Social Prediction

Here’s a fun little tool. I’m not sure how to relate it to online advertising, but I’m sure you can figure something out. The website is called TWOCrowds, and it’s billed as a social prediction website. The concept is fairly simple – use mass opinion to predict and determine the outcome of future events.

I’m not sure how effective this is going to be because I find public opinion of future trends tends to become more accurate with fewer people, but hey it might be fun.

TWOCrowds Logo

From TWOCrowds:

Welcome to TWOCrowds, a social predicting website. Here, you can share your predictions with the world and see how many others are of a similar mind and what they, in turn, predict will happen. You can add your predictions about anything:

  • Politics (X will be the next President of the US)
  • Sports (Team Y will win the Super Bowl or the World Series)
  • Technology (Google or Yahoo will buy or merge with Company Z)
  • Entertainment (Movie A or Actress B will win an Oscar)

… and so on. One of the goals of this website is to see how good all of us are, as a group, about predicting the future.

Manage Your Online Advertising

iPrioritize LogoProbably one of the most difficult aspects of online marketing is prioritizing your time as efficiently as possible. That’s why it’s important to identify online and offline tools to assist you and allow you to use your time effectively. An online application I discovered recently called iPrioritize addresses this issue very handily.

The problem with time management and online advertising is that it’s not a cookie-cutter industry. There are a couple of staple advertising resources that you’ll use more than once, but mostly it’s a fly by the seat of your pants business. The web is changing so rapidly and different types of websites require different marketing methods that it’s nearly impossible to standardize effective forms of advertising – which makes websites like this one all the more important for staying ahead of the curve.

The most effective way I’ve found to deal with these issues is the use of to-do lists for managing my workload. To-do lists are more effective than a task scheduler because most of my projects are completed based on prioritization rather than a linear time-based schedule. Until recently, I had been using a worn-out steno book and a pencil to keep track of my to-do lists, which meant I only had access to them at the office. They were quickly becoming difficult to decipher as they filled up with arrows (from moving projects around on the page) and were constantly being misplaced by my one year old daughter who likes to take things off of my desk. I’ve recently begun using a new application dubbed iPrioritize created by Adam McFarland to replace the steno book and have been very pleased with the results.

iPrioritize Screenshot

iPrioritize is an online service designed to help individuals like myself track, manage, and organize their to-do lists online. The site is simple and effective in its approach and you can sign up and get started using it in a matter of minutes. Most users will find the drag and drop interface comfortable and familiar while adding list items and moving them around on the page as their lists change. Since it’s web based, users also enjoy the ability to access their list items from any computer

I’m particularly pleased with iPrioritize because of its simplistic approach to an equally simple task. I like that Adam has developed an application made to do one thing really well rather than trying to release another multifunction task manager/calendar/scheduling program that’s overly complicated and too cumbersome to use. We have too many of those already.

There are both free and business class versions of iPrioritize ($10/month or $100/year). The biggest differences between the two are some of the multiple user management features and the integration of third party advertising. Some of the most notable features include:

  • Automatic RSS feed generation of user lists,
  • Intuitive drag and drop management,
  • Automatic web page creation for sharing lists via a browser,
  • Mobile phone access to lists,
  • Integration with Microsoft Outlook.

*A note on the last point: I’m not an Outlook user myself, but my research indicates this to be a very powerful and useful feature of the service.

My recommendation is to take the free version for a test run and experiment with it in your business. Chances are you’ll sign up for the business service, but it’s nice to know what you’re getting into beforehand.

Buying Traffic from

Traffic is an important part of any website. The amount of visitors a website receives can contribute to the enjoyment level of running a hobby site, or can have an impact on the amount revenue a business site produces.

Recently, I tried an experiment with a service I have never used before called that redirects users reportedly from expired domain names.

Redirected Traffic

The cost of the services was $37.00 paid via PayPal for 10,000 unique visitors. I was able to choose the genre of traffic I was interested in from a wide range of categories. I chose “U.S. Premium Visitors Targeted – Marketing for Internet” as my category and entered as my target URL.

The initial purchase was made on Wednesday, October 11th at 2:40pm CST and I received notification via email that the campaign was starting 20 minutes later. was good about communicating receipt of my payment and the start of my campaign. In the “start of campaign” notification email I was also assigned a login and password and given a webpage so I could check on my statistics.

Although my campaign summary page does not offer a wealth of information abut my visitors, it does provide details like:

  • Ad Type: U.S. Premium Visitors Targeted – Marketing for Internet
  • Campaign Status: Active
  • Campaign Size: 10065
  • Delivered: 74 (as of this writing)
  • Started: 2006-10-11
  • Target Date: 2006-12-11

In addition I’m able to view IP addresses of visitors, split the campaign to multiple URLs, change my initial destination URL, and pause the campaign.

