College & education affiliate programs – lessons from the niche that disappeared

College campus

There are no guarantees when it comes to promoting advertisers on the web. A favorite program may decide to shut down shop for all sorts of reasons, and some political & business developments can even wipe out an entire niche – practically overnight. The first step to protecting your online income from uncertainty is to be aware of the potential dangers you will eventually face.

Owning websites can help make your schedule flexible, but they won’t run on autopilot forever!

Out to lunch - be back someday

Most of the scummy “make money systems” out there will promise you that owning and operating your own website is the key to an automated income and a life of leisure. Well, there might be some truth to the increase in leisure time available, but your websites definitely won’t run on their own forever. Even if the software and hosting Read More …

The increasing absurdity of link removal requests

Remember that guy who spammed your blog, forums, or bookmarking site? Well, he’s back, and his new SEO says he should spam your email inbox with requests to delete all that spam they originally spammed you yet. Puzzled, perplexed, or bemused by the latest trend in SEO? Click here to read all about the growing absurdity of link removal requests and what I’ve learned from running crowd-based link aggregation websites.

Grad school is crazy…

Updates have been pretty slow around here, but financial circumstances related to having a fiancee in grad school have forced me to take up another job elsewhere on the web. While my own sites will have to be limited to a part time gig on nights and weekends, working online still manages to keep the bills paid in a small town with no local economy to speak of. Theoretically, the new arrangement should be a little bit more stable for a one-income house dealing with the wake of an increasingly fickle Google algorithm.

Skipping Black Friday felt good

Black friday

The term Black Friday was introduced to the American culture at some point back in the 1960s, but back then journalists advised people to stay at home to avoid the congestion and bad attitudes that go along with rampant consumerism and masses of shoppers who are hunting for the next deal. At some point in the last ten years, this dark day seems to have morphed in to an actual celebration of all the greediest and most selfish instincts we have. This year, however, I had a great Thanksgiving and all I had to do was tune Black Friday out. Did I miss out on big savings… or stumble across an even sweeter deal?

Sprint update: Always dispute bogus charges


A lot of people tend to panic when they receive notification of debt collection activity, and more than a few have paid up on false claims just to protect their credit rating or business’ reputation. It is important to remember, though, that you don’t have to give in to the shakedown because there are legal protections available to those who dispute debt claims being made against them. My recent experience with Sprint has already shown some positive results, and we’ve barely even begun the dispute process! Find out how to protect your credit score and bank account from shady businesses and their favorite debt collectors.

Don’t get ripped off by Sprint’s unlimited scam


Sprint claims to be the only mobile data provider who is offering an unlimited mobile data plan, but they seem intent on reserving the right to cancel that deal at any point they see fit – contract or not. Even if you do manage to make it through a two year term with your unlimited data plan, the actual data speeds and connection reliability leave a lot to be desired. Save yourself the hassle and spend a few extra bucks a month, but avoid doing business with Sprint at all costs!

Webmaster Ghost Town

Google’s Penguin update is effecting the internet in a much broader way than any individual’s website can show. Webmaster communities and feed readers are growing quieter by the day and no re-allocation of backlinks and anchor texts is going to fix that larger trend. Read on about the state of the internet in the wake of this major update and how we might be able to move forward in an increasingly uncertain & chaotic web environment.

Digg relaunches, takes archives offline

digg for content aggregation

After a complete change in ownership, Digg is back online with a brand new design that completely unpublishes all of the 14,000,000 URLs Google previously had indexed on the domain. While the effects of these changes for Digg’s declining user-base and Google’s search results have yet to be seen, it is certain that the latest big splash is going to cause some waves in the online ecosystem. While the new Digg hasn’t exploded on to the scene as a superstar, but it isn’t inspiring the same kind of anger as earlier updates had. Will apathy be good enough to keep this one-time powerhouse online?

Pandas and search chaos – escaping the storm

Google’s Panda filter is on the hunt for thin content, derivative pages, and sites that don’t add anything unique to the web. On July 24th, this filter was refreshed and many websites saw shifts in their search rankings as a result. What makes Panda so much more interesting now is that it works completely independently of the Penguin filter – so a website that is punished by one might be rewarded by the other. Now, Google’s search algorithm is dominated by mathematical chaos, or a function that approaches two points simultaneously while never actually reaching either. For sites caught in the storm, this can be a rather unreliable place to be, but the good news is there might be a way to rise up out of the chaos with a renewed focus on SEO basics and some recognition of where the easiest paths are at.