Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Public Domain Secrets - Part 2
‘How to Make Money by Finding, Re-organizing, Reworking, and Re-selling Other People’s Profit Churning Articles, Books, Films, Photos, Manuals, Study Courses, Pictures, Songs, Posters, Movies, Music, and Other Creative Products Works ... Create Any Number of Copies That You Want ... NEVER Worrying About Royalties or Any Other Charges!’
Get your hands on a veritable gold mine of Public Domain material and other works of art with No Copyright, which are yours to claim and use freely ... Obtain these items for FREE and sell them for Huge Profits ... Add your copyright notice ... Retain all the earnings without sharing with anyone else, ever!
How to Churn Out Quick Profits Using the Public Domain
Idea No. 1: Simple Books
Although all the books that are available in the public domain have run out of copyright protection, many of these books have not gone out of style. In fact, quite a few public domain books are equally significant in today’s times as they were when they were first published.
From the hundreds of thousands of books available from the public domain, only a small fraction of them have been revised and made available to the current lot of customers. The remainder of the absolutely amazing titles are literally longing to be discovered.
The following examples are contributed by people who already use the public domain:
The Complete Feline Book by Vera Smith (circa late 1800s)
Coming back to the Complete Feline Book by Vera Smith, which I told you about earlier; this book was perhaps one of the first books of its time in which the author tried to record, explain, and demonstrate the various different species of cats that existed in the late 1800s. This book has run out of copyright since ages.
A first edition copy of this book can cost in excess of fifteen hundred pounds (that is if you even knew where to find it and I surely won’t tell!). The information contained in this book is very relevant even today and there may be plenty of people who want to benefit from this information, but can never afford to buy the book themselves.
But people like me, who have been able to source a copy of this book, have recreated it and made it available to readers today.
A big American publishing house used this book and reprinted it in its entirety. They did change the title of the book so that others could not locate it, but the text and images in the book have been kept as is. Since the title has been changed, and the publishing house has altered the colour and type of font, they now have exclusive copyrights to their creation.
There is yet another company which has used the book but has converted it into an educational CD. And then there are others (me included) who have broken down the book and created several smaller books dedicated to just one species at a time.
Even though the book has been used by several people, there still remains a lot of potential to convert the book into a profitable public domain product. You will have to be really imaginative and put in some dedicated effort, but you can end up with a product that can earn you money forever.
Don’t be deterred by the seemingly exorbitant price tag on the book (if you can find it, that is). The book has such immense scope that your initial investment is sure to be returned several fold. Although the book is in the public domain, I have yet to come across it on the internet or as a free product.
And yes, the revised versions of the book are available. But since these have been changed from the original version, they are now copyrighted to their owners and hence you cannot use them. But can’t I simply take the words and the images from the revised versions? How will anyone know the difference?
Well, if the words and images included in the revised version are exactly the same as they appear in the original version, then no one might know the difference. However, if they are even the slightest bit different, and you copy them, you are sure to get caught. So it is best never to copy from a copyrighted work. And why would you even want to bother with that? There are plenty of other fish in the sea, so why worry about the one that got away?
So, the only way to go is to locate an original version of some product that excites you and then revise that to come up with a money making product.
And all original copies that do come on to the markets need not be expensive. In fact, you can get an original copy for very little money, sometimes even for free, and then make huge profits from them.
Books on the Supernatural and Magical Topics
One of the hottest subjects on the Internet, specifically on eBay, is that of the supernatural. And when talking about magic or the paranormal, can Houdini be very far behind? Even though practically everyone knows that Houdini was a great magician, not many people are aware of the fact that he was also a great author. Houdini has written several books on supernatural topics, which include books on magical tricks and illusion.
Some of the books written by Houdini are available in the public domain. As there is already an established market for magic related products and even specifically for items related to Houdini, any of his public domain books can make for a wonderful revised product.
Two Down, Millions Yet to Come
On just two topics, magic and cats, I was able to access several great products from the public domain. And how much time did it take me to think of these two topics? Not more than a few minutes. Now just think about what all you can achieve from the public domain, if you set your mind to it!!!
Yes, you can take the easy route and republish a public domain book as is. It won’t take you much time and you may also get good profits from it. However, remember that a whole lot of people are reading this book, and many more will have access to it in the coming months.
A lot of these people could also be planning to do the easy thing and republish a public domain book in its entirety, perhaps even settle for the few ideas that have been mentioned here. But if you want the public domain to really make you rich, you will take the time to locate an exclusive product; one that not too many people know about, and then use this product to create a revised book that practically no one will be able to copy.
An Awesome Resource for Public Domain Titles: eBay
Well, what can I say about eBay? Suffice it to say that in addition to being a great site for buying and selling practically any product on the face of the earth, it is also a great resource for public domain books. Here’s a look at what eBay has to offer in this regard.
There are many country specific websites of eBay, but since eBay.com is the largest eBay website, I have chosen to look here..
I logged on to www.ebay.com and clicked on ‘Books’. And since I was searching for old books, I clicked on ‘Antiquarian Books’. I noticed here that there was an option to select the year when the books were first published. And to give myself the best chance of finding books that were copyright free in America (pre 1923 rule) and in the UK (70 year rule), I decided to go with printing year 1800-1849.
Although I did not need to go that far back according to US copyright laws; in order to make sure that all books would have satisfied the UK 70 year rule as well, I went that far back.
Here are the categories that are included in the ‘Books’ section:
Antiquarian & Collectible
Magazine Back Issues
Wholesale Bulk Lots
Within each category of books, there were various subcategories. The subcategories that were there under Antiquarian and Collectible are:
Art & Photography (22)
Biography & Memoir (145)
Cooking, Food, Wine (3)
Exploration & Travel (320)
Fraternal, Social Organizations (4)
Law & Government (126)
Military & War (37)
Natural History (46)
Religion & Spirituality (702)
Science & Medicine (133)
Vintage Paperbacks (1)
Alongside each sub-category, the figures represent the number of items available in each sub-category.
Going one step further, I entered the keyword ‘magic’ into the advanced search box for ‘Antiquarian and Collectible’ books. The next example will illustrate my results.
Example Twelve: eBay Search Results for ‘Magic’ in Antiquarian Books
As you can see, my search returned only two books. But both these books are definitely in the public domain, are not that expensive (the first one being really cheap), and definitely have the scope to make a lot of money.
But you must be careful and check that the versions are original versions and are not simply re-printed copies with their original titles intact. Before copying or using the books, a complete investigation needs to be done to ensure that they are original copies.
After my search on magic, I decided to search another topic that I had mentioned earlier - ‘American Indians’. Go on to the next example to see the results.
Example Thirteen: eBay Search Results for American Indians in Antiquarian Books
Amazing, isn’t it? I have at my disposal 7 great books, all of which are available at ridiculously low prices. Specifically, the book about the rare old American Indian races excites me a lot as it seems to have potential for huge profits. But once again, I was careful to check that all these books were copies of the original version and not reprinted copies published at some later date.
Where to Find Physical Prints of Public Domain Books
By now you must have probably realized that it is best to get a physical copy of any book that you are interested in to determine whether or not it is actually in the public domain. And even if you know for sure that a particular book is in the public domain, you still need to get a physical version of the book, which you can copy from freely.
There are some wonderful sites on the Internet where you can source original physical copies of books from. Here’s a look at one such site, which is called Abebooks.
Abebooks www.abebooks.com is a website where you can search for books according to their titles and authors. If you want to get a physical copy of a book that you know about, you can search in this manner. But, if you are looking for various books on a particular topic, you then need to perform an advanced search. Next I’ll show you how you can do that.
Log on to www.abebooks.com and click on the advanced search link which is in the middle of the home page. You will then be directed to a page where you begin your search. You must enter the subject that you are searching books on, and it is also a good idea to specify the year of publication. I choose the keyword ‘Knitting’ and specified the year of publication to be between 1850 and 1920. The next example will show you my results.
Example Fourteen: Search Results for Knitting on Abebooks
1) Knitting (Price: US$ 4.99)
Bookseller: Pro Quo Books (Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.)
Shipping within U.S.A.: US$ 3.50
Book Description: Mason/Charter 1905, 1905. Book is in very good condition; soft cover. Moderate cover wear. Bookseller Inventory # 0981362AD101bal
2) Tatted Bookmarks (Price: US$ 7.17)
(ISBN: 8778470625) Bjorn, Lene
Bookseller: TheBookCom (Horsham, WSx, United Kingdom)
Shipping within United Kingdom: US$ 5.83
Book Description: 1900, 1900. BRAND NEW PAPERBACK. mm. Knitting & stitch craft. 8778470625. Bookseller Inventory # CC8778470625
3) Mary Fitch #9 - Bags: Crocheted and Tatted (Price: US$ 7.95)
Bookseller: Iva Rose Vintage Reproductions (New Bedford, MA, U.S.A.)
Shipping within U.S.A.: US$ 3.50
Book Description: F. W. Woolworth, Co. Inc, Boston, MA, 1917. Comb Binding. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 4to - over 9_" - 12" tall. A stunning collection of Flapper era bags and purses. Collection even includes a very elegant laundry bag, bag pincushions, a knitting bag as well as some really beautiful opera bags. An extremely rare book to find today! 22pp. Reproduction. Bookseller Inventory # 000119
These are just three of the books that my search returned. In addition to these, there were several more books, but these three looked the most promising. Notice that the publishers are also mentioned. So, depending on where you live, you can pick a book accordingly so that you are not violating the copyright laws in your country.
This is just one of the many sites where you can source physical copies of books from. Other websites include:
Alter the Headings and Protect Your Products!
The last thing you need is to spend your time and energy to come up with a wonderfully revised public domain product and then have someone steal your idea from right under your nose. A great way to ensure that this does not happen is to simply alter the headings and titles of your books and other items.
Conjure up imaginative titles that truly reflect your product. Make use of figures and numbers if possible, generate an imaginary image of your item, and highlight the usefulness of your product. Utilize words that have a strong impact such as super, best, jackpot, finest, money, profitable etc.
Experts also suggest using words starting with the same letters, or using symbols in place of letters.
Wonderful World of Winning (words starting with W)
$uper $ecrets to $uccess (the dollar sign instead of S)
Know your Knitting
Back to Index
Idea No. 2: Reprinting Images from Old Books
Remember those old books that I came across during my search for American Indian titles? Well, when I saw those books, I was immediately reminded of a collection of old postcards that I have, which depict various images related to American Indian culture, history, and paintings. I sell reproductions of those postcards through eBay and they are quite in demand. In fact, sometimes there is quite competitive bidding for one of my listings, which made me think that if people want these postcards so badly, perhaps they would be willing to settle for a reprint.
So I made reprints of my original postcards and sold them as such. Mind you, I never try to mislead my customers and always mention if an item is an original product or a reprint. Now coming back to those American Indian theme books; some of those books had amazing pictures, all free of copyright and available for use.
A few of the photographs were so good that they were almost lifelike. Now these photos too are ideal for reprinting and converting into postcards. In fact, you can reprint the photos in any manner that you see fit - on T-shirts, as posters, as a framed print, and even on letter pads. Using your own imagination, you can come up with a long list of items to create with reprinted photos.
And if you are serious about using images from old books, then you can even do a Gutenberg search for Illustrated Books instead of textual books. An illustrated book is sure to give you hundreds of photos that you can use as profitable reprints.
Example Fifteen: An Illustrated Public Domain Book
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Dickens's tender and comic tale of the Cratchit family, Tiny Tim, and Ebenezer Scrooge, has been a favorite since it was written in 1843. Badly in need of money, Dickens produced A CHRISTMAS CAROL in six weeks; the first printing of 6,000 copies sold out instantly. In Dickens's original version, Tiny Tim was Tiny Fred, and Scrooge said "Bah!" but not "Humbug!"
I found this great book by doing a search for illustrated books at alibris.com. Believe me when I say, this book has some breathtaking illustrations and photos which would make any product they were used on, a best seller.
Example Sixteen: More Wonderful Public Domain Images
Here is another example of a great public domain illustrated book. Although you can find all kinds of illustrated books in the public domain, with photos of geographical landmarks, great old buildings, animals etc; I prefer to use images such as the ones available in these books, because they are much more lifelike and have timeless universal appeal.
There are many people who are in the business of making postcards and other items by reprinting original public domain photos and illustrations. Both online and offline, you will see that this is a big business. Whether you sell your reproduction postcards on the Internet, or sell them at postcard exhibitions or fairs, they are sure to find a market anywhere.
However, if you are using reprinted versions of photos on your products, make sure that you sell them as such. Do not lead people to believe that they are the original thing, but a copy of the original. What I personally do is mention that the postcard (or any other item) is ‘Reprinted from a vintage photo, circa 1875’, or whatever date may apply. You can simply use the same description that I use, or create your own similar one.
Back to Index
Idea No. 3: Launching Your Personal Internet Membership Website
Example Seventeen: An Amazing Book for a Personal Internet Membership Website
An alibris.com search for magic books returned an amazing result. The book is titled, ‘Magic No Mystery: Conjuring Tricks’ by Cremer, W.H. This book was first published in England in 1876. This magic book contains some awesome magic writings, and also includes several magic tricks that can be performed with balls, cards, and dice.
Now if you were to think of starting your own Internet membership site, then this book could definitely be the foundation for it. The site would target wannabe magicians and people who want to learn how to perform magical tricks using different apparatus. It could even teach established magicians a thing or two!
You can create the membership site and charge people a one-time joining fee to become a member, as well as a continuous charge as a monthly membership fee. Your paid members will then be able to access a whole bunch of things such as content on magic, a member’s only forum, and various products.
All the different tricks mentioned in the book would definitely not be given to your members at once. You could choose to provide about 10-15 new tricks each month, so that your members keep coming back for more. In this manner, you could have your very own profitable membership site.
This is just one of the millions of books available in the public domain. Just thinking about the various possible titles, which could form the basis of a membership site, literally makes me see £££ signs everywhere!
Are Internet Membership Websites Really that Great an Idea?
The various options you have for using the public domain book ‘Magic No Mystery: Conjuring Tricks’ is to convert the book in its entirety into a digital CD, or an e-book, or a reprinted version, or lastly to form a membership site as explained above.
Now let’s take a look at the advantages of forming a membership site over the other book options:
The site has seemingly higher worth than any of the other options. With a membership site, your customers will think that there is a lot more information on offer than they would think a book to contain. If repackaged as a book or a CD, it will take your customers just a few minutes to access and perhaps a couple of days to read. On the other hand, an Internet membership site is perceived as huge, and it would take your members months to access and read all the information contained in the book. Even though they are getting exactly the same tricks from your book and the site, the value of becoming a member of the site will be perceived as much greater than buying the book version.
With a membership site, you will have members returning to your site regularly to download newer tricks and content. Thus, it becomes easier to promote newer products to your members, which is something you simply cannot do with a reprinted book.
Contrary to what most people believe, the site will be faster to create than the book format and will also start making you money immediately. With a book, you have to reformat the entire book and also transform it into a PDF version or a digital format, which could take several weeks.
But a membership site can be started with even a few pages of the book as you will not be offering the entire information at one go. Thus, you can convert the initial chapters and upload them on your membership site so as to attract members right away. You can then take your time to complete converting the remaining chapters of the book according to your monthly schedule. While you do that, your site will already be making you money.
By the way, I have mentioned that you could take several weeks to reformat and transform the book into the desired version. Although this can be done even in a few days (it depends on how quick and efficient you are); it can be a tedious and dull affair, not to mention very demanding. However, if you wish to start making money immediately, it certainly can be done.
A membership site will also have the scope to generate higher profits than a book version. Since books do not have high perceived worth, more so e-books, they will not command a very big price. But a membership site, with much the same information, may even be able to command membership fees that are several times the cost of the book.
You should endeavour to create Internet membership sites that are targeted to niche markets. Good examples of niche marketing would be targeting people such as magicians, sports people, musicians, artists, retailers, restaurant proprietors, etc. The basic idea is to target people who have specific interests, so that they can become part of your membership site and share their interests with like minded people.
You can even aim for those people who have made money from their special interests and thus don’t mind spending it to keep themselves updated about things related to their subject of interest. Stressing on the fact that they could treat the membership fees as a ‘tax deductible’ expense also helps to attract people to your membership site.
Back to Index
Idea No. 4: Sticking to a Niche Market
By now you probably know that the public domain is filled with millions of great books. The topics and subjects, which the books are available on, are also as wide and as diverse as the sheer number of books available. If ever there was a topic which a book was written on, you can find it in the public domain. Whether it is lifestyle books, history books, books on knitting, books on festivals and cultures, dog books, cat books, books on fishing, hunting, horse riding, boating, surfing, cooking etc; any topic that you can think of, there is a public domain book available on it.
With so many books waiting to be republished and so much money just waiting to be pocketed, where does one begin?
Since there are such a wide variety of subjects to choose from, you could end up choosing books on different topics. But this would mean that you have to cast your promotional web again and again; at one time searching for people who are interested in your cat books, at another time looking for those who are interested in magic, yet another time attracting people who are interested in American Indians, and once again………As you see, there can be no end to this.
Thus, it is wiser to stick to a particular niche market and then keep creating books and other public domain items that cater to your chosen niche, which could be anything from cooking, to hunting, to cat lovers, and even those in awe of geographical splendours.
So, if I was to list the advantages of sticking with a niche market, they would go something like this:
It is much simpler to attract buyers for niche subjects than it is for different unrelated topics.
Staying with a particular niche means you have the choice of creating your own website or an online store from where you can promote and sell various products related to your niche. By choosing an apt name for your website, you can also feature in the top search engine results and attract more traffic to your site.
A niche market provides the scope for continuous and repeat customers. You will not have to keep finding new customers to sell to as all your products will be related to a specific subject. So whenever you create a new item, you can simply mail all your earlier customers as well as all the people who made enquirers on your site and then just sit back and watch the sales multiplying.
You can also create a news publication centred on your niche topic. By providing new and updated information on your subject, you can create a loyal client base of people who keep coming back for more. And since you will be giving free information to your customers, they will be more likely to buy your products as and when you offer them.
If you have a niche website, you can source enormous public domain content, such as short articles, useful advice, tips and suggestions and feature these on your website. By adding useful content on your site, you can enhance the position of your website on search engine result pages; thus attracting more profits from Google adsense, affiliate programs, and various Pay-Per-Click options.
When you have a niche customer base, you will have more information about the interests, likes and dislikes of your clients than it is possible to have with an unrelated client base. This enables you to offer them items, in addition to books, that are in keeping with the same subject. You can also sell tangible goods and services to your clients. These goods and services can be created by you, or can be sourced from other people and sold to your ever growing customer base.
And lastly, with a niche website, you will be able to create a much larger customer base and mailing list than is possible with various smaller websites on different topics. As your list grows by the day, your competition will keep decreasing as very few people would want to compete with such a formidable opponent.
Back to Index
Idea No. 5: How to Get World Renowned Authors to Produce Your Top Sellers Absolutely Free of Cost
You are probably not aware that there are thousands of writers who give their books and short articles, all free of cost, to other people who want to republish them along with the name and contact information of the writer. This really does happen. In this way, the writer can get other people to advertise the writer’s business through web-links and other information contained in the books or articles.
For instance, a doctor of natural medicine may author a book or some articles about natural herbs or nutritional supplements and include his contact information in these articles. Thus, when these articles appear on other people’s websites, the customers may get in touch with the doctor for getting treatment or buying supplements.
In much the same way, any person who specializes in anything, can write articles, offer these to others as free of cost content, and enjoy the benefits.
But what do you gain from all this? Well, that’s exactly what I’m coming to next.
You can source an entire collection of small books or articles, either from one writer or many different authors. You should obviously select only those articles that are on the same topic or are of related topics. A combination of these small articles can then be compiled into a larger book or an educational CD.
Every subsequent chapter in your book is dedicated to a new article. At the end of each chapter, the ‘resource box’ is included, which gives the personal details of the writer of that particular article.
In this manner, your book will have that many chapters as the number of articles that you can source. The titles of the various articles can be used as the headings for your different chapters. You can now create a Table of Contents (TOC) which lists the different chapters of your book; alter the font size, the type and its colour; include an introductory passage to your book; add a title to the book; put down your name as the book’s editor; include your copyright notification and your book is ready for sale!
Now doesn’t that sound really easy to do? You can literally create as many original books in this manner as you want!
In my experience; if you get in touch with the writers directly, and ask them if they are okay with your plan, you will rarely ever be disappointed with their answer.
Sourcing Articles and Other Content
It is very easy to locate free-to-use articles and other valuable content on the Internet. You simply log on to any of the major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, or MSN search, and look for free articles. Important keywords for such searches are: free articles, articles for free, no charge articles, free content, free to use article and other related terms.
Here’s a list of some oft used article sites where you may be able to source free content from:
A comprehensive listing of useful article sites is included towards the end of this module.
Back to Index
Idea No. 6: Using Resell Rights Items
Resell rights refer to the privilege to copy and use an item, generally a book or some computer software. Products with resell rights are usually new items that have been created recently. Thus, these products are not your usual public domain products, but since they can be as profitable as public domain items, they are definitely worth contemplating.
It is not possible to give you a precise and 100% accurate description of what ‘Resell Rights’ means, because the term has varying definitions in different nations.
Let’s take the case of Great Britain for example. Here, the term ‘Resell Rights’ means passing the right to duplicate an item and selling it to others (also called Reproduction Rights) and also passing the right to market the product. In different nations, what is known as ‘Reproduction Rights’ in the UK, is referred to as ‘Reprint Rights’; whereas the term Resell Rights is referred to as ‘Sharing Copyright’, ‘Master License’, or simply ‘License’.
Yes, I know that all this is very confusing indeed, but everything will be understood better once you have read the next few paragraphs.
Seeing that so many problems can occur because of different definitions of Resell Rights, it is best to be certain what you are allowed to do with your resell rights and what you are not.
Whenever I acquire resell rights to any product, I make it a point to contact the person who has given me the rights and verify what all I am entitled to do. I never have oral communications and do all my contacting in writing. I also make sure to keep copies of all my written communications, so that I have evidence that I asked the seller what my rights were, and also his answers to my queries.
If you can acquire resell rights to various products, you can rework and combine all items of a related topic and sell them through an auction site or through your own website.
There are many items which already have existing websites which you can sell through, while there are many that don’t. Various items can be renamed to include your personal business name and names of affiliates, whereas many cannot be renamed. Some product owners will allow you to add links and referrals of your manufacturers, and some won’t. Few sellers may limit the price tag that you can put on the resell items, while many will let you price the item as you see fit. Some products will have to be resold as individual items whereas others can be sold as part of a package.
Thus, with so many possible restrictions, you should try and negotiate a deal with the least limitations possible.
Standard Entitlements with Resell Rights
Selling Customer Copies Only: With this entitlement, you have the right to manufacture and sell any number of copies that you want, and are also allowed to put whatever price tag on the copies that you wish. You can also use your own sales letters to market the items. However, you will not have the right to sell marketing rights to anyone else, nor will you have the right to alter any of the documents given to you.
Selling Customer and Publisher Copies: This entitlement is quite similar to the one mentioned before, with the main difference being that here you have the right to sell copies to others who can then market these copies on their own. Needless to say, acquiring this right can cost you much more than acquiring simple customer copy rights only. Based on the size of the product, its novelty, and its exclusiveness, acquiring the right to sell publisher copies can cost you a pretty penny. (Publisher copy rights are also known as Master License or Reproduction and Resell Rights).
Providing Free Copies: With this entitlement, you have to right to distribute free copies of the product to whomsoever you desire. You can give complimentary copies of the item to your family members, friends, colleagues, or even your clients, provided you do not take any money in return. Items with such rights usually have quite a few advertisements and also links to the original manufacturer of the item, but do contain valuable information for the public as well.
Repackaging Rights: With this entitlement, you have the power to sell items in groups or as part of a bigger package. You can combine several items into one package and give it a fancy package title. With repackaging rights, you can produce the best possible product to call your own.
Bear in mind, you will rarely (if ever) be allowed to alter any part of resell rights items, but you can still use them profitably by combining them into a package and selling the package as your own creation (provided you have repackaging rights). Resell rights products can also be given as free resources with other public domain products that you create. By doing so, you will increase the worth of your public domain product and also make it unique and different from other products of its kind.
The Art of Repackaging
In this section, you will learn how to repackage resell rights products, as well as various products obtained from the public domain. By repackaging and combining many products into one, you can come up with an exclusive package that is 100% yours and can also be copyrighted in your name. Through the simple art of repackaging, you can create an item that will help to generate quick profits.
Basically, repackaging refers to reworking, combining, and creating a unique product from stuff that is freely available to a whole lot of people. But by repackaging such stuff in an unusual manner, you can create an exclusive item that people can buy only from you and no one else. Repackaging is perhaps the BEST and FASTEST way to convert different public domain and resell rights items into a saleable product.
You can repackage items in many different ways, some of which are:
Combining products that are not related to any one subject, with the only similarity being that all the items in the repackaged bundle are high priced items but being sold at ridiculously low prices.
Creating a repackaged item by combining different products of one particular subject, theme, or topic. The benefits of creating such a niche market product are listed earlier.
Combining different items which are not necessarily of the same subject, but do have some theme which connects them. For instance, creating a How-To bundle with different items such as how to cook, how to care for your child, how to manage your home, how to keep your spouse happy etc.
Creating a repackaged item that does not include very exciting items, but giving the package such an appealing title that people are tempted to know what’s in it. For instance: The Best, Fastest, and Easiest Road to Wealth: 101 Ways to Make Money on the Internet.
Repackage your items by adding something unusual to the bundle. For instance, you could add a free e-book (a resell rights item perhaps), maybe some useful software, or perhaps even a free coupon of some sort.
Your repackaged product could also be a ruse to sell other, more profitable items. For example: 101 Grandest Weddings, which advertises your wedding planning business or even a wedding planning course.
Back to Index
Idea No. 7: Be an Expert 5 Minute Author
Did you know that there is something known as a five minute writer? Well, this refers to a writer who authors content that is brief and small, generally not more than 400-500 words. Such content could be anything from small news items, short stories, mini-articles, letters from your readers, space fillers, online posts, and even web logs.
There are plenty of old books, especially magazines and editorials, which feature small stories and news items of their times. Many of these stories are relevant in today’s times also and could well fascinate the modern reader.
Editors of print and online publications are always on the look out for people who can provide them with small interesting pieces that can be used as space fillers, but which provide useful information as well. If your stories are unique, or if they are on a subject that has a local audience, or even if your content has seasonal appeal; then they could well be lapped up by editors.
If you source your five minute content from old print magazines, then the content is very likely to be informative and written with proper spellings and grammar. You may just have to find interesting pieces, type them out again, mention the source of the article and send it to the editors. When your article gets published you will get paid, usually very handsomely.
To locate editors who you can send your five minute articles to, you can search in books such as the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.
Here’s a working example of what I just told you about. Some days back, I was going through a few old medical papers. These were from the late 19th century and I was perusing them for another project of mine.
I found some interesting short pieces, articles and some amazing factual information. The information was informative and was also really funny. And by the way, funny and humorous stories are especially very valuable as there is a huge demand for them from editors of current newspapers and magazines. If you can get your hands on such content, you will definitely not have any trouble selling it.
Anyways, coming back to the topic at hand, here’s what I got from my old medical papers:
Epilepsy is a condition that largely affects those men who have not undergone circumcision.
After spending 75 summers on this earth; a lady from Edinburgh, Scotland became mother to a bonny baby. Talk about late bloomers, this one takes the cake!
If you want to know how much time a lady will take to recover from a disease, the soles of her feet will tell all.
A well known medical expert in the UK alleges that alcoholics live much longer than teetotallers.
You can choose the sex of your baby if you so wish. As Dr Humphrey of London puts it, “Whence making love, the one who has the greater sexual hunger and desire, unto that person the likeness of the conceived will depend.”
All these interesting, funny, and amazing pieces of information have been taken from a single source. There are plenty more that you too can find.
By being a five minute author, you can earn a lot of money, especially if your content gets picked to be ‘Letter of the Day’ or other such content. All you need to do is search through the public domain and locate pieces that are unique, funny, witty, and informative, and sell them to editors.
Back to Index
Idea No. 8: Enhance the Position of Your Website in Search Engines
As far as search engine positioning for a website goes - content is king. The vast majority of the people doing Internet searches are trying to find information, while the others are looking to purchase products. Search engines thus do not display results based on advertisements and promotions, but choose to list sites that have useful and informative content that is related to the keywords which are being searched on.
Thus, the websites which contain several pages (perhaps running into hundreds of pages) of useful information will be positioned higher up in the search engine results pages than those websites which largely contain ads, sales talk, and other marketing based content. Although all the search engines may not function on these exact rules, most of the major ones surely do.
Adding useful and valuable content to your website can be a costly and time consuming affair. But if you source content from the public domain then you can add pages to your website fast and without spending too much money.
Large books and various other text based public domain items can be used to add several pages of content to a website. These can be broken down into individual articles of 400-500 words each (which is the preferred size of articles for the web) and one article can be uploaded to one web page. Depending on how many pages of content you can add to your website in this manner, your website position on the search engine results pages will be determined accordingly.
Thus, it’s no surprise that public domain products are so popular with webmasters, as they can source hundreds of pages of web content from the public domain items.
Having a high position for your website on search engines is enough to drive traffic to your site, but if you do not have any saleable items then you will not be making any money. Thus, to increase the earning potential of your site, you should add some affiliate links at suitable places between the content and can also think of making money through Pay-Per-Click programs.
Back to Index
Idea No. 9: Creating Your Own Mailing List
One of the best assets that any business can have, whether online or offline, is a large mailing list. However, creating a mailing list is not very easy because you have to ensure that each contact on your mailing list is a genuine one and people have opted to be on your list. Due to modern data protection rules, you must ensure all this otherwise you can be in legal trouble if anyone blames you of spamming them.
One of the simplest ways in which you can get people to opt for your mailing list is to offer them some type of free item (maybe a small e-book, or a report) that you have obtained from the public domain. If anyone tries to access the information on your site, you could have a pop-up which asks them to enter the name and contact details, on doing which you will send them their free product, and give them access to your site. In this manner, you can add to your mailing list every time someone visits your website.
The link for the mailing list could even be contained in the free item, and it can also have links to various offers that earn you money, such as your affiliate partners and Pay-Per-Click advertisements.
Let’s look at an example of how you can create a mailing list with a complimentary report. The topic of the report is yours to choose, but it is best if you select a topic that is related to your website.
You first need to find relevant content from the public domain, and once you have sourced some appropriate content, you have to copy the content into a Word document. Edit the content and keep only about 2000-2500 words, which is the optimum length for a free report.
Next, you have to format the content a little. Times New Roman or Arial type font is the most used, whereas font size is usually 12 points. For headers you can use point 16 font, whereas the title can be size 20 font. Every new chapter should begin on a fresh page and your report should include a Table of Contents.
Date your report, put down your name as editor and make sure you add a copyright notification to your report. Create a cover page for your report, with an image if possible, and then turn the entire thing into a PDF file, which is much more attractive than a Word doc. Once your PDF report is ready, you simply need to upload it on your site. After that, you just wait and watch your site visitors being tempted by your complimentary download and asking to opt in to your mailing list.
Example Eighteen: Creating a Complimentary Download from the Public Domain to Grow a Mailing List
LEARN TO COOK A GOURMET MEAL IN LESS THAN A WEEK
Get This Wonderful Report FREE On Joining Our Mailing List Which Will be Used to Send You Updated Information and Unique Offers.
Check the Box To be Part of Our Mailing List and We Will Soon E-Mail You Instructions on How to Access This Amazing FREE Report.
The names and contact details of people who check the box can be collected in many ways. You can use an automated email program such as Eudora or membership software like the ones available at aweber.com to gather the details. You even have the option of collecting the details manually by using standard software such as Outlook Express. However, this option is only feasible when you are starting out and you should look at a more automatic system once your mailing list really starts to expand.
The instructions to access the free report must be sent to the e-mail address that was given by the subscriber. This can either be done manually or by using an automated auto-responder system. Just make sure that you keep all the subscription requests properly so that you have some proof if anyone ever says that they did not opt in to your mailing list.
Back to Index
Idea No. 10: Offer Free Stuff to Attract Customers to Your Products
Giving away free stuff such as a free e-book or a report is not only a great way to grow your mailing list, but can also be used to sell other products. There are many people who would like to know more about your product before they choose to buy it and a free report is a good way to give them such information.
Let’s say for example that you have an affiliate that sells honeymoon packages. You could give away a free report on the ‘10 Best Honeymoon Destinations Worldwide’, which would increase the likelihood of people buying the honeymoon packages you’re selling.
You can achieve a lot of things by giving away free information. Here’s a look at some of these things:
As shown previously, a free book or report is a great way to grow a mailing list. Even if your visitors do not want to purchase anything at the moment, with a mailing list, you can send them new and fresh offers from time to time, thus turning them into paid customers as and when they do want to buy. If you have not given the free report, you would have to depend on the visitor actually noting down the details of your site and coming back regularly for new products, which is something that just doesn’t happen.
By giving away a free report, you can circumvent scepticism that people have of purchasing products from an unfamiliar source. By reading your free report, a prospective buyer can judge the genuineness of your business as well as understand it. With better awareness, the person is then more liable to purchase from you than through a TV or Web promotion that they have no idea about.
You can include various offers in your free report, and along with the great content, the report is likely to be saved by many people. They may even refer to it when they want to buy something and also pass it along to their friends and family, all of whom could become paid customers.
And the best part about creating a free report is that it can be compiled using public domain content and you will thus not have to spend too much time or money behind its creation. A free report can be used beneficial by people in all kinds of businesses and industries. For instance:
Someone who is selling pillows and other bedroom furnishings can create a free report titled ‘The Benefits of Sleeping Tight’, which can also stress the advantages of their products.
If you are in the business of selling cars, you could create a free report called ‘How to Get the Best Mileage from Your Car’, which can contain your business and contact information in case people are looking for a new car.
Those who are in the business of selling organic vegetables could create a free booklet like ‘100 Mouth-watering Broccoli Recipes’, which could mention that you offer a service for weekly home deliveries of organic vegetables.
As you can see from the above, practically anyone can create a free report to offer to prospective customers and watch their business grow.
If you are selling an expensive item, such as honeymoon packages, or new cars, or maybe expensive furniture, then you need to make sure your product is unique and unusual. If it is not, then people could end up choosing from the various sellers of such products out there. Here’s where that free report can be very handy.
If customers had a choice of various products that were quite similar in quality, content, and cost, then they would be more likely to pick your product (which comes with a valuable free report) than another one that does not include any kind of freebies.
Introductory Chapters and Sales Letters Camouflaged as Free Reports
A free report can also be used to disguise an obvious sales promotion or to entice people to buy a full length book or report. Sometimes, when I want to promote a comprehensive book to prospective customers, I simply create a free booklet which contains the first few chapters of my longer book or useful information taken from the book. The customer gets a free sample of my book and is also tempted to buy the full version, if the free report contains interesting enough information.
Usually, the full book has been sourced from the public domain and I simply pick up an interesting chapter from my book and include it in the free booklet. I also include an order form in the free booklet itself, so that people can immediately fill it out and send it in. I have seen that this works really well because people have just finished reading the free report and that is the exact moment when you can convert maximum sales.
Your free booklet can also increase sales in some other ways, including
Whatever items you are selling can be included in your free offering. Instead of listing them all in one place, you can include items at selected places within the content where they are appropriately tied in with the information. All the products that cannot be included in this manner can then be listed separately.
Your free report can include links of all your affiliate partners. The links can also appear within the content in relevant places. Thus, even if you do not have any product of your own, you can still benefit from a free report through affiliate earnings.
Back to Index
How to Market Your Goods
Making Use of Google Adwords
In today’s times, if you want to promote your products on the Internet, then you simply cannot ignore the benefits of Google Adwords and Pay-Per-Click programs. What these programs essentially ensure is that your advertisements will be viewed by all those people who type certain keywords into the search engine boxes; keywords that are related to your product. If direct target advertising is what you are looking for, this is definitely the closest you can get.
Google AdWords appear as classified ads on the right side of the result pages of Google, when the same keywords are being typed into the search engine as are included in the ad. Sometimes, your ad can also appear at the top of the result pages.
With these programs, you can easily run a test trial to see what kind of market is out there for your products. You can offer your free report related to your products and evaluate how many people actually accessed your free report. This will give you an idea of how many people may be interested in your product, much before you actually put your product on the market.
Basically, by using various Pay-Per-Click options and Google AdWords, anyone can post a brief ad related to their product. Whether they have any writing talent or web development skills are beside the point, they can place their ad regardless.
Once someone types in the keywords that your ad has been optimized for, your ad will appear in the search engine results pages for all the visitors to see. The keywords that you need to optimize for can be determined through proper keyword analysis. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you will have to pay the site that carried your ad.
This ensures that your marketing is directed to only those people who are searching for the exact keywords that relate to your product and all the people who view your ad will actually be interested in what you are offering.
Advantages of Using Google Adwords, Overture, and Other Pay-Per-Click Services
Very easy to place such ads as there are no problems that are associated with offline advertising, such as getting recommendations from advocates, chartered accountants, product suppliers or bank executives. As long as you want to post pay-per-click ads and have the money to do so, you do not need anything else for such internet marketing.
With Internet marketing, you can fulfil all your advertising requirements in one place. With magazines and print publications you have to worry about separate editions for public markets and for target markets. And if there isn’t a big enough niche market, then the edition may never come out. But with Google AdWords, your ad can be targeted perfectly to your niche market, regardless of how big or small it is.
With offline advertising, there is another concern of subscription. If the magazine does not get a large enough subscriber base, it may not be viable anymore, which means your ad may never get seen by people. However, there is no such concern with Internet marketing as it caters to all kinds of people and has billions of people ‘subscribing’ to it.
With google adwords, less can actually be more. If you have a very small target market, google adwords will make sure that your ad reaches them; but with such a small audience, you may not have to worry about other people competing for the same adwords. This will bring down the price that you pay for each click, which means that your marketing campaign can be done for peanuts.
There is no gestation period with online marketing. As soon as you have completed your adwords form, your ad will be up and running in a matter of seconds.
With this kind of online marketing, you can reach a global audience. If your product has worldwide appeal, you can reach practically all kinds of people by choosing ‘All Countries’ for your google ad to appear. However, if your product is targeted to a specific country, or to people who talk a particular language, then you can also limit your ad to appear in such markets.
As far as cost is concerned, this can be much cheaper than offline marketing, more so if you do not have any competition for the adwords that you choose. Where you might pay thousands of pounds or dollars for advertising in newspapers and big magazines, a Google AdWords campaign can be started with as less as 10 pounds.
You can reach far more people by advertising on Google and other sites than is possible with offline marketing. Google alone has in excess of 200 million people conducting searches every day! And add to that the number of people who visit other sites and you are looking at billions of visitors. Obviously all these people may not be interested in your product, but the potential is far greater than any type of offline marketing.
Google adwords gives the chance to smaller companies to compete with the big guys. Although smaller companies may not have as big a marketing budget as bigger companies, they can still benefit a great deal, especially if they can come up with some adwords that have been overlooked or rejected by the bigger guys.
Testing your product is very simple, quicker, and much more economical. In just a few days you can determine whether your product will be accepted by people and how big a market you can capture, unlike offline marketing where it can take several weeks or months to test different aspects of your product.
For detailed information about the Google AdWords program, you can visit www.adwords.google.com
Back to Index
Using eBay to Sell Your Items Derived From the Public Domain
EBay is certainly one of the greatest avenues for marketing your items, public domain derivatives or otherwise. It has a global audience; there are hundreds of niche categories to list your items so that you can choose the one that best applies to your unique product; and finally, it’s really very cheap.
I won’t go into the detailed explanation of how to use eBay, or extol its virtues here, as I have already done that previously when I was trying to show you how to use eBay to locate books and various other public domain items.
In the same manner that you can use eBay to find public domain works, you can also use it to sell your derivative products. Since this report is not about eBay, I won’t be detailing its workings, but with a little effort, you will be able to see how eBay can be used to market your items profitably.
Alternatively, you could also read up o the hundreds of reports and books that are available on the Internet, which show you how to sell information products on the site.
Back to Index
Miscellaneous Marketing Avenues for Your Public Domain Derivatives
There are several more ways in which you can advertise your public domain derivative items. Some of these are:
Tell people about your product. Word of mouth publicity is hugely beneficial.
Take out a classified ad in your local paper, or even in the national edition.
Request editors of print publications to carry your free report, which can then be read by their subscribers.
Create five minute articles for local publications and newspapers, which carry some information about your products.
Include your e-mail address and website URL on all your stationery, so that people get these details when you correspond with them.
Create a special e-signature with your business name to add to your emails.
Consider including fliers or pamphlets about your business and products with each letter or parcel that you send out, whether to your family members, friends, work colleagues, or acquaintances.
Conjure up a newsworthy angle for your products and send out a press release; both to online and offline reporting agencies.
Join hands with other webmasters to raise enough money for a large advertisement or promotional piece in a publication that has huge number of subscribers.
Create your own newsletter or start an ezine, both of which give valuable information to your customers so that they return to your website often.
If you receive a lot of mails from people who are selling their own products, you should create your own mailing list of such contacts. But never offer them your products at the same time as they offer theirs.
Locate relevant newsgroups on the web and then supply to them regularly.
Use card deck to advertise your items.
Try and get into joint venture agreements with people on the web and off it.
Back to Index
List of Places to Locate Public Domain Items Easily and Quickly
The site of America’s Library of Congress is a great resource for people looking for public domain items. This site provides you with plenty of information, but not all of it is public domain. In spite of that, it is very popular with people seeking public domain information and worth looking at.
