Book Review: Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin

Free Prize Inside by Set Godin is subtitled “How to Make a Purple Cow”. If you’re familiar with Seth Godin’s ideas, you know that a Purple Cow is his term for a remarkable product. He has another book entitled Purple Cow that shows the “what” of Purple Cow’s, and this book shows the “how”.

The book has three main section

1) The Premise
Seth talks about how the two traditional ways corporations make sales, advertising and big innovation, aren’t reliable. Advertising used to work, but media spends these days are getting more unreliable and difficult (he only mentions TV and print advertising and doesn’t really touch on online ads much). Big innovation – making large investments in creating an innovative new product – is very risky. He advocates a new way of doing things – soft innovation. Soft innovation causes the product to be the marketing. Create something that people want to share and talk about and you don’t need to advertise.

2) Being a Champion for Soft Innovations
Here Seth talks about how to take an idea and actually get it implemented in an organization. I wasn’t very interested in this section since I work in a two person company, so championing an idea isn’t that difficult for me :) He talks about how to get people to believe in you and get people to get on board with an idea. A soft innovation without a person to champion in it from idea to implementation won’t survive in a company.

3) How to Find Soft Innovations
Seth introduces something called “Edgecraft” in which you take a single dimension of a product and push it to the limit. For example, take the way you treat customers at a restaurant. You can eliminate all reservations and treat everyone equally – first come first served. Or you can make reservations very difficult to get and not allow anyone without an reservation through the door. Either one may get people talking about your restaurant and suddenly you have a Free Prize that makes your business grow.

I do like the idea of Edgecraft. It seems like a fairly good alternative to traditional brainstorming for easily come up with some new ideas. I was able to think of a few neat alternatives to some of the websites I run pretty quickly. Most of the ideas in the book talked about retail stores and physical products, so most of them are not directly applicable to websites, but the framework still works.

This is a fairly short book (185 pages without the extensive notes) and not very dense, so it was a very quick read. It is good for getting some ideas for products and how to push them, particularly if you are working at a large corporation. Unfortunately, though, I don’t think I would recommend this book for most web publishers.

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Google Apps Dropping Support for Older Browsers

Google just announced that it is dropping support for older browsers across a large number of their service starting August 1st. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Sites users will need to be on the latest or next-to-latest major versions of browsers, or risk not getting the full functionality of these services. The only supported browsers will be Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Explorer.

I think this is great news. Developing web sites that look good in older versions of browsers is a major pain in the butt, and anything that encourages people to upgrade gets the thumbs up from me. Looking at my stats, currently just over 10% of all visitors to one of my non-techie sites use Internet Explorer 7 and about 2.7% still use Explorer 6. Considering IE7 was released in 2006, it is ridiculous that so many people are still using IE6. Since IE7 is one of the browsers Google is dropping support for, I hope it gets people upgrading their browsers.

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Google Buzz Contest: Follow Me and Win an Internet Marketing Book

I have been using Google Buzz for over a week now and think it is great. What would make it even better is if I had more followers to interact with. So I’m having a contest to see if I can get more followers. You can win a copy of Internet Marketing From The Real Experts (my affiliate link), edited by Shawn Collins, Missy Ward from Affiliate Summit, and featuring lessons from 88 real world Internet marketers.

All the contest details are on this buzz post.

The contest wil end Friday February 19th at 5:00pm. The winner will be announced shortly after that. I’ll contact the person via Google Buzz and get the address to send the book to.

Good luck!

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Put Your Buzz Posts into WordPress

I have developed a plugin that allows you to put your Buzz posts onto your WordPress sidebar (or anywhere, actually).

I used to have one of those widgets that shows your Tweets, It didn’t make sense to do that any more since I have been using Buzz more than Twitter. You can see the new plugin is in action on the right sidebar on this blog.

You can get the plugin here:

Please let me know what you think

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AdSense Revenue Sharing Site List Updated

I finally got around to updating my AdSense Revenue Sharing Site List. It had been over two years since I updated it, so it was getting pretty stale.

When I began editing it, the list had 48 sites on it. I removed 22 sites that were either gone or had removed the revenue sharing from the site. I added in 14 new ones, so there are now 40 sites on the list. I’m sure there are more out there, so feel free to send me any new ones you know about. Hopefully it won’t tale me two years to update it this time.

One new wrinkle I discovered for some sites are affiliate programs. You can sign up as an affiliate and when someone signs up underneath you, you get your own ads displayed on any pages your referrals create.

