I won a ticket to Affiliate Summit West, but I won’t be Attending

affiliate summit westSome of my regular readers might remember that I won a ticket to Affiliate Summit East this past Summer.  Well, guess what?  I won a Networking Plus Pass to Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas coming up in January.  This marks the second time I've won a free ticket to an Affiliate Summit conference.  🙂  However, I won't be attending Affiliate Summit West since I have other projects I'm working on and honestly… it's not worth and I just don't feel like going.

If you read my Affiliate Summit Review detailing the conference then you will obviously know why I will not be attending again.  Probably some of you reading this that have gone to past Affiliate Summit's will understand as well.  Why do I mean?  There are tons of useless annoying fuckers that attend.

Heres's the the thing, most internet focused conferences I've attended usually these different groups of people attending;

  1. People that are genuinely helpful.
  2. People that don't know anything and shouldn't have shown up.
  3. Companies looking for marketing opportunities or to expand, sell, partner, etc.
  4. Assholes that are trying to get you to buy “whatever” they are selling under any circumstance even if it's shit.

I didn't write about this in my Affiliate Summit Review but there were lots of people in the #4 category.  When I say a lot I'm talking about 60%+ of the people who were not from companies.  Most of the time there are 2 or 3 of these people at a conference, not a majority.  Talking with fraction of the people that showed up to Affiliate Summit that were not trying to sell me useless shit this clearly wasn't a fluke as they felt the same way.

One guy I ran into who supposedly is an expert at driving social media traffic wouldn't give me any real world examples of what he does.  He also wouldn't give me any social media advice or tips on the spot.  However, he did try to get me to buy his rather costly book and webinar series, which I declined.

I made a real effort to try to meet a wide range of people to engage and learn.  What I found was most of them gave me the same song and dance as this social media scam artist.  They wanted me to buy their books, pay for consulting, or you know screw me out of my money.  I remember one guy that had some BS private forum and was telling me how great his conversions were like 70% percent or some ridiculously high number.  I asked, “How do you get such high conversions.” his response, “Pay to join my private forum.” my reply, “Hell no!” and I walked away.

This was a similar conversation I had with people in all sorts of fields. Why would I buy anything from you if you don't want want to share knowledge?  For most attendees you already paid the entrance fee, paid for a hotel, and showed the hell up.  If I can't take anything away useful from you it is very unlikely I'm going to consider using buying anything from you in the future whether it be a book or consulting.  I guess the hard up-sells must work on some people.

Last conference I attended there was a blogger I met that didn't know about Google Webmaster Tools and didn't have it installed on her blog.  I just got out my laptop and set it up for her on the spot.  I don't mind helping pope when I know they put in effort to come to these events.

Most beginners, people who have only had a website up for a few months, looked somewhat confused by everything at Affiliate Summit honestly.  From talking with a lot of people about I doubt they felt they got a lot out of the conference.  Also  I was kind of surprised at the advice I was giving people there.

Keep this in mind, I could take the free pass to Affiliate Summit West and go have tax-deductible fun in Las Vegas (aka Sin City) for several days.  Flights to Las Vegas are ridiculously inexpensive from most major cities since casinos subsidize airline tickets.  You can find a reasonably priced hotel if you play your cards right.  (Yup, pun intended.)  Affiliate Summit parties have open bars which a lot of people will readily use… but it's still not worth going.  That's saying a lot.

I'll have other chances to go to Las Vegas since there are plenty of web conferences held there throughout the year.  It's not like I'm missing out on anything I can't go experience another time you know.

I did send a request to the Affiliate Summit people asking if they could at least give me the Virtual Pass, which shows the videos of the sessions afterwards, in exchange for the Networking Plus Pass.  I figured at least I won the pass and they should give me a Virtual Pass.  Besides out of ALL the sessions I only found 2 useful from Affiliate Summit in Philadelphia.  (Luckily they were the 2 I went to.  I'm good at cherry picking good sessions at conferences.)  Here was their reply;

 “Unfortunately, the pass is not transferable in any matter, so we cannot replace it with a virtual pass.”

So not only is Affiliate Summit a waste of time but the organizers are inflexible.  It's their conference and their rules though.  Of course the video player in the backend for the Affiliate Summit Videos was a freeze monkey, so I guess I should be glad they are saving me the hassle of dealing with that and not having to watch and skip a lot of badly recorded sessions.