Copyright Law Websites of Various Countries
Please note: we try to keep these links live and up to date - we cannot be held responsible for sites outside of our domain. If you find dead leinks lease would you let me know!
Major Websites for Downloading Public Resources
Internet Public Library
Digital Library, University of Pennsylvania
America’s Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs
Official Documents of United States Government
Federal Citizen Information Center
FEMA Photo Library
Naval Historical Center
US Department of State
Federal Government Images
US Census Data
US Government Printing Office
History of America
Motion Pictures, Animated Works, Films, Photos, Plays, and Theatrical Works
American Memory Collection (massive resource)
Origin of American Animations
Books and Reports
Open Book Project
Rare Book and Special Collections
Internet Public Library
Million Book Project
Open Source Books
Online Books Page
Art and Photography
US Department of the Interior
American History Images
US Air Force Link
Astronaut Photography of Earth (NASA)
NYPL Digital (Prints, Maps, Photographs)
George Eastman House (Photographs)
Articles and Guides
Movie, Audio, Video, and Sound Recordings
American Political History
Desert Island Films
Museum of Modern Art
Royalty Free Art
Classic Literature Library
FEMA Photo Library
Colorado Historical Papers
Internet Poetry Archive
Choreography and Sheet Music
Sibley Music Library
African American Sheet Music
Sheet Music USA
American Sheet Music
Sheet Music Archive
Choral Music Public Domain Library
Public Domain Music
Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection
The Music Library
Public Domain Software Library
Fred’s Public Domain Programs
Where to Source Articles for Your Derivative Books
www.pdinfo.com (wonderful website for public domain music)
www.pdimages.com (amazing site about using public domain images)
Websites for Renewing Copyrights
Government Copyright Search
Catalog of Copyright Entries
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Make Your Own MAILORDER MILLIONS!
A More Scientific Approach!
Mailorder IS a business ... just as Manufacturing, Wholesale, and Retail are businesses.
Think about it this way ... If you decide to fabricate a product, you will be in the Manufacturing business - If you decide to sell products for further distribution, you will be in the Wholesale business - If you decide to sell products to the end-user (consumer), you will be in the Retail business.
Why then, if you decide to sell products or services by soliciting orders by mail, are you not in the Mailorder business?
As far back as my research has been able to reach, it has been stated emphatically, by writer after writer, that Mailorder is not a business.
Mailorder is only a way of doing business.
Granted, mailorder can be a way of doing business … for a Manufacturer, Wholesaler or Retailer - but - it can be, and is, a business unto itself. - It needs no other purpose than that of ‘selling products or services by soliciting orders through the mail.’
Have you noticed that I have chosen to use ‘mailorder’ as one word ... instead of two separate words; or as a hyphenated compound word.
According to my handy-dandy dictionaries...four of them; one of them even being state of-the-art computerized...there are only two definitions containing both words; “mail” and “order.”
The first definition is, mail order ... two words; not hyphenated ... defined as, ‘An order for goods to be shipped through the mail.’
Since, if you decide to sell products and services by mail, you will not be involved in the business of ‘ordering goods’ by mail ... you will be ‘selling,’ not ‘ordering’ ... the use of ‘mail order’ as two words is illogical.
The other definition is, ‘mail-order house’ ... with mail-order as a hyphenated compound word ... defined as, ‘A business that is organized primarily to promote, receive, and fill requests for merchandise or services through the mail.’
Although more functionally correct, if I read the definition the way my old professor of the English language taught me, the business of a Mail-order House is ‘primarily to promote requests for merchandise or services through the mail, receive requests for merchandise or services through the mail, and fill requests for merchandise or services through the mail.’ - but - a ‘request’ isn’t a sale and ‘promoting, receiving and filling
Requests’ isn’t selling.
Therefore, I have chosen to define ‘mailorder’ ... one word; no hyphen ... as, ‘The act of promoting the sale of products or services through the mail, and receiving and fulfilling mail orders.’
Unfortunately, the term mailorder... in all its forms whether two words or a hyphenated compound word ... has come into some disrepute over the years - not because of the nature of the business but, rather, because of some of the shoddy products and services offered at super-inflated prices being sold, and the high-pressure, exaggerated-benefits sales approaches employed by some less-than-scrupulous promoters selling their wares, through the mail.
The same aspersions cast against 'salesmen' in general have been, and are, leveled at mailorder marketers - however - a lone salesman can only, physically, call-on a dozen or so people in any given day. A mailorder solicitation, on the other hand, can reach hundreds of thousands of households at the same time - That makes mailorder a much bigger, and far more visible, target ... affecting more people in one day than a lone salesman could contact in a lifetime.
For that reason, all too many mailorder marketers have politically corrected their chosen profession to that of being direct response marketers ... while the mailorder industry disdains itself by denying its true purpose and politically correcting its intent.
As for me, I am a Master Craftsman of the Mailorder Art ... a Mailorder Marketer ... proud of the fact that I can bring the products and services of the world into the homes and offices of people who would not otherwise, except for my efforts, have convenient access to those products or services.
You are, hereby, invited to join me in my chosen profession ... become a Mailorder Marketing Master - satisfy the wants and needs of the public by taking products and services directly to them, in their homes and offices, by mail.
So now that's all cleared up, let’s go!
Before we do, you’ll see that much of what you’ll learn here about the traditional business of mailorder is still as cutting edge and relevant to your online business as anything you’ll ever read from those gurus.
As a side note to the above paragraph I've just re read it after moving to my new elert Gadget blog system and doing some serious editing. This is verbateum, what I worte to one of my business partners:
Paul Tranter: Funny, I'm just uploading all the Systtem Ultra K stuff via the gadget to test - but what's interesting is that with a couple of edits it's a fresh and relevant today as it was back then
Terry Johnson: timeless
Although I love paper and ink type products, just about anything can be sold via the mail. This section of System Ultra K will give you everything you need to do this, and sell well. If you have product already, when you’ve finished this module you will know how to double, triple or even quadruple your sales.
I will outline a more scientific approach to mailorder because it works with almost any product you can imagine. All you need to do is follow the rules established by those who have blazed the trial. Although this is about as close to foolproof as you can get, it’s not an absolute because, as I said, nothing in business is 100% guaranteed - anyone who tells you different is a fool or a liar, or both!
Why do I love paper and ink, information type products?
I touched on the reasons why in an earlier module but to recap: They are highly profitable and their value is un quantifiable.
If the information you are about to read has generated $billions and has the capability, in the right hands, to generate billions more ... what is that information worth?
You certainly wouldn’t set your price based upon the cost of the paper and printing would you?
If you read this section, put the systems to work and begin to make thousands of dollars, pounds or euros a week are you going to contact me and say: “Ere Mr Money King, I’ve been thinking … you know that course thing of yours, I think you overcharged me a bit. I’ve written a course of my own and had some printing done and it was a fraction of what you charged me, I think you ought to give me some money back or I’ll be sending the boys round.”
Of course you wouldn’t! You’d realise that the value lay in what was being taught. In fact, you’d probably feel that you should have been charged a lot more.
You see, there’s no real tangible value you can attach to information. The general rule is, that you charge what people are willing to pay, whilst giving value for money.
How much are people willing to pay?
Well, that depends on what you’re selling and how well you promote it. The only way you are going to ascertain the value of your product is by using a more scientific approach.
If you were selling computers for instance, there is an extremely small margin for error. We all know the price of a particular model and no matter how good your sales literature, you’re never going to convince anyone that your all-singing, all-dancing, super-megagigabyte, turbo-charged, super-pentium is worth any more than its intrinsic value … no way, no how!
A computer, is a computer, is a computer, and if you overprice it, your potential customers are going to spot that immediately and go elsewhere.
Now, when you’re dealing with 'information' that is unique and not available elsewhere, how do you value it?
If you are the only supplier, then what have your potential customers got to compare your information to? Add to the equation the fact that the information you are dealing in has the potential to make your customers very wealthy and the ability to make judgment on the cost goes out of the window.
If you were to ask the guy who charged $10,000 a day for his seminar how he justified such a hefty price tag then his answer would be purely one of economics: If you left one of those seminars, applied the techniques he taught and made several hundred, thousand dollars in your first year, would you still feel it was a high price to pay?
How would you justify charging a hefty price for a computer?
The more scientific approach means that you need to test, record and review everything you do. Set your price, record the take up, evaluate if it is sufficient, and that enough people have felt you are justified in setting that price.
This rule is the underpinning of everything you learn throughout System Ultra K. If you do not test, record and review, your business will have no foundations and will come crashing down as surely and inevitably as any structure without footings.
Now, with the basic rule in place you really only need three things to succeed in mailorder. We are going to take a look at the basics and then go on to explore each area in finite detail.
1. A product.
2. A good mailing piece or advertising copy.
3. A mailing list.
I explained earlier that I was originally formally trained in advertising. I qualified as an Art Director.
In advertising, you generally work as a team consisting of a Copywriter and an Art Director. You work on ideas, bouncing them back and forth until something begins to gel. I would work on the visual elements and the Copywriter would add the words that drove home the message.
Good advertising teams make excellent money, but do they really know how to sell product or are they just adept at raising consumer awareness?
Are they experts?
I love this quote: ‘It has often been said that an expert is anyone more than 50 miles from home, but in reality 'X’ is an unknown quantity and a spurt is a drip under pressure!’
I think that just about sums it up!
There are very few ‘advertising experts’ who have sold a single product of their own.
They are very adept at telling business people how to sell their products, they will make silk purses from pigs ears and will charge a premium for doing so, but as a rule, they haven’t got a clue … and that included me!
Oh yes, I could knock up a great looking ad but would it sell anything … not really!
It’s not until you get into the minds of great mailorder artists that you begin to understand why certain methodology works.
Let’s take a look at:
On the whole, the mailorder business is a clean, well-run operation, but there is a clear element that seem determined to spoil it for others – The World of Scum.
Although the techniques you are going to learn apply to selling any product via the mail I am biased towards what I call paper and ink type merchandise for reasons I have explained (easy and cheap to produce, un quantifiable price etc). Unfortunately, it is this niche which seems to attract the largest rouge element. I don’t want to dwell too much on the negative side of this business, but as you will read, it is very easy to make mistakes following conventional thinking, mistakes we want to avoid.
One of the greatest misconceptions, and also the greatest damaging contributor to the mailorder business is the notion that a product must sell for at least 5-8 times its cost.
The result of this presumption is that some mailorder novices rush out and source low cost products and apply an artificially high mark up on the goods.
Is it any wonder then that their customers feel they have not had value for money when sent this overpriced dross? Even those who peddle information fail to source good, solid, reliable data. They find any old material, add to it the highest price tag they can get away with, throw in a dodgy guarantee for good measure and run rampant through our customer base.
The worst example of this I ever saw was an ad placed in a high profile publication reading
How To Make Thousands Of Pounds In
The Mail Order Business - Guaranteed.
Send just £10 to:
When trusting customers sent off their tenner they received a tatty old bit of paper and on it were a few badly typed words: Put an advert in a high profile publication reading: ‘How to make thousands of pounds in the mail order business’ and charge £10 for it.
It’s dirty scum-bags like that who ruin the business for others who offer quality product.
If I could only give you one piece of advise it would be this:
Do the very best you can do in anything and everything you can do … ALWAYS!
Source the best products you can find - people will buy from you and as your reputation grows, so will your sales. Customers will pay large sums of money if your products are worth it.
A mailorder product does not have to be marked up at 5-8 times its cost. The secret is in the profit not the 5-1 rule. Why is it that to be successful in the mailorder world your profit must be 500% - who started that notion?
What makes this business any different from any other? Most of the world’s biggest retailers work on much smaller margins, why should mailorder be any different?
Select your best product, and based on a scientific evaluation of the competition, decide what you ‘think’ people will pay for it. Excluding VAT (taxes), if applicable, subtract the cost from the sale price and you have your profit per item.
From this you can calculate how many sales you need to cover your overheads, mailing, paper, printing etc and … hey presto, the rest is clear profit!
When you know how many sales/orders you need to cover costs, you can work out if a mailorder project is viable. If it appears as though there is potential then test, record and review!
If it makes a profit, then roll out the mailings.
Mailorder ‘superstars’ constantly profess to making a killing from marketing and that it’s the most profitable business ever devised. It can be, sure, but major big hits are positively the exception, not the rule.
In fact, most of the so-called mailorder superstars have never had a runaway product in their lives.
I know I certainly haven’t – I’ve had good runs but have yet to hit the BIG UN!
Every once in a blue moon, a product will break all the rules and fly away. If anyone tells you they regularly make massive, quick money in mailorder then frankly, they are talking through their arse!
99.9% of successful Mailorder Masters do not get rich with one single big hit. Never, no way, no how!
Mailorder Masters make a steady profit month in, month out. Some may never strike that golden seam, but they do get rich … slowly, surely, absolutely … using all the techniques you are learning.
One of my past business disasters was when I bought a bar in Shrewsbury. ‘The Upsidedown Flying Crocodile Bar’ had everything: Position, character, regular passing clientele, owners with energy and flair!
We pitched our theme at the younger generation by offering bottled beer, a 10,000-watt sound system, and a live DJ. The bar was right on the intersection of two main pub-crawl, routes and every weekend you could not move in the place. The kids would queue right along the road to get in.
Two doors down was an old man’s drinking pub, never busy, but with a regular gathering of undesirables. Those old has-beens would drink steadily from the moment the doors opened until they fell out at night, day in day out.
If you were to ask anyone in the town about ‘the lads who had the bar,’ they’d say we were the town’s richest wide boys … well the truth couldn’t have been more different!
Yes, we were busy; we would take large amounts of cash over the weekend, but there was the problem - we only took cash for six hours in a week. Thursday to Saturday; 9.00 o’clock till 11.00. Six lousy hours!
Whilst we were creaming it in during that time the neighboring pub was pretty deserted, except for a few hardened drinkers steadily putting it away. But they’d be there the next day, and the day after, and the day after that…
Although on the surface, it appeared we had shares in a brewery, we could never come close to matching the barrelage sold by the grotty hole down the road - and they had smaller overheads!
That’s what happens in mailorder, the masters have a range of products that make a profit and keep banging away day in day out … sounds just like that new-fangled, t’Internet thing, eh?
Find the best products you can, ensure they make a profit, however small (to a point where the effort of selling that product outweighs the work involved), and keep banging away.
This is the most overemphasized element in mailorder … not overrated: overemphasized.
Granted, dynamite copy will sell products, but therein lays the problem.
I could sell tulips to the Dutch if I put my mind to it. I have, over the years, discovered that I’m a much better Copywriter than Art Director, and I have a talent for helping customers to make the right choice!
Now, when the old Dutchman takes delivery of his much-anticipated bunch of flowers, only to discover they’re the limp, anemic, bottom-of-the-garden, greenhouse variety, how do you think he’s going to feel?
I would have made those tulips sound so good that the Dutch fellah would have written out a cheque on the spot … yet how dismayed he would be when they arrived?
One of the first marketing pieces I wrote was a flop. In fact, many of the marketing pieces I have written have flopped! But the first was a gem; it was full of anger and frustration.
I had received so much crap over time from people who were breaking every rule I am about to teach you. They had driven me mad with their idle banter and false promises. I had become so indignant at constantly being let down that I vented my rage on my first unsuspecting mailorder ‘potential’ clients. I had vowed never to disappoint people like others had me.
I felt the whole world should know about all those bastards who had ripped me off … not the wisest of moves I’ve ever made, as you’ll read!!!
I do not recommend that anything negative should go into a mailing, there’s no need and if a potential customer is not thinking in a pessimistic way, why encourage them?
I want to reproduce what I wrote and share with you the animosity instilled in me by ‘mailorder wannabes’ messing up our business, and how it makes people feel when ad copy is better than the product … and yes, this really was the heading I used:
Sick of Bullshit?
Are you sick of people who say they can, when they can’t?
Are you sick of people who offer you the earth, then come up with a handful of mud?
Quick introduction … my name is Money King.
You may or may not be aware that you are currently residing on someone's mailing list.
So am I!
I know because I bought your name and address and like me, you will be receiving offers every week from some SMART ARSE sitting at a desk thinking of a new way to rip you off.
Every day I get some promotion or other telling me that I am about to become a millionaire in my sleep using words like these:
‘YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE A MILLION AND THE BEST PART IS, THAT YOU HAVE TO DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO EARN IT!!!’
I am sick to the back teeth of people trying to take me for a ride … Are you?
I consider myself to be quite worldly-wise, yet I have been taken in on more than one occasion.
A good copywriter will sell coals to Newcastle. (They used to mine lots of coal in Newcastle!)
I have experienced that sickening feeling at the pit of my stomach when, after waiting for days with eager anticipation, the package finally hits the doormat. I had been getting up especially early to catch the postman because, I knew that in a few weeks I was going to have all the money I have ever dreamed of...
It arrives, drops from the letterbox; you tear open the envelope - a $million opportunity?
Not a chance!
You have just forked out your hard earned dosh for a few scraps of hastily photocopied paper containing about as much information as a Peter and Jane kiddies’s book.
That’s OK. You send it back and ask for your refund under that ‘No Quibble Guarantee’, only to find that it’s absolutely, definitely, positively a ‘Full Quibble, Not A Chance Mate, Guarantee.’
Most of the mailings I receive go something like this:
‘Dear Fellow Entrepreneur, mug, soft touch,
I used to be destitute, living in the gutter, drinking meths.
Life had dealt me some cruel blows and I was in a rut with no
possible hope of a future. I had given up, there was nothing
left to live for. I decided to end it all. I was about to
throw myself off the Severn Bridge when, suddenly, it happened.
An idea came floating into my head, a vision, a way to make
enough money to live like a King, and what’s more; I realised it
could be done overnight.
Immediately, I took control of my situation and put my idea to
work. Within 48 hours I became the most successful man on the
planet and now have everything I could ever desire: Cars, a private
Leer Jet, a mansion, wild women, and a months holiday every week.
I am now a big-league player. I will never have to work again.
Send me a hundred dollars and I’ll tell you my secret.’
Well something like that!!!
I used to fall for it. I now ask myself: “If he has such a wonderful idea; an idea so brilliant it is making him megabucks, how can he afford to waste so much of his precious, fun packed time, writing to me?”
It’s manure. That’s why and 99% of what you get through your letterbox is the same.
The sad thing is, that the 1% of real, sincere opportunities never get a look in. You become so disillusioned that you throw all mailings in the bin without a second thought.
The genuine, solid business plans which would give you a reasonable standard of living; they don’t even get glanced at.
It’s the same old story - the majority of us suffer because a small percentage of losers take the piss!
OK, what makes you so different Mr, Sat On His High Horse, Preacher Man? I hear you ask!!!’...
Off I went, babbling on about how disenchanted I was with everything I had bought from mailorder pretenders. You see now though, what I mean when ad copy is overemphasized. Don’t get me wrong, you need good copy, but it’s only ONE ingredient in the great mailorder soup.
If the product does not live up to the hype then the customer is going to be (a). Cheesed off and (b). Never going to buy from you or anybody else via the mail again.
Many excellent ad writers have gone broke because they had no depth of understanding of the mailorder business. Many people can write a killer headline and body copy. Then why is it that so few go on to make considerable incomes from mailorder and enjoy any longevity?
It’s because there is a lot more to success in mailorder than finding any old product, hyping it up and waiting for the orders to flood in. Yet, that is how so many mailorder ‘experts’ portray this business and yes, they may make some money, the same as any scamster can have a couple of hits. But there is no real substance to what they are doing. They fade away and move on to vandalize some other virgin territory of rich pickings.(Sounds like the Net doesn't it?)
There was an infamous British soap, El Dorado that flopped spectacularly a few years ago. I hate soaps, but what caught my attention about this one was all the pre-launch hype. I have never seen so much exposure for a programme: Hot Latin lovers, steamy romps in the sun, dusky beauties. I am convinced this hype was its downfall.
The programme hadn’t a hope-in-hell of living up to peoples’ expectations. If they had launched with a low-key introduction, then I’m sure people would have not pre-judged the show. They’d have taken it for what it was and it might well have done better. I’m not saying it would have survived because it was crap, but maybe it would have stood half a chance!
ENSURE THAT YOUR PRODUCT IS AS GOOD, IF NOT BETTER THAN YOUR MAILING.
This is what one of America’s top newsletter writers had to say on the subject of overemphasized ad copy:
‘When I became a newsletter publisher (over 20 years ago), I spent 80% of my time putting my newsletter together and only 20% of my time on advertising (I still do but my ad copywriting has got better).
My ad copy wasn’t the greatest, but the product was so good that 75% to 85% of my subscribers renewed their subscriptions each year (they still do). Producing revenue with NO additional advertising expense.
As a matter of fact, at one time I quit advertising my newsletter for one full year. My revenue stayed about the same, but my savings on advertising increased my usable cash flow by 100%.
Today, most of the ‘new breed’ of newsletter publishers spend 80% of their time on advertising and only 20% on their product.
Their ad copy is so good, it pulls orders like crazy - but - only 20% to 30% of their subscribers ever renew their subscriptions. So, they have to spend more and more time and money advertising for new subscribers, just to stay even.
Granted, ad copy is IMPORTANT ... but ... the absolute best, most order-pulling ad copy in the world cannot, and will not, make you a fortune in mailorder without a valuable product.
A product that is as good as (preferably better than) your ad copy.’
What makes good ad copy?
This has long been the subject of fierce debate. The simple answer is: Copy that sells your product.
If you are going to do the writing then you need to develop a style. You also need to test, record and review in order to evaluate what works; but I don’t want you to go broke whilst going through this process.
I know what works for me, but you may develop a totally different style as I explained in an earlier module. The art of copywriting can be explained from a thousand different angles - all are right, all are wrong!
Leonardo Da Vinci was an exceptional artist, so was Dali.
They were masters in the field of art; both were dominant in their profession. But each had their inimitable style, which was very different from the other. Neither was any less accomplished as an artist, yet one would not dream of using the other’s style (assuming they were both around at the same time!). Both were right, neither was wrong - they simply developed their own individual style … that worked.
There are many arguments put forward by mailorder gurus as what exactly works.
If you follow just one paradigm as a newcomer to mailorder, then you are simply copying that person’s teaching and not developing your own style.
When I first started writing, I used to send all my stuff to a mailorder master, Stuart Goldsmith. I admired his work and mimicked his style to the extent of almost mirroring what he wrote. On several occasions he returned whole batches of work with: ‘You are more than talented enough to write your own stuff without copying mine,’ scribbled in red ink across it.
Over time, I persevered and grew more and more confident, to the point where people could recognise my style a million miles away.
Yes, you must have an idea of what works in the early days of your career, but you have to test, record and review what works for you and the particular product you are selling. You need to develop a style that is your own - how are you going to achieve Total Personal and Financial Freedom when you are walking in another’s shoes?
Let’s examine some more mailorder hypotheses:
Long copy, short copy?
I have a drawer full of mailings I have selected from the thousands I have received over the years. The only qualification a mailing needs to end up in that prestigious ‘Catch my Eye’, drawer of fame, is to catch my attention!
If you want to succeed in mailorder I would urge you to do the same. Read the all mailings you receive and decide which ones inspire you to send off for the product.
Do not pre-judge anything, simply read each mailing and ask yourself if it motivates you sufficiently to spend some of that hard-earned cash of yours!
Don’t go as far as sending off for everything though!!!
Most mailings will have you nodding off before you get to the end of the headline, but every now and then you will receive a gem and when you do, study it. Try to analyse and discover what it is about the piece that attracts you. Chances are, if it works on you, it will be working on others.
My drawer contains all sorts of mailings, some are ten pages long, others are cleverly worded single sheets; all have a spark of inspiration.
When I first got into mailorder, everything I read about the subject said that all mailings must be at least four pages long. This is all very well if the writer has the talent to keep you interested for fifteen to twenty minutes … most don’t. By the second page, the majority of mailings have actually put you off the product!
I made that mistake when I ranted on about being ripped off in the earlier example. I think I managed to keep the potential customer’s attention, but by the time I had managed to get around to the sales pitch, the reader had become a paranoid, anxious, anti-mailorder radical.
People didn’t care what had happened to me, their only interest was: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
The long copy theory proclaims that you should give a customer all the information they need to make a decision. The other side of the coin is to make copy short and punchy and invite them to request more information.
Writers then go to the other extreme and cut out all the important bits giving the customer no information at all on which to make a decision. Many of these types of mailings contain an abundance of sales cliches with no substance … but they often work … and I’ve never understood why!
I have tested both long and short copy, and had good results with both.
When developing your own style, look at what motivates you. There are certain ground rules and specifics that apply to both long and short sales letters, elements that must be included if a mailing is to work.
How you structure those ingredients will become your ‘style’. If you feel you will never make a writer then don’t despair … you’ll just have to pay someone!
I showed you how through freelance writers in an earlier module.
But you shouldn’t exclude yourself from mailorder for lack of a skill. Many top entrepreneurs have never put pen to paper. Do you think that Richard Branson, who incidentally, began his fortune in mailorder, writes all his own stuff?
He knows what works, what to include and how to structure a mailing or advert, then pays a professional company to add the frilly bits. He, or one of his close team will have the final say as to what goes out, not some specky advertiser who as never sold an item of their own.
Have you ever read a testimonial that sounds authentic?
Even if they are absolutely genuine, they always read as if the publisher has sat down and written each one them self, then got friends and family to scribble them out so they can be reproduced with different handwriting. Yet, some mailorder gurus swear by them: ‘They add credibility to the product’.
Again, you will need to tread very carefully when using any endorsement. I personally rarely use testimonials of the: ‘I read your books, followed the systems and now I’m filthy rich!’ variety because they just sound like a pack of lies, even if they’re not.
I have read so many mailings where testimonials are plastered all over the place. My attitude towards them is that the publisher must have some kind of inferiority complex. It’s as though they haven’t the confidence in their writing skills, or product, or both, and need reassurance that the merchandise is as good as they portray.
I find that an endorsement by a third party can work if applied subtly, but it’s a balance you must learn to achieve.
One problem with the: ‘I used your systems and got rich’ type of testimonial is that they give the reader false hope.
Let’s say you’ve decided to sell running shoes via the mail. You write an excellent mailing or advert and fill it full of testimonials from satisfied athletes who have excelled wearing your product.
‘I bought your shoes and won all my races last season.’
S. Gonzalis. Mexico
Next, you discover that people with only one leg are buying your shoes convinced that if they buy them, they too, will win races! The shoes appear to be so good that they will actually compensate for their own shortcomings.
The same could apply to any goods you sell.
The product couldn’t possibly deliver the sort of endorsement achieved by others if the buyer is innately inadequate. When it doesn’t meet those very high expectations, the result, again, is disappointment. The product itself may be excellent, but running shoes will never enable a one-legged man to break world records, even if other top athletes have whilst wearing them.
So be careful when using testimonials!
Again, there is a fine art to knowing when and how to use a guarantee. Many mailings I bin rely solely on them; they use the guarantee as their major selling point, leading the customer into a false sense of security. Because the product is guaranteed to live up to expectations, purchasers assume it’s guaranteed to overcome their own personal ineptness, shortcomings or lack of talent.
The warranty will entice those people with only one leg to buy your shoes because it assures an ability they don’t have. When they have spent a few hours hobbling around the track, they send them back because they didn’t enable the wearer to run the 4-minute mile that was guaranteed!
There was never a chance of them being able to run swiftly, so all the fancy guarantee did, was waste a pile of time and energy.
I used to get this with some of my products when I used heavy guarantees … I’ve made all the mistakes in the book!
Customers would send stuff back blaming the product for their failure to excel or make use of it, and rely on the guarantee to get their money back. There was nothing wrong with the product; the person failed the product because they weren’t up to the job.
They were what I call ‘tyre kickers’ … those infuriating people who turn up to your house when you’re selling a car. They never have the remotest intention of buying anything. They turn up, walk around the motor, lift the bonnet, kick the tyres and leave. Maybe they’ve got no friends or something!!!!
Some people will never be anything at all, so guaranteeing that they will be is like trying to sail up an estuary against spring tides - the water’s running at 8 knots and your boat will only do 6! Don’t bother!
There is a time and place for guarantees, especially if the product is good and requires a review. You have confidence in your product and the guarantee is simply a tool used to get it under the nose of the customer. You know that once they’ve seen how wonderful your wares are, they will not send them back.
If you are using a guarantee then, the golden rule is: make it plain and simple.
If you are not satisfied then you get your money back.
There is nothing more damaging to your credibility than a twisted, ambiguous, non-nonsensical guarantee that is worth diddly-squat.
Don’t even consider a guarantee if it is useless and of no benefit to the customer. They’ll spot it a mile off.
'Try our product for twelve months and if you've not been successful send in all your accounts and supporting documentation and we'll look at it through an eyeglass and if you really have us stitched up for an excuse we may, if we can be bothered and you hassle us enough, reluctantly give you a refund.'
You should ensure that your guarantee is in their best interests; after all, it is they who trust you with their money!
Give them a plain, no quibble, money back guarantee and stick to it.
A guarantee will work for you if your products are the best you can offer. Why would anyone want their money back if you deliver your promises?
This is what Jack Straw has to say about guarantees:
'I never use guarantees as a major selling point. In instances, where the guarantee isn’t used as a major selling point, many mailorder companies use ‘generic’ guarantees. Like a clothing company guaranteeing that ‘our dresses will fit to perfection’ but, what if a size-20 woman buys a size-12 dress?
The size-12 dress would, as the guarantee states; ‘fit to perfection’ on a size-12 woman but is the guarantee any less credible when a size-20 woman buys a size-12 dress?
The guarantee still won’t make a size-12 dress fit a size-20 woman (no matter how hard she tries).
Then, there is the ‘satisfaction’ guarantee, like ‘if you aren’t completely satisfied with our product, return it within 10-days for a full, no questions asked, refund of purchase price’.
That’s fine if you have a product that actually ‘requires’ a ‘review’ period before the customer can be sure they actually need the product (such as a size-12 dress sold to a size-12 woman that just doesn’t look right on her because of the cut, colour or style). But, using that kind of guarantee on some products is counter-productive.
In my own case, I used to offer a ‘satisfaction’ guarantee on all of my products and services. Well, a few years ago, I had the computer spit-out all of the names and addresses of all of the people who had requested refunds under my guarantees.
Fully 97% of the people on that list had requested refunds on at least 2 of my products or services. 50% had requested refunds on 3 or more of my products or services and 20% of them had ordered and requested refunds on everything I had ever offered.
After viewing those numbers, I got to thinking ... “I’m not a lending library. Why am I letting these people steal the accumulation of my experience by borrowing my products and services under my guarantee?”
That’s when I stopped using a ‘satisfaction’ guarantee on my products and services.
My decision to stop using a ‘satisfaction’ guarantee also had an unexpected, wonderful result … the quality of my customers got much, Much, MUCH better.
There was no noticeable decline in responses and because I didn’t offer a guarantee, the nature of the people who bought my products and services improved.
They were people who were honestly and sincerely seeking the products and services I offered. They were the kind of people who had faith enough in themselves that they didn’t need anyone to ‘guarantee’ their success ... and they were willing to pay for the products and services they needed to achieve their goals. They weren’t buying a guarantee, or trying to steal my experience by borrowing my products and services.'
Now Jack sold great products and he still had problems, so just be aware of the downside as well of the upside when deciding which rule to follow.
None of them are right. None of them are wrong.
I personally offer very specific guarantees that avoid the ‘satisfaction’ type you see everywhere … after all, an individual’s satisfaction threshold is totally subjective. How can you ‘satisfy’ everyone?
If I offer a guarantee of any description it be along the lines of the one on Government Auctions:
Subscribe With Confidence
Refund Policy: We are confident that once you begin using our services you will wonder how you ever managed without us. We know from experience the vast majority of our customers will recover their costs many times over during the course of their subscription period, and come back to use our services year after year. Read the marketing materials thoroughly and if Government Auctions UK is 'Not Everything We Promise ... And More...' you'll get 100% no quibble, refund!
This is further defined in the terms and conditions:
This is our refund policy:
4.9 The refund policy covering all GAUK products state that GAUK will refund 100% of the purchase/subscription cost should the product/service fail to deliver in any way from its description. I understand that to receive a full refund I must demonstrate that after following all published material instructions and taken advice from support the product/service has failed in its description.
I have never had to give a refund because the marketing materials are a. not hyped b. describe EXACTLY what’s on offer and c. the product is as good as it possibly can be.
On several occasions I get the odd waster who subscribes, logs in, gleans the information they require and asks for a refund under the ‘no quibble guarantee’.
When we politely ask them to ‘justify’ their reasons for a refund and to point out where we have let them down and deviated from the description we gave BEFORE a payment was taken, we never hear from them again!
This is not a convoluted guarantee designed to dupe the customer - it is thoroughly thought through and designed to stop The World of Scum having a field day at my expense!
If we misrepresent the product then our genuine customers deserve a full refund and we'll gladly give it.
Don’t be afraid of the customer!
Provide a fantastic product and there’ll be no reason to worry about refunds. Dance with the Devil and you’ll get burnt!
Here’s how I deal with wasters on Money King and remember, the marketing page converts at over 8%:
And if you’re looking for the money-back guarantee, forget it, there isn’t one!!!
Why in the reign of pig’s pudding would I need one? Firstly, they’re scattered about because the guru cretins haven’t faith in what they offer and secondly, there’s a bunch of desperate, useless, genuine losers surfing their sorry asses away; a small group of idiots who buy anything and everything going without the slightest intention of ever reading it properly or taking any action whatsoever... then claiming their money back – they’re a total waste of the air we breath and the precious time we enjoy. Let them surf their way to obscurity; I don’t need their winging, whining, and their negativity anywhere near my cash kingdom.
The guarantees you need to be interested in:
Guarantee #1 I guarantee to supply you with so much hard-core, 24 carat, 100% proof material it’ll make you’re toes curl… I said material not bullshit, fluff and half-baked hogwash.
Guarantee #2 I guarantee that you won't find my stuff anywhere else on the net...
Guarantee #3 I guarantee that if you don't take this step now you'll spend yet more of your precious resources, energy and cash many times over and still end up back here.’
We’ve never had to deal with a single refund request – not one!
Now you need a customer base to approach which is where you need a
A good product marketed to a bad list will fail.
A poor product marketed to a good list could do well.
A good product marketed to a good list will fly … FACT.
Nothing will empty a bank account quicker than mailing to a bad list.
There are hundreds of elements that can be thrown into the: ‘Is it a good list?’ Equation. Demographics, age, sex, buying habits, spending habits, income, car ownership … most of which are difficult to collate.
There are really only three factors that you absolutely need to consider:
1. Mailorder responsiveness.
2. Product similarity.
3. Customer satisfaction.
Have the people on the list actually bought something by mail before? The more times they have purchased, the better. Do not consider a list if the agent has no idea of purchase history.
Was the product they bought similar to the one you’re selling? The closer the better, it means the customer has an affinity with your merchandise and, if you can offer an added benefit they will be better able to evaluate it.
Last and most importantly: Was the customer happy with the product they bought?
If they answered that ad I told you about earlier ‘how to get rich in mail order’ then yes, they bought a product via the mail, yes it was similar to a mailorder product you may offer, but NO chance mate! There is nothing on this globe that will persuade that person to send off for another mailorder con again!
So customer satisfaction is paramount to the value of a list.
You need to establish what kind of adverts people responded to. Generally, hype ads do not provide a product that is as good as or better than, the ad copy and therefore, the punter will have been disappointed.
Generally, hype ads produce hype customers. What kind of customer would a one-legged man be who thought he was going to be able to run a 4 minute mile by buying some super-fantastic running shoes?
You want a reliable customer base of genuine buyers. I would pay top dollar, and I mean top dollar, for a list that had all those qualities above - it’s money in the bank!
So if you are using a mailing list, ensure it has the three elements that need concern you if you are to become a mailorder master:
The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it.
In fact, I would urge you to place a mirror on the top of the set and angle it so that you can see your reflection in it, relaxing in your fat chair. Each time you watch a programme where the actors are having a wonderful time, when they are enjoying the things you are striving for, look up at that mirror. Look at what they are doing and what you are doing to achieve it!!!
1. A good mailing piece or advertising copy.
2. A product.
3. A mailing list.
Up to this point we have skimmed the surface of mailorder, taken a light overview of the areas which are a part of its make up and given you a basic understanding of what is needed to become successful in it. Over the next couple of modules we are going to study every facet in greater depth, and discover how the real masters get rich.
Remember what I said about breaking the rules and orchestrating ‘good for you situations?’ Well that’s what we are going to do.
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Become a Search Engine Master!
THE SEARCH ENGINE MASTERS COURSE
by Sumantra Roy
Part of System Ultra K comes courtesy of a search engine master. I get many of my search engine ideas from him so thought it better that you be taught by the organ grinder, not the monkey!
Ask anyone with experience in ecommerce. They will tell you that your web site needs 3 things to be a success...
Traffic, Traffic and Traffic!
It doesn't matter what you are selling - you MUST bring in targeted traffic if you want to make profits. After all, you can't make sales if no one knows what you are selling!
So, the important question is...
How do you drive targeted traffic to your site?
Maybe, but we all know that advertising costs a LOT of money. And worse, it often doesn't work. Which means that you can spend thousands of dollars on advertising without seeing any results.
There must be a better way of driving targeted traffic to your site - right?
Just ask yourself a question. When you are looking for anything on the Internet, what do you do?
9 times out of 10, you go to a search engine and type in something related to what you are looking for. You then browse through the results displayed by the search engine and hopefully, find what you are looking for.
Now, ask yourself another question. When your customers are looking for something that you are selling, what are they likely to do?
They too are likely to go to a search engine, type in something related to your site, and look at the sites which come up.
Now, just imagine that it is YOUR site which is listed right at the top of the search results. Do you think your customers will come to your site? You bet they will! And since they are actually looking for what you are selling, in all probability, they will
end up buying from you.
This means that if you can somehow ensure that it was YOUR site which was displayed at the top of the search results, your site will quickly turn into a TRAFFIC MAGNET - drawing thousands of targeted customers every day!
And the best part of this is that you get all this traffic for FREE - you don't need to spend a dime for getting it!
The Search Engine Masters Course will help you accomplish exactly this - it will take you through all the steps that are required to ensure that the search engines simply fall in love with your site.
While this course will give you most of the techniques that we use to optimize our clients' sites, there's something that this course can't give you - TIME.
Only you can provide this. You need to allocate at least 2-3 hours every day for the next few months in order to put the techniques described here into practice.
Here's what we will cover in this course:
1: Choosing the keywords applicable for your site
2: Creating Keyword Rich Pages for the search engines
3: Submitting your site to the Open Directory
4: Getting listed in Yahoo!
5: Improving the link popularity of your site
At the end of The Search Engine Masters Course , you will be on your way to search engine glory!
Without further ado, let's begin.
Choosing the Correct Keywords for a Site
The first step in any search engine positioning campaign is to select the most effective keywords for your site.
If you initially select keywords which won't bring targeted traffic to your site, or if you select keywords which no one searches for, all the time that you spend on optimizing your web site for the search engines will go down the drain. After all, what good does a high ranking for a particular keyword do, if no one searches for the keyword or if the people who search for the keyword are not looking for the products and services that you are selling?
Here, we focus on the correct way of finding out the keywords for which you should optimize your site for the search engines.
This module will give you the formula for the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) - a mathematical formula which I have developed to help you determine which keywords you should be optimizing your site for.
Step 1: Open your text editor or word processor and write down all the words and phrases that you might have searched for if you were looking for a company which offers products and services similar to yours.
For example, suppose your company organizes packaged tours to Australia. Here's a list of phrases that I might have searched for if I were planning to make a trip to Australia:
tourism in Australia
travel to Australia
traveling in Australia
travel agencies in Australia
traveling agencies in Australia
Australian travel agencies
Of course, the keywords that came to your mind may have been different. But that's not important - the important thing is to get an initial list of keywords.
You may be wondering why I have not used single word keywords.
Firstly, single word keywords tend to be hyper-competitive. A search for "tourism" or "traveling" in any search engine will probably generate hundreds of thousands of pages. While it is possible that you may get your page in the top 10 for such a
single word keyword, it is quite unlikely.
Secondly, because of the sheer number of pages that single word searches can throw up, most search engine users have realized that they can get more relevant pages if they search for phrases rather than individual words. Statistical research has shown that most people are now searching for 2 or 3 word phrases rather than for single words.
Thirdly, single word keywords won't get you targeted traffic.
When people search for "tourism", they are not necessarily looking for tourist destinations in Australia - they may be interested in any other country of the world. Even if you got your site into the top 10 for tourism, you gain nothing from such visitors. However, when someone searches for "tourism in Australia", he/she is your potential customer, and therefore, it makes sense for you to try and get a top ranking for your site for that keyword.
Hence, whenever you are trying to generate keywords, try to be location specific. Try to think of keywords which apply to the geographic area that your product or service is designed to serve.
Step 2: Right click here and 'Save target as' to Download the Spreadsheet
Or Open any spreadsheet program that is installed in your hard drive. I assume you are using Microsoft Excel. If you are using some other spreadsheet program, just change the spreadsheet related procedures outlined here to fit your program.
Create 4 columns:
2. popularity of the keyword,
3. number of sites that appear in AltaVista for that keyword
4. and the last for something I call the Keyword Effectiveness Index (don't worry - I'll explain what KEI means later on). In order to ensure that you can follow what I am saying, I recommend that you add the following column headers to the first four columns of the first row of your spreadsheet:
No. of Competitors
Here's how you can calculate the KEI.
