Archives for October 2007

Phew! No Internet Tax for 4 More Years

The house passed a bill by a margin of 405-2 that will extend the ban on an Internet Tax for four more years.  Essentially, it makes it nearly impossible for states to tax any ISP connection, DSL connection, and also prohibits any tax that treats online goods differently than the same goods bought in a brick and mortar store.

Of course, the Senate will still have to pass the bill to make it law, but it’s a resounding step in the right direction.  I’m not entirely sure why the state can tax cellular phone service, so I obviously don’t think they should be able to tax internet connections.  And I really don’t think that online sales should be treated any differently.

That isn’t to say that online sales shouldn’t be taxed.  As more and more sales happen online, the pressure to be able to add a sales tax to those sales is going to increase.  I dislike taxes as much as the next guy, but an online sales tax seems unavoidable.  All this bill does is to make sure that they can’t treat those online sales differently by doubling the tax or something similar.  Of course, they can’t do a half tax bit either, but who seriously believes that the states would do something half way?

TNX.net: Text Link Disruptor?

What follows is a review of the new text link system/service called TNX.net. I have been paid to do this review. As usual, I’ve tried to stay neutral despite the money and I hope you’ll see that in the review.

I’ve seen the many other reviews of TNX that have been floating around the web since it’s release in the last few weeks. Generally, it seems to have received some pretty good reviews. Of course, I signed up to give it a spin.

The Sign Up

Sign up is fairly easy. Less info needed than most places, which I would attribute to the lack of “paying” for the links. Once you’ve gotten the info entered, it’s as simple as logging in. Once you’ve logged in, the first thing you’ll want to do (assuming that you’re “selling” links and not “buying” them) is add your site.

Things are a little backwards here. You’ve got to add some (I use that word loosely) code to the pages on your site before you try and add the site. The code is somewhat cumbersome. Extremely long for code for a service of this type. I think the service would be better served by a simple widget or bit of javascript that would only require the adding of 4-5 lines of code. With all that code, the service is leaving it’s users open to easily screwing it up and causing errors.

Once you’ve added the code and the site, all that’s left is to wait for approval of the site by the administrators. According to the site, that can take 1-2 days. While I realize that there is going to be a need for some sort of oversight, that seems like a long time when most site owners are used to web2.0 speed. Especially when you learn that even after getting approved, you’ll still have to wait for the site to be indexed. I would have thought that some of the indexing could have been done while waiting for approval to help speed up the process.

The Links

“Buying” and “selling” links is a little bit different too. Instead of buying the links outright, like you would with a service like TLA, you use a custom economy of “TNX points” to do transactions. Depending on the rank of the site, you can earn anywhere from 1 point per link on a PR0 site to 5000 for a link on a PR7 site. I’m assuming at this point that it goes off of the PR of the actual page that the link will be placed on. Yahoo backlinks factor in there somewhere as well, but I haven’t been able to figure out how.. The folks at TNX only take a commission of 25% which is quite a bit better than most of the link services around.

Making Money

With all those points floating around, how do you make money? As you begin “selling” links and caching points, you can sell them back to TNX at a current rate of $0.62 per 1000 links. You can also transfer points to other users, so a potential for a private TNX points exchange does exist. And of course, you can use your points to “buy” links on other sites. Many SEOers and website owners should like that option. I know I’ll be attempting to take advantage of that. In the first few days, I’ve managed to get a few pages indexed and sell a few links to the tune of about 5100 points. I’ve also created a campaign to buy some links, which is currently waiting for approval.

In the end, the service is really just a weighted link exchange with the added benefit of buying a little extra weight at the current rate of $1.2 per 1000. I like the service itself a bit better than that of lavalinx, which I’ve been trying out as well.

There are several things that make me hesitate here though. Based on my experience and some of the pages on TNX, TNX needs to make use of a lot more automation. The manual approval of sites may be necessary, but the points you buy also need to be manually added. It would make sense to automate that so that buyers are able to spend their points nearly instantaneously. The other thing that bothers me a little is the increase in the cost/value of a thousand points. According to the site, the cost increases by at least 2% each month. What happens when the market will no longer bear the value? Luckily, there is a bit of room since a link is only about $2 vs somewhere between $15 and $25 on sites like TLA.

