the viewpoint from a male is interesting. I feel indifferent about this post. I agree that flirting is generally bounced around, but I can’t give you any hard numbers that would state that she’d be more likely to initiate. With the last sentence there, I agree more than I disagree.

And then mine:

I’m no ladies man by any stretch of the phrase and I’m not giving any scandalous Jezebel a pass here. I’m speaking  out to my own people, the bros: We’ve gotta stop that shit.

I’m not asking you to tuck your penis between your legs and forget that females exist in our world of affiliate marketing. There are tons of very beautiful ladies. I’ve got a pretty big base of AM-related friends on Facebook and I can’t remember the last unattractive female I’ve come across. Males even, the general crowd are all handsome and well-kept dudes. The problem isn’t that you recognize that these women are attractive, that’s called being a man. The problem is when you go out of your head and let it disrupt the way you do your work. The problem is when you allow these certain females–well aware that they are attractive and you are a horndog–to leverage that and squeeze pennies out of you.

There was once a little thread on WickedFire dedicated to outing these beautiful broads. Outing them for, well, being attractive. A couple replies are a little bit awkward. The majority seem to understand that not every beautiful AM girly who smiles your way wants you inside of them. There are some who seem a little obsessive and weird about it. Here’s one, directly in reply to me:

Like I said though, a lot of people took the thread pretty lightly (as I’m sure it was intended).

Eleah came up very often in this thread. A poster mentioned that she probably isn’t always flirting with you, she just has a “bubbly” personality. That’s understandable and completely fine. Eleah recently contacted me and gave some feedback on what I thought was one of my lesser-interested posts, and that was very cool of her. She seems like a very polite and professional individual and I can’t yet imagine her eyes turning red as she leaps for my crotch in hopes that my delicious traffic will be sent her way. (The post we talked about was one that conflicts that idea, anyway. She’s cool.)

Some apparently do do that though, in accordance to the gospel of Barman. I believe him.
The bros and babes over at EWA so it very modestly and respectfully. They have a private Facebook Group that I’ve been allowed in and I’ve noticed it every now and then. It’s nothing extravagant or risqué. Nicki is put out there every now and then, thrown to the wolves.

In that second screenshot, you can hear her talking about traffic. Outright asking for you to send her your traffic, but that’s what she’s supposed to do. That isn’t supposed to be some sexy body shot for you either, I do believe she is showing off her shirt and I think she is pregnant. Fair play.

The post that I mentioned in the Facebook comment screenshot earlier was also one from Nicki. That one had me stroking my chin gently.

For everyone who was saying that Shannon PoF might not be real… I have proof she is! And not only is she real but she’s super nice! Just one more reason to take our offers and run them at PoF.

If your initial reaction was, “Jesus Christ, she is hot,” in regards to either one or both of them, then congratulations on having a penis. Completely normal my friend, I’m not getting on you for that.

I don’t know about this whole conspiracy theory about her “not being real.” I wasn’t around for that. I don’t know what that even means or who cooked up those suspicions. Her appearance isn’t being highlighted in the post either, she is cited as “nice.” That’s another good sign. I guess a nice AM would be one of those reasons why you’d want to send traffic someone’s way. I don’t see it near the top of the list, but it’s always good.

The way I’m reading this is, “Hey guys, Shannon of PoF is really hot. Here is a picture of us being hot together. Take EWA offers and run them on PoF.” I believe (and I’m not 100% certain here) that the nature of the comments in this post began to revolve around Shannon’s physical appearance and Nicki quickly tried to put a stop to it. She did everything right here.

Shannon of PoF cannot help that she is hot. She cannot help that the great majority of her male affiliates would eagerly shower her sweet body with rose petals an make passionate love to her. She’s a girl and she seems intelligent, she is aware that she is attractive. I’ll bet she would appreciate being able to push a photo to Facebook that wouldn’t immediately result in a group of bros jerking it in the comments. It’s sort of disrespectful to the nature of the industry. I don’t think she’s ever going to have an issue with being beautiful, but I can see her feeling as if her technical skills in the industry are being undermined all the time just because we can’t get over how damn hot she is.

Or maybe not. I can’t speak for her. Better yet, maybe it’s part of the reason she is in this professional position today. I don’t know for sure and neither do you. We can speculate though. Here’s another WickedFire reply that had me thinking:

  1. Being an AM is essentially a channel sales job
  2. Being a good-looking girl = lots of attention (even as kids, look up “The Beauty Bias” for more info)
  3. Lots of attention = confident + learn how to get people (especially men) to do what you want
  4. Confident and can get people to do what you want = very useful in sales

Any sales role where men are a major buyer or channel partner (IT, Medical Sales, Recruitment) has a lot of hot women in it. That’s not to say they’re not also very skilled at their jobs. It’s just they have that added edge which only comes with lucky genes and a double X chromosome.

And yes… they are flirting with you. But only because they’ve learned from an early age that it’s a highly effective strategy to get their way.

That makes a lot of sense to me.