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Why Poker is Like the Internet Business

Because of DK’s SEO Poker Tournament during PubCon next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about poker. And, as always, I’ve been thinking about making money online. Since I’ve been thinking about these things at the same time, I’ve realized that there are some real similarities.

There are a Lot of Dreamers
There are a ton of people who dream about being a professional poker player. A lot of people play a little bit in home poker games, but few ever manage to make a living off of it. It’s the same for internet businesses, a lot of people dream about it and dabble in it, but very few people make a living from it, and even fewer become superstars.

Calculated Risks
Poker is a game of calculated risks. When you start betting, you are never sure that you are going to win a hand. Even if you are holding a pair of aces, someone could easily bet you with a set, straight or flush. However, if you start betting hard every time you have a 2-7 off-suit, you’re not going to make money in the long run. It’s the same with the internet business, most people have a lot of ideas for various sites, however, it’s always best to go with ideas that have the best money-making potential. Try and start with the odds stacked in your favor.

Long Term Strategies are the Best
Every poker player loses a hand every now and then. Everyone in the internet business has an idea that doesn’t work out for the best. The idea is to make money over the long haul. If you keep betting with the right ideas, eventually you come out a winner.

Alway Keep Improving
Poker is a game that you can never be perfect at. Even the best players in the world are constantly changing their strategies and trying out new tactics. The same goes for any Internet business.

Learn From Others
Poker players are constantly studying the competition to find out what the other top players are doing. The same strategy is also very useful in the Internet world. You can study other successful sites and figure out what they are doing right.

Knowing When to Fold ‘Em
Sometimes when playing poker you realize you have been beat and you just have to lay down your cards. The same things applies on the Internet, even though you’ve put time in some project you thought would work, you have to know when to just shut it down and move onto other things.

The Stars do it Over and Over Again
There are alway people in poker who have beginners luck and end up winning some big tournament never to be heard from again. But then there are players like Daniel Negreanu and Scotty Nguyen who keep making money year after year. The same is true of the Internet, you look at people like Jeremy Schoemaker and John Chow who seem to keep raking in the big buck for many years.

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Best Friends Animal Society

As part of the entry process for DK’s Poker Tournament at PubCon everyone has to write a post about a charity that they like – I think that’s a great idea. So here is my post.

Best Friends Animal Society is all about kindness to animals. Their goal is to get the number of animals killed in shelters down to zero. When Best Friends started up in the eighties, about 17 million animals were killed in shelters every year. This number is now down to about 5 million. It’s great to see the number has fallen but there is still a long way to go.

Best Friends takes a very hands on approach to saving animals. They have a sanctuary in Utah where they care of roughly 2000 animals. The main goal is to get these animals treated and ready for adoption, but for those animals that are un-adoptable due to medical or other problems, the sanctuary provides them a permanent place to live. They also work with their members and other groups to provide spay/neuter clinics, shelter and adoption agencies.

My wife and I are big animal lovers and currently have two cats that we adopted from a shelter.

Beside supporting groups like Best Friends, there are other things you can do to help to reduce the number of animals being killed in shelter – make sure you get you pets spayed or neutered, and if you are going to get a new pet, go to a shelter instead of buying one from a pet store.

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PubCon Las Vegas 2009

We (my wife and I) made the decision to go to go to PubCon again this year.

We weren’t too sure if we were going to go or not, but there were two things that tipped the decision:
1) The Vegas Strip Hotel Marketing Departments Keynote Panel – We run Vegas sites, so this should be a very interesting panel for us.
2) DK’s SEO Poker Tournament – This looks like a blast.

We got a pretty good deal at Wynn, so that’s where we’ll be staying this year.

Hope to see you there.

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AdSense Announces Program Policy Changes

Yesterday AdSense announced a new program policies update. If you read the official announcement, it seems like there really weren’t very many changes.

However, like usual JenSense has done an outstanding analysis of what really changed, and there are some surprises. I would highly recommend reading through this to make sure you understand all the changes.

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O’Reilly Found Conference Postponed

The O’Reilly Found Conference which I wrote about back in October, has been postponed.

According to the website:

Due to the challenging economic environment, we’re sorry to announce that we’ve made the difficult business decision to postpone the O’Reilly Found Conference, which was to take place June 9-11 in Burlingame, CA.

That’s too bad, because this conference did seem to offer a bit of a different view than most SEO oriented conferences.

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