If you using some other spreadsheet program, you will need to adjust the formula to the requirements of your spreadsheet program. Click on cell D2. Type in the following exactly as it is shown:
Then click on the Copy button to copy the formula, select all the cells in column 4 which have keywords associated with them and press the Paste button to paste the formula. The KEI for each keyword will be displayed.
Step 3: A great way to obtain a list of keywords related to the ones you have developed in the first step is to use WordTracker's keyword generation service
Click on the "Trial" option at the top of the site. In the page that appears, type in your name and email address and click on the "Start the trial >>" button.
In the next page, click on "Click here to start the trial". In the next page, type in the first keyword that you developed in Step 1, i.e. "tourism in Australia", in the text box. Click on the "Proceed >>" button.
Step 4: In the next page, WordTracker will display a list of keywords related to the keyword that you had typed in. (Just scroll down the left pane to see the keywords).
Now, click on the first keyword in the left pane which is applicable for your site. In the right pane, WordTracker will show a list of keywords which contain the keyword you had clicked on in the left pane.
Then in the table that you have created in your spreadsheet, copy each of the keywords in the right pane and paste them in the first column of the table. Also, copy the number of times those keywords have been used (i.e. the figure present in the Count column in WordTracker) and paste them in the second column.
In order to ensure that you can follow me, make sure that you type the first keyword in the second row of your spreadsheet. Of course, you should only bother adding a keyword to your spreadsheet if it is applicable for your site.
Once you have added all the keywords in the right pane which are applicable for your site, click on the next keyword in the left pane which is applicable for your site. Once again, WordTracker will display a list of keywords in the right pane which contain the keyword you had clicked on in the left pane. Again, copy the keywords in the right pane which are applicable for your site and paste them in the first column of your spreadsheet. Also, copy the figures present in the Count column and paste them in the second column beside the corresponding keywords.
Repeat this process for each of the keywords in the left pane.
Step 5: Once you have finished with all the keywords in the left pane, press your browser's Back button a number of times until WordTracker again displays the text box which asks you to type in a keyword.
Type in the second keyword in your original list (i.e. "travel to Australia"), click on the "Proceed >>" button and repeat Step 4. Do this for each of the keywords that you developed in Step 1.
Step 6: Go to Altavista.com Search for the first keyword that is present in your spreadsheet using exact match search (i.e. you should wrap the keyword in quotes, i.e. you should type a quotation mark before typing the keyword and a quotation mark after typing it).
AltaVista will return the number of sites which are relevant to that keyword. Add this number to the third column of the spreadsheet in the same row in which the keyword is present. Repeat this process for each of the keywords present in your spreadsheet. Once you have done that, your first column will contain the keywords, your second column will show the popularity of the keywords and your third column will contain the number of sites you are competing against to get a high ranking for those keywords.
Now it's time to calculate the KEI!
Step 7: The Keyword Effectiveness Index is the square of the popularity of a keyword multiplied by 1000 and divided by the number of sites which appear in AltaVista for that keyword. It is designed to measure which keywords are worth optimizing your site for.
Higher the KEI, better the keyword. If you want to know how I arrived at the formula for the KEI and the rationale behind it, Click Here
If you had used the spreadsheet file that I created for you, you won't need to enter the formula for calculating the KEI yourself. The KEI would be automatically calculated for you the moment you enter the values in columns 2 and 3.
Step 8: Use your spreadsheet program's Sort feature to sort the rows in descending order of the KEI. In Excel 97, you would click on the Data menu, click on the Sort menu item, choose KEI from the drop-down combo box named "Sort by", click on the "Descending" option next to it, and then click on OK.
And guess what - that's it!
You now know the keywords which you should optimize your site for. You can now start optimizing your site one by one for each keyword, starting with the keyword with the highest KEI. Exactly how many of the keywords you choose to optimize your site for largely depends on the amount of time that you can spare from your normal business activities. But whatever the number of keywords that you target, it obviously makes sense to go for the most effective keywords first.
Tying up the loose ends:
The number of related keywords that WordTracker displays in the trial version is limited. In order to get all the keywords which are related to the keywords you had developed in Step 1, you would need to subscribe to WordTracker's paid service. We highly recommend that you do subscribe to WordTracker's paid service as otherwise, you will miss out on a lot of keywords that can prove to be extremely valuable to you.
This completes this module of The Search Engine Masters Course. Today you have learned how you can select the most effective keywords for your site.
The next part of the course,, will tell you how you can create pages which are designed to get top rankings in the search engines for these keywords. Before you read it, it is essential that you develop the list of keywords which are applicable for your site using the techniques described today. Without the list of keywords, you won't be able to use the strategies present in the next part.
Back to Index
Become a Search Engine Master!
Part 1 of The Search Engine Masters Course taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site. Once you have established the keywords for which you should optimize your site for the search engines, it is time to figure out how you can get a high ranking in the search engines for those keywords!
The solution is to create Keyword Rich Pages (KRPs) - pages which provide good content and in which a particular keyword is repeated a number of times so that the page gets a top ranking for that keyword.
I am assuming you have a working knowledge of the different HTML tags like the Title tag, the Meta Description tag, the Meta Keywords tag, the Heading tags, etc. If so you can skip this bit:
About HTML Head Tags
The HEAD contains general information, or meta-information, about the document. It is the first thing in any document, lying above the BODY and just after the tag starting the document.
The contents of the HEAD are not displayed as part of the document text: the displayed material is found within the BODY. Consequently, only certain mark-up elements can be placed within the HEAD. Some of these are:
TITLE -- The title of the document. This element is mandatory -- all documents must have a TITLE.
DESCRIPTION -- This meta element defines a description of your page:
KEYWORDS -- This meta element defines keywords for your page:
I am The Money King - Undisputed King of Cash
..... text of the document
Now, let us assume that your company sells packaged tours to Australia, and that you are targeting the keyword "travel to australia". Here's how you create the KRPs:
The Title Tag:
The first and most important tag to consider is the Title tag. You should always begin the Title tag with the keyword that you are targeting. Also remember that the search engines are going to display the Title tag while they are displaying the results of a search. Hence, you need to make the Title tag attractive to humans as well.
Here is one Title tag that I may have used: "Travel to Australia and discover its scenic beauty". Have a look at the Title tag - it uses the keyword right at the beginning and also tells people how beautiful a place Australia is. Of course, all Titles need not be like the one I used. The Title that you use depends on the subject matter of your site. However, you should follow all the general rules that I have outlined here.
Meta Description Tag:
The Meta Description tag is used by many search engines to provide a short description of the page that is listed in the search results. Hence, like the Title tag, it is important that the Meta Description tag be keyword rich as well as attractive to humans.
The rules for the Meta Description are more or less the same as those for the Title tag. However, the content of this tag will generally be longer than that of the Title.
Here's what I may have used in the Meta Description tag:
"Travel to Australia - We take care of all the details of your trip so that you can travel with complete peace of mind."
Note how this description repeats the keyword and also the benefit that it stresses - it says that the customer will be able to travel without having to worry about the intricate details of the trip - you will take care of them.
Meta Keywords Tag:
The Meta Keywords tag has become less and less important as far as search engine optimization is concerned. In fact, you can get top rankings without having anything in the Meta Keywords tag at all. However, just to be on the safe side, you would want to include some keywords in the Meta Keywords tag. You should also include some of the common upper/lower case variations of the keyword. The rules for the Meta Keywords tag are pretty simple - don't repeat any keyword in the Meta Keywords tag more than three times and don't repeat any keyword one after the other. Here's what I may have used in the Meta Keywords tag:
"Travel to Australia, tourism, travel to Australia, Down Under, TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA"
Note how I have introduced "tourism" and "Down Under" just to separate the different instances of the keyword.
Body of the page:
Now we come to the actual body of the page.
Begin by getting hold of a nice (but not too large) picture which is applicable for the page that you are creating. In the present case, I might include a picture of the lotus shaped Sydney Opera House. Place this picture at the top of the page. In the Alt tag for the picture, just mention your target keyword once, i.e. the Alt tag would be "Travel to Australia". You can include other words in the Alt tag, but it should start with the keyword you are targeting.
Once you've put up the picture, it is time to create a Heading for your page. Use the H1 tag to do so. Again, in the H1 tag, mention your target keyword once, i.e. like the Alt tag for the picture, the H1 tag could be "Travel to Australia". Again, like the Alt tag, you can include other words in the heading, but the heading should start with the keyword you are targeting.
Now it's time to create the actual text of the page. The way you create the text of your page would depend largely on what you want the visitor to do after reading this page. In some cases, you may simply want the visitor to go to the home page or another specific page in your site after reading this page.
In this case, you should write the text in such a way that the visitor is attracted to the page that you are targeting. You would also want to provide links to the home page or the specific page that you are targeting at strategic places in the KRP. Or, you may want the visitor to click on the link to an affiliate program that you are a member of.
In this case, you would stress the benefits that the visitor gets by purchasing the product or service that the affiliate program is selling. You would also want to provide links to the affiliate program at strategic places in the page and/or at the end of the page. Whatever it is that you want your page to do, there are some general rules to follow:
1) The first thing to remember is that some search engines don't recognize the Meta Description tag. These search engines will often simply take the first few lines of text in the body of your page and display that as the description. Hence, you must ensure that the first few lines of text in your page are attractive to human beings.
2) Ensure that as many sentences as possible in the page contain your target keyword once. The keyword shouldn't just be placed on an ad hoc basis - the way the keyword is placed in every sentence should actually make grammatical sense and the repetition should be such that your human visitors do not feel that you have deliberately repeated a particular phrase throughout the page.
This is not only important from the point of view of ensuring that your readers don't get a bad impression of your site, but also from the point of view of search engine optimization - the search engines may penalize your page for spamming if they find that you have randomly repeated the keyword throughout the page. Also, while repeating the keyword in the page, try to repeat the keyword once near the top of the page and once near the bottom.
3) Make sure that your paragraphs are not too long - each paragraph should be no more than 3 or 4 sentences long. This is because people on the web simply don't have the time or the inclination to read long paragraphs.
4) Try to ensure that the page contains links to other pages with the keyword being present in the text under the link. This can often lead to a higher ranking for your page.
When linking to other pages the 'anchor text' is important. When you link to another page most sites put the hyperlink under the words Click Here. Whereas, it is far better to include keywords in the hyperlink. For instance Go here to make money online
5) If possible, link to other pages which have the keyword in the file names. This can again lead to a higher ranking for your page.
I wanted to expand on this point as I now build my sites in a totally different way.
Right now 99% of the sites on the internet have a basic web structure like:
60mt for example (using the whole path) is laid out like:
All the above files reside in one directory on the server and will get one link in a search engine normally, in some rare cases all the files "MIGHT"(?) get indexed. By learning how to properly structure your site will get your sites ranked better. As an example here is what I would have done
or you will get 4 times the spam to this e-mail addy!>
The site has directories that utilize "KEYWORDS" and all directories have "index.htm" files!
Index.htm Default.htm (asp, php .cfn) are all indicators of a new website so when you create directories and use index files in these directories your sites pages are
indexed as multiple sites!
Note I used .htm and not .html you do not needthe "L" saves a keystroke...
Each Index file needs its own unique set of source Meta‚s in the head code:
*******************************************************Stock Trading Made Simple | Win 75 Times Out Of Every 100 - Trading
System - Learn Fast Simple Stock trading and money management
Naming your images is another source for KEYWORDS
This is a pain in the rear but well worth it!
Each directory you create will have its own image directory:
Take this directory
You would have the directory
Take the header .JPG for 60mt: 60minute.jpg
Rename it Fast_Stock_Trading.jpg and rename all your images using a KEYWORD found in the text of the page.
For each page in your site copy the images into its image directory and rename them to Keywords found on each page.
Make sure all your images no mater how small have alt tags, look at the page
I made http://60minutetrader.com/
Each image has an alt tag and each image has a different name. Check the arrow.gif right click mouse and see the properties. I use text from the page and sometimes added a keyword or two.
With my new structure system when renaming all graphics, folders and alt tags there is a saturation point for the keywords when the engines flag it as a 'spammy' site.
You want to use different words with the same meaning or plural words and a salting of all caps and lowercase letters. Just don't go name an image Stock_trader_stock_trader_stock_trader.jpg or a directory or have it in alt or meta tags that way! As long as you keep it realistic you will never have any problem...
The key rule for alt tags is the question: is it there for a reason other than spam?
The algorithms are now so sophisticated that they'll detect the spam and you'll be peanalised.
So I always use a 'proper' sentance which contains keywords - not use keywords for the sake of it. For instance, the alt tag on the header graphic for Money King is: Make Money Online
6) There is no hard and fast rule regarding the total number of words that should be present in the KRPs. As a rule of thumb, try to ensure that there are between 500 600 words. However, if the number of words falls a bit short of or exceeds this limit, don't worry too much.
Once you have created the page, ensure that the name of the file in which it is saved contains the keyword and that the individual words of the keyword are separated by hyphens. In this case, the name of the file would be travel-to-australia.html. This will get you a higher ranking in the few search engines which give a lot of emphasis on the keyword being present in the file name.
When you want to target another keyword, simply create another KRP for it using the procedure outlined above.
After you have created the KRPs, you cannot simply upload them to your site and submit them to the search engines. This is because the search engines take a rather dim view of pages which only contain outgoing links to other pages but do not contain any incoming links from other pages. The search engines may penalize sites which have such pages.
What you need to do is to directly or indirectly link the KRPs with your home page. If you are going to create many KRPs for your site, it will be impractical to link the home page directly with all the KRPs as this will needlessly clutter your home page. Hence, what you should do is to create a separate page in your site called a Sitemap page (name it something like sitemap.html).
Add links to all the KRPs from the Sitemap page.
The text that you use to link to a particular KRP should be the same as the keyword that the KRP is being optimized for. Hence, the link to the travel-to-australia.html file should say "Travel to Australia".
Now, some search engines refuse to spider pages which only contain links to other pages and nothing else. Hence, if the Sitemap page only contains links to the KRPs but contains no other content, the search engines may ignore this page. Hence, what you can do is to add a short description of the content of each of the KRPs after you have added a link to that KRP in the Sitemap page. This ensures that the search engines will not ignore this page.
After doing all this, simply link the home page of your site with the Sitemap page using a text link. Then, submit your home page, the Sitemap page and each of the KRPs to the search engines.
When you are submitting these pages, to be on the safe side, make sure that you submit no more than one page per day to any search engine - otherwise, you run the risk of some search engines ignoring some of the pages you have submitted. You can submit your site by going to the individual "Add URL" pages of each engine.
Or, in order to save time, you can use our free submission tool which helps you submit your site manually to the search engines, without having to go to the individual "Add URL" pages of each engine. The tool is available at:
Your Website Promotion Suite
This completes stage two of The Search Engine Masters Course. Today you have learned how you can create pages which are designed to get top rankings in the search engines. Part three of the course, will tell you how you can submit your site to the Open Directory in order to improve your chances of ranking well in Google.
And so you don't have to wait - Here is Part Three.
Back to Index
Part One of The Search Engine Masters Course taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site. Part Two taught you how to create pages designed to get top rankings for these keywords. Here, we discuss how you can get an optimum listing in the Open Directory, which will boost your rankings in Google.
About the Open Directory Project
The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.
The Republic of the Web
The web continues to grow at staggering rates. Automated search engines are increasingly unable to turn up useful results to search queries. The small paid editorial staffs at commercial directory sites can't keep up with submissions, and the quality and comprehensiveness of their directories has suffered. Link rot is setting in and they can't keep pace with the growth of the Internet.
Instead of fighting the explosive growth of the Internet, the Open Directory provides the means for the Internet to organize itself. As the Internet grows, so do the number of net-citizens. These citizens can each organize a small portion of the web and present it back to the rest of the population, culling out the bad and useless and keeping only the best content.
The Definitive Catalog of the Web
The Open Directory follows in the footsteps of some of the most important editor/contributor projects of the 20th century. Just as the Oxford English Dictionary became the definitive word on words through the efforts of a volunteers, the Open Directory follows in its footsteps to become the definitive catalog of the Web.
The Open Directory was founded in the spirit of the Open Source movement, and is the only major directory that is 100% free. There is not, nor will there ever be, a cost to submit a site to the directory, and/or to use the directory's data. The Open Directory data is made available for free to anyone who agrees to comply with our free use license.
The Internet Brain
The Open Directory is the most widely distributed data base of Web content classified by humans. Its editorial standards body of net-citizens provide the collective brain behind resource discovery on the Web. The Open Directory powers the core directory services for the Web's largest and most popular search engines and portals, including Netscape Search, AOL Search, Google, Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and hundreds of others.
Determine whether a site is appropriate for submission to the ODP:
Do not submit mirror sites. Mirror sites are sites that contain identical content, but have altogether different URLs.
Do not submit URLs that contain only the same or similar content as other sites you may have listed in the directory. Sites with overlapping and repetitive content are not helpful to users of the directory. Multiple submissions of the same or related sites may result in the exclusion and/or deletion of those and all affiliated sites.
Do not disguise your submission and submit the same URL more than once.
Example: http://www.dmoz.org and http://www.dmoz.org/index.html
Do not submit any site with an address that redirects to another address.
The Open Directory has a policy against the inclusion of sites with illegal content. Examples of illegal material include child pornography; libel; material that infringes any intellectual property right; and material that specifically advocates, solicits or abets illegal activity (such as fraud or violence).
Do not submit sites "under construction." Wait until a site is complete before submitting it. Sites that are incomplete, contain "Under Construction" notices, or contain broken graphics or links aren't good candidates for the directory.
Submit pornographic sites to the appropriate category under Adult.
Submit non-English sites to the appropriate category under World.
Don't submit sites consisting largely of affiliate links.
Getting your site an optimum listing in the Open Directory is vitally important because Google gives a lot of importance to sites being listed in the Open Directory. Today, we focus on how you can get your site an optimum listing in the Open Directory. Even if your site is already listed in the Open Directory, you should read today's lesson to find out how you can get multiple listings in the Open Directory.
Before you submit your site, go through your entire site and ensure that there are no missing graphics, no links leading to empty or non-existent pages and no "Under construction" symbols. Also, check for typos and grammatical errors. Furthermore, your site must provide good content. If your site simply contains links to various affiliate programs, you will find it difficult to get through. The Open Directory does not mind sites containing links to affiliate programs, as long as you provide proper content.
You need to select the two most important keywords for your site based on their popularity. Part One of this course taught you how to develop the list of keywords applicable for your site. I mentioned that while selecting the keywords for your site, you should look at both the popularity of the keywords as well as their competitiveness. However, for the purpose of today's lesson, don't worry about the competitiveness - select keywords only on the basis of popularity.
We now discuss how you should write the Title and Description of your site's listing in the Open Directory. You don't really have much choice regarding the Title as the Open Directory insists that the Title be the official name of your site. There is no way around it.
When you write the description, your aim should be to make the Open Directory editor's job as easy as possible. You should not give the editor the feeling that he/she needs to edit your description in any way. The moment an editor starts to edit your description, you risk having your keywords removed from your description.
Your description should be a single sentence which conveys what your site is all about and contains the two keywords you are targeting as close as possible to the beginning of the description. However, your description should not just be a list of keywords - the description that you use should be a proper sentence and should be grammatically correct.
Broadly, here are the rules that you should remember when forming the description:
i) Make sure that the description can tell a visitor what your site is all about. Things like "Have a look at our site" or "Welcome to my site" does not tell a visitor what your site does.
ii) Avoid hype of any sort. Avoid using ALL CAPS or exclamation marks. Phrases like "The best web site dealing with widgets!!"
"Offers the BEST QUALITY, CHEAPEST WIDGETS you can find anywhere" are inappropriate.
iii) Don't capitalize every word in your description - capitalize only the first word. Of course, if some of the words in the description are proper nouns, then you should capitalize them.
iv) Write the description in the third person. Don't say "We offer financial planning and credit counseling services", say "Offers financial planning and credit counseling services.".
v) Don't make your description too long - limit yourself to 15 words at the most. If you are lucky, you may be able to get accepted with a description longer than 15 words. However, longer the description, higher the probability that the editor will want to edit it.
vi) Check your description for typos and grammatical mistakes.
vii) End your description with a period (full stop - Americians messing with our language - a period is what women have at the end of the month, not a sentance!!!).
If the editor has to add the period (full stop) to the end of your description, she may also end up editing the description, which is not what you want. Your aim is to have the editor accept the exact description that you had written in order to ensure that your keywords are not removed from the description.
Now, we come to how you can select the right category for your site. Go to the Open Directory, and search for the two keywords you have established.
Does a particular category come up at the top for both the keywords?
If so, go to tha category, and see whether the sites present in the category are similar to yours. Also see whether that category has a Description and/or a FAQ. Read them and find out whether that category is applicable for your site. If so, this is the category you should submit your site to.
If different categories come up at the top for the two keywords, go through all the categories and find out which is the most appropriate category among the different categories.
For some keywords, you will find that the Open Directory does not display any categories. In this case, find out which category most of the top sites belong to and submit your site to that category, assuming it is applicable for your site.
Once you have selected the right category, click on the "add URL" link at the top. Type in the address of your site in the first text box, the official name of your site in the next text box, the description that you have earlier developed in the third text box and your email address in the fourth text box. Although the Open Directory says that including the email address is optional, I would recommend that you include it - if, for some reason, your site is not accepted, the Open Directory editor may want to tell you why your site has not been accepted.
What to do if your site is not accepted?
After submitting your site, go to the category where you have submitted your site every day and see when your site gets listed. If you find that your site is not in that category, it may so happen that you have been placed in a different category. Type in your domain name in Open Directory's search box and see whether your site comes up in the results. I have seen some sites getting accepted within 1 day and some sites in about 2-3 weeks.
If your site has not been listed after three weeks, then re-submit it to the same category and wait for another three weeks. If your site is still not accepted, then have a look at your site again. Does it contain any missing images or links, links to empty pages or under construction signs? Does it provide good content? Does it have any spelling or grammatical errors?
If you are absolutely convinced that your site is eligible for being accepted by the Open Directory, then the fact that you site is not being accepted may signify one of two things:
i) The editor of that category is inactive, i.e. he/she has not been reviewing sites for a long time.
ii) He/she is your competitor, and does not want to list you.
In this case, the first step is to write to the editor of the category. Scroll down to the bottom of the category to which you are trying to submit your site and click on the name of the editor.
If that category does not have an editor, go to the category above that in the hierarchy. For instance, suppose you are trying to submit to the Computers: Consultants: Business Systems category. At the time of writing of this lesson, that category did not have an editor. In this case, you should go to the Computers: Consultants category and click on one of the editors there.
Click on the"Send to editor name" link, and in the Comments field, write a very polite message to the editor. Tell her that you have been trying to submit your site to the Open Directory and you have been unsuccessful. Give her the complete details of your submission, i.e. the category to which you submitted, your URL, the Title and the Description that you used and the dates on which you submitted. Ask her as to whether there are any mistakes that you are making and whether she would be kind enough to point out the mistakes to you so that you can correct them.
If, after two weeks, you don't get any reply from the editor and are not accepted into the Open Directory, then look for another category which is applicable for your site using the method outlined earlier and submit your site to this category.
Getting Multiple Listings in the Open Directory
If you have already got your site listed in the Open Directory, you may try and get your site some additional listings in it. Begin by selecting two keywords which are different from the keywords you selected earlier. Then try and locate another category which is applicable for your site and submit your site there with a new description which contains the two new keywords you have selected.
If you are lucky, you may be able to get a listing in this new category, especially if the editor of this category is different from the editor of the category where your site is already listed. Again, if the second category to which you want to submit your site is a regional category (i.e. a category applicable to the geographical region in which your company is located), that again improves your chance of getting a second listing.
Alternatively, if you were originally listed in one of the regional categories, then getting your site listed in one of the general categories is also possible, assuming that the products or services you are selling are not intended for a regional market only.
However, you have a much better chance of getting a second listing if you submit one of the internal pages of your site to a different category (assuming you can locate a category which is applicable for that particular page), rather than again submitting the home page. Submitting an internal page has the benefit that the Title no longer needs to be the official name of your site. This allows you to include keywords in the Title.
Before submitting one of the internal pages of your site, you should change the title of the page (here, by "title", I mean the Title tag of the page, i.e. the Title that is displayed at the top of the browser window when the page is opened) to the Title that you want the page to be listed under in the Open Directory. This improves the chance that the Open Directory editor will accept the title that you had submitted.
However, don't go overboard with submitting internal pages - you can be penalized for spamming. Don't start submitting any doorway pages that you have created - they will be rejected. Any internal page that you submit must provide some unique content and must be relevant to the category to which you want to submit the page.
When you submit your site to the Open Directory, you have got to do everything correctly the first time. This is because once you are listed in the Open Directory, it becomes very difficult to change the listing of your site. Hence, you have got to do everything right the first time. Thus, it may make sense for you to let us handle your submission to the Open Directory, so that you can benefit from the experience that we have gathered after successfully listing hundreds of sites in the Open Directory. If you want us to do this for you, as well as get you top rankings in the other spider based engines, visit
This completes Part Three of The Search Engine Masters Course. Today you have learned how you can improve your chances of ranking well in Google by getting an optimum listing in the Open Directory. Part Four of the course, will tell you how you can get listed in the mother of all directories - Yahoo!
Back to Index
Part 1 of the Search Engine Masters Course taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site.
Part 2 taught you how to create pages designed to get top rankings for these keywords.
Part 3 of the course taught you how to get a high ranking in the directory based engines like AOL, Lycos and Netscape by getting an optimum listing in the Open Directory.
Today, in Part 4, we cover how you can get a top ranking in the mother of all directories - Yahoo!
Getting your site an optimum listing in Yahoo! is perhaps the most important step in effective web site promotion.
An optimum listing in Yahoo! can bring in more traffic to your site than all the search engines combined.
In addition to this, getting listed in Yahoo! will also help you improve the link popularity of your site which helps in improving the ranking of your site in the search engines. In today's lesson, we focus on how you can get your site an optimum listing in Yahoo!
First, you should note that Yahoo! is not a search engine - it is a directory. Unlike the search engines, an actual human editor evaluates your site. Before starting, read Yahoo!'s instructions thoroughly. Read their Help Index and their How To page
Familiarize yourself with these instructions because they mean every word of what they say. Before you submit your site, go through your entire site and ensure that there are no missing graphics, no links leading to empty or non-existent pages, no "Under construction" symbols and no typos or grammatical errors. Your site should be easy to navigate, should load quickly and should look professional.
Furthermore, your site must provide unique content. Yahoo!'s definition of unique content is very strict - if your site simply consists of a one page sales letter, or, if it only contains links to various affiliate programs, you will find it difficult to get listed. For getting listed in Yahoo!, your site needs to have at least a few pages of good content in it
Also, your site needs to be in its own domain, especially if it is of a commercial nature. Having your own domain adds more credibility to your site and tells Yahoo! that yours is a serious site which won't be taken down very soon. Getting into Yahoo! is hard enough - not having your own domain will make it that much harder.
Furthermore, if your site is of a commercial nature (i.e. it is selling something), you need to mention the physical address of your business either in the home page of your site or in a separate Contact Us page which is linked prominently from the home page. This should be the actual physical address of your business - not a Post Office Box address. Of course, mentioning the physical address of your business is something you should be doing anyway - it boosts the credibility of your business which improves sales.
Along with the physical address, you should also mention a phone number and a fax number (if you have one). Of course, you should always mention an email address. Also, before submitting, select the two most important keywords for your site based on their popularity.
Part 1 of this course taught you how to develop the list of keywords applicable for your site. In Part 1, I mentioned that while selecting the keywords for your site, you should look at both the popularity of the keywords as well as their competitiveness. However, for the purpose of today's lesson, don't worry about the competitiveness - select keywords only on the basis of popularity.
Now, let's analyze how Yahoo! displays its search results. There are 4 sections in the Yahoo! search results - Categories, Web Sites, Web Pages, and News. For the purpose of this lesson, we can ignore the News section and concentrate on the Categories, Web Sites and Web Pages sections. When someone searches for a keyword in Yahoo!, it first checks to see whether there are any categories which contain all the individual words of the keyword. If so, it first displays the names of those categories.
It then displays the web sites in the Yahoo! index which match the keyword. Finally, in the Web Pages section, it displays sites from Google. Your first task is to find out whether your site is already listed in Yahoo!. Type in the domain name of your site in Yahoo!'s search box, and see whether your site comes up in the Web Sites section. Note that for your site to be listed in Yahoo!, it has to come up in the Web Sites section. If it is listed in the Web Pages section but not in the Web Sites section, it means that your site is listed in Google, not Yahoo!.
If your site is already listed but you are not satisfied with the listing, read the last section of this lesson on changing your site's listing in Yahoo!. Assuming that your site is not listed, your objective is to get your site a high ranking in the Web Sites section. Here are the factors which influence the ranking of your site in the Web Sites section:
i) Presence of the keyword or a part of the keyword somewhere in the name of the category or in the name of a higher level category.
ii) Click Popularity: The concept of click popularity, first popularized by the Direct Hit search engine, means that when a user searches for something in Yahoo!, it tries to find out which sites satisfied the user's needs.
It does this by keeping track of two things: a) which sites the user clicked on among the sites displayed in the results and b) how much time the user spent in those sites.
The logic behind this is that if a user clicked on a particular site and spent a lot of time in that site, that site must have satisfied the user's needs and hence, must be relevant to that particular keyword. In this case, the site's click popularity for that keyword improves and so does its ranking for that keyword. But, if a user did not go to a particular site, or returned to Yahoo! soon after going to that site, that site must not be providing relevant information for that particular keyword.
In this case, the site's click popularity for that keyword declines and so does its ranking for that keyword. So, how do you ensure that your site's click popularity is high?
Some people have suggested that you can improve the click popularity of your site by regularly searching for the keywords that are applicable for your site, clicking on your site's listing in Yahoo!, and then by not going back to Yahoo!. They have also suggested that you can click on a competitor's listing in Yahoo! and then can immediately click on the browser's Back button to go back to Yahoo!, so that Yahoo! thinks that this site did not satisfy the user's needs and hence gives it a lower ranking.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Of course, if you are using a dialup connection to the Internet and your Internet Service Provider assigns you with a dynamic I.P address, you can get around this restriction by disconnecting your computer from the Internet and then again logging in and by deleting the cookies. But, forgetting for a moment the sheer amount of time that you would need to spend doing this, remember that Yahoo! gets millions of visitors every day.
How much influence can a single person have in such a situation?
There are only two ways of improving the click popularity of your site - the description of your site in Yahoo! needs to be attractive and you need to build an excellent web site with great content which satisfies your visitor's needs so that they stay longer in your site.
iii) Presence of the keyword or a part of the keyword in the Title and Description - If you want to rank highly for a keyword, the Title and the Description that you use to submit your site to Yahoo! should contain the keyword. Note that this Title is not the title that you have used in the home page of your web site and that this Description is not the description that you have used in the Meta Description tag of your home page. Rather, it is the Title and the Description of your site's listing in Yahoo!.
An important point to note here is that Yahoo! searches for strings rather than words. This means that if one of the individual words of the keyword is embedded inside another word, this will still boost your rankings. For instance, if the keywords applicable for your site contain the word Australia, but the description of your site in Yahoo! contains the word Australian, the fact that the string Australia is present inside the word Australian will be taken into consideration when your site is ranked.
iv) Prominence of the keyword in the Title and the Description - "Prominence" means how close the keyword is to the beginning of the Title and Description. Other things remaining the same, closer the keyword to the beginning of the Title and the Description, higher your ranking.
v) Presence of the keyword or a part of the keyword in the URL - You will get a slightly higher ranking if the keyword or a part of the keyword is also present in the URL of your site. Now we come to the Title for your site. The Title is important not only because the presence of a keyword in the Title helps to boost the ranking of your site, but also because sites in the various categories in Yahoo! are listed alphabetically according to the Title. However, Yahoo! insists that the Title should always be the official name of your site.
Hence, short of changing the name of your site, there is not much you can do about the Title. Now we come to how you should write the description of your site. When you write the description, your aim should be to make the Yahoo! editor's job as easy as possible. You should not give the editor the feeling that he/she needs to edit your description in any way. The moment an editor starts to edit your description, you risk having your keywords removed from your description or worse, having it changed in a way which does not reflect the content of your site. Your description should be a single sentence, which conveys what your site is all about and contains the two keywords you are targeting as close as possible to the beginning of the description.
However, your description should not just be a list of keywords - the description that you use should be a proper sentence and should be grammatically correct. It should also be attractive to your visitors so that they actually click on it, which will improve the click popularity of your site, and hence its ranking in Yahoo!. Broadly, here are the rules that you should remember when forming the description:
i) Make sure that the description can tell a visitor what your site is all about. Things like "Have a look at our site" or "Welcome to my site" does not tell a visitor what your site does.
ii) Avoid hype of any sort. Avoid using ALL CAPS or exclamation marks. Phrases like "The best web site dealing with widgets!!" or "Offers the BEST QUALITY, CHEAPEST WIDGETS you can find anywhere" are inappropriate.
iii) Don't capitalize any word in your description - not even the first word. For some reason, Yahoo! prefers that the first word of your description is not capitalized. If you look at the sites in any Yahoo! category, you will find that almost none of them have the first word capitalized. Of course, if some of the words in the description are proper nouns, then you should capitalize them.
iv) Write the description in the third person. Don't say "We offer financial planning and credit counselling services", say "offers financial planning and credit counselling services.".
v) Don't make your description too long - limit yourself to 10 words at the most. If you are lucky, you may be able to get accepted with a description longer than 10 words. However, longer the description, higher the probability that the editor will want to edit it.
vi) Check your description for typos and grammatical mistakes.
vii) End your description with a period. If the editor has to add the period to the end of your description, she may also end up editing the description, which is not what you want. Your aim is to have the editor accept the exact description that you had written in order to ensure that your keywords are not removed from the description. Now that you know the description that you should use, it is time to establish the category to which you should submit your site.
First of all, you need to determine whether your site is regionally specific. If your site is applicable to a specific geographic region, then you should submit your site to the appropriate Regional Category in Yahoo!. However, if your site is not specific to a particular region, then your site should be listed in one of the main Yahoo! categories.
Now, if your site is commercial in nature (i.e. if it sells a product or service) and is not regionally specific, it belongs somewhere under the Business and Economy > Shopping and Services or Business and Economy > Business to Business categories. If your site is targeted towards individual consumers, then your site needs to be under the Shopping and Services category.
If your site is targeted towards other businesses, it needs to be in the Business to Business category. If your site is both commercial in nature and regionally specific, your site needs to be under the Business and Economy > Shopping and Services or Business and Economy > Business to Business category of the relevant regional category. With this background, let's see how you can determine the appropriate category for your site. Simply search for the two keywords which you have determined earlier.
Go through all the categories which the top ranking sites belong to. Note down the category (or categories) which contain sites which are very similar to yours. In many cases, there will only be one category which contains sites similar to yours. In that case, this is the category to which you should submit your site. If you find that there is more than one category which contains sites similar to yours, and if you are convinced that all these categories are applicable for your site, select the two categories which contain the least number of sites.
Your primary category will be the one with the least number of sites. The secondary category will obviously be the other category. Now, create a text file in which you can record the details of your submission. Note down the date when you are submitting, the URL of your web site, the Title and the Description of your site as well as the URLs of the category (or the 2 categories) which are applicable for your site. Now go to the URL of the Primary category for your site, click on the Suggest a Site link at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions there. (If that category does not have a Suggest a Site link, then it means that it is a very general category to which new sites cannot be added.) Instead of submitting your site right away, I recommend that you first use a dummy, non-existent site to know the questions that Yahoo! is going to ask you.
Note down the answers to these questions in the text file so that you can paste them later when you are actually submitting your site. Of course, don't actually submit the dummy site by clicking on the final submission button - just use it to get an idea of the questions that Yahoo! will ask you.
Of particular importance is the box where Yahoo! asks for some additional information about your site. If you have identified an additional category which is applicable for your site, mention something like "My site also belongs to" and then give the URL of the additional category. Once you have noted down the answers to all the questions that Yahoo! is going to ask you, double check everything present in the text file to ensure that there are no mistakes and that all the URLs (i.e. the URLs of the categories as well as the URL of your site) are working correctly.
It is very difficult to change your site's listing in Yahoo! once you get listed, and hence, you need to ensure that you do everything correctly the first time. Then, offer a prayer to Goddess Yahoo! :-), go to the URL of the primary category for your site, click on the Suggest a Site link listed at the bottom and submit your site. Make sure that you follow all the instructions that are mentioned here to the absolute letter.
Now, remember that if yours is a commercial site and is not regionally specific, it must be under the Business and Economy > Shopping and Services or Business and Economy > Business to Business categories of the main Yahoo! directory. Yahoo! no longer offers a free submission option for sites under these two categories - you have no choice but to pay them, at the time of writing, $299 for the Business Express submission option.
For more information on this, go to Here. Read the instructions and terms and conditions of the Business Express submission in order to ensure that your site is eligible. Paying them $299 does not guarantee you a listing and your site is not given any preference in its rankings.
Using the Business Express option merely guarantees that your site will be reviewed within 7 days and that, in case it is not accepted, you will be told why your site was not accepted. You shall also have a chance of appealing a rejection within 30 days. Of course, all the instructions regarding choosing a proper description and choosing a correct category are still applicable.
If your site does not belong to these two categories, you can either submit your site for free, or you can use the Business Express submission option. I recommend that you first try to get your site listed for free. Use the Business Express option as a last resort. Once you have finished submitting, don't delete the text file - you will need it later when you want to again submit to Yahoo! (in case you are not accepted the first time). What to do if your site is not accepted This section is intended for those who have used the free submission and have not been listed.
In case you have used the paid submission and have been rejected, see the next section. Unless you are very lucky, if you have used the free submission, your site may not be accepted in your first attempt. If your site is not accepted within 1 month from the time that you submitted it, submit it again using the same instructions as above. If your site is still not accepted 1 month after the second submission, some people have suggested that you write to a special Yahoo! address - email@example.com.
However, in my personal experience, writing to this address has not been effective. Instead, here's what you should do:
I have accidentally discovered the email address of an actual editor of Yahoo!. Her name is Rosie Skaw and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am mentioning her email address here with the understanding that no one abuses it. This method works but it is not one of the familiar "back doors to Yahoo!" that one often gets to hear of (believe me, there are no back doors to Yahoo!).
This email address should be used only after you have tried to submit your site to Yahoo! at least twice using the steps outlined earlier and have failed. After submitting your site twice, if you still don't manage to get listed, write a very polite email to Rosie. Introduce yourself, tell her that you have been trying to submit your site to Yahoo! and have failed. Give her the details of your last submission - when you submitted it, the URL of your site, the Title and the Description that you used as well as the category (or categories) to which you submitted your site.
If you have a unique product or service that not many other web sites listed in Yahoo! are offering, mention it. Or, if you provide lots of articles and tips related to your business, mention that too. You can also point her to the testimonials that you have received. Request her (very politely) to evaluate your site and add it to Yahoo! if she finds your site appropriate. Once you have sent the email to Rosie, wait another month or so to see if you get listed. If you still can't get listed, don't send her any more emails.
Yahoo! provides a phone number for listing support. The number is 408-731-3333. Call this number and leave a message mentioning your URL and the date when you last submitted and requesting (again, very politely) that your site be listed. If the phone call does not get you listed, consider writing to Yahoo! at Yahoo! Corporation 3420 Central Expressway, 2nd floor Santa Clara, CA 95051, USA In this case too, mention your URL, the date when you last submitted, the Title and Description that you used and the category to which you submitted. Don't forget to mention the fact that you are selling a unique product or that you provide lots of articles or that you have received glowing testimonials from users.
If you still can't get your site listed, and you are convinced that your site deserves to get into Yahoo! and that you have followed all the rules, you should then use the Business Express submission option.
What to do if your Business Express submission is rejected
The most common reason for Yahoo! rejecting a site when it has used the Business Express submission option is lack of original content. If you get a message from Yahoo! that your site was rejected because of a lack of unique content, then your site may either be full of affiliate links and nothing else, or it may be a 1 page direct response sales site. In the former case, as I mentioned, your site cannot hope to get listed. In the latter case, you need to divide up your sales message into multiple pages.
Consider adding a few articles and tips related to your site. Then, send a polite reply to Yahoo! thanking them for their constructive feedback. Point out the fact that after receiving the feedback, you have added the articles and tips. Be specific here - tell them the exact URLs which contains these articles. Then request them to review your site again and add it, if they find it appropriate. Another reason that they may say that your site lacks original content is that you already have another site listed in Yahoo! and are trying to get a new site listed. If the two sites have essentially the same content, then you will definitely be rejected. However, even if the two sites have substantially different content, you may still be rejected.
In this case, there is no point in appealing the rejection - Yahoo! will definitely reject your site again when you appeal. Instead, what you can try doing is to remove all links from the new site to the old site (and vice-versa) and ensuring that the design of the new site is also completely different from the old site and that no part of the content of the old site is present in the new site (and vice-versa). Then, wait 2-3 months, and again submit the new site to Yahoo! using its Business Express submission.
Another common reason for the rejection of sites is that in Yahoo!'s opinion, the site is still under construction. If you are convinced that your site does not contain missing graphics, links leading to empty or non-existent pages, "Under construction" symbols etc., then a common reason for Yahoo! saying that the site is under construction is that the site cannot be properly viewed under Netscape.
Yahoo! editors generally use Netscape and hence, it is vitally important that your site be accessible using Netscape. You need to ensure that your site can be viewed properly in Netscape v3.0 and above. In order to see how your site looks under different browsers, go to http://www.anybrowser.com/siteviewer.html
Once you have ensured that your site is accessible under Netscape, send a polite reply to their rejection note thanking them for their constructive feedback and then stating that the site no longer contains any elements under construction. Then request them to review your site again and add it, if they find it appropriate. How to change your site's listing in Yahoo!