Unfortunately, there was also one other button to “Display Fewer Options” and after pressing it, I’ve lost most of the abilities mentioned previously with no way to revert. I had not planned on using any of the options listed, but it’s frustrating not to be able to toggle back and forth between settings.

I use cookie tracking on most of my web pages to write browser information into a log. Here is an excerpt from some of the traffic I’ve been receiving.

Redirected Traffic

Because I use cookies to log referrer information via javascript, I know most of the browsers visiting my site have javascript enabled. The current visitor count from shows 74 visitors, and that is close enough to my own tracking information.

I’m a little annoyed with the referrer field because I would like to see where these visitors are actually coming from, but there’s not much I can do about that. I was pleased to see that there was a proportionate mix of browsers and IP addresses so that I actually believe these are visitors coming to my site.

Since the campaign is still new, I have no revenue statistics to report on. is not designed to be a revenue generator and therefore has a fairly low conversion rate. I will judge the success of this campaign by the number of subscribers the RSS feed receives and the number of email addresses added to my mailing list.

In addition, I will be monitoring the site’s traffic using the crazyegg service reported on earlier this week.

More to come as this campaign progresses. If you were re-directed to this article and you think you might be part of the traffic I purchased, please email me and let me know what you think.

Use blogmail to stay in front of your readers

Blogs are a powerful tool for online marketers. They’re a preferred media outlet for many news seekers because they offer a person-to-person connection without the corporate BS of more mainstream mass media outlets. The rapidly growing popularity of blogs allows for a wide array of topics, and the volume of blog posts allows more sophisticated readers to gauge truth and accuracy in a story by the number of reputable bloggers that are sharing it.

If you own a blog or are thinking of starting one, you know that one of the greatest challenges is staying in the forefront of your reader’s mind. Still considered a secondary form of media, blogs can be popular one day and forgotten the next.

Although RSS syndication and newsreader applications help bloggers to communicate with their readers, this technology has not been adapted by average users as a standard.

Recently, we found several online services that allow bloggers to maintain their readership through email without the use of the scary RSS technology. Email is a much more accepted means of communication and is accepted by the vast majority of internet users.

Here are a few of the services we found:

bloglet is the first of several email notification (or notification2email as it’s sometimes called) services that helps bloggers update their reader base via email.

Signup with Bloglet
Place a subscription form on your site
Your readers subscribe through this form
Every day, readers receive a single email from Bloglet informing them of your site updates

FeedBlitz LogoFeedBlitz another notification2email service for any type of xml feed. Their base service is free and doesn’t include any spam or advertising.

FeedBlitz is a service that monitors blogs, RSS feeds and Web URLs to provide greater reach for feed publishers. FeedBlitz takes all the headache out of converting feed and blog updates into email digests, delivered daily to subscribers’ inboxes. FeedBlitz manages subscriptions, circulation tracking, testing, and is compatible with all major blogging platforms and services such as Blogger, Typepad and FeedBurner. Unlike other blogmail services, FeedBlitz is reliable, scalable and fully supported. No betas, wish lists or road map items here. You’re in production, and so is FeedBlitz. is more of a site monitoring service than a notification2email utility. They’ve recently been purchased by Yahoo!, so they may morph into something entirely different by the time everything is said and done. lets you keep an eye on your favorite weblogs via the web and email. you can even put the list on your site: a blogroll that knows what is new! is now Using FeedBurner

FeedBurner LogoI’ve recently signed up with to syndicate this site’s RSS feed. Feed syndication is something I could do myself, but I like some of the extras that FeedBurner has to offer. Here’s how the service works: I submit my feeds URL to FeedBurner an they parse it into a more RSS reader format (if it’s needed) and track the statistics. The data they gather is available to me via a fairly comprehensive dashboard control panel that provides me with a number of options.

Shows charts and graphs of how often my feed is requested, what RSS newsreaders are requesting it, how many subscribers I have, and in general how it’s being used by the rest of the world. This is helpful because it allows me to write articles with my target audience in mind. For example, I notice that the majority of this site’s syndication is from other websites rather than individual RSS readers. By writing more attention getting headlines, my articles will attract more attention (something that is not as crucial if an individual is already subscribing to the feed).

FeedBurner offers a several useful utilities designed to optimize your news feed. The most useful is SmartFeed which takes your existing feed and maximizes compatibility with the rapidly changing technology and wide array of news readers available today.

Some of the publication tools offered include counters like the one featured on this site to track and display the number of subscribers. Automatic “chicklet” button generators dispense easy to use feed subscription buttons for a variety of reader platforms that you can post on your site to make it easy for your audience to subscribe.

Perhaps the most interesting and as yet unexplored option I’ve encountered is the monetization feature offered by FeedBurner. Similar to the Google AdWords/AdSense products for websites, FeedBurner offers the ability to buy and sell advertising on your RSS feed. As the popularity of RSS grows, this could become a lucrative source of revenue for bloggers and website owners.