Internet Marketing Blog

The Internet Marketing blog of Mike Merz, Internet Marketing consultant, in regards to what's hot ... and what's not, in the world of Internet Marketing.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Google Ads in Hyper-Competitive Markets, Part 2

By Perry Marshall

Most web marketers are obsessed with getting free traffic.
Or, if they're buying traffic, they're trying like crazy
to get the 5 cent clicks.

That's all well and good, but it's based on a huge
misconception. This obsession with cheap traffic is exactly
backwards. Let me explain.

In 1862 the US Government passed the Homestead Act,
which gave you 160 acres of free land if you'd agree to
farm it for 5 years. Gazillions of people headed west
to grab up their free land.

*SOME* people snatched up incredible patches of lush,
productive farmland. But the promise of free land also
created a massive Hype-fest. Everyone who was selling picks,
shovels, horses or wagon wheels was eager to get your
money and send you on your merry way.

Well if you wound up with 160 dry, scrubby acres of
sandy soil in Western Nebraska, 'free' was really no
bargain at all. A lot of folks wound up eeking out
a bitter existence on unproductive land, and many
just abandoned their homestead and went back where
they came from.

The REAL opportunities in the wild west came AFTER
the land was NOT free anymore. When there was a real
estate market, towns, cities and farming cooperatives--
NOW it was possible to make real progress.

It's better to buy a farm that already exists than
to make one from free stretches of prairie. And once
there's a real market, there's a reason why cheap land
is cheap and why expensive land is expensive.

Well that's pretty much what the 'ground floor' of
any industry is like. And the Homestead land rush is
exactly what the Internet was between 1996 and 1999.

Pay-Per-Click was the beginning of a real market
for Internet traffic. Now you could buy it instead of
trying to create it from scratch.

Now here's the Big Point that I want to make:

1) Buying traffic for cheap is a SECONDARY objective in
a good web marketing strategy.

2) Your PRIMARY objective is to be able to afford to spend
MORE money on advertising than all your competitors.

After all, a smart farmer is a lot more concerned with
the productivity of each acre, than he is with the cost of
the land. If the land produces, he doesn't care what it

Expensive keywords are very profitable if you know
what to do with them.

Deep pockets are rarely the solution to an Internet marketing
problem. The solution to every web marketing problem
is being able to convert each visitor into dollars BETTER
than your competitors. You do it by having a superior sales

When you have a superior sales machine, you can
outspend your competitors on advertising, you can
get the listings you want, and you can pay your
affiliates more than everyone else pays them.

That's how you dominate markets.

On Tuesday and Thursday night, May 25th and 27th,
Perry Marshall, Don Crowther, Jason Potash are
going to do an advanced PPC conference call,
covering the most advanced strategies for attracting
and converting web traffic with Google AdWords and
Pay Per Click marketing. Details

Friday, May 21, 2004


Using Online Forums To Boost Exposure And Credibilty.

Regularly interacting in Online Forums related to the niche your promotions target is a great way to expose yourself ... and build credibilty.

Of course, it goes without saying that your participation must be helpful and informative (save the promotion for your signature ... if allowed).

The problem I often face is remembering all the forums I've registered with over the years, not to mention the threads I've been involved in. :P

Honestly, I developed The IM4Newbies Internet Marketing Forum Directory for my own personal use, initially ... in an effort to keep track of the forums I frequent, without having to resort to bookmarks.

Even so, the directory didn't help in regards to quickly finding the threads I was involved in, nor the logins.

So when I found out about Russell Brunson's Forum Fortunes post management software, I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Before setting it up, I actually balked for a moment ... figuring it to be nothing more than a forum spamming tool (which I wouldn't touch with a ten foot poll!) ...

I was wrong. Russell's software is an organizer ... an automation tool ... I was able to actively post and respond to numerous messages in dozens of forums in a fraction of the time.

After sending Russell a letter of thanks, I decided I'd sit down and share my find with you ... if you participate in multiple forums, this is something you're going to want to check out.

Give Forum Fortunes a looksee, and take Russell up on his free master resell rights offer.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Email Extortion Tactics?

Is the "IronPort" Whitelist Actually An Extortion Tactic
Targeting Small, But Legitimate Email Marketers?

- by Jim Edwards

© Jim Edwards - All Rights reserved

It appears that Mr. Gates' prophetic prediction that
charging marketers to send email across the Microsoft email
networks (MSN and Hotmail) to cut down on Sp*m is about to
come true.

According to CIO Today, Microsoft is now employing
"IronPort Anti-Spam Technology."

"IronPort" is a paid "white-list" for people who send "mass
email" (including newsletter publishers, ezine publishers,
affiliate managers, mini-course operators, and basically
anyone who has a list of opt-in emails).