If getting your site listed in Yahoo! is tough, changing your site's listing is a Herculean task. Firstly, note that Yahoo! does not care about the ranking of your site. Hence, if you are trying to submit some minor changes to the description with a view of getting a higher ranking, you are unlikely to be successful. You should only think about trying to change your listing if
a) the URL of your site has changed, or
b) the official name of your site has changed (and hence the Title of your listing should change), or
c) Yahoo! has accidentally listed your site without a Description, or
d) the Description contains a typo, or
e) Yahoo! has placed you in a totally inappropriate category, or
f) the nature of your site has changed and the current description does not reflect the new nature of your site.
The URL for changing your site's listing is http://add.yahoo.com/fast/change Read the instructions thoroughly before submitting your change request. In the last text box, provide solid reasons as to why your site's listing should be changed. If you can't get your site's listing changed within 1 month from the time that you have submitted your request, try submitting your request again.
If you still can't get your listing changed within 1 month from the second request, follow the procedures outlined in the section on what to do if your site can't get into Yahoo! using the free submission. However, don't submit a change request using the Business Express submission - Yahoo! specifically forbids that.
Wrapping things up: Once you have got your site into Yahoo! (they will send you an email if you are accepted), your site will be added to Yahoo!'s What's New section. Furthermore, your site will be marked as new and will be placed at the top of the category (or categories) for 1 week from the time that your site is first listed. This placement at the top of the category can bring in quite a few visitors to your site every day. After the first week, the position of your site in the categories will be according to the alphabetical ranking of your Title. This will generally be accompanied by a decrease in the number of visitors to your site from Yahoo!.
This completes Part 4 of the Search Engine Masters Course. Today you have learned how you can get a high ranking in the mother of all directories - Yahoo!
Back to Index
Part 1 of the Search Engine Masters Course taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site.
Part 2 taught you how to create pages designed to get top rankings for these keywords.
Part 3 of the course taught you how to get a high ranking in the directory based engines like AOL, Lycos and Netscape by getting an optimum listing in the Open Directory.
In Part 4, we covered how you can get a top ranking in the mother of all directories - Yahoo!.
In the last part of this course, I will tell you how you can improve the link popularity of your site which will help your site improve your rankings in most of the spider based search engines.
Link Popularity, i.e. the number of sites which are linking to your site, is an increasingly important factor as far as search engine placement is concerned.
Other things remaining the same, more the number of links to your site, higher will be its ranking. What is important is not only the number of links to your site, but also the types of sites which are linking to you. A link from a site which is related to yours is more valuable than a link from an unrelated site. In this lesson, I explore different methods by which you can improve the link popularity of your site.
I start with the methods that you shouldn't bother using, then go on to the moderately effective methods, and then end with the most effective methods you can use to boost the link popularity of your site.
1) Submitting your site to Free For All (FFA) pages. A common misconception among many Internet marketers is that while FFA pages may not directly bring in traffic to your site, it will help to improve the link popularity of your site, and hence, will indirectly bring in traffic through the search engines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most FFA pages can contain only a certain number of links at a time. This means that when you submit your site to a FFA page, your site will be placed at the top of the page.
However, as more and more people submit their sites to the FFA page, your site will be pushed down, and finally, when it reaches the bottom of the page, it will be removed. Now, since you can bet that plenty of other people are also submitting their sites to the FFA pages, your site will remain in these pages for only a short span of time. Hence, in order to ensure that the search engines see your site if and when they come to spider the FFA page, you will need to ensure that you submit your site to these FFA pages on a regular basis - at least once a week.
Even if you used an automatic submission program to do it, can you imagine a worse way to spend your time and/or money?
Furthermore, many search engines recognize these pages which only contains links to other sites as FFA pages and may completely ignore them. And while I haven't yet seen any evidence that submitting to the FFA pages will actually penalize your site, there is every possibility that this might happen in the future. Hence, when it comes to FFA pages, my advice is simple: don't even think about them.
2) Joining Reciprocal Link Services Some people have recommended that in order to increase the link popularity of your site, you can join some reciprocal link services. The basic idea behind these services is that you add some pages to your site which contain links to other sites which are members of that service, and in exchange, these members will also add pages to their sites which will contain a link to your site.
Theoretically, more the members of that service, more your link popularity. However, I have plenty of reservations about using this method to boost the link popularity of your site:
i) Most of these services require that you add a visible graphical or text link from your home page to the pages containing the links. If they require a graphical link, it can completely destroy the general look and feel of your site. Even if they require a text link, how would you feel if a visitor to your site clicked on such a link and found one of your competitors (who is also a member of this service) right at the top of a page? Also, while most of these services disallow adult oriented sites, I have seen situations in which some adult sites have been able to become members. How would you feel if an adult site found its way to the top of one of these pages?
ii) Most of these services give the same pages containing the links to each of its members, i.e. the pages that you are required to upload to your site are exactly the same as the pages which all the other members of that service are required to upload to their servers. Even the file names of the pages tend to be the same for all the members. Most search engines are now able to detect such duplicate pages in different domains and may either ignore the pages or may even penalize all these domains for spamming.
iii) Instead of linking only related sites with each other, most of these services link all the members with each other. This means that lots of unrelated sites will be linking to your site. As I mentioned before, links from unrelated sites are simply not as valuable as links from related sites. Hence, I don't recommend that you join any reciprocal link programs.
iv) Google can penalise you for using reciprocal link services:
Quality guidelines - basic principles
Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.
If a site doesn't meet our quality guidelines, it may be blocked from the index.
Here's how to create a Google friendly site:
Things to do
Our webmaster guidelines provide general design, technical, and quality guidelines. Below are more detailed tips for creating a Google-friendly site.
Give visitors the information they're looking for
Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.
Make sure that other sites link to yours
Links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results. When returning results for a search, Google combines PageRank (our measure of a page's importance) with sophisticated text-matching techniques to display pages that are both important and relevant to each search. Google counts the number of votes a page receives to determine its PageRank, interpreting a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important." Please note that ranking of sites in our search results is completely automated, and we don't manually assign keywords to sites.
Keep in mind that our algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines. Some of these types of links (such as link schemes and doorway pages) are covered in our webmaster guidelines.
Only natural links are useful for the indexing and ranking of your site.
Make your site easily accessible
Build your site with a logical link structure. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
Consider creating static copies of dynamic pages. Although the Google index includes dynamic pages, they comprise a small portion of our index. If you suspect that your dynamically generated pages (such as URLs containing question marks) are causing problems for our crawler, you might create static copies of these pages. If you create static copies, don't forget to add your dynamic pages to your robots.txt file to prevent us from treating them as duplicates.
Things to Avoid
Don't fill your page with lists of keywords, attempt to "cloak" pages, or put up "crawler only" pages. If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don't intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site.
Don't feel obligated to purchase a search engine optimization service. Some companies claim to "guarantee" high ranking for your site in Google's search results. While legitimate consulting firms can improve your site's flow and content, others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines. Be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from our index.
Don't use images to display important names, content, or links. Our crawler doesn't recognize text contained in graphics. Use ALT tags if the main content and keywords on your page can't be formatted in regular HTML.
Don't create multiple copies of a page under different URLs. Many sites offer text-only or printer-friendly versions of pages that contain the same content as the corresponding graphic-rich pages. To ensure that your preferred page is included in our search results, you'll need to block duplicates from our spiders using a robots.txt file. For information about using a robots.txt file, please visit our information on blocking Googlebot.
3) Exchanging links with other webmasters Another way of improving the link popularity of your site is to exchange links with other webmasters who have sites which are related to yours, but are not direct competitors.
Here's how you can do it:
First, open a database program like Microsoft Access and create a new table containing fields like FirstName, LastName, Email Address, URL etc. Then, make a list of the sites belonging to your competitors.
Then, go to AltaVista, and type in the following in the search box: link:somesite.com -url:somesite.com where somesite.com is the domain name of one of your competitors.
This will give you a list of all the sites which are linking to that competitor. Then, find out in what context a particular site has linked to your competitor. If this site is an affiliate of your competitor, then your chance of getting a link from this site is limited, unless you offer an even better affiliate program.
However, if you find that this site has a Links page which contains links to other sites, one of which is a link to your competitor, then it is an excellent prospect for exchanging links. Find out the name and email address of the webmaster of the site and add them to your database. In this way, go through all the sites which are linking to your competitors, locate those sites which you think may want to exchange links with you, and build up your database. Once you have done that, create a Links page in your site, and add the URLs of these sites to the Links page.
Then, send an email to these webmasters, introduce yourself and your site, congratulate them on building an excellent web site, tell them that you have already added a link to their sites from yours, and then ask them whether they would be kind enough to add a link to your site.
In your email, emphasize the fact that exchanging links in this way will be mutually beneficial for both of you because it will help both of you drive traffic to your sites. Wait for a month or so to see the response. Some webmasters will agree to link to you. Others will simply not respond. After a month, remove the links to those sites who are not interested in exchanging links and using the methods outlined above, try to locate more sites with which to exchange links.
When you send the email to the webmasters, make sure that you personalize each email. Don't begin every email with "Hello Webmaster", begin with "Hello Mike". If you want, you can use email merge programs to automatically personalize each email.
You can check out some email merge programs by going to http://download.com and searching for "email merge" (without the quotes). The main problem with this method of improving the link popularity of your site is that it takes a lot of time. You may find that the number of links you manage to get just does not justify the time that you spend over it.
Another thing that you can do is to mention in your Links page that you are willing to exchange links with other web sites. This allows other webmasters who come to your web site to propose a link exchange.
4) Starting an Awards Program A moderately effective method of improving the link popularity of your site is to start an awards program. You can have web sites which are related to yours apply for an award from your site. The sites which win the award get the chance to display the logo for your award.
This logo is linked to your site, preferably to a page which contains more information on the award. If you publish a newsletter, consider declaring the winners in your newsletter. You can also perform a review of the winners' sites in your newsletter. This adds useful content to your newsletter and also gives more webmasters the incentive to apply for your award, since you may review their sites in your newsletter. This also gives them the incentive to subscribe to your newsletter to see if they win the award. Make sure that you give awards to only those sites which deserve to win. If you give your award to sites which don't deserve it, your award will have little credibility, which will, in turn, hurt the credibility of your company.
Furthermore, make sure that the logo you design for the award looks professional. If it doesn't, not many webmasters will want to display it in their sites.
5) Giving testimonials This may sound a bit unusual, but giving testimonials for products or services which you find useful can be another moderately effective way of improving the link popularity of your site. If you really like a product, simply write to the company and tell them why you liked the product so much and how it has helped you. Chances are, the company will write back to you to thank you for your comments and will ask you for permission to display your comments in their web site. Tell the company that you have no problems if they publish your comments, but request them to add a link to your site along with the testimonial. There is every possibility that the company will agree since publishing the URL of your web site gives more credibility to the testimonial. Of course, please don't go about giving testimonials to every company you can locate just because it will improve your link popularity.
6) Posting to Message Boards and Discussion Lists Another moderately effective method of increasing the link popularity of your site is to post to online message boards. At the end of every message that you post, you can sign off by mentioning your name and the URL of your web site. If the message board allows it, you can even include a short promotional blurb about your site at the end of your posts. However, make sure that the individual messages that are posted to that message board are archived in static HTML pages (i.e. the URLs for the individual messages should not contain a "?"). Otherwise, the search engines will consider these pages to be dynamic pages and may not spider these pages and hence, will not be able to find your link.
Email based discussion lists which are archived on the web in static HTML pages can also be used to boost the link popularity of your site in a similar manner. In this case, the signature file that you use with your email program should contain the URL for your web site.
7) Setting up new web sites Yet another moderately effective method of improving the link popularity of your site is to set up new web sites and have these new sites link to your main site. If you are Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon.com), you can afford to purchase hundreds of new domains and have these new domains link to your main site. If you are not Jeff Bezos, you can simply set up new sites with some of the free web hosts. (Of course, your primary web site should always be hosted in a separate domain of its own).
Simply add a few pages of unique content to each of your new sites, and have each of the pages in your new sites link to your main site. If you use this technique, make sure that you do not duplicate content across multiple sites. If you do, the search engines might penalize your sites for spamming. You need to ensure that all the pages that you create for these new sites contain unique content.
The disadvantage of this method is that some search engines (like AltaVista) refuse to spider sites which are present in the free web hosts. Still, there are many search engines which will spider your site, and hence, the link popularity of your main site will improve in these search engines.
8) Starting a Link Contest A good method of improving the link popularity of your site is to give away prizes to other webmasters if they link to you. The prizes that you give out should ideally be something which other webmasters will find valuable enough to want to link to you, but which do not cost you too much. For instance, if you publish a newsletter, and have unsold ad inventory, you can give away some free advertisements in your newsletter to the winners. If you sell a software (or an ebook), you can give away a free copy of your software or ebook to the winners, since it doesn't cost you anything to produce an additional copy of digital goods like software and ebooks.
Link contests work best if you run the contest on a continuous basis and if you declare new winners frequently. If you run the contest for a few months, and then stop it, the webmasters who had linked to you will all remove their links. However, if you run it on a continuous basis, and declare new winners every month or so, the webmasters will have the incentive to keep their links to your site. Also, make sure that you require all participants to have a link to your site either in their home page, or in an internal page of their site which is linked to their home page. Also ensure that the page which contains the link is no more than two levels deep from their home page (i.e. it should not take more than two clicks to go from the home page to the page containing the link). If they don't do this, the search engine spiders may not index the page which contains the link to your site, and hence, may not find your link.
9) Writing articles and allowing them to be re-published This is by far one of the best ways of improving the link popularity of your site, and one of my favorites. Whenever I write an article on search engine placement, I first publish it in my newsletter and then I publish the article in my site as a separate web page. I also submit it to the following article submission sites:
http://prweb.com (press release but will get your articles out there)
Many webmasters and ezine publishers frequent these article directories in search of articles. Submitting my articles to these directories gives them the opportunity of re-publishing my articles. While I have had some success with each of the above directories, by far the best among them is the ezinearticles.com directory.
Now, at the end of each article, I mention that people are free to re-publish the article as long as they include my resource box (i.e. my bio) at the end of the article. I always include the URL of my site in the resource box. This means that whenever someone publishes one of my articles in his/her web site, I have another site linking to my site.
Also, many ezine publishers archive their ezines in their web sites. If they have re-published my article in a particular issue, I again get a link. Writing articles is also an excellent viral marketing tool. As some webmasters and ezine publishers publish my articles, other webmasters and ezine publishers will read my article.
Some of them, in turn, will publish my article, which will again be read by other webmasters and ezine publishers, some of whom will publish it... and so on.
Also, since only web sites related to mine would be interested in publishing my articles, all these links tend to come from related sites, which, as I mentioned earlier, are more valuable than links from unrelated sites. Writing articles, of course, has another very important benefit - if you write good articles, it makes you known as an expert in your field.
This helps to improve your credibility, which makes people more comfortable about buying your products or services. Some notes about writing articles:
i) I have learnt through experience that some webmasters will publish other people's articles and will display the complete resource box but will not link to the URL mentioned in the resource box. In order to prevent this, you need to explicitly state that the article can be published only if the URL mentioned in the resource box is linked to your site.
ii) Your resource box should not be too long - it should be no more than 6 lines long, formatted at 65 characters per line. Otherwise, other webmasters and ezine publishers will hesitate to publish your article.
10) Starting your own affiliate program This is another excellent way by which you can improve the link popularity of your site. When you have your own affiliate program, you give other webmasters the incentive to link to you. In this case too, since most of these web sites will be related to the industry in which you are operating, these links will be more valuable than links from unrelated sites.
Now, when you start your affiliate program, you need to decide whether you want to run the program yourself, or whether you want to outsource it from a third party. While outsourcing your affiliate program has a number of benefits, doing so will not help you improve the link popularity of your site, because affiliates are going to link to the third party's site.
In order to improve the link popularity of your site, you need to ensure that the affiliate links are pointing to your domain. The affiliate program software that I highly recommend and have used for the affiliate program of our search engine positioning services is "My Affiliate Program", which is available at http://www.myaffiliateprogram.com
Although this software is hosted in a domain owned by Kowabunga Technologies (the company which owns the My Affiliate Program software), they give you the option of having the affiliate links pointing to your own domain.
11) Submitting to the directories This is by far the most important step as far as improving the link popularity of your site is concerned. As I mentioned before, what is important is not only the number of links to your site, but also the quality of the links to your site. No links are as important as links from some of the major directories like Yahoo!, the Open Directory etc. Hence, it is vitally important that you get your site registered by these directories. Also, you should submit your site to as many of the smaller directories as possible. You can get a list of such directories Here
This completes the Search Engine Masters Course.
The course has taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site, how you can create pages designed to get top rankings in the search engines for these keywords, how you can get a top ranking in AOL, Lycos and Netscape by submitting your site to the Open Directory, how you can get a high ranking in Yahoo! and how you can improve the link popularity of your site.
In short, the course has given you a blueprint for ensuring your success with the search engines. If you have always been frustrated by the difficult task of getting high rankings in the search engines, this course has given you a step-by-step guide to becoming a search engine CHAMPION.
For even more advice on all aspects of search engine positioning, I highly recommend that you subscribe to my FREE monthly newsletter on search engine positioning, called the 1st Search Ranking Newsletter. This is a Q & A style newsletter in which I answer my subscribers' questions on search engine positioning.
Every issue will give you the latest tips and techniques for taking your web site to the top of the search engines. In order to subscribe to the newsletter, go to the following site: http://www.1stSearchRanking.com
Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of the course, while the course will give you most of the tactics that we use to get our clients top rankings in the search engines, there is something that the course cannot give you - TIME.
You need to spend at least 2-3 hours for the next few months in order to implement the techniques described in this course. If you have the time required to do so, then you should, by all means, optimize your site yourself. However, it is quite likely that you are already very busy with the other aspects of your business and do not have the time to optimize your own site.
In this case, you may want to take our help in getting top rankings in the search engines. When you hire us to optimize your site, we will take care of everything for you - researching the keywords for your site, creating pages designed to get top rankings in the search engines for these keywords, submitting your site to the Open Directory, improving the link popularity of your site etc.
You will also have the confidence of having an expert at your side, who will constantly advise you on how to improve your rankings in the search engines. If you would like more information about our search engine positioning services, please visit the following site: http://www.1stSearchRanking.com
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Public Domain Secrets - Part 1
How to Make Money by Finding, Re-organizing, Reworking, and Re-selling Other People’s Profit Churning Articles, Books, Films, Photos, Manuals, Study Courses, Pictures, Songs, Posters, Movies, Music, and Other Creative Products Works ... Create Any Number of Copies That You Want ... NEVER Worrying About Royalties or Any Other Charges!’
Get your hands on a veritable gold mine of Public Domain material and other works of art with No Copyright, which are yours to claim and use freely ... Obtain these items for FREE and sell them for Huge Profits ... Add your copyright notice ... Retain all the earnings without sharing with anyone else, ever!
Back to Index
On reading this report, you will unearth all the secrets about a lesser known world of the Public Domain, which provides you with a plethora of information, as well as other inspired works, with promises of infinite profit. Just a few days from getting your own copy of this report, you will have at your disposal a veritable treasure trove of items, which you can find in a matter of minutes, re-work in just a few hours, and then sell them with your own name. All in all, generating immense profits!
The Public Domain is great, and by taking advantage of it you to earn a huge income without the hassles of creating an exclusive product. Generating profits from original products and items is nothing new, but you do have to expend a lot of time, effort, and money into creating these works, or getting them produced by someone else. And after spending so much money and waiting for months to get your product ready, you then have to spend anxious days waiting and wondering if your exclusive item will be a bang or a bust. So, why would you want to do that when ...
... There Is a Far Superior Option
What I am referring to is known as the ‘Public Domain’. This option gives you the chance to use books and information (among other products) created by others, and sell them as your own. You can copy the product as is or alter it a little, put whatever price you want on it (keeping as high a profit margin as you wish) and never have to be concerned about paying any royalty or charges to the original creator of the product. And the best part in all this - you can do all this legally!
Public Domain refers to information, books and many more original products that do not have any copyrights, or such copyrights (if existing) have already run out. These products are free-to-claim by anyone, including you.
If any item is protected by a copyright, then it is the property of the person who holds the copyright. The exclusive right of using the product, altering it, and selling it for profit rests with the lawful owner and no one else can claim the product as theirs.
As is obvious, copyright is thus a priceless right, which is why people go to extreme lengths to protect their works, including legal action when their rights are violated.
Just as exclusive copyrighted works are priceless; similarly, public domain products too can be very valuable, sometimes even more so. The only difference being that no one owns public domain products, and they are anyone’s to use, copy, and sell for as much profit as they can.
It is no wonder then that more and more people are now looking at the Public Domain as their primary source of earnings.
Thousands of copyrighted works are coming to the end of their term everyday, and it is virtually impossible for anyone to re-use them all at once. However, the ones that have the most profit potential will be quickly grabbed by people who have expert understanding of the secrets of the Public Domain; the very people who would rather these secrets stayed uncovered.
But unfortunately for them, (and fortunately for you) we too have expert knowledge about the workings of the public domain. And because we make our money by disclosing well guarded secrets, especially those that have huge profit potential, we will show you exactly how to snap up the most superior FREE public domain products, and use them to generate huge income. And if you work fast enough, you may even monopolize a huge industry before people become aware of what you are doing and jump on to the bandwagon themselves.
In just a few days from reading this book, you will be able to put all this Closely Guarded Information to good use and immediately craft original materials such as ebooks, study courses, how-to manuals, membership websites on the Internet, pictures, photos, CDs, high profit videos, patterns and designs for do-it-yourself products (eBay, here I come!), posters, DVDs, etc. And not just create them, but also sell them as your own for HUGE PROFITS!
And picture this: at the same time as other people are grumbling and complaining about the fact that they have no products to sell and earn a profit, you will be creating new products from other people’s works, selling them, and earning handsome profits. The valuable information contained in this book will equip you with all the knowledge required to gain never-ending access to top quality goods from the Public Domain.
Yes, well; we sure won’t blame you if you are highly sceptical, as we were too. But then we came across what experts in the field of Public Domain had to say, and the rest as they say - is history.
David Vallieres is a famous author, has sold many great info products (a lot of them on eBay) and is also an expert at utilizing public domain products for generating huge profits. He has used public domain works over and over to earn immense profits and has also authored a book on the subject titled, “How to Perform Certified Copyright Searches”.
Allan Wilson is another great writer. He has his own Internet membership website and gives people access to many info products through his site. Quite a few of the books and information are original products created by him, but an equal number of info products are sourced from the public domain. To become a member of his website, you need to pay a one time joining charge, as well as a membership fee every month.
He has profited immensely from his membership site, and this book will tell you how you too can launch your very own membership site for great profits. You will be shown an easy, step by step method to launch your site and provide great content, for which members are literally beating down your door and paying you good money to get access to information that you have put together in a matter of hours, and practically at zero expense.
Rebecca Fine is another person who has made large amounts of money from the public domain. She was given a book which did not have a copyright and then used that book to launch an entire website and create a global business. The book titled, “Science of Getting Rich” was first published in 1910 and thus had an expired copyright. Rebecca utilized that book to get customers to her website, have them become a part of her mailing list, using which she sells various products and makes more money in a year than most people do in a lifetime!
Matt Furey chanced upon a book about Catch Wrestling while going through various fitness magazines and books. This book was created more than a century ago and was thus not copyright protected. Matt got the brilliant idea of using the information in the book as a home-study course, and even included a great video with it. He generates so much money from this information that plenty of people have tried to steal it, but couldn’t because of some excellent systems that we have discussed later in this book. Matt also sells many other info products, most of which have been sourced from the public domain, through his website.
I have come across countless books and products at book exhibitions, bookstores, garage sales, even libraries, which do not cost more than a few dollars but have the potential to be converted into products that could fetch you thousands, even millions, of dollars. In this module, I go on to show how you can locate such public domain products and then re-package them for huge profits.
Not just informative books and periodicals, but you can also profit from craftwork designs and patterns from the public domain. Karensvariety is a seller on eBay who has profited in a similar manner. She sourced designs and patterns about knitting and crochet, and now sells these patterns (which have been converted into a visual CD) through eBay. I will show you how you too can create such niche businesses of your own, and attract repeat customers and generate good income.
Yet another example of a person who has used the public domain profitably is that of Russell Brunson. Through his website, Russell provides his members with numerous public domain books that have been found and re-packaged by Russell after thorough checking for any copyright issues by his copyright attorneys.
I myself sell countless books and info products, all of which have been located from the public domain and are about a wide variety of topics. For just a few hours of work every week, I generate profits in excess of thousands of dollars. Even though I have only recently entered the public domain business, I have already created a successful income generating business. And by reading this module, you can too!
This is a report which basically focuses on how to create new items and goods from original works sourced from the public domain arena. But in addition to the public domain, you can also get priceless items which are free from copyright issues, from other sources such as internet directories, personal quotes, news bulletins, free-to-use marketing materials, goods with re-sale rights, and many more. As these avenues too can be useful to your business and can help to generate good income, we have included some information about these sources in this book.
Back to Index
Explaining the Concept of Public Domain
The term ‘Public Domain’ typically refers to written works, musical pieces, and creative works of an artistic nature; works that either have their copyright expired and thus not protected anymore, or were not copyrighted in the first place. Although copyright rules may differ from country to country, they are quite simple to understand.
In spite of the fact that there are thousands of valuable products available in the public domain arena, almost all the people who are looking out for legitimate business prospects reject or simply fail to notice this immensely profitable idea.
Many people are worried about violating copyrights and being sued, some think that people would surely not want information that might be several years old, while some who are aware of the public domain simply have no knowledge about how it operates.
The term ‘Public Domain’ does have some complicated explanations, but essentially it indicates the same meaning - items from the public domain, which include study courses, instruction manuals, books, periodicals, musical works, pictures, paintings, photos, motion pictures, posters etc, do not have any particular owner and are not the sole property of any person. They can be claimed by anyone, usually without paying any money, and the person claiming them then has the right to use the works, or alter them, and sell them for profit; basically using them in any lawful and just manner.
‘Lawful and just’ can also have several meanings; so we will discuss what they exactly mean in this regard, a little later. But for now, all you need to understand is that the countless products that are available in the public domain can be yours to do whatever you want and sell them for how much ever money you want. As is evident, public domain products can thus be a wonderful and highly profitable chance for you to have your own works and generate great profits in a short span of time.
As we understand it, ‘Public Domain’ refers to creative products which are not copyrighted or owned by any particular entity. Neither do you need to take anyone’s authorization to use them, nor is anyone going to hound or sue you for repackaging and selling the countless public domain products available currently, for a profit.
Although there are many types of products available in the public domain; for now we will be concentrating only on those products that contain valuable information, mainly in the written format. These include books, courses, manuals and other text products. These types of public domain products enjoy immense popularity as they are very simple to re-format and convert into fresh new products and also have scope for high profits. Other kinds of creative products will be discussed later.
Unarguably The Best Product There Is - Information
The times we now live in are not called the information age for nothing. Just enquire of a few of the wealthiest businessmen and they will all tell you that their rags to riches story can be attributed to the business of providing information to others. For instance, Joe Karbo, who has written the best selling book, “Lazy Man's Way to Riches”, will tell you without hesitation that information has helped him to accumulate vast wealth. Or, take the case of Robert Allen, a world famous real estate magnate, who tells anybody who is interested that through information items, he has made far more money than from any of his other endeavours.
The best part about being in the information business is that people are always in need of information, which is why your business will never die. Whether online or offline, info products are among the top selling products in today’s times. Thus, it is no surprise that numerous profitable ventures in recent times, all are built on the foundation of information products.
And perhaps the simplest manner, in which you too can hop on to the information bandwagon, is to locate all types of data from the public domain. Just take a moment to consider this - every piece of work on the public domain has been written by someone other than you, but by claiming these products as yours, you can instantly get into the publishing business. In fact, you may also be able to source some advertising and marketing information which you can revise to current standards and use to publish your info products.
And the icing on the cake - all the information that you source from the public domain can be had for FREE, or practically that. Since there are probably billions of wonderful items to take your pick from, you never have to worry about running out of information to repackage and sell. And as far as risk goes, there is practically none. On the chance that any of your reworked information products simply do not sell, all you will have lost out on are a few days of work, and maybe a few pounds. Unlike the situation where you spend weeks or months trying to create an original product, spend huge amounts of money on it, and then have it go bust. Now that can be very worrisome, which is something you never have to concern yourself with regarding the public domain.
Another advantage with the public domain is that it is an ever increasing arena. Hundreds of new and fresh information items are added to the public domain every day. You have such a wide variety to pick from, and yet very few people to compete with. And many people who do know about the public domain are not ready to invest the time and energy required to find great information. This means that your competition is further reduced.
So essentially, what the public domain gives you is this - a never ending supply of great products to sell, which virtually cost you no money, and hardly any competition to worry about. Seriously now, how many other business ideas will give you all this???
The Ideal Business Choice
At this time, I put out several information products (mostly books); all of which have been sourced from the public domain. Of these, there are about twenty five books that I publish which are related to horse breeds. Each and every one of these books has been compiled from a single source which was first published in the latter part of the 19th century.
What can I say; it is an amazing book, which covers various types of horse breeding and horse breeds. In spite of the fact that it was authored more than a century ago, the information contained in this book was not the slightest bit outdated or obsolete.
Since this book had no valid copyrights, I could use it as I saw fit. One way to do this was to simply publish the book in its entirety. But since a few others had the same idea and had beat me to it; I decided to publish different books, each with the focus on a particular breed. I did an eBay search and found which horse types had the greatest demand in the sports and horses categories, and then choose the sections accordingly.
A Useful Suggestion
It is a great idea to take a big book and break it up as I did. A huge advantage of doing this is that you only need a single item description template for all your books. Whether it is a web site template, a promotional letter, or an eBay listing; all of these need to be done only once.
Once you have all the templates ready for your first book (the first cat species in my case), you only need to interchange the areas that you are focussing on, and voila! Everything else falls into place.
For instance, take the example of the cover page of my book. Since it is a book about sea fishing, I have used pictures of various fish on it. Now, once I created the cover page with various species depicted on it, I simply changed the name of the species that appeared on the cover, and I could then use the same cover page for all my fishing books. Easy and effective, wouldn’t you say?
Not Only Horses!
Ok, so maybe not everyone is a great horse lover like me, which is what I recognized early on and therefore published many more books on various topics, all from the public domain. But one thing remains the same; all my books cater to specific areas and people. They are not generalised topics but specialty topics such as - Intricate Stonework, Art of Magic 101, Ancient Natural Herbal Preparations etc.
I keep the price of my books really low, about $9.00 each, but I make a decent profit of around $7.50 on every sale. I sell them all over but turn a nice income from on eBay as ‘Buy It Now’ items, and because of their low price, they do really well. Since the books are quite cheap and economical, they draw people who are impulse shoppers, and don’t mind shelling out that much (or should I say little) money.
Now $7.50 may not sound like that much money, but in the long run, it really is. Just think about it; I spend around one day re-working each book and even if I sell just one book every day, I make around $225 every month. This in itself is still not a lot of money, but over an entire year, one book nets me more than $2,700 in profit; all this just for a single day’s efforts.
Imagine that you can find information and create about 100 fresh info books every year, of which you manage to sell just one copy per book every day. So what does that translate into?
Now in the next year, you keep publishing more books to add to the previous year’s publications. In time, you are looking at profits that are so enormous that it boggles the mind just thinking about it!
And since the raw material is in constant supply, you can keep producing more and more books for a never ending stream of income. Your topics are virtually endless as there is a host of information available in the public domain, about any subject under the sun.
And Why Stop At Only Books?
The public domain certainly does not stop at just books. Imaginative and informative products available in the public domain can be transformed into various other items including the following:
DVDs, CDs, Tutorials, Study Courses, Posters, Placards, Mouse Pads, Tea and Coffee Mugs, Adornments, Pictures, Photos, Prints, Craft Patterns, Films, Musical Pieces, Movies, Periodicals, Directories, Instruction Manuals, How-to Modules, Charts, Plans, Drawings, Prototypes, Blueprints, Templates, Theatrical Plays, Songs, Monologues, Dialogues, Speeches etc.
As you can see, it is possible to create just about anything from products taken from the public domain. In addition to creative works that have been produced by individual people and organizations, the public domain also contains many items that cannot be copyrighted.
For instance, the public domain has a lot of government information and official publications that have been created by the government or lawmakers of countries. These products are created for the general public and have also been funded with public money. Such products are thus the property of the general public and can be utilized by anyone. Anyone can copy such information and utilize it in any lawful manner. You can sell infinite copies of such products without having to shell out any charges or royalties to anyone.
However, you should check the regulations in your own country as they may differ from place to place. But largely speaking, such type of government information is free to be used by anyone. For UK residents, the book “Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook” is a wonderful resource for facts regarding UK copyright rules and also features copyright laws of foreign nations. This book can be obtained from any major UK library.
Another good resource that is rarely protected by copyright laws is directories. These have huge amounts of information which can be used freely. However, the specific layout and formatting of the directories is copyright protected, and so are any explanations and instructions that aid the readers in using the directories. You need to be very cautious when using any product and should never presume that a particular product is entirely in the public domain arena.
For instance, a wonderful new directory titled, “Directory of Public Domain Resources”, is a good example. Although this is a directory that features places where you can source public domain products from, the directory itself is not in the public domain.
The lists of places mentioned in the directory are all public domain addresses, but the main directory that holds all this information is not. Even the smallest detail included in the directory, such as a graphic, or a description of one of the public domain addresses, or even the foreword in the directory; all these are copyrighted and thus not free for use.
The reason I have given you the example of this book is to elucidate how public domain information, which can be used by any person, can easily be transformed into an original piece of work that belongs entirely to you and enjoys the complete protection of copyright rules and regulations.
Be very cautious and double check each and every piece of information before presuming that you are entitled to use it freely, or re-work and sell it. Verify the resources that are mentioned in this report and also all those that you obtain from other sources. Preserve all the information as and when you get hold of it.
By doing so, if you ever receive any ill advice, or if you ever accept any counsel that others do not agree with, you will have an efficient resource to fall back on, which will explain where, how, and why you got access to the public domain info.
So, If Using The Public Domain Is So Simple, How Come Everyone Is Not Into This Business?
You may be inclined to wonder that with such enormous amount of information and various other artistic works that are available from the public domain, all of them easily accessible and with the potential of huge profits; then why is it that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is not into the public domain business?
Yet another question that begs to be asked here is that if all the public domain works are there for anyone to find, then why will anyone shell out good money to actually buy books and other products that have essentially been compiled from freely available public domain information? What’s to stop people from simply finding all this information on their own and benefiting from it, without paying any money whatsoever?
Well, there are basically two main reasons why this does not happen. Firstly, there are not a lot of people who are aware of what the public domain is or that it can be used profitably. As far as these people are concerned, the books that you publish (or any other product for that matter) using public domain information, are 100% your original creations and not recycled material. So if they don’t know that the information you are selling can also be had for free, the question simply does not arise that they will find the information themselves.
And secondly, even the people who are aware about the public domain hardly ever try and find the information themselves. This is because some don’t have the time to spare to locate the information, while others do not have the resources necessary to establish that the information available is indeed from the public domain arena.
Even if they could establish that certain information is from the public domain, they would then have to find the info in its entirety, replicate the info, make sense of the information, and re-format all of it. While all this comes easy to some people, it does not to everyone. And not everybody wants to spend hours or days to re-organize the information, with a chance that they would still wind up with data that does not make complete sense.
The raw information taken from the public domain needs to be edited thoroughly so as to be presentable. All errors need to be corrected and any vague information needs to be clarified. Sometimes you could be dealing with out of use language or expressions and you also need to change all that. After the information has been reformatted to perfection, you still have to transform it into its printed version (for offline sales) or into the electronic format (for online sales). Add to that the fact that promotional letters will have to be drafted, and a whole lot of things have to be accomplished before you are ready to sell your creation, and this is enough to send most people scurrying away from using the public domain works.
So what will set me apart from all these people? How will I be able to profit from the public domain if they can’t?
That’s because everyone does not know that doing all the things as mentioned above (locating information, verifying it, re-formatting it, creating sales letters etc) is not as difficult as most people believe. In fact, it’s actually quite easy, and becomes even more so thanks to this wonderful book that you are currently reading.
Fortunately for you, this report will teach you exactly how to convert public domain information into profitable products for resale. Don’t be surprised if you find all this much easier and simpler than even you imagined, and realize that almost anyone can use the public domain for earning a great income. However, we surely do not want everyone realizing that too, now do we???
This is another thing that you don’t have to worry about. Majority of the people concerned think that all this involves a lot of effort and hard work, and most people are turned off by the amount of research involved. Instead of working at it, they would rather buy whatever information they need from you, especially if you are selling your products for as little as I sell them.
Back to Index
What Type Of Products Can Be Sold Using The Public Domain?
This module contains various new ideas that will help you to profit from the public domain, including helpful suggestions, tips, and strategies for making money, and also shows you numerous ways in which you can locate public domain works.
However, we do not claim that this is an all inclusive and comprehensive guide to the public domain, which tells you about every aspect of the public domain. This is simply not possible because the public domain is a huge arena and is ever changing. Many materials come into the public domain every day as their copyrights expire; while many other products are included daily which are not subject to copyright laws to begin with. This includes a host of government information among other materials which are typically free from any copyrights, namely people’s views, cooking recipes, quotations, and public opinions etc; all of which are explained later on in this book.
And Since There Is Such A Vast Choice, Let’s Get Started Without Further Ado.
There is such a wide variety of public domain materials to choose from that people simply get spoilt with the huge choice available (But we’re certainly not complaining!).
Although we mostly give the example of books rather than other public domain products; all the information we provide in this report is equally relevant to all other original materials that are sourced from the public domain.
Starting With Books
Here’s looking at some of the ways in which you can take a book from the public domain and transform it into an exclusive product for current times; all without enduring a lot of effort or spending too much money.
Locate a nice and legible copy of the creative book; get it xeroxed and then spiral bind it. The photocopier in your area usually gets the job done, but you may want to look at other copiers to get the best price.
Prepare a WORD document of the original book by scanning the text and putting it in Word. Make sure you have a single page of the original book inserted into a single page of Word. You can then sell your book as a printed version or choose to sell it electronically. If selling as an ebook, you can convert the text into a PDF document.
If you want to sell your book on the internet, you can convert it into a digital product that can be instantly downloaded through the web. Give your customers the choice of downloading it as a Word doc or as a PDF book. The PDF version is much better looking and is also a securer version than the Word doc, but not everyone may have the software necessary to download a PDF book.
Instead of scanning the original book as is, you can manually type out the entire text into a Word doc. This way, you can also edit the text if required.
Create a version that has a large font that can easily be read by people who have poor vision.
An original public domain book can also be transformed into an audio CD; or perhaps even into a Braille version so that even those without eyesight can ‘read’ your book.
Converting a written book into an audio format is great as it targets those people who cannot spare the time to read your book as they need their eyes for other activities, but can listen to your book while doing other chores. For instance, drivers, surveillance crew, busy mothers etc.
You can also convert a large book into a study course with various modules. Each module can be offered separately, perhaps weekly or monthly, for which you can charge separately too.
If the public domain book seems to have great potential, you can also copyright it with your own name. To do so, you simply need to add certain extras to the original book. These can be anything from headings and titles, added chapters, new formatting, updated information, complimentary reports with the book etc. By simply changing the book as mentioned here, you will be able to get copyright protection and can thus prevent others from copying your book.
If you come across several small books or reports on the same subject, or related topics; then you can combine all these different books into one big book. With an attractive cover page and an attention grabbing title, you are sure to sell many copies.
If the book becomes too large, you also have the option of converting it into a CD or DVD. And by doing so, you will have altered the original books and will therefore be able to get copyright protection for your creation.
Apart from a written book or a CD, you have another great option for using several related materials. You can launch your own membership site on the Internet and give away all the books to your members through this site. In addition to getting an upfront membership fee from your customers, you can also charge a monthly fee for providing new and fresh products each month. And where do you get these fresh products from - the public domain obviously!
Various Public Domain Books Reprinted Of Late
Here are some instances of public domain books which have been brought out in recent times; all of which are enjoying immense sales and amassing great profits.
How to Play Poker
What Does Your Handwriting Say About You
Tips On Creating Humorous Tales
How to Be A Multi-millionaire
Complete Guide to Tennis
What Your Dreams Indicate
How to Build Determination
Becoming An Expert Orator
Healthy Living with Healthy Eating
How to Sketch and Colour
Teachings of the Bible
The History of Submarines
How to Build Self Belief
The History of Money
Art of Being The Perfect Gentleman
Charisma and Sensation
Building and Using Cable
Secrets to Wedded Bliss
Tricks to Penning a Winning Book
What Are Your Stars Telling You?
Other Public Domain Materials
I have already mentioned that other than books, many more artistic and original materials can be sourced from the public domain, such as pictures, prints, musical pieces, movies, posters etc.
Now I will tell you about a couple of my creations which have been found from the public domain.
1) Old Picture of Manchester United Soccer Team
I found a really old, but very nice looking picture of the Manchester United team of yesteryears. It was first taken to be printed in a newspaper alongside an article about the team. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the picture at an auction, and was luckier still when I found out that it was in the public domain.
There were a few more photos with the one I chose, but that’s another story. Realizing that the picture had good potential, I used it to create posters, prints, T-shirts, and also put the picture on small magnets which could be stuck on refrigerators. Needless to say, these various items sold really well on eBay, all thanks to the picture of the Manchester United team.