Even though I am not attending people are probably curios to know how I won both tickets to two different Affiliate Summit conferences.  The first ticket was provided courtesy of an eBay contest which was posted on the eBay Partner Network blog.  (That's eBay's affiliate program.)  All I did was leave a valuable comment about what I thought the best opportunity was in Affiliate Marketing.  eBay provided me with a Networking Plus Pass since I was an awesome commenter.  This ticket to Affiliate Summit West I won from actually attending Affiliate Summit East.  They have people fill out forms after sessions and keynote speakers to let us know what we thought about them.  They randomly pick 5 cards each day and one of the feedback forms I filled out was one.

Are you planning on attending Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas?  If you haven't ponied up the money to go, did this article change your mind? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are looking at any other conferences remember to checkout my tips for attending a conference inexpensively.  There's some good advice I've complied there.

If you've got questions you want to ask me privately about Affiliate Summit feel free to contact me by the way.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about it.

TweetDeck makes Twitter Easy-to-Use & Hella Awesome

For anyone that has tried Twitter and doesn't really understand it, I usually recommend they try using TweetDeck before they give-up on the social media platform altogether. What is TweetDeck and why would you use it? Basically the best way to describe TweetDeck is it's a Twitter app that makes organizing and managing Tweets a lot easier and more fun to use. At least that is my opinion about it.

tweetdeckTweetDeck has a lot of features that Twitter natively doesn't have. For starters you can see and sort different columns for your timeline showing your latest Tweets from people you follow, interactions with others, direct messages, Twitter trends, and more. For those that haven't used TweetDeck you might be saying, “Can't you do that in Twitter?” Actually no, not really since with Twitter you can only view certain parts of your profile one-at-a-time whether it be on a mobile device on desktop. With TweetDeck you can see it all in one place simultaneously without having to click to go anywhere. It makes managing your social media profile a whole lot easier and saves a lot of time.

This idea was so simple but brilliant Twitter actually acquired TweetDeck several years ago. The creators of TweetDeck actually figured out a better way to handle and manage Twitter, than the Twitter themselves.

In addition with TweetDeck you can control several different Twitter accounts all in the same dashboard. If you are a Twitter power user with several accounts for different sites you run, this comes in handy. This allows you to not have to sign-in and then sign-out out for all your seperate Twitter accounts. Several small business owners use TweetDeck for keeping track with their personal and business accounts. I've also seen people with 10 or more accounts in 1 TweetDeck about but that gets a little bit crazy.

Using multiple accounts in TweetDeck comes in real handy in many situations though. Let's say you just got a funny fortune cookie you want to share with your followers. With TweetDeck you can send out the same Tweet to several different accounts at the same time.

If you'd rather the funny fortune cookie Tweet go out in a few hours, when you know more of your followers will be on Twitter, you can easily schedule Tweets to go out in the future. If needed you can schedule Tweets to post tomorrow, into next week or even next month. Scheduling Tweets is a good idea if you want to constantly connect with a Twitter fanbase but you know you can't be there 24/7. Twitter has no scheduling function you can use.

Another thing TweetDeck has over Twitter is the ability to easily filter Tweets. You can choose to only see Tweets with the hashtag “#awesome” and only see images with that particular hashtag. Sounds #awesome right? The filtering capabilities of TweetDeck are also useful for participating in a Twitter Chat, which is like an online forum chat on Twitter centered around a specific topic. If there are several Twitter Chats happening at the same time TweetDeck is useful for following both. Of course that can get a little confusing if are not prepared for it.

TweetDeck also makes creating Twitter lists a lot easier and more usable. Another nice feature they introduced a few days ago is custom timelines. I haven't used it too much but see the benefits.

I should emphasize the best part thing about TweetDeck, it's Free.  While you might have already assumed that a lot of social media management tools are not and based off of Freemium models.  (Meaning you can use it for free but extra features you need to pay for.)  I've tried a lot of them and honestly don't like them.  It's hard to integrate capabilities of several social networks that have their own idiosyncrasies into a single social dashboard.   For using Twitter and managing multiple profiles, I don't know what else you would use besides TweetDeck.

If you are interested in trying out TweetDeck I recommend you visit the website and sign-up for an account.

You can use TweetDeck with a Twitter browser app or use the service at this URL.  I wish TweetDeck Mobile Apps were still available but Twitter shutdown the apps earlier this year though.  Another thing that kinda of annoys me is that you used to be able push out Tweets from TweetDeck to Facebook.  I guess since Facebook is Twitter's main rival they realized that didn't make sense.