I’m not Dr. Phil, but women would like to be treated with respect, especially around the people they work with. The only excuse you have for treating an AM gal like a blood-sucking leech is if she comes across that way on her own. Don’t make that assumption upfront.

Where Barman addresses such scandalous behavior from the ladies, I want this post to resonate with guys. Be a professional. Be all about work. If having an attractive affiliate manager is seriously a concern to you then you need to restrategize. To me, the most attractive affiliate manager is the one who can be helpful and do whatever is necessary to make sure that affiliates are making dough.

It’s a little bit of a bonus if your affiliate manager is an attractive lady. We like looking at nice things. Recognize when the situation is steering away from business to small talk though. Every AM wants you to make money, because they want to make money. If a female is using sexuality to encourage that, then she’s probably not very skilled professionally. Play along and entertain it if you want, just don’t get sucked in.

This post is dedicated to the 0.01% of affiliate males out there who do seem to fall in love with these ladies so quickly. Also the 0.01% of affiliate manager females who grab you by the collar and promise ASCII kisses for your traffic. It’s only normal to feel attracted, but let’s be mature adults about it and go on about our business.

Take a Loss and Slow Down

November 18, 2011

Having just recently dissolved my first (and only) LLC-structured business, I wanted to go ahead and take time out of my lonely night to blog out a little bit of advice.

I’ve talked about OCPD on my blog before. I suffer from the disorder. A big part of my problem with this OCPD thing is polarization, or seeing things as black and white. Polarization and financial success don’t marry very well together.
In the spring of 2009, I stumbled upon more money than I’ve ever had to my name in a span of just about two months. This was a short-term success and I knew it’d die out eventually. Afterwards, I had two options:

  1. Take this ~$40,000 in liquid cash and get a nice car, get my own place, and settle down to a more comfortable and opportunistic life
  2. Reinvest this fast money into things that will make me long-term slow money

I chose the second option. I was very confident in myself. With that much money, I had plenty of ideas and options.

Carrying on and branching out from that decision, I proceeded to make two huge mistakes:

  1. Getting involved in far too many projects at one time
  2. Being unable to take a loss (of either time or money) and move on from my failed projects

These two issues created several other discomforts for me. I became uninterested in work. I began to sleep a lot. I started to avoid my responsibilities and just chat around online or play games. I was overwhelmed and at times depressed. Please never make these two critical mistakes.

I know people who can manage a ton of things all at once. If you’re that kinda guy, awesome. Maybe you’d have seen more success in my shoes. However, from personal experience, I will from now on preach that think very small and concentrated with approaching success on the internet.

My theory was pretty simple. I knew failure was going to occur. I’ve failed at things before and knew I’d fail at them again. I went with the whole “don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket” proverb. I should have went with two or three baskets, in that case. Instead, I went for a dozen or more. It’s too much and it takes its toll. If your focus is so scattered and broad, the success of each individual project is going to suffer. It’s like if you’re tending to crops. If you’ve got a single crop to manage, your shit is going to be green, beautiful, and in good shape. When you jump up to ten, the health of each crop individually begins to suffer. All ten of your crops are at only 10% the health of what your single crop was out, and it’s disgusting. It discourages you. They’re all failures.

Now, about taking a loss. Just opening up, let me show you what happens when a 19 year-old watches Boiler Room too many times in one night and thinks he’s going to become the next Jim Cramer or brilliant, master penny trader:

It gets worse, but those are embarrassing enough. Let’s forget about the part where I knew very little going into trading stocks. Knowing when to sell it almost like a basic human instinct. But then for me, it’s always, “Well, Craig, let’s hold it for forever. It always can come back up, you know?” No. It’s not worth it. Time does not heal everything and that’s almost even a form of procrastination.

Not to mention the 100 websites I’ve dipped my dick in. Maybe I bought (or rather, collected) them from Flippa or hired a terrible, underpaid web developer to resurrect them from a toilet. Either way, why? For nearly a year, I’ve procrastinated and put aside finishing off a number of little websites and projects which have close to zero potential to be anything big. They’re almost at the level of my very first website.

So now, I’m ready to clear my plate. I’m going to stop thinking so hard and stop seeing everything as 100% this or 100% that. Sure, when you give up on a project, you lose time and money. That’s better than losing more time and money though. I’m the type that learns from my mistakes, and I’ve made a ton of them. I’ll consider it paying for an education.

I’m rebuilding right now, but don’t worry about me.

Working with MakeUseOf

October 30, 2011

If you’ve not heard of MakeUseOf and you consider yourself at all savvy to the art of useful and productive internet usage, then we’ve got a problem.  MUO is in the same class as sites like Lifehacker, TechCrunch, and Mashable. It’s an Alexa Top 1000 blog and always pumps out great content. I’ve been a reader and RSS subscriber for a little over two years.

Way back in June, I saw a sponsored post on Reddit advertising that MUO was looking for new writers. Not really thinking I had much of a chance, I threw in a lengthy introduction email and application. I heard back from higher-ups within the site, and as of a few days ago I have officially started my several-week-long probation period! As long as I keep my more personalized rants to this blog, I’ll be fine.

