Return visitor and affiliate marketing veteran Sam Harrelson came on the Friday Podcast to share his thought on social media interaction and marketing and the strategies behind his newly launched podcast network, Thinking.fm.
During the course of our conversation, Sam talked about:
How he got involved in online marketing and his quest to become a Renaissance man.
How he has “given up marketing”
Ethics and morals in affiliate marketing
What inspires him to podcast
The origin and direction of his Thinking.fm podcast network
Monetization options for podcast network owners
One of his favorite podcasts and why it works effectively
Sam’s one of the deep thinkers in the internet marketing industry and it’s always a pleasure to talk to authority who helps shape the industry.
Hegemony (from Wikipedia): is a concept that has been used to describe and explain the dominance of one social group over another, such that the ruling group or hegemon acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate, as opposed to dominance purely by force.
One of the keenest observations I’d heard from Sam Harrelson from an older episode of Geekcast is when he was in the process of adding Twitter to an affiliate network’s communication channels, some of the affiliate managers were happy that they had another channel to send out new offer information to.
If you’re an affiliate signed up to multiple networks, you’d receive a constant barrage of daily emails with subject lines like “network exclusives, promote now!”, “Highest payouts!” and “Hot new offers”.
Likewise, I’ve checked out a couple of affiliate marketing forums where networks have sponsored sections of the forums and populated these sections with “These offers are hot!” then proceed to list down payouts and offer caps.
I don’t know how you feel, but this is pretty much tantamount to email and social network spamming by overzealous affiliate managers.
A good affiliate manager should know when to promote offers and when to back off. And emailing/hounding me when I say I’m busy is one way to get on my really bad side.
Longevity is the name of the game if you want to be in business on the internet for the long term. With that, scraped content affiliate sites, blogs republishing RSS feeds verbatim, mashups recycling content from Wikipedia, can expect short term traffic, but seriously, who is going to go back to one of these sites?
It’s important to look at long-term strategies to get your business on a solid foundation. That is, if you don’t want to find yourself scrambling from one rock to another, as your “empire” sinks into the sand.
Let’s look at some ways to build up personal credibility, especially in the vastness of cyberspace, where a billion websites are calling out for attention.
Here are some essentials that every website should possess:
Background and Biographical information
At the least, you need an “About” or “About Me”, “About Us” or “About Andrew” / “About (insert your name)”. And having text like “This is an example of a WordPress Page” doesn’t count either.
People want to read and possibly do business with people they know. And “knowing” goes beyond a run-of-the-mill “XYZ Inc is a leading Fortune 500, Inc Hot 100 Tech Startup”.
Pfft. These awards carry some weight, but if you take a second to think about some of the leading tech companies like Dell, Apple, Microsoft, the names Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs come to mind. Personalization if not just a “strategy”, it should be the cornerstone of your success if you want to succeed online.
Going beyond a mention of yourself the person, going a little deeper to (more…)
Technically that title is erroneous as NIN fans will know that Trent is NIN, accompanied by Josh Freese, Robun Finck and Alessandro Cortini (according to the sleeve credits from The Slip).
When most think about information products or digital products, they think of the ebooks which used to hog eBay listings – but NIN’s The Slip album (together with the entire inventory of iTunes and other digital music marketplaces) are digital inventory too.
With their latest album, NIN have chosen to “give away” the album via a Creative Commons license (although a bunch of merchandise at their “merch” tab at NIN.com looks pretty tempting too…)
Taking a step away from Radiohead and NIN’s previous effort at selling their music online at a fraction of the printed CD package, or asking for a donation, you’re getting The Slip for free – in essence, content becomes free. (I would not be surprised if Trent’s production costs and time cost upwards of $100,000 or more for this).
Which is what online analysts have been saying about online platforms and applications for years. Eventually, a technology-based platform will become commoditized to the extent of being free and you’d pay only for applications that ride on it.
It’s already being practised with cell phone operators. Most time you either get a free cell phone handset or get it at a vastly discounted price, the operator makes up the difference through your monthly subscriptions via a contract of 1-2 years.
Progressive analysts have even said that eventually cell phone service will be free – you merely pay for the applications and data services you use (like the GPS and maps functions mentioned by Todd Crawford and Sam Harrelson in Geekcast 16.
But back to NIN for a moment.
They’ve broken new ground in my eyes for a couple of intiatives.
You’ve not only been given the right to play the tracks however you wish, you have NIN’s blessings to:
share it with your friends,
post it on your blog,
play it on your podcast,
give it to strangers,
Which will undoubtedly viralize the music.
I can still remember listening to NIN’s Pretty Hate Machine in the early 1990s, especially tracks like Head Like A Hole and Down In It. (A number of the tracks (which are pretty hypnotic) appear on the soundtrack of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers – which features “Iron Man” Robert Downey Jr…)
How is NIN going to monetize their intellectual property (ie. the music)?
I think NIN fans are pretty hardcore, and the proceeds from merchandise and concert sales, and likely DVDs, interactive media will more than make up for it.
If NIN has bypassed or disintermediated themselves from the music studios, they’ll certainly have more room to access funds and stay in touch with their fans.
The other techie thing that NIN have done is to release it in a variety of audio formats – besides the ubiquitous MP3, you can also download a lossless FLAC version as well as a high quality 24/96 version.
Lastly, they’re distributing a number of these versions through the Bittorrent Peer-to-peer network, typically used to distribute pirated CD albums.
Could this signal a change in the winds for content distribution via the internet?
I’m listening to Geekcast ep 16 with guests Scott Jangro and Todd Crawford. Much funnier than the regular series (I think Lisa Picarille’s presence helps up the content quota on both Geekcast and Affiliate Thing). Perhaps it’s time to break the Geekcast into 2 separate sessions (1 content-driven with Lisa and/or a guest on) and a “frat boy” humor edition focused on Stadium Pal, Hand Teddys (sic?), Man-dles, being unable to pee in airplane toilets, etc. (language may be NSFW)
Sam talked about Todd’s new blog, be sure to check out Todd Talks. If you’re nice, you might even hear about his secret project…
This week also saw the launch of Sam’s new RedHatBlueHat political podcast. (and if you’re following the industry, political blogs are quite the money rakers…)
In other news, I’m getting blog consultants to work on the this blog and there’re a number of neat enhancements coming up. You’ll see the weird MySQL errors popping up when you post comments, but they do end up in the moderation queue. If you posted a comment and didn’t see it published, chances are you dropped a “nice post” or “come and look at my site -> [link to made for adsense or ebook opt-in page]. Your name makes it into the master blacklist of bloggers too…