September 29, 2006

Holy Megawatts, Batman! FeedBlitz Hits 1,000,000...

The FeedBlitz Blitz!
One Million Under the Belt

As many people know, FeedBlitz is a service that monitors blogs, RSS feeds and Web URLs in order to provide a greater reach for feed publishers.

FeedBlitz also enables you to monitor any blog or feed (anonymously if you like) regardless of whether or not the publisher of that feed uses FeedBlitz. And that in itself provides a very simple way for you to receive updates via a familiar and omnipresent medium... email.

In addition to a FeedBurner site feed, I also utilize FeedBlitz. And I can certainly say that I've enjoyed its benefits. And apparently, so have over 1,000,000 other fine folks thus far...

FeedBlitz News:

FeedBlitz Makes 1,000,000 Milestone

Actually, this morning it was 1,037,940....

So. Only 6 days ago we passed the 900,000 mark, and today I am thrilled to announce that our active circulation (the number of reader - subscription pairs) has handily passed a million, less than 14 months after we first launched with a circulation of, well, zero. This month alone we're up 26% so far. Welcome to all.

I'll cover some more metrics in the September round up next week (here's last month's), but given the momentous nature of this moment, I'm offering a few nuggets to give you insight into some of what makes up that seven figure number:

  • Our largest publisher has over 100,000 readers
  • Our top ten publishers account for nearly 400,000
  • The next thirteen have circulation greater than 10,000
  • After these, the next eighty have circulation of 1,000 or more, with 16 more in the 900 range
  • So it's a long tail, of course.

But what does this circulation growth mean? It means that email is an essential communications component for RSS, bloggers and their readership. It means that the technical and economic opportunities created by uniting RSS and email are compelling for publishers and marketers. It means that this is a business, not a hobby (and definitely not a "build to flip"). It means our business plan and our business model are proving themselves in the market. It means we're very, very good at what we do.

Web 2.0? Check. Bubble 2.0? Not so much. No need to go there again.

How To Avoid Pyramid Scams and Ponzi Scams...

Due to the recent news regarding Prosperity Automated System (a.k.a. PAS) and its possibly being shut down as a pyramid scheme, I've decided to post some information explaining what pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes really are - and how to avoid being scammed by them.

How can you avoid being taken by a pyramid scam or a Ponzi scam? Here's what to know:

What is a Pyramid Scheme?

A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme - usually without any product or service being delivered.

Pyramid schemes, which are also referred to as franchise fraud, or chain referral schemes, are marketing and investment frauds in which an individual is offered a distributorship or franchise to market a particular product.

The real profit is earned NOT by the sale of the product, but by the sale of NEW distributorships. Emphasis on selling distributorships or franchises, rather than the product or service, eventually leads to a point where the supply of potential investors is exhausted and the pyramid collapses, causing everyone to lose their money.

At the heart of each pyramid scheme there's typically a representation that new participants can recoup their original investments by introducing two or more prospects to make the same investment. Unfortunately, promoters fail to tell prospective participants that this is mathematically impossible for everyone to achieve since some participants drop out, while others recoup their original investments, and then drop out.

Basic Pyramid Scheme Criteria

Basically, under the law, a business opportunity or business model that meets the following criteria is an illegal pyramid scheme:

  • You must make an investment to get the right to recruit.
  • When you recruit another person into the program, you receive what the law calls "consideration". That usually means money, but can be anything else of value.
  • Your new recruits must make an investment to get the right to recruit, and they also receive something of value for getting other people to join.

Avoiding Pyramid Schemes

  • Be wary of "business opportunities" to invest your money in franchises, distributorships or investments that require you to bring in subsequent investors to increase your profit or recoup your initial investment.
  • Independently verify the legitimacy of any company or business opportunity before you invest your money!

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is essentially an investment fraud wherein the operator promises high financial returns or dividends that are not available through traditional investments. Instead of investing victims' funds, the operator pays "dividends" to initial investors using the principle amounts "invested" by subsequent investors.