There was a bit of wording on the original picture, but I simply deleted the original wording and put some of my own in place, depending on what product the picture was going to appear on.
2) Locket Featuring a Period Motif
I chanced upon a book from the early 1900s, which had these amazing pictures of pendants and lockets, all with beautiful oriental designs and motifs on them. Even though each and every design was 100% original, there was no copyright to contend with and I could thus use the motifs as I wanted.
Although I could use the beautiful designs and patterns in any way I wished, seeing the breathtaking beauty of the lockets, I decided to use the unusual motifs on jewellery itself. I brought out an entire range of lockets, pendants, and other accessories using these designs, and let me tell you, they were a smash hit! This unique range of jewellery has given me immense profits and continues to do so.
Other Items That Are Hugely Successful On eBay
I am citing the example of eBay here simply because it is the largest market for all kinds of products and items. Let’s just put it this way - if you cannot find any particular product on eBay, then it’s safe to assume that such an item simply does not exist.
eBay is a marketplace for all kinds of works that have been obtained from the public domain and re-sold here. Whether just inspired from public domain materials, or entirely re-worked public domain material; everything is sold on eBay. Here’s a look at some of the public domain items that are currently being sold on eBay.
Example One: Providing Information about How to Make Money from the Public Domain with Readymade Goods
I came across one eBay seller who was making a lot of money by selling information to others about how to make money using the public domain. He was not providing information about the public domain or how it works (as is the case with this report), but is instead providing an enormous collection of ready-to-use books from the public domain.
This is a very tempting offer as buyers do not have to spend any time or money finding and re-working public domain books. They can simply buy these titles and are ready to re-sell them. This is definitely a very smart idea and something that you too can do by compiling a large selection of novels in saleable topics.
Example Two: Song CD Containing Public Domain Music
A particular listing on eBay offers melodious songs and music in a neat CD. There are a few original songs included in the CD, but largely it consists of public domain music. The seller had to just source this music and re-packaged it to produce a best selling music CD.
Repackaging is tackled later on in this report.
Example Three: Pattern and Design CD
One eBay seller was selling a nice little CD that contained various knitting patterns and designs. The patterns were sourced from the public domain and were then scanned and converted into a Word document. This was then transformed into a PDF file, which is very easy to do thanks to the various PDF creators available nowadays.
The CD did not take much time or money to put together, but the sales of the CD sure generated good money!
Example Four: An eBay Power-seller of Re-published Pictures, Posters, Maps, etc.
The eBay power-seller ZZL releases amazing photos, pictures, posters, prints, and maps on the Native American Indian theme. All these are reprinted from public domain works and are best sellers. I personally buy a lot of stuff from this seller as and when I need something concerned with the mentioned theme.
The Public Domain: A Veritable Treasure Trove of Ideas
There is no doubt that the public domain is packed with wonderful ideas that can make you some good money. Once you have come to realize that this arena is arguably the largest market for profitable goods and information, you will find yourself coming up with fresh and exciting ideas everyday. Some of these ideas may be 100% original, whereas some may be inspired from other people’s thoughts.
If using someone else’s idea, you need to be very cautious so that you do not infringe on any copyrights. While someone’s item may contain public domain information, their re-worked ideas and packages are exclusively theirs and cannot be copied.
You can locate the same public domain information and products yourself and then use them in your own way, but you cannot copy someone else’s work, or you would be in violation of the copyright laws.
Let me make this clearer with an example.
Example Five: An Awesome Illustration of a Repackaged Public Domain Item
The example is of a great book titled, “101 Ways to Get Rich”. This book has been created by Timothy Ryder and the copyright is in the name of Internet Solutions Inc.
Along with the reprinted version of this book, the creator is also selling you the original public domain book from which this book was sourced. Both the versions of the book, the old public domain version and the new reprint, were transformed into PDF files and include a foreword from the printer.
This essentially makes both the versions of the book copyright protected. However, the original version in its print format (not PDF format) is still available in the public domain. If you wanted, you could get a copy of the original book and make your own reprint from it. But since this has already been done, not to mention that the original untouched version is also available; why would anyone take the trouble to do the same thing, especially when there are thousands of other great books that you could re-create.
So the smart thing done by Internet Solutions Inc. was to give their customers access to both the formats of the book. With the original public domain format out there for anyone and everyone to use, it simply would not make financial sense to recopy the book yet again.
And finally, because this version of the book is a brilliant reprint, hardly anyone will think of producing a similar edition, which may not be up to the mark of this reprint.
Back to Index
An Important Aspect of the Public Domain: The Copyright Act
No single law or particular rule applies to the public domain as far as copyrights go. There is no definite and all-inclusive law which helps to judge whether a particular item is from the public domain or not.
Copyright laws differ from nation to nation and take into consideration the kind of item created, the place where it was created, and also the time of its first appearance.
Although it is impossible to determine the precise scope of the public domain, there are some rules and guidelines that help you to check the enormous numbers of original products available and determine if they are in the public domain or not.
Important: We do not claim to provide any kind of legal guidance. All information given here is obtained from comprehensive research and is offered with good faith. This information is true to the best of our knowledge and is founded on products that are definitely included in the pubic domain in the nation where they originated.
Any item or information that catches your eye should be checked thoroughly to determine that it is indeed from the public domain. A product which seems like it may be in the public domain may actually be copyrighted as a derivative item, which means that it has been derived or sourced from the public domain, even though there may be no hard proof of the fact.
Let’s just rewind to something that we mentioned earlier regarding including some new features or formatting to a public domain product to make your exclusive copyrighted item.
Coming take the example of Vera Smith’s, “The Complete Feline Book”; let’s say that I have reprinted the book in its entirety without breaking it up into the smaller books. I have kept most of the original formatting in the book, so much so that my new creation also looks the part of an old book. And I have not even included my name in the new book, nor have I included a notification of copyright.
But what I have done is brought about a few small alterations by including some new photos, updating some information, and adding an introductory chapter. Someone happens to purchase my book at a local auction, and since it looks quite old and there is no copyright notice, they simply assume that it is from the public domain. They go ahead and re-publish it without making even one minor change. So what happens next???
They have violated the copyright laws as the book is my exclusive creation. Yes, they did it quite unknowingly and did not mean to rip me off; but the bottom line is that the copyright rules have been infringed.
This is just one of many ways in which you can innocently violate copyright laws by assuming that something is in the public domain. As it is quite easy to make these errors in judgement, you should check carefully if any product is copyrighted or not.
There are quite a few websites that host public domain items and let people read their products and even download them. However, these websites may not allow readers to print their materials or copy them. So, it is important to be careful and never presume that people will not find out if you utilize their materials. Most public domain products are added to or modified before they are hosted on websites, thus making them readily identifiable in any subsequent versions.
There are many websites which offer you public domain materials to use, but then ask you to pay them a royalty on any money that you earn by making use of their materials. You should thus understand the rules and regulations of such sites carefully, and avoid using any materials till you are completely sure of your legal liabilities.
In order to be safe rather than sorry, you should only download materials from those websites that do not have any reprint or copying limitations.
You can also locate a physical copy of any item that you are interested in, ensure that it is a first edition, is indeed in the public domain, and then copy it.
There are many instances when original works that were not renewed with their copyrights at the right time, or which do not have any notification of copyright are believed to be from the public domain. But is such a product really from the public domain? Perhaps, it is. But you should still check to make sure. There have been times when the page that had the copyright notification was simply torn off from the book, which has lead others to believe that a copyright does not exist. Ensure that you are not mislead in this manner.
It is best to pick products that you know for sure are in the public domain. There are countless such products, and by choosing these you can rest assured that you will not have to face any adverse consequences of violating copyrights by mistake.
The next section gives you information about how to determine whether an item is in the public domain or not.
Products That Are Definitely from the Public Domain in Their Place of Origin
As of today, any products that were published in the United States prior to 1923 are definitely included in the public domain. Such products can be used or copied by anyone as they please.
All products that were originally published in the United States from 1923 to 1963, and if their copyright was not restored in the 28th year of their first publication, then such items now fall in the public domain.
All products first published in the United States from 1923 to 1978 and which are not accompanied by a legal notification of copyright, are automatically deemed to be in the public domain. Here you need to be extra careful and watch out for any missing portions or pages where the copyright notice could have been. Books and written texts that have all their pages intact, with page numbers showing in the right sequence, can be assumed to be in the public domain if no copyright notice exists.
However, if there is even one page missing, then it is best to avoid using the book before establishing whether it is copyrighted or not. You never know, the missing page may be empty, or contain information of no real value, or there could be just a typo in the page numbering. But since it could have contained the all important copyright notice, you better check carefully.
All creative works originally produced in the United States later than 1st January 1978 are protected by copyright for the entire time that the author lives, as well as for 70 years after the author has expired. This US law is quite similar to the UK law which is discussed later.
All works originally created in the United States from 1st January 1978 and 1st March 1989, and which do not have any copyright notification as well as registration, are considered to be in the public domain.
As far as UK copyright laws go; a copyright usually stays intact for 70 years after the original creator of the works has expired. The 70 year term does not begin from the exact date that the creator died, but from the last day of that calendar year in which the creator passed away. There are some other limitations as well; all of which are better described in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook which can be obtained from any major reference library. This book describes the limitations in a concise and easy to understand manner, and also includes US copyright rules and other related global copyright topics.
All creative works, which were originally produced when there were no copyright laws in existence, fall in the public domain.
All works that have been given to the public domain by the producer are so deemed. Any author or producer of a creative work can choose to contribute their creations to the public domain; on doing which they surrender all rights to their work, thus enabling anyone to utilize their creation, alter it, copy it, or sell it as they please.
Even in current times, authors are giving key rights in their work to other people allowing them to alter their works and also put their name as creator. Although this is similar to dedicating your work to the public domain, it is not exactly so. These authors give you several info products to select from, which can then be reworked, reformatted, packaged together with additional products, and sold as your own.
UK COPYRIGHT RULES IN BRIEF
The 70 Year Regulation Of British Copyright:
As of this current year (2006), all British creative works come into the public domain arena 70 years from the expiry of the original creator of the works; or if the works are a joint creation, then 70 years after the last joint creator of the works has died.
Here’s a clear cut example of this rule.
The British 70 year copyright rule is of paramount importance to anyone who wants to use the works of the creator Archibald Thorburn (perhaps the finest bird painter ever) who died on 9th October 1935, which was confirmed easily by doing a google search for the keyword phrase ‘death anniversary of Archibald Thorburn’. It has been 70 years from the time of his death and thus all his works are now available in the public domain.
Even though the artist died on 9th October 1935, the 70 year law does not begin on that day but at the very end of 1935. Thus, the 70 year term has expired with the end of 2005 and hence his creations now fall in the public domain.
If we were still in 2005, say 15th October 2005, then even though 70 years would have passed from the day Archibald Thorburn died, his works would NOT be in the public domain yet as the 70 year rule begins from the end of the calendar year in which the creator dies.
I have chosen to give an example of this artist because his bird paintings are the finest of his time and are still sought after today.
Back to Index
Easy Answers to Difficulties and Problems
Different nations have their individual copyright laws, because of which a particular creation may be protected by copyright in one nation but free from all copyrights in another and thus available in the public domain.
With so many different rules applicable, there are plenty of grey areas regarding copyright laws. And with the Internet making the entire world one big global market, the copyright laws are getting more blurred by the day.
For instance: Because of the Internet, it is very easy for anyone in the United Kingdom to get a copy of an original book from a seller in the US. Although the original book may be in the public domain in the US, it may very well not be in the UK.
Theoretically speaking, the person who purchased the book in the UK could end up breaking copyright laws and may also have to suffer legal consequences of it, which has known to happen in certain circumstances. However, public domain specialists do say that such problems arise in very rare cases, if at all. And by exercising a little caution, you can even avoid those one or two problematic cases that may come up.
Majority of the possible troubles typically relate to products that have just come into the public domain in one nation, but are still protected by copyright laws in another. Items that have run out of their copyright protection since many years rarely have such problems.
Copyright rules and laws are too vast and too multifaceted to discuss in full, but with the handy suggestions and valuable added information that is given below, you will be able to avoid getting into trouble with the law, which can happen by wrongly interpreting the copyright grey areas.
Always bear in mind - whenever there is any ambiguity about any product, you should either reject that item and start looking for another that is surely in the public domain, or hire an expert to carry out a copyright search on the product that you wish to use.
In the last few chapters of this book, we have also listed several resources that can help you to carry out such copyright searches on your own.
The basic difficulties arise when you are trying to sell a book that is copyrighted in one nation but in the public domain in another. Experts in this area suggest that all products that are in the public domain in a particular country should be sold through websites of that country, with payments being accepted through that country’s payment options itself.
For example, if you wish to sell a book that is copyrighted in the UK but not in the US, you should sell it through a US website and use an American merchant account for receiving payments. So what you essentially do is - sell through an American site such as eBay America and accept payments through ClickBank. You should also specify that your book is in the public domain in the US, but could be copyrighted in another nation.
This piece of advice should help you to thwart any possible problems arising from copyright violations. However, the best way as mentioned previously would be to avoid using any item if you are not sure that it is in the public domain, or get that search conducted.Public domain specialists also say that with the vast number of products being offered on the Internet, it is practically impossible to implement copyright laws, more so because of their varying nature.
British people are relatively protected if they choose public domain items through a rule called ‘The Rule of the Shorter Term’. In Britain, copyright protection typically extends to 70 years from the original creator’s demise. But, the Rule of the Shorter Term states that in the case of original items that are copyrighted in a foreign nation, the copyright law which applies to British citizens is this: If the item has differing copyright protection periods in Britain and the other foreign nation, then the period which will hold up in Britain is the shorter term of the two.
Due to the varying public domain rules in different nations, a lot of uncertainty can arise. Let’s take a look at some cases where varying copyright laws have given rise to unavoidable confusion:
1) The wonderful tales of ‘Peter Pan’ are still protected by copyright laws in England, but have long been in the public domain in the United States.
2) Certain pictures that are well known as Cottingley Elves are copyrighted in Britain but are available in the public domain in America. In the United States, all works first published prior to 1923 are now in the public domain. But in Britain, the copyright for the same works will extend for 70 years from the demise of the creator.
The said works were first published in the UK in 1920, whereas in the US they were released in 1922. Since they were published prior to 1923, these works are public domain property in the US. However, the talented women who photographed the images died in the 1980s, and thus the copyright for their works will expire only in the 2050s, as per the UK 70 year rule.
It goes without saying that this kind of vagueness and confusion is something that no one needs or wants. People have tried to circumvent any problems by selling such products from an American site; and prohibiting people, who live in places where copyright still exists, from downloading them. As we said before, it is a grey area indeed and we would rather reject such products outright and go find something less confusing instead.
Important Public Domain Information
If alterations are made on a public domain item, such that they are enough to get it copyright protection, then the item so created is called a ‘Derivative’ product.
If any public domain item is translated into another language, the created item is a derivative product and has adequate creative changes to enable it to enjoy complete protection of copyright rules.
In the United States, it is a criminal offence to add any kind of copyright notification on a public domain product.
More Important Information about the Public Domain
In the course of several years, I have come to know about different laws about the public domain and have spent a lot of time in scrutinizing these laws and clearing mistaken beliefs. All this was done to protect myself, and my customers, from taking wrong actions which could lead to serious and expensive consequences.
Here I am sharing the knowledge that I have gained over the years. But please remember that rules and laws are subject to change; what is in force currently may well not be in the future.
You should not mix up the public domain with duplication or production rights. For instance, if someone gives you duplication and production rights to their original book, this does not imply that their copyright is obsolete or that a copyright does not exist. Duplication and production rights are an allowance, which is typically bestowed by the owner of the item, thereby enabling other people to copy their original work. However, the passing of these temporary rights rarely means that copyright is also given to the other person. Where public domain rights extend for an infinite term, duplication and production rights are usually for a prescribed period of time and can be taken back anytime.
Public domain products can be used by any person and they can alter them, rework them, or repackage them as they see fit. Their copyright does not belong to any one person. But this is not the case with duplication and production rights. Duplication rights give you the right to use the product, but the creator will practically never allow you to change the product or alter it in any way. And the copyright always remains with the original creator.
The mere ownership of an original product does not necessarily mean that you also have the copyright in that product. For instance, if you are the proud owner of a breathtaking painting or of an exclusive final version of some music score, or even a book; this does not automatically indicate that you own the copyrights of these products too.
And if you do not own the copyright, you do not have the right to alter or sell the products, even if you do own the original item. In a recent case in point, the creator of an original painting sold his creation and received a huge payment for it. Signed prints of the painting used to fetch him a huge profit. Thus people were surprised why he had relinquished the rights to such a profitable item by selling the original painting from which the prints were made.
The artist said that just because he sold his painting, that did not mean he had automatically passed on his intellectual copyright of the painting. Even though the painting was no longer his; as he was the original creator of the painting, all copyrights were still his, which meant that he could reprint the painting as and when he liked. People did not immediately believe that what he said was true, but subsequent legal clarification proved that it was.
Simply because a product is ‘out of print’ does not mean that it is in the public domain. Being out of print indicates that the publisher has simply stopped printing any more copies of the product for his own reasons, and not that it is free for anyone else to print.
LEGAL INVESTIGATIONS OF PUBLIC DOMAIN ITEMS
If you are not sure whether a product is in the public domain or not, you can check its status by conducting a legal investigation. The procedure is not very tough and is not too expensive either. At the completion of the process, you will be given an official statement that clarifies whether the creative product is in the public domain or not.
As there are many people conducting such legal investigations, you may have to wait for a considerable period before you get the official results. And it is very surprising that even with the availability of so many wonderful and profitable products that are surely in the public arena as per the rules mentioned before; people still waste their time searching for other products that may not be half as good.
Back to Index
Transforming Public Domain Products into Original Items with Copyright Protection
Even if it took you just a few seconds to obtain a public domain item from the Internet, you can still convert it into an original and exclusive product that can be copyrighted and will be 100% yours. There are many ways to ensure that you get full copyright protection so that others cannot profit from your hard work.
Let’s take an example of an original book. The text of the book (the written words and the information contained in it) can be used by you but you cannot get a copyright for the text. However, if you have added any formatting, changed the language, or added any extra information to the book, then your creation can be protected by copyright.
A majority of the works that are available in the public domain are in a printed version. So, by simply converting the works into a digital format, you can get a copyright for your digital creation. You do not even need to add anything to the works and simply need to change the format. Since your digital creation will be copyrighted, no one will be able to use the text contained in your version as they will then be in violation of the copyright laws. If they were to obtain a copy of the original print version, they could use the text. But they cannot use it from your digital version.
However, there may be some confusion here too. There are many products that are in the digital format as a result of products being contributed to the public domain arena by modern authors. It can be tough to prove that your digital version was created before someone else’s and that they have violated your copyright. Thus, it is best to make some modifications to the product, so that you can definitely prove that it is your creation.
A lot of computer software is available that will allow you to date your documents, so that the date and time of their creation is preserved. You can use such dated documents to prove that your product was created before someone else’s. As soon as you have finished creating your version, you should add the date to it, make a couple of backup CDs of your creation, and dispatch these backup CDs to someone who will keep them safe for you and who you have complete trust in. Make sure to send it by registered post so that you have further dated evidence. If a situation arises that another person claims to have created the same works before you, the dated and unopened backup CDs will testify that you created the product on the mentioned date and time and that the copyright is rightfully yours.
Here is a list of very easy alterations and modifications that will help you to transform a public domain item into your original creation:
Add a fresh title to the works. With a different title, you can get the work copyrighted in your name. And since the original title does not appear on your creation, it will also make it that much tougher for someone else to locate a copy of the original product and use it themselves.
Include some images and pictures if you can.
Proofread the text and correct all spelling errors as well as all grammatical mistakes. If some words or phrases are not in use anymore, you should update these words and phrases. Modernizing the language will also help to alter the text sufficiently.
If there are many short sentences, you can join them and make longer sentences or vice versa. The layout of the paragraphs can also be changed easily as can the formatting on the pages.
Making all these changes will definitely make it hard for your creation to be copied by other people.
Eligibility of Products for Copyright Protection:
To be eligible for copyright protection, a product must contain the following three major features. The product has to be:
An Original Item
Adequately Creative in Nature
The first important criterion is that the item should be tangible in nature. By tangible we mean that it should be a fixed item and should be physical in nature. You should be able to touch the item, or at least see the product. Simply having an idea in your brain, or an amazing thought is not enough to get copyright protection. Once the idea or thought is converted into an actual product, it can then be copyrighted.
Some examples of tangible products are: books, CDs, digital items, written documents, website content, DVDs, posters, prints, photos, paintings, graphic images, musical notes, original songs (when penned on paper), movie scripts, charts, maps etc.
Any product that is simply a figment of your imagination cannot be copyright protected. Take the example of a song. If the words are written on paper then the song can be copyrighted. However, if it is only in your mind, or if you have sung it somewhere and someone else has put the words on paper and copyrighted it, then you cannot get copyright for something that was in your head, even if it was your original idea.
However, there have been some cases where the law has granted copyrights to intangible ideas, if such ideas were conveyed to other people through talking, singing, or non-verbal communication. But since this can be very hard to prove, it is best to get all your ideas and thoughts on paper.
The second criterion for copyright eligibility refers to an ‘Original Item’. By this term, we mean that only that part of the product can be copyrighted by you which has been created by you. For instance, if you have created a book, of which each and every word was written by you (or someone you paid to write), then the entire book can be copyrighted in your name. However, if only certain portions of the text have been penned by you, then only those parts can be copyrighted in your name.
For instance, if you republish a public domain book with some added text, then only the portions which you have added can be protected by copyright as they are your original creation, and not the text which was taken from the public domain book.
The third criterion for copyright eligibility refers to ‘Adequately Creative in Nature.’ What this essentially means is that the product should be a result of your own ideas or some personal skills that you have. These could be drawing ability, sketching ability, writing talent, etc. Enough creativity should have been pored into the final product so as to make fit for copyright protection.
But how much creativity is adequate creativity? Now that is where the ambiguity lies. Let’s look at an example which makes this point clearer.
If you have simply typed out a song, verse, or a food recipe from some book which is in the public domain, then such an effort will not be construed as being creative enough and you may thus not get copyright protection. However, if the same items were sourced after meeting with different people and asking them for their favourite song or a tasty recipe, and if these were then put together along with some photos, a title, and perhaps a foreword, then the final product will definitely be creative enough to be eligible for a copyright.
So essentially, the more effort and time you put into reworking any public domain product, the higher the chances that your derivative product will be eligible for copyright protection.
Broadly speaking, the products mentioned below are generally not eligible for copyright protection as they do not fulfil all three criteria for eligibility. These products are:
Food Recipes. The ingredients mentioned in the recipe as well as the method of preparation is typically not copyright material but the text and words used in the recipe to describe the cooking process can be protected by copyright.
Technical rules or math formulae.
Thoughts and ideas.
Any government papers or official information.
Titles and headings. However, if a title incorporates any trademark, then it can be copyright protected.
Any kind of data, orders, commands, directions, or patterns and designs that have not been put down on paper or verbally recorded on tape.
All words that appear in a dictionary as well as all which do not. This rule makes exceptions for registered trademarks.
Phrases and idioms.
Back to Index
List of Places to Locate Public Domain Products and Additional Resources for Free-to-Use Fictional and Artistic Items
The information contained in this section will amaze you, more so if you are just a beginner in the public domain arena. You are soon to learn about so many places where you can find copyright free products which you can assert as yours, that you will be astounded at the long list. Prior to getting this information you may have found it very difficult to find even one copyright free item. But with this information at hand, you will have at your disposal more items than you can possibly use in your entire lifetime.
In reality, you just need to locate that one great product which can form the basis of an enormously profitable venture. With this information, the product will not be tough to locate, but you will have to choose carefully from the many available items so as to pick out a winner. Take the time to ensure the right selection and then use your creative abilities to come up with a product that cannot be matched. It is not as hard as it seems; which is why several permanent businesses have been started on the basis of a single copyright free product.
Here’s a concise list of places where you can locate public domain products, as well as other free-to-use items:
Old book stores
Old trunks in your attic or basement
Public domain sites on the web
Offline public domain repositories
Used book stores
Membership sites selling public domain materials
Consumer exhibitions, especially of old items
Libraries housing really old books and materials
Country specific websites such as eBay UK etc
Items contributed to the public domain by their makers
Government offices and their archives
Speaking to people who may have information about useful products and items
Miscellaneous Sources. This refers to other places where you can find items that can be used by you to make good money, but which are not exactly in the public domain and you may not get copyrights for such materials. However, you can use them profitably and will not have to shell out any charges or royalties for using them. Some of these sources are:
- Re-distribution and resell rights to books and products.
- Repackaging items.
- Sourcing products such as books and articles from current authors.
- Offline and Online directories, schedules and listings.
Back to Index
How to Select Public Domain Items
There are a lot of ways in which you can determine what the most profitable books to choose are; much before you actually start poring through book titles and locate the public domain item that will eventually make you rich.
The systems which I prefer to utilize are called Overture or Wordtracker, which are online keyword selection tools that generate a long list of keywords that are related to the topic you are searching for. Here’s a brief explanation of how these tools work.
You enter a term, keyword, a phrase, or a topic (that you want to search keywords on) into the search box of the tool. Once you start the search process, the software will search billions of web pages and give you a list of related keywords or keyword phrases that people have actually searched for on the internet.
The keywords so generated are accompanied by a number, which is the amount of times that the particular keyword has been searched for in recent weeks. Thus, by using a keyword generator tool, you can find out exactly which topics and terms people are searching for. Once you have this information, it is then quite easy to find titles and products that match these keywords.
Overture is evidently the most used keyword selection tool and is utilized by thousands of individuals and organizations to find the best keywords to optimize their content for and which to base their advertising and promotional campaigns on. However, Overture is equally beneficial to people who want to locate public domain products as it helps them to determine what will be a hot selling product that people are interested in currently.
My next example will elucidate how to use Overture and Wordtracker
Example Six: Using Wordtracker to Determine Ideas for Public Domain Items
You log on to the site which is at www.wordtracker.com and click the link for a free trial. You can choose to buy the software and believe me it is money well spent. But if you just want to see how the tool works, you can use the free trial.
You then have to type some keywords into the white box where it says ‘Enter your search term below’. I typed in ‘Christmas’, largely because it is a festival that is celebrated by millions of people and is that time of year when people are willing to spend money and looking for great products as gifts.
I simply entered ‘Christmas’ into the search bar and the following example shows the results that I got.
Example Seven: Search Results from Wordtracker
Here are the first 15 results that I got back:
Each of these categories can further be searched for sub-category results. I clicked on the first category (Christmas) and this is what I got:
Night before Christmas
As you can see, in just one month (January 2006), which is right after Christmas has passed, there were about 169408 people who searched for the term ‘Christmas books’. Further down, ‘Christmas cards’ were searched 78876 times and ‘Christmas crafts’ was searched 25685 times. All in all, the number of searches for the main word Christmas runs into the millions. No wonder that Christmas is such a great topic for public domain products.
On the topic of Christmas, you can come up with:
A book with Christmas crafts
Novel Christmas games
Music sheets with Christmas songs
A short book of tasty Christmas recipes
Your product ideas need not be restricted to books. You could find some wonderful Christmas pictures and use them on mugs, or maybe create Christmas stockings with some great images of Santa Claus. As you see, the list of products that can be revised from public domain offerings can be as long as your imagination allows.
The next example discusses how you can use Overture in the same manner.
Example Eight: How to Use Overture’s Keyword Tool
Log on to www.overture.com,
Type in any word in the search box provided and you will get a list of related words along with the number of times they were searched in that month (January 2006 in our case). I typed in the keyword ‘American Indian’.
I choose this topic because my experience has shown me that it is a very popular topic with book lovers and also lends itself to other great products.
The next example tells you about my search results.
Example Nine: Overture Results for ‘American Indian’
native american indians
american indian jewelry
american indian movement
american indian name
ancient american indian art
american indian art
picture of native american indians
american indian picture
american indian tribe
north american indians
national museum of the american indian
american indian history
american indian museum
american indian tattoo
native american indian dog
native american indian art
native american indian tribe
american indian artifact
american indian photo
You will notice that there were 55976 people who searched for ‘American Indian Jewellery’; 42529 for ‘Ancient American Indian Art’; 18440 for ‘American Indian History’ and 13052 for ‘American Indian Tattoo’; all in just the course of a single month.
I next went on to see what I could locate from the public domain about ‘American Indians’. I decided to go with www.gutenberg.org as you can use it very easily, but there are many other public domain resources that you can use.
I clicked on ‘Choose’ and typed in the words ‘American Indians’ in the white search box that is located at the top of the page. I was disappointed to find that my search resulted in just a handful of results. So I typed in other related keywords as returned by Overture, and also used other public domain information sites. Finally, I came up with an impressive list of available public domain works on the topic of ‘American Indians’.
Example Ten: Gutenberg Search Results
The very first book that I came across was a great book about the ancient American Indian civilization and their way of living. I was also able to source some fascinating photos from other places and used these in the revised edition of the book. I added some interesting content to the book, mainly about ancient American Indian history and culture (again found in the public domain) and thus turned out an amazing book which is sure to be a huge success.
Some More Exciting Topics from the Public Domain
I’m going to continue using the example of Gutenberg for some more time so that you can appreciate the true extent of this wonderful public domain source.
In the middle of the Gutenberg site homepage, there is a link for ‘Recent eBooks’ and another one for ‘Top 100 Books and Authors’. By clicking on these links, you will get a list of the recent ebooks available in the public domain as well as the top 100 books of all times. By examining this list, you will be able to find some wonderful titles related to the topic you are looking for.
This list is renewed on a daily basis, so you can get exciting and different titles each day.
List of Top 100 E-Books (As On 15th February, 2006)
The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci — Complete by Leonardo da Vinci (325)
Kamasutra by Vatsyayana (297)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (267)
Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great — Volume 01 of 14 by Elbert Hubbard 231)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (206)
The Art of War by 6th cent. B.C. Sunzi (194)
History Of Ancient Civilization by Charles Seignobos (190)
Project Gutenberg "10K" DVD (186)
Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases by Peter Mark Roget (185)
Great Britain and Her Queen by Annie E. Keeling (181)
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (179)
The World War and What was Behind It by Louis P. Benezet (175)
Ulysses by James Joyce (167)
The Doré Gallery of Bible Illustrations, Complete (166)
Roget's Thesaurus by Peter Mark Roget (161)
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (156)
King Winter by Anonymous (154)
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (152)
Gordon Craig by Randall Parrish (139)
Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm (136)
Beacon Lights of History, Volume 11 by John Lord (134)
How to Speak and Write Correctly by Joseph Devlin (128)
The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (121)
The Illustrated Alphabet of Birds by Unknown (120)
Putnam's Word Book by Louis A. Flemming (120)
I have listed only the first 25 of the top 100 books, but you can access the entire list on Project Gutenberg. I have also highlighted the titles which I think will make for great revised products, but since there are several others to choose from, you can make your own decision based on your ideas and skills.
Moving on to the ‘Recent Books’ section, I decided to choose a subcategory for my search. The subcategory I picked was ‘Pictures, still’. The search returned an entire list of pictures such as official American pictures, images of French cave paintings, and also illustrations from Alice in Wonderland. The cave paintings and Alice in Wonderland pictures gave me several ideas for great products.
I then went on to do the ‘Advanced’ search and decided to locate books on dogs. Since I already have an entire collection of feline species books, I thought it would be nice to have some titles for dog lovers as well.
The next example will show you what I found for both my searches.
Example Eleven: Recent Books Search Results from Gutenberg
Results for search on Pictures, still:
LandSat Picture of Washington, DC (Landsat Pathfinder, U.S)
French Cave Paintings (No Author Listed)
Tenniel Illustrations for Alice in Wonderland (Tenniel, John, Sir, 1820-1914)
LandSat Picture of Washington, DC (United States)
Radar Map of the United States (United States)
Results of advanced search on the subject of dogs:
Rab and His Friends (Brown John, 1810-1882)
Baree, Son of Kazan (Curwood James Oliver, 1879-1927)
Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K Jerome (Jerome Klapka), 1859-1927)
White Fang (London, Jack, 1876-1916)
A Dog of Flanders (Ouida, 1839-1908)
Beautiful Joe (Saunders Marshall, 1861-1947)
Bruce (Terhune, Albert Payson, 1872-1942)
Further Adventures of Lad (Terhune, Albert Payson, 1872-1942)
His Dog (Terhune, Albert Payson, 1872-1942)
On the Gutenberg site, you can select the title, the author, or the subject for your search. As it is unlikely that you will know the names of the authors, it is best to type ‘Dogs’ in the subject line or perhaps in the title line to get better results.
The Gutenberg site also features an RSS feed that gives you information on public domain titles and is refreshed everyday. This is another great resource.
All this talk about the Gutenberg site may have surely led you to believe that it is my most favoured resource on the Internet. That is not necessarily the case though. I have simply given you all this information to show how easy it is to use the site and also what a great resource it is. However, there are plenty of such resources for public domain products; many of which are listed at the end of this book.
An Essential Piece of Advice:
Choose your keywords for performing searches in a thoughtful manner. Various keywords can be used to access products and titles on a particular topic, so you should try out all related keywords and not just stick to one or two.
For instance, I was trying to find some titles with the keyword ‘Stonework’. I also decided to use the keyword ‘Brickwork’ for the same subject. I was surprised to find that there were an equal number of people searching the two different keywords, and both the keywords returned different book titles. Thus, all appropriate and related keywords should be utilized the best combination of results should be used
Being inspired from the results for my ‘Christmas’ search, I decided to search another festival, that of Halloween on Gutenberg. To my great surprise, there was not even a single result for my search!
I obviously found this very strange indeed, but then it struck me that I should use some other keyword. Through a little trial and error, I ended up entering the word ‘Hallo’ instead of the entire word.
Surprise of surprises, I was given an entire page of matching results. Although all the titles were not related to Halloween, I did find two great books: ‘Hallowe'en at Merryvale’ and ‘Games for Hallow-e'en’; both of which were then converted to profitable revised public domain products.
Part II Next Month
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
How To Steal Yourself Great Ideas, Products & Services!
"How to find, repackage and republish TOP SELLING works ... selling as many copies as you like ... keeping 100% of the profits ... and never having to pay a penny in fees or royalties!"
How to Steal Great Ideas: http://www.entrepreneurs-lifestyle.com/affiliates.htm
How To Steal Great Ideas.
Bit of a shocking title isn’t it?
So, let me put your mind at ease and assure you, right from the outset, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ‘stealing’ other people’s ideas!
Let me guarantee you that people have been ‘pilfering’ GREAT IDEAS since man first invented the wheel.
Virtually nothing is 'invented' from thin air, almost everything is an improvement on, or variation of an existing design. People will often identify a need and ‘invent’ a product or service to fulfill it – BUT the solution is always a variation of, or improvement on, something that already exists.
Held a world record of 1093 patents for inventions such as the light bulb and phonograph but in actual fact he invented only a fraction of them. He had teams of people searching out great ideas!
His greatest challenge was the development of a practical incandescent, electric light. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't ‘invent’ the light bulb, but rather he improved upon a 50-year-old idea.
In 1879, using lower current electricity, a small-carbonized filament, and an improved vacuum inside the globe, he was able to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light.
The idea of electric lighting was not new, and a number of people had worked on, and even developed forms of electric lighting. But up to that time, nothing had been developed that was remotely practical for home use.
Edison's eventual achievement was inventing not just an incandescent electric light, but also an electric lighting system that contained all the elements necessary to make the incandescent light practical, safe, and economical. After one and a half years of work, success was achieved when an incandescent lamp with a filament of carbonized sewing thread burned for thirteen and a half hours.
By ‘stealing’ other people’s ideas Edison went on to make his millions.
The first public demonstration of the Thomas Edison's incandescent lighting system was in December 1879, when the Menlo Park laboratory complex was electrically lighted. Edison spent the next several years creating the electric industry.
Thomas Edison's Muckers
Already, by the time he moved to Menlo Park in 1876, Thomas Edison had gathered many of the men who would work with him for the rest of their lives.
By the time Edison built his West Orange lab complex, men came from all over the US and Europe to work with the famous inventor. Often these young ‘muckers,’ as Edison called them, were fresh out of college or technical training.
Unlike most inventors though, Edison depended upon dozens of ‘muckers’ to build and test his ideas. In return, they received only workmen's wages. However, the inventor said, it was "not the money they want, but the chance for their ambition to work."
The average workweek was six days for a total of 55 hours. Nevertheless, if Edison had a bright idea, days at work would extend far into the night.
By having several teams going at once, Edison could invent several products at the same time.
Still, each project took hundreds of hours of hard work. Inventions could always be improved; so several projects took years of effort. The alkaline storage battery, for example, kept muckers busy for almost a decade. As Edison himself said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."
What was it like to work for Edison?
One mucker said that he "could wither one with his biting sarcasm or ridicule one into extinction." On the other hand, as electrician Arthur Kennelly stated, "The privilege which I had being with this great man for six years was the greatest inspiration of my life."
Historians have called the research and development laboratory Edison's greatest invention. In time, other companies such as General Electric built their own laboratories inspired by the West Orange lab.
It is ‘Edison's greatest invention’ that we shall be exploring in this book and how you can work in exactly the same way as The Great Man to build your own publishing business.
You’ll see a million ‘Gurus’ on the web telling you how to ‘make it big’.
How many of the gurus sell the 'same ol shite’, repackaged and reworked? ... They make big money from stealing other’s ideas but in this instance the stolen material is fundamentally flawed!
I can sum up most of what they write on the back of a postage stamp: "Develop a product or service and sell it".
The main point is that they never TELL YOU WHERE TO GET THE BLOODY PRODUCT!!!!
I have built a formidable, online business developing and selling products, but more importantly, I have built systems to STEAL GREAT ONES, repackage them and sell them for amazing profits!
For example, I found one particular product, which was selling extremely well offline and was marketed by a reputable company (no names to protect the innocent!). I made the required changes that you'll learn about in a minute and… Bingo!
I launched my NEW PRODUCT on the net at $97 per copy and sold over 1,000 units in twelve short months ... Do the math!!!
I have no qualms about ‘stealing’ great ideas … and neither should you!
Every year bookshops, music stores and galleries sell hundreds of thousands of copies of works that are based on someone else’s ideas, reworked and simply reprinted … and the original work they stole from was based on yet another person’s idea!
This domain has LONG been a secret stockpile of content for savvy insiders to plunder for profit. In fact, entire multi-million pound companies have been built around content that is now LEGALLY theirs.
The reason behind it is as simple as it is powerful:
As long as the information you find is relevant, useful and of interest to a specific market ... people WILL pay you for it.
I stumbled across this goldmine almost by accident many years ago. And since then I've never looked back ...
You see, information really is one of the best-selling products in the world, both on and off the Internet. And information is the basis of countless successful businesses all over the world.
Don't believe me? Here are some examples...
I woke up to the money-making potential of the system I now use over 10 years ago, when I launched my first, highly successful site - it's still running today and clears over $250,000 a year:
I had read somewhere that a particular product had sold off line, over 300,000 copies at $20 in one year, a very simple 30-page publication. I decided to take the very same core information and idea, and then applied my system 'How To Steal Great Ideas' to the product.
I launched and at first was not overawed by the response - but I didn't know how to market!
But slowly and surely, the sales picked up until one day this one GREAT IDEA was generating a full time income.
Incidentally, my system will work for any GREAT IDEA, PRODUCT OR SERVICE, both on and off line.
Since then I've published a host of eBooks and products. Right now I have over 50 saleable, market ready eBooks.
One of my latest projects has been creating several Internet Marketing books (always popular) from just one source, which I can't reveal here. It's a brilliant book, covering hundreds of different topics and sells like ‘hot cakes’.
When I originally discovered the Internet Marketing book, I used many of the systems it taught to great effect. I could have made my changes and published the book as is. But I decided to go one better. I split it up and created separate books focusing on individual topics. That way I now have multiple niche interest products that enthusiasts will happily pay me for - all from just one book... which I got for free!
And I'm not the only one cashing in on this awesome system, which is why I decided to 'Spill-The-Beans' before someone else does!
• One person stumbled across a home study course about Catch Wrestling alongside other health and fitness books published. They were quickly turned into a best-selling manual and video combo that others have tried to unsuccessfully to copy. This person's website sells many products culled from other people’s ideas, some fetching over $500!
• A famous eBay power-seller from Canada, sells dozens of niche crochet and knitting patterns each month, all loaded onto a single CD... and all produced in the same way that Thomas Edison churned out his inventions. She sells more than 200 of these items each month - equivalent to more than $6,000 profits for a few hours of work.
• One day, a book was given to someone from Seattle. It changed the course of her life and formed the basis of a business with customers in more than 100 different countries... and a website that makes her more money than she ever dreamed possible.
• And let's not forget a simple man that created an empire worth $BILLIONS around works plucked straight out of ‘SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK’.
He based his enterprise on a collection of fairy tales... fairy tales that had BEEN WRITTEN BY OTHER PEOPLE. You guessed it!
Walt Disney essentially copied these stories and created his huge fortune by 'repackaging' them for a new generation.
Ok... I'm not saying you'll be entering Walt Disney's league when you create your own home publishing business. The point I'm trying to make is, that the system I use has been a closely guarded secret of some of the world's most powerful information marketing millionaires.
See, there are millions and millions of works out there and as many different niche markets to sell to - it literally grows by the minute. How many businesses can boast unlimited products, costing little or nothing to obtain?
I have never felt a twinge of conscience when ‘pinching’ ideas…
Throughout history, all kinds of people have taken credit where it was not due!
