Friday, September 21, 2007

Free as in Beer

I've been meaning to talk about my friend Jonathan's new startup, which is sort of Delicious meets coupons. Let's say that you're about to register a domain name at GoDaddy, but you can't remember that coupon code that saves you 10%? Go to and search for "godaddy". Better yet, they have a little javascript bookmarklet that you can install in your bookmarks toolbar, which will tell you if there are any deals available on the website that you're surfing.

It's social, because you can store your own coupons there, record whether or not a deal code worked for you, etc. I've been saving $5 - $10 a month with it for the last few months, so I think it's worth your time to take a look.

And, finally getting back to the title of this post, Jonathan just posted a great deal for free Guinness in Boston on Oct. 11, 12 and 13 in Boston.

Friday, March 30, 2007

If only's traffic was as good as their support...

I must say, I'm impressed with's support folks. I bought 183 clicks from ask on a very competitive keyword. And the average user that came from their network of sites viewed exactly 1.0 pages. Not 1.06 pages, not 1.3 pages, 1.0 pages. During the same time period, the rest of the traffic that came to the site averaged more than 3 pageviews per user.

If you know anything about buying traffic from second tier sources, you know what this means: click fraud. (Someone set up a site, displayed my ads on their site, and then had a bot click on the ad. They got paid, Ask got paid, I lost money.)

Now, this is not a post about the evils of click fraud. As John Battelle would say, it's simply a tax, and if you want to play this game you pay the tax.

But Ask did the right thing when I complained. They researched it, they blocked traffic from that site, they refunded my money and they called me to explain the situation.

The most interesting lesson learned? If you want your ads to appear on for competitive terms, buy AdWords ads. Ask backfills their own search results with AdWords. Think about that for a second.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This is no longer the Talkr Blog

So, it's official. If you want to latest news on Talkr, you'll need to go to the new official Talkr blog:

I have completed Talkr's sale to You can read the press release here. That's a smart bunch of folks over there, and I think they're going to do great things with Talkr and with the other tools that they're working on.

If you're still reading, here's the sort of stuff that I'll be posting on this blog: experiments in search engine optimization, link-building, and improving monetization. If you have a sneaking hunch that the world already has enough blogs on these topics, you may be right. Here are a handful of blogs that I read religiously:
Still reading? Really?

Okay, then I suppose I should tell you what I do. I build content websites that have old-fashioned, useful content on them. Then I drive traffic to them. And then I monetize that traffic. Doing that successfully is all about testing -- A/B testing, multivariate testing, back-of-the-envelope "does it feel like this works" testing. So if you continue to subscribe to this feed, that's what you'll find. Lots of analytics, lots of testing. If that gets your motor running, stay tuned. If not, point your browser to

Friday, January 19, 2007

An Update on Talkr's Sale

I've had a number of interesting phone calls in the last few days. If you are planning to wait until the last minute to place a bid on Talkr (in hopes of avoiding a bidding war) I would encourage you to call me instead: (603) 397-3935.

Professor Larry Press blogs that Talkr's sale "illustrates the attraction and risk" of web 2.0 startups.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bloggers that have mentioned Talkr's Sale

For those of you "avidly" following Talkr's sale, I thought I'd point to some of the bloggers that have written so far.

Read / Write Web (a long-time user of Talkr) provides the most in-depth post and suggests that Talkr may not be the last Web 2.0 company on the market. Emergency Trap wonders whether Talkr is giving up too soon. 21Talks hopes Talkr will find a buyer. Tycoon's Row provides an alliterative title and describes Talkr as "outstanding". One by One Media suggests that someone with deep pockets ought to roll up Talkr and several other Web 2.0 companies for a later buyout.

Of course, these are just quick summaries -- several of the posts (and comments) offer measured doses of criticism as well.

I'll continue to summarize posts over the next few days.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Talkr is up for sale

This has been a tough decision, and perhaps one that has been long in coming. But, Talkr is now for sale.

I began work on Talkr in March of 2005, and after nearly two years of banging on this idea, I have decided to try to find it a permanent corporate home. I strongly believe that Talkr will thrive as methods of monetizing podcasts become simpler and more robust. Bloggers will provide content and distribution and Talkr will provide increasingly sophisticated text to speech, and ad integration.

However, the companies that monetize podcasts effectively today have full-time ad sales forces. And, although I have immense respect for the people that spend hour after hour on the phone selling ads, it isn't a skill that matches my skillset.

In the meantime, the bloggers that use Talkr deserve better support than I can offer them. They deserve new features, better voices and they deserve to be paid for their time. Since I haven't been able to successfully monetize Talkr, I can't offer that to them.

Thank you to the countless bloggers that have offered support and encouragement. Your excitement and support have kept me going for almost two years. Talkr is still checking feeds and creating audio, so you don't need to make any changes to your site. I'll give you an update next week about this new phase in Talkr's life.