If you send any type of email where you do a broadcast to
everyone on your list, this applies to you.

If you want your email broadcasts to get through their
filters, you must pay a hefty fee and post a "bond."

Here are some facts about this developing story:

1. They charge by how much email you send a month, but the
minimum charge is a:
$375 Application Fee, plus
$500 Annual License Fee, plus
$500 "Bond" fee.
That's $1,375.00 just to get in the game.

If you want to see the complete breakdown, go here

2. If you go over the "complaint" threshold of 1 complaint
per month, then they will debit $20 from your bond fee for
each complaint to "fine" you for being naughty.

Now that sounds good on the surface, but here's a scenario
to try on for size:

Your competitor / enemy / Net "psycho" signs up for 50 fr~e
email accounts at HotMail and complains about you every
month when you send your newsletter.

49 complaints (50 - 1 allowed complaint) times $20 a
complaint comes out to $980 in fines.

Now, can you dispute the fines? Sure, absolutely!

But how much will you lose in time, energy and effort
disputing the allegations? (My guess is, a whole lot more
than that.)

You can check out all the "rules" here

Here are the details of the program straight from the
horse's mouth...

Here's my take on this whole thing (which dropped on me out
of the blue today):

First, don't get me wrong... I hate sp~m with a passion!

I spend at least an hour a day fighting it (down from 3
hours a day just a few weeks ago before I shut down about
2 dozen email addresses that got harvested by spambots over
the last few years).

With that said, this whole "IronPort" thing sounds and
smells to me like "white list" extortion.


Here's the basic premise: "Pay to get your email through our
filters, or else you run the very likely risk of not
getting your email through at all."

In fact, here's a *direct quote* from their website

<-- Start Quote -->

"What happens if I don't bond my email?
You're rolling the dice and taking your chances with spam
filters, black lists and bulk folders. Some days all of
your email may be delivered; other days 30-50% could be

<-- End Quote -->

Kind of reminds you of a cheesy mafia movie on late night

"Hey Bugsy, what happens if I don't pay my 'protection'
money this month? What if I stand up to you and refuse to

"Well, maybe nothin' will happen to you because the
Boss ain't payin' attention when I tell him you decided not
to pay. On the other hand, maybe I'll just smack you around
a little bit... or maybe-- I'll BREAK YOUR LEG with this
baseball bat! Go ahead and not pay us... then we'll see
what happens!"

Now, back to my question: "Why should I have to pay a huge
fee to send email to people who have opted in to my lists?"

The argument from Microsoft (and soon to be other ISP's) is
that the uncontrolled sp~m on the web is costing them a lot
of money to deliver email nobody wants to read.

Well, if that's the case, aren't email users shelling out
cash or credit to pay their ISPs for email services (mine
charges me $40 a month for cable), or paying for free
services like HotMail or Yahoo Mail through viewing
advertising on every page?

I was under the impression we were already paying to
receive email... and last time I checked, there was no
place to put a stamp!

Okay, even if we make it past that and we accept the
argument that legitimate emailers should have to pay a fee
in order to get on that big "whitelist in the sky"
somewhere... there are still two very important
considerations here:

1. First, what about the little guy who starts doing really

You know, the small newsletter publisher who puts out a
great ezine or fr-e report or whatever, and gets a lot of
subscribers and then wants to broadcast email to them on a
regular basis?

Let's say they start making $20,000.00 a year from their
ezine... are they now supposed to shell out 6-10% of
their earnings in order to get their messages through? (And
that's if they never get a fine!)

Do they have to be penalized for being successful?

Apparently so if this system gains widespread acceptance by
all the big ISP's and email service providers!

2. Second, what about the high potential for abuse at the
hands of unethical competitors and just plain jerks that
populate the Internet!

I know it might seem hard to believe, but there are psychos
out there who will sign up for a bunch of free email
accounts just so they can make trouble.

(This is not paranoia! I had a user who signed up,
definitely opted-in from my website, had the emails routed
through a SpamCop address so I got blacklisted by SpamCop
until I could get it straightened out. Oh, and guess who
owns SpamCop... IronPort, that's who!)

Now, some idiot making waves with 100 email accounts won't
put a dent in the pockets of most big players in the email
arena... for them it'll just be a business expense.

But for the case of the "little" guy, fighting that
potential abuse and those fees could seriously cripple and
even kill a fledgling enterprise... and that, in my
opinion, is a serious problem.

Also in my opinion, all this is going to do is cut out the
little guy and make it easier for big companies to email
the hell out of the rest of us.

A small newsletter publisher will find it cost-prohibitive
to pay for the service, and some giant company will just
keep pumping the email out because they have the staff and
resources to fight the inevitable complaints.