Take Christopher Columbus
Widely accredited as 'discovering' the New World. It was discovered thousands of years ago!!!
People had been living there happily for millennia before he stuck his nose in. People take credit for all sorts of things so don't feel bad about it when you do!
Why reinvent the wheel when it's already invented?
Simply ‘steal’ the core idea and improve upon it. Make it lighter, stronger or stick nodules on it and make a cog…
But don’t feel bad about it… stealing ideas is all part of evolution.
Columbus was not the intrepid, great adventurer history would have us believe.
The Santa Maria (captained by Columbus), and about 90 crew members. They set sail on Aug. 3, 1492 from Palos, Spain, and on October 11, 1492, spotted the Caribbean islands off southeastern North America.
They landed on an island they called Guanahani, but Columbus later renamed it San Salvador.
They were met by the local Taino Indians, many of whom were captured by Columbus' men and later sold into slavery.
On a second, larger expedition (Sept. 25, 1493-June 11, 1496), sailed with 17 ships and 1,200 to 1,500 men to find gold and capture Indians as slaves in the Indies.
He wasn't even the first European to discover America!
Leif Ericsson the Lucky (980?-1020?) was a Viking (Norse) explorer who was possibly the first European to sail to North America. Leif sailed north from the southern tip of Greenland, then went south along the coast of Baffin Island down to Labrador, and then landed in what is now called Newfoundland (which he called Vinland). Ericsson sailed around the year 1000.
Ericsson was born in Iceland and was one of the sons of the explorer Eric the Red.
So, all in all, Columbus was not such a nice man after all! But the point is that it’s not a bad thing to ‘steal’ ideas and it doesn’t make you a bad person! This is the way of the world and what everyone does!
I have reworked hundreds of GREAT IDEAS!
Now, I am a wiley old fox and I know that many people reading this will be wanting to get started in their own publishing business for no cost.
This can be done but to get a head-start you need to be aware that there can be a cost associated with reworking ideas, unless you want to do the work yourself, but then that’s just defeating the object!
My system allows you to churn out BEST SELLERS at an amazing rate and get them to market in the shortest possible time, reaping in maximum profits.
You can start this business on little or no money and build up – which is what I did, but I suggest you hit the ground running and by investing a few hundred, measly dollars you’ll make cash, faster!
I outlined an example a few minutes ago of a product I found which was selling extremely well offline and was marketed by a reputable company (no names to protect the innocent!). I said that I made the required changes and made a killing!
I launched my NEW PRODUCT on the net at $97 per copy and sold over 1,000 units in twelve short months.
That product can be found here: http://www.freemoneyloophole.com
This is a perfect example of how to start with very little.
The original product was selling for $150. This I had to invest. I then spent over a month, repackaging and re-working the product myself. My only cost was time... Bloody hours of it!!!
But, I was paid back many times over when I launched the new product. My only regret was that I had spent so much time doing the work when for a few hundred dollars I could have got someone else to do it!
They’d have been working on my brief, reworking the original manuscript so as not to infringe on any copyright and I’d have been free to find ANOTHER GREAT IDEA!
And here's the great part...
Only a tiny amount of people know about the precious system I now utilise... even fewer are prepared to locate the information for themselves... and far, far fewer still have the get-up-and-go to snap up the material and market it for profit!
Yet right now there are a number of insiders' - ordinary people who are making a very tidy income tapping into this little known goldmine.
But it's all well and good talking about other people who are making a fortune from OTHER PEOPLE’S IDEAS.
Question is: How do YOU do it?
One fantastic way to profit from other people’s great ideas is to join their affiliate programs. The author creates a best seller; you simply market and enjoy your commissions.
However, I have unearthed, through bad experiences, a couple of drawbacks with affiliate programs, the main one being ‘getting paid!’
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the affiliate system and I promote many products for authors but I do like to be in control, which is why when I find something that sells well, I get it reworked.
I re-package it to such an extent that it is totally unrecognizable from the original, therefore mitigating the inevitable lawsuit! The GREAT IDEA is still in place but the packaging changes.
Copyright infringement is an excellent law and ensures an author’s work is protected, however it only protects the published material, not the idea. As long as the original is given a through makeover and no part of it is reproduced, then you are free to publish whatever you like – and I do – without even lifting a finger!!!
And make tons of cash doing so.
Whilst I may have exaggerated the fact you don’t have to lift a finger, you truly will not have to lift your finger more than a few times, yet the end result will be an amazing portfolio of your own top selling products delivering cash straight into your own bank account.
Whether you’re an existing website owner, someone who’s always wanted to own their own website or even if you don’t know what a website is, you are about to discover how you can own a million dollar business without lifting a finger.
This idea for this products was not conceived overnight, there are years of hard work, sweat and tears which have forged the concept you are about to discover, so here’s the history behind the idea for this amazing product.
I’ve built tens of websites; I’ve painstaking spent weeks and months researching, developing and writing new products and information for them. Not all have been successful, but the cumulative effect has created an abundant flow of cash, which has enabled me to live an envious lifestyle.
I’d even spent up to 6 months on individual websites and products, writing and perfecting them until I was 100% happy with my hours of endless toil, whilst at the same time I’d have programmers working in the background.
The one single factor holding me back from earning more money and developing my business further was simply that there were not enough hours in the day.
I needed a solution to end my relentless workload and put a stop to the feeling of forever treading water, I wanted to catapult my business into the fast lane, but could not see an easy route to accomplishing this.
Then one day I came across a system, which would take away all the pain, heartache, time and anxiety from building my business, developing new websites and ideas. A system that would actually free up my time to spearhead the massive growth my business could now handle and spend more of my time with my family, friends and loved ones.
I now have more spare time, more cash to spend and my only regret is that I did not discover how to do this many years ago.
If you follow my instructions YOU will be able to produce world-class products and websites on just about any subject you wish, without knowing a single thing about the subject itself or how to host a website or even how to create and design web pages.
You now have before you a unique approach to setting yourself up with a million dollar business without having to know anything about anything other than what I am about to teach you!
Follow the rules I have created for you here and within weeks you could have the foundations in place for the development of your very own Internet business or further expand your existing one with industry leading products at lightning speed.
I now have a schedule in place of my own for developing new products and websites that are to be launched over the coming weeks, months and years.
Each and every one will not involve me in writing any of the sales copy, have nothing to do with the development of the product WHATSOEVER, and I won’t write one single piece of HTML code, it will all be done for me with out me ever lifting a finger other than to delegate.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘The proof Is In The Pudding’
Never was a truer word said… LET’S HAVE A TASTE OF MY SCRUMPTIOUS PUDDING!
Much of the product you are reading now and the website where people buy buy ‘How To Steal Great Ideas’ http://www.entrepreneurs-lifestyle.com was done so using the very same techniques I am about to teach you… And I’m raking in the cash from teaching you how I do it.
• This book and the marketing website was created from a GREAT IDEA in just over a week at a cost of $200!
• I spent approximately, ONE DAY writing the brief and doing some general tidying up (basically because I have a specific way I like to see thing which is easier if I do it myself, rather than try to teach others)…
• And I make 100% (minus processing) of the cover price.
• This book usually at $47 – THE FIRST FIVE COPIES SOLD PUT ME IN PROFIT - FACT!!!
In the first month I sold over 500 copies – DO THE MATH!!!!
GETTING EXCITED NOW AREN’T WE – JUICES FLOWING???
Back to Index
Generating Great Ideas
OK, the very first stage is to generate your GREAT IDEA!
Then we’ll discuss how you get it reworked and packaged in double-quick time and for literally cents on the dollar in investment… unless you do it yourself and then it’ll only cost you your time!
My system is sooooo simple:
I either search out lucrative niches and track down the top-selling products for that arena, or I receive advertising for a product that appeals to me and check out if there is a market for it.
I then rework and repackage the idea and market it to those most likely to buy… HOW HARD CAN IT BE!!!
I do this over and over again, occasionally I get BIG SELLERS, but mostly I sell just a few of each product a day… but that culminates in BIG MONEY!
I am able to be so prolific because of my astonishingly simple system. Whilst most Internet marketers are spending months, entrenched in THEIR NEXT BIG HIT. I’m pumping out product after product after product...
BELIEVE ME, NO ONE CAN PREDICT WHAT WILL SELL WELL!
So I simply keep applying my system to products and services and when one is successful I’m happy, but I am always surprised as it’s never the one I expected.
Thomas Edison failed so many times. It was only his system for generating lots of inventions that made him so successful.
Imagine if he worked alone and only managed to finish off a fraction of his inventions... and what if the only ones he completed were the failures!
Remember, he held 1,093 patents for different inventions. Many of them, like the light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, were brilliant creations that have a huge influence on our everyday life.
However, not everything he created was a success.
One concept that never took off was Edison's interest in using cement to build things. He formed the Edison Portland Cement Co. in 1899, and made everything from cabinets (for phonographs) to pianos and houses. Unfortunately, at the time, concrete was too expensive and the idea was never accepted.
The greatest failure of Thomas Edison's career was his inability to create a practical way to mine iron ore. He worked on mining methods through the late 1880s and early 1890s to supply the Pennsylvania steel mills' demand for iron ore.
In order to finance this work, he sold all his stock in General Electric, but was never able to create a separator that could extract iron from unusable, low-grade ores. Eventually, Edison gave up on the idea, but by then he had lost all the money he'd invested.
BUT HE KEPT GOING!
And thanks to his system of generating ideas and reworking them into patentable products through his dedicated team of 'Muckers', Thomas Edison became immensely wealthy and his legacy? ... you wouldn't be reading this without his inventions!
So, how exactly are you going come up with products and services that will sell well?
Here are some useful suggestions:
The goods you propose should enhance products already available in your chosen niche. The reason I say this is that if you have decided on an area for which no product already exists it is:
1. Impossible to gauge that market for the product you propose and
2. There is no existing product to rework. This means spending an awful lot of time, effort and expense in research and development. In the time it takes to develop a new product for a ‘virgin niche’ you could have reworked three or four for an established market.
Products you propose should be connected to a field, which you know has a market.
There are a couple of methods I use to locate a previously untapped niche. One way is to start thinking and come up with a list of some products that you have often wanted, but never found.
You can rack your own brains and also ask others who may have decent ideas. Once you have thought of a few such products, you go searching for them. The second way is to find some unusual products, and see if anything of the kind is available.
Now you probably have a better idea why the last suggestion advises you to work with products related to an area, which you know about. Else, what appears to be an awesome idea to you may well be 'old hat' to the very people you think will go for it… I’ll show how to check out if your idea is a non-starter in a minute.
Utilize your work experience:
There may have been some occasions when you hoped you had a particular product, which could make work a lot simpler.
Are you a salesperson? Maybe you require some items to help manage your brochures better; or perhaps some product that teaches you how to improve workflow.
Do you have a repetitive task that you’d wish a piece of software would do for you? Possibly you have often wished for an added pair of hands, or some product that could accommodate different things while you worked on them.
Try to conjure up every amazing product or service that you've seen people utilizing in their line of business - all of these are the product of someone's great imagination.
Look around your house or use your hobby:
Similar to work, there are often times when you may have hoped you had something to make your work easier or add value to your hobby. Take a look at some things that are already available. Do they bring to mind any products, which would be indispensable 5 years from now?
Hear what others are saying:
When you speak to others about their work and hobbies, you will repeatedly notice that people impulsively tell others about how they wish they could purchase certain things.
If they are aware that you can supply such items, in all likelihood, people will tell you what they want. And even if they don’t, you should come right out and ask them. People will rarely think that they can source these things on their own.
If you or your friends and family, on trips abroad, have ever happened to come across certain things that people use there, or which are available in foreign shops, then this could be a great area for new ideas.
Whatever such products you come across on foreign trips, which are not readably available, would do if you can establish a marketable niche.
Study trade journals:
Trade journals are an exceptional supply of information. These may not help you find items to deal in, as the goods are already available in your country. How this does help however, is in the elimination process so that you do not end up handling products that have no market.
By having knowledge about what is available, you can better judge where it fits in to your portfolio. It may even inspire you to come up with yet more related products.
Apply creative lateral thinking:
If you aren’t finding it easy to come up with fresh ideas from existing ones, attempt the exercise of conjuring up different uses for a common, everyday item.
Take the humble house brick. Majority of the people can think of various uses, but essentially, there are only two - using the brick as a building material (for e.g. making walls, pathways etc), or as a weapon (for e.g. to throw at retailers windows, knock someone’s head with etc).
But those who actually tax their minds, and who think apart from the obvious (lateral thinking), are the ones who really come up with fresh ideas and unique uses such as: brick door stopper, ashtray, holder for matches, match striker, using bricks as steps in a ladder, vehicle jack, ruler, tyre wedge, feet warmer (after a little time in the oven), paperweight, added in the toilet cistern and used as a water saver, stand for cooking dishes, animal hobble (with a rope or cord), stepper for exercising ... can you come up with some more?
Well use this Lateral Thinking for information products. Come up with GREAT IDEAS and then see if anyone has produced A GREAT PRODUCT that you can rework and repackage. Better still see if anyone has come up with an average product that you can greatly enhance.
You’ll generally find that the latter is the case, as the vast majority of stuff out there, that’s making BIG MONEY, is distinctly average. You will be able to produce a much better job using my system and therefore, potentially make a stack more cash… providing your marketing is up to scratch!
Which it should be by now!
Are any of the ideas any good?
Making the effort to come up with a product isn’t going to do you any good, if it’s not going to sell. It could get worse if you actually made the effort to locate produce something, and then realised there were no buyers for it!
That won't earn you any money, or any friends.
You have to evaluate each product that catches your fancy, with regards to its marketability. Simply because an item enjoys tremendous sales for one author, does not essentially indicate it will do well for you too.
You need to make sure your lists are of the right target audience for instance… you have to build those lists and establish joint ventures and… But as I said, this book is all about stealing great ideas and creating great products for lucrative arenas. Marketing your great product is a whole new ball game!
I have even discarded many ideas because I considered the market to be flawed: a type of computer software for self-hypnosis, as I foresaw various kinds of legal problems; and a crossword puzzle software, in which every square had to be clicked to disclose the letters beneath. It appears that people would rather write using a pen.
How to Spot Hot Products:
Perhaps a sure fire way to evaluate whether or not a certain item will sell is to go through http://clickbank.com
Choose an area that interests you and check out the products. The ones that appear first at the top of the list are the best sellers and ClickBank provide limited stats e.g.:
PAYOUT STATS: $earned/sale: $ 33.18 , %earned/sale: 50.0 %, %referred: 62.0 %, gravity: 448.3
How The ClickBank Marketplace Works
ClickBank boasts over 100,000+ affiliates so it’s a great acid test as to what really is selling out there.
Every product listed in the ClickBank Marketplace is associated with a sales commission rate. Commission percentages range from 1% to 75%. On any one sale the minimum commission is $0.25 and the maximum is $100.00.
In the Marketplace products are ranked by their "productivity score". To preserve the integrity of their system they do not publish the formula for the score, or the score itself, but they do say that it is a function of these four factors:
$Earned/Sale: Average net amount earned per affiliate per referred sale. Note that this is the net earned per actual sale, and so it is impacted by refunds, chargebacks, and sales taxes. (Effective 28 July 2005, unfunded sales, such as returned checks, do not impact this number.)
%Earned/Sale: Average percentage commission earned per affiliate per referred sale. This number should only vary if the publisher has changed their payout percentage over time.
%Referred: Fraction of publisher's total sales that are referred by affiliates.
Gravity: Number of distinct affiliates who earned a commission by referring a paying customer to the publisher's products. This is a weighted sum and not an actual total. For each affiliate paid in the last 8 weeks we add an amount between 0.1 and 1.0 to the total. The more recent the last referral, the higher the value added.
All factors are combined, and adjusted such that more recent sales activity is given greater weight. Products are not listed until at least one has been sold.
To improve their Marketplace ranking products must show a history of reliably converting referred traffic to paying customers over the past 8 weeks. Products that maintain a higher ranking naturally attract more affiliates, and make more sales overall.
How to Spot Hot Niches:
The other reliable method I use to establish the popularity of the marketplace when creating an Internet product is to do a search on Overture.com to see how often it's searched for:
To give you an idea of what’s selling in January 2006 I just did a search on: Internet marketing and returned a result of: 302 021
Now compare that with porn: 5 026 206
As opposed to basket weaving: 2726
So what’s an average result for a popular product?
I look for anything over 20 000 searches as a starting point
There are hundreds of niches you probably didn't even know existed that are searched for every day and there are products that you'd expect to see hunted down with surprisingly few searches.
If you’re excited about an item, ask people in that niche their opinion – email busy site owners or popular newsletter editors and then evaluate the answers.
If all but one says yes, you must keep an eye out for the one who said no, as he might have said that to discourage you, and may well be planning to do it himself.
Perhaps I'm suspicious without reason, then again, perhaps I'm not.
So we’ve managed to track down a GREAT IDEA, of a GREAT NICHE. Now all we need to do is track down the GREAT PRODUCT and rework it.
So the BIG SECRET to stealing GREAT IDEAS!!!
I take an established, hot-selling product and simply have it rewritten! That’s it, not rocket-science is it?
I know the product is either popular in its own right or it has a wide market as established using the methods just outlined.
I have a team of people on hand 24/7; reliable, hard-working, competent writers who will turn a brief around in a matter of days or weeks (depending on size) and best of all… they charge just a few hundred dollars to produce best-selling material.
Back to Index
To Outsource or Not to Outsource?
Good question, but very easy to answer.
To my own detriment I’ve spent many years working till the small hours when I could have been sitting on the beach, playing with my kids or taking my wife out to dinner.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and its hindsight, which moved me to produce How To Steal Great Ideas.
I’d often pondered on the possibilities of paying someone to do my work for me, but being a fully fledged control freak could never imagine letting or even thinking anyone could ever write as well as me, let alone come up with some ideas which were as good as mine.
How wrong I have been, so to answer this question:
I would have to say yes, 100% no shadow of a doubt. Outsource your work, sit back, watch your business grow before your very eyes and count the $$$$s in your bank account as they roll in.
However, before you rush out and hand over your hard earned cash to first so called copy writer or web developer, you need to take advantage of my mistakes, read on to discover HOW NOT to make the same mistakes I have.
You can now benefit from my years of wasted time and energy, let others build your business for you.
A Buyer's Guide
Outsourcing Your Project Through Elance: A Buyer’s Guide
Elance is one of the many freelance sites on the web where you can hire freelancers to do all the work related with having a website.
Whether you need someone to develop a site for you, or do some programming, maybe create content for your website, or even do some graphic and art designing; you can get it all done through elance. In fact, I am a regular buyer on Elance and other freelance sites on the net, and I have no hesitation in saying that Elance is perhaps the best.
Elance has 11 different categories under which you can post your project. These are:
• Website Design
• Graphic Design & Art
• Software & Technology
• Writing & Translation
• Sales & Marketing
• Administrative Support
• Audio, Video & Multimedia
• Management & Finance
• Training & Development
• Architecture & Engineering
In addition to these main categories, each category has its own sub categories. Thus, as you can see from the above, all your website development, creation, and management needs can be met by hiring service providers from Elance to do your project.
Currently Elance has over 50,000 service providers in all their 100 categories (including sub-categories). Although there are a few novices and amateurs on Elance, largely, their service providers are top professionals from their field, who are excellent at their job.
You can hire any of these service providers to do your project and can expect to receive work of the highest quality.
Apart from getting a staggering choice of professionals, the best part about hiring through Elance is that you can hire these professionals at very competitive rates. In fact, many a times, you can literally outsource your work for as less as 1/4th the cost that you would have paid to hire someone to work for you full time.
Using Elance is very simple and above everything else, it’s FREE! You simply need to sign up with elance and create your buyer’s profile, after which you are given your ID and password and you’re all set to go.
Here’s what you need to do to post a project on Elance:
• Visit www.elance.com and click on the link where it says ‘Outsource Your Project Today’.
• The page you will now be directed to provides all the information about using elance; the benefits of hiring their service providers, what it costs you, and their different categories. But if you’re simply interested in posting your project, you need to click the circle on the right side of the page that says ‘Post Your Project’.
• After this you will need to enter your username and password and you will be directed to the page where you start with your post. If at this time you do not have a username, you can click the link that will take you to their sign up form and then proceed from there.
• To post your project, you have to choose a category, and then describe your project in a manner so as to give all the required information to the service providers. Here you have a choice of two levels of projects. You can either post your project as a Basic one, which means that all the service providers in your category will be able to bid on your project; or post it as a Select project, which means that only Select service providers will be able to bid. By posting a select project, you will get better proposals for your project as Select service providers have to pay more to elance as fees and commission, and thus you will get only the serious bidders. However, you have to pay a $25 deposit for posting a select project, whereas the basic one is free. This $25 is only a deposit and is returned to you once you have awarded the project to any provider. This indicates that you are also a serious buyer and are not just trying out elance. Elance even gives you an entire month to award the project and only takes the deposit if you haven’t awarded the project after that much time.
• Once you have selected the project level, described your project, and confirmed your posting; your project will be posted immediately. Soon after you should start receiving some bids.
This is the procedure for posting your project on elance, and is also described in detail on the site itself.
You will receive numerous bids from service providers and it can get pretty tough to pick one. But elance provides good details about service providers to help you to pick the right one. Along with the respective pitch and proposal of each provider, you will be able to see their Elance rating (maximum of 5.0) and read the feedback reviews left by other buyers for those service providers. By reading these reviews, you get a good idea about the quality of work the provider does, their professionalism, their rates, how good they are at meeting deadlines, how good they are at communicating with clients, and also their level of expertise. By evaluating and comparing all these parameters, you can choose the service provider who best meets your project needs.
Once you award the project to anyone, you should ask them to sign a contract before starting work. Elance has some sample contracts that you can choose from. If any service provider refuses to sign the contract, you should not just walk away from them but run!
From personal experience I have seen that it is not best to award the project to the lowest bidders. Sometimes you will get bids that are very low and you may be tempted to award them. However, if you choose any service provider based on only their low bid for the project, you simply cannot expect the best quality of work. ‘You get what you pay for’ is something I have learned the hard way! And this is not to say that a low bid indicates low quality of work. What I am essentially suggesting is that you should review the proposal in its entirety and only then award a bid.
Unfortunately, even though elance works perfectly most of the time; there are times when you may get fleeced. Not by elance, but by some service providers. There have been instances when I have paid advances for a project, only to have the service provider disappear with my money or give me really shoddy and incomplete work. Although most service providers are thorough professionals and honest people (the feedback review that we give them certainly helps to keep them honest and is one of the biggest weapons available to elance buyers), you may come across some providers who simply do not care. But elance customer care comes to the rescue here too. If the service provider is active, they will intervene and help you to sort matters out. Elance also has the credit card details of all service providers, so worst come to worst; they may be able to charge their card for your money.
But here’s a little something that I have come up with to help myself. There was an instance where a particular service provider took a considerable advance from me but did not give me any completed work. After a few weeks, they stopped responding to my mails entirely. I created another buyer’s profile, posted a lucrative project, and invited that particular service provider to bid on it. Voila! He placed a bid, got in touch with me, and I had my man! A little sneaky I’ll admit, but immensely effective.
And while we’re on the topic of money, the one thing that really pisses me off about Elance is their billing and payment system. Their procedures for authenticating your credit card can test the patience of a saint. But with the introduction of PayPal as a payment system, this too seems to be working out just fine.
All in all, I have had positive experiences hiring freelancers through elance, and you could very easily too.
Back to Index
You can use How To Steal Great Ideas to create websites such as these:
Back to Index
A Service Providers Guide To Elance: Earn Money Through The Internet
Try surfing the Internet and you are likely to find hundreds of money making schemes on the web; some even promising to make you a millionaire in no time! But unfortunately, most of these money making schemes are making money only for the people running the schemes. However, I have been fortunate to find a legitimate way to earn a decent living through the internet - via Elance.
Elance is a website (www.elance.com) which is like a marketplace where many buyers post hundreds of new projects each day. These projects are posted under various categories namely:
• Website Design
• Graphic Design & Art
• Software & Technology
• Writing & Translation
• Sales & Marketing
• Administrative Support
• Audio, Video & Multimedia
• Management & Finance
• Training & Development
• Architecture & Engineering
Now the way to make money is to become a service provider on elance under one or more of the above mentioned categories, get projects from buyers, complete the projects awarded to you, and get paid for your services. No, this is not one of those schemes where you do nothing but still earn money (whether there are actually any such schemes out there or not is another matter altogether). But if you are ready to work for it, there are thousands of dollars to be made through Elance every month.
To become a service provider, you need to visit the site and sign up by filling out a simple registration form. You have a choice of four types of subscriptions. If you simply want to browse the projects and see if Elance is for you, you can choose the free ‘Courtesy Listing’ which will give you an online presence but you will not be able to bid on any of the projects posted by buyers. An ‘Enhanced Listing’ which is only $12 per month (for writing and translation category and paid monthly) will give you an increased presence and you will be able to bid on 3 projects.
However, if you want to become a full time service provider on Elance, then you can choose from their ‘Basic Professional Package’ or the ‘Select Professional Package’. The Basic Professional package costs $145 for the entire year, where you get 80 leads every month. And the Select Professional Package costs $350 per year, where you are allotted 120 leads every month to bid on as many projects.
A Basic service provider can only bid on Basic projects, whereas a Select service provider can bid on Select projects as well. Select projects generally pay more than Basic ones and thus the Select subscription costs more.
In addition to the subscription fees, you also have to pay a commission on all your earnings. Elance charges a commission of 8.75% on each project, with $10 being a minimum commission. However, if you are working with the same buyer again, you can create a repeat project, for which elance charges you 4.75% as commission and not 8.75%.
This may sound like a whole lot of money that Elance charges its service providers; first the subscription fees and then the commissions. But being a service provider for more than a couple of years now, I can readily say that all the charges and fees are well worth it. Where else would you have access to hundreds of new projects every week, with a scope of earning thousands of dollars each month for such a low subscription?
And if you are fortunate enough to get a few regular clients through Elance, you can also work directly with them and avoid paying the Elance commissions altogether.
Creating Your Profile
Once you have subscribed to be a service provider, you will need to create your profile and portfolio, for the buyers to see. Your profile should list all your qualifications and what you are best at. Your portfolio should provide samples of your work, which the buyers can go through and get an idea about the quality of work that you do.
The Bidding War
To get projects, you first need to bid on them. You have to browse the projects in your category and then place a bid on the ones which you think you can do. When placing a bid, you have to quote a price for the project and also place a proposal as to why the buyer should accept your bid and award you the project. In other words - make a good pitch. Along with your pitch and quote, your buyer gets to see your Elance rating and read the feedback reviews that other buyers have left for you. All these parameters help them to pick a winning bid.
When I had just started out on Elance, I did not have any rating or reviews as I had not done any projects through elance. So, the best way to make your pitch attractive to buyers is to quote a lower price than what other service providers are quoting (if it is a Basic project, you will get to see the bids of all the other service providers). Once you get a few projects and start to build your Elance rating and feedback reviews, you can command a better price for your work, provided you get good reviews and maintain a high rating.
The one thing that you should be careful about is not to price your work too low just to get the project. Buyers may view a low quote as an indication of cheap quality and may thus decline your bid altogether. If you are not getting too many projects, you should check the bids of winning service providers and read their pitch to know how you can improve yours.
Once you have completed a project, you need to invoice the buyer for the amount specified in your bid. The buyer will either pay you through the elance billing and payment system or through PayPal. If you are paid on elance itself, the money will be deposited in your elance account and then you can get it transferred to your bank account via wire transfer or requesting a physical check from elance. Elance allows you to make one free withdrawal each month, with subsequent withdrawals attracting a fee of $10.
Personally, I have seen that majority of the buyers are genuine and honest people who will pay you your money at the completion of the projects. But since I was burned a few times, I have started taking a 50% advance from the buyers which reduces my risk of non-payment considerably.
One thing about the elance invoice system: you should never issue a duplicate invoice under any circumstances. Elance charges their commission on every invoice issued and does not recognize the concept of a duplicate invoice, which is why you should not re-issue any invoices.
Recently, Elance has also started what is called the Elance Agency. This agency helps those buyers who want their projects managed by professionals; right from posting their projects, to picking the service providers for the job, to dealing with them. And the service providers who are a part of this Agency are picked by Elance according to their ratings and feedback. So you never know, if you can consistently do a good job, you may just get picked to be a service provider on Elance Agency. And if that happens, there is literally no limit to what you can earn through Elance.
There it is!
This HAS TO BE The Most PROLIFIC, PROFITABLE, Yet SIMPLE System Ever... and it makes me literally TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A WEEK.
Step 1> I find a great product or seek out a profitable niche that has an average product servicing it
Step 2> I use my team of writers at enlace to rewrite and repackage it for minimum investment
Step 3> I market my new product through the methods outlined in System Ultra K
Step 4> I count my cash and enjoy my life!
And as explained earlier, if you don’t want to incur the costs of employing a writer then rework your first product and I’ll guarantee you that you’ll wished you had employed a professional writer!
Anyway, you can invest the profits in the next project made from the first so you’ll still be ‘in pocket’
WITH THANKS: To all the people in the world without whom I could never have stolen their ideas!
Thanks to the two feelance writers who contributed to this book at a cost of $200
I’d also like to thank my payment processor for depositing the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS made for selling this GREAT IDEA into my account!
And finally I’d love to thank the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee for making all this possible… LOVE TO YOU ALL!!!
Ultimate King of Cash
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Licensing and The Bill Gates Phenomenon ... A Lifetime Residual Income!
There is a secret to the epic success of Bill Gates' Microsoft corporation and it has nothing to do with being in the right place at the right time, unparalleled intellect, or computers!
Many critics will wonder what William H. Gates III is doing on a list of the greatest innovators of the last 75 years. The world's largest software company is often accused of piggybacking on the innovations of others rather than inventing itself. It's even accused of using its market clout to suppress creations from rivals.
Still, Gates deserves to be counted as a great American innovator - just of a different sort. More than anyone else, he can be credited with turning the disorganized PC tribes of the late 1970s into today's huge industry. Gates was among the first to recognize that all sorts of companies and products would be created if a computer's operating system and all the other software programs were separated from the hardware. The insight liberated innovation. Anyone, anywhere could concoct new technologies, not just the engineers working on a new computer. "That was a doozy," Gates says. "We allowed there to be massive innovation on the hardware side and massive innovation on the software side."
Just as crucial, Gates understood the importance of 'owning' the dominant operating system in this emerging industry. His moment of truth came in the summer of 1980, when IBM (IBM ), in a rush to produce a PC quickly, was looking for another company to supply it with an operating system. Gates provided it and persuaded IBM to allow him to license the operating system to other computer makers, a move that both expanded the market exponentially and created a standardized platform for other companies to build upon. "He's always thinking about the competitive chess moves he has to make to make his products more successful," says Paul G. Allen, Gates's boyhood friend who founded Microsoft with him. "I don't know if anybody else back then had as broad a vision of what could be accomplished or that kind of competitive juice."
Now, Gates is at the point in his life where his legacy is beginning to take shape. He's certain to be remembered for the billions he amassed on his way to becoming the world's wealthiest man ... and the secret to his success?
Licensing ... And how you can leverage it's power today ...
How it All Began for Me
“Most people are too busy earning a living to make any money!”
This is definitely true, particularly if you are a salaried individual. This is often the case even with people who are self-employed, more so if they charge by the hour, or perform some tasks wherein they are paid a standard fee for the work.
This was the story of events in my life, just a few short years ago and how I discovered the secret of Licensing; a secret leveraged by many of The World's Masters of Wealth.
At 27, I was spending about 70 hours every week at work. This included weekends as well and also a couple of nights every week when I got home not before 3 in the morning. Although you could say that I was earning a decent living for someone my age; like a lot of others, there was not much money left over after the mortgage had been paid and all the other day-to-day expenses were taken care of.
I was certain that there was a better way; the only problem was I didn’t know what. Watching a lot of advertisements about promising ‘get rich quick’ schemes, I even tried a few of them, but unfortunately not a single one lived up to its exaggerated promises. I even stuffed my garage with costly stocks of cleaning supplies through those pyramid selling plans, which were so famous some years back.
And just like that, one fine day, I came upon something that was the break I'd been searching for all this time. Like a lot of great business ideas, this is a straightforward idea; but unlike many schemes, it doesn’t require you to purchase large stocks or work an entire day to earn good money.
Much of our business now revolves around Licensing but back then, on average, I only worked 2-3 hours per week developing it, and for every 10 items that I handled, I'd make as much as I was earning on my full time business.
So, what do I do exactly?
I obtain the select rights for distribution of any item from its maker, and then I simply sell that right to another person.
Let me start by telling you how it all began, and then you'll know that there is no lack of prospects here, and how you too can make this idea work for you by utilising your own knowledge. My very first idea was linked to the catering business, but you will come up with various other ideas that are connected to your existing line of work. You should put your ideas down on paper as soon as they enter your head - never let a good thought slip away!
Here’s how it all came together ...
My entire working life, at the time, revolved around the food industry as I owned my own outside catering business and also ran a nice little sandwich deli of my own. In my sandwich shop, we would prepare different sandwich fillings everyday and then display the fillings in chilled units for our customers to choose from. I thought the visual display needed to be spiced up a little, so I would spend hours carving tomato roses, and swans from lemons to create a nice and attractive finishing touch to the visual display.
The only problem was that the carvings would last just two days at the most and I’d have to spend hours recreating them. Thus, every second day, I’d waste a lot of time making the carvings. Not exactly waste, but you get the gist.
This got me thinking that perhaps there must be someone who could supply them pre-prepared so that my time could be better utilised elsewhere.
I called up all the catering suppliers that I could find and asked them if they could help me with my requirements. All of them had the same two things to tell me: none of them had pre-prepared food carvings, but all of them agreed that it was a super idea and hoped they were obtainable.
I was losing patience and preparing to give up. Then one day, at a friend’s place, I happened to notice some pre-prepared ornamental food carvings which my friend had got back from a trip to the Far East as a souvenir for his kids. The only problem was they were plastic and I thought that would detract from the quality image I was trying to portray in the shop. But when I saw the product in my hand they were so lifelike they were perfect ...
My friend gave me the number of the place where he picked them up and I called up the given number, which was one in the Far East.
“Hi, may I be of assistance?” an Oriental woman enquired.
“Hello, I'm calling from England”, I replied. “Could you inform me who your supplier is over here"
“I'm sorry; we do not have a supplier in England.”
“Oh, alright”, I said. “Could you let me know who you have supplied to in the United Kingdom or Europe?”
Once again, “I'm sorry; we have never supplied to anybody outside the Far East.”
At that moment, the thought came to me.
“Would you be willing to let me have the exclusive UK rights to sell your merchandise?” I enquired.
She answered, “Sure!”
“Would you also be willing to let me have the exclusive European rights too?” I enquired.
Once again, the same answer: “Sure!!”
To be honest, I had no notion of what to do after that, but I intuitively knew that I had something great on hand. I had chanced upon such an item that was not to be had anywhere in all of UK and Europe, and I would soon have the exclusive rights to the product. Just the thought had me so keyed up that I was even ready to foot the expenses for drawing up the legal papers and importing them from the Far East.
I’ve learnt my lesson about that. But I do know that trying to obtain the solitary rights to an item is not preposterous, even though it may sound that way. You’re essentially telling the other person that you think their product is good. Nobody would ever be affronted by that, and they sure are not going to turn their noses up at the thought of having an entire new market for their goods. Any foreign business would spend thousands of pounds to start a European branch, and here you are - doing it practically for free!
Since you are already based here, it would be very easy for you to build the required contacts, which the company would find quite hard to do.
So, that’s what I started to do - build those contacts. I called up all the catering suppliers I had spoken to earlier, and they all were thrilled to know that the item I was looking for before would now be obtainable. And then came the bolt from the blue - they needed me to stock a warehouse full of goods, so that the product would be available as and when the need arose. This meant that I would need to get an entire load of pre-prepared ornamental, carved display foods, spend money on storing them, some more money to insure the goods, and then distribute them; all of which would cost me thousands of pounds! This was certainly not what I wanted!
After this, I decided to approach a producer of other types of table and unit displays. Their Sales and Marketing department was quite excited. They enquired whether I could give them sole rights to the product, in return for which they were prepared to pay me a royalty. This got me really excited and then the CEO of the company burst my bubble.
According to him, the plastic food carvings would be competing with his current range of table display products. With plastic ornamental food carvings on the scene, people would not use his products, thus decreasing his sales. “Thanks, but we’ll pass” was his decision.
Here I learned an important lesson. Any new item should not decrease sales of present goods, but add to them, thereby providing users a wider selection.
I discussed my dilemma with a customer, and he told me, “Get in touch with the main source of distribution for catering accessories.”
“And who would that be?” I inquired.
“Those who produce the real goods - bigger food carvings and ice carvings”, he said.
Initially, I thought it was not a very great idea. Obviously, if they had the marketplace cornered with bigger food carvings and ice carvings, they would probably not be fascinated at the idea of an alternative. But then it struck me that my product was not an alternative. I had small plastic food carving displays, which would perfectly complement the bigger ones. Thus, I grabbed the Yellow Pages and called up the first number.
I talked to the Top Man and he was so thrilled with my idea that he hopped on to an airplane the very next morning and met with me. By the end of the day, we had reached an agreement wherein he would pay me a royalty on whatever sales of the pre-prepared ornamental food carvings he managed sell, and I left with a cheque in my pocket. Yes, there were some formalities to complete and loose ends to tie up, but that was just a little administrative work. The deal was on!
From then, till now, I have obtained and re-sold the sole rights of various other goods such as:
A product for gift wrapping presents in balloons
A device for keeping open bin bags
A collapsible bin
A series of novelty door knobs
A device for rocking babies to sleep
A bracket for holding paint tins on ladders
By reading all this, you are probably realising that here’s an idea which may work well for you too. You may have, in all likelihood, even come up with some possible ideas about goods that you can handle. Even if you haven’t, worry not. That’s what I’m going to do - educate you about how to search for goods and products, and come up with ideas, which will enable you to strike your own deals and earn handsome royalties. And they don't have to be physical products - I now hold licences to distribute many digital, information products on the Internet.
*The Appendix has a few sample agreements, which can be altered as per your individual needs.
Back to Index
So, how exactly are you going come up with goods which will help to strike up royalty creating deals? Here are some useful suggestions:
The products should preferably be manufactured in a foreign country and not available in your own.
The goods should enhance products already available in your country.
They must be in keeping with safety guidelines.
They should work with regular equipment already available (for instance, electrical goods).
They should be connected to a field which you are knowledgeable about. (But this is not always the case).
There are a couple of methods to locate actual goods. One way is to start thinking and come up with a list of some products that you have often wanted, but never found. You can rack your own brains and also ask others who may have decent ideas. Once you have thought of a few such products, you go searching for them. The second way is to find some unusual products, and see if anything of the kind is available here.
Now you probably have a better idea why the last suggestion advises you to work with products related to an area which you know about. Else, what appears to be an awesome idea to you may well be 'old hat' to the very people you think will go for it.
Utilize your work experience:
There may have been some occasions when you hoped you had a particular product, which could make work a lot simpler.
Are you a salesperson? Maybe you require some items to help manage your brochures better; or perhaps some product that dispenses samples at the flick of a switch.
Do you often find yourself in dim areas? Maybe you could do with a small torch attached to a headgear that could be charged using your car battery.
Do you use your hands a lot? Possibly you have often wished for an added pair, or some product that could accommodate different things while you worked on them.
Does your work involve a lot of driving? Perhaps you need something to help keep the back of your footwear dirt-free, or a product to keep cash to pay for tolls, within reach?
Try to conjure up every amazing device that you've seen people utilizing in their line of business - the sonic measuring tape, the wet meter, the lighted screwdriver - all of these are the product of someone's great imagination.
Look around your house or use your hobby:
Similar to work, there are often times when you may have hoped you had some device to make your housework easier. Take a look at some things that are already available. Do they bring to mind any products which would be indispensable 5 years from now, on which you can get good royalty?
Kitchen gadgets: the fizz-saver for drinks, synthetic ‘bears paws’ for picking up meat, mechanical bread makers etc.
Bathroom products: water-resistant headrests, toothpaste vending device, plaque removers.
Around the drawing room: ‘lava’ lights, sand photos, trays that affix to chair arms, scent atomizer
In your work-area: screwdrivers that can be re-charged, automatic drill chuck.
Garden things: ‘plug’ sectioned seed trays, roll-out pathways, click-fit watering mechanism etc.
Pet products: extendable dog chains, the vacuum brush, a tick collar.
Sporty items: training shoes purse, the golf-tee that self-adapts, low-priced fitness equipment.
Hear what others are saying:
When you speak to others about their work and hobbies, you will repeatedly notice that people impulsively tell others about how they wish they could purchase certain things. If they are aware that you are connected to the import of such items, in all likelihood, people will tell you what they want. And even if they don’t, you should come right out and ask them. People will rarely think that they can source these things on their own.
If you or your friends and family, on trips abroad, have ever happened to come across certain things that people use there, or which are available in foreign shops, then this could be a great area for new ideas. For example, the small metal clasps that outdoor eateries Utilize to hold down their table cloths, which could come quite handy at barbecues; the plastic fasteners which clip to dish-cloths and clasp onto a ring; the trendy wicker furniture from Thailand, which could look awesome in conservatories etc. Whatever such products you come across on foreign trips, which are not seen here, would do. In fact, taking a day-trip to France and scouring the hypermarkets for inimitable, unusual products may not be such a bad idea after all!
Study trade journals:
Trade journals are an exceptional supply of information. These may not help you find items to deal in, as the goods are already available in your country. How this does help however, is in the elimination process so that you do not end up handling goods that are already available and thus not exclusive. By having knowledge about what is available, you can better judge where to fit in your unusual goods. It may even inspire you to come up with related products to look for.