So far, it looks like a really great network of people and I’m proud to have been brought on as a staff writer. I’ve yet to have any articles published, but I’ve got a few schedule and coming up. If you want to watch out for those, you can subscribe to MUO by RSS or lurk my author’s page.

I am not abandoning this blog. I’ve got lots of stuff that still belongs here. I know how detrimental cross-posting can be to both reputation and SEO, so I’ll be doing none of that. I may end up linking to a few of my better articles from my Guest Posting page, though. Same ol’ thing here, just an added responsibility on my end!

Tinychat Vulnerabilities & Talking with the CEO

October 24, 2011

The past two days were very interesting. In the post, I’m going to go into a full disclosure of two vulnerabilities that exist (or hopefully by now, existed) at Tinychat.

Tinychat is a really awesome way to create instant, disposable cam/chat rooms. Unlike the way competitors like Stickam handle their service, Tinychat preaches simplicity. Rooms are created by URI by a simple GET request. You can create a room in seconds just by your address bar. Here’s an example: http://tinychat.com/wfti

At the moment, Tinychat is sitting on a healthy 3,280 Alexa ranking. Tinychat recently launched their mobile app for iOS. They recently reeled in $1.5mil in funding from celebrity startup fans P. Diddy and Ashton Kutcher. The startup’s growth has been huge thus far with 300,000 new users and users putting in over 500,000,000 minutes online every month. Here’s a graph from that article:

With all of that information on your mind, you’d be shocked if I told you that vulnerabilities exist on the service that would allow anyone to (quite easily) compromise user accounts.
Bryan—probably my closest internet-strict friend and someone who I’ve mentioned here before—and I started out an IM conversation yesterday discussing Tinychat and the way that “chat rooms” have essentially evolved and still exist online, just only in the form of cam rooms. From there, our imaginations drifted to troublesome concepts.

It took Bryan all of 30 seconds to discover that the Tinychat login is not limited or rated in any way. No CAPTCHA, no IP bans, nothing. For a multimillion-dollar company in the year 2011, this is practically a sin.
In as much time as it takes you to join a Tinychat room, we have discovered that the Tinychat login server is essentially vulnerable to brute force/dictionary attacks on user accounts.

My question was, “How do we find user accounts on Tinychat?” Tinychat’s account system is a little quirky. Even while logged in, you’re still given the chance to set your nickname or join by Twitter or Facebook when you join a room. The likelihood of a user using their account name as their in-room name isn’t very high. Conveniently enough, you’re able to right click on the users in the room list and view their profile with just another click. Their account name is displayed there. Even better, their followers count and views are displayed.

Interesting. I mention to Bryan that it’s probably a 50/50 chance that Tinychat accounts are simply incremental IDs. Let’s go ahead and do some sniffing with Wireshark to analyze the HTTP request upon checking out someone’s profile.
The result is exactly what we were looking for: http://tinychat.com/api/tcinfo?id=3324&format=xml

<result name=”strapstarbayb33″ background=”http://upload.tinychat.com/bg/632611/pixel_freak.png&#8221; backgroundcolor=”#000000″ backgroundpos=”top center” backgroundtile=”none” biography=”” boxbgcolor=”#0f0f0f” boxbgheadcolor=”#0a0a0a” boxlinkcolor=”#6b6b6b” boxtextcolor=”#ecd7fa” description=”” embedbg=”#262626″ id=”3324″ imageurl=”” is_vip=”0″ largelogo=”http://upload.tinychat.com/logo/2be606/large/C__Users_kasia_Desktop_Desktop_1109091649_1_.jpg&#8221; last_active=”1258579175″ location=”” mediumlogo=”http://upload.tinychat.com/logo/2be606/medium/C__Users_kasia_Desktop_Desktop_1109091649_1_.jpg&#8221; smalllogo=”http://upload.tinychat.com/logo/2be606/small/C__Users_kasia_Desktop_Desktop_1109091649_1_.jpg&#8221; username=”strapstarbayb33″ views=”52″ website=””>
<following followers=”1″ following=”0″ is_following=”false” />
<status></status>
</result>

That API call gives us everything we want in a format that is incredibly easy to parse. Doing some poking around, we notice that user IDs range from 25  to nearly 5,500,000. ID #25 is a Tinychat developer named Cole who I’ve noticed has 0 followers. He must be lonely, so I decide to follow his account. This is a good time to mention that my account on Tinychat is “hacker“. I have a thing for vanity usernames and I registered for the service very early when it happened to be available.

We now have two things at our disposal:

  1. A login server for one of the most popular cam-to-cam services on the internet that just so happens to be completely unrated
  2. A method of harvesting the account name of every single Tinychat user, as well as their follower and view counts

The next step came to both of us without much of a thought process. Bryan happens to be pretty nice with Java, so it’s time to code up something to harvest five million Tinychat accounts and statistics.