And let's face it, if a big company is paying a $10,000.00
a year licensing fee plus posting a $4,000.00 bond, how
aggressive do you think the IronTrust people will really be
to get rid of them?

In my opinion, not very.

In conclusion: Despite my ranting, I actually think this is
a step in the right direction (albeit an inconvenient step).

Something has to be done to fight spam.

However, at this point, this whole system has (in my
opinion) too many unanswered questions, especially for us
little guys.


~ Do I really need to do this if I'm a little guy operating
and growing a newsletter?

~ What happens if I get unfounded spam complaints?

~ At what level does it make financial sense for me to do

~ What if my newsletter isn't a big profit generator...
am I supposed to give up the revenue I do create just to
get my emails through?

To their apparent credit, Yahoo! is also trying to pioneer
a solution, but this one doesn't appear (at this point)
like it will cost publishers or subscribers any money (and
I like the sound of that).

But with so much at stake (on both sides), this issue is a
far cry from any satisfactory resolution.

Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant...

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the
co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how
to use fr^e articles to quickly drive thousands of targeted
visitors to your website or affiliate links...

Need MORE TRAFFIC to your website or affiliate links?
"Turn Words Into Traffic" reveals the secrets for driving
Thousands of NEW visitors to your website or affiliate
links... without spending a dime on advertising!
Click Here>

Monday, May 17, 2004


Free Keyword Suggestion Tool - is a nifty little keyword suggestion tool that draws from the free version of wordtracker, and Google (a compiled database of over 300 million active search terms and phrases ...).

Simply enter a keyword or phrase into the search field provided, press "Search," and tells you exactly what people are searching for, and the number of competing sites on Google using those specific keywords, and keyword combinations.

By using, you can begin finding keyword combinations that bear relation to your business or service, and better target your keyword advertising using services such as Google Adwords (in regards to maximizing the profit potential of your Adwords campaigns, I also highly recommend Perry Marshall's Adwords Guide)

Check out the Free Keyword Suggestion Tool.


Thursday, May 13, 2004


"How To Create Multiple Streams of Niche Income" ...

... is the name of a new, free niche marketing report by the co-founder of, Jimmy D. Brown.

In "How To Create Multiple Streams of Niche Income", Jimmy gives some quick tips for maximizing your niche product's profitability.

You can download it, here (right click to save):


Monday, May 10, 2004


Jimmy D. Brown's Is Now

Jimmy D. Brown, owner and founder of, is changing the popular infoproducts with resell rights membership site into a new, Niche Marketing related offering ... called, along with his partner, Ryan Deiss.

I've had the chance to look behind the scenes (both Jimmy and Ryan are friends of mine ..;), and I have to say ... this has PVM beat, hands down (and I LOVED PVM ..;).

The official launch is today, Tuesday May 11th ... 8 AM EST.

Feel free to access the new site, via the following links: - home - - affiliate program -



Google News Alerts - Internet Marketing - 5/10/2004

: : Serious Net Profits launches Internet Marketing and Internet ...
Press World (press release) - Russia has released it's first issue of "Internet Marketing
and Business News" an online News zine chock full of tools tips and strategies
for ...

NEW Businesses
Orlando Sentinel (subscription) - Orlando,FL,USA
... Craig Noss Ancient Empire Anti, Internet Marketing, 8750 Pisa Drive
Apt. ... Ju Chung, Internet Marketing, 8202 Woodsworth Drive, Orlando,
32817. ...,1,5628088.story?coll=orl-business-headlines

GROUP-41 to Acquire Partner NETastic For Marketing Leads
Michigan Technology News - Novi,MI,USA
... Group-41 ( provides Internet marketing services such as
search engine optimization, pay-per-click management and other web-based
services to the ...

This daily-once News Alert is brought to you by Google News (BETA)...

Would you like to read the latest news within your niche?

Check out Google News ... it's free. ;)


Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Google Tells Wall Street to Shove It ...

(Check out this article regarding Google's IPO strategy by Google Adwords aficionado, Perry Marshall ...)

Will going public ruin a great search engine? I've been concerned about that. And you should be too.

A public company could never come up with something as elegant as Google AdWords. Most public companies would bastardize it and ruin it.

So I have some interesting news to share.

Just two weeks ago, I met Patrick Keane, Google's Head of Sales Strategy. I asked him a question:

"Patrick, I think Google AdWords is the most important development in advertising this decade. But now there's all this hoopla about Google going public, and I'm afraid that if Google has to cater to the whims of shareholders and quarterly reports, a really really smart company will turn into a really dumb company."

He said, "I can't say whether we will or whether we won't. What I can say is 1) we don't need to go public; we've been profitable for the last 14 quarters and we've got plenty of cash. And 2) If we did choose go public, our mission would be to be a different kind of public company - to stick to the original values of our founders, Larry and Sergei.