I hope you found my article useful if you haven't used or heard of TweetDeck before. If you have questions about using it please leave them below and I will try to answers them as best I can.  I should let people know I am not social media guru or anything. If you are a TweetDeck user I'd be happy to hear tips, tricks, and what you find useful about it.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada… if you can!

Is Facebook for Old People Now?

facebook for old peopleThe other day I was scrolling through a private forum and I noticed one of the hot topics was this question, “Is Facebook for Old People Now?” and therefore “Is Facebook considered lame and uncool?”

I should clarify these were not the exact questions in the forum but is the general gist of what a lot of people are discussing right now whether they be internet marketers, social media managers, bloggers, journalists, etc.  Facebook, once the darling of social media and web 2.0 companies, seems to be losing a lot of steam.  Why is this?

I could throw you a bunch of statistics, link to a ton of articles, and give you a lot of different reasons for this.  However, the simple and easy explanation is that Moms and Dads like it and use Facebook a lot nowadays.  That means teenagers obviously don't like Facebook and can't be seen where parents hangout, online or offline.  Therefore even young people that do have accounts, they really are not using Facebook for social networking.

Most of these young people have taken a liking to the 6-second video service, Vine.  (WordPress a few months ago enabled Vine videos to be easily embedded in posts.)  In addition they like Instagram, which is why Facebook spent 1 billion dollars to buy it, a photo sharing app allows you to easily create beautiful images and videos.  SnapChat is another popular photo sharing service as it allows a person to send a photo which only the receiver can view for no more than 10 seconds.  (That's why it has earned a reputation as a porn app.)  Additionally Twitter is also gaining in popularity due to the ease of use of the social network on mobile devices.

Basically that all adds up to limited time for other social network chiefly Facebook.  Young people consider Facebook a pain to use and too time consuming.  Besides you can hear their thoughts before they would sign-on, “Ahh, this is something my parents like.” is what a pimple-faced, braces-laden teenager is saying somewhere right now.

Facebook still has not figured out how to make it easy to manage pages vs profiles and how to quickly sort through the newsfeed.  I also don't really understand how people build audiences without spending money on ads.  I am not going to spend money with a social network I have gained little value from personally and professionally.  That's why I recently deleted my personal profile and that's the issue that Facebook executives are facing.  If young people don't use it, they won't spend money with them in the future.

What do you think?  Is Facebook for Old People now?  Can Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook reverse this trend or is it the natural rise and fall of websites and the internet?

[Image Source – Washington Post]

Not Using Social Media is Hard

not using social media

The other day I decided that I needed to try to put some of my social media use on hold for awhile.  The reason is I have several web projects I need to work on and it is quite time consuming to have to monitor social networks across many different platforms.  Not using social media at all though… well it's quite hard to do.

First I started with LinkedIn and wanted to see if I could deactivate my account for awhile.   Technically you can't deactivate an account but you can set your account so that nobody can see it.  This is basically the same thing as deactivating your account I guess since what good is a social media profile nobody can see?  Anyway after I did that I moved onto Twitter.

Weighing the options of temporarily deactivating my Twitter account I realized it probably wasn't possible for me to actually stop using Twitter.  I have auto posting setup for @AdamYamada and some other accounts which is kinda nice.  Besides like LinkedIn it seems the only way to deactivate an account is to just set your profile to private.  Of course the big difference here is that anyone that is following you can still see your Tweets and profile information.  Sooo for now my Twitter accounts are intact but at least I uninstalled TweetDeck from Google Chrome.  While TweetDeck is a great social media tool it can be hard to manage the Twitterverse.

Then I moved onto Facebook the biggest and baddest social networks around.  Facebook at least has the option to keep your information intact but deactivate your account temporarily.  It's nice keeping up with all your friends but let's be honest… Facebook is a blackhole.  It sucks away all your productive time and you can never really get that time back.

I thought deactivating my Facebook account would be easy… ahhh I was wrong.  I have several apps connected to my personal account and no other contributors.  You can't deactivate the account and keep the Apps active without switching having an Administrator for the Apps that has a verified account.   That means to deactivate the account I might need to get a prepaid phone to use with a dummy account or just ask someone to transfer use the apps.