For example, in the catering industry, sanitation requirements have resulted in a colour coding system for chopping boards and cutting knives. Chopping boards carry a coloured dot, and the grips of knives are coloured, so that chefs do not use the same knives for raw meat, which are meant for cooked meat on a board which is to be used for dairy products only. Such colour coding could work for which other products? Is it likely that home cooks and commercial chefs would use them if their packing was attractive? Could such a colour coding scheme be used for other DIY tools as well?
Apply creative lateral thinking:
If you aren’t finding it easy to come up with fresh ideas from existing ones, attempt the exercise of conjuring up different uses for a common, everyday item. The item that is mostly used in this exercise is a brick. Majority of the people can think of various uses, but essentially, there are only two - using the brick as a building material (for e.g. making walls, pathways etc), or as a weapon (for e.g. to throw at retailers windows, knock someone’s head with etc).
But those who actually tax their minds, and who think apart from the obvious (lateral thinking), are the ones who really come up with fresh ideas and unique uses such as: brick door stopper, ashtray, holder for matches, match striker, using bricks as steps in a ladder, vehicle jack, ruler, tyre wedge, feet warmer (after a little time in the oven), paperweight, added in the toilet cistern and used as a water saver, stand for cooking dishes, animal hobble (with a rope or cord), stepper for exercising ... can you come up with some more?
Undertake the same exercise with different items and check what you wind up with.
Are any of the ideas any good?
Making the effort to work out a deal with a product maker isn’t going to do you any good, if the product is not going to be wanted. It could get worse if you actually made the effort to locate someone to carry your products, and then realised there were no buyers for it! That won't earn you any money, nor any friends.
You thus have to evaluate each product that catches your fancy, with regards to its marketability. Simply because an item enjoys tremendous sales where it is made, does not essentially indicate it will do well here too. Some items that I have mulled over, and rejected, were a collection of bow-ties and cummerbunds in one-of-a-kind designs, and even a device for printing photos on dinner shirts. Although they sell a lot in the US, they don’t in UK. Why is that?
Because of the fact that, men's evening attire market in the UK is quite traditionalist. Perhaps more than 75% of dinner suits are worn to Masonic dinners, where any attire except a black tie and a plain white shirt, is frowned upon.
I have even discarded the idea of a type of computer software for self-hypnosis, as I foresaw various kinds of legal problems; and a crossword puzzle book, in which every square had to be scratched to disclose the letters beneath. It appears that people would rather write using a pen.
Perhaps a sure fire way to evaluate whether or not a certain item will sell is to go through the initial process of trying to sell it to the wholesale merchants. Here, I’d like to give you a few words of caution: NEVER, UNDER ANY CONDITIONS, DISCLOSE TO THE WHOLESALERS WHERE YOU OBTAINED THE PRODUCT FROM.
Don't mention who the manufacturer is, which country it originates from, how you came by the item, and don’t even mention any other goods that the manufacturer produces.
If you let this information slip, the wholesale merchants can go right to the source and cut you out - which most WILL do. If they enquire where the item is from, tell them you aren't ready to part with that information till such time that an agreement has been signed. It would even do to imply that you are just about to sign the contract for exclusive rights with the maker.
It's really a positive indication if they attempt to get this information from you. They wouldn't try if they didn't believe the product to be feasible for their market. Contact at least 6 different wholesalers in various regions of the country/county, and check whether all of them have a similar reaction.
If anyone is not excited about the item, ask their opinion about why the item won't sell, and then evaluate the answers. If all but one say Yes, you must keep an eye out for the one who said No, as he might have said that to discourage you, and may well be planning to do it himself. Do you still remember that first table and unit display maker, who said No to my ornamental plastic food carvings? Well, the thing is, he has recently announced his own line of pre-prepared food carvings. Perhaps I'm suspicious without reason, and he's simply trying to profit from the market I created. Then again, perhaps I'm not.
If your creating an internet product do a search on Overture.com to see how often it's searched for.
There are hundreds of niches you probably didn't even know existed that are searched for every day and there are products that you'd expect to see hunted down with surprisingly few searches.
Have a plan of action:
Prepare a list of the various items that you've always wanted but could not locate in the stores.
Enquire of your friends what stuff they've always sought but could never find.
Study as many trade journals you can lay your hands on.
Start speaking with wholesalers.
Back to Index
If you wish to find a certain item that you've thought of, or you simply want to know what’s out there, you have to start by finding some likely product manufacturers. I get a host of products from the US and Asia and have built up solid contacts there, but the entire universe can be your arena. As I said earlier, launching a foreign operation is very costly for any producer. The further they are from their target market, the more difficult it is for them, particularly if English is not their native tongue.
Foreign languages do not have to be a barrier for you. You can correspond with your manufacturers through letters and faxes, and the Chamber of Commerce in your area will assist you with any required translations. This may not even prove to be necessary as English is now used widely in global business.
You may believe that you can find goods manufacturers by going to wholesalers and seeing who produces items that are akin to what you’re searching. Although you can get a general idea of items from wholesalers, and you may even determine how well different products do; it is my understanding that majority of the wholesalers are far too shrewd to disclose where they source their goods from. In fact, they even remove all the labels from their items so you can't find out on your own. To find wholesalers, look in the Yellow Pages, or in Wholesaler magazines - a good UK magazine called ‘The Trader’. This magazine gives you access to interesting ads which will help you determine what all is available.
Your closest City library, which can offer you directories on global trade, can be your direct method to find manufacturers. I always take the librarians into confidence and they then assist me to find the correct directories. The key information to unearth is which countries produce the kind of merchandise you are fascinated with.
With this information in hand, your next step is to dispatch a letter to the Commercial Department at the London Embassy of your selected nation (or equivalent trade body in your country, such as The Chamber of Commerce) . You can use one of two approaches in your letter. The first one is to tell them that you wish to import certain types of goods and would like the contact details of manufacturers of such goods. On doing so, you will get a horde of brochures in your mail. The trouble with this plan is that the manufacturers generally want you to import the merchandise on your own; or work as their regional agent, which entails making clients and delivering the orders to the manufacturer.
Thus, the second approach, which I also use, seems to be the smarter choice. I request the Embassy to provide me with a listing of all the trade magazines that are related to the goods I am interested in. I even request the British trade journals to give me information about their foreign equivalents. When I have a list of these magazines, I contact them and request a sample copy and subscription details to be Air Mailed to me.
On studying the samples provided, I determine which has the maximum usefulness, and then subscribe to that publication for an entire year. If you pay through your credit card, you neither have to concern yourself with exchange rates, nor have to pay bank charges for a non-pound cheque. Although you can locate these publications through trade directories; in order to get the most up to date information, you are advised to contact the Embassies.
Similar to British trade journals, these journals too have various adverts and also a ‘What's New’ segment. From here you can get the details about the manufacturers that you seek. From here, you do as I did - you call up the manufacturers and enquire who they supply to in UK (or your country), and the rest as they say ... You might need to speak with their Export unit or their Sales and Promotion department.
As I mentioned previously, if language is a problem on the phone, simply fax them a letter instead.
Gauge the time difference prior to placing your call. The American East Coast is about 6 hours behind UK time, whereas the West Coast is about 9 hours behind us. In Europe, areas that lie east from Denmark to Tunisia, are a minimum of 1 hour ahead of UK time. All these countries employ the ‘daylight saving’ hours system, wherein their work day begins at 8am in place of our 9am.
When you call, be ready for them to ask about you (where you’re from, what you want etc). Not many ask, but you need to be prepared just in case. I generally circumvent any such queries by telling them that "I have the exclusive rights to various items like theirs, and wish to add their item to my range to expand it."
The next chapter provides information about settling deals with the makers, but before that, a novel method to find great merchandise.
The Wonderful World of the Internet:
You’ve surely heard of the internet!
I for one, use it on a daily basis. I have global connections and I chat with my contacts frequently through e-mail. I am also a member of various websites which have excellent information sharing forums (chat groups). The forums on ‘New Ideas and Innovative Inventions’ usually provide new information from people who wish to sell new goods. You even get the latest news, have access to advertisement columns, and can participate in ‘CB simulators’, which are live discussion forums.
Just a few minutes on these forums can give you excellent marketing ideas as well as fresh new products for sale. Some of the ideas may not be novel to you, but there will be plenty that are and these could help you make your fortune.
Do a Google! (or Yahoo!)
AsianSources.com is a fantastic resource I have used for years - it costs but well worth it ... alternatively
About Trade Exhibitions:
I visit trade fairs every chance I get. One more advantage of finding those trade publications that I mentioned previously is because the trade fairs are promoted in them. I tried to avoid British trade shows because even if I was to find some promising products, there is a good chance others will too. And what I needed was to discover items before others found them; which is why, the minute I could afford to go abroad, I started visiting trade shows in foreign countries and discovered many new products and suppliers.
If you do not have the means to visit the trade fair, you should at least call the fair organisers. Let them know how sorry you are to have missed the chance to attend the fair in person, due to prior commitments, and request them to send you a copy of the fair brochure. Rarely do they say no, and you get the contact details about all the booth holders.
Before I forget to say this - when you have located the perfect item, and found its manufacturers, please see to it that they are the exclusive makers of that product. You would be wasting your time and money by trying to procure sole rights from a particular producer when a host of other people manufacture the same goods and could be selling the rights to others.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Go to the City library and discover the countries where your chosen items are made
Contact the Commercial Department at their Embassy and request a listing for the trade journals of that particular country
Request information about their global counterparts from British trade publications
Get in touch with the publications and request sample issues and subscription charges
Visit trade shows and exhibits
Get in touch with prospective manufacturers and try to get information about items that catch your fancy.
Get onto the Internet and join information forums
Back to Index
Contracts With Manufacturers
After you have found a product maker who is ready to give you the solitary rights to his goods, you have to begin discussions with them and sign a formal contract.
An important observation that I have seen is that not even one of the manufacturers I have done business with has had a standard contract for me to sign. They all appear to be quite satisfied with the fact that since I have a contract ready means that I know my job, and are thus entirely content dealing with me. This is not to suggest that you may never come across a manufacturer who has his own contract, but it does seem that the majority never have one.
Things to include in the contract:
*The appendix carries a sample contract, which you can modify as per your needs; or you could hire an lawyer do draw one up. Whichever way you choose to go, certain things that need to be included in the contract are:
The manufacturers name and the registered address of the company
The name of your company and its registered address.
A ‘recital’, which is a declaration that the manufacturer (also called the ‘principal’) makes the products that you are interested in, and also includes the statement that you wish to sell these products.
Detailed meanings of all the terms used in the contract. This prevents any misunderstanding which could later lead to arguments about the meanings of things. The important terms to watch out for are addressed later.
Something known as ‘Grants and Reservations’. Grant is a declaration that the maker gives you the right to distribute his product, and also concurs that he will neither choose any other person to distribute or sell the goods, nor will he appoint an agent to do so. These conditions provide you with exclusiveness in the region. The Reservations part enables the maker to change the price of the goods, or modify its design or styling. The manufacturer thus ‘reserves the right’ to carry out all this if desired.
Responsibilities of the manufacturer: This indicates all the things that the manufacturer needs to do, such as, supplying the samples and catalogues, and offering you protection in case any claim arises from a faulty item. Payment details are generally included here as the maker needs to offer you terms of credit.
Responsibilities of the Distributor: All the duties that you need to fulfil are listed here. These typically comprise - not distributing competitive goods, not transferring the contract without consent, ensuring that the goods are stored suitably, they are never tampered with, and also consenting to clear invoices in a timely fashion. (More about this later)
Any causes which can result in the automatic cancellation of the contract, like liquidation or insolvency
‘Termination Details’: This indicates what will happen when the contract period is completed. What happens to the remaining stocks of goods; to the brochures; with any un-cleared invoices etc; all that is included here
Sundry Items: This is where you list all the other little details that do not fit elsewhere. These include - who has to insure the goods, how changes in address will be notified, and of the utmost importance, how will disagreements and disputes (if any) be settled. Disputes can be sorted in one of two methods - either through arbitration, or you can include a stipulation that says that the contract and any dispute is to be judged as per the laws of a certain nation (preferably UK). Here I’d like to offer some personal advice: you should always choose the arbitration method (which is what I do) as it is much more cost effective than court battles. This crisis will perhaps never arise (it hasn’t with me), but as they say - always be prepared.
Now we come back to the Schedules, where all the important meanings related to the products should be listed:
1) What will be the legal tender: Here you specify which currency you’re going to work with. Although it can be any that you want, I generally deal in US dollars or UK pounds only. Since most of the manufacturers I deal with are in the States, it is convenient for them to deposit payments in my US bank account, whereas it is also convenient for me when I need to pay for any items in the US. (For instance, there are times when my suppliers need me to pay for trial products, etc.) If you routinely visit a certain place for trips and holidays, you can choose the currency of that nation and have your own bank account there. Just make sure that you do not end up paying personal income taxes in both the countries. Consult with your CA and the international trade unit of your bank prior to making your final choice in this matter.
2) The contract ‘term’: Here you specify what duration the contract will be for. This is typically mentioned as being for a specific amount of time (I generally opt for 6 years), and also for an unending period after that, till such time as decided by either of the parties to terminate the contract, after providing the required notice. I generally put in a notice period of one year.
3) Your exclusive territory: You must exercise utmost caution when outlining your territory. Don't say England if you have exclusive rights for UK, or you may just have to contend with someone in Wales or Scotland, distributing to companies there which have a presence in England as well. Specifically state United Kingdom in the contract, or mention all regions including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Keep in mind that Ireland (Eire) is a country in its own right and should be treated as such. Defining ‘Europe’ is the critical part. You may take the term ‘Europe’ to mean the geographical region called Europe (which comprises Iceland, a little of the USSR, Bulgaria, and Romania). However, others could think of it as the European Economic Community, which incidentally does not comprise all the nations that are in the geographical region. Since the definition of Europe is subject to change, you are advised to mention every country that is included in your territory.
4) ‘Purchasing’ the goods: The final contract is worded such to indicate that you will be purchasing the goods yourself and distributing (selling) those to wholesale merchants and other clientele. You need not stress over this point as it is the accepted procedure and does not indicate that you will have to hold large stocks of goods. Instead, what is going to happen is that whenever you find a taker for your products, you will allocate your rights in the goods to them, from where on it is their duty to import the product and sell it. This even serves as a solution to what could have been perceived as a hitch in the contract, where it mentions that you need to establish your capability to sell the products in your region.
The actuality that you will be allocating the contract to a third party is implied from the start. I have seen that manufacturers tend to take my word more at face value when I tell them that this is my plan all along rather than when I act as if I am going to sell the goods on my own. My standing as a single person is much less than that of a large organisation that is currently selling in the market. So I tell them that I will be finding someone to assign the rights to; someone with an annual turnover of at least XXX million pounds and a sales team of at least XXX number of people at their disposal. I don’t give any indication as to who that might be, regardless of whether I know or not. As I have to bear all the costs of locating this third party, the manufacturers are quite content to let me do my thing. I propose to them that if within three months I do not find the right company to sell the goods, then the contract will be treated as cancelled. Till date, I have not seen any manufacturer who wasn’t satisfied by this approach.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Ask your attorney to draft a standard contract for you to use with the suppliers. You could use my sample as a starting point
Make sure you fundamentally understand all the inclusions in the contract. If you’re not entirely sure what a certain clause means, ask your attorney to clarify it for you.
Back to Index
Locating Your Clients
After you have signed the formal contract, you need to locate people to assign your rights to, who will sell the products in the market. There is always the option of importing the goods yourself and distributing them, but if you ask me, it’s more trouble than it’s worth! Why should I invest my own money and spend precious time distributing the items, when the alternative is to locate someone to do all this work for me, and even have them pay me in return!
Now you know why it is an advantage to handle goods that are connected to a business that you are knowledgeable about. If you don’t have any idea about the product field, you will need to search through the Yellow Pages, trade directories and journals to trace the ideal company. Once you find them, and tell them about your product, a typical reaction to expect is “How would you know what might do well in this particular industry?” If your answer is likely to be “Umm, because I seem to think so”, you will definitely be on the back foot in dealing with the company.
However, if you answer, “I have worked practically my whole life in this industry and am quite thrilled with the possibilities of this particular product, because it is far superior to the one that is currently being used, etc”, then you will have established that you do know what you're speaking about, which will inevitably make them trust your take on the subject. (There are those who will act as if they don’t, but that is simply a normal strategy to gain the upper hand in negotiations).
Another benefit of handling items from a knowledgeable field is that you are likely to be aware who the best people in the business are and you can start directly with them, rather than spending time searching the right company. You must go with the best people as the preferred outcome is to assign all your rights in the goods to a single entity, instead of dealing with various organisations who handle separate segments of the market. You could break it up and give the UK rights to one entity, the Italian rights to some other company and so forth. Except, why would you not make the effort to locate a single company (if possible) and avoid all this extra work and cost?
And it's not simply the added work of the initial deal. You will need to organise all the payments that you get every three months, and also stay abreast of how your customers are doing. So, why do all this many times over when you can do it just once? By breaking up your territory, there is an added peril that you could miss out on some important regions, thus having a hole in your coverage. Your supplier can then take back the rights of those particular areas. Why take that chance? So, it’s much better to assign all your rights to a single company and be free from such headache.
One more goal in finding the best company is that you can ensure that you have a presence in the entire market. For instance, suppose you have the sole rights to a novel type of plastic consumer bags. You could approach the people who purchase plastic carrier bags for a particular chain of stores and offer them your rights. They would jump at the thought of being one up on their competition by giving the novel bag to their patrons. However, by doing so, you could be limiting your earnings. After all, how many plastic carrier bags can any one chain of stores use?
But, if you approach the big fish - the people who supply plastic bags to all the big chains of stores, then you could literally enjoy sales of billions of bags, instead of a few million. Just imagine the profits that this could entail???
Here, I must say that I always attempt to locate companies which absolutely love my merchandise. If anyone is even slightly hesitant and need to be cajoled into trying my products, they probably won’t do full justice to the goods and no one would profit from the arrangement. An excited client will also be someone you can bargain better with about the royalty, and will not even hesitate to provide the details of their corporation, which you will require to give to your manufacturers to convince them that they are the ideal company to sell their products.
Back to Index
Closing The Negotiations
Your product is a hit. Your customer is persuaded. They even wish to obtain all rights for the goods. All that remains is to hash out the financial aspects and sign a formal deal.
It's not easy to offer precise opinions regarding what earnings to expect from a particular item. This will depend on the item as well as your negotiating powers, which is why it will differ a lot. If the product is likely to be for the masses and will sell easily, you could bargain for a bigger royalty cut. But, if the product proves slightly more difficult to sell, you could persuade the client to handle the item by asking for a smaller royalty (in reality you want to be spending time on sourcing the best selling merchandise). In such circumstances, you could even end up receiving larger commissions from your manufacturer.
Yes, that's the beauty. Both the parties - your manufacturer and your distributor, will pay you. You receive a royalty from your distributor as you are offering him sole rights for the item, without any competitors. In addition to which, you receive a commission from the manufacturer on all the items that are sold in your region.
This may cause you to question why the manufacturer would go for such a deal. Since he already has a contract with you, wherein you will purchase the items at their regular cost, why would he give you a commission on whatever he gets from your distributor, when the distributor too is paying the regular cost.
Well, to answer you in a single word - quantity. You tell your manufacturer this, “If you let me allocate my rights to another party, you will sell a lot more items than I could possibly manage myself. For which you pay me the commission.” They simply will not say no as you already have a signed contract, which does not state anything about the least amount of goods that need to be sold. Till such time that you are giving them some orders (regardless of how small), they cannot cancel the contract and take back their rights.
However, they will want some information about who your distributor is going to be. You obviously do not want to disclose that information, pretty much for the same reasons as why you don’t want to disclose to your distributor who your manufacturer is; because they might just cut the middleman (which is you) right out. Thus, you need to give them some useful information, just not the whole truth.
Do not mention something like, “It is the largest plastic carrier bag producer in the UK” - you might as well just say the name.
Instead, you should tell them, “The company has a supply agreement with the majority of big store chains in the country, and are also establishing a sales team of XXX number for their European expansion plans.”
The term ‘Supply agreement’ is truthful enough but also adequately unclear, as it indicates items ranging from bags, to sanitary ware, to cleaning supplies, to kitchen ware etc, which means you could be referring to any number of companies. After they decide to let you pass the contract onto another, you get ‘the licence’ (the third contract) signed by them, but still do not disclose who your distributor is on the agreement.
You might have to undergo some degree of running back and forth between your manufacturer and distributor before you get the desired rate of royalty and commissions. I usually try to get about 5% to 10% of all sales, which typically winds up being evenly distributed between the supplier and my customer.
I really do favour that the supplier proposes what percentage they pay me in commissions; at the very least I inquire what rate they would most be at ease with. It is simply not possible for me to study their account books, so I prefer not to force them into a situation where they need to ‘tamper’ with their accounts. Some manufacturers believe that they can recover this commission by charging a higher price for their products. However, I always recommend that they not do so. Why give clients cause to look around for another product?
The arrangement with the manufacturers is quite clear-cut. You wish to be paid a percentage commission on their proceeds from the distributor; nothing more, nothing less. The arrangement with the distributor however, can be worked out in various ways, which gives you added negotiating powers. Keep in mind the main rule for negotiations - you need to settle more than just the price aspect, the structure of the arrangement has to be worked out too.
The next rule of bargaining is that the deal should be mutually beneficial or it will fizzle out quickly. However, it is human nature to do dumb things. People become selfish and upset the deal as they desire more than what is practical, or sometimes get a superiority complex and just have to show that they are smarter than the other party. Regardless, all things said and done, the only evidence of your smartness is the money in your bank. And that hinges on the satisfaction of your customer with the arrangement so that they stick by you instead of finding someone else to do business with.
Your dealing can be done through written correspondence (faxes and letters) but that can take a considerable length of time. And although phone dialogues are quicker, I somehow am not quite at ease trying to negotiate an important deal without being able to see the other party. Thus, I always attempt to do my entire deal making in person. Being face to face with them gives me a chance to gauge their reaction to any of my proposals, and I can even determine when their counter offers are genuine and when they are just testing me out.
All your people-reading ability needs to be used while finalising the deal; an essential facet of which is body language. Since I am not writing this to teach you about body language, I will not go into details here. But I will tell you that it is vital to observe their stance: is it defensive and suspicious, with either the legs or the arms crossed, and are they facing away from you or leaning backwards. Or, is their stance open and calm, with their hands by their side or on the desk, and leaning towards you as if interested in knowing what you are proposing.
When the other party exhibits the defensive stance, I pull away from them, take my papers away from them and try to give them some space, which actually appears to help. With those who seem comfortable, I lean towards them and push my papers closer to them, all the time keeping my eyes on theirs (don't bog them out just keep eye contact!).
They believe that rug dealers out in the Middle East keep watching their clients’ eyes at all times, biding time till they see their pupils widen, which indicates that they have come upon a rug that they absolutely love.
I too keep an eye on the faces of people whom I am negotiating with, when we are just talking pleasantries. Majority of the people shift their heads or faces in a particular direction when they are agreeing about something, or when they see something that they like. Whereas, if they are disagreeable about something, or when talking about something that they don’t particularly care for, they move their faces and heads in the other direction. A ‘Yes’ is usually accompanied with a slight nod or even a half curl of the lips; whereas a ‘No’ usually comes with a tiny shake of the head or a small grimace. Thus, I usually ask sociable questions to which they will answer yes or no. And when they do, I keenly study their body language and the subtle signals that they give off.
Another thing that I look out for is any indication that they are lying. I never believed that people actually raise their hand to their faces (mouth, nose etc) when they aren’t being honest, but that is the truth.
Some people might even give an edgy little cough (no, I’m not kidding!). And yes, at times you will even come across a tough guy who has ‘poker face’ down to an art. But, by and large, I notice that peoples’ body language and facial expressions are quite easy to interpret.
By the way, I’d like to offer you a small piece of advice: if a few years after your initial few contracts, you recognize that you may have ms-interpreted the signals which may have landed you a superior deal, don't stress over that. We’ve all been there, and you need to treat it as something that just happens, and should simply think of it as valuable experience. You definitely should not grumble about it to your clients, or even bring the topic up should you get the chance to negotiate another deal. If you do, they might think that you are attempting to cover your previous losses and laying down unreasonable terms for the new deal, even though you might not be doing anything of the sort.
The structure of the arrangement:
You can shape up your arrangement in various ways, depending on whether you want a one time payment, or repeated royalties, or both. Your choices are:
A one time payment without any ongoing royalties, and infinite rights
A one time payment that applies to a predetermined period, after which you get back your rights
A lump sum payment followed by royalties for a specified period; at the end of which the deal can be carried forward as is or re-negotiated
A lump sum payment as well as royalties for ever
No one time payment but ongoing royalty for ever
No one time payment, royalty for a limited period, at the end of which you get back your rights. Even though you will not get a lump sum up front, I still attempt to get at least some up front payment so that my legal cost and charges will be taken care of.
However, I usually attempt to get them to pay me a lump sum, particularly if the goods are such that they could enjoy an initial run and then fade out. But it may not always be possible for your distributor to part with considerable amount of money right at the start. You simply have to gauge their circumstances from their body language and facial signals and bargain till you reach a deal that makes both of you happy. Just so I do receive an up front payment, I generally agree to a lesser royalty, and that may just be the deciding aspect if they believe that the goods will sell for a long time to come.
After we have reached a mutually satisfying arrangement, we go ahead with the signing of the contracts. If there is enough time, I dispatch bare copies of all three contracts to them prior to our meeting so they have time to study the papers. I've just told you about the chief contract, and in the next chapter, I'll take you through the others. (Copies of all are available in the Appendices.)
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Let your manufacturer know that you have located someone to pass your rights onto, but DON'T give the name
Settle on a percentage for your commission with the manufacturer
Touch up on your people reading talents and negotiating powers
Prior to meeting to settle the deal, think about all the various ways you can shape the arrangement.
Back to Index
The Final Two Contracts
1) The Deed of Transfer
Even though this is known as a deed, it is like a contract. This deed should include the following essential clauses:
The deed is among you and the distributor corporation, with the Managing Head of that corporation acting as guarantor. The guarantor will see to your royalties if the corporation goes bankrupt
The ‘recitals’: Statement saying that there is a contract which confers the rights in the goods to you; which you in turn are selling to the assignee, and also that the principal manufacturer has given his consent
The meanings of terms: This consists of invoice dates, generally ends of quarters (e.g. 30th June) and payment period (15 days after invoice e.g. 15th July); the percentage rate for royalties and what it depends on; the legal tender to be used; rate of interest on delayed payments; how much one time payment; and the period for which the contract holds
The formal transfer
The distributors consent to give you statements and to hand over your royalties inclusive of VAT, and not to transfer the contract to another party without your consent
Specifics of damages due in case the contract is ended earlier
Your right to examine their account books, or to hire an assessor for the job
The specifics of the guarantor.
After the distributor company (its legal signatories) and the guarantor have put their signatures to the Deed of Transfer, you are in no risk and can then divulge your principal manufacturer’s name. You can accomplish this by handing over a copy of your chief contract, which contains the principal supplier’s details, and also a copy of the licence (third contract) after their name has been included in it and they have signed it. Those who need to sign this are the principal supplier, who you will already have gotten to sign at the time they decided to let you allocate your rights to another person; and the distributor, as they need to consent to particular items in the contract.
3) The Licence (third contract)
This contract is just an official paper which says that the principal manufacturer gives his consent for you to pass your rights to another named entity. Some essential clauses included in this document are:
The personnel details (names, addresses etc) of all three parties - the principal manufacturer, you, and the distributor
The ‘recitals’: Again a statement which says that this contract is an add-on to the chief contract; that chief contract which includes a clause that enables you to pass your rights, and that the need for this contract is to get the principal manufacturer to consent to such passing of rights.
The meanings of terms: which are much the same as those in the Deed of Transfer (invoice dates, payment period, currency used, commission percentage, interest rate etc)
A declaration that the principal manufacturer confers on you the licence to pass all the benefits of the chief contract to the distributor
A declaration that the distributor agrees to do all the duties regards to distribution
A declaration from the principal manufacturer freeing you from such distribution duties.
Thus, you will require a minimum of three signed copies of all the contracts, so that all the three parties have one copy of each contract. However, if the guarantor is not the same person who signs the Deed of Transfer (if it is signed by other company signatories) then you will require an additional copy of that contract.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Have your advocate draw up a Deed of Transfer and the Licence contract
Ensure that you fully comprehend each contract
Enter the manufacturer’s name in the Deed of Transfer, but do not show it to your distributor till they have signed the Licence
Enter your distributor’s name in the Licence, but do not put your principal’s name till the distributor has signed the Licence.
After the distributor has signed, enter your principal’s name, and provide your distributor with one copy of all the three contracts.
Back to Index
What To Do if There is No Manufacturer
Ok, so you have just come up with this amazing concept for a new item and your family and friends think it’s an awesome idea; but what do you do if no one actually manufactures such a product?
Let’s see … if you're absolutely sure that your idea is indeed an amazing one, and that people would actually buy your product, you could think of acquiring a patent on your item. This way, you will be secure for twenty years; in which time you will hold the sole rights to Utilize and sell it.
However, I must caution you that acquiring a patent is quite a costly process. I'll educate you about how it’s done, and then I’ll do one better and tell you how to safeguard your brilliant idea without incurring all the costs.
What you first need to know is that every nation has its individual patent law. Acquiring a UK patent may not automatically safeguard your invention in the US, or in New Zealand, or anywhere else for that matter. Although, there are a few European laws which protect new products in all of Europe, and even some international rules which make it simpler to apply in foreign countries; you still may need to acquire different patents in different nations.
Although individual requirements may vary, there are some which are standard everywhere. The four major ones in UK are:
Your product should not be in a category that the Patent Office deems ‘excluded’ creations. These consist of items that could promote corrupt, anti-social, immoral, or hateful behaviour; medical practices like new kinds of healing; or different ways to play games
It has to be a tangible product and not an intangible idea or theory
It should actually be new. It should not have been offered to the public, at any place, prior to applying to the Patent Office. This indicates that you need to be ultra cautious not to disclose your product to any person, at least not without having them sign a confidentiality contract. However, you will be absolutely secure in telling the Patent Office employees and Patent Agents, as they all maintain utmost secrecy
It has to be inventive in nature, which implies that it should have some facets that would not be very apparent to any authority in that industry.
The basics of patent applications:
A patent is an official document given by a national government to an inventor (or business or corporation) who wishes to have sole rights over a product for a limited amount of time. Once the patent is granted, no one else has the right to make, sell, market, or profit from the invention.
In the United States, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows inventors and patent owners (including businesses and corporations) to protect their products and identification from others.
Information can be found at:
USA Patents Office
Australian Patents Office
Canadian Patents Office
UK Patents Office
Not just anything can be patented. In fact, obtaining a patent may prove difficult given the necessary paperwork, research and signatures needed. In order to obtain one, the invention has to be brand new. This new invention has to also be useful, original, and not easily created. In the United States, these products might be machines, compositions or methods, and manufactured products. Ideas cannot be patented, nor can products that have been "improved" or which have "changed" in size.
Plant patents, which protect non-pollinating plants, utility patents that protect regular, new inventions, and design patents, which protect the look or creativity of a tangible product, are examples of the types of patents that exist under the USPTO.
Patents give an inventor or business corporation the legal right to own their invention. This means the patent holder now has a legal monopoly and can do with it, what s/he desires for the life of the patent. U.S. patents are good for twenty years from the date the patent was requested. This can be extended, but is difficult to do. And, payments to the government must be made throughout the life of the patent .
An inventor may sell all their rights to the patent, or may opt to sell only a certain part of it. When the patent holder licenses his or her product to a manufacturer, for example, he or she receives royalties based on the sale of the product or invention.
The phrase "patent pending" has no legal hold, but simply means that an individual or corporation is in the act of patenting a certain product. If an item already has a patent on it, then the copying of this item is infringement. The patent holder can file a claim to sue the accused.
Acquiring a patent:
Your first step would be to request the Patent Office in your country to post you an application form, and also send you any other relevant information that you might need. They have some free leaflets, which give you good information on the process of applying for a patent and most documentation is available on their sites.
With your filled in application form, you have to send them their charges, and also give them a summarised description of your invention in about 150 words. You will need to enclose a design that includes the drawings of the product, a thorough description, and precise claims to your product.
Prior to posting your application, you have to ensure that your creation is indeed unique. For this, you will need to carry out an exploration for like products at any of the Patent libraries (you could pay a patent agent to do this for you). The libraries in the UK are located Leeds, London, Belfast, Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Sheffield. Your local Patent office will advise you of the locations in other countries.
Even though it is engrossing to carry out the search on your own, it takes quite a lot of time. You can rest assured that the employees at the library will honour the privacy of your search, and you could also end up saving considerable amount of time if you let the staff know exactly what you’re searching for.
Even though you can fill your own application form, it is usually a good idea to have a Patent agent handle it for you. It does lead to an expense, but since you are filing an important legal form, you absolutely need to be aware of the patent laws so as to ensure that you are safeguarding your product completely.
When you visit any Patent agent, they are likely to enquire whether you are absolutely certain that your invention holds commercial promise. But by now, you should have a good idea about that.
If you choose to file the application yourself, you should first get as much knowledge about the application procedure as you possibly can. You can get assistance from the Patent Office, as well as from various books on the subject. Begin by just giving the Patent Office the picture and the description of your invention. This way, you are at least protected for the next year, in which you can finish the remaining procedure.
Some Patent offices allow you to submit your idea for evaluation, they will compile a report for you as to the chances of it succeeding in a patent application ... for a fee of course ... but this can save you time and money in the long run.
However, if you do not send them anything else after that, your application will come to an end after the year, and you will forfeit your right to carry on. If you should choose to proceed, you will have to send them the remaining papers, and also pay a charge to the Patent Office to carry out their own investigation. A record of these searches is sent to you, and your application is also acknowledged.
The final step is called the ‘complete assessment’. You need to pay yet more charges for this, but barring any opposition, your patent will be given to you. In order to keep your patent alive, you need to keep paying some charges for duration of twenty years.
If your patent is denied as there is an existing patented product like yours, you simply carry on normally by getting in touch with the person who has the patent and try to acquire the sole rights to handle the goods. An interesting rule applies here - if any patent holder is not using the patent for his own good, and if he does not agree to pass the rights to someone else, you can have the Patent Office intervene and confer the licensing rights on you.
Protecting your idea without incurring all the costs:
You simply cannot protect your invention without paying any money, but you can lower your expenses considerably.
What you need to do is get to that phase in the process where you have sent the drawings and description and have achieved protection for the next year. After this, you locate someone who is ready to manufacture the goods, and try and convince them to shell out the rest of the expenses; in return for which you will grant them some (or all) the rights. For example, you could locate a producer in France and give them the French rights, for which they will help you to get the US rights.
While we're on the subject, I must tell you that there isn’t any law that requires you to get a patent for new products. However, acquiring a patent is the lone manner in which you can legally call the product yours, which means that only you have the legal rights to use it or sell it.
You can also protect the design of your invention (how it looks and not how it functions) by acquiring a trade mark for it. And as far as books, paintings, pictures, photographs, or music is concerned, you need to have a copyright to protect such works. But you do not have to do anything to get such copyrights. A copyright is implied as soon as these things are created, and extends for as long as 70 years after you die.
Locating someone to manufacture your new invention:
The apparent choice of people to manufacture your item is someone who manufactures goods that are like yours. But since it’s so apparent, why am I telling you this?
Well, because the trick lies in the meaning of ‘like products’. There are merits in studying the manufacturing procedures used to make your kinds of goods, as you may just come across an organisation which does not manufacture anything like it, but does have the ability required to do so.
For example, I once went to a manufacturing unit where they made little plastic rings using plastic extruding machines. Everywhere you could see there were small plastic rings popping out of the machines one after the other. And then I happened to notice that in one comer, one machine was not tossing out plastic rings but round disks to be used on vehicles! Seeing my obvious bewilderment, I was told that a plastic extrusion machine could churn out anything when fitted with different moulds. And as the manufacturing unit had some idle machines lying around, and since it was so simple to swap moulds, they simply agreed to help manufacture someone else's goods.
Thus, you too could locate such a unit which could help to produce your product and yet not be any threat to you as they don’t make any similar items themselves. Although they surely will not help you in finishing your patent application, they will provide you with an avenue to make your product and distribute it in the market, so as to discourage others from doing so and cutting you off.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
If there are no makers for your product, think of acquiring a patent for it.
Contact the Patent Office for application information, forms, procedure etc.
Ensure that your invention is 100% unique by searching at the Patent Library.
Get drawings of your invention and write a summarised description.
Send your initial application to The Patent Office.
In the next twelve months, choose to go ahead and complete your patent application, or simply record the design or trade-mark of your invention.
Back to Index
Finding Expert Professional Aid
There are quite a few important aspects of managing your Licensing business which you must handle on your own, but there are some which can only be done by hiring a professional. You require professional services as there could be facets of the job that you may simply not think of, but which would occur to a professional; and even for the simple reason that a professional increases your odds of being successful.
A choice instance of this is when dealing with the Revenue Services. They are more likely to be cooperative when trashing things out with your chartered accountant than dealing with you directly, as they are ware that your accountant works by professional standards and will not try to fleece them like tax payers sometimes attempt to do!
Another argument in favour of hiring professionals is that, even though you could do various things on your own, you are likely to waste a lot of time in gaining knowledge about the tasks and in ensuring that you’re doing it correct. So much so that the cost of your time could far exceed what you would pay the professional. You might think that you have a lot of time on your hands at the start, but you may get real occupied, or could chance upon a huge problem that warrants your undivided attention, and thus it is a good idea to hire a professional.
The key people you will be looking at are advocates and accountants, and amusingly enough, the basic standard for selecting good ones are completely opposing.
For the kind of work I told you about, your ideal choice is to look for a small corporation of accountants in your area. You only require a big firm of if you have a limited company.
What you have to find is some company where any of the top people will be handling your business and not delegate it to one of the minnows, who are typically allocated the work of handling smaller clients. In bigger organisations, each member of the staff has to enter time sheets, assigning each half hour shift to a particular task. Thus, it is quite common for inactive trainees to peruse a list of the company clients, pick someone randomly, and charge them for a few hours of work, which were actually spent at lunch or sleeping in.
And you don’t always get charged erroneously. The trainees may have actually spent time on your books, but are so inept to begin with that no real work gets done, only the charges being real. All such ‘work’ time is fed into the system, which finally translates into a huge bill for you, with you consequently working your rear off to get the charges lowered. That is why I suggest going to a smaller firm where the top people are aware of what exactly your job entails, and they bill you on the entire job (what they think is fair) rather than give you an hourly rate. You will require an accountant to organize your year-end books, draw up your tax returns or help you do it, and maybe even negotiate for you with the Revenue Services. Your accountant can also offer valuable tax advice, so that you know what to do in order to lower your tax liability.
This could entail timing your purchases right and other such tasks, so you will perhaps have to inculcate the habit of consulting your accountant prior to doing anything big. The perfect accountant is one who calls you a few days from the budget release and explains to you what you need to know and how the budget will affect you.
Asking your friends and business acquaintances for a personal reference is the best method to locate a good and economical accountant. If this does not work, go to the Chamber of Commerce.
When it comes to hiring solicitors and advocates, you should not go to a small firm in your area (like with the accountants) and definitely not a one-or-two person outfit, except if they are commercial law specialists. The problem is that the majority of the small firm solicitors do not specialise in commercial law, and even though they are usually trained in all kinds of legal tasks, such advocates typically spend most of their time handling household property stuff, wills, probate etc.
They are generally out of practice with business matters that you may need them to do. And since they will just try and spend some time brushing up on their business law acumen, you will probably get charged for such time spent poring over their law books. Another problem with small timers is the rule of the Law Society for solicitor rates. The rule mentions some suggested minimum hourly rates for different level employees, where the trainees and legal executives form the base, while the partners form the top brass. In a small organization, there are likely to be only partners, which essentially indicate that you will be charged highest rates for all the tasks. But in a bigger firm, where there is a separate commercial law unit, you could end up paying less.
Even though the charges for partners’ time will likely be more in big firms, almost all your jobs could be handled by the lower brass consisting of trainees and legal secretaries. These people are not as highly qualified as top lawyers, but they do tend to have more training in a specific aspect of the law, thus being much more knowledgeable in their area than a regular general lawyer would be.
You require the services of an advocate to: peruse or draw up the contracts with your manufacturers and distributors; to find and offer you counsel on commercial leases (for when your business becomes so big that you need a separate office!); and maybe even to assist you in debt collection if any of the distributors give you trouble (although thankfully I have never been through this).
The Chamber of Commerce can give you references or you can enquire at the library in your area for a listing of all the solicitors’ firms and their areas of specialisation.
Other professional services:
If you choose to go the whole route for acquiring a patent, you may need the services of a patent agent. You can get in touch with Chartered Institute of Patent Agents and request them to mail you their area-wise list of agents.
If you wish to import products for sale and require assistance with the legal documentation and with HM Customs and Excise, you need to find good Import Agents or Forwarding Agents. The Yellow Pages is a good place to begin and so is the international trade department in your bank.
How to select professionals:
Degree of competence being the same, it is best to select a professional who you are comfortable with and who is easy going. Keep in mind that their basic duty is to counsel you, and in such a manner which enables you to take good decisions as you have comprehended all the outcomes of a particular situation. You won't get this kind of clearness if the professional you choose is very intolerant or too egotistical or in a great hurry to elucidate matters for you.