"Our policy is to have all our employees spend 20% of their time coming up with "cool shit" and to have a culture of technology and innovation - to make all the world's information instantly available."

Well, okay Mr. Keane, that sounds good. But I've heard that kind of talk before. I was a key player in a private company that was bought by a public company, and the best business decision I've ever made was not taking the job they offered me at the new company!

In fact here's an email I sent to Google last summer:

Dear Google AdWords staff:

I don't know if the rumors are true -- Google PR says they're not -- but just in case the rumors are valid, please permit me to give you my two cents.

You guys literally built a better mousetrap and the world beat a path to your door. That is an exceedingly rare thing in today's business world. Congratulations on making a great search engine.

Now Wall Street wants Google. No question about it. And I'm sure the founders can collect at least a few hundred million of they go public.

But.... please listen.

19 months ago I helped sell a small private company to a publicly held firm. In anticipation of chaos, dismemberment and destruction, I bailed. I took the money and RAN as fast as I could.

Everyone else stayed.

The biggest shareholder, who got 80% of his money in a stock trade, subsequently lost $5 million in the space of a month as the share prices plummeted.

It was horrible, and everyone who stayed was probably envious of me because I got out, and because they found themselves reporting to a bunch of idiots.

Then those idiots gutted the company and it basically doesn't exist anymore.

So... please listen, if you go public, the world's greatest search engine will be cannibalized and sold for parts. All you wonderful people will suddenly be in a quarterly cycle of indentured slavery to quarterly reports. All the visionaries will be replaced by slave drivers.

In regards to the AdWords program: Wall Street will toss out your "relevancy requirement" in AdWords so they can make their numbers. The 0.5% minimum CTR will become 0.25% and then 0%. They'll also get rid of your bid price multiplier that rewards good CTR's and eventually you'll be like Overture --- just a big bunch of surly bidding war whores.

Please understand - It won't happen because YOU are evil, it's will happen because Wall Street is so insatiably greedy. Within two years Google will become merely a shell of its old self. And it will lose its popularity and someone else will be king.

So --- keep AdWords intact, it really is a brilliant system. And don't sell out to the dark side.

(Do you think I distrust public companies?)

Well... it was only this week that I started to hear some things that make me think they'll actually stay smart. Here's what's going on.

Google Gives Wall Street the Finger

I intensely distrust Wall Street. Apparently, so do the folks at Google. So yes, they're doing their IPO, but it's going to be different this time. Here's how:

* They're bypassing the usual Good-Ol-Boy network for issuing the stock and doing a dutch auction instead. That keeps all the investment bankers from limiting the availability, lining their pockets as the stock price runs up, and then driving the price up to insane levels so the unsuspecting public swallows all the risk. Bravo.
* They're issuing two kinds of stock: One kind to the founders, which gets 10 votes per share, another kind to the public, which only has 1 vote per share. The public doesn't get to run the company. That's good. Shareholders are stupid. They make stupid decisions. They hold smart people hostage, and eventually kill them.
* Larry and Sergei are not going to issue quarterly earnings forecasts. If they have a good quarter, they have a good quarter. If they have to invest heavily and the profits aren't so good in a different quarter, so be it.
* They say they're investing $250 million of the money they raise into new infrastructure. Wall Street thinks they're crazy. But that can't be a bad thing!
* They fired their investment banking firm Goldman Sachs for playing the usual Good-Ol-Boy network game. The Goldman guys are really hacked off now. Go Google.

So... maybe Mr. Keane is right, maybe Google will be a different kind of public company. I sure hope so. Because great companies are built on Elegant Ideas, not wheelbarrows full of money.

Oh yeah - you're probably wondering: "Should I buy some Google stock?"

Don't ask me. I'm not an investment advisor. It's just not a question I'm willing or qualified to answer.

Meanwhile I hope to personally shake your hand in Chicago at Fred Gleeck's Publicity Seminar, it's going to be a killer experience for you. And I'll be covering the latest developments and strategies for Google AdWords there, including the implications of the new Google IPO. Come to Chicago in June - http:/


Perry Marshall

Author, The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords

Sunday, May 02, 2004


Free Five Day Email Marketing Course ...

Email Marketing is dead?

My buddy Jimmy D. Brown doesn't think so ..;)

Ol' Jimmy D. has made a very good living via email marketing, so it's safe to say that a course authored by Ol' Jimmy on the topic of making sure your subscribers receive, and read, the emails you send is a wise investment ...

It gets better ... this one's on the house. ;)

You can find out how to get his free "How to Get Your Subscribers to Read Your Email Messages Virtually Every Time ..." five day course, here:



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