This took about 20 hours to complete. Upon completion, we had a CSV file that was 115MB.
Using CSVed, we filtered and deleted rows that contained 0-3 (because we don’t care about inactive, useless accounts) or blanks. This left us with 62,856 rows. Yes, only 1% of Tinychat users are technically “active.” This is almost meaningless data when you consider that the only benefit of registering an account is having the ability to follow another user.

Thankfully, that’s just within the realm that Excel can handle! Having to work with Access or SQL would have been a little annoying, but this worked nicely. We decided that we’d sort our spreadsheet by followers instead of views. Here is a peek at the results:

At this point, we have the account names and analytics of the top 60,000 users on Tinychat. When it comes to cracking accounts, Acunetix’s Authentication Tester is a huge luxury. It works nicely on just about 80% of the sites I’ve played with. Bryan is an overachiever though and wanted to code up own own customized cracker tailored exactly to Tinychat.
That is exactly what he did, and he did a great job of it also (don’t worry about the overlapping window, it’s unrelated to this):

The cracker worked simply and was very effective. You just needed accnts.txt and passwds.txt in the same directory. We decided to run the entire list using the three most common passwords. We’re going for quantity over quality.

Right now is a good time to pause and let you know that doing this is practically pointless. Bryan is hilarious and tends to pull off little hacks just to troll and bother people. I am more concerned with monetization. When we come together and collaborate like this, it can go either way. What do we gain from these accounts? Nothing really. At this point, we had practically concluded that it would be next to impossible to hijack any of these accounts to attempt to monetize them. At the very most, we could kick a few people from a room for laughs. We never did any of that though. As a matter of fact, we only logged in to a total of two of the accounts that were cracked as a way of ensuring that we weren’t hitting false positives. We changed nothing and did nothing. This was a hobby hack, one of interest and one that really intrigued us because it was easy and unexpected.

It took hours to finish the list, and here’s what we had when we were done:

You guys have got to stop using passwords like these. That’s just unacceptable. Again, that’s a 60,000 account run of using only three passwords. None of the accounts were compromised or tampered with.

We were amused by this and Bryan went as far as to code up a version of the cracker that was a little more flexible and would let you crack single user accounts by inputting the account name and specifying the name of the password list you wish to use.

It was a little overkill, but we were enjoying ourselves. Again, no harm was done!

A day later (on the 23rd of this month) and at at 8:30 AM in the morning when I was laying down for bed (yep), I happened to have my iPod on hand and I was checking a few RSS feeds and browsing through emails. A new email had come in from Tinychat Abuse:

I immediately send an IM to Bryan. It’s 5:30 AM for him on the west coast, but he happened to have just woke up. I let him know about the email and express a little bit of regret. No, not because I am afraid that I am going to be locked up for 20 years and pursued legally TrainReq style, but because a few rookie mistakes on my end seem as if they’re going to cause an abrupt ending to our playtime. We exchange emails back and forth and I’m requested for a brief chat on AIM (after putting up a complete fib of an explanation). I go ahead and get on my laptop. Here’s that email from there:

Let me go ahead and explain now. No, I was not sending out tweets bragging about this little breech. I’m not that type and I’ve been annoyed in the past when others have tried to spin situations in that way. You may be aware of my obsession with ifttt, though. If you’ll look at item #6 in that post, it is completely related.
My Facebook is private to everyone but my friends. I associate with a lot of people who you could consider to be “hackers.” I like those people. Add me on Facebook and you’ll see me having casual conversations with people like Captain Crunch:

(Obvious namedrop, I’m so fucking cool.) So, I decided to send out a series of status updates relevant to this Tinychat situation. I needed help with a few things. Forgetting that all of my status updates are being publicly broadcasted to Twitter, things ended up looking like this:

Well, no one at Tinychat is a moron. If that first tweet wasn’t sinister enough, the second—namely the mention of 5.5mil rows—was awful. Not sure how things could go, I offered this explanation:

Hi. About to head to bed here, but sparing time for a few short answers. I am involved in the affiliate marketing community and have had experiences with large users on YouTube and Twitter (Kandee Johnson, Kim Kardashian) who are open to paid broadcasts on social networks. Have a particular offer that I believe would do well by that same channel on Tinychat.
The Excel tweets, I’m not seeing a corelation. I’ve been attempting to sort a very large email list for use of marketing again.

I noticed my “hacker” account was either deleted or suspended and I’m a little curious why, was it because I followed Cole? I’d like to get that back if I could, I have a thing for vanity screen names.

Sent from my iPod

As mentioned before, I was requested on AIM. Then, Tinychat instead (http://tinychat.com/heartattack to be exact). That made me a little uneasy and I decided that AIM would be the better option.
From there, I am communicating over AIM with Dan Blake, co-founder and CEO of Tinychat.

Right from the start, Dan was very easy to talk to and I was very comfortable. He didn’t come at me as if he was in a suit and tie and ready to throw accusations and legal threats my way. He was very polite and curious.
Again, the guy isn’t stupid and could tell by the nature of those tweets that something was going on. I mentioned that Tinychat had a few vulnerabilities. He asked for me to turn them over. I mention that I am only half of the brain behind this and I’m not totally convinced that Bryan will be alright with me disclosing that information. Dan motivates me. I send Bryan an IM discussing things and he gives me the nod.