The scheme generally falls apart when the operator flees with all of the proceeds, or when a sufficient number of new investors cannot be found to allow the continued payment of "dividends."

Charles Ponzi's Mug Shot

This type of scheme is named after Charles Ponzi of Boston, Massachusetts. Ponzi operated an extremely attractive investment scheme in which he guaranteed investors a 50 percent return on their investment in postal coupons. Although he was able to pay his initial investors, the scheme ultimately dissolved when he was unable to pay investors who entered the scheme later.

Avoiding Ponzi Schemes

  • As with all investments, exercise due diligence in selecting investments and the people with whom you invest.
  • Make sure you fully understand the investment before you invest your money.

Prosperity Automated System To Be Shut Down?

SEC Seeks PAS Shutdown

Well, I've written about Prosperity Automated System (also known as PAS) before, so this really comes as no surprise to me.

Los Angeles Times:

Internet Pyramid Scheme Alleged

The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking to shut down a network of 25,000 websites, accusing operators of running a $15-million pyramid scheme that promises to shower participants with easy cash.

Prosperity Automated System, which bills itself as a marketing network, "is destined to collapse and leave the vast majority of investors with substantial losses," the SEC said Wednesday.

The complaint targets the network and its creator, William M. Osterhout of Citrus Heights, Calif.

The websites, with such names as and typically offer testimonies from people claiming to make thousands of dollars by buying into the group, the SEC said.

One site says the network "Showers You with Hands-Free Cash!"

Visitors to the sites fill out forms and are later called by representatives selling memberships for as much as $3,895, the SEC said. New members are issued their own websites and eventually can receive a share of the money when more people buy memberships via their sites, according to the allegations.

September 27, 2006

Google Celebrates Its 8th Birthday...

Happy Birthday Google!

Today is Google's 8th birthday! It was founded in Menlo Park, California on September 27, 1998. Today, the company has almost 8,000 employees and is based in Mountain View, California. So, Happy Birthday Google - and congratulations on a job well done!

Happy Birthday HBT Blog!

Incidentally, today is also Home Business Today's birthday. Yep, the Home Business Today blog turns exactly 1 year old today. So let's have some cake! :)

The Feds Stopped By To Ask Some Questions

So the feds came knocking on my door today. Two of them. Said they had to ask me some questions pertaining to my whereabouts late last September - the 27th to be exact. Seems there was a crime and I was a prime suspect.

So I let them in and offered them some tea. They didn't partake. Some coffee? "No thanks," they grumbled. Some cookies and milk? I just made some delicious chocolate chip cookies. "Um, yeah, sure. I'll have one or two. But we're here for a serious reason, you know."

Now, even though I don't make it a habit of entertaining FBI agents, I wasn't too nervous at all. I mean, I was innocent. Though I did have it in the back of my mind that even innocent people get locked up on occasion. Yikes!

So the three of us were sitting here, intently studying one another and cautiously eating our cookies, when the head agent spoke up.

"There was a series of crimes that we're looking into and we need to ask you some questions as you're one of our main suspects at this time. Where were you the night of September 27, 2005? And do you have an alibi or anyone to corroborate your story?"

So I answered, "The night of September 27th. Hmm, that's an easy one... I was home on my computer working diligently to set up my blog."

Yep, that's right folks, today marks the one year anniversary of this blog. Hip, hip, hooray!

So with that, we all got up and danced. And then we ate some more cookies. Har har.

September 23, 2006

Holy Personal Invasions, Batman! Dunn Is Done

Holy Personal i n v a s i o n s, Batman!
Dunn Is Definitely Done

The recent Hewlett-Packard spying scandal has lead to criminal and congressional investigations, as well as its Chairwoman Patricia Dunn accepting the board's request for her resignation.

California's Attorney General Bill Lockyer and several other federal agencies are investigating to see if HP and its executives violated any laws.