A majority of the professionals are very decent and civil, but you may happen to meet someone who tells you that your only job is to give them the required papers and details and then leave them to their work, for which you simply pay them. If you do know precisely what you require and are okay with simply giving directions and butting out then this is OK. But, most of us in a new business, want someone who will take the time to make us understand and offer guidance, thus the advice to choose someone you’re comfortable with.
Another thing with professionals is that you should not hesitate to enquire what their charges are going to be, and should not refrain from saying they are a lot if you seem to think so. When the whole economy is bad, which it has been for some time now, lawyers too are quite ready to bargain about their rates.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Locate a capable commercial advocate.
Locate a capable accountant.
Build contacts at the Chamber of Commerce, with people who may be of help.
Back to Index
Financial Aspects and Money Matters
The bottom line for starting any business is to get rich (ok … let’s just say earn money), thus you have to take care of the economic aspects as well. The major ones are:
Your business account should be different from your personal one. If you do have various businesses, you should ideally have a different account for each. You should also have a separate business credit card, one which can be used globally, so as to facilitate payments for subscribing to those trade journals I told you about.
Banks levy different fees for having a business account than they do for personal ones. Banks typically charge you for every transaction, and thus it is a good idea to look at various banks so as to find the lowest charges. If you will be getting inward remittances from foreign nations, ask the banks what their charges are for that and if the charges are same for cheque payments and wire transfers, or they differ.
Majority of the banks offer free banking services for a 12 month period after opening a commercial account. You could try to get a longer free period, or perhaps get them to decrease their charges.
A bank is usually one such place where people typically believe that they must do exactly as told, but that is not necessarily so. In today’s times, the banking sector is highly competitive, with bank managers having minimum numbers of various types of bank accounts that they must open. That oft-used tale about taking your overdraft business someplace else is not just a tale anymore, but instead a good bargaining tool. Bear in mind that banks make their money through interests on overdraft facilities, and if you should choose to go to another bank, that will also create a gap in their minimum requirements.
If the situation ever arises that you have to arrange funds for your work, you should go with the overdraft facility rather than taking out a business loan, which is what your bank will persuade you to do. The basis for this choice is that even though interest rates may be lower on the loan, you will have to pay interest for the entire term of the loan. But with an overdraft facility, interest is calculated on a day-today basis, depending upon the balance in your account every day. Thus, you will end up paying interest on a smaller amount, the minute you have deposited your royalty payments in your account. All in all, you save a considerable amount of money on interest with an overdraft than with an official business loan.
Whatever route you decide to take, your bank will require you to generate a cash flow estimate to establish your capacity to repay them; and you can get their esteem for your professional business methods by giving them such cash flow estimates without their asking. Better yet, you should generate two estimates; one for an official business loan and the other for the overdraft facility, which will also go to show your rationale for going the overdraft way.
Your accountant can help you in producing the cash flow estimate, but it typically constitutes a monthly graph that shows your probable earnings and expenses, and the variation in the balance amounts.
The last thing to know about banks is that you just cannot rely on them to always get everything right. You should maintain that they post you bank statements every month, which contain an itemised description of any charges, and should then tally these with your cheque book and deposit slips. If you come across any unusual items, write to the bank for a clarification, and then study your following month’s statement to ensure that the entries have been corrected.
Book Keeping and Accountancy
Accounts are definitely one aspect of your work where it is just too easy to overspend. Most people tend to believe that keeping accounts is a very tough job, and that it has to be carried out in a particular manner so as to keep the Revenue Services happy. This is why people hire Chartered Accountants, who create an accounts system for their business and then periodically send a person to them to enter the books, do the Profit and Loss accounts, and create the balance sheets at year ends.
However, you do not actually require a CA to handle all this work. Although you are required to create the year-end accounts, and also file your tax returns, you certainly do not require a CA for this, except in the case of a limited company. If you do not work under a limited company, you can simply approach someone with slightly lower credentials for handling the year-end accounts, and can hire a part time book-keeper to help with the other stuff if you don’t have the time to handle it on your own.
Seriously, it’s not that tough. You won’t really be doing any complex stuff like keeping a sales book with numerous accounts, handling returned merchandise, crediting it etc. Your earnings will generally comprise some lump sum payments and a cycle of royalty cheques every three months.
Your expenditure is also not going to be a lot - perhaps some phone bills, stationery costs, stamps and postage, subscriptions for publications, fuel etc. You should never throw away the receipts for any payments and should always write down expenses which do not carry a receipt. Your accountant will tell you exactly what you can deem as a business cost, but it essentially encompasses all the expenses that are incurred in running your daily affairs.
For those who have a PC, various accounting software is available to them. Else, you can simply purchase a regular lined notebook and keep your accounts by hand. You just have to make a note of all your earnings on one page and every expense on a separate page. You should write a small note with every amount so that you know what it is about, and the rest will be handled by your accountant when the financial year ends.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
If you apply for VAT, your accounting tasks will increase a little. The VAT figures will have to be noted separately alongside your earnings and expenses, which then have to be summed up when preparing the VAT returns every three months.
An important thing that needs to be done is to give your distributors the correct VAT invoices. This is how I usually go about doing this - my distributor gives me a record of the sales achieved and royalties accrued. I then post him the VAT invoice mentioning ‘Royalties from XXX date to XXX date’, after which they post me my cheque.
Not once have I thought it necessary to examine their accounts. Trust does play a role here, but I can even double check to see that the sales details from the distributor correspond with the sales details provided by the manufacturer.
You might not need to apply for VAT. If your total earnings (entire income, not just profit) are more than the minimum amount as declared in the annual budget, you are applicable for VAT. However, if your total earnings are less than such amounts, you are not required to apply, but do have the option if you so desire. If you spend a lot of money on things that include VAT, you can claim the VAT back by registering. But only you will be able to judge if the VAT claim is worth pursuing, in light of the added accounting work which will surely need to be done.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Look around for a bank that offers you the best deal. It is best to choose an overdraft facility over formal loans.
Manage your day-to-day book keeping with someone helping you out for the year end accounts.
Determine whether it is worth your while to apply for VAT.
Back to Index
A major error that people usually make when beginning a new business is to spend great amounts of money in forming a limited company.
A limited company has its pros as well as its cons, but there is no rule which states that you should have only a limited company. This is simply one of three choices available to you; the remaining two being Sole Trader and a Partnership.
You are not required to do anything to form a sole trader. It’s just you, alone, operating as a sole trader. No legal formalities to begin your business, no one that you are answerable to (other than the Revenue Services and tax-man), and none to take a part of your profit away. If you are not already employed by another person who is footing the cost of your National Insurance stamp, you will need to announce yourself as being self-employed and purchase the stamp yourself.
Although you can do business with your personal name, it is advisable to come up with a proper business name, which indicates what exactly it is that you do. I call one company of mine ‘Baker-S-Treat’ (a confectionery business), for which I have a logo of a Sherlock Holmes chef. Cute, isn’t it??? And it is effective too. You can name your company ‘John Doe Inventions’, or perhaps ‘John Doe Unusual Items’, or simply ‘Unusual Items’. You just need to ensure that you don’t pick a name which is currently being used by a bigger organisation. If you do, the other company is sure not to appreciate it and may even start legal proceedings to stop you from utilising their name. Under the law, this is termed as ‘passing off’ because it is seen as though you are attempting to pass off your business as the other bigger business.
Starting off as a sole trader is the easiest, quickest, and most cost effective status for a new business. If you want, you could alter your business status anytime you wanted; just make sure you consult your accountant prior to doing anything of the sort.
As a sole trader, you are not required to register your accounts in any public place, thus your financial status can be kept under wraps (other than giving a record to the Revenue Services, of course.)
Although you are not required to do anything official to start business as a partnership, it is best to do so as a precaution. In the eyes of the law, a partnership comprises two or more people who are ‘trading in common’. Thus, if you carry on your business with another person, or more than just one person, and all of you get earnings or profits from the trading, you are working as a partnership.
The benefits of a partnership are that you have someone to share the workload with and can thus take some time off when you need it, without stressing about work while you’re gone. And if your spouse was to be a partner too, there could be some tax benefits as well.
A partnership has two main drawbacks. In a partnership, you have what is termed ‘joint and several liability’, which essentially indicates that every partner in the business is individually responsible for clearing any debts that the partnership may have. What this means is that even if you have only a 50% stake in the partnership, you are still liable to pay off 100% of any debts, in case the person holding the other 50% is unable to contribute anything. And to make the situation even grimmer, you may even have liability that extends to the personal (non-partnership) debts of your partner.
However, most of this can be circumvented by having an official partnership deed drawn up by your advocate. The partnership deed typically includes:
Entire names and addresses of each and every partner.
The complete official name of the partnership and its registered address; as well as the name under which you are doing business (if this differs from the first)
The exact date on which the partnership was created.
Precise duties of all partners. For instance, someone is involved in the sales process, another handles the administrative work etc.
Who is responsible for taking decisions? Here you can mention that a particular partner is the managing partner and will take all decisions; or that every partner has the liberty to make the required choices.
Who has the financial control? Here you need to state who will be the signing authority for the cheques. Ideally you should have all the partners as signatories but if you have many partners you can choose to designate this control to one or a few.
The profit sharing ratio - which can be equal or whatever the partners decide.
What will become of any partner’s share in the business in the event of their death or other incapacitation? If this clause is not included, you may just come across a situation where one of your partners is an estate executor!
The signatures of each and every partner along with the date of signing. This is usually done in the presence of some witnesses.
It is quite common to have a ‘passive partner’ or a ‘sleeping partner’. Such a partner gives some money for the partnership, in return for which he gets some share in the profits, but the partner is not involved in the daily managing of the partnership.
Another drawback with a partnership is that of human nature. In the business world, stories abound about how partnerships can go bust. Partners purchase stuff using the money from the business, but pocket the sale proceeds instead of putting it back into the business. Sometimes partners also Utilize partnership money to buy things that are needed for their private work. This is defended with the excuse, “But, half the money is mine as it is”. There are also times when a partner will just relax and wait for his share of the profits, without doing any work and letting the other partners slog their behinds. The lesson to be learnt from all this is that you should get into a partnership only with such a person who you can trust completely and thoroughly, who will do his share of the work, and who will not rob you blind.
A Limited Company
The major benefit with a limited company is that you (the directors) will not be held individually liable for the outstanding amounts of the company in case the company goes bust, so long as bank loans are not part of the debts. Even though the thinking goes that acquiring funds is easier as a limited company, this is false as far as banks go. Banks are not that gullible, and even if they give a loan or agree to an overdraft facility for a limited company, they will require it to be secured with a personal guarantee from the directors, which comes right back at you.
However, conducting business with the status of a limited company does communicate a degree of propriety.
The drawbacks with a limited company are: having to register your accounts and miscellaneous company data each year, and also the need to get your books formally audited. Your company letterhead also needs to carry some legal information. Doing all this entails a considerable expense, and if you do not follow the rules, there can be fines to be paid as well.
If you choose to go the limited company route, consult with your accountant about the best possible timing to do so. However, you should not ask your accountant or your advocate to actually do all that is required to form the limited company. You will be charged on a per hour basis, which will ultimately end up costing you a pretty package; when all you have to do is purchase a ready-made company through any professional registration agents. You will literally be purchasing your company off-the-rack. After that, you simply carry out the process of altering the directors’ and shareholders’ names and addresses, and also the company name if you so desire. Your ready made company pack will contain all the relevant forms.
However, there are a few rules regarding the names. For instance, you cannot make use of the word ‘Royal’ in the company name, and you cannot Utilize any name that is currently being used. The best way to go would be to keep a name that combines the personal name of a director (could be you), your area of business, and some sign of what your business is about. This would go something like this, ‘John Doe Inventions of Worcestershire Limited’. Or, if you wanted, you can simply use the name that was included in the pack and just add to it, ‘doing business as John Doe Inventions’.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Think before you choose to form a Limited Company.
Only form a Partnership if you are completely sure that your partners are trustworthy.
Settle on a trading status for your business only after consulting your accountant.
Back to Index
Fundamental Management and Documentation Keeping
The royalty business does not involve large amounts of paperwork and documentation, but it does entail some. And whatever papers you generate, it is important to do it in a systematic manner and also store the resulting papers properly. Your actual administration will obviously depend on you, but here are some useful suggestions from my end.
You will not require a lot of supplies at the start. In fact, used cardboard cartons can easily be used in place of a costlier filing cabinet. However, some things that you will need to get are:
Something for typing. This can be an old typewriter or even your personal computer. If you cannot have one at all times, you should at least have access to one, as it is important that all written correspondence be typed
A phone line
Fax device or access to one
Printer or access to one
Company letterhead and visiting cards
A large notebook in place of a costly personal planner, so as to keep an account of telephone calls and other miscellaneous things.
Once your business has picked up a little, you can invest some money to buy all this equipment rather than paying someone to Utilize theirs. When you can, you should look to purchase a computer, which has word-processing software, cash flow generating, some accounting software, and a planner. The benefits with such computerised systems is that they can be used to plan and record things for years later, so that you can be reminded when any important agreements and contracts are coming up for renewal. And if you purchase a computer that has a modem, you will also be able to get onto the Wonderful World of the Internet. Although I do find this to be critical to my business, it is definitely not vital for everyone’s.
Another piece of equipment that you should consider buying is a fireproof vault for your important documents and contracts. At the start of your business, you can request your bank to safeguard these for you, but you will have to pay a considerable fee.
Important Papers and Books
At the minimum, you should do the following:
Have some basic books or software of accounts for organising your finances.
Make lists of any good ideas that occur to you and keep the lists safe.
Make lists of prospective clients and any other useful people you come in contact with.
Make copies of all written correspondence and keep such copies.
Maintain a record of your phone calls in a large book.
Duration for which documents should be saved:
Accounting papers: things such as payment receipts, invoices, bank slips, bank statements, credit card notifications etc should not be thrown away for at least seven years. (Because the Revenue Services can check your accounts from so far back). Any letters from or to the Revenue Services and filed returns should preferably be kept forever.
All the original contracts with your manufacturers and distributors should be kept for a minimum of seven years even after the business arrangement has been terminated. If any problem arises, legal recourse is available only for seven years, which is why you should keep such contracts for that time. All Diaries and books should also be kept for a minimum of seven years even after the business arrangement has been terminated with all parties.
Letters, faxes, and other correspondence papers are generally kept for an indefinite period, but to be practical, you should keep the correspondence for at least the last seven years on hand. It is best to save copies of hostile correspondence forever. If your correspondence papers become too many, you can have them transferred to micro film.
Catalogues, manufacturer’s price sheets, brochures, samples, trade journals etc should be kept for as long as you deem necessary.
Here’s a summary of your plan of action:
Print some nice letterheads and visiting cards.
Organise a convenient and uncomplicated filing arrangement.
Purchase a vault or keep your contracts at the bank vault.
Inculcate the routine of taking down notes of telephone conversations.
Save important documents and papers for at least seven years.
Back to Index
Dictionary of Terms
Contracts: These are the official papers to safeguard your interests. Other names for contracts include agreements, deeds, and licences.
Transferring (assigning): The process of officially giving your rights to someone else.
Commercial Department or Attache: The unit in a nation’s embassy which is in charge of supporting trade between their nation and the UK.
Electronic mail: Written messages sent via computers.
Exclusive (sole) right: Having the right for a particular thing which no one else has.
Expenses: Costs incurred in your daily business activities.
Income (Earnings): Whatever money enters your business resulting from your business dealings.
Manufacturer (Supplier, Principal): The producer of the goods you are interested in.
Patent: Having the legal right to use or sell a particular item, which no one else has for that same item.
Profit: Whatever money remains after deducting all your expenses from your earnings.
Registered address: The place where the official headquarters of a Limited Company are located.
Reservations: This is a lawful term, which indicates everything that anybody ‘reserves the right’ to do.
Royalty: The money that you are given for passing your rights.
Tax assessment: The decision of the Revenue Service about how much tax you owe them. An estimated assessment refers to an educated ‘guess’ about the tax due in case you have not filed a tax return.
Trade Journal: a magazine or publication intended for those doing a certain kind of business.
Trading address: The location that you work out off.
Turnover: All the money that comes into your business in any one year.
Feasible (Viable): Some business idea that has promise and will return a profit.
Back to Index
System Ultra K Month #4
How it All Began for Me
Contracts With Manufacturers
Locating Your Clients
Closing The Negotiations
The Final Two Contracts
What To Do if There is No Manufacturer
Finding Expert Professional Aid
Financial Aspects and Money Matters
Fundamental Management and Documentation Keeping
Dictionary of Terms
Victories often occur after you see no way to succeed but refuse to give up anyway.
Here are the contracts that I use. These can be altered for your own use by changing the terms and words where appropiate. Please do have your lawyer take a look at these contracts prior to using them.
The contracts here are meant to only be samples, and under no circumstances will the writers or the printers be held liable for any mistakes in the contracts. The writers will not cover any claims, which may arise from utilising these contracts.
Deed of Assignment
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
(This entry is currently being edited)
Without a doubt, the single greatest asset I have in my business is the autoresponder software I use. Without it I would simply not have achieved a fraction of what I have built.
You absolutely will not grow a online business without 'The List'.
And to build 'The List' you will need software ... and I'm going to give you access to a revolutionary autoresponder script I've had commissioned especially for you. BZ9.com
As I keep saying, System Ultra K is no ordinary course. I'm drawing a blueprint to online success AND supplying the tools to complete the structure.
So far I have covered the things you need to get started if you're a beginner and added in a load of stuff for the more advanced members.
However, you should all now understand that to get anywhere on the net you'll need to be able to build a website of your own. You will either be selling your own product or promoting your affiliate products.
Whatever business model you choose you'll need to be collecting names and contact details of visitors and buyers in order to 'follow up' with other offers and promotions.
I used to use pop ups and pop unders on my websites to achieve this but thanks to abuse (again!) by The World of Scum, blockers have now put a stop to that. A pop up/under would be seen when entering or leaving a site and a new browser would open with an advertising message.
Pop ups were annoying to some people but by heck they worked. You may still see them if you turn your blocker off. The real problems started to occur when idiots began putting pop up code in the pop up, so every time you left a site or closed a browser down another one would open, and eventually they'd take you to the inevitable porn site.
It got worse when they then started putting redirect code into the pop ups so multiple adverts would appear automatically and you couldn't stop them. These people are so moronic that they couldn't see that getting someone locked into and 'advertising loop' and crashing their computers would just piss potential customers off!
We have now made pop ups and drop in's
friendly again and so simple to use
Check out my new sytem at BZ9.com
Drop in code is a nice, simple answer and is unblockable at present. The beauty of it is that it drops the advertising message into the site just once and if people don't want to see it they simply close the window. Cookies (tracking code) ensure that the drop in is not shown again during a visit to a website.
I collect literally hundreds of names a day using drop ins and if you're marketing anything via a website (which you should be by now!) YOU NEED TO BE COLLECTING NAMES... and more importantly following up.
You'll see that the drop in asks you to sign up - there is a form to fill in. When you submit your details the autoresponder software will enter the information into a database and send out a personalized thank you e-mail.
The autoresponder can then AUTOMATICALLY send out 'follow up' emails at regular intervals. The beauty is that because these are personalized emails the customer thinks they are getting a very fast response from a real person. The system only has to be set up one time and then simply let it run on autopilot. You'll be collecting names day and night from the visiting traffic. You are also able to e-mail the entire database with occasional offers.
The software can even be set up to send out scheduled follow ups. The guy who runs my advertising now has done so well this year that he's decided to go on holiday to Australia for a month ... disaster you might think!
Surely this means that I'm going to have to organise it all whilst he's away sunning himself (you just can't get the staff these days eh!). Not at all. You see, before he left, he loaded up the advertising for the whole month and simply scheduled it to go out at particular intervals throughout the month. Amazing!
You don't even have to be in the office to run an Internet business, talk about personal freedom - what other business offers this opportunity? No staff if you choose and the computers run the whole operation, you just check your account occasionally to ensure it's filling up nicely!
Autoresponders are key to running this. Without them you'd have to sit and manually reply to every sale, you'd have to sit and send out e-mails to people on your list - but life would be a little easier as you wouldn't have much of a list because you'd have no software collecting the names!
In tests I have found that it can take up to seven exposures to your product to convert a visitor into a buyer and by simply following up I can increase sales of that particular product by up to 100% - much after that and they really aren't going to be persuaded to buy so I change the promotion and message.
If the autoresponder is following up a visitor that didn't buy I will send out a series of personalized messages, with something of interest, a course or newsletter, and add in special offers etc designed to turn the visitor into a friend and that friend into a buyer.
Once I've achieved the goal of making a sale I then use the autoresponder to 'Up sell'. The lifetime value of a customer is many, many more times that of the initial purchase providing you supply good customer support and excellent product.
Many marketers are totally blinkered - they make the sale and think that's it, they move on to find another customer.
It is many times harder to convert a visitor into a buyer than to look after an existing client and upsell.
You can either offer products of your own or those you are affiliated with. I mix in both as I only have a limited number of my own products and to make ongoing profits I search out excellent merchandise with generous affiliate pay outs, THAT ARE TARGETED TOWARDS THE TYPE OF CLIENTS I HAVE.
One of my favorite sources for affiliate merchandise is Clickbank. You'll find great products with good pay outs. We even contact the authors of the most popular products in an attempt to get a joint venture.
Now Clickbank have a system of sorting out the top selling books, it's called the gravity. You can't really search the database other than by going through each page manually and looking through each website so most marketers rely on the gravity reading.
In essence, the higher the gravity the higher the product will rise up the pages of Clickbank products so that the top selling items are on the first page. However, there is a major flaw in the system.
There are many great products further down the rankings but her's a classic catch 22. The authors may have a great product but they aren't able to market, they have no list - fewer sales mean a lower gravity. If you go through the products you may find an inferior product at the top with a high gravity but this is because the author has access to good marketing.
They promote the products through Clickbank and they sell well and because they sell, they get a higher gravity. A higher gravity means that more of Clickbank's affiliates will promote it and on it goes.
I have several products at the top of sections in Clickbank and I use exactly the system described above to get there. We launch a new product through Clickbank, get lots of sales, it rises up their rankings and more sales are made because the affiliates are promoting them.
And we get great joint venture deals with great products from Clickbank because we have something to offer the authors - exposure - and we make good money because the products are great that we promote.
All this has been made possible because I've built lists using the autoresponder.
Now at this point I often get the: "oh yes, it's alright for you, you've got the lists!"
I regularly read Jim Daniels newsletter and it appears I'm not alone here in being dismissed because I have big lists! He's recommended TrafficSwarm as a vehicle to attaining visitors to a website - He's absolutely right in his recommendations. I use TrafficSwarm all the time, in fact I'm one of their biggest clients and we have done several joint ventures with them in the past.
"A Peek into my Email"
By Jim Daniels
From: Kathy G.
Subject: Come on Jim, you can't be serious.
Jim, I saw your recommendation for TrafficSwarm and I think it is a crock. Come on, you know that will not work for everyone. The only reason it works for you is because you have such a large subscriber base. Why don't you come clean and tell people that. It's all about the list online. All you gurus have big opt-in lists and that's why you make a lot of money. But for the average Jane like me, things like this are a waste of time.
Thanks for your feedback. You've brought up a great point! An opt-in list IS a great way to grow business online. And that's exactly why I've worked hard to grow one - because it is a proven business strategy. In fact, did you ever stop to think that all the "gurus" you refer to are gurus BECAUSE they took time to grow a solid opt-in list?
As to TrafficSwarm you are right -- it will not work for everyone. In fact, in my six years online I have not found a single strategy, opportunity or bit of advice that works for everyone. But I can say this, TrafficSwarm has worked for me and I've heard from many others who are having success with it as well. It's a no-cost way to get traffic and that's what many of my readers are searching for. If I were to give a disclaimer that says this probably will not work for you, do you think anyone would try it? Doubtful.
In closing, instead of 'labeling' yourself as an "average Jane", why not start growing a list of your own. Heck, I was an "average Jim" a few years back and now you're calling ME a guru. I'm not trying to be a wise guy here Jane, but I want you to see that anyone, including you, CAN grow an opt-in list of your own. But you have to concentrate your efforts on actually doing it rather than complaining about it not happening. There are proven ways to grow a solid opt-in list [see next message] and if you take a little time to learn a strategy, you'll be surprised how many doors it opens.
To your online profits,
If you're relatively new to the net you've most probably already encountered autoresponders without being aware of it. You’ve probably bought something ... how many times have you received a follow-up e-mail with an offer to purchase something else?
Maybe the follow up wasn't expected and if not well written you may have considered it spam. The fact is that follow up offers are golden nuggets for any business. They continue to
produce bundles of profits for months and even years after the initial purchase.
Any business not offering up sells through follow ups is not a smart business!
So what exactly is an 'Upsell?'
Let’s look at an example:
In our FreeMoneyLoophole site (notice the 'drop in' advert which we'll go into in a minute) we sell an amazing book on 'how to make money from arbitrage' - you'll need to read it to understand! - it outlines everything you need to know about the subject of making FREE Money.
But, we also offer a service whereby one of our staff spends all day seeking out quality 'Arbs' and emails them out to subscribers. He also sends them out through SMS messaging to mobiles (another module). This is the 'upsell' we are looking for.
We make good money from the book but far more from the service and we use the autoresponder to handle the upsell to the 'Arb Alert Service'
So, you must be asking, "why not just sell the service from the beginning?"
We do, but not everyone will take me up on the offer. They want to spend time reading the materials. Then, they'll go and dig out a few 'Guaranteed FREE Money Arbs' which, as with all things worthwhile, require a modicum of effort to generate.
Just as they begin the searching and are thinking of ways to make the job of finding 'Arbs' easier, the follow ups are delivered offering to do the job for them - an offer few refuse! The service is cheap and well covered by the profits the client makes form the higher quality Arbs, so the client saves time and makes money ... So do we!
By offering products or services AFTER the initial sale gives you a way of pre-qualifying your customers. Once they’ve made that initial purchase, you know that customer is a BUYER; someone who is interested in spending money on your niche, so you'd be stark, staring mad not to offer more products THEY OBVIOUSLY WANT!'
What works best really depends on the product and the niche.
I have found that some of the BEST up sells are services that are related to the product such as FreeMoneyLoophole.com Alerts, then there's consulting services, coaching services, or training services.
These are the perfect up sells if you promote a service or product that has 'added value' to the initial purchase. If you can offer to consult, coach, or train someone about the information product or software they just bought, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Think From Your Customer's Viewpoint!
What can you supply that will enhance their buying experience?
Try creating an INCENTIVE for people to buy through your affiliate ID on the affiliate web site you've built. In your follow ups offer an irresistible free product or service for those who buy from your link.
Often you don't get access to your buyers details as an affiliate so by offering a free bonus if they supply their receipt will ensure you build your own list of buyers.
This strategy will increase your CONVERSION rate exponentially as more people will buy other products in your portfolio - and all because you offered a free bonus. By building a list this way you’ll be in the perfect position to follow up with them – and eventually upsell them.
As I just said, often the problem with promoting affiliate links is that you never get to see the buyer's information so this is just one of the reasons you need an affiliate site that collects details and builds The list'. Collect the names and through your autoresponder systems offer the free gift or bonus. Make sure it’s something cool, unique, fun, or irresistible.
The Most Effective Follow Up Techniques
Rule #1 Don’t try to sell them!
“So if I'm not selling them, how the hell am I going to up sell?”
Here's how - Contact them to give them something for free be it the newsletter, a course, or a simple bonus.
If you want to see how I do it just go to the portfolio and visit each site, pop in your details and you'll receive personalized follow ups. It'll give you a great idea as to the scope and versatility of how to get the most from autoresponders. The software I use is so powerful it controls literally millions of emails and follow ups across all the sites from one simple control panel.
How to follow up with a free bonus ...
Generally, I try to make these e-mail contacts short – five lines should do it.
I simply ask them to download a free report that's waiting for them to enjoy.
I set a link on the 'landing page' (the site they land on after clicking your link in the email) to download the free report but also include another article or promotion to a paid for product, ensuring there's no hard sales pitch!
This is a nice way to get sales from the free product but the point of the free products is to generate yet more sales.
When offering a free report or bonus I won't send sales letters or ads. I will send them links to VALUABLE free goods. And remember, if you can't sell it you can't give it away - so ensure your freebie is of inherent value. The giveaway can be anything from a buyer’s guide, user’s guide, manual, case study, white paper, recipes, workout plan, lesson plan, craft project, word puzzle, coloring pages, to an audio interview.
The freebies are your lead into a sale and further down the line, the upsell and ongoing income.
The Viral Freebie
Your freebie is specifically designed to somehow promote a service or product of yours. THAT’S where you do the selling. And even then, you keep it under control.
If you take a look at the course I give away at Government Auctions you'll see that it's set up in the autoresponder to go out weekly after the initial sign up. The course is really comprehensive and has 'actual, inerrant' value, but I also try to push the Government Auctions sites and products, subtly within the course.
I try to let the free products do the selling and my attitude is that if you're freebie is an excellent product in itself then psychologically you are saying, "look, if the freebie is this good just imagine how much better the paid stuff is!"
This free course gets people buying, once they've bought I collect their names in a different part of the autoresponder, a new buyer's list. Here, set to go at regular intervals, are a series of up sell e-mails. I may follow up for twelve months with a mixture of more freebies and sales adverts.
It is this relentless list building and tailoring the follow ups to suit the target audience that ensures my business keeps building. And it's all handled by one beautifully simple admin area.
Now here's some 24 carat advice...
Treat those lists as if they were pure gold dust!
Here's another great example from Jim Daniels on how not to build lists, and illustrates just how valuable a good one is and the consequences of trying to circumnavigate the solid business strategies I'm giving you!
There are always short cuts, I see them every day, but rarely take them. Most short cuts are simply fast roads right back to the beginning! Take them and you'll generally end back at square #1. I told you right at the beginning of this journey that my business is built on sound business practice, systems and methods that have their routes firmly embedded in the real world.
Internet tricks and games simply do not work in the long term - you are far more sensible if you spend your valuable time and resources simply 'doing the job properly'.
Why was my strategy such a mistake?
Jim, I'm new to Internet marketing and recently I bought an email harvesting program. I was told I could use it to collect email addresses from the web, and since the program only grabbed targeted addresses, I could email them without problems with my ISP. Three days after I started using it I was shut off without notice by my ISP AND web host. I scrambled to get new services and then lost them a few days later because of some overflow complaints from the previous mailing.
From all that, I got zero sales and many nasty responses. Worse yet, the company I bought the program from isn't writing back when I'm asking for answers. So, now that I've lost all that time and money, with nothing to show for it, I need ideas. Can you help me understand what happened and where to go from here?
Ouch. That's a hard lesson learned, but a valuable one. I too learned that lesson within my first few months online. Hopefully your letter will help many more avoid this mistake. In fact, you're lucky it didn't cost you more. Many others have lost far more using that web marketing strategy.
The simple fact is, when marketing online, your best bet is to send email ONLY to folks who ask for it. While that may sound like a slow road to success, it is one that is proven.
Here's how you can do that...
Write down all you know about your niche. Think of all the ways you can help people with your expertise. Then assemble the information into a small ebook or email course. Offer it for free at your website in exchange for a visitors email. Make sure you tell them you will never sell or rent their address to any third party, and that you will send only messages that will be beneficial to them.
That is how you grow your own opt-in list. And as long as you handle the list properly and do not abuse it, it will continue to grow. And it will become a source of income for you before you know it. You'll be able to offer related products and services to your list members through joint ventures and perhaps even sell some advertising. The key once again, is to treat the list members as you would want to be treated. Offer only valuable, occasional information that informs and enlightens. Sure, some folks will drop off the list no matter what, but if you do it right, the list will grow in the right direction.
Wise words again, but Jim forgot to tell the poor guy that the lists are handled through autoresponders - collect the details and treasure the resource you build.
And remember this when you begin to market to your lists:
People don't like receiving advertising messages - period!
BUT, they will put up with them if they are relevant, targeted and above all occasional. We e-mail our lists twice a week only. This way they stay responsive and people respect us for that.
We could advertise more often and initially we would see a much higher, weekly return but this would soon tail off as people take us off their white lists (accepted email sources) or send us to the junk bin.
I know marketers with huge lists who "hit them hard". I've done contra mailings with people whose lists number literally in the millions of names and quite frankly, the response is not what I'm used to.
It took me a while to understand why these huge databases were so lackluster in their take up. I discovered the answer when I put my name into their systems ... I was bombarded day after day, with a barrage of unrelated, hard sell advertising. I realised that most of the products were not owned by the list owners and they generally were not advertising their own affiliate links.
I worked out their business model and what I found perplexed me. They had placed, or I should say 'misplaced', far too much importance on the revenue made from selling advertising space.
People would pay reasonable sums to get their message out to a large opt-in audience. (Opt in means the client has given their permission to the list owner to mail them, often without their knowledge! They forgot to tick a box or something when making a purchase. But Opt in it the important thing to remember and when you're building your lists, try to make it as clear as possible that they going to receive an occasional contact from you - there's no point in building a large list of people who have no desire to hear from you).
My advice to you once you've built a list is this: Do not sell untargeted or inappropriate advertising or allow others to use your lists to get their message out.
You may be tempted to sell advertising space but I RARELY DO THIS.
If you look across the portfolio of sites you will see advertising BUT it is either for a product that I own or am affiliated with. It's simply not worth my while selling advertising for other people's product. And the plain fact is that it probably wouldn't be economically viable for an advertiser to buy a slot in my mailing schedule anyway! Unless they had a hot product.
I'll explain. I had a guy recently, no name, who I kept in touch with. He approached me with a request to mail my lists with his free newsletter and asked for a price. Knowing that the price would blow his brains I asked him what he could do for me. Did he have a list for a contra-mailing?
He didn't and pushed for a price so I told him $10,000 to mail out to 500,000 one time ... he was shocked!
But why would I do it for anything less when I make, on average, depending on the product, more than that in a mailing ... would you? (He went off in a sulk and I've never heard from him since - he only kept in touch for my contacts!)
And that's the point. You may think you're onto a winner charging $250 a slot to advertise to your lists, if and when you have them, but with the right product and targeting you'll make far more advertising your own stuff.
And I reckon that one strategy alone is worth $1000s to you.
It was the revenue from 'advertising' business model that I would say was a major contributor to the dot com crash around the turn of the century!
We all know what has happened since March 2000. However, many of us do not know why it has happened. You ask ten people and you may get ten different versions. But they are likely all versions of the same story. Essentially, there were four reasons that have caused the overwhelming majority of Internet companies to fall flat on their face:
1. Their business plans. While often "inspiring" or "revolutionary", they were never profitable.
2. They spent other people's money unchecked in an effort to gain market share as soon as possible.
3. They had inexperienced teams whose only goal was the fastest possible growth of their company, not long term success.
4. Their company may have made it in the end, but because of the failure of so many others their investor capital was pulled.
Now don't get me wrong here I'm not saying there isn't money to be had in selling advertising, there's bucket loads, but the model has to be designed to make the most from it.
In the late 1990s large companies with even larger advertising budgets pumped even larger sums into dot com companies on a promise of boundless revenues from selling advertising space on busy sites/portals ... and the rest is history!
I do sell advertising in newsletters and in mail shots but the revenue is miniscule in comparison to what I pull in from my own stuff.
Think about this also: The advertiser, if he's got any sense, will choose to advertise with you because your target audience is closely matched to their product ... so why would you want to put a ink to their site and send your customers away to a competitor for a poxy advertising payment? Why would you stop people from buying your product?
And an even more damaging effect in the long term from the 'selling advertising space model' is you'll also miss out on all the 'back end' and up sell sales!
Selling advertising space can work in some business models for some people but I can't think of one occasion where I'd substitute and advertising slot for and advertiser when I could be promoting my own products.
Every site I build, every business model I set up has one single objective. Advertising my products. it could be by building a list by creating a popular free site and following up, it could be by publishing a popular new system and making the upsell but rest assured, one eye is always firmly focused on that one objective.
If you were to pitch me with a great idea, it could be the next eBay, my first question to you would be: "how does it make money?"
Without revenue from advertising and other areas even the great Google would simply be a great white elephant. Very busy but totally non-profitable. Imagine the extra revenue Google could enjoy if they came up with a valid reason to collect visitor's names and follow up!
So, build your lists using autoresponder software and look after them as if they were your first born child!
Make your products useful and valuable and you'll not only attract more visitors to your site, you'll sell more too!
Get the initial contact by creating the 'hook'. A targeted freebie; digital freebies accomplish two things:
1. Your customers will appreciate the effort you've put in and this builds trust in your paid for services.
2. The report becomes viral. Make sure you explain that it can be given away so long as it remains intact in its entirety.
Over time, you’ll see a build up in sales and traffic as more and more people spread your report around.
The advantages are obvious, aren’t they?
1. Spam complaints are virtually eliminated. People rarely complain when all you’re doing is sending them a link for something free.
2. People begin to trust you - visitors become friends, friends become buyers, buyers buy more over time.
3. The more viral reports you get out there, the more links to your sites and ultimately customers.
The best way to follow up.
Whenever you make contact with a customer, even in the thank you e-mails, put in a plug for another free product or download. If you look at the marketing pages for any of the affiliate programmes I run you'll see that I give you many places to put your links - even in your e-mail signature!
Get the idea?
Everything digital can be branded. Everything.
If you’re giving away a software utility, make sure you can get it branded with your URL, a clever tag line, and a link to a page on your site where you give away other free stuff.
If you’re giving away an audio interview, make sure your URL gets mentioned periodically. Or record it as a “radio show,” with brief commercials that remind them that “this program is brought to you by...”
If you’re giving away words puzzle, mazes, coloring pages, and other fun stuff, make sure every page contains your URL and a tag line or offer. One answer in the puzzle can be your URL!
If you’re giving away a screen saver, use a program that will include a clickable URL on every image.
What if you can’t get any ideas for reports?
Think about the things people pass around, copy, and share in the offline world. What’s viral OFF the web? Then try to come up with a digital equivalent. What could you use in your everyday life that would make a certain chore easier?
A neat trick is to actually click on the spam you receive - what??? Yes, take a look at what the spammers are selling. Often it's a good product, it has to be for them to risk the spam!
Spammers source great product but they are simply crap at marketing and part of the lazy, bone idle, World of Scum. Why don't they just put in a little more effort and do it properly? They'd be far richer and could sleep at night!
Take a look at their spam and try to source something of your own in a similar niche - Viagra is one of the hottest selling products of recent times!
Think about it - the Internet is a perfect selling arena - for some bizarre reason impotent men have a problem walking into the chemists and asking the sexy little sales assistant for a pill to 'get it up!'
It may not be viable to give the actual product or a sample away as your freebie but you sure as hell can get a report or an audio giveaway knocked up that leads into a sale.
Or bundle a free sample in with the paid product.
Bundling is a fantastic way to move more product and make bigger profits. Instead of selling one widget and making $10, bundle two or three together with a discount and, or a freebie and make $15 or $25 per sale.
Don't underestimate the power of bundling, it is used by almost every high street shop and business and is solid business technique.
If you can't or don't want to write the report get a 'ghost writer' in! "A what?" A ghost writer, i someone you employ to write reports for you.
What, you think I write everything!
I use ghost writers whenever and wherever I can - sections of System Ultra K are re-written from my notes by ghost writers for the simple reason that there is just so much stuff in here - I concentrate solely on The Omni-Science Principle and try to get help on other projects.
In fact, I am beginning to outsource more and more - I write the drafts and briefs and the ghost writer will enhance and research the basic project until I am happy.
So where do you get these people?
I use eLance, this is a fantastic resource. Simply place your project up for bids and within days you'll get quality ghost writers bidding to take on your work for not a lot of money.
A word of advice here, make sure you go for the 'select service' as this avoids the time wasters.
If you want a script written either contact me and we'll get you a highly competitive quote from our agency (with a Cash Club discount of course) or try Scriptlance. This works in the same way as posting a project for a ghost writer.
When creating your project you may have to think about it, this may involve stretching your imagination and brain somewhat. You may even need to put in a modicum of hard work. But I’ll lay any odds you want that your competitors probably AREN’T doing that.
Market share often goes to the business that finds a new way to generate some 'buzz'. Make that YOUR business!
Again, remember, if you're running an ezine or building an opt-in list, make it worth the the reader's time. Don’t just send them promotions and crap! Don’t even send them articles in their email anymore.
Just send them a short email every week or month with a FREE gift or guide. Ask them to pass around the guide to anyone they wish.
Do that, and it’s only a matter of time until you control that niche.
I've already discussed the value of drop ins and how my business just wouldn't run with out them. You'll be adding drop ins to your pages to collect visitor's details. You'll need to develop a compelling reason for them to enter their email for instance, something of real value for free. Set up a free newsletter or send them a course of value.
The autoresponder will take care of the delivery.
When coming up with your offer remember - If you can't sell it you can't give it away! - Honestly, people won't sign up for something if it's rubbish, even if it's free, so make sure you offer a product or service of 'real' value.
I have seen the use of great drop ins from Instant Attention but the problem for me is that although eye catching they take the customer off the sales page which is a big no, no!
Ok you may get their name for a follow up but I prefer the drop ins I've created where the subscription form actually drops in with the offer. People read the message, pop in their details and submit. It only takes a few seconds and ensures that after a short diversion they carry on with the reading.
Here's the code you'll need for adding drop ins to your sites.
There is a .js file which controls these drop ins and to keep things nice and simple for you I've decided to host it for you. All you have to do is create your html code and insert it where instructed. Leave out the head information.
Step 1: Place this code directly below the of your web page
Step 2: Place the following directly above the