From there, I offer a brief and simple explanation of what went down. If Dan looks a little bothered in those emails, I believe it’s because he was under the impression that we had found an SQL injection and we had database tables complete with emails and encrypted passwords. He was thrilled to hear that we did not. Nonetheless, it’s still a vulnerability that could be leveraged to compromise many accounts.

From there, the conversation becomes a little more casual. I’m not going to publicly post it in its entirety because it was a private conversation between the two of us, but there were a few things about Dan that I found really cool and interesting:

  1. He IMed me from a three-character AIM username. This means that he’s either been around AOL for a long time or he knows the same circle of people I do. AOL is notorious for, well, having accounts compromised and cracked. Later in the conversation he reveals that he has frequented several forums that I have, also.
  2. He is a CEO, but behaves like a normal dude. He was just like me. He told me several times that I reminded him of himself and that’s pretty cool.
  3. He never threatened me or tried to make himself seem like he’s a huge CEO and I’m just a peon, and I appreciated that.
  4. He shared several ideas with me and gave me good advice.

I told Dan how I was involved in affiliate marketing and he shared a startup idea with me that basically summed up to be a broader version of CPABull. I linked him up and he was a little bummed that something similar already existed. He let me in on another of his ideas, one I won’t share here.

I will share two pieces of advice Dan shared with me on the subject of startups:

  1. Spend the most money on design. You can have a stupid website, but if the design and domain is great, you rise to the top.
  2. Focus on ideas that are not big at all. If it can be the next Google, eBay or Facebook then skip it. Focus on way smaller things like “a better system for posting to Craigslist” or “an iPhone app that counts bananas”.

The former, I agree with to an extent. He knows more about that than me though. The latter, I completely agree with.

The conversation ended with Dan telling me to “stay the fuck off Tinychat”, to which I replied, “Get reCAPTCHA on your login.” He wasn’t being serious (well, I think) or rude, just a funny guy that was easy to talk to. He also asked for the spreadsheet of Tinychat users. I sent him that later and he then unsuspended my account.

It’s not been long after this exchange, but the vulnerability still exists on Tinychat. Perhaps it isn’t as much of a priority or maybe we’ll see it get patched up within the next couple of days. Either way, please don’t consider me irresponsible for making such an early post. I’m not recommending any of you go and try to crack any Tinychat accounts. It’s basically pointless, anyway.

So, thanks to Dan Blake for the chat and advice. It was cool to talk to a big name in the startup space like him, especially at 8:30 AM in the morning on no sleep.
If you have a userbase that you value, please limit your login attempts!

If affiliate marketing was rapping…

October 12, 2011

I’m here to entertain you with this one. No offense intended if anyone gets that vibe, this isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Would have loved to included a few more but didn’t want to start making stretches. I’m an observer and know very few of these people personally. Enjoy the read!

Young Money/YMCMB ― Eagle Web Assets

This is an easy one, it’s not just because we call Ryan Eagle the “Birdman” either. Ryan has all of the charisma and industry star power of a YMCMB rapper, maybe he’d even be Weezy instead of Birdman? We’ll let Tom be Birdman. Harrison can be T-Pain (and yes, T-Pain is a YMCMB artist now), Nicki Fotia is obviously Nicki Minaj, etc. EWA is just really at the top of the game and they seem to receive a fair bit of hater attention, much like the YMCMB crew does. Point is, they’ve got a well-rounded team of individuals. Even though Ryan is the dude that you see in every banner ad on the internet, the rest of the team shines in their own right.

YMCMB may not have the “best” rappers in the game, in your opinion. EWA may not have the “best” offers or conversion rate in the industry (but they might), in your opinion. Whatever the case, they get attention. They’re hot right now. They have newsletters locked down, they have a huge Facebook group, and they have another thing: BLAM Ads. Baby and Wayne are known for having their subsidiaries. YMCMB in itself is a Cash Money subsidiary. These guys have a lot going on and it seems like everyone involved with the network, from the accounting staff to the affiliate managers and all the way to the base of affiliates themselves, seem to have it going for them. Wayne grew up on Apple and Eagle after all.


Oh, and I haven’t mentioned Drake yet because…

October’s Very Own/OVOXO ― CPAtank

I’ve known (of) Vito since years back when I was pushing webcam signups. It’s been a huge transformation, watching him go from that to breaking into the mainstream affiliate space. I didn’t really take CPAtank too seriously until recently, but the network can’t be denied. I see you Vito: he’s at the conferences, he’s mingling with the big names, and he’s really fleshing out in the world of affiliate marketing. That’s why I’m gonna go ahead and call Vito the Drake of affiliate marketing. Back when Vito was involved with that particular adult network, that’s when Drake was on Degrassi. Drake’s all grown up now and he’s developing his own label as an accomplished artist, and OVO is my affiliate marketing translation of CPAtank.