Shame on HP. I'm getting pretty tired of corporations and government thinking they can just do whatever the hell they please. I'm reminded of Lord Acton's famous pronouncement (known as Lord Acton's dictum): "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Yahoo! News:

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Hewlett-Packard Co. shoved Chairwoman Patricia Dunn off its board Friday, severing its ties to a leader whose efforts to plug a media leak morphed into a spying scandal that has spawned criminal and congressional investigations.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company will turn the chairmanship over to its chief executive, Mark Hurd, who was supposed to take over that job in January as part of changes announced two weeks ago.

But things have changed since then amid a wave of leaked documents revealing how deeply HP's investigators intruded into the personal lives of seven directors, nine journalists, two employees and family members of those targeted individuals. Dunn authorized the investigation and received regular updates, although she said she didn't realize HP's investigators were going to such extremes.

September 22, 2006

Should You Lead With Your Product Or With Your Business?

Should You Lead With Your Product
Or Lead With Your Business?

Tim Sales is well-known for MLMBrilliance, which is home to the widely-celebrated Brilliant Compensation® video and the killer MLM training system known as Professional Inviter.

Over the years Tim has gained the respect and admiration of thousands of marketers from all over the world. In short, it's quite easy to say that Tim Sales is one of the best out there - which is why I'm happy to share this very helpful Network Marketing advice from him...

Should I Sell My Product or My Business - Or Both at the Same Time?

One of the first decisions you need to make before you actually call a prospect is whether you're calling to promote the product or the business.

In my opinion - which is backed by statistics, you can do either - just not both at the same time.

Leading with the Product

I'll first describe "leading with the product." When you invite someone to look at your product and then around the same time (that's a key part of it) tell them they can make money with it, well, I've not seen this work well.

In the few prospects I was able to get to talk to me about it, they felt "yucky" that I would be making money off them buying the product. I found a way around this, but this taught me that I don't discuss buying a product and mention at the same time that they can make money doing what I'm doing.

Here's how I was able to still promote the business by leading with the product though.

After the person has been a happy customer for a month or more, at the point where they place a second or third order, I ask them if they know anyone who would like to receive the same benefits as they have received. After they've given me a referral that wants to buy the product, before I place that referral's order I will then call my original customer and tell them that I can take them to dinner and thank them for the referral or give them a commission for referring the prospect. I ask them which they prefer. This works the best.

If you're inviting for your product, find out from your upline a proven way to introduce the product to prospects. If you don't find a proven way from your upline, you get to create it.

Leading with the Business

If you invite your prospect to look at your business you obviously have to tell them what the product is, but do not get heavily into product discussions. I've seen many times that the discussion heads into deep ingredient questions. I've found that it's best to keep the product discussion general when you talk to someone about the business.

Let me explain what I mean by general. I will talk about the product trends for the product my company carries; such as supplementation. Something like, "Consumers spent x number of dollars last year buying supplements." And that's as deep of a discussion about products that I care to get into when leading with business.

Otherwise it just becomes a Pandora's Box - one question leads to another...that leads to another. This often starts because people want to try to impress their prospect by using big words to show they're smart - but all you do is confuse the heck out of them and have them think they have to become a biochemist to succeed.

The above comments also remain throughout all your business activities. I do not recommend you use a website that explains both business and products. If you want to sell a product - have a web page with only that product on it. If that product is within a system of products that belong together it is fine to have the additional products within that system on the page. As an example if you sell weight management and you tell your prospect about the meal replacement shakes and on the same web page you have links to appetite suppressants that is fine - but do not include unrelated products or discussion on the compensation plan.

I remember when I saw my first presentation in network marketing the presenter said, "We show people the business and if they don't want to be in the business we can get them on the product." Sounded good to me, I thought and continually attempted to do...but very few times I actually was able to do it the way it was presented to me. So I was not able to create many customers by leading with the business.

That concludes my first answer to leading with product or business. Now let me explain my other answer.