Summary

Overall, TNX has some growing to do and has the potential to be a pretty decent service for attaining links and taking full advantage of the ability of your site to earn based on links. I’ll be continuing to test the system out and watching to see how it improves (or doesn’t) over the next several weeks. Now, off to buy links.  I do like the fact that TNX sells links only on a page by page basis and doesn’t do the site wide links that are most popular at sites like TLA.  It gets right down to the long tail of my site and helps me make money with it.

If you haven’t signed up for TNX yet and plan to, I’d appreciate you signing up under my links here as they do have a pretty good affiliate program. Once you do sign up, go to the TNX announcement thread on digital point and get yourself an extra couple thousand points.

Introducing photo.thatedeguy

I’d like to introduce a new addition to the thatedeguy.com websphere. photo.thatedeguy is a photoblog. Obviously, it will contain some of my photography in various stages of processing.

I realize that photography isn’t necessarily a natural extension of the thatedeguy.com website, but I didn’t really feel that I wanted to make it into it’s own website. So, as a result, I ended up with photo.thatedeguy.

I hope you’ll take a look. If it isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to never return. If, however, it strikes your fancy, feel free to return often and to spread the word and link love. 🙂

Ooopsss!  I guess I should add the link.  Some probably figured out that it was a subdomain, but others might not have.  In any case, the address is photo.thatedeguy.com

Selling Links? Google is Gonna Spank You!

There’s a bit of a dust up going around the techie-seo-search blogs that started sometime Saturday.  It’s been building for a little while now, but is finally getting some talk.  It seems that Danny Sullivan got into contact with someone at Google and confirmed that the recent PageRank drop that many sites have seen is actually a bit of a spanking for selling links and paid reviews.

There are many people talking about it, but I think the person I most agree with is Andy Beard.  In his post entitled “Dancing with the Gevil – Defamed by Google?” (great post title btw) he makes it very clear that he thinks what Google is doing weakens the use of PR and makes a mockery of it’s purpose.

The general public look on the little green bar on the Google Toolbar as a signal of quality, that is what Google tell them.

Here it is in Google’s own words

Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar’s PageRankâ„¢ display to tell you how Google assesses the importance of the page you’re viewing.

But a penalty on my visible Toolbar PageRank isn’t what Google are telling their users. Google users think my content is of less value, and has less authority. They don’t understand that Google also apply modifiers to the green bar which may be for reasons other than quality.

I have to admit that he makes a very good point.  Why is a indicator metric like PageRank that is supposed to be all about the authority or trustiness of a site doing using factors that have nothing to do with that into factor? I’m sure that they will say that selling links is a sign of being untrustworthy, but if that is so, then what about sites like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and even Google’s own search results?  Selling ads is the exact same thing.

Sam at ReveNews seems to think that what they’ve done is A-OK.

When you play the Google game, you have to play by their rules, arbitrary or not… fair or not. You’re in their sandbox after all.

Jim Kukral seems to think along the same lines, saying that

You know what I think? I think that Google is gonna get what they want, regardless of what some bloggers or seo’rs say or do or think.

And yet, I still can’t help but feel like the little kid on the playground with blood dripping from my nose because the big bad bully of the school just shoved me into the monkey bars.  I have clearly stated each month for the last three months, what my monthly income is.  Compared to what Google makes from their paid links, it’s minuscule.  And yet,  they feel that I need to be penalized because I’m trying to pay my hosting bill with advertisements?

There’s a word for that.  And whether you like it or not, it’s called dictatorship.  The Golden Rule so to speak.  Google has the market share, so most of us cannot afford to ignore them when they penalize us.  If we want to avoid having our sites show up lower in the SERPs or worse, getting deindexed, we have to follow their rules.

I think it’s time we quit that.  So, for all of you that are willing, we need to brainstorm and find a way to overthrow the dictatorship that is our search world and start fresh with a republic of search.  With real authority passed to sites that deserve it.  And real trustiness conveyed to those that can be trusted.

How?  I’m not entirely sure.  It starts by trying to balance the ship a little and getting engines like ASK.com and Live a little more market share.  I’m going to try and make an effort to use alternative search engines for a while.  It’s not going to change the world, but maybe if we all do it, we can make a bit of a dent in their revenue.

This post was sponsored by: Viagra, Mesothelioma,  Girl taking it Hard, free prescriptions, and Business men needing help to transfer African Millions.

Ok.  I had to do it.  Please take the time before you comment on the sponsored bit to actually hover over the links and see where they really point to.  I’m making a point.  Just because I say that they are sponsors, doesn’t mean that they are.  And yes, I realize that I can be penalized for having those words linked on my site.