I was talking about subsidiaries earlier. I’m speaking from an outside-looking-in perspective, but is that what CPAtank has become? Is it now on a partnership level with EWA? I’ve noticed Vito with the Eagle swag recently, but I’ll leave that up to you. You can speculate. The rap industry isn’t complete without an Illuminati conspiracy theory. What’s not up for speculation is the fact that Vito probably knows way too many people here right now that he didn’t know last year.

50 Cent ― Shoemoney

Yes, I just compared Shoemoney to 50 Cent. I’d love to have been able to come up with a G-Unit comparison instead, but they’re completely irrelevant now.

Shoemoney is 50 Cent because of the way his entrepreneurial attitude has seemed to evolve. When he (50) first came to the scene, he was a bit of a prop for Dre. His first song was a crazy hit, but it was all because of that Dre beat. When Shoe first got into things (to my knowledge at least), he was exclusive to the ringtones game. He was a huge success right from the start, much like 50, and began to expand. I can’t even name all of the web properties that Shoemoney is responsible for now. He has his blog, Free SEO Report, Link Control, his own private affiliate getaway, his own network, and a more. 50 Cent isn’t just a musician anymore. He’s an entrepreneur, too. He’s got Vitamin Water, his own (garbage) headphones, he’s acted in films, and I’m pretty sure he has a sex toy in the exact mold of his penis. Both of these guys are big (their reputations) to their respective industries. Some people may not like Shoemoney, some people may not like 50 Cent. Can’t deny that both of them are instrumental to the biz. Go, go.

Odd Future/OFWGKTA ― Above All Offers

Maybe if you’re a casual rap fan, you haven’t heard of Golf Wang. Maybe if you’re a casual affiliate marketer, you haven’t heard of the AAO team. Eli has his shit on lock, he’s our Tyler. This guy is extremely smart, and when it comes to the mainstream of the industry maybe he’s swept under the rug a little? He’s got a crazy team of guys with his network in the same way that Tyler mobs with Frank Ocean, Earl, and the rest of the squad. I’ve heard from some highly-esteemed people that Robert and Tom at AAO really know what they are doing and these are the kind of people who you really want to trust with your traffic. The Odd Future style is completely unique and AAO’s tracking platform is the same way: all custom. They’re not running HasOffers, DirectTrack, or anything you may be familiar with. It’s built by them and for them, ground up. That’s a healthy way to start your business. Don’t overlook this network because it’s no joke and eventually I feel like they’ll blow up in the same way The Creator did.

Russell Simmons ― Shawn Collins

Didn’t struggle with this comparison. Shawn Collins is basically the gold standard in the industry. This is a real stand-up guy who contributes nothing but positivity and progression to the industry. I guess that’d kind of make Missy Ward out to be a pre-divorce Kimora Lee?

Russ co-founded Def Jam and founded Phat Farm. Shawn put together Affiliate Summit and has contributed a ton of knowledge to the affiliate marketing industry through his books and meetups. There’s no one else in each industry quite like these guys. They’re the glue. They hold things down and provide a ton of maturity and wisdom to the big and small. Check out this video on Simmons and then mirror that to the AM community, and you’ll have Collins:

Eminem ― Barman

I came up with this one because Barman is different from a lot of guys in the industry. There’s a lot of things Barman does not give a shit about that the rest of the affiliate marketing community might, and he doesn’t mind letting you know that. He’s gonna be our affiliate marketing Marshall Mathers. I’m talking about the Eminem from The Slim Shady LP. Both Barman and Eminem seem to touch a different audience in their respective fields. Barman is a funny dude (and if you don’t believe me, check out PPC.bz) and so is Eminem. More than just being funny though, the dude knows what he is talking about. Eminem popped onto the scene as Slim Shady and turned a lot of heads because he was a foul-mouthed white guy spewing lyrics on touchy subjects. He didn’t want to fit in with the rest of the rap industry or the stereotypes put on through his racial background. You can look at Barman’s recent tweets every now and then and see a little bit of the same.

Mase ― Smaxor/Jason Akatiff

Smaxor is Murda Ma$e and Jason Akatiff is Mase. Following me? I’m a huge fan of Smaxor’s blog and although I’ve only reached out to him a single time, I feel as if I’ve learned an awful lot by just studying the guy. From what I gather, Jason came up in a state of the internet like myself. I wouldn’t doubt Smax was around when BBS was jumping, but I’m familiar with his presence in IRC chats. He was an early coder and a bit of a hacker. He used (and maybe still uses) black hat methods to get going. Much like Mase did, he eventually changed up his style. Mase became a Jesus freak; Smaxor penetrated the world of mainstream internet marketing and now runs one of the most awesome networks in that industry at A4D. This guy throws some awesome meetup parties, too.

Wu-Tang Clan ― MaxBounty

Just like Wu-Tang, I feel like MaxBounty doesn’t get talked about quite enough anymore. This is my absolute favorite network to work with. They’re in the light of the mainstream, but it’s still as if they’re sort of underground. The Clan is known for getting into a little bit of mischief and getting rowdy. A similar little incident like that popped up on MaxBounty not too long ago, too. Everything was handled appropriately and we’re keeping it moving.