Answer Two

The best answer to whether you lead with product or business has to do with what the prospect needs/wants or doesn't-want.

This goes along with the qualify step of the Inviting Formula. If when talking with the prospect they have their focus on solving a weight management issue - then you would obviously lead with product - if of course you have a product that solves that problem for them.

September 19, 2006

Home Business Today Quote of the Week...

"We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems."
-Margaret Mead

September 14, 2006

How To Increase Your Credibility...

How to Increase Your Credibility
by Tim Sales

I knew the ONLY way I was going to gain the respect of others (college graduates or not) was to get results. So number one I had to not stop myself no matter what anyone said to me or what I said to myself. I had to just keep on until I got results. Here's what I did and what you should do if you want to increase your credibility:

1. Talk with people - no one can be successful without this step.

  • Use the 10 Communication Qualities & Inviting Formula - you will immediately increase your credibility ENORMOUSLY by increasing your communication skills.

2. Help people and allow others to help you.

  • When someone helps you, give back something of equal or greater value.
  • When you help someone, allow them to help you back.

3. Be trustworthy.

  • Do what you say you will do.

4. Increase your knowledge

  • The more knowledge you have in the area you are advising or suggesting about, the more influence you will have. So know network marketing. Know your product/service. Know your company.

5. Increase your results (doing the above will accomplish this)

  • The more results you've gotten in the area you are discussing or attempting to attract another into, the more influence you will have. This is not a requirement obviously because everyone in network marketing starts with zero results.

Bottom line: If you sense someone isn't giving you any credibility - move on and do not allow them to weaken your view of yourself. If your prospect needs credibility in order to listen to you then you can contact them after you've gotten results.

A person who is unable to evaluate a business has to judge the business based on their perception of the credibility of the person presenting it. Those who can not evaluate a business based on its merits will work for those who can, or miss out on a lot of money.

To learn how to recruit easily and successfully, check out Tim Sales' highly acclaimed Professional Inviter. It will show you how to always say the right thing and will save you a lot of time getting to your money-making goals. You'll never be stumped by a question or objection again.

September 9, 2006

Home Business Today Quote of the Week...

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

September 7, 2006

Petitions Can Be Magic...

Petitions Can Be Magic

As Seth Godin has recently said...

"Petitions can be magic

They can be viral, they can build emotional energy, they can build a permission asset and as a bonus, they might even work.

This one from the March of Dimes seems to get in right in a few ways. Are We Doodle-Worthy?"

Wow, talk about a powerful campaign the March of Dimes has there. But, how does this actually relate to mlm and home business?

Simple. Viral marketing. Starting a petition (of course it has to be a sincere one) can really garner a lot of FREE web traffic in a really short time. And for any business that's a financial plus.

So, have you ever thought of enacting a petition for something that you truly believe in? If not, then you perhaps you should. The benefits could be amazing.

September 6, 2006

"Some Will, Some Won't, So What!" So What?

I really like this post by Michael Oliver of Natural Selling. Of course, maybe I just like it because I agree with what Michael has to say. But nontheless, it's definitely worth a look.

Personally, that phrase just reminds me too much of outdated salesmen who only look at customers as numbers and at sales as a numbers game.

"Some Will, Some Won't, So What!" So What?:

Do you use the expression “Some will, some won’t, so what!”?

If you do, as you say the words, how do you intuitively feel? What does your "gut" say to you?

Do you feel comfortable because it’s really your truth, or do you have a feeling of discomfort that you’ve adopted someone else’s truth or industry language that doesn’t resonate with you?

Personally I’ve never cared for the expression. For me it smacks too much of ego, bravado and the negative interpretation of - “posturing”.

No matter how it’s said… (try saying it with love and then say it while pounding your chest like Neanderthal man!) … it just doesn’t feel aligned with the rhythm of life. Saying “So what” implies a lack of caring and I think that most of us do care.