Then came all the social bookmarking sites I have used.  Damn, I've used a lot and a lot of them I never really understood or generated much traffic for me.  This includes Reddit, Delicious, Tumblr, and more.  Is it even worth time to delete those accounts?

So my goal of not using social media was a bit harder than I imagined it would be.  It is all to easy to sign-up for these services but all too hard to truly leave.  It is not in the best interest of the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. if you stop using their services.

Even though all these social networks can be quite useful used in the right way a lot of people try to contact me through it instead of just sending me an email.  I am just not really a fan of that as it takes a whole lot of time for me to direct message rather than just use my email.  I guess that's old school but hey, I still get emails from Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Bottom line not using social media at all nowadays is damn hard these days.  I wish it was possible to click a few buttons to just take a break but that ain't possible my friends.

Have a similar story of trying to disconnect temporarily or permanently from social networking?  Please share your story in the comments below.  I'd be curios to hear stories and I know others would as well.

Top 6 Misconceptions about Blogging

I read a lot of different articles about blogging all around the internet and it always surprises me that the same misconceptions about blogging are getting passed around.  While I think some information you read about blogging out there might kind of be accurate, it is not telling you the whole truth about the difficulties and realities of what it takes to be a successful online nowadays.  So, I am going to break the myths and misconceptions.

misconceptions about blogging

1. You can make a lot of money Blogging

While there are definitely a lot of bloggers who make a full time living from their blogs or writing, the vast majority don't.  You need to understand that the act of writing doesn't make any money.  To monetize your blog and visitor traffic you will have to display ads, use affiliate links, or possible encourage people to pay for a monthly subscription to your blog.  (This is possible to do but your content better be really good and niche specific.)  If your writing is top notch you might even be able to snag a book deal, but those sorts of deals are not likely to happen to an average blogger unless you are putting in a lot of time and effort.

2. Lots of Traffic is Always a Good Thing

Even if you have a lot of traffic it may not always be the best thing.  If your users are not clicking on ads or converting sales via your affiliate links than all that traffic is likely to be costing your money.  I know a lot of webmasters and bloggers that have high traffic sites but are spending more money keeping up a VPS (virtual private server) or dedicated server than what they are making blogging.  If you ever get to this point your blog should probably serve as sales funnels for some product or service you want to sell, such as your book or web consulting services.

3. Content is King

Having great content that people like is important if you want repeat visitors, but that doesn't mean content is everything.  I see lots of terrible writing and content still ranking well on Google while great content is not getting ranked and has ZERO traffic.  It is honestly your ability to have good SEO (search engine optimization) and how you distribute your articles and content around the web that make the difference.  Google honestly can't tell between bad and good writing.  Keep in mind it is a computer (an extremely advanced one) that does the ranking and not a human.

4. Social Media is more Important than SEO

I imagine a dumbass “social media guru” started this one.  While social media should be part of your blogging strategy, it is important to use strong keywords and write your articles and posts so they that search engine can find your content easily.  SEO is cyclical with social media actually.  If Google sees a lot of people are Tweeting your articles, it is likely you will retain higher ranks for certain keywords and therefore get more visitors via search.  You will make it easier though if you use keywords people are searching for in the first place and serving up what people want to see.

5. Blogging in a Specific Niche will make you Successful

This really depends on the niche.  For instance I love writing about cars and I like Japanese automakers.  I can start a blog about cars that focus only on Japanese automakers, their models, and news.  This way I have a niche that is specific but open enough I can find new content for the blog on a daily basis.  I see a lot of people choose niches that are too specific and they don't have enough to write about to keep the blog updated.  You need to ask yourself, “Can I blog about this topic and find lots of subjects to write about?”  If the answers is, “No.” you should consider looking at another niche unless your goal is to build mini-websites.  If you really want to be successful niche blogging you should find an area that is what I like to call “Wide Fucking Open” (WFO).

6. Everyone Should Start a Blog

No, not everyone should start a blog.  It really depends on your skills and what you want to accomplish.  Not everyone is a good writer and I don't think everyone can blog.  Do you prefer listening to the radio?  Are you more a visual person?  Maybe a weekly podcast and video show in your area of interest would be better than starting a blog.  Have you considered starting a forum?  Sometimes forums can work better since you are not solely responsible for coming up with interesting content and can engage in great conversations with people and let them share their thoughts openly.

If you have any other misconceptions about blogging that you want to add or that I missed, please leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear bloggers thoughts and anyone who is considering starting a blog to comment about what I wrote about above.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!