This network is as deep as Wu. Some of my favorite affiliate managers have come from MB and they all seem quite helpful and real when you get to speaking with them. They’re my best kept little secret and I wanted to appreciate them on this list. Steven Suave has the Method, Man!

Nas ― Nickycakes/Nick Koscianski

Cakes is a former Affiliate of the Year and is one of the most (if not the most) successful affiliates that the affiliate culture has ever spit out at us. Nas is one of the best (if not the best) rappers that has ever lived. Much like Nas, Nick seems to stay out of the limelight. You don’t see him spending his time posting all over WickedFire anymore. I rarely see him say a peep even in his own IRC chat. The man is all about his business and that’s to be respected. Bet you never knew, or could pronounce, Cakes’ last name either. What’s Nasir’s last name? That settles it.

The Throne/Jay-Z & Kanye West ― StackThatMoney

The Throne’s album was the most interesting hip-hop collaboration we’re going to see all year. When two powerhouse artists like that come together, magic and greatness occurs. Jordan and Mr. Green are doing the same thing over at STM. I’ve been a huge fan of Green’s blog since forever and his contributions to an already-great blog at STM makes it even more of a presence. I don’t have the time available to involve myself in the forums, but I’ve heard amazing things.

Every time a post is dropped over at STM, it demands attention. The case studies and free tips given away over there is a huge contribution to the affiliate community. You can stack money on the fact that when a new post is pushed live, it will be at the top of AffBuzz (which at the time of this post happens to be true). Yeezy and Jay get that same sort of attention. STM is a huge authority in the blogosphere in the same way that those two Roc superstars are to hip-hop music. These guys are def’ly in their zone.

Ne-Yo – Ben from PlentyOfFish

Yeah, Ne-Yo isn’t a rapper but I’m still doing this. Why? Keeping this one short, because Ben is every-damn-where in the industry. I don’t even know who the CEO of POF is, but I know that I see Ben’s face everywhere that the company is mentioned in the same sentence as “ads.” Ne-Yo happens to be the same way. This guy has written more songs for major R&B singers than anyone I’ve heard of. He’s a feature on just about every big track, too.

Diddy – Dirty Money ― AKMG

This would make Neverblue our Diddy, I guess. Come on, I definitely don’t have to explain this one. Ian knows what’s up.

KRS-One ― Jon Fisher

Jon is the guy responsible for bringing a big portion of the affiliate community together at one of the most free and awesome forums still breathing: WickedFire. It’s refreshing to see a forum that isn’t so hard-assed and strict to the content. You’re allowed to be real on WickedFire. You’re allowed to talk about stuff that really matters and interests you. There’s no garbage gurus or “special offers” from people, let us consider those the Soulja Boys and Waka Flocka Flames of the industry. KRS-One does not want that mess polluting our culture and Jon doesn’t want a lot of bullshit clogging up his board or our industry.

WF is pretty notorious for having a community that just lays it straight to you. Jon seems to be the same way, he’s not stranger to calling someone out for being a fraud. I think we need that, and he fits the role well. He’s a smart guy and his forum is the only relevant community (outside of a few Facebook groups) in the mainstream of the industry. I almost wanted to spot Jon as Uncle Luke. The WickedFires are a great resource when it comes to networking, news, and breasts.

Common ― Nana Gilbert-Baffoe

Mr. 202 and his team of guys have given our community a lot. The Bevo vs. 202 war seems to be heating up, but everything looks cool and collected from this side. Nana seems not to have an unhelpful bone in his body. He’s conscious like Common. I haven’t had the pleasure of doing any more than asking Nana about a few 202 features, but I can see what a smooth guy I was dealing with. Very respectful, very humble, and very positive.

And Shoemoney has explained.

October 9, 2011

Less than 24 hours after publishing my last post, Shoemoney reached out to me by email to clear some things up. He was very respectful and cool about my criticisms and confusion, and I wanted to show some of what was included in that email with you guys:

  1. Every click is not paid for by the user as a huge percentage (as he put it) are duplicate clicks and clicks by spiders, crawlers, and other web bots.
  2. Furthermore, Link Control isn’t generating any profit at all right now. Shoemoney and his team have not charged a credit card yet, and they have given out a huge number of credits for free. The purpose of this is both for feedback and to help them figure out how to weave around counting duplicate and automated clicks.
  3. One of the current 200 users is a big domainer with over 100,000 domains in his portfolio. All of his domains are being put through the Link Control system and they are being optimized for relevant offers. This user sends more than 1000 clicks alone.

Those three points make it all seem a lot clearer now. Big thanks to Shoemoney for taking the time out of his day to address my post because he could have easily looked over it and it wouldn’t have hurt him or his business (which definitely wasn’t the intent, by the way) a bit.