September 4, 2006

All Marketers Are Liars - Seth Godin Speaks at Google

All Marketers Are Liars
Seth Godin Speaks at Google

Straight from the Google Author Series, here's a really good video of Seth Godin in action. And as usual, he hits the nail right on the head when it comes to marketing and business.

VIDEO: Seth Godin Speaks at Google

For example: You think cat food is really made for cats? Better think again!

So if you're looking for some marketing enlightenment, check it out. And heck, even if you're not, check it out!

Die Google AdSense?

"Die Google AdSense"
Was Google AdSense Hacked?

Here's something kinda funny. The other day a colleague of mine called me in somewhat of a panic after she had logged into her Google AdSense account in order to check her stats.

But when she had logged in, instead of reaching her account like usual, her browser was redirected to a different page. And on that page she quickly read the three words, "Die Google AdSense."

So naturally, she thought Google AdSense had been hacked into and pretty much freaked out. OK, I know, so you're probably thinking what's funny about that?

Well, to give you a clue, here's what the page actually said:

"Die Google AdSense-Website ist vorübergehend nicht verfügbar. Bitte versuchen Sie es später noch einmal. Wir entschuldigen uns für eventuell enstandene Unannehmlichkeiten."

Translation? "The Google AdSense website is temporarily unavailable. Please try back later. We apologize for any inconvenience."

You see, Google was simply down for a bit. Her eyes only caught the German words, "Die Google AdSense," totally missing the English message that was right above it! Go figure.

So, I guess the lesson learned here is: No matter if you're in a fire, in an accident, or simply checking your Google AdSense account... DO NOT PANIC! ;)

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin Killed...

Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter
February 22, 1962 - September 4, 2006

Well, here's some very sad news that just broke only minutes ago this morning. And on my birthday no less. Steve Irwin, the well-known Crocodile Hunter, has died at the age of 44 from a stingray barb that pierced his chest while he was diving.

According to his friend and colleague John Stainton, who was aboard Irwin's boat, Croc One, the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart. Steve suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wow, how very terrible and depressing. I still can't believe it. My thoughts are certainly with his wife and kids and family.

Yahoo! News:
12 minutes ago

BRISBANE, Australia - Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and environmentalist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray during a diving expedition. He was 44.

Irwin was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Queensland state when he was stung, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on its Web site.

He collapsed at Batt Reef, near Low Isle and the resort town of Port Douglas, Queensland state police said in a statement. Port Douglas is about 1,260 miles north of Brisbane, the state capital.

A rescue helicopter rushed to the scene but Irwin had died, the statement said.

September 2, 2006

FeedBlitz Circulation Surpasses 800,000...

The FeedBlitz Blitz!

As most people these days know, FeedBlitz is a service that monitors blogs, RSS feeds and Web URLs in order to provide a greater reach for feed publishers.

FeedBlitz also enables you to monitor any blog or feed (anonymously if you like) regardless of whether or not the publisher of that feed uses FeedBlitz. And that in itself provides a very simple way for you to receive updates via a familiar and omnipresent medium... email.

In addition to a FeedBurner site feed, I also utilize FeedBlitz. And I can certainly say that I've enjoyed its benefits. And apparently, so have over 822,000 other fine folks thus far...

FeedBlitz News:

"Circulation passes 800,000; grows 17%

The dog days of August were good to us at FeedBlitz. Active circulation grew from about 700,000 to over 822,000 at the end of the month, representing nearly 17.5% growth in just 31 days, or double July's rate. Welcome to everyone who joined last month.

All this activity was also reflected in the site metrics. As I mentioned in the July summary, I expected to "crush" the July metrics in August. And so we did. The month saw 399,816 visits (up 73% from July's 230,850 value), and page views broke the one million barrier for the first time (1,025,494, up 38% from July's 743,804 total)."

Awesome. Congratulations FeedBlitz. And keep up the good work you crazy nuts! :)

September 1, 2006

Home Business Today Quote of the Week...

"Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do."
-Kahlil Gibran