With that out of the way, I mentioned before that I’ve got a little emotional connection with the concept of Link Control and I’ll just flesh this post out a little bit more to explain why.
A friend of mine (Bryan, who I’ve referenced many times before) and I had one of our late-night brainstorming sessions over AIM. During this chat, we had basically discussed and come up with the more basic and broad concept of Link Control. Getting in between the affiliate and network and handling the responsibilities of optimizing and monetizing the user’s clicks was something we went on about for nearly two hours. Eventually, the idea went off another end and evolved into something really unique and huge. It’s not something on a scale that I can handle though. I’ll make a post about that big idea shortly and maybe I’ll catch some royalties on anyone who brings the idea to life.

About a week later, I caught a thread on WickedFire that referenced Shoemoney’s “next big thing.” Since then, Bryan and I had bounced around a few more ideas and feedback regarding the concept and it was still fresh on my mind. When I read the title of that article and as I listened in on Shoemoney explaining the concept, it gave me a very eerie feeling. How strange would it be if this idea that Bryan and I cooked up just recently was the exact thing that Shoemoney is talking about in this video?
Well, it was soon revealed that it was. For a moment I felt like we let something get away and I felt like I was on par with a bigger mind and influence in the industry, and then I came to a few realizations. Shoemoney had been cooking this idea up long before me, as its been on his mind for the past three years. Upon selling AuctionAds, Shoe signed a non-compete that stated he wasn’t going to put out any more products for that span of time. During his downtime, Link Control was what was being built up in silence. How painful would it be if someone released a similar product that dominated the market before his non-compete expired?

Either way, Shoemoney had thought up an idea that we came up with years before us. He actually acted on it. And from what I see and have read, it seems like a great product. It’s something we talked about briefly, and Shoemoney brought it to reality, added a shitload of additional features and functionalities, and multiplied what we could have ever done by about 20. I wish I had the nerve to say, “Shoemoney stole my idea!” but that’s just not what happened. Still feeling a bit of satisfaction in knowing that a product I felt passionate about and dreamed up in my own mind is being developed and acted upon by one of the larger names in the industry. I’d have never been able to handle such a launch, and Link Control is going to be a huge success.

Shutting the book on Link Control for now, here’s the announcement and Rob Hustle’s relevant rap:

Shoemoney, explain this because I’m confused.

October 9, 2011

I was reading Shoemoney’s dramatic post calling out Joe Rogan for accusing him of hacking his Twitter account when I decided to scroll down a bit more. Before moving forward, make sure to note how Steve Jobs dies in the middle of the Twitter drama. So weird.

Shoemoney’s Link Control project is something very near and dear to my heart for a reason that I might explain in a later post. I don’t want to take away from what I’ve noticed here. Nonetheless, Shoemoney reported just over a day ago that Link Control is serving up “over 3000 hits a second” with just 200 affiliates signed up as of yet. Maybe I am grossly underestimating the affiliate marketing community, or maybe Shoemoney just knows some superhero affiliates, but 200 affiliates at 3000 hits a second seems a little strange to me. I’m not going to call him a liar though, or at least not yet. Already though, Link Control is apparently more of a success than AuctionAds was for him.

Link Control is also not a free service.

To be fair now, Shoemoney has this promotion going on where you can enter a coupon code and you’ll receive double the credits for the same price. 100,000 for $50, 200,000 for $100, etc.

Look, I’m not a mathematician or anything, but let me just break this down for you.
With only 200 active affiliates (I am assuming that by affiliates he means customers and not affiliates at the Link Control affiliate program?) at 3000 hits/clicks per second, we’re at an average of 15 clicks per second per affiliate. That’s enough to make your feelings hurt already, maybe. At $0.001 per click, every affiliate is paying $0.09 in credits per minute to account for their 900 clicks/minute. Pumping that up a little, $54 per hour in credits for each affiliate on average. With 500,000 credits running you for $500, you have to completely restock your credits with the highest amount you can buy every 10 hours, unless you can stack credits (which you should be able to and would make sense).

That’s looking at this from the affiliate’s side though. Now from Shoemoney’s:

  • 3000 clicks per second × $0.001 per click = $3 in revenue per second
  • $3 in revenue per second × 60 seconds in a minute = $180 in revenue per minute
  • $180 in revenue per minute × 60 minutes in an hour = $10,800 in revenue per hour
  • $10,800 in revenue per hour × 24 hours in a day = $259,200 in revenue per day

I don’t think I need to break it down any further. Do you see where I’m going with this? I know I look like a real jackass by questioning someone like Shoemoney, someone who is insanely successful in comparison to me, but what? I don’t know what his daily expenses are to keep this running, but I can’t see it being six figures? I specifically recall Shoemoney stating that it cost him half a million dollars to get this project in full swing. He’s made that much in revenue, already, in two days with this thing?
I’ll just come out and say it I guess…

Am I the only person who does not believe that Link Control makes nearly $2,000,000 (two million USD) in revenue per week?

It’s 3 AM so I hope that this is all one big mistake and I am suffering some strange misunderstanding or I’m missing a few decimal places, or something of that nature. What in the actual fuck